Moments ago, it had seemed, everything had been fine, and now, all was chaos.
The Doctor had been charging around the console like a boy at Christmas, pulling levers, pushing buttons, and buoyantly asking Rose to mirror him.
He had been planning to take them to Earth to celebrate New Year’s Eve, 2008, and that’s when The Tardis had gone crazy.
It had been rocking like a ship on a stormy sea, alarm wailing in their ears.
Then it tilted at a dramatic angle.
The Doctor was thrown against the console. Rose managed to catch herself on one of the support-beams. She knew The Tardis malfunctioned now and then, but not often this bad.
“Doctor, why is this happening?” she shouted over the noise.
“It’s struggling!” The Doctor shouted back, “Something’s wrong with the passage of time.” He swore in Gallifreyan. “Now it’s changing coordinates!”
He whacked the console like a frustrated driver would a steering-wheel. “I don’t know where we’re going!”
He hung on tight and told Rose to do the same. She didn’t argue.
Sparks jetted from the flickering console, followed by clouds of smoke. The Doctor sprayed what he could with a small fire extinguisher.
Despite The Tardis rocking dangerously, Rose threw herself over - grabbed a lever for balance - and helped extinguish the flames.
The Doctor hit the console with his hammer, a primitive but sometimes effective way of getting things working again. Rose caught his arm in mid-blow, and held up a true wand of repair: The Sonic Screwdriver.
“You’re a Time Lord, not someone from PC World.” She reminded him.
“Oh yeah.” He grinned back, but a particularly nasty shudder nearly had them on the floor, and their joking ceased at once.
He took it from her and, locking hands to keep each other balanced, she doused the flames and he got to work.
The ship’s monitor flickered back into life, showing they had arrived where ever The Tardis had taken them. Almost in the same instant, calm was restored as the Sonic Screwdriver worked its magic. The Tardis righted itself and the two passengers hi-fived, whooping in triumph.
Then the console fizzled. Everything died, plunging them into silence and total blackness.
The ship tilted again, slowly this time … They were falling.
“Oh my god.” Rose said, quietly, and they both grabbed at the console to prevent from falling against the walls.
“Oh no, no, no, no, no, NO!” The Doctor shouted, plunging the Screwdriver back into the works.
“Doctor, hurry up!”
The console flickered weakly, stabilising one moment, dying the next.
Each moment the power returned, their descent slowed, but they were losing height all the time. The Tardis screamed through the air, the note of the wind rising as they fell.
“We’re going to crash, aren’t we?” Rose gasped, heart thumping.
The Doctor shook his head but made a few quick calculations.
“Yes, we are.” he replied in a low, serious voice. “We don’t have enough time.”
Rose’s heart lurched and The Doctor turned to her. All she could make of his face in the dark were his eyes, large and fearful.
“Hold onto me.” was all he said, and as they embraced her lip trembled: He was planning on using himself to cushion her fall.
She squeezed her eyes shut and waited for impact …
… The howl of the wind faded as though someone had turned the sound down.
In spite of her fear, Rose opened her eyes, and realised that that was not the only weird thing happening.
Was it possible they were falling slower?
That’s when the spark floated past her. She looked round and saw a cluster of them bursting from the console in slow motion. The turquoise pump had slowed right down, its thrum reduced to a single, deep boom.
She tried to say “Doctor, look!” but couldn’t be heard. At least, not yet she couldn’t, or maybe she’d already spoken, hundreds of years ago.
She tried to move and had to duck out of The Doctor’s arms. He was frozen in time, eyes scrunched, coat flying dramatically in mid-air.
He didn’t change when Rose spoke to him or touched him.
Her eyes flitted back to the console – We don’t have enough time – and in a split-second she seized the moment.
With difficulty, she twisted the Sonic Screwdriver from The Doctor’s fist, crouched by the console, and shone it into the damage.
... Rose ...
She blinked as she heard a breathy whisper which echoed round the room.
... Rose ... Tyler ...
“Hello?” she said, uncertainly. Unless she was going mad it was coming from the ship itself. She pressed her ear to the console, listening to The Tardis’ soul.
... We must go back ...
Rose frowned and tried to speak, but as the ship repaired everything began picking up speed again, including The Doctor, to judge from his now slowly billowing coat. She hurried back over, pushed the Screwdriver back in his hand and hugged him again.
Time returned to normal and The Tardis smoothly righted itself, descending the last of their trip to the ground. They landed with a loud bump, unharmed.
The Doctor raised his head, checked that Rose was alright, checked that he was alright, and decided everything was alright.
“Never doubted her for a second.” he said brightly, patting The Tardis fondly.
Rose smiled briefly, for she was wondering what had just happened.
“That’s the thing about time machines.” The Doctor went on as he bounded to the doors. “They make time for things.”
“Yeah, they’re pretty ... unpredictable.” Rose answered, unsure if she was being sarcastic or not.
Leaving it at that, she joined The Doctor’s side, and as the doors parted they both gaped at the outside world.
They had crashed in an alien futuristic city, but not just any kind of alien futuristic city. At one end of the street it was dark and covered in snow, and the other had flowers and fruit trees blossoming in warm sunshine.
Besides the seasons there was something odd going on with the light. Looking up, they saw that both the sun and moon were in the sky at the same time.
Hundreds of humanoids, in immaculate golden robes, were zipping about at top-speed, only slowing to speak to each other.
At first, Rose thought they must be on scooters or something, and was astonished when she saw they were on foot.
The Doctor watched as a girl up the street built a snowball, and zip past them down the street where she threw it at a friend making a daisy chain in the sun.
“You know when they spring is just round the corner?” he said, rhetorically.
One of the humanoids rushed up to greet them and they jumped. Like the others, she also wore a gold robe, but on her head nestled a delicate gold tiara.
Her face faded from deep-pink at her forehead, to white at her chin, and her round eyes were a shocking shade of turquoise like The Tardis’ cylinder.
“Welcome to our home, Perfect Timing.” She told them, opening her arms and embracing The Doctor.
“Hello, I’m The Doctor and this is Rose Tyler.” he answered, mouthing ‘Must be how they say ‘hello’ at Rose.
She let him go. “Come with me.”
Without waiting for a reply, she took hold of their arms and literally sped them, through the city, into what must have been the palace.
Either side, waiters in scarlet robes rushed to their attendance with food and wine.
The Lady dismissed them with a slight wave, and they left at once in a blur of colour.
“That was a quick detour.” Rose commented. The Doctor raised an eyebrow at her but addressed The Lady.
“Yes it was (Too quick for my liking). Do you mind if we have a look round at regular speed?”
“Oh, of course you may. One forgets other people spend their time …differently.”
For the rest of the morning, The Doctor and Rose explored the streets of Prefect Timing. They made snow-angels with the children in ‘Winter Avenue’ and ate lunch on the grass in ‘Spring Lane’.
It was just like being on holiday. There was nothing ugly here, Rose noticed.
“What do you think of this planet?” The Doctor asked her as he wiped his lips with a napkin. She made time by casting the surroundings another look.
“Honestly?” she asked.
His face fell. “Uh-oh, ‘honestly’ means something’s wrong.”
“Not necessarily, but – alright in this instance, yes … It’s all too good to be true.”
“Yet here it is.” he murmured. She cast him a worried glance, for he had a wistful look in his eyes. “You like it here a lot.” she said. It wasn’t a question.
“Very much.” he answered at once.
How much? She thought, and little did she know that that her question was to be answered when they met up with The Lady again.
“This is a fabulous place.” The Doctor told her, conversationally. “I’m surprised I’ve not heard of you people before.”
“That’s because we never left our home, so no other Universes have heard of us.” The Lady answered.
“I see. Why don’t you leave this planet – I mean, not for good, just for a holiday or something?”
“We have no desire to get involved. We can’t risk upsetting different time-lines, and it’s wrong to alter other people’s time.” she added, carefully not looking at The Doctor as she said this.
Rose was cross at the indirect rebuke, but The Doctor didn’t notice.
“Sorry, who are you exactly?” Rose asked her. “We - ahem - shot-off-so-fast we didn’t have a chance to find out.”
“I’m The Lady, and my people are the Angels of Moments.”
“Time here has such interesting behaviour patterns.” The Doctor said marvelling out the window where people blurred past.
The Lady smiled broadly at him. “Yes. We only alter the present because we believe life is about living for the now.”
As if to demonstrate, she snapped her fingers, and a waiter flashed up with a tray of drinks. She took one before offering glasses to the other two.
“No thanks.” Rose answered quickly. The waiter bowed and zipped off.
“By the way, we apologise for what happened to your ship.” The Lady said. “Most time machines struggle when they come here. Strange, don’t you think?”
“Not if one isn’t using time properly.” Rose said out the corner of her mouth, gently treading on The Doctor’s toe.
“Not to worry.” The Lady went on, not hearing her, “We’ll have your ship fixed in literally no time at all.”
She sipped her drink, indulgently.
“‘The planet Perfect Timing.” The Doctor echoed, loudly, getting Rose’s hints. “Am I correct in guessing that time is controlled to suit your needs?”
“And what you’ve basically done is reverse relativity.” Rose added, smartly.
“Precisely.” The Lady smiled, eyes sparkling at them both. “We dispensed with life’s boring moments so we could enjoy the lovely ones.”
“I’m never bored.” Rose countered, linking arms with The Doctor.
He smiled at her and she back.
The Lady shook her head and sighed, sadly.
“That was a lovely moment and it’s past. Gone forever.”
“You’ve never had a fleeting moment?” The Doctor asked, not unkindly.
“We treasure time.” she answered, shortly, letting the ‘You clearly don’t’ hang in the air.
The Doctor frowned for he realised now that he’d been insulted, indirectly.
“You do not treasure it.” The Time Lord declared, his tone authoritive now.
He stuck his hands in his coat pockets and stepped forward. “You cherry-pick from it. If it’s anyone who treasures it, it’s me. I’m a Time Lord.”
“Then watch what you’re about to say, Doctor, before you tell us how we should live.” The Lady answered, crossly. “This world has never seen war.”
“I sense an on-coming storm.” Rose said under her breath, but The Doctor’s eyes had dropped.
“Of course … I’m sorry I was disrespectful.” he said in a low voice.
Rose stared at him.
“No, Doctor, I’m sorry.” The Lady replied.
“It was the Time Lords who inspired this place.” she said, suddenly.
The Doctor froze but Rose raised an eyebrow, suspiciously.
“You and I are very similar, Doctor: We both improve lives in ways we see fit … Yet, are your methods truly fair?”
“What do you mean? I save people who call for help!” The Doctor replied.
“With biased judgement.” The Lady replied, sadly. “You only save the people whom you cherry-pick.” she explained, glancing at Rose, “You change histories regardless of they’re being any of your business … Who are you to do that?”
A shocked silence followed this ‘gentle battle’. Doctor’s face had gone white.
Hearing someone voice this truth had brought it all home to him.
The Lady saw the look on his face and softened, offering him a hand.
“You don’t have to go on this way.” she told him, “You don’t have to go on at all. Or back. You can stay here with us.”
The Doctor looked at her hand, open-mouthed.
The chance to live with people like him in a planet like this? Something was very … familiar here. Slowly he raised his hand, but Rose seized it back in hers.
“We’re going.” she said shortly.
“What?” The Lady was taken-aback.
“And we’ll leave in our own time.” Rose added, pointedly.
The Doctor called back to The Lady = as he was towed off. “It was nice being here, and thanks for the warm welcome.”
“Your home is nearer than you think, Doctor.” The Lady called back.
Back in The Tardis, Rose pushed the double-doors firmly shut and turned on her heel to face The Doctor.
He folded his arms at her. “What did you do that for?” he asked.
“One moment she insults, the next she asks you to live with her - er - them.” she corrected herself. “I’m not putting up with that!”
He leaned back against the console and gazed past her, wistfully.
“And how the hell does she know so much about you?” Rose asked, crossly.
The Doctor still gazed wistfully at the doors. He fiddled, idly, with a dial on the console. “Maybe she has limited telepathy … like the Time Lords.” he sighed.
“Stop that.” Rose told him, quietly.
He looked down and realised he was fiddling and stopped - “Sorry.” - Only, that hadn’t been what Rose meant.
“Anyhow,” he said, his tone suddenly bright and breezy, “shall we carry on?”
Rose did a double-take. “What – You mean out there?” She asked, jerking her thumb at the doors.
The Doctor nodded, enthusiastically.
“On the planet Perfect Timing?” she cried, frowning.
“Where else?” he smiled.
His smile vanished. “What? What are you talking about? We’re on a planet never before seen by human eyes.”
“Or Time Lord ones.” Rose reminded him, “Doctor, she said Perfect Timing had been inspired by Time Lords, but she also said none of them ever left that planet. How do think she learnt about your people?”
That woke him up.
The Lady swept along a narrow corridor, unattended. She looked back over her shoulder, checking all was clear, before stepping into a lift and going up.
She got out at the top, stepping into a room that was completely dark save the light of a computer monitor.
She trembled on sight of him.
“Why did you make me say those things to him?” she demanded.
“It was a necessary part of procedure.” The other replied.
The figure was seated back-turned to The Lady, a silhouette against the screen. “Come forwards, my Lady.”
She approached until she stood beside the other one’s chair, and saw that the conversation between herself, The Doctor, and Rose was being played on the computer. She looked away in shame.
He studied her expression with contempt.
“You and the Time Lord are such emotional creatures. As if that doesn’t make him weak enough, he is too cowardly even to express them.”
They watched The Doctor smile at Rose as they linked arms.
“He’s not a coward.” The Lady answered, defensively. “He’s afraid of losing what he has, and with good reason. You destroyed everything he once had.”
And you wouldn’t hesitate to do the same to my people, she thought.
“I wish to destroy everything he holds dearest.” He answered, simply. “I keep missing the opportunity to crush the precious moments.”
He turned his head towards her and she cringed.
“Who am I to do that?” he asked, cruelly.
Captain Jack was on a mission, albeit one with mystery.
He had been assigned to retrieve an alien space-craft from The Daleks, and Jack suspected the reason why he’d been chosen was because he couldn’t die.
It made perfect sense.
The mysterious part was no one knew where the assignment paper came from or who sent it.
Jack flattened his back to the wall. Gun in one hand and sheet in the other, he compared the image to the ship round the corner.
This was the one alright.
It was a smooth, stream-lined craft made of a shiny black metal.
“Now all I’ve gotta do is work out what it’s for.” he muttered, but had to admit it was a seriously cool ship.
He eyed the several dozen Daleks guarding it, and let fly with his (equally cool) gun. They revolved to face him in their tank-like armour.
“Yeah, yeah, very original.” Jack responded, irritably, to the cries of “Exterminate!” Their blasts to his limbs and head had little effect other than a short ache.
Thanks to The Doctor he could now reincarnate in one tenth of a second, a technique identical to regenerating but without altering his DNA code (“Except the brain in my case,” The Doctor had told him, “I wouldn’t change that if you offered me all the chips and bananas on Earth, and that’s a lot! Yum!”).
Jack looked into the eye of a shiny, metallic Dalek nearest him.
“What - are your - in-ten-tions - for - this - craft?” it asked in artificial, broken English.
“Why are you guarding it?” Jack countered.
The Daleks looked at each other, and then back again at Jack.
“We – will – not – share – this – in-for-mation with - enemies – of - The Doctor!”
“No one on Earth, then.” Jack replied, loyally. “And I don’t share information with enemies of Daleks, that’s everyone including Time Lords.”
Despite the Daleks bawling protest, Jack swung himself into the cockpit of the space-craft.
Two Daleks raised their death rays to fire but their colleague stopped them.
“We – have – orders.” It reminded them, and the guns lowered.
“Ok, let’s see how this thing works.”
Jack read the back of his paper and faltered. “You’re kidding me.”
‘INSTRUCTION MANUAL’ it started, but was followed by ‘Only kidding! J’
Jack made a face. “What the Hell? Who wrote this?”
After speed-reading the first few lines, he quickly found that he had to wear a mind-reading head-set, found above his seat.
Reaching up, he pulled it down (surprised to find it fit perfectly) and at once the ship’s engine hummed into life. Symmetrical, multi-coloured lights appeared on the control panel.
“Right then, computer, perform a DNA scan.”
He slid the sheet of paper into a slot.
“No matches found.” the computer droned.
“What, no matches?” Jack pondered. “That is interesting.”
But before had time to say anything else: “Following automatic flight course.” The computer declared.
And he found himself pinned back into the seat as the ship rocketed out of the landing bay. “Computer, I’m rarely intimidated by control, but-”
There was the noise of implosion as he was teleported through time and space.
The Tardis hung gently suspended in space like a very square blueberry in black jelly.
A light pulsed on The Tardis monitor, and The Doctor’s face lit up too.
“Ah-ha!” he cried, happily.
“What is it?” Rose asked, hurrying over.
“We’ve got a signal,” he answered, enthusiastically, “and it’s coming from-”
He clicked a button, and the name of the planet appeared in red.
His face froze, but not in the wide-eyed, open-mouthed way. It was more of the ‘I think a tarantula’s walking up my back’ variety.
“This can’t - be right.” The Doctor stammered.
Rose drew closer so she could read what it said.
“Why? What’s Skaro?” she asked.
His expression slowly hardened and The Tardis groaned like a wounded whale. Green light reflected in The Doctor’s eyes as he gave Rose the most serious look.
“Skaro is a planet.” he answered, flatly.
“I’ve … never been there before.”
“And we never will.” He said at once. “You never will.”
Making it perfectly clear the matter was closed, he sat in The Tardis swivel chair and turned his back to the console.
Crossly, she grasped the back of his chair and swivelled him to face her.
“I want to talk about it.” she demanded, hands either side of him. “I know that you don’t want to go.” she said loudly as he protested. “But at least tell me something about Skaro.”
They stared each other in the eyes for a bit, and The Doctor was the one who blinked, figuratively speaking.
“It’s the home world of the Daleks.”
Rose’s frown instantly softened, understanding a lot more from that single bit of info, except for one thing.
“Who do you think would contact us from there?” she asked, glancing at the word in red. The Doctor followed her gaze, grimly.
“I don’t know.” he muttered.
There was a short pause, filled only by the thrum of The Tardis.
Making his mind up in a second, The Doctor stood, saying, “We’re going to Earth, New Year’s Eve, 2008.” He added, clicking ‘cancel’ on the monitor and resetting The Tardis’ controls. The ship growled at him in response and shuddered.
“Oh come on!” The Doctor growled back, slapping it. “Stop messing me around, I did maintenance barely five minutes ago.”
It doesn’t want to go, Rose thought, and then wondered something curious: Did The Tardis not want to work or did it not want to go to Earth?
She recalled the whispering voice.
We must go back.
Was there a link between The Tardis talking to her and Skaro contacting with The Doctor? She was about voice this when she changed her mind: She had a plan.
Bideford Quay – New Year’s Eve 2008
“Remind me why we’re in Devon again?” Rose shouted over the noise of the crowd.
“Because it was voted ‘Best Place in the World for New Year’s Eve!’” The Doctor shouted back. “Come on, let’s move to the bridge. I’ve heard it’s the best view for fireworks!”
They gently pushed their way through the sea of costumes.
“The thing I like about being here now is that I’m not the most eccentrically dressed!” The Doctor grinned, enjoying the high levels of energy.
Rose nodded distractedly and checked down the narrow ally-way where they’d hidden The Tardis. It peeked back out at her, windows glowing like hopeful eyes.
“I’m just gonna get some hotdogs.” She shouted.
The Doctor nodded, enthusiastically.
“Be right back.” She added, and felt guilt burn in the pit of her stomach for what she was about to do. As The Doctor turned his head, she filched something from his pocket.
He made his way towards the bridge, and she to the side of the street.
After check he wasn’t looking, Rose crept into The Tardis.
The insides were glowing brightly, as if the ship had been expecting her, and maybe it had been.
“T … Tardis?” Rose said, uncertainly, as she approached the console. “You spoke to me a while back. I know you did.”
She felt it vibrate like a giant purring cat. “I know you want to go.” she murmured, slowly walking round it, trailing her hand as she went. “But we can’t go there now.”
It growled at her mechanically, dimming its lights at her like narrowed eyes.
“Don’t give me that! You’re a time machine, pay better attention! I said we can’t go there now, but we will later.”
The light’s came back up again.
“We have to get some help, and there’s only one person with the power to change time and space … besides The Doctor.”
Her face darkened as she said this, and The Tardis went very quiet.
“I’m afraid so.” She murmured back. “And you know where to find him.”
She lowered her centre of gravity, preparing for a rocky ride.
“Do it.” she ordered.
The Tardis fired up, blinking lights beside the controls it wanted Rose to operate.
Outside on the Quay, meanwhile, The Doctor was still surrounded by people and noise, and he neither saw nor heard his ship leave.
Rose ran madly round, trying to keep up with the Tardis’ instructions.
She was almost grateful when the ship stopped moving.
Gasping for breath, she stared at the monitor, and sure enough, ‘SKARO’ glared back at her in red.
She waited a while to get her breath back, only to find herself trembling.
Then Rose slowly opened The Tardis door.
She had arrived in a long, shadowy corridor, industrial in a high-tech way.
She was in Dalek territory now and was the first human ever to (willingly) set foot here. Rose began to walk forwards, her shoes making small, metallic clunks on the floor. Then she saw the blue eye.
They both gave a start and it was angered she had taken it by surprise.
“What - is - the - manner - of - this - in-tru-sion?” The Dalek demanded.
“Take me to Davros.” she answered, calmly.
If the Dalek had had eyebrows it would have raised them in astonishment, but after considering this, it seemed to smirk.
“Follow.” it droned.
As Rose was led down the corridor, they passed more Daleks along the way. Many exclaimed ‘Exterminate!’ on sight of her, but the Dalek leading her ordered them to hold their fire and explained.
To her growing disquiet, they chose to follow rather than go about their business, and the further they went the more Daleks followed.
Their hatred for non-Dalek life was universally known. Rose knew she was nothing more to them than vermin, contaminating their air with her breath, spoiling their floor with her touch.
They reached the doorway of a huge, high-ceilinged room swarming with Daleks, and in the centre, like a king on his throne, sat Davros.
She shuddered at the sight of him, gnarled and corrupted. His deep eye-sockets were empty, closed lids like puckered-up wounds. His forehead had been split in the centre to make room for that hideous blue eye.
He drummed his metallic, pointed fingers on the arm of the chair and fixed her with a smirk.
“Rose Tyler,” he purred, “I knew The Doctor couldn’t resist answering my signal.”
“He didn’t.” she answered, approaching at a slow, steady walk. “I did.”
Davros stopped smirking and his hairless eyebrows twitched.
A buzzing filled the room as the Daleks discussed this in lowered tones.
“She – has - come - here - alone!” A Dalek beside Davros growled. “We – can – exterminate her!”
“Wait!” Davros ordered, raising a hand. Against its own better judgement, the Dalek obeyed and lowered its weapon.
Rose drew in a deep, slow breath, more to calm the sea of nerves than anything else. “I want to bargain with you.”
The buzzing grew louder as the Daleks chattered suspiciously. Davros tilted his head, interested. “Yes?”
“My life in exchange for Gallifrey.”
There was instant uproar.
“Time Lords – must – die!”
“Time Lords – destroyed – Daleks - in - the – Time - War!”
“We – must – survive!”
During the shaking of heads and gnashing of teeth only Rose and Davros remained still, staring poker-faced into the others’ eyes.
“Daleks – will – not – allow – Time Lord – survival!”
“They – must – be-”
“EXTERMINATED!!!” They roared as one, every death ray targeting Rose’s heart.
“Silence.” Davros commanded quietly, and they ceased at once, save the whirring of slowly lowered guns. They found it harder this time, the will to destroy more difficult to resist.
Rose exhaled and took a short moment before speaking again.
“I ask you to do this because only you, besides The Doctor, have the power to change time and move space. I know you can pull Gallifrey into the present. Teleport it into there, from before the Time War started, and before the Space/Time vortex sealed it off so that your mind won’t be affected.”
“Flattery does not influence me, Rose Tyler.” Davros snapped.
No, but your cruelty does, she thought.
Davros had a mind like a nest of fire-ants; it’s easy to shoot a stampeding elephant because there’s an awful lot to hit. Right now, Rose felt like a caterpillar in a nest of fire-ants, waiting to be eaten.
“I am impressed Rose Tyler, you have provided me with the kind of genius I usually reserve for The Doctor’s destruction myself. Now you have served me his people on a platter. Thank you.”
Rose was far from relaxed. He seemed to be taking the bait too easily.
“However,” Davros continued, “What you failed to underestimate is how well the odds are stacked in my favour. Not only have I my Dalek legions, but I also have The Angels of Moments in captivity.”
He indicated The Lady as she was forced into the room at gun-point.
“I couldn’t stop them!” she apologised to Rose. “They can control time too.”
“I was going to combine their powers with ours to attack Earth, but Gallifrey is a more interesting target. The Angels have provided me with the last Eye of Harmony, a power house from Gallifrey itself.”
“Leave them out of this!” Rose commanded.
“Ah, were you expecting me to underestimate the Time Lords out of foolish pride?”
“Not foolish pride, no. Regular pride works just as well.” she admitted.
It felt better to say aloud than do nothing and let him have the satisfaction.
“You’re clever, Rose Tyler, but not clever enough. If you were, you would have realised that the Angels of Moments are vital for the plan to succeed. Only their powers and the Eye of Harmony can bring Gallifrey back.”
There was a nasty glint in his eye.
Rose’s mouth opened slightly, looking from Davros to The Lady and back again.
She hadn’t expected this.
“Are you prepared to have people held captive for The Doctor’s happiness?” Davros asked her.
“No.” she said at once.
“That is your morality talking,” Davros replied, dismissively, “The part of you trained to behave. What does your true self say?”
“I said n-”
“The Doctor’s happiness, what is the price?” Davros interrupted, speaking rapidly now. “How much is he worth to you? You said yourself you’d die for it. What are a few other lives risked? Your faith in him to save them is strong enough. So … see The Doctor’s smile in your mind’s eye, Rose Tyler, and give me the truth.”
Rose was still for a while, knowing what he was doing, but her eyes dropped.
“There it is!” Davros smiled, “the selfishness, the biased notion that The Doctor is the centre of the Universe.”
“That works both ways, Davros.” she countered.
He was taken-aback by this but better at hiding his feelings than her.
“Do we have a deal?” Rose asked, firmly, and extended her hand.
There was a short pause as the Daleks looked at each other, suspiciously.
Then Davros clasped her hand in his – the metal was freezing against her skin – and they shook on it.
Still gripping her, he said in a slow, grating voice, “And if you fail to meet your end of the bargain, I vow someone else destroys Gallifrey.”
She gave him one stiff nod and was relieved when he let her go.
Rose looked round at the Daleks hesitantly, then turned to leave and stopped. Her way was barred by a wall of metal and dozens of glowing blue eyes.
“You needn’t return to The Doctor with your little plan.” Davros murmured.
“Yes, I do.” She replied, and removing the Sonic Screwdriver from her pocket she aimed it at Davros. The Daleks flinched and drew away but Davros didn’t blink.
“You don’t know how to work that.” he said, calmly, “and if you did, you wouldn’t kill me if you wanted your plan to succeed.”
It was true and they both knew it. Stale mate.
“If I don’t go back, how will he know to go to Gallifrey?” she asked.
“Time Lords can sense each other,” Davros answered, matter-of-factly, “He would know. Besides,” he added, as Daleks closed in on all sides. “I don’t think you have the nerve to tell him you bargained with his greatest enemy.”
Rose stared back at him, horrified.
“Now – may –we – exterminate her?”
The Daleks were baying for blood, death rays trembling.
“No!” Davros snarled, “She is too important to The Doctor. I want him to see her die after they’re tortured, them and everyone on Gallifrey with them.”
It looked pretty hopeless just then, but right on cue a seriously cool-looking space-craft appeared in a burst of blue particles.
Rose shielded her face, but-
“Rose!” a familiar voice shouted from above. She looked up, but it was not The Doctor in the cockpit, it was -
He fired a teleportation gun at her. One second she was gone, the next, in the seat beside Jack Harkness in the spacecraft.
“They – have – The – Paradox!” the Daleks wailed. “We – were – assigned – to – defend it – from – The – Doctor!”
“Let them have it.” Davros sneered as the ship vanished. “We have everything necessary for procedure. The Doctor’s going to need all the help he can get.”
Beside him, The Lady wept.
Safely aboard The Paradox, Rose embraced Jack.
“Fancy seeing you here!” he beamed as he let her go. “But where’s The Doctor?”
“He’s back on Earth. How did you know where to find me?” she asked.
He shook his head and shrugged, “To be honest the ship did most the work.”
He showed her the slip of paper he’d been sent and Rose studied it.
“That’s weird, ‘cause The Tardis has been doing a lot of self-driving lately.” She noted.
“That’s interesting.” Jack agreed. “Anything else it’s been doing?”
“No.” Rose lied. “How did The Paradox know where to go?” she asked, quickly, handing the paper back.
Jack shrugged. “It just seemed to know you were in trouble and - turned up.”
“In the nick of time?” Rose grinned.
“Yeah, I was sent to get it back from the Daleks, but the weirdest thing is that I don’t know who assigned me. I scanned the instructions for DNA and got no matches.”
Rose was interested but far too anxious to get back.
“Thanks for saving me Jack, but I need you to teleport me to The Doctor.”
“Has something happened?” Jack asked, making Rose nervous.
Why did he think she was without him?
“You too haven’t … fallen out, have you?”
She felt relieved that he didn’t suspect anything, yet cringed at the same time. She and The Doctor were very close yet what their relationship was had never been established … Or rather, what it felt like it was.
“No.” she said, finally.
“You’re both happy?” he checked, watching her face.
“Yeah, we were celebrating New Year’s Eve,” she replied, conversationally, “when out of the blue Davros tried to kidnap me.”
“Out of the blue.” Jack echoed, quietly checking the ship’s computer. “By that, I presume you mean The Tardis.”
She froze. “What?”
“The Tardis is following The Paradox, Rose.” he said, evenly. “And there’s no Doctor in there. Either that or he’s being alienating today, no offence meant.”
Rose rubbed an arm, self-reassuringly. She had some explaining to do.
“I was trying to do something for him.” She told him, quietly. “I thought that I could go back in time and - save Gallifrey myself … Stupid now I think about it.” she added, tensely. “I thought I could cheat the Space/Time vortex barrier and teleport an entire planet with Angels and Da – demons.” She said, carefully.
“Now you sound The Doctor.” Jack smiled. “But you certainly aren’t stupid, Rose.”
“Yeah, well, I’m no Time Lady, either.” She added, and felt terrible.
Oh god, what had she done!
“I’ll make sure the two of you are back together very soon.” Jack said, charmingly.
Rose stepped out of The Tardis back on Earth and into the crowd of celebrators. Looking around, she wasn’t surprised to see she was the only person not smiling. The Doctor however, wore a huge grin as always. He had been blissfully eating, drinking, and being merry with everyone else.
He caught sight of Rose and, if possible, lit up further.
“There you are! I got us some grub.”
He indicated his half-eaten hotdog and tossed her a second one.
“You’ve been missing everything, the Stig’s been in the crowd, Scooby-Doo, dancing nuns, the works! It-”
His smile faded as she drew closer.
“Are you alright? You look like you’ve been to Hell and back.”
“I’ve been cherry-picking.” She mumbled, absently (guiltily).
“Pardon?” he frowned.
“Nothing. How long have we got ‘til midnight?”
“Less than a minute.” he answered, still looking concerned. He began checking her with his stethoscope. “All seems to be well in there.”
No it’s not, she thought, sadly.
Then, the countdown to midnight began from eleven seconds. They were all looking above the Cathleen and May, where the fireworks would start, but Rose was staring straight up into the pitch-black.
“Five … four … three …two … one …”
The Cathleen and May exploded in a ball of orange and yellow flame. Starlings swarmed from under the bridge in terror, as did the screaming crowd down the street.
“Daleks!” The Doctor shouted, pointing them out in the sky. They were firing at the trees near the road which burst into flames.
“Quick!” Rose shouted, throwing aside her hot-dog and grabbing The Doctor’s hand. They rushed into a narrow ally-way between the nearby houses and hid there to watch.
“What the hell are Daleks doing in Devon?!” The Doctor exclaimed, “Ooh I like that – ‘Daleks doing in Devon’.”
“Maybe they’re after The Paradox.” Rose answered, hope failing her.
The Doctor jerked his head round and stared at her.
“The Paradox is on the move?” he breathed. “That can only mean two things … That Earth is in danger, or …”
He trailed off, deliberately, but Rose knew the rest of the sentence and was angry.
“Or Gallifrey’s in danger.” She finished.
“How did you know that?” he asked in astonishment.
“Because I’ve been hearing The Tardis too,” she hazarded, “It’s been speaking to me, saying it wants to go back, and it meant ‘back home’, Doctor.”
The Doctor didn’t deny that he hadn’t been hearing The Tardis, and she suspected he just hadn’t been listening to it. She took advantage of his silence and continued to broach the subject.
“How far ahead did you think about all this? I know you never look back, but … What about after -” she swallowed, a lump growing in her throat, and tried again. “How many times have you regenerated?”
There was a pause as he realised what she was saying.
“Ten.” He answered, flatly.
Rose spoke in what she thought sounded a confident, calm voice, but was really trying to reassure herself. “And how many do you have left? Twenty? Thirty?”
The Doctor shook his head, deadpan.
“How many then?”
He looked up as Daleks soared over them, but Rose caught his arm.
“Doctor, how many?”
He told her and she was absolutely thunderstruck.
“Nothing lasts forever.” he told her, matter-of-factly. “Nothing. And I’ve seen what happens to everything. All that is, all that was -”
“-And all that ever could be, I know.” Rose finished. “I saw it too after I looked into The Tardis, and I think it knows what is going to happen rather than what could. We know there’s still a chance for Gallifrey to have a future.”
“Don’t.” The Doctor said sharply. “I don’t want to go down that road.”
The Daleks had surrounded the people of Bideford and were closing in. They were demanding to know where The Doctor was.
“Your death is as inevitable of mine.” Rose said suddenly, close to tears.
The Doctor avoided her gaze. “That’s when the Universe will be saved by someone else.” he muttered.
“But then there won’t be any more Time L … I don’t want the Universe to be saved by anyone else!” she shouted.
He looked at her then, and smiled gently as she wiped her eyes. He knew what she was saying and was touched. Most people thought that he would live forever, but he knew that Rose just forgot (He did himself, sometimes, during his less modest moments).
“I seriously don’t believe you’d want to go through life without trying to find a way back-”
“-Because you’re capable!”
“I am not!” he shouted.
“I believe you are!” she shouted back. “You’ve done everything else!”
He looked from side to side in the alley-way, for an escape he couldn’t find.
“What about that world of Perfect Timing?” he blurted, grasping at straws.
“What about it?” Rose cried. “This has nothing to do with-”
“It’s perfect there, it’s unearthly … I mean, it’s never seen war.”
But his attempt at recovery had failed to judge by the look on her face.
“And Earth is second best?” she asked quietly.
He tried to explain. “There are people there like Time Lords, it – I felt something there that I haven’t since …”
Since being on Gallifrey, Rose thought, and understood now that it must have been the Eye of Harmony he sensed, for Davros had mentioned it to her.
Now she voiced a question that had bugged her since they left Perfect Timing.
“If I hadn’t stopped you when The Lady made you that offer,” she said, quietly, “would you have stayed?”
His face went deadpan, and Rose knew he was, as Jack rightly put it, alienating her.
“We have humans to save.” he said, flatly and marched off, coat billowing.
She hesitated and then hurried after him.
“Daleks!” The Doctor shouted to them, and they turned to face him.
“It – is – The – Doctor! He – must – have – The – Paradox.”
The Doctor spoke in his characteristic rapid stream, “Nah, Jack Harkness has The Paradox, it’s his ship now – Was mine. Built on Gallifrey. Got into trouble for it – That is, exiled for tinkering with time, but the point is,” he went on, raising a finger. “that sometimes one single Tardis isn’t enough.”
He paused for a moment, considering what he’d just said.
“Well, most of the time one Tardis is enough (depends who’s controlling it), but just sometimes …” He looked at Rose. “It takes two.” He said, smiling warmly.
She smiled back, hesitantly and then broadly.
Exactly then, The Paradox appeared, and this time it was rolling impressive-looking hardware out of its wings.
Two jets of scorching light burst like fireworks, each individual ray targeting a Dalek which exploded. The people screamed and covered their ears, then they looked round, saw they’d been saved, and cheered.
Then something caught The Doctor’s attention and his head flicked found.
Just one Dalek had survived.
“Retreat!” it screeched in panic but it didn’t get far.
The Doctor launched his whole weight behind it and tipped it tidily over onto the pavement, helpless. The armour parted in the centre and the squirming Dalek slithered onto the pavement, wriggling away like a frightened spider.
“Catch it!” The Doctor yelled as it made for the bridge. “If it makes to the river we’ve lost it!”
Rose dived for the Dalek but missed, landing flat on her front.
The Dalek crawled up onto the wall and half-dived off – Half because Jack had caught it in mid-air with another of his useful guns.
The Dalek was suspended in a ball of blue light, its eye roving around comically.
“And now,” The Doctor declared, drawing close, “is the time for questioning so you can have your say.”
“Have its say?” Jack repeated, disbelievingly. “It’s a Dalek! What do you think it’s gonna say?”
Back aboard The Tardis
The Doctor stood, feet apart, arms folded, and fixed the Dalek with a steady frown. Jack and Rose stood close behind him. They watched the Dalek struggle in its restraints in the console swivel chair.
“The planet Perfect Timing.” The Doctor began, eyes reflecting turquoise. “You visited that place, didn’t you? You may not have killed anyone there, but you’re the only other survivors of the Time War who knew about the Eyes of Harmony, and you put one there.”
He bent forward so that he was on eye-level with the wriggling Dalek.
“Why?” he asked, darkly.
“That – was not – of Dalek – action.” it responded, slimily.
The Doctor frowned slightly.
“It’s lying.” Jack muttered, grimacing.
“No, it’s not.” The Doctor answered in a low voice. “Daleks are honest. They don’t want deception, they want Universal slaughter. They don’t achieve in lying.”
Rose swallowed and said nothing.
The Time Lord went back to the Dalek. “So if you didn’t put it there, who did and why?” he continued.
By way of answer, the Dalek slapped him in the face with one its thrashing tentacles - An equivalent to a spit in the face – and The Doctor wiped off a streak of watery slime.
“This is sick, let’s just throw it off the ship.” Jack scowled.
“Let’s not.” The Doctor replied, his patience being tested. “A line’s been crossed here. I won’t tolerate anyone damaging my history.”
Rose drew in a slow, shuddery breath.
“Look who’s talking, Mr. Time Lord!” Jack found himself saying and quickly apologised.
“The – Captain has – an – excellent point, Doctor.” The Dalek sneered.
“They all say that.” Jack grinned back, jauntily.
“Tell me who moved the Eye of Harmony!” The Doctor barked, grabbing two of its many arms.
“We – won’t!”
The Doctor wrenched the restraints off the Dalek and grabbed it in both hands.
“Tell me!” he yelled, and shook it angrily. The other two were shocked.
“We – shan’t!”
The Dalek was wrapping its tentacles round the Doctor’s neck, it didn’t have the strength to suffocate him like a boa constrictor, but it was having a go.
Jack fought to wrestle the aliens apart, and that was when Rose cracked.
“DAVROS!” she yelled.
They all stared at her and the Dalek appeared to be grin, wickedly.
“It was Davros.” She repeated, more quietly. “He’s controlling the Eye of Harmony, and he’s taken the Angels of Moments captive.”
The Doctor lowered the Dalek slowly back down into the swivel chair.
As Jack struggled to get the creature back under control, The Doctor approached Rose slowly. “How do you know that?” he asked, tensely.
Then he read between the lines and his face fell. “Rose,” he repeated, his tone very different. “Tell me how you know that.” He put his hands on her shoulders and she forced herself to look into his eyes.
“Because I spoke to him.” She answered in a small voice.
Jack’s head jerked round.
There was an awful silence.
“When?” The Doctor asked in a barely inaudible voice, and Rose proceeded to tell him everything. The longer he listened, the whiter his face grew, and when she was finished there was a silence worse than the last.
Rose hung her head in shame, dying for him to shout at her, to pace around and fume, anything to break the silence.
It was Jack who came to her rescue, and he stood between her and The Doctor.
“She meant well and you know it.” he said, but The Doctor wasn’t having any of it.
“Leave us, Harkness.”
“Oh, you’re gonna alienate me, now?” Jack said, crossly.
“I want to talk to Rose alone.”
Jack gave in and left the room through a side-door which he left ajar.
“You could have got yourself killed.” He sounded like he was about to cry. “Don’t ever do that to me.” he added.
She really didn’t know what to say, but noticed that The Tardis lights seemed to be getting brighter.
And THAT was when he felt it. The Doctor drew in a deep, sharp breath.
Gallifrey had arrived in the present, and he saw the planet loom in his mind, felt the hive of activity, and heard its billion voices.
The Time Lords were ALIVE!
He was fainting, overwhelmed and jibbering incoherencies.
Rose dropped down beside him, supporting his weight as he sank.
She cradled his head in her arms. “Doctor, what’s wrong? Talk to me!”
He gazed at her through a haze, at her blond hair shining in the light, and as if he hadn’t enough to deal with just then, she … vanished.
His head landed with a painful clunk and he came to.
“Rose?” he cried, voice rising in shock.
He sat up and looked round, then leapt to his feet.
His voice echoed in the empty Tardis.
Quiet suddenly, he ran straight to the console and kicked it, furiously.
“WHY DIDN’T YOU EVER TELL ME THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN!” he yelled.
… Because you never wanted to listen, Doctor …
He knelt down and tenderly rubbed the console where he’d kicked it, as if nursing a wound better.
“I’m listening now.” He breathed, closing his eyes as he gathered himself for the inevitable.
… Shall we go home?
“Not without Rose. Where is she?”
… She is already there …
That was all it took. She was it. The only thing that would make him return to Gallifrey was her.
“Do it.” he whispered. “No, wait!” he shouted, suddenly, and got to his feet.
“I’ll do it.”
He moved with a purpose, arranging the settings for Gallifrey with careful precision. Jack reappeared from the doorway, and strode up to him.
“Where did Rose go?” he asked, loudly.
“Where we’re going right now.” The Doctor answered.
The Tardis pumped away, slow at first, and then gathering speed, as if it were an excited dog bounding to greet someone it hadn’t seen in a long time.
Orange light glowed between the gaps of The Tardis doors.
The Doctor exhaled, deeply. “I’m not ready for this.” he told The Tardis which groaned at him. “True.” He muttered back and approached the doors.
He put his hands on both handles, held his breath, and parted them.
Light flooded over him and his hearts nearly stopped.
The sunlight struck the mountains making their peaks shine. It gleamed on the ruddy orange grass, and glowed in the scarlet trees. There, right in the centre of the epic scene was the enormous Citadel Dome encasing the City.
But best of all, the Time Lords were strolling in groups of twos, ponderous and calmly chatting.
Looking down, The Doctor placed his foot in the orange grass, and removed it to see the print.
“Oh Rose …”
He covered his face with his hands.
It dawned on him he’d been running away from home for hundreds of years.
He broke into a run now, but his knees gave way and he flopped into that beautiful golden grass, his mind a patchwork quilt of emotions. As he laid there, he wept tears of joy, he hurt in the middle, he laughed, he cursed himself for ever leaving, and he cheered and laughed.
He tried to make a snow-angel in the grass just for the feel of it … because he could.
Jack watched him from a respectful distance. Well done, Doctor. he thought, proudly.
Then something happened. As one, the Time Lords stopped and put a hand to one ear, listening to message. Evidently it had come from the Citadel, for they turned and headed for it briskly.
In his elated state, the Doctor failed to notice this was going on. Jack did though, and knew it was significant. The euphoria had calmed and the Captain approached the Time Lord.
“I hate to burst your bubble, but you can’t lie there forever.”
The Doctor chuckled and staggered to his feet, for once lost for words.
“They’re all going aiming for the City.” Jack told him. “I’m guessing that’s where Rose is.”
The Doctor nodded.
Rose meanwhile, found herself in a situation she’d have never guessed.
Rather than being surrounded by Daleks, like she expected, she found herself in the midst of gentlemen a lot like the Angels of Moments.
They wore burnt-orange robes and strange head-wear that made them look important. They were startled by her sudden appearance.
“Who are you?” one of them asked, sternly.
“Rose. Rose Tyler.”
He had the bushiest and wiriest grey eyebrows she’d ever seen, perfectly designed for frowning like he was now. “But … You’re not a Time Lady.” he said, his tone like a 1950s school master.
“No, I’m human.” she replied. “Who are you people?”
They told her.
Her scream could be heard a mile in all directions and the Time Lords jumped in alarm.
“She’s insane!” one of them cried.
Rose laughed and shook her head at them. “No, I’m not! I’m fantastic!”
But the word ‘insane’ had reminded her of Davros, and her laughter died at once as she realised the impending threat of the Daleks.
Without further ado, she addressed the elder. “What’s your name?”
“Borusa, I’m with The Doctor and I’ve got to warn you – I’ve got to warn you all-”
Already, it was too late.
The Citadel trembled and many scrolls and books fell from the walls.
Everyone rushed to the windows, and there they were, flooding the skies and scorching the scenery to the chorus of ‘EXTERMINATE!’ But in the near distance, on the City’s edge, Rose spotted a certain blue box.
He’s going to kill me, she thought in terror, or worse, never see me again.
“I can’t believe this.” A Time Lord breathed. “Gallifrey under attack?”
“Maximise the power from the Eye of Harmony, protect the Citadel Dome.” Borusa ordered. “There’s not been a power in the Universe to destroy us yet.”
The other Time Lords left swiftly, obeying his orders. Only one of them stayed behind. “Borusa, the human girl mentioned The Doctor.”
“Yes … But I don’t think she means the boy. I sense that a regeneration of himself has come here from the future.”
“As do I. I read her mind while she was talking.”
“What did you find?”
“She reached us with The Doctor’s help.” He replied, pointedly glancing at the destruction outside.
Borusa nodded very grimly. “Shame … He was always such a brilliant student.”
“How shall we best punish him?” the other asked without hesitation.
Borusa sighed. “By exile.” he answered, sadly. “And we shall forbid humans from coming here. This day shall never be forgotten.”
The Doctor went very still as he saw the Daleks arrive, then his hands slowly clenched into fists. Not this time.
Even Jack, who had seen war in his time, was startled by the look on his face.
The Time Lord strode to the Tardis and Jack followed him quickly.
The Citadel Dome hummed and glared a vibrant gold as it doubled in strength.
“All – Daleks – fire – at – The – Dome.” A black Dalek ordered as they drew near.
But as they fired, their attacks bounced straight off, making barely a scratch.
Some of their fire even hit the attackers, swatting them from the sky.
They scattered and each Dalek soared to different area, but the same happened wherever they fired.
“Concentrate all fire-power on one area.” Davros ordered from the mother ship. “Find a weak spot then kill everyone in the City.”
He placed his finger-tips together and waited as the Daleks repositioned.
“Davros!” The Doctor’s voice barked over the communications.
The Master of The Daleks grinned at him on his screen. “Let’s relive old times, Doctor.” he purred.
“Let’s.” The Doctor returned. “Where’s Rose Tyler?”
“Don’t bother looking for her on my ship. She is safe and sound with your people in the Citadel, but not for much longer.” he added.
“You made a grave mistake returning here, Davros.” The Doctor growled. “Because now there are two Doctors on this planet, and the earlier me is firing our secret weapon into space!”
Davros’ face twitched. Secret weapon?
There was a sound like a futuristic jet-plane taking off, and in the near distance, they all saw a dark shape haring across the sky.
“Isn’t that The Paradox?” Jack asked in surprise.
“Yup. I built it, for should-the-worst-happen type things.” The Doctor replied.
But seconds later, it reappeared, today’s version of The Paradox.
The Daleks had massed into a black cloud and were firing at one side of the force field. The Paradox fired at them in turn, and there was a firework display of explosions, although fireworks didn’t make The Doctor grimace.
Several hundred dead Daleks rained like meteors onto the ground, but it wasn’t enough. The force-field dimmed slightly.
“It’s losing power!” The Doctor yelled whipping back to the console. He and Jack drove the Tardis towards the City at speed, cylinder pumping like a runner’s heart.
The Doctor flipped open a tiny door reading ‘emergency’ and jammed his Sonic Screwdriver into the socket behind.
Setting it to maximised power, he pressed the button.
A blaze of white light rocketed up the cylinder and into the ceiling – He and Jack shielded their eyes – and it blasted out of the blue light atop the blue box’s roof.
The beam spread so wide that it struck several thousand more Daleks. They crashed to the ground and lay there, quite still.
“So bloodthirsty. How honest of you, Doctor.” Davros smiled.
“I didn’t kill them. I injected them with guilt.”
From the grass, thousands of Daleks wailed and howled and could do nothing.
Back in the City the Time Lords had looked on with growing fear.
“Borusa,” one of them said, “There is a chance that the Daleks will break through the Dome.”
Borusa gripped the edge of a table so tight his knuckles went white. “We have kept the peace here for millennia.” He murmured, sadly.
“And now war is upon us!” the other said, hurriedly. “We must defend Gallifrey.”
They looked up as another tremor shook the Dome like a snow-globe.
Borusa was forced to give in. “Board the Tardis!” he commanded.
Outside, The Doctor steered his own Tardis away from the city, dodging the fires of a following stream of Daleks. Abruptly, he dived heading them straight for the ground. Jack clung on desperately to the swivel chair in alarm.
“Are you trying to kill us?!” he yelled.
“No, I’m trying to defend us.”
He pulled up at the last second, but the Daleks failed to do so, and crashed straight into the ground.
Jack breathed out as they gained height again. “Thank God your ship is the best in the Universe.”
“Not any more!” The Doctor shouted in triumph, grinning at the monitor.
He watched as they poured from the City like floodwater: TARDIS, in their prime, had taken flight.
Jack cheered and whooped and The Doctor half-gaped at the sight.
Six to eight Time Lords piloted each machine, moving in perfect teams.
The sky had become a hailstorm of activity, and it rained light and fire. Only on the grass below, a solitary figure was covering her blond head with her arms.
Rose tried to get The Doctor’s attention. Desperately waving her arms but to no effect.
Someone crashed into her, driving her to the ground and landing on top of her. “Stay down!” they shouted.
“Let me go!” she shouted back, trying to fight him off but he hung on.
“You’ll get yourself killed!” he cried.
She rolled them both over and he stared at her in amazement. “Don’t patronise me, Mr. Klingon!” she snapped. “I have to get to The Doctor!”
“That’s me.” The young man answered, looking baffled.
She blinked and stared back. “No, you’re …”
It was him, appearing very young but likely a few hundred years old already.
She touched his face, and as she did so, he seemed to recognise her.
But now was no time for talk. She looked up and spotted his Tardis, a second Tardis, grounded nearby.
“I need your ship.” she commanded.
At that moment, the Citadel force-field flickered. The Young Doctor gaped in panic. “If that goes then the City’s doomed!” he gasped.
The force-field stabilised but they could tell it wouldn’t last long.
“Come on!” Rose cried and pulled him to his feet. Without realising, he clasped her hand in his before they ran for the Tardis.
Up in the sky, The Doctor observed the Dalek mother ship with narrowed eyes.
“Captain Jack, are you still immortal?” he asked.
“Naturally.” Jack replied.
“Then I have one last task for you: I need you to board Davros’ ship, but not for him. He’s holding the Angels of Moments hostage there.”
“The Who of the What now?”
“I can’t explain now!” The Doctor snapped, guiltily remembering what The Lady had said: This world has never seen war. “I need you to save them.”
Then he handed Jack his Sonic Screwdriver.
“This is another of those things you feel responsible for, isn’t it?” Jack asked.
“Good luck.” The Doctor answered flatly, and teleported Jack away before he could argue.
The Angels of Moments shivered aboard Davros’ ship.
They were positioned in a vast circle, restrained where they were seated. Sweat ran down their faces in their efforts to control Gallifrey’s position in time.
They were being guarded by several menacing Daleks who circled them like vultures. One of them received a call from Davros: “How is the situation?”
“Everything – is – under – control.” It replied, turning its eye to stare at The Lady who looked right back, her own eye twitching.
“Your strength will be the cause of your downfall.” She hissed.
“Silence!” it blared, drawing threateningly close – and then its head exploded.
The Lady shut her eyes, and when she opened them, she saw a human man holding a gun through the trails of smoke.
“Hi there.” he smiled winningly. “What’s your name?”
“I’m The Lady.” She answered.
“Absolutely.” he answered, flirtatiously, and used the Sonic Screwdriver to free her. “What is it about people without names who are so-”
“Perfect!” Rose beamed as they stared into The Young Doctor’s Tardis.
“I’ve not tested it yet.” The Young Doctor replied, modestly, as Rose ran to the console.
“No worries, it never steers us wrong.” she called back.
“Nothing, just help me get it open.”
She heaved at a panel of the console.
“Don’t do that!” The Young Doctor shouted, rushing up. “That’s the heart of the Tardis! It-”
“-contains the energy of the Time/Space vortex, I know.”
He gazed at the side of her head in wonder. “Who are you?” he asked.
“Someone you trust.” she answered, straining at the panel.
“I … Yes, I do.” he murmured, more to himself. As he watched her, his eyes misted over and he smiled, gently. “It’s like we’ve always-”
“Look, I’m sure in your time people could stand around talking monologues, but in my time, we work fast. So HELP ME, DOCTOR!”
He added his weight to the panel and their combined strength flung it open. Golden light whirled in its centre and they shielded their eyes.
That’s when two things happened. One, the fully-grown Doctor appeared in the doorway, and two, the force-field surrounding the Citadel died.
Everything else fell into silence as the Bad Wolf song filled everyone’s ears.
The Young Doctor staggered round as if moving through water … and locked eyes with his future self. The Doctor stared back, memories adjusting.
He saw his younger self looking over his own shoulder, and turned.
The City was under full attack, and both Doctors watched with identical looks of horror and despair.
The Time Lords and Ladies in the city ran hither and dither in panic, fleeing the Daleks, those regenerating who had been struck.
The Doctor staggered out The Tardis and fell to his knees. He was feeling their deaths, red and raw, all over again.
That’s when The Young Doctor, face tear-stricken, gaped at Rose as she passed him – or rather, it was the Bad Wolf whose eyes were blazing gold.
She had absorbed the soul The Tardis.
“What’s ‘Bad Wolf’?” The Young Doctor breathed, picking up this fragment of information from his older self’s mind.
… The Destroyer of the Daleks … The Tardis whispered, appearing to smile, knowingly.
Aboard the mother ship, Davros shuffled in his chair as he realised the Angels of Moments were being freed.
“Shall – we – exterminate them?” A Dalek requested over the communications.
“Not until the Time Lords are dead!” Davros snarled back. “They are the priority!” A warning bleep started.
“What is this?” Davros hissed, spotting the Bad Wolf far below. For the first time, a shadow of fear crossed his face.
The Bad Wolf slowly raised her head, looked straight at Davros and said,
“It ends now.”
Millions of Daleks turned to dust as she divided their every particle.
The Time Lords in their Tardis looked on in awe, humbled for the first time.
The Dalek ships in the sky scattered into oblivion, one by one.
The Doctor could only blink slowly and stare as he felt a whole new future slide into place where there had been emptiness.
Aboard the mother ship, Jack led the Angels swiftly into escape pods.
“What’s going on, Captain?” The Lady cried as Daleks shattered all around them.
“Just a big bad wolf blowing stuff up.”
The escape pods rained to safety in their hundreds, and the Bad Wolf finished off the mother ship in a tidal wave of fragments.
The soul of The Tardis left Rose’s body and drifted back into the console.
Both Doctors were still gazing at the now completely empty sky. Quiet breezed through the mountains.
Yet, there was one noise coming from somewhere, like a falling airplane, rising in pitch and growing louder and louder-
They were missed by the skin of their teeth as a one-man escape pod ploughed into the ground. The Doctors and Rose watched as the door hissed open and Davros fired a single death ray into Rose’s chest.
The Doctor never quite remembered getting Rose to the City hospital. He dimly registered Davros being shot by Jack … He recalled Time Lords rushing towards them on all sides … lifting Rose’s lifeless body onto a stretcher … and then they were somehow there in an operating room watching everyone fight to save the life already gone.
Jack was hugging him tightly, both of their faces mottled pink and white.
The Young Doctor had shrunk onto the floor in a corner.
It was only when he heard someone say “We’ve ran out of time.” that The Doctor exploded.
“WE NEVER RUN OUT TIME! WE’RE TIME LORDS!”
He strode to Rose’s bed with a force that would have flung back a bull, let alone the men in orange. He clamped both hands to his own head.
“COME ON!” he bellowed, forcing himself to think. What saves someone from a Dalek’s death ray? The Bad Wolf.
What ELSE saves someone from a Dalek’s death ray?
He couldn’t hear much of what anyone else was saying, catching things like ‘only human’, and ‘gone’.
He looked down at the empty figure before him. Her face was pale and her eyes were lightless. He absently removed his stethoscope with shaking hands.
Jack caught his wrist as he moved forwards, stopping him.
He frowned around the room. “Give the guy a time out, will you? Have a heart.”
“Hearts, plural.” Came a tiny voice from the corner. “We have two.”
It was The Young Doctor, thinking on autopilot.
The Doctor wiped his face, and then, very slowly, he looked up.
There was a moments’ silence and then he thrust the stethoscope into Jack’s hands.
“What are you doing?” Jack asked him, thunderstruck, as The Doctor began stripping off his coat and jacket.
“Preparing for an operation.” The Doctor replied in a low voice. “Which I want the Time Lords to perform.”
To multiple exclamations all of which he ignored, The Doctor rushed a second hospital bed to Rose’s side and lay down on it.
“I am going to donate Rose one of my hearts. Its energy will do the rest. Just do it.” he ordered in a steely tone no one dared refuse.
He breathed deeply, and turned his head away as Jack and The Young Doctor were told to leave the room. Jack protested loudly, but The Young Doctor barely had the strength to resist.
The Doctor recalled looking at Rose’s profile before the anaesthetic took effect …
Jack waited the longest hours of his life as the operation took place.
He was furious that he hadn’t been allowed to stay, whatever the reasons.
He went once to the toilets to throw up, and it had nothing to do with the coffee.
The Young Doctor was hugging his knees in the chair opposite, wide-eyed and motionless. Jack tried to make conversation over the hours, but to no reply.
It was close to midnight when The Young Doctor spoke at all.
“Is this all my fault?” he asked in a barely inaudible whisper.
Jack considered the answer very carefully.
“Self-pity never helped anyone.” he said, “But The Doctor always helps everyone.”
The Young Doctor wasn’t ready to think clearly yet, but that was when a nurse appeared and told them the news.
They flung open the doors and were greeted by the golden light of regeneration … and found it coming from Rose.
The Doctor was conscious and bent over her, the light healing the huge scar across his chest as he absorbed it from her. Everyone else was keeping their distance.
“What’s happening to her? Is she changing?” Jack yelled at the nurse.
“I don’t know, it’s never been done to a human before.”
Rose’s body arched in the bed, The Doctor supported her back and lowered her back down very gently, cradling her head as it ended.
Jack nearly passed out as he realised she had come to, gasping for breath and coughing her guts up.
The Doctor burst into tears and out laughing at the same time. “You’re alive! You’re alright, you’re alive!” He said over and over, stroking her hair and face. He barely refrained from hugging her, instinct alone saying she had to breathe.
“Rose?” Jack gaped, hardly daring to believe it.
“Jack! It … She’s … She’s fine!” The Doctor spluttered.
Jack and The Young Doctor rushed forward and they all clamoured to hug her.
"Is there anything you need?" The Doctor asked.
“I want chips.” she mumbled, absently.
He shut his eyes and pressed his forehead against hers, face hurting from beaming. “I’ll buy you chips,” he said, happily. “‘cause I love you.”
Of course, if they had been on Perfect Timing they would have had a very long kiss, and not because time had been slowed down. But they were not on Perfect Timing, they were on Gallifrey, so they made the best of the time they had.
When they looked up, only Jack and The Young Doctor were in the room.
"She has the heart of a Time Lord as well as her own." The Young Doctor marvelled. "That means that ... she'll live as long as we will!"
The enormity of this had barely started sinking in when there came a rush of feet along the corridor.
A Time Lord, Time Lady, and their son appeared in the doorway.
“There he is!” the woman cried, rushing to The Young Doctor and embracing him.
“Mother!” both he and The Doctor shouted in unison.
“Mother?!” Rose and Jack exclaimed. The Doctor’s head was spinning … Oh my God, he had his family back, he had his home back, he had … he looked first at Rose and then his younger self … He had one Hell of a lot to tell her about himself.
Of course there had been a tremendous ceremony in which The Doctor and Rose had been given medals, and all of Roses’ relations and friends had been transported to celebrate.
Jackie had cried an ocean of tears and told everyone Rose was her daughter so many times it made her throat sore. Time Lords and humans alike ate, laughed, and danced together, even getting up to sing when they were drunk enough.
It’s amazing just how similar we were, Rose marvelled as she watched her mum chattering and gossiping away with The Doctor’s mother in the way all mums did.
Both families been all over her and The Doctor so much she’d wondered if there were such a thing as being ‘familied’ to death.
She voiced her joke to The Doctor, and he’d said he wouldn’t mind finding out.
Days later, after the Angels of Moments had been returned safely home, The Doctor, Rose, and Jack met outside The Paradox.
“Where will you go?” Rose asked him.
“Oh, back to Earth for a while.” he answered, casually. “I’ll carry on work at Torchwood, not that I think we’ll be given much trouble for a while.”
“Don’t count on it.” The Doctor answered. Rose followed his gaze and saw that he was watching his younger self picnicking with his family.
It was odd watching yourself living times you only remembered yet got to relive in a confusing yet glorious way. Their eyes wandered over to a smaller, far gloomier area where a tall, thin graveyard marked the spot.
The Doctor had insisted that Davros’ body be cremated her and not shot off into space as so many others had said. He reasoned that, it had partly been him who had brought back Gallifrey and, in a strange way he had to thank him for it.
Rose hadn’t been angry, for she knew where he was coming from. Davros could have refused her and killed her on-sight, but he hadn’t, and here they stood.
She returned her attention back to Jack and gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
“See you soon, hero.” Jack told her, winking, and turned to The Doctor.
“What are you going to do now?” he asked.
The Doctor shook his head in wonder and heaved a long, staggered sigh.
“I guess … I’m going to have to get used to the idea I can just stay.” he answered.
“For how long?” Jack asked.
The Doctor looked at Rose who looked back and said nothing, waiting for his answer.
“As long as you’re with me.” He murmured.
She smiled at him and Jack boarded The Paradox without a goodbye. There was no time for one when you had time on your side. He’d be back before they knew it. Perfect moments only come briefly, but maybe it was because The Doctor had suffered so much he had earned one that lasted all day.
“Now,” The Doctor said in a low voice, after they’d finished kissing. “I can only imagine how this is going to sound, but um ...”
“What?” Rose asked, tilting her head and smiling.
He looked her in the eyes and said, slowly, “I think … that it’s about time I told you my name.”