Chapter 8

This was it. After months of flying around all of space hunting down the right people, he finally knew where to go. However, Kovarian hadn't been as hard to track as she had been the last time. To save time, the Doctor had just gone straight to Dorium (or, rather, his head), who had told him that the leaders of the Silence were stationed somewhere on a planet that had previously been deserted. Now, though, it was completely covered with Silence and extensive security precautions to keep only one person out: him.

Dorium had also warned him of their main trap. The Silence had obviously figured out that when the Doctor came, he would just park his TARDIS outside the cell, sonic the lock, and leave with River. That's why they created several different decoy prisons to throw him off-guard. The real prison was in a building disguised as an armory.

Now he typed in the coordinates as fast as he possibly could and willed the TARDIS to take him where he wanted to go this once. Only seconds later, they materialized. The Doctor held his breath and reached for the door. He opened it only slightly to see if any guards had spotted him. Once he saw that none had, he cautiously stepped out.

As he looked around, the building seemed to get stranger and stranger. Everything was white, from the walls to the doors. Not only that, but the hallway he was in appeared to be endless. A few yards behind him was an intersection of hallways. From these, he heard the sound of footsteps coming from one, and figured he had only about a minute before the guard would discover his TARDIS and pull the alarm.

Now he was running down the hallway, trying to make as little noise as possible in the process. However, for someone like him, this was not easy. Soon he came to another intersection and turned left. Then he stopped cold at the sound he heard next. It was a noise like a siren—it was the alarm. In hearing this, he ran faster, abandoning all hope of staying silent. As he ran, he began looking through the windows of the rooms he passed, wishing that he might just happen to see his wife in one of them.

However, he just kept passing empty rooms, and was about to attempt to go back and make a break for the TARDIS to try again later when something caught his eye. It was a faint gold light that was pouring through a window. It was obscuring his view enough that he couldn't see what was causing it, and he didn't really want to get caught by the guards, so he ducked inside to get a better view.

Inside, he found the source of the light, and he brightened immediately. "River!"

She was lying on a cot and looked as though she could give birth at any second. That was good. At least Kovarian hadn't actually been able to kidnap their baby yet. He still had a chance to save them. The gold light seemed to be protruding from her skin, as it did when she was regenerating. The Doctor figured it must be the child causing that. After all, River couldn't regenerate anymore.

When he had come in, River's face had been a mask of pain, but as soon as she saw his face and heard him speak her name, her spirits lifted. "Doctor! You came!"

"Of course I came. I always come. It may have taken me a while, but I'm here, and I'm not leaving without you." His face showed his complete resolve.

"But what about the guards? How do you plan on getting out of here? I'm sure they're guarding your TARDIS heavily."

Now the Doctor smiled. He had already run through every scenario that could possibly go wrong, and he had found a solution for each. "Plan B," he said as he pulled a vortex manipulator out of his pocket.

River smiled widely. "Oh, you really are brilliant."

The Doctor smiled back. "I know."

Their reunion was cut short by heavy footsteps outside the door. The Doctor quickly sonicked it to keep them out, but that would only last a few seconds. "River, hurry. Grab on," he said as he dialed in the coordinates and held his arm out to her.

River, however, couldn't answer him through the pain. There was a splash on the floor, and the Doctor looked down to find that her water had broken. He had run through every possible scenario that could go wrong except one: River was giving birth right now.

For a moment, the Doctor didn't know what to do. When he looked at River's face, all he saw was pain, and he wasn't sure if it was a good idea to make her travel like this.

But this two-second hesitation was long enough. The guards now busted through the doors and surrounded them, guns cocked, eye drives on. Then in walked Madame Kovarian herself. She was exactly how the Doctor remembered her. Unfortunately, she had only died in a different timeline, so here she stood.

"Kovarian," he greeted her with a stony expression.

"Why, hello, Doctor. We've been expecting you." She was obviously enjoying herself.

"How many attempts will it take you to realize that you can't touch the people I love?" His voice was calm despite the rage growing inside of him.

"Oh, we'll gladly let your family go. After all, we really only want one thing. If you allow us to take it, then they can go freely."

The Doctor was suspicious, but she had gotten his attention. "I'm listening."

Kovarian smiled. "All we really want is your life."

"No!" shouted River from the cot.

The Doctor turned to look at her with a pained expression. This may have been the only time he would consider this. He had nowhere to go, and right now he had a choice to either let the Silence kill him and allow his family to go free, or leave and allow his child to be kidnapped. Maybe they would even try to rehabilitate River back to wanting to kill him.

He had fought aliens, saved worlds, and given hope to many generations, but this might have been the hardest thing he had ever done. He looked back at River once more. Tears were streaming down her face as she shook her head. "No, don't trust them. Even if you let them kill you, they won't let us go. We're Time Lords."

Now the Doctor nodded slightly, his determination set. He turned back to Kovarian. "I'm sorry, I'm flattered by the offer, but I'm afraid I'll have to say no." At this point, he grabbed River's hand and placed it on the vortex manipulator. "Thanks for your hospitality." He pushed the button, and they were gone.

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