"So." The Doctor said, looking at Susan. "Past, present, future or space?"
"When is the present for you?" asked Susan.
"2019." The Doctor replied.
"I would like to go to the present," said Susan. The Doctor grinned.
"Off to Sheffield, then!" she exclaimed. She ran around the console, activating the controls.
The TARDIS landed outside a block of flats. The Doctor walked out, followed by Graham, Yaz, Ryan, Susan and Idris.
"See, I got you here!" she said.
"Yes, you did," Graham said.
"Finally," Susan said. "A block of flats that aren't destroyed or rebuilt. Everything before the 23rd century is so...peaceful."
"Peaceful?" Ryan asked.
"Yes," said Susan. "It's a relief to see everything as they were without damage, whether that's from a Dalek invasion or fire."
"Would you like to come and meet my family?" Yaz asked.
"Yes, I would, thank you," replied Susan, smiling.
"You seem like you have better social skills than the Doctor," said Yaz.
"Oh, Grandmother's never had good social skills despite having travelled with how many humans?"
"Enough that she should know how to interact with humans," Idris said. The Doctor mock gasped in shock.
"Come on," said Yaz.
"I'm home!" Yaz called out as they walked into her flat.
"Hello, Yaz," Najia and Hakim said. Sonya looked up in acknowledgement.
"Hi, Mum, Dad," said Yaz. "You remember the Doctor, Graham and Ryan?"
"Yes, I remember," said Najia.
"Given that the last time we met was when we were fighting giant spiders, I'd be surprised if you didn't remember." The Doctor said.
"I don't think that's the kind of thing you would forget, Grandmother," said Susan.
"You'd be surprised what the humans forget." said the Doctor.
"Grandmother?" Hakim asked. Idris looked at the Doctor and Susan.
"Did you two forget about the obvious physical age difference?" she asked. The Doctor and Susan looked at each other then at Idris.
"Yes." They replied. Idris sighed.
"Unbelievable!" she exclaimed. "How are both of you so smart but also completely dumb?"
"That's fair." The Doctor agreed, nodding. "I mean, Susan called in extraterrestrial aid to help rebuild a xenophobic society and then was surprised when it backfired."
"Oh, you're one to talk!" Susan said. "You deliberately sabotaged the TARDIS console and then were surprised when the TARDIS went hurtling back to the beginning of the universe!"
"Ok, so we're both dumb." said the Doctor. She turned to Yaz's family who were looking at her in confusion. "This is my granddaughter, Susan." Susan smiled and waved. "This is Idris. I'm not going to try and explain how I know her because that would take ages." Idris smiled. "Anyway, has anything unusual been happening in Sheffield recently?"
"Unusual?" Najia asked.
"You know, people mysteriously disappearing, a suspicious business, that kind of thing."
"People have been disappearing," Sonya said. "They go into buildings and don't come out again. All that's left is a pile of bones."
"Brilliant!" The Doctor exclaimed. Graham, Yaz, Ryan, Susan and Idris looked at her. "Sorry, not brilliant. Worrying. But still brilliant. Yes! I get to solve a mystery!"
"You know," Yaz said. "It could just be something completely normal."
"Something normal when the Doctor's here?" Idris asked. "That's highly unlikely."
Najia, having met the Doctor previously, led her, Graham, Yaz, Ryan, Susan and Idris to a spot in the park where there was a pile of dirt that had been dug up.
"Ooh, bones!" The Doctor exclaimed, crouching down and scanning the area with her sonic screwdriver. Susan crouched down next to her.
"Grandmother, are you incapable of turning up somewhere without an alien invasion happening?" she asked. The Doctor looked at her and smiled, guiltily.
"It does tend to happen, yeah," she replied. "It's especially common wherever my friends live. It happened a lot in London. I guess now Sheffield's going to get invaded a lot." She looked up at Graham, Yaz, Ryan, Hakim, Najia and Sonya. "Sorry about that."
"Thanks for that, Doc," Graham said. "That's very comforting."
"Aliens?" Sonya asked. "Like from outer space?"
"No, not from outer space." said the Doctor. "Aliens are from planets, just like everyone else." She looked back at the dirt in front of her. The shade from a nearby tree moved with the tree. "Does anyone have any meat?"
"Meat?" Ryan asked.
"Yeah, I need some. I want to check something."
"Here you go," Idris said, pulling a chicken drumstick out of nowhere and handing it to the Doctor.
"Thanks." The Doctor stood up, Susan copying her, and moving everyone back. The Doctor threw the drumstick into the shade and it was immediately eaten as soon it touched the shadow. She gasped in horror and hurried everyone as far away from the shadows as possible. "We need to get to the TARDIS."
"The TARDIS?" Najia asked.
"Yaz," Susan said. "Do your family know about your travels with Grandmother?"
"No." replied Yaz. Hakim and Najia looked at their daughter.
"Yaz?" Hakim asked. "What's going on?"
"This conversation is long overdue," Idris said.
"A box?" Sonya asked as they stood in front of the TARDIS.
"Yes, a box." said the Doctor. She pushed the door open. Instinctively, Susan, Graham, Ya, Ryan and Idris went in, followed by the Doctor. "Come on."
The Doctor ran up to the console as Hakim, Najia and Sonya walked in. The door automatically closed behind them.
"What the...?" Sonya asked.
"Wait for it..." The Doctor muttered. They heard the door open as Sonya ran outside then the door closed as she ran back in.
"It's bigger on the inside!" she exclaimed.
"Oh, good." said the Doctor. "It's not just me then."
"What is going on?" Najia asked. The Doctor turned from the console to face them.
"I'm the Doctor," she said. "I'm an alien. So is Susan, which is why we don't look like grandmother and granddaughter. Idris is the humanoid avatar of the TARDIS." She gestured to the ship's interior. "Time and relative dimensions in space. She's a space and time machine. Bigger on the inside or dimensionally transcendental. Our species can engineer dimensions. Graham, Yaz and Ryan are my companions, but I prefer the term friends. They travel with me throughout time and space."
"Is it safe?" Najia asked.
"Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't." replies the Doctor. "But I made it very clear to Graham, Yaz and Ryan when they decided to travel with me. I can't guarantee that they'll be safe. They're not going to come back the same people that left. Don't worry. I'm taking good care of them."
"Grandmother, is there an alien invasion?" Susan asked. The Doctor nodded.
"There's a swarm of Vashta Nerada," she replied. "The shadows that melt the flesh."
"That's cheery," Graham said.
"Most planets have them, but usually in small clusters." she continued. "Have you ever seen dust in sunbeams? That's them. Normally, Vashta Nerada on Earth feed on roadkill but this bunch have started eating people. The last time I saw a swarm this strong was..." She trailed off, thinking of River.
"Doctor?" Yaz asked.
"Was when my wife died."
"Your wife?" Graham, Yaz and Ryan asked, in shock.
"You got married again?" Susan asked.
"Yes, I did. It's a very long story." The Doctor replied. "Our timelines were going in opposite directions. The first time I met River was the last time she met me."
"So you went through all of your meetings knowing how she was going to die?" asked Susan.
"Yes. Luckily, our timelines have now caught up so she's dead at this point." said the Doctor. "Although I wouldn't be surprised if she turned up again at some point. She does that."
"So, the Vashta Nerada?" asked Susan. "I'm guessing they're bad news?"
Yep." The Doctor nodded. "The recent disappearances are because people have been wandering into the shadows and being eaten."
"What, carnivorous shadows?" Ryan asked.
"Exactly, and you're all going to stay in the TARDIS until I can find a solution." The Doctor replied. "I'm not losing any of you to them."
"Grandmother, I'm not letting you go alone," said Susan.
"No, Susan. You stay here." The Doctor told her. "I'll be fine. I can take of myself. You're in charge." She looked at the others. "Idris, Graham, Najia, can you keep an eye on her? Make sure she doesn't do anything rash?"
"That was one time, Grandmother!" Susan called after her as the Doctor walked towards the door.
"And make sure she doesn't trip and sprain an ankle." The Doctor added.
"I did that twice, Grandmother!" The Doctor walked out of the TARDIS. "Idris, can you go and keep an eye on her?"
"Sure," replied Idris, walking towards the door. "You're in charge. Graham, Najia, keep an eye on Susan." She walked out. Susan turned to the group of humans.
"You know, I am perfectly capable of looking after myself," she said.
"I'm sure you are," Najia said.
"Susan sent you to keep an eye on me?" asked the Doctor, as Idris walked up next to her.
"She's worried about you, that's all," replied Idris. "Can you blame her? You do get into trouble wherever you go."
"I know." said the Doctor. "I seem to be drawn to it. I assume you're keeping an eye on River in the Library database. How is she?"
"She's being River, of course," replied Idris. "She's fine."
"You know, I was just thinking. How does a child born to two humans and conceived on the TARDIS in mid-flight have a full regeneration cycle? At the very least she'd have one, two, maybe three, not a full cycle!"
"She was raised by Kovarian. Perhaps she enhanced River's regeneration cycle."
"You know as well as I do that you can't just replicate a regeneration cycle!" The Doctor replied. "That means that River was born with a full regeneration cycle which is impossible!"
"The Time Vortex can have an effect on people," said Idris. "You know that." She was referring, of course, to the Untempered Schism.
"Yes, I know." said the Doctor, nodding. "But giving a human a full regeneration cycle?"
"Doctor, everything during that part of your life was impossible and complicated," Idris said. "I'm a time machine and even I can't keep track of River's timeline. It's like Jack and Clara. She's a fixed point in time." She shook her head. "Anyway, the only reason we're talking about River is because of the Vashta Nerada. Haven't you gotten over her death?"
"Yes, but it's recent. Like Bill, like Grace." replied the Doctor. "I guess I'm just getting used to not having her around anymore."
"But you move on like you always do," said Idris. "Obviously, some people you can't move on from. Like Susan, for example. You always adopt young females who remind you of her in some way. Bill was extremely curious about everything. Yaz is curious too but in a different way. But Susan seems ok with it now, as do you."
"It's also Ian and Barbara's influence. Humans have a calming effect on me." said the Doctor. "Being exiled to Earth back in the '70s was a factor as well."
"Are you done with going through your history?" Idris asked, knowing that the Doctor occasionally had these rambles.
"Yes, I'm done." said the Doctor. "How long do you think it's going to be before Susan decides to follow me out here?"
"Hard to say," replied Idris. "She's matured enough that she would actually stay in the TARDIS, but she's still stubborn enough that she wouldn't stay in the TARDIS. I'd say it's 50/50. There's not enough danger here for her to be too concerned about you. That's why I'm here."
Back in the TARDIS, Susan was indeed not too concerned about the Doctor. Idris was there to keep an eye on her and Sheffield wasn't as dangerous as 23rd century London.
Besides, someone had to explain to Yaz's family what was going on.
"So," Hakim said. "This is a time machine that's bigger on the inside but looks like a police box."
"Yes," replied Susan.
"Why does it look like a police box?" Yaz asked.
"She looks like this because the chameleon circuit, which helps her blend in with her surroundings, was broken back in the 1960s and was stuck as a police box," Susan explained. "I'm sure Grandmother's tried to fix it at some point but we both prefer her like this."
"The box is...nostalgic," Graham said. "Fitting for a time traveller."
"Ironic though, because Grandmother doesn't tend to focus on the past," said Susan.
"Sorry, I'm still getting over the fact that she's your grandmother but she doesn't look it," Sonya said.
"It's part of our biology. It means that our biological ages don't match our physical ages," said Susan, shrugging. "This isn't the first time she's looked much younger than me, although she was Grandfather back then. Yes, she changed gender. This is the first time she's been Grandmother." The TARDIS console beeped and a holographic slide show of the Doctor's past incarnations, including the War Doctor and the Meta-Crisis Doctor, came up. "Most of those faces I haven't seen before, but their dress sense hasn't improved much."
"I thought the Doctor's outfit was in your face," Ryan said when the Doctor's sixth incarnation came up. "But it looks like they've always had it."
"That outfit is pretty in your face." Susan agreed. "But it's nothing compared to the stick of celery. Or the goth phase. Or the..." She looked at the Doctor's twelfth incarnation. "What is that? Magician slash rockstar?" The TARDIS beeped in agreement. "Ok."
"At least you have a better dress sense than her," said Ryan.
"I've actually spent time on Earth around humans," she replied. "First in the 1960s, then in the 22nd century. I know how to dress to better blend in. Grandmother's spent a lot of years around humans but apparently hasn't picked up a better fashion sense." She smiled. "Or maybe that's just her being dramatic. Still, it does make it easier for people who know her to easily identify her. Who else would be on Earth or another planet dressed eccentrically?"
"But wouldn't that make it easier for her enemies to spot her as well?" Graham asked. "Although I can't really imagine the Doc having enemies."
"Don't let her fool you, Graham. Grandmother might seem friendly, but she's probably gotten on the bad side of every species in the universe by this point. Including our own people, but that's too long a story to tell."
Back outside the TARDIS, the Doctor and Idris were scanning and analysing the swarm of Vashta Nerada. Thankfully, it wasn't as big a swarm as there had been in the Library but it was big enough to be a threat to Sheffield.
"What are we going to do about this?" The Doctor asked. "It's not as if we can evacuate the whole city and Yaz can't exactly go to the police and tell them that there's a swarm of carnivorous alien shadows on the loose."
"We'll have to deal with it ourselves," Idris replied. "It'll have to be different to last time but you've already fought them so it shouldn't be too hard. Hello, Susan." The Doctor looked around and saw Susan, followed by Graham, Yaz, Ryan, Hakim, Najia and Sonya.
"Wow, you actually stayed in the TARDIS for a decent amount of time." said the Doctor. "What changed your mind?"
"I'm fed up of you telling me to stay in the TARDIS." replied Susan, crossing her arms.
"That's fair." The Doctor replied.
"Do you know how to defeat the Vashta Nerada?" Susan asked. The Doctor and Idris looked at each other then back at Susan.
"The thing is," Idris said. "You can't defeat the Vashta Nerada. You're fighting Daleks? Aim for the eyestalk. You're fighting Sontarans? Back of the neck. But the Vashta Nerada? Run."
"So we're trapped here?" Yaz asked.
"Not exactly." The Doctor replied. "I've fought them before. I can defeat them again."
"How?" asked Susan.
"Well, not in the same way as last time. I'll have to think of another solution." She looked down at the shadows, which were approaching. "Ok, everyone back away! Back away!" They ran to the edge of the park and watched the shadows advancing. "Ok, this is bad."
"No kidding, Doc," said Graham.
"Anyone got any ideas?" The Doctor asked. Susan, Graham, Yaz, Ryan, Hakim, Najia and Sonya looked at each other in confusion and then back at her.
"Why would we have any ideas on how to fight carnivorous shadows?" asked Ryan.
"Unless we get them away from sources of meat," Yaz said. "We could cordon off the park to keep people away from it."
"What are you going to tell the police, though?" The Doctor asked. "You can't exactly tell them that there's a swarm of carnivorous alien shadows eating people." Yaz hesitated.
"I'll think of something," she said.
"Honestly, humans will believe anything as long as it sounds realistic," Idris said.
"And how many alien invasions has Earth had up to this point?" Susan asked. "Surely they would be used to unusual events happening?"
"I think I might have wiped some of those events from history." The Doctor said.
"I rebooted the universe. Twice." The Doctor replied. "And then at one point, I reversed a whole year so there's the Year That Never Happened."
"The Year That Never Happened?" asked Sonya. "When was that?"
"2008 slash 2009." replied the Doctor. "It was when Harold Saxon was Prime Minister of Great Britain. I know him as the Master."
"Wait, the Master was Prime Minister of Great Britain?" Susan asked. "How did he manage that?"
"Because he's the Master. He used hypnotism to get people to vote for him. My friend Martha helped defeat him. She's one of only two of my human friends who have managed to defeat the Master in some way, the other being Jo Grant. Jo managed to resist his hypnosis."
"Oh, I bet he hated that!" said Susan, laughing.
"Oh, he did." The Doctor replied, grinning.
"Uh, Doc? Susan?" asked Graham. The Doctor and Susan turned to him. "Shouldn't we be focusing on the Vashta Nerada?"
"Right, yes." The Doctor agreed. "Idris, I presume we have something in the TARDIS that can hold the Vashta Nerada in the park?"
"Yes, we do," replied Idris, nodding.
"Thought so." said the Doctor. "Yaz, Susan, you go to the police station and try and convince them to cordon off the park." Yaz and Susan nodded. "Here, take the psychic paper."
Yaz led Susan to the police station and asked for her supervisor, Sergeant Ramesh Sunder.
"Yaz." he greeted her.
"Sergeant Sunder," she said. He looked at Susan.
"Who's this?" he asked.
"Susan Campbell," Susan replied. "I'm a mutual friend of Yaz's."
"It's about the recent disappearances in the park," Yaz said. "We need to cordon off the area."
"Why?" Sergeant Sunder asked.
"There have been sightings of a wild animal," Susan said. She and Yaz had spent the walk over there coming up with a decent cover story. "We need to completely cordon off the area so that it can't get out until we can contain it."
"We?" he asked.
"I'm here with the Doctor, Chief Scientific Advisor for UNIT." she replied. "UNIT isn't involved, but the Doctor and I were in the neighbourhood."
"How does Yaz know the Chief Scientific Advisor for UNIT?" Sergeant Sunder asked.
"We met last year, during the situation with the plant-like pod in the forest and the situation at the building yard," Yaz replied. "The one that resulted in the death of Grace Sinclair." Sergeant Sunder nodded.
"Yes, I remember," he said. "You say we need to cordon off the park?"
"Yes," Susan replied.
"Don't UNIT normally deal with extraterrestrial activity?" he asked.
"Yes, they do," Susan replied.
"Is there an alien in Sheffield?" he asked. Susan hesitated, having flashbacks to the Earth Council. She doubted that the Hallamshire Police in 2019 would be as anti-alien as the Earth Council of the 22nd century, but since she had already mentioned UNIT and the Doctor was involved she decided to just go for it.
"Yes," Susan told him. "There's an alien in Sheffield. We need to cordon off the park so that it can't get out." The lights in the building flickered. "Do you have problems with your lights?"
"No." Sergeant Sunder replied, looking confused. Yaz looked at Susan.
"Is it...?" she asked.
"I hope not," said Susan. "But now that I've said that... We need to get everyone out of here! Now! Keep everyone out of the shadows!"
Sergeant Sunder looked confused but got on the intercom and told everyone to evacuate the building, telling them to stay in the light. He didn't give a reason.
"We need to tell the Doctor," said Yaz.
"I'll tell her," said Susan.
Grandmother! she sent telepathically.
Susan? The Doctor responded, picking up on her urgency.
We're at the police station. Yaz's supervisor is evacuating the building. Susan said. There's a possible batch of Vashta Nerada here.
What? The Doctor asked.
There are lights flickering. I said to evacuate the building just to make sure. replied Susan. Also, I mentioned your occupation with UNIT and he knew that they deal with extraterrestrial activity so I told him that there was an alien in Sheffield.
Ok, thanks. said the Doctor. I'll send Kate a message so she knows. In the meantime, get out of there!
I'll get them out, Grandmother. she replied. Who's Kate?
Chief Scientific Officer for UNIT.
"Ok, I've let her know," said Susan. "Come on."
She led Yaz and Sergeant Sunder out of the building amongst the other police officers and staff who were evacuating. Suddenly, the group stopped and Susan, Yaz and Sergeant Sunder made their way to the front.
Lying on the floor were three skeletons. Another man was being slowly eaten alive in front of everyone until he was also a skeleton.
"Everyone get back!" Susan called out. "Stay away from the shadows!" She held up the psychic paper. "I'm with UNIT! Stay back!" She pocketed the psychic paper and turned back to the Vashta Nerada who had possessed the four bodies and stood them up like zombies. "Vashta Nerada! Leave this planet!"
"We must feast." The Vashta Nerada said.
"No. The planet Earth is off-limits!" she said.
"You cannot stop the Vashta Nerada."
"Maybe not. But you know who can?" she replied. "The Doctor." The Vashta Nerada froze. "Oh, you're scared of her? Yes, the Doctor's regenerated again. And she's pissed." That was a lie, but the Vashta Nerada weren't to know that. "Let everyone out of here. They have nothing to do with this. They just want to survive."
"What about you?" The Vashta Nerada asked.
"What about me?" she asked, seeing where this was going.
"You're not human." The Vashta Nerada said. Yep, there it was. "We let the humans out, but not you." She ignored the curious looks from the police officers.
"What do we do?" Yaz asked, quietly.
"Vashta Nerada, I'll stay," said Susan. "Let the humans leave." The Vashta Nerada stood aside and let everyone leave. "Yaz, get out of here."
"No," said Yaz. "I'm staying with you." Susan looked at her and recognised the determination in her eyes.
"You remind me of me," she said. She turned to Sergeant Sunder. "Sergeant, go to the park and find the blonde woman dressed in the outrageous clothes and tell her where we are."
"Ok," he said, nodding before running out and leaving Susan and Yaz with the Vashta Nerada.
Susan and Yaz ran through the police station, trying to stay in the light as much as possible. The first thing that came to mind for Yaz was an obvious one.
"Susan," she said, as they were hiding in the staff room. "They're living shadows, you're pyrokinetic. Could you scare them off with some fire?"
"You know, Yaz, I was just thinking the same thing," replied Susan. "I didn't want to burn down your police station, though. But it's worth a try." She looked around. "Is there anything you wouldn't mind me setting fire to?"
"Uh..." Yaz looked around as well. "There's this old chair over here. Would that do?"
"Yes, that should do," said Susan.
They moved the chair over to the door, Susan checking to see if there were any Vashta Nerada outside before opening the door. They pushed the chair outside then hid back behind the door. Susan held her hand out, closed her eyes and concentrated. The chair caught on fire, a contained fire so that it didn't spread to anywhere else, and she and Yaz closed the door and barricaded it.
In the park, the Doctor and Najia were getting concerned about Susan and Yaz, and Idris was desperately reassuring them that Susan and Yaz were fine. A man in a police uniform came up to them.
"Excuse me," he said. "Are you the Doctor?"
"That's me." The Doctor replied.
"I'm Sergeant Ramesh Sunder, Yasmin Khan's supervisor at Hallamshire Police," he said. "I was told to come and tell you that she and Susan Campbell have decided to stay at the police station with the..."
"Vashta Nerada." said the Doctor, noticing that Susan had used her married name. "Oh look, Susan got herself into trouble again."
"Doctor," Idris said.
"Right, right, sorry," she said. "Thank you for telling us, Sergeant Sunder. I'll try not to destroy your police station."
"Doctor!" Idris exclaimed.
"Sorry, sorry." said the Doctor. "Come on everyone. Let's go get Susan and Yaz."
"Grandmother's on her way," said Susan. Yaz sighed in relief.
"We just need to stay alive until she gets here," she said.
"Don't worry, I'll make sure of that," said Susan. "Are you scared?"
"That's understandable. I'm scared as well, but at least I'm not doing what I did when I was younger."
"What was that?" asked Yaz.
"I screamed. A lot," replied Susan. She chuckled. "In my defence, I hadn't been away from Gallifrey or been separated from Grandfather before. I was still capable though, but I'm more capable now." Yaz nodded.
"We all do crazy things when we're young," she said. "I snuck into Danny Biswas' house through the window when I was fifteen years old." Susan laughed.
"If there's one thing I've learnt about humans, it's that the younger ones tend to be a lot more reckless than the adults," she replied.
"Well, if you tell a child or a teenager not to do something then they'll do the exact opposite," said Yaz.
"Exactly," replied Susan.
"Is it the same on your planet?" Yaz asked, curiously.
"Gallifreyans aren't known for being as affectionate as humans, which is ironic for a species with touch telepathy. Grandfather and I were the exceptions. We were curious about everything and often questioned things." explained Susan. "We much preferred it when we had run away from Gallifrey and it was just the two of us travelling through time and space." Outside the room. they heard the Vashta Nerada approaching.
"Why did you come to Earth in the first place?" asked Yaz.
"I liked the culture here," replied Susan. "Grandfather was hesitant about staying here, but I convinced him to. It's a good thing we did because otherwise, humanity wouldn't have met the Doctor. It's because of Ian and Barbara that Grandfather became more trusting towards humans."
"Ian and Barbara? Your teachers?"
"Yes. They helped Grandfather realise that humans aren't that bad." She smiled. "Plus, he's improved on kidnapping his companions. Unless, of course, it's Grandmother accidentally teleporting you, Graham and Ryan into deep space. But that was accidental, not deliberate, which is an improvement." They looked towards the door as they heard the chair topple over.
"They're here," said Yaz. The two of them stood up and got behind a makeshift barricade that they had put up.
Grandmother? Susan called out. Please tell me you're nearby.
I'm in the building. The Doctor replied. Hang on. We're coming to find you.
We're in the staff room. Susan told her.
Got it. Thanks. The Doctor said.
"Where's the staff room?" The Doctor asked, looking at Sergeant Sunder.
"This way, ma'am," he replied.
"Doctor is fine," she said. He nodded.
"This way, Doctor," he said.
"It's like The Walking Dead," Ryan commented as they walked through the police station. It was empty and had an eerie atmosphere, possibly due to the flickering lights caused by the Vashta Nerada.
"Complete with zombies." The Doctor said, stopping suddenly as they saw one of the Vashta Nerada in front of them. "Alien zombies." She stared at the Vashta Nerada. "I'm the Doctor. You might have heard of me."
"The Doctor." The Vashta Nerada replied. "The Oncoming Storm. The Bringer of Darkness. The Doctor of War."
"Yeah, that's me," she replied. "I have a lot of titles."
"Perhaps you should stop leaving survivors," Idris said.
"Well, what am I supposed to do" asked the Doctor. "Let people die?" Idris shrugged. The Doctor turned back to the Vashta Nerada. "Let us pass. We need to find our friends."
"The human and the alien."
"Yasmin Khan and Susan Campbell. That's right." said the Doctor. "So you know that Susan's an alien. Big deal. I'm an alien and I'm the one you need to worry about."
"What species is Susan Campbell?"
"None of your business!" The Doctor exclaimed. Susan, the Vashta Nerada know you're an alien but not what species you are. Let's keep it that way.
Ok. Susan replied.
"Listen." The Doctor said. "I am going to find my friends. Get out of my way or I will have to force my way through."
"Try it." The Vashta Nerada said. The Doctor pulled her sonic screwdriver out and pointed it at the Vashta Nerada, sending out a signal that temporarily disabled them.
"Run!" she exclaimed. Idris, Graham, Ryan, Hakim, Najia, Sonya and Sergeant Sunder carefully ran around the Vashta Nerada and the Doctor soon followed them. "Susan! Yaz! I'm coming!"
Back at the staff room, Susan and Yaz had armed themselves with chairs. The door burst open and the three Vashta Nerada entered.
"We need to get to the door," said Susan. "Try and distract them." Yaz started throwing furniture at the Vashta Nerada. "Ok, that works."
Susan joined in and they managed to keep the Vashta Nerada far enough away from them and away from the door. She also took out her gun and started firing at the Vashta Nerada as she and Yaz made their way to the door.
Eventually, the two of them managed to get out into the corridor. Susan sensed the Doctor's location and they ran in that direction. She and Yaz rounded a corner and ran into the Doctor, Graham, Ryan, Idris, Hakim, Najia, Sonya and Sergeant Sunder.
"Susan!" The Doctor pulled her granddaughter into a hug.
"Yaz!" Najia pulled her daughter into a hug.
"See?" Susan asked. "I can take care of myself."
"I know." The Doctor said, pulling back and looking at her. "You know how much I worry about you."
"I know," replied Susan. "We've got three Vashta Nerada behind us."
"We've got one behind us." said the Doctor. They all looked around as the single Vashta Nerada that the Doctor had faced off against made its way around the corner. They looked around again as the three Vashta Nerada that Susan and Yaz had faced off against also made their way around the corner.
"Doc, do you have a plan?" Graham asked.
"I'm working on it!" she replied. She looked around for a way out. Nothing. That surprised her but she could make do. "Ok, here goes nothing." She took a deep breath. "Vashta Nerada!" The four Vashta Nerada stopped. "I'm the Doctor. The Oncoming Storm, the Bringer of Darkness. I'm a Time Lady from Gallifrey. I'm over two thousand years old. I am ordering you to leave Planet Earth immediately! If you don't, I will have to stop you and you don't want to see me when I'm angry!" The Vashta Nerada stayed silent before the lights started to flicker again and the shadows started to slowly reach towards the group.
"Idris!" Susan said, turning to her. "Can you get us out of here?" Idris nodded.
"Everyone, gather close," she said.
The Doctor and Susan moved everyone close enough to Idris. Idris closed her eyes and focused before teleporting them all out of the building.
They appeared back by the TARDIS and Graham, Yaz, Ryan, Hakim, Najia, Sonya and Sergeant Sunder took a moment to catch their breath.
"What just happened?" Sonya asked. "We were in the police station, now we're in the park."
"I teleported you all out of there," replied Idris. "I would have warned you but that would have tipped off the Vashta Nerada as well."
"It takes a while to get used to," said Susan. She turned to the Doctor. "What's the plan, Grandmother?"
"We need to get the Vashta Nerada back in here, which shouldn't be too hard, and then rid of them, which is going to be the hard part." replied the Doctor. "All of you go back inside the TARDIS."
"No." Susan, Graham, Yaz and Ryan replied.
"We're staying with you," Yaz said. Idris laughed.
"Doctor, haven't you learnt yet that if you tell someone to stay in the TARDIS they are not going to do that," said Idris.
"Got it." said the Doctor. She looked towards the street and saw the bulbs in the streetlights going out. "They're on their way. All of you, get behind me." Susan, Graham, Yaz, Ryan, Idris, Hakim, Najia, Sonya and Sergeant Sunder got behind the Doctor and she used the sonic screwdriver to open the specially adapted barrier that they had put up around the park. The Vashta Nerada entered and she closed it up again. "So, here we are again. Vashta Nerada."
"Doctor." All four Vashta Nerada said.
"Ok, last chance. Leave this planet!" she told them.
"And what if we don't?" The Vashta Nerada asked.
"What if you don't?" she asked. "Did you hear what I just said? I'm the Doctor. Look me up!" The Vashta Nerada looked at each other in confusion. "Ok, I forgot that that wouldn't work. There's no way for you to look me up. The point is, you would have heard of me. Planet Earth is under my protection! Unless you want to feel my wrath, leave this planet!"
"Or what?" asked the Vashta Nerada.
"You'll have to deal with me," she replied. She was having flashbacks - flashforwards? - to the Library. "The last time I saw you, you caused the death of someone I care about!" She ignored the fact that because of how her and River's timelines worked, that wasn't the last time that the Doctor had seen her wife. But the Vashta Nerada didn't know that. "I am not losing anyone else to you! Leave now, and never come back!" The Vashta Nerada stayed where they were and looked at the others behind her. The Doctor continued to stare at them and Susan and Idris moved in front of the humans.
"I suggest you listen to her," said Susan. The Vashta Nerada turned to her. "She's not the only one who can stop you. You want to know what species I am? I'm Gallifreyan." The Vashta Nerada didn't move but they tensed just a tiny bit.
"I'm also Gallifreyan, but I'm even more dangerous than both of these two put together," said Idris. "I'm the humanoid avatar of the TARDIS, a sentient time and space machine."
"You've got three very annoyed and protective Gallifreyans here." said the Doctor. "Get off this planet!"
They watched as the Vashta Nerada exited the bodies of the four police officers and rose up into the air as the dead police officers fell to the ground. The Doctor aimed her sonic screwdriver at them and sent them far away to a planet on the edge of the universe.
"Are they gone?" Yaz asked.
"I sent them to the very edge of the universe where they can feast on as much meat as they want." replied the Doctor. "They won't be foolish enough to attack Earth again."
"What are we going to do about the bodies?" Sergeant Sunder asked, gesturing to the four dead bodies lying in front of them.
"Say that they were attacked by a wild animal that got loose," Susan replied. "That's also what was causing the other disappearances. But the animal has been caught now so there's nothing to worry about."
"What kind of wild animal?" he asked.
"A wolf," Idris replied. "But as Susan said, it's been dealt with." The Doctor dug around in her pockets and took out some business cards; she handed one to Sergeant Sunder and the other to Najia.
"Kate Stewart, Chief Scientific Officer for UNIT," she said. "Idris has doubtless already sent her a message about what happened here. They'll come and help out with the cover story."
"Cover story?" Sergeant Sunder asked.
"You'll need the right amount of information to make it more believable," Idris said. "Although humans believe things very easily."
"Speak to Kate." said the Doctor. "Tell her that I sent the Vashta Nerada away from Earth and that she doesn't need to worry about them." Sergeant Sunder nodded.
"Thank you, Doctor," he said, shaking her hand.
"No problem, Sergeant," she replied. She gave a little salute then heading towards the TARDIS. Susan and Idris followed her.
"Doctor," Najia said. The Doctor turned to her. She remembered how protective Jackie, Francine and Sylvia were of Rose, Martha and Donna.
"Yes?" The Doctor replied.
"We've been talking to Yaz," said Najia. "She seems happy travelling with you and we're not going to stop her. But I need you to promise me that you'll look after her."
Promise. That was a big word. The Doctor never tried to promise anyone anything. She had promised to come back for Susan and had taken seven regenerations to do so. She had promised to not get Bill killed, and Bill had been turned into a Cyberman.
Her previous incarnation had given her instructions to never be cruel...always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind. She'd broken that promise almost immediately with Tim Shaw and again with Krasko.
"Yaz will be fine." said the Doctor. "She's got me, Susan and Idris to keep her safe. I also told her, Graham and Ryan what travelling with me would entail and they chose to. Yaz will be fine. You don't have to worry." Najia nodded. "Come on, fam."
The Doctor walked into the TARDIS followed by Susan, Graham, Yaz, Ryan and Idris. Hakim, Najia, Sonya and Sergeant Sunder watched in confusion and amazement as the TARDIS disappeared.
Next episode: Kennedy
Dallas, Texas. 1963. The Doctor, Graham, Yaz, Ryan and Susan arrive one day before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and team up with an old friend to stop an old foe from changing the timeline.