Phone an Enemy
"Have we got coordinates?" the Doctor asked once they were all safely in the TARDIS.
The Captain nodded, pulling the screen around to face them. "The Shestich ship is over Earth. It hasn't shown up on any radar, though."
"No, it wouldn't. The Shestich weren't too bright, but they were an old civilization, they knew their cloaking technology."
The Captain stood back to let the Doctor work with his controls, but accidentally bumped into Jack. "Oh, sorry Kid," he said, clapping him on the arm.
Jack stared at the Captain, and after almost a minute the older man finally looked back at him. "What?"
"How did you find the coordinates?"
"I used the TARDIS. I've been on here before, I'm familiar with some of the system. In the year I'm from humans are used to traveling in space and time."
The boy looked at his mother. "You are human, too, right? Could you learn to run the TARDIS?"
"I doubt it," she shrugged. "I don't really understand most of the mechanical parts of this machine."
"She could tell you," he said, patting a column of coral affectionately.
"The TARDIS," he said. "Would you mind? Would you teach Mum to set your coordinates and keep you stable, just in case the Doctor was ever unable to help her?" he called out.
She would not hear. The TARDIS said to him. You are special, Child. You could learn, you have learned so much already.
"Jack?" his father asked slowly. "Who are you talking to?"
"The TARDIS," he said, frowning a bit. "Obviously, she answered me."
"Jack, the TARDIS doesn't talk," he said. "She couldn't."
"But she does—"
"Sorry to interrupt," The Captain said suddenly, "but what did you guys learn? Is Tosh okay?"
The Doctor blinked at his son a moment, then hesitantly turned his attention back to the controls. "She might be alive yet, but she's far from okay. It makes no sense—they ate all the others they abducted right away, but she's been kept alive at least long enough to send a message. If the Shestich are orbiting Earth then something else is going on here besides a few casual hunts. Those poor people wouldn't have done much for their appetites either—three people could only feed a Shestich ship for a few days. She did say the Earth was in danger, now we have to find out how. This is plan A, but it is a bit of a long shot," he said as the TARDIS lurched to life.
The normal landing sound echoed through the room, then it let out a strangled vlooooorrrp and everyone inside was jerked to the floor.
"I figured," he sighed, "we can't get the TARDIS onto the Shestich ship—they're an old race. They would have guarded against most Time Lord technology during the Time War. Okay, Plan B." He switched the screen to show the numbers that Tosh had sent in her message. "We give them a call. Captain, where did you say this team of yours was?"
Ianto Jones was raising a cup of his famous coffee to his lips when the door to the Hub let out a whining hiss. A short blonde woman ran through, holding a mess of wires in her arms as she pushed past him wordlessly. He choked on his coffee slightly. Was this a secure base? He was pretty sure it was. He should probably stop random people from just running in.
He was about to say something when another person burst through the door. It was a boy, around sixteen or so, with shaggy brown hair and excited eyes. He held a large monitor in his hands, and a wide grin across his face. "I'm coming, Mum!" he called, rushing past Ianto.
He suddenly stopped, skidding along the metallic floor a moment, and spun around to face the confused assistant. "Oh! Hello, new person," he precariously balanced the monitor in one arm so he could shake the confused assistant's hand. "I'm Jack Tyler, and that's my Mum. The Captain sent us. Nice to meet you!"
"Oh, I like that," the boy beamed. "I've only heard about five names or so in my life, and three of them have been pretty much the same name. Is 'the Doctor' a name though?"
"Yes, it's a name," his father insisted running into the Hub with the captain, holding a large machine. Ianto didn't even want to speculate on what that was supposed to do. "You know, you can call me Dad, if you want."
Jack just shrugged. "Dad is not your name."
"'Mum' isn't your mother's name. That doesn't stop you."
"Do you mind being called Doctor?" he asked a bit uncomfortably.
"No," he said finally, the slightest hint of disappointment in his voice. "Come on, Jack! We've got a bit of a ticking clock here. Allons-y!"
The Doctor stopped in his tracks with wide eyes. "Allons-y? Why would I say that?"
"Is that English?" his son asked, following after him dutifully.
"Nope, French. Do you have a middle name, Jack?"
"Middle? As in another? I already have two. Isn't that enough?"
"From now on your full name is Jack Alonso Tyler."
"Absolutely not!" Rose called as they started setting their things up where the Hub's Rift Manipulator would one day be. "His middle name is Russel."
"Russel?" the Doctor scoffed. "I don't like it."
"How about Steven?" she shrugged.
"I changed my mind, Russel is better," he said, connecting a few wires into the larger machine and pulling the monitor around. "Alright, I should be able to use the rift as a transmitter. We'll use the number Tosh gave us, and give the Shestich a little ring."
"To say what?" the Captain asked. "How are you? What's your sign? Eat anyone interesting lately? Oh, and by the way, are you planning to destroy the world?"
"There's a chance they think no one's noticed them. If I tell them the Shadow Proclamation is watching, they might just get scared and leave on their own."
"And if they don't?" Rose asked.
"Well, then we find a Plan C. That's why I like the alphabet, you can fail 25 times before you reach your last chance. And…" he said slowly as wired Jack's phone into the mainframe, "there. Great big Rift-to-Spaceship phone call. Sorry in advance about the bill, Captain."
The Doctor leaned back in a rolling chair comfortably as everyone stood around him, intensely watching the dark screen. There was a flickering of light and static, and then suddenly the screen was filled with the image of a bright white, scaly creature with big eyes. An ornate helmet sat upon its head, and as it saw them it showed a row of yellow, pointed teeth. It roared loudly and Jack jumped back a little. Rose grabbed his hand reassuringly and he stood strongly again, trying to look braver than he was.
"Oh, argggghhhh yourself," the Doctor rolled his eyes. "You have the ability to speak, use it."
"We know who you are," the creature growled. "We caught you on our radar days ago. The Doctor."
"Oh, good, you've heard of me, that'll save us some time," he smiled. "And who am I addressing?"
"I am Commander Malfosh! I am the last leader of the Shestich race, Master of the seventh star of the—"
"Let's not have a long title war, it'll take forever and you'll lose. Straight to business then. I am here to arrest you on behalf of the Shadow Proclamation due to crimes against the people of this planet. But, since I'm such a sweet guy, I'll let you go as long as you promise never to come back."
The creature let out a breathy series of gasps that they could only guess was a chuckle. "You? You claim to be a good man? It was by your assistance that the Shadow Proclamation declared our only source of food illegal. You seek to destroy our entire race!"
"Now that is not true," he said quickly. "I have nothing against your species. I suggested that planets at a certain level be protected against inhumane hunting practices, but then I told them there should be a way to get deceased bodies for races that eat more advanced organisms to live on. I know you can live off of dead bodies, didn't they create that program for you?"
"We are the Shestich!" it hissed angrily. "We do not live on charity and pre-hunted food."
"You had the option. I did not leave you to die, I offered you food and a way to live peacefully, and you chose to ignore it, that's not my fault."
"Who are you trying to convince?" it spat. "The blood of my people will be on your hands, Doctor. Why do you think we chose your favorite planet for our new food source? We will taste their blood as you have spilt ours."
He stared at the creature dangerously. "This planet is protected. Your little shield may have hidden you long enough to steal a few poor souls, but I'm done playing games now. You have my full attention, and trust me, you don't want it. You'll never take another human off this planet. I'm giving you a chance to leave, I suggest you take it."
"Soon we will have no need to steal your little pawns. We'll have an army of little morsels, a silo full of food to last us decades."
"Oh, you're not looking towards little fish anymore are you?" the Doctor asked, the slightest look of appreciation on his face. "Danger for the Earth. The whole Earth."
It chuckled again, then sniffed the air excitedly. "Oh, such intelligence, I can sense it even from here. You would taste excellent."
"Time Lord physiology," he said wiggling his fingers. "You can't send one of your little portals after me. Too bad though, it would save us time, because I am going to get onto that ship, I promise you. No cute little cloaking technique can stop the TARDIS for very long."
The creature grinned maliciously. "I wasn't speaking to you, Doctor, we are well aware of your incompatible physiology. You don't want us to take another human? Fine, until we have our food supply, we'll live off of something close to human."
There was a flash in the Hub. In the center of the room a wide circle of energy appeared, the same one the Professor, Chairwoman, and Miles Frobisher had seen in the last moments of their lives. The light rushed them all, too quickly for anyone to react. It rushed past them, and then it was gone.
"I've just told you," the Doctor said, rolling his eyes, "you can't abduct a Time Lord."
"Doctor," Rose said, suddenly, her voice rising rapidly, "where's Jack?"
The Doctor turned. The Captain stood next to Rose, and Ianto a few feet behind him, but his son was not with them. Tears welled in Rose's eyes and she let out a strangled wail, running to the screen and smacking it with her palm. "Where's my son?! You monster, where's my son?!"
His veins turned to ice. His hearts broke. They flashed in front of him, the mental images of his children, the one's he'd let down, and now Jack's innocent face was among them. His eyes burned in a way Rose had never had the misfortune of seeing up to this point. For just a moment, he looked exactly like what he was. An alien.
"Give him back!" he screamed at the creature on the screen. "I order you to bring him back! I will burn you! If you think I have been the enemy of the Shestich in the past, you have seen nothing. If you harm a hair on his head I will personally destroy each and every one of you! Every last one!" he yelled.
"Half-Breeds taste the best," the creature mused, "but they're so hard to get ahold of these days. You want the Earth, Doctor? Have it. The humans, and whatever this thing is you've brought us, they belong to us now."
The screen went blank.