Chapter 10

"Hurry, hurry!" River was shouting as the Doctor ran around frantically, pulling levers, pressing buttons, and trying to fly back to the facility from which they had just left. They didn't know for sure that this was where Rain was, but they didn't have time to find out, and this was their best shot at finding her.

"Okay, we're here," the Doctor said as they materialized. They rushed out the door without really caring about security this time. The plan was to find Rain as quickly as possible and get out without allowing the guards enough time to discover the TARDIS sitting in the hallway.

However, they stepped out the door to discover that they were surrounded by gun-wielding guards, Kovarian standing in the center of them. The Doctor couldn't put his finger on it, but there was something different about her.

"Hello again, Doctor," Kovarian said with that evil smile of hers.

"You were expecting us?" the Doctor asked as calmly as he could, considering his hands were shaking.

She laughed at this. "No. We expected you years ago. When you never came, we had time to reinforce our security systems. We were able to detect your TARDIS before you could even fully materialize."

The Doctor froze. "What do you mean, 'years ago'?"

She now burst out laughing. "I suppose you think you've been gone five minutes. News flash, Doctor: it's been eighteen years."

He grew paler than the white walls around him and looked over at River, who was positively glaring at him. He could practically feel her thinking, This is why I should drive! Now he realized what it was that was different about Kovarian's face: she was eighteen years older.

Gulping, he turned back to Kovarian. "We just came for Rain. All you have to do is turn her over, and I won't have to blow this planet off the map." He was finding it harder to contain his rage.

"Rain? Sorry, I don't believe we have anyone by that name."

The Doctor sighed, remembering his dream. "What about . . . Lyra?"

Feigned recognition flashed over her face. "Oh, yes! I do believe I know who you are talking about. If you want, you can take her now."

This caught the Doctor completely off-guard. "Wait, what?"

"She's completed her training. You may take her now."

"Oh. Okay. Well, then . . . take us to her." His voice told of his obvious confusion.

Kovarian motioned to one of her guards to lead them to wherever they were holding Rain. "Just follow him," she said.

The Doctor turned to River, whispering in her ear. "Maybe you should wait in the TARDIS in case this is a trap."

She shook her head. "No way, Sweetie. Even if it is a trap, I'm coming with you. I can help you."

He gave her a disapproving look, but said nothing. He knew it was impossible to talk River Song out of doing anything she wanted to do.

They followed the guard down the long hallway that the Doctor had once described as "endless." However, after a few minutes of walking in silence, they came to the end. It looked just like a white brick wall, but then the guard placed his hand over a cleverly disguised DNA sensor, and the wall slid sideways, allowing them entrance.

Both the Doctor and River were clever enough not to step into the room, just in case the guard decided to lock them in. So they just stood outside.

The inside of the room was fairly dark, with just a single skylight to brighten the room. As River looked around, she felt a stabbing pain inside her head, and her face contorted.

"River? What's wrong?" the Doctor asked, concerned.

It took her a few seconds to get ahold of herself long enough to answer. "Nothing. It's just . . . I think this used to be my room."

Hundreds of thoughts instantly came crashing through the Doctor's mind. What if her "training" was the same thing they did to River? What if she wants to kill me? Just thinking such things caused his breath to catch in his throat. He pushed these thoughts down, refusing to believe that they were true.

"Rain?" he called cautiously.

In the darkness of the room, they could make out a shadowy figure perched on the bed. "No," was the answer.

River was practically hyperventilating. She hated being back in this place. "Rain, we're trying to help you! Come out right now!"

The figure laughed, stood up, and walked to the entrance of the room. Now the Doctor could see that it was the same person he had seen in his dream. "If you're looking for Rain, then you probably have the wrong room."

The Doctor was getting irritated now. "Fine, Lyra! Just come on, we don't have much time."

She turned her gaze to him, glaring. "And who do you think you are, my father?"

He grinned. "Yes."

This seemed to anger her more than anything. She lunged at the Doctor, and River had to hold her back. "You're not my father! I know who you are; you're a murderer!"

He now took several steps back, an expression of pain on his face. Because he was rendered speechless, River spoke for him. "No. He's not. They just want you to think that. Believe me, I used to be brainwashed as well."

Lyra shrugged off River's grip. "I'm not brainwashed. I just know the truth."

The Doctor took a hesitant step forward. "Lyra, I know you hate me and want to kill me, but please come with us. We're offering you all of time and space. Whether you like it or not, we are your parents."

She looked at him menacingly, but for a fraction of a second, her resolve seemed to waver. "Okay. Just let me pack a few things."

Lyra walked back into her darkly-lit room and grabbed a poisoned dagger out from under her bed, hiding it in the waistband of her pants. She walked out the door to follow the other two back to the TARDIS. The Doctor tried to place a comforting hand on her shoulder, but she shrugged it off.

As they walked through the doors of the box, Lyra gasped slightly, but said nothing. After all, she had been told time and time again that it was bigger on the inside.

River watched her closely. She knew from experience that eighteen years of training didn't just disappear that quickly. She would have to keep an eye on her. For some reason, she had a feeling that there was a reason Kovarian had just let Lyra go.

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