xliii. journey's end (part 01)
THE DOCTOR HAS GOLDEN energy streaming from his hands and head, and everyone on the TARDIS believes the Doctor is regenerating. With an effort, the Doctor turns and points both hands towards his spare hand in the jar by the time console. It absorbs it and he is released.
“Now then,” he says cheerfully. “Where were we?
Donna, Jack and Rose are stunned, and Violet has an unamused expression on her face.
The Doctor checks on his glowing spare hand. “There now.” He blows on the jar and the glowing stops. “You see? Used the Regeneration Energy to heal myself, but, soon as I was done, I didn’t need to change. I didn’t want to. Why would I? Look at me. So, to stop the energy going all the way, I siphoned off the rest into a handy bio-matching receptacle, namely my hand. My hand there. My handy spare hand. Remember? Christmas Day, Sycorax. Lost my hand in a sword fight? That’s my hand. What do you think?”
“You’re still you?” Rose asks.
“I’m still me.”
The Doctor and Rose hug.
Donna turns to Jack and Violet, but more so Jack. “You can hug me, if you want. No, really. You can hug me.”
Violet pushes the older woman to her boyfriend and playfully bares her teeth as she holds Jack, claiming him as hers. Donna laughs and hugs Lee, the taller male hugging her back, but still confused at the events that just happened in front of his eyes. However, before they have much more of a chance to celebrate, the power goes out. Violet curses and she and the Doctor rush to the console, giving each other smiles before beginning to press buttons.
“They’ve got us. Power’s gone,” the Doctor rambles, hitting buttons on the console. “Some kind of chronon loop.”
The TARDIS tilts with a jerk and Violet stumbles into Jack.
“There’s a massive Dalek ship at the centre of the planets,” Jack informs. “They’re calling it the Crucible. Guess that’s our destination.”
“You said these planets were like an engine,” Donna says. “But what for?”
“Rose, you’ve been in a parallel world,” the Doctor says. “That world’s running ahead of this universe. You’ve seen the future. What was it?”
“It’s the darkness,” Rose informs.
“The stars were going out,” Donna adds.
“One by one. We looked up at the sky and they were just dying. Basically, we’ve been building this, er, this travel machine, this, this er, dimension cannon, so I could. Well, so I could...”
“What?” the Doctor asks, a somewhat cheeky smile on his face.
“So I could come back. Shut up,” Rose says, embarrassed. “Anyway, suddenly, it started to work and the dimensions started to collapse. Not just in our world, not just in yours, but the whole of reality. Even the Void was dead. Something is destroying everything.”
“In that parallel world, you said something about me,” Donna says.
“The dimension cannon could measure timelines, and it’s, it’s weird, Donna, but they all seemed to converge on you.”
“But why me? I mean, what have I ever done? I’m a temp from Chiswick.”
The scanner beeps and the Doctor gains a grim expression. “The Dalek Crucible. All aboard.”
“Doctor, you will step forth or die,” a red Dalek orders.
“We’ll have to go out. Because if we don’t, they’ll get in.”
“You told me nothing could get through those doors,” Rose protests.
“You’ve got extrapolator shielding,” Jack exclaims.
“Last time we fought the Daleks, they were scavengers and hybrids, and mad,” the Doctor explains. “But this is a fully-fledged Dalek Empire, at the height of its power. Experts at fighting TARDIS’, they can do anything. Right now, that wooden door is just wood.”
Donna can hear a heartbeat thumping in her ears.
“What about your dimension jump?” Jack asks Rose.
“It needs another twenty minutes,” Rose tells him. “And anyway, I’m not leaving.”
“What about your teleport?” the Doctor asks his second wife and Jack.
“Went down with the power loss,” Jack says.
Violet taps her Vortex Manipulator. “Even mine’s not working. Sorry, my love.”
“Right then,” the Doctor exclaims. “All of us together. Yeah. Donna?”
Donna is staring at nothing.
He snaps her out of it. “Donna?”
“Yeah,” she says, still a bit out of it.
“I’m sorry. There’s nothing else we can do.”
“No, I know.”
“Daleks,” Rose says with a small laugh, remembering the second time they went up against the monsters.
“Oh, God,” Jack says, holding Violet’s hand tightly, knowing what it felt like to die by a Dalek.
“Not the first time I’ve gone against these fuckers,” Violet says, trying to sound braver and stronger than she currently feels.
“It’s been good, though, hasn’t it? All of us. All of it. Everything we did.” He turns to Donna. “You were brilliant.” He turns to Jack. “And you were brilliant.” He turns to Rose. “And you were brilliant.” He turns to Violet. “And you were so brilliant.” He turns to Lee. “And you were brilliant too.” He faces the doors and lets out a gust of breath, shaking his head. “Blimey.”
The Doctor leads his companions out of the TARDIS, but Donna is lagging behind, Lee standing beside her. The TARDIS door slams shut, trapping both Donna and Lee inside. A trapdoor opens under the TARDIS and it drops.
“Total TARDIS destruction in ten rels. Nine, eight, seven, six,” a Dalek counts. “Five, four, three, two, one.”
“The TARDIS has been destroyed,” the Red Dalek declares. “Now tell me, Doctor. What do you feel? Anger? Sorrow? Despair?”
“Yeah,” the Doctor replies, emotions boiling beneath his somewhat calm exterior.
“Then if emotions are so important, surely we have enhanced you?”
“Yeah? Feel this!” Jack produces a small revolver and shoots at the Red Dalek.
“Exterminate!” The Red Dalek zaps Jack.
“You fucker,” Violet curses at the Dalek, dropping down and cradling Jack’s head in her lap.
“Jack,” Rose exclaims. “Oh, my God. Oh, no.”
“Rose, come here,” the Doctor orders softly. “Leave him.”
“They killed him.”
“I know. I’m sorry.”
“Escort them to the Vault,” the Red Dalek orders.
“There’s nothing we can do,” the Doctor says.
“They are the playthings of Davros now.”
Jack blinks and Violet lets out a small, relieved sigh.