Instead of going directly to the planet, which the Doctor
figured would be of no use if Isabelle was on a spaceship, and if that ship did
not go directly back to the planet, he decided to track down the spaceship.
Using the residue the sonic screwdriver picked up, he had the TARDIS latch on
to anything with the same alien readings. It did not take long before he was
hurdling through space like a water skier being dragged behind the alien craft.
The spaceship stopped just beyond the Lemon Slice Nebula and the TARDIS materialized
within the spacecraft seconds later.
As he stepped out of the TARDIS into the ship, he noticed he was in some sort of room. Nothing in it indicated what it was used for. It was relatively empty and dark. The Doctor crinkled his nose as an awful stench assaulted his nostrils.
"Smells like death warmed over," he said to himself.
Moving out of the room he landed in and into the dimly lit corridor through an automatic sliding door, he kept his senses perked for any signs of Isabelle. The floor beneath him was solid but stained beyond its natural color. The walls and ceiling were possibly white at one time but now they were grey with splatters of different earthy hues. Warm air spurted out of vents that lined the walls near the ceiling as he moved along the passageway. Another corridor intersected in front of him. There were foot steps coming from the left. The Doctor hid himself behind a support pillar against the wall off to the left. A group of three Dwa Gela Kind moved slowly down the intersecting corridor.
"Let me go! Just take me back home," Isabelle's voice boomed through the corridors.
There were actually two Dwa Gela Kind and Isabelle in the little group. The Doctor caught a glimpse of her. She was unhurt but the two figures escorting her had their hands gripped around her upper arms. They did not say anything.
"What are you going to do with me?" Isabelle asked as they moved further along away from the intersection. Again, neither of the Dwa Gela Kind spoke to her.
"Can you speak?" Isabelle said when neither did and added with disgust, "Er, I guess not." Her voice faded down the corridor.
The Doctor followed at a safe distance leaving his hiding place. He checked behind him and down the other corridors that convened there to make sure no other Dwa Gelas were following.
Isabelle was silent as she was shuffled down the corridor. She kept looking at the two figures flanking her. After a short distance, the three entered a room on the left side of the corridor. This gave the Doctor an opportunity to rush forward. He listened outside the door.
"Bait? He doesn't care for me as much as you think he does. We're just friends. If the need be, he would leave me behind," he heard Isabelle say.
"We will see. He will come for you regardless and we will take him," a deep raspy voice spoke.
"I'd like to see you try," she said. The Doctor could hear the smile in her voice.
"Z19 are you ready?" the voice asked. There was no audible response that the Doctor could hear. "Do it."
Upon hearing those words, the Doctor burst through the door.
"Stop!" the Doctor said loudly. The two Dwa Gela Kind and an added figure turned to see who spoke.
What stood before the Doctor were two grotesque humanoids. Their skin was decaying upon their bodies. The facial skin on the one on his right in front of a small console on two supports was so decayed around its mouth that its teeth were exposed in a permanent eerie grin. He assumed it to be male. The female looking one on his left standing beside Isabelle lilted to the side as if her muscles could no longer hold her body erect to a proper standing position. Part of her skull was exposed from a gaping wound. Her hair was thin or missing in sections on her head. Their clothes hung like rags from their bodies. They stared with unblinking eyes.
As for the third figure which stood closest to the door, he was larger than the other two with black scales and a tail. It too was part human but with a mixture of dragon in its features. It had a long snout and slit yellow eyes. A ridge of plates protruded from its back and through specifically made holes in its leather garments. The creature was known as a Drazzard.
"Doctor!" Isabelle cried. She was tied to one of the two columns that stood in the room.
"You are the Doctor," the Drazzard stated.
"Yes," the Doctor answered.
The male Dwa Gela Kind's face widened into a more stretched out grin, if that was possible. The Doctor could see his smile in the squinting of his eyes.
"Wipe that stupid grin off your face. I know you want me. But why?" the Doctor said indignantly. The male Dwa Gela's face slackened.
"We crave brains," the Drazzard answered. "Especially one such as yours with so much intelligence."
"You don't want my brain. They do," the Doctor corrected the Drazzard.
"Specifically, yes, they do," the Drazzard replied.
"Who are you?" the Doctor demanded.
"I am Ekir," said the Drazzard.
"And who are they?"
"They have no names, only identification numbers. The male is Z19 and the female is Z20."
"Why do you keep Dwa Gela Kind on board your ship? They could kill you or overrun you."
The Doctor stuck his hands in his pockets and started walking around the room. Isabelle watched him. This room was smaller than the one he had materialized within.
"We offer them brains to function and in return they give us servitude without harm," Ekir told the Doctor. "Just a little bit of your brain fed to each one of my Dwa Gelas on my ship, will have them doing anything I command."
"They're slaves," the Doctor stated but it could have been a question. He stopped to look at Z20 beside Isabelle.
The Doctor finally made eye contact with Isabelle. He raised his eyebrows towards her. She gave the mere hint of a nod. Their silent communication went unnoticed by Ekir or the other two.
"On the contrary, Doctor, we barter for goods and services on Drolth. There are no slaves."
"Slaves to each other then," he said nonchalantly as he slowly meandered behind Isabelle taking in the details of the room. Ekir just glared at the Doctor. "It's true isn't it? If one doesn't uphold their part of the bargain, the other attacks?"
Ekir looked over at Z19, who also returned his gaze. "Yes," Ekir replied.
The Doctor spread his arms wide and said, "Told ya." The Doctor stepped out from behind Isabelle moving towards the console Z19 stood behind. "Now, what does this button do?" He slammed his hand down on the console. A siren sounded. Ekir looked livid. The Dwa Gela Kind groaned and turned vicious. "Oops."
Ekir rushed the console to stop the siren. The Doctor went over to Z20 to keep her away from Isabelle. Z19 was trying to take a bite of Ekir just as he shut the sound off. Immediately, he reached into a pouch hanging off of his belt and produced a chunk of grayish meat and held it out to Z19.
"Calm yourself, Z19, or no food," Ekir said to the deadly corpse.
"You have anymore of that for this one?" the Doctor asked Ekir. Z20 was following the Doctor around the room. Ekir reached into the pouch again and held out another piece of the brain matter. The Doctor took it from his outstretched hand, then held it out for Z20. He chanced a glance at Isabelle. She quickly gave him a smirk before looking back down at the ground.
Once the Dwa Gela had been fed and tamed again, Ekir turned to them. He said, "Seize him." Immediately, the two grasped onto the Doctor's arms. He began to struggle against them. "Do not try to break free or I will tell them to attack you."
The Doctor then stopped his movements against the two monsters. Z19 growled at him through his steadfast smile. "Shut up," the Doctor muttered.
Ekir took a deep breath. A glimmer of fire glinted in the back of his throat as he opened his mouth wide.
"Let him go!" Isabelle shouted as she took her hands from behind her back. In her hand she held the sonic screwdriver the Doctor had secretly passed her when he walked behind her. "I have a sonic screwdriver and I'm not afraid to use it. Now, let him go."
The Dwa Gela Kind growled again. Ekir closed his mouth and blew smoke from his nostrils.
"Why should we let him go?" Ekir questioned with a smirk.
"If you don't let him go, I will disintegrate you," she barked. Ekir's smirk faded. "If you don't let him go, there will be nothing. No life forms to manipulate. No brains for your precious Dwa Gelas. The Doctor has saved the Earth and many other planets countless times. If you don't let him go, all those planets that you rely on for food for your Dwa Gelas, will be destroyed by some other alien race before you can get your ruddy hands on it," Isabelle said with such force and confidence that even the Doctor looked surprised. "Now, let him go."
Again, Ekir blew smoke from his nostrils in frustration. His eyes darted around in thought.
Isabelle was watching him intently but she was distracted by the Doctor's movements. When she finally looked over to him, he was turning his head back and forth to look at each Dwa Gela then at her. Then he kicked out a foot lightly. Finally, he turned his gaze back on her. A small smirk graced her lips. He nodded slowly.
"What is it going to be, Ekir? Death to the Doctor and all that you know, or life and continue as is," Isabelle spat.
Ekir glanced at Isabelle then turned his head towards Z19 and Z20. A wicked grinned turned up the corners of his mouth. "They're all yours," Ekir said as he turned and walked out of the room. The two Dwa Gelas turned to the Doctor with opened mouths.
"No!" Isabelle shouted.
She kicked at Z20's unstable legs as the Doctor rammed into Z19 knocking him off balance. The two escaped the small room and were met with more zombie like creatures coming towards them on the right like a wall of death which hindered them getting to the TARDIS. The Dwa Gela did not move swiftly as they backed away from them to the left of the room they had exited.
"How are we going to get to the TARDIS?" Isabelle asked frantically as they ran in the opposite direction of the Dwa Gela Kind.
"I don't know," the Doctor said.
They began to slow down realizing the Dwa Gelas could not keep up with them with their shuffling movements. The two stopped to catch their breath. Isabelle kept an eye behind them while the Doctor was observing the surroundings. In the bleak corridor, steam escaped a pipe nearby hissing its frustrations. Through the hissing there was a murmur.
"Doctor, do you hear that?" Isabelle questioned upon hearing the sound. He held up a hand to signify silence.
"Shush, shush," he uttered.
When the hissing of the pipe finally dissipated, the murmuring voices of people was more prevalent. The Doctor moved back the way they had come. Then he turned around abruptly and walked back towards Isabelle. Walking passed her, he stopped at a door on the right. It didn't move as all the other doors had once he stood in front of it. This one remained closed. He pressed his ear against the door. Then he looked at Isabelle.
"Sonic!" he yelled to her.
Isabelle had forgotten she still held the sonic screwdriver. She ran towards him with her arm outstretched to hand off the tool. The Doctor grabbed it. He made a few twists of the end then pointed it at the door. As it whirred, he traced the door all the way around. A second after the sonic shut off the door slid to the side and not a moment too soon. The Dwa Gelas were catching up to them.
"Hurry, inside!" the Doctor ordered Isabelle. She rushed in but not before noticing the room full of scared looking humans and other creatures.
The Doctor closed the door just in time before the Dwa Gelas started banging on it. He then sealed the door again.
At first no one said anything to them, nor the two of them to the others in the room. Isabelle and the Doctor looked around the room. Everyone else stared blankly back at them. They stood on a platform that had three steps leading down into the room that was similar to the one the Doctor had landed the TARDIS in. These rooms were holding cells for people.
"Silurians, Judoon, Thals, Frathen Plars, Swampies, humans," the Doctor muttered as his eyes landed on each of the races of aliens.
"Is that who is in this room?" Isabelle asked.
"Yeah. At least the ones I can see," he answered.
"Isabelle?" a voice sounded from the right. Both the Doctor and Isabelle turned to see Jenro making his way out of the crowd.
"Jenro?" Isabelle voiced. Jenro smiled as he came forward towards them. Isabelle rushed down the steps and gave him a hug which he accepted gladly. Slowly, the Doctor moved down the steps standing beside them.
"How long have you been here?" the Doctor asked Jenro.
"Not long. A few days maybe," he answered.
"Are you being fed? Watered?" Isabelle asked.
"We are being given water but no food," Jenro said gravely. "Most are not here long enough to need to be fed. I've been here the longest. I expect I'll be next."
There was pounding at the door. Everyone in the room except Isabelle and the Doctor took a step away from it.
"People get fed to them, don't they?" Isabelle said towards the Doctor. He only nodded.
The door slid open. The Doctor pulled Isabelle towards the back of the room and hid behind a rather large Judoon. Two Drazzards entered. They looked around briefly. Descending the steps, they grabbed two victims nearest them, one Silurian and one Swampie. They screamed in protest as they were being dragged up the steps and out of the room into the corridor. The door remained open while the screams and guttural noises of teeth tearing into flesh could be heard inside the room. Nearly everyone's head bowed in silent reverence. Ekir stood in the doorway silhouetted in the light coming into the room from the corridor.
"I know you are in here, Doctor! There is no escape. We will empty this room two by two until you make yourself known or the room becomes empty. Your choice," he said. The Doctor remained behind the Judoon. "You have thirty minutes before two more become a meal for the Dwa Gelas."
Ekir disappeared from the doorway. The door shut and everyone in the room turned towards the Doctor. Some started to plead for him to give himself up, whilst others pushed or grabbed him. Jenro and Isabelle immediately stood between the angry mob and the Doctor.
"STOP!" Isabelle cried. "Stop it! He's the only one who can save you and you're just going to give him over? Think about it! Use your brains."
The pushing, shoving, and noises of aggravated voices subsided. A hushed murmur replaced it. Isabelle and Jenro relaxed their stances. The Doctor placed his hands on Isabelle's shoulders.
"There's nothing to think about, Isabelle. They're right. I have to go," the Doctor said in a hushed voice in her ear.
"No," she said as she turned around abruptly to face him. "You can't. There has to be another way."
"There is, but everyone in this room dies," he said solemnly. "I know you don't want that." He grinned briefly.
"Of course not. But I won't let them kill you either," she said softly.
"I know you won't. I'm counting on that," he said as his cheeks stretched into a grin from ear to ear. "But I must leave this room. You know what you need to do." Isabelle shook her head, her brow furrowed.
"But I . . .," she said as stared into his shining blue eyes in the dim light. Her brow gradually raised in acknowledgment as he pressed the sonic screwdriver into her hand.
"Wait five minutes after I'm gone," he told her.
"How will I find you?"
"You'll know," he answered.
The Doctor walked towards the stairs. Isabelle followed him. The crowd easily parted for them. He stood at the bottom step for a moment with her standing beside him. He gripped her hand staring up at the door.
"I trust you," he muttered.
The Doctor gave Isabelle's hand one last squeeze and let go. Taking the steps one by one he then knocked on the door and waited. A few seconds later the door opened. Ekir stood on the other side. The Doctor stepped through the doorway. Two Dwa Gela seized him and the door slid shut again.
A gentle hand pressed upon Isabelle's shoulder. She turned to see Jenro standing beside her. Her eyes found the door again. Anguish washed over her face. Jenro pulled her into his embrace.
"He has faith in you to do the right thing. Save him," Jenro whispered to her.
Isabelle had found her courage once before, now she had it again. It would take more than just courage to accomplish her task at hand. This required brains as well. Knowledge he had been teaching her would be put to the test. She waited the allotted five minutes, then she too ascended the steps. Using the sonic screwdriver, she opened the door. Glancing up and down the corridor, it was clear of any Drazzards and Dwa Gela Kind. Jenro stood on the platform as she stepped into the hallway.
"I'll be back," she told him. He nodded as she shut and sealed the door behind her.
Stealthily, she moved down the corridor the way she and the Doctor had travelled before, back towards the teleportation room. Her ears were perked for sounds close and distant. Moving beyond the door to the room where she and the Doctor had been reunited, Isabelle clicked the sonic screwdriver a few notches then held it in front of her. It buzzed, but the sound was low. Her silent footsteps took her further down the corridor until she came upon an intersection. Holding out the sonic again, the buzz was slightly higher pitched as she moved it towards the corridor on her left. She took the turn. Knowing her destination was close, she threw caution to the wind and quickened her movement. Ever few meters she would sonic the doors she came across until she found the one that made the sonic buzz pitch to its highest resonance. As she stepped in front of the door it slid to the side. Inside the relatively empty room stood the TARDIS. She rushed over to it and unlocked the door with her key that she had fished out of her jeans pocket.
Inside the TARDIS, Isabelle made her way towards the console, but upon seeing her duffel bag just to the side, she sprinted towards the centre. Flipping switches and turning knobs, she glanced at the monitor. Then, she made her way around the console until she was standing at the last lever. Without hesitation, she pulled on it. The familiar groan wailed like a whale song.
When she opened the TARDIS door, dozens of eyes stared at her. A few turned towards the room's door and back towards the TARDIS with mouths hanging open.
"Jenro!" she shouted out towards the crowd. He had still been standing by the door and had to make his way over towards her. "I need your help. I'll escort everyone to a safe room in here. You make sure that door remains shut. If at any point it opens, you let me know." Jenro nodded. Isabelle looked towards a lady Frathen Plar. Isabelle held out her hand towards her. The woman stared at it. "If you don't come with me, you will die."
"How are we all going to fit in there?" a Swampie asked.
"Oh, you'll see," Isabelle said with a grin.
The lady Frathen Plar looked at Jenro who gave her a smile and nodded. She took Isabelle's hand and went into the TARDIS with her. The Swampie followed. Isabelle lead them around the console and into the corridor back to the many rooms. She started with her own room and moved on from there. Moving quickly, she put as many people as she could into each room. When everyone was in, she and Jenro remained in the console room.
"Now, I just need to find the Doctor," Isabelle said aloud.
"How do you plan to do that?" Jenro asked.
"I'm not. She is," Isabelle said looking up at the aqua colored tube in the centre. "Hey, Gorgeous, I need you to do me a huge favor. I need you to find the Doctor for me. I know you can, and I know you will."
Only performing half of the tasks around the console than usual, this time Isabelle hesitated at the final lever. "Please, for me," she pleaded as her hand pulled on it. The TARDIS dematerialized out of the holding room and into another room somewhere on the Dwa Gela ship. Isabelle rushed to the door not knowing what she would find on the other side. With the sonic screwdriver in hand, she thrust the door open.
"Isabelle, sonic!" the Doctor yelled.
Frantically, she looked around for him as the chaotic scene flashed before her. Dwa Gelas were fighting Drazzards and vice versa. Some of the Dwa Gelas had been set ablaze by the Drazzards fiery breath and a few Drazzards were being devoured by Dwa Gelas. The Doctor was man handling Ekir trying to keep his mouth shut and pointed away from him. Isabelle and Jenro rushed over towards the Doctor a few meters away. Jenro ran up behind Ekir pinning his arms behind him while Isabelle handed over the screwdriver to the Doctor. He hastily clicked it to a different setting and held it high above his head.
"Hold your ears," he instructed Isabelle and Jenro. The Frathen Plar took his hands off the Drazzard and plugged his ears. Isabelle did the same.
The sound was deafening to anyone not shielding their ears. Drazzards dropped to the ground in agony. Dwa Gelas growled in irritation. With his free hand, the Doctor pointed towards the TARIS. The trio entered the blue box. Once inside, the Doctor ceased the high pitch frequency and the other two uncovered their ears.
"Let's get out of here," the Doctor said pressing buttons after rushing to the console. "I think we have a few deliveries to make."
"Quite a few," Isabelle informed him making her way to the other side of the console.
"Take us away, Co-pilot," the Doctor said with a grin. Isabelle completed the last few functions on the console and pulled the lever.
Away the TARDIS went into space. The first planet they came to was Delta III, which was really a moon and not a planet, but it was home to the Swampies. They continued on their way throughout the universe to planets or moons where each alien life form lived. The last was Sluvan where Jenro resided. The other Frathen Plars and Krassen had been gathered into the console room and were filing out the door. Jenro was the last to leave.
"Again, I am indebted to the two of you. You have saved my life a second time. If you ever need anything, I am at your service," Jenro offered with solemnity.
"Maybe one day," the Doctor said. "Until then, you go live your life." He patted Jenro on the back.
Isabelle gave Jenro a hug and as she did so, she whispered into his ear. Jenro looked at her then whispered a response, which was rather lengthy. Finally, Isabelle backed away with wide eyes and looked over at the Doctor.
"What?" he questioned at her gaze.
Then she looked back to Jenro who shrugged with a grin. Isabelle smiled too and nodded. Jenro then patted the Doctor on the back just before exiting the TARDIS.
"What was that about?" the Doctor asked Isabelle as they made their way back to the console. She smirked as she fiddled with one of the knobs.
"Can we go somewhere quiet? Some place where we can have a nice picnic by a waterfall or something?" Isabelle asked avoiding the Doctor's question.
"Not until you tell me what you asked Jenro," he said crossing his arms over his chest.
"I think you already know," she replied looking over at him with a smile.
"I don't," he responded with raised eyebrows.
"Don't lie," she insisted.