“Doctor, we’ve been here fifteen minutes. Can’t you sit still?” Rose whispered to the Doctor when Sarah Jane left the room to go put the kettle on for tea.
“What do you mean?” He asked, offended.
“You look like you’re already trying to come up with an excuse to leave. It’s rude,” Rose chastised him.
“I am not,” he argued.
Rose shook her head. “You don’t have to stay if you don’t want to. You can go do whatever you want, and just come pick me up tonight. Or, you could just jump a few hours into the future and then pick me up immediately if you’re going to be so impatient. I really don’t know what’s gotten into you. Sarah Jane is your friend.”
“I just feel like something’s about to happen, and we’re going to miss it if we just stay here,” he admitted.
“Go do whatever you need to do then. I’ll be fine here with Sarah Jane,” Rose replied.
“Are you sure?” the Doctor asked.
“Oh, it might even be better with you out of the way,” Sarah Jane interrupted, coming out of the kitchen with the kettle and a couple of mugs. “That way Rose and I can trade stories without you interrupting every five seconds.”
“I do not interrupt!” The Doctor exclaimed. Rose and Sarah Jane both raised an eyebrow at that. The Doctor continued, a little bit more sheepishly, “I might interject from time to time to ensure that all the information is factual, but it isn’t anywhere near the same thing as interrupting.”
“Go on Doctor. Have a little adventure, and we’ll be right here when you get back,” Sarah Jane reassured him.
“Just make sure you come back in less than twelve months?” Rose said with one of her tongue touched smiles.
“Rose Tyler, that was not my fault!” He said standing up.
Rose’s smile widened. “Sure it wasn’t, Doctor.”
“That sounds like a story I need to hear,” Sarah Jane smiled.
“It wasn’t funny at the time, but it ended with him getting slapped by my mum!” Rose laughed.
“Okay, I’m leaving now!” The Doctor announced loudly.
“Goodbye Doctor!” The girls said in unison, giggling as he left.
“Okay, so did he leave you for twelve months?” Sarah Jane asked.
Rose laughed, “No, I was with him. He was bringing me home for the first time after I started travelling with him. He told me that to everyone, I only had been gone twelve hours. But when I walked into the flat, my mum looked like she had seen a ghost. Apparently, it had been twelve months instead of twelve hours. Poor Mickey… The police were convinced he had killed me!”
“Speaking of Mickey…” Sarah Jane started.
“He’s fine. He’s in the parallel universe with my mum. The parallel version of him, Rickey, died, and Mickey decided that he could actually make a difference over there, so he chose to stay,” Rose explained.
“Oh, I am so relieved to hear you say that. For the past nine months, I’ve thought the both of you were dead. I had called some of my old UNIT friends the day of the Battle of Canary Wharf to see what had happened, and they had swept in and compiled a list of the missing and dead from Torchwood. They weren’t positive when it came to Mickey because he had disappeared earlier, but it had looked like there was footage of him in the building. All of the cameras ended up going offline at one point, so it was impossible to know what had happened to the people inside. That was why they were pretty sure you were dead. They saw you in the building, but there was no evidence you ever came out. And with Cybermen and Daleks… Well, that was just an unlucky combination,” Sarah Jane said.
“You’re telling me,” Rose sighed. “But I want to hear more about UNIT. The Doctor’s mentioned it before, but he never really talks about it. Getting him to talk about his past is like pulling teeth.”
“Oh, well I can tell you stories about UNIT…” Sarah Jane started.
something he needed to be there for.
Ever since they had landed at Sarah Jane’s, the Doctor had felt like something big was about to happen. He could feel the hair on the back of his neck standing up in anticipation. He made it back to the TARDIS and announced, “Well Old Girl! It’s just you and me today. And something big is about to happen. Can’t you feel it?”
The TARDIS flashed its lights in anticipation. Something big was about to happen. Her Wolf wouldn’t be thrilled about it, but her Thief was going to need a catalyst if he was ever going to do anything about his feelings, and his soon-to-be new friend was going to be important to that event. The TARDIS, being all-knowing as she was, knew that the next two years would be hard on her Wolf especially, but she was strong, and she could take it. It was what was needed to move everything along.
Without waiting for the Doctor to do anything, the TARDIS took off, landing him right outside of Royal Hope Hospital in downtown London. “Is this where I’m supposed to be then?” the Doctor asked, not waiting for an answer before he sauntered out onto the street.
The moment he stepped out, he realized the hair on the back of his neck wasn’t standing up in anticipation at all. It was literally standing on end because of the high amounts of static electricity in the air. It wasn’t supposed to storm that day, not in London. But it certainly felt like it was going to storm. And the closer he got to the hospital, the stronger the static got. The Doctor decided the best way to handle this would be Rose’s way, the domestic approach. No need to go barging into the hospital pretending to be an inspector when he could just as easily pretend to be a patient.
“What?” Sarah Jane asked. “What do you mean?”
“Something is wrong with the Doctor. Don’t ask how I know it, I just do,” Rose shrugged, grabbing the remote and flipping the channel until she reached the news.
“Royal Hope Hospital has vanished,” the newscaster said, standing in front of a smoking crater. “No one knows exactly what happened, but eyewitnesses report noticing that the rain was going up shortly before a giant flash of lighting occurred, blinding anyone in the vicinity for a moment. When the flash cleared the building was gone. More on this story as it develops.”
“Think he’s wherever the hospital is?” Sarah Jane asked.
“I’d bet you ten quid he is,” Rose replied.
“Well, do you want to go do a little investigating ourselves? Not quite as exciting as the TARDIS, but once you’ve lived that life…” Sarah Jane started.
“You can’t just go back to sitting around,” Rose smiled, jumping up and racing Sarah Jane to the car.
“Very good point. Brilliant, in fact. What was your name?” The Doctor asked, stepping out from behind a curtain.
“Martha,” she replied.
“And it was Jones, wasn’t it?” Martha nodded. “Well then, Martha Jones, the question is, how are we still breathing?”
“We can’t be,” the panicked student next to Martha exclaimed.
“Obviously we are, so don't waste my time. Martha, what have we got? Is there a balcony on this floor, or a veranda, or…” The Doctor replied.
“By the patient’s lounge, yeah,” Martha said.
“Fancy going out?” The Doctor asked.
“Okay,” she replied hesitantly.
“We might die,” the Doctor said.
“We might not,” Martha countered.
The Doctor smiled. “Good. Come on.” He started to walk away, then turned back to point at Martha’s friend. “Not her. She’d hold us up.”
Martha took off after the Doctor. They made their way to the veranda and hesitantly opened the door. They slowly stepped out, and Martha gasped, “We’ve got air. How does that work?”
“Just be glad it does.”
“I’ve got a party tonight,” Martha said. “My brother’s twenty first. My mother’s going to be really, really…”
“You okay?” The Doctor asked, suddenly wishing Rose were here. She was much better at this sort of thing. Martha was freaking out, which was to be expected, despite her level-headedness from earlier. She was clever, but no amount of cleverness could prepare you for this.
“Yeah,” she replied, snapping the Doctor out of his musing.
“Sure?” He asked again, knowing that she was lying.
“Want to go back in?” The Doctor asked.
“No way,” Martha replied. “I mean, we could die any minute, but all the same, it’s beautiful.”
“Do you think?”
“How many people want to go to the moon? And here we are,” Martha said.
“Standing in the Earthlight,” the Doctor smiled.
“What do you think happened?” Martha asked.
“What do you think?” the Doctor countered.
Martha paused for a second before she replied, “Extraterrestrial. It's got to be. I don't know, a few years ago that would have sounded mad, but these days? That spaceship flying into Big Ben, Christmas, those Cybermen things. I had a cousin. Adeola. She worked at Canary Wharf. She never came home.”
“I’m sorry,” the Doctor said.
“Yeah,” Martha sighed.
“I was there, in the battle,” the Doctor said.
After a pause, Martha said, “I promise you, Mister Smith, we will find a way out. If we can travel to the moon, then we can travel back. There's got to be a way.”
“It’s not Smith,” he said. “That’s not my real name.”
“Who are you then?” Martha asked.
“I’m the Doctor.”
Martha chuckled. “Me too, if I ever pass my exams. What is it then? Doctor Smith?”
“Just the Doctor,” he replied.
Martha shook her head. “How do you mean, just the Doctor?”
“Just the Doctor,” he repeated.
Martha rolled her eyes. “What? People call you ‘The Doctor?’”
“Yeah,” he nodded.
“Well, I’m not,” Martha huffed. “As far as I’m concerned, you’ve got to earn that title.”
“Well, I’d better make a start then,” the Doctor said. He picked up a pebble from the ground and chucked it out toward the Earth. “Let’s have a look. There must be some sort of…” He paused while he waited for the pebble to collide with something. “Forcefield keeping the air in.”
“But if that’s like a bubble keeping the air in, that means this is the only air we’ve got. What happens when it runs out?” Martha realized.
“How many people in this hospital?” the Doctor asked.
Martha shrugged. “I don’t know, a thousand?”
“One thousand people, suffocating,” the Doctor whispered. Suddenly he was glad Rose was safe and sound with Sarah Jane. His respiratory bypass would give him extra time to fix it, but Rose didn’t need to be in this danger. He still had no idea what was going on, and time was running out.
“Why would anyone do that?” Martha asked.
“Heads up,” the Doctor said as spaceships flew overhead. “Ask them yourself.”
“Aliens. That’s aliens. Real, proper aliens,” Martha gasped.
“Judoon,” the Doctor growled.
“How would UNIT help us?” Rose asked.
“I have some pull with the Brigadier, and I probably could have gotten us in,” Sarah Jane explained.
“That would have made things easier,” Rose sighed. “But I guess we’ll just have to try it my way, as the Doctor says.”
“What way is that then?” Sarah Jane smiled.
Tapping a stranger on the back, Rose turned her head to grin at Sarah Jane. “The domestic approach.”
Together, they took off, posing as reporters, interviewing people for their stories. “Got anything useful?” Sarah Jane asked half an hour later when they met back up.
“Nothing that tells me what might have happened,” Rose said.
“Me neither,” Sarah Jane sighed.
The two women continued to meander through the crowd before Rose gasped and grabbed Sarah Jane’s arm. “Look!” Rose said, pointing to a little blue box that nearly everyone else was ignoring.
“Well, I guess we know for sure that the Doctor is here,” Sarah Jane replied.
“The TARDIS might be able to help us,” Rose said. “Maybe she recorded something or I don’t know…”
“Can’t hurt to see,” Sarah Jane shrugged. “Besides, I have missed her.”
They smiled and pushed their way through the crowd and into the box. “Hello Old Girl,” Rose smiled, stroking a coral strut.
“Oh don’t you start on that too,” Sarah Jane laughed.
“The TARDIS likes it,” Rose shrugged.
Sarah Jane rolled her eyes. “Did she tell you that?”
“Not in words,” Rose replied. “But we do talk. I don’t know how to explain it. The longer I’ve been here, the more I’ve been able to understand. It used to just be vague emotions, but now it’s more like thoughts that I know are hers, not mine. You know?”
“I certainly never experienced that,” Sarah Jane replied.
“I don’t know. It’s been getting slowly stronger,” Rose said. “And she’s telling me that we need to go home. The Doctor has it, and he’ll be worried if we aren’t at your house when he shows up to pick me up.”
“How do you know that?” Sarah Jane asked.
“It’s kind of like she showed me,” Rose replied. “Like I had two memories in my head, both of things that haven’t happened yet. One showed us going back now and just waiting for the Doctor. The other showed him arriving at your place and panicking.”
Sarah Jane looked up at the ceiling uncertaintly. “Are you sure we should go back?”
The lights of the TARDIS flashed as Rose said, “Yes.”
“Well,” Sarah Jane sighed. “Let’s go home then.”
Behind them there was a crash, followed by screams. “Find the non-human. Execute,” a Judoon ordered.
“Martha, stay here. I need time. You’ve got to hold them up,” the Doctor said.
“How do I do that?” she asked.
“Just forgive me for this. It could save a thousand lives. It means nothing. Honestly, nothing,” the Doctor sighed. He leaned forward and kissed her in order to transfer some of his alien DNA to her. Not for the first or even the hundredth time that day, he found himself wishing it was Rose that was with him. If it was, he would at least be able to kiss her while still keeping to his rules. Because his rules had to account for breaking them to save the world, right?
But it wasn’t Rose, it was Martha, and he pulled away as soon as he was sure the sensors would be temporarily fooled. He took off down the hall fast enough that even his superior Time Lord hearing missed Martha saying, “That was nothing?”
The Doctor stumbled into the MRI room where Florence, the plasmavore, was adjusting the scanner. Deciding to play dumb, he exclaimed, “Have you seen them? There are these things. These great big space rhino things. I mean, rhinos from space. And we're on the moon! Great big space rhinos with guns on the moon. And I only came in for my bunions, look. I mean, all fixed now. Perfectly good treatment. The nurses were lovely. I said to my wife, I said I'd recommend this place to anyone, but then we end up on the moon. And did I mention the rhinos?”
“Hold him!” she barked to the Slab, who grabbed the Doctor’s arms.
“Er, that, that big machine thing. Is it supposed to be making that noise?” The Doctor asked, still playing dumb.
“You wouldn’t understand,” she spat at him.
“But isn't that a magnetic resonance imaging thing? Like a ginormous sort of a magnet? I did magnetics GCSE. Well, I failed, but all the same,” he rambled.
“The magnetic setting now increased to fifty thousand Tesla,” she smiled.
“Ohh, that’s a bit strong, isn’t it?” the Doctor commented.
“It'll send out a magnetic pulse that'll fry the brain stems of every living thing within two hundred and fifty thousand miles. Except for me, safe in this room,” she said.
“But er, hold on, hold on, I did Geography GSCE. I passed that one. Doesn’t that distance include the Earth?” the Doctor asked.
“Only the side facing the moon. The other half will survive. Call it my little gift,” Florence shrugged.
“I'm sorry, you'll have to excuse me, I'm a little out of my depth. I've spent the past fifteen years working as a postman. Hence the bunions. Why would you do that?” the Doctor continued his little charade.
“With everyone dead, the Judoon ships will be mine, to make my escape,” Florence explained.
“No, that’s weird. You’re talking like you’re some sort of an alien,” the Doctor asked, eyes wide in mock shock.
“Quite so,” she smiled.
“No!” he gasped.
“You’re joshing me,” the Doctor gasped.
“I am not,” she replied.
“I’m talking to an alien? In a hospital? What has this place got an ET department?” the Doctor joked.
She shrugged and spread her arms wide. “It's the perfect hiding place. Blood banks downstairs for a midnight feast, and all this equipment ready to arm myself with should the police come looking.”
“So, those rhinos, they’re looking for you?” he asked.
“Yes. But I’m hidden,” she replied.
“Right, maybe that’s why they’re increasing their scans,” the Doctor shrugged.
She paused. “They’re doing what?”
“Big chief rhino boy, he said, no sign of a non-human, we must increase our scans up to…setting two?”
“Then I must assimilate again,” she said.
“What does that mean?” the Doctor asked.
“I must appear to be human,” she explained.
“Well, you’re welcome to come home and meet the wife,” the Doctor smiled. “She’d be honored. We can have cake!” His mind briefly flashed to Rose, but he reminded himself that Rose was not his wife. She never could be. She was human and would wither and
die, so he couldn’t get any closer to her than he already was.
“Why should I have cake?” she asked, pulling something out of her bag. “I’ve got me little straw.”
“Oh, that’s nice. Milkshake?” I like banana,” the Doctor said.
She smiled. “You're quite the funny man. And yet, I think, laughing on purpose at the darkness. I think it's time you found some peace. Steady him!”
The Slab forced the Doctor to his knees and turned his head so Florence had a good view of his neck. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“I’m afraid this is going to hurt. But, if it’s any consolation, the dead don’t tend to remember,” she said, sticking her straw into his neck and beginning to suck. A minute later, the door to the room was knocked down. Florence dropped him and shoved her straw in her bag. “Now see what you’ve done. This poor man just died of fright!”
“Scan him,” a Judoon ordered. “Confirmation. Deceased.”
Martha pushed behind the Judoon. “No, he can’t be. Let me through. Let me see him!”
“Stop. Case Closed,” the Judoon declared.
“But it was her!” Martha exclaimed. “She killed him. She did it. She murdered him.”
“Judoon have no authority over human crime,” the Judoon declared.
“But she’s not human,” Martha argued.
Florence held up her hand with the X on it. “Oh, but I am. I’ve been catalogued.”
“But she’s not! She assimi—” Martha paused, and then continued more calmly. “Wait a minute. You drank his blood? The Doctor’s blood?” She grabbed a Judoon scanner and held it up to Florence’s face.
“Oh, I don’t mind,” Florence said cheerily. “Scan all you like.”
“Non-human,” the Judoon declared.
“But, what?” Florence asked.
“Confirm analysis,” the Judoon said.
Florence began panicking. “Oh, but it’s a mistake, surely. I’m human. I’m as human as they come.”
Martha quietly whispered, “He gave his life so they’d find you.”
“Confirm. Plasmavore, charged with the crime of murdering the child princess of Patrival Regency Nine,” the Judoon said.
“Well, she deserved it! Those pink cheeks and those blonde curls and that simpering voice. She was begging for the bite of a plasmavore,” Florence sneered, completely dropping the innocent old lady act.
“Then you confess?” the Judoon asked.
“Confess?” I’m proud of it!” She declared. “Slab, stop them!”
The Judoon fried the Slab, then turned to Florence. “Verdict: guilty. Sentence: execution.” They pulled out their guns as Florence plugged in the MRI.
“Enjoy your victory, Judoon, because you’re going to burn with me. Burn in hell!” She cried as the Judoon incinerated her.
“But what did she mean, burn with me?” Martha asked. “The scanner shouldn’t be doing that. She’s done something.”
The Judoon scanned the MRI machine. “Scans detect lethal acceleration of monomagnetic pulse.”
“Well do something! Stop it!” Martha exclaimed.
“Our jurisdiction has ended. Judoon will evacuate,” the Judoon declared.
“What? You can’t just leave it. What’s it going to do?” Martha asked.
“All units withdraw,” the Judoon said.
Martha tried to argue with the Judoon as they left, but she knew they were running out of air and it was pointless. She began CPR on the Doctor, but after a minute, she remembered that he had two hearts. The Doctor woke up with a gasp as Martha collapsed from lack of air. “The scanner. She did something.”
The Doctor crawled into the booth and went to disable the scanner before remembering that he had lost his sonic, so instead he just unplugged it. The sparkling in the chamber stopped, and he picked up Martha, carrying her to a window where he could watch the Judoon reverse the H2O scoop.
Chaos ensued as everyone in the hospital regained consciousness, and the Doctor slipped away. When he was alone in the TARDIS, he started to set the coordinates for Sarah Jane’s house, but he stopped. Rose had invited Donna along. Why shouldn’t he invite Martha? She was clever and would probably enjoy it. And besides, she could help serve as a buffer. Remind him of what normal humans were, and that Rose was one. That would help him stick to his rules.
With his mind made up, the Doctor set the coordinates for Martha’s brother’s 21st birthday party. He heard arguing and stood watching from a corner until Martha was the only one left. When she saw him, she smiled, and he slipped around the corner to the TARDIS. Martha followed him.
“I went to the moon today,” she said.
“Bit more peaceful than down here,” he smirked.
“You never even told me who you are,” Martha sighed.
“The Doctor,” he replied, mysteriously.
“What sort of species? Not every day I get to ask that,” Martha remarked.
“I’m a Time Lord,” he replied.
“Right, not pompous at all then,” Martha smirked.
“I just thought since you saved my life and I've got a brand new sonic screwdriver which needs road testing, you might fancy a trip,” the Doctor said.
Martha stared at him. “What, into space?”
“Well,” he said.
She shook her head, “But I can't. I've got exams. I've got things to do. I have to go into town first thing and pay the rent, I've got my family going mad.”
“If it helps, I can travel in time as well,” he replied, slipping his new sonic back into his pocket.
“Get out of here,” Martha replied.
“I can,” he insisted.
“Come on now. That’s going too far,” Martha said.
“I’ll prove it!” he declared, disappearing into the TARDIS. It dematerialized, and Martha reached out to touch the air where it had been, shortly before it rematerialized. The Doctor stepped back out, holding his tie. “Told ya.”
“No, but that was this morning,” Martha said. “Did you? Oh, my God. You can travel in time. But hold on. If you could see me this morning, why didn't you tell me not to go in to work?”
“Crossing into established events is strictly forbidden,” the Doctor explained. “Except for cheap tricks.”
“And that’s your spaceship?” Martha asked.
“It’s called the TARDIS. Time And Relative Dimension In Space,” the Doctor explained.
“Your spaceship’s made of wood. There’s not much room. We’d be a bit intimate,” Martha commented.
“Take a look,” the Doctor replied, opening the door.
Martha stepped in, and said, “No, no, no.” She ran out. “But it’s just a box. But it’s huge!” She ran back inside. “How does it do that? It's wood. It's like a box with that room just rammed in. It's bigger on the inside!”
“Is it?” the Doctor asked. “I hadn’t noticed.” He shut the door. “Right then, let’s get going.”
“But is there a crew? Like a navigator and stuff? Where is everyone?” Martha asked.
“Right, just a moment!” the Doctor said, setting the coordinates for Sarah Jane’s house. “You stay here, look around. Just don’t touch anything on the console. I’ll be right back,” he said, slipping out the door.
“Doctor!” Rose yelled, running out the door to meet him. “We were expecting you back ages ago!”
“Well, got into a bit of trouble, but it’s fine now,” he shrugged, giving Rose a hug.
“Oh,” Sarah Jane said, coming outside. “How was the moon?”
“Well, the Judoon platoon upon the moon was a bit—hold on, how did you know I was on the moon?” the Doctor asked.
“Doesn’t take a genius to figure out that when an entire building goes missing, you probably went missing along with it,” Rose replied, smiling with her tongue between her teeth.
“Hey!” He exclaimed.
Sarah Jane shook her head fondly. “Would you care to join me for dinner?” she asked.
“Oh, thank you Sarah, but it’s time we got back out there. Besides, I’ve got a surprise for Rose!” the Doctor said.
“A surprise?” Rose smiled.
He grinned back at her.
“Well, then get back out there and save the universe,” Sarah Jane replied. “But Rose, if you ever need anything, just give me a call okay?”
“Will do,” Rose smiled. “And thank you for everything Sarah Jane.”
“Don’t mention it,” she smiled. “Now go on!”
With one last wave at Sarah Jane, the Doctor led Rose back to the TARDIS. He pushed open the door and Rose followed him in. She stopped before she made it up the ramp though. The TARDIS was not pleased. Rose could tell that She couldn’t argue with whatever the Doctor’s surprise was, but that the Old Girl did not like it.
“Doctor, this place is—” Martha stopped short when she saw Rose standing on the ramp. “Who are you?”
“I could be asking you the same question,” Rose said, crossing her arms and turning to face the Doctor.
“Martha Jones, meet Rose Tyler. Rose, Martha,” he explained. “Martha is training to be a doctor. I met her in the hospital and she was brilliant, so I offered her a trip!”
“Ah,” Rose said. The two women sized each other up before Rose continued into the ship and started down the hall without another word.
“Rose, where are you going?” the Doctor asked.
“I’m tired Doctor. I’m going to bed. Figure an adventure is best on a full night’s rest for us humans,” she said, trying to blink away the tears.
She made it to her room and slammed the door shut. Sitting down on her bed, she began to let the tears flow. She couldn’t understand how she could have been that stupid. She had been beginning to think of her and the Doctor as equals. She thought the TARDIS was their home, not just his. Obviously, she was wrong. Because if it was her home too, he would have asked before bringing another woman on board. A gorgeous, brilliant woman. Martha was going to be a doctor. Rose hadn’t even gotten her A-levels. It was pretty clear who was going to win the Doctor’s attention from that point on.
Rose laid down on her bed and sobbed into her pillow. The TARDIS sent comforting feelings her way. At least there was someone else that didn’t seem to be impressed by the soon-to-be Doctor Jones.