Of all the times to be queasy and unfocused because of a decent knock to the head, now wasn’t it. Rose staggered to a stand, both unbalanced by her swimming head and the uneven tilt of the rockslide, She stumbled once and grabbed almost blindly at the air around her in search of something to hold her steady. She found that steadiness in the sharp and jiggered broken limb of a tree that had fallen with them.
Ahead of her the wolves continued their aggressive growling and snarling. She could hear the sharp scrape of their claws on the rock, primed and ready to fight. Rose wasn’t ready to tell them to stand down, although it would be the more obvious thing to do right now. If her sore head wasn’t attempting to trick her, they were facing off against Daleks – a species ready to exterminate anyone and anything that got in their way without mercy and without a second thought.
“Who – Who’s there?” Rose stammered out as she pushed herself from the tree and staggered in between her growling and protective companions.
“Identify yourself,” the metallic voice demanded. “Identify this world.”
She blinked through her blurriness and focused on a Dalek standing just outside the ship doors. It’s metal casing was scratched and tarnished, the round domes of its skirt dented and torn.
“You’re a Dalek,” she announced flatly as though it was the most painfully obvious thing in the world.
The Dalek lifted its ray but didn’t fire. Instead it scanned her top to toe. “Human,” it declared emotionlessly. “You are Human.”
“Very much so,” she muttered under her breath as she took a step forward, close enough to her protective wolves that their violently flashing and waving tails hit against her knees. “Why’re you here?”
“Identify this planet,” it demanded. “Location needs confirmation.” It turned to another Dalek that had trundled out of the door behind it. “Confirm species Human,” it advised. “Is this Earth?.”
“Negative,” the second Dalek offered. “Navigation systems indicate landing on Gallifrey.”
“O-Obviously there’s a problem with your nav,” Rose offered. “Human,” she clarified with a point at her chest. “Which means Earth.” She winced at the continuing growls and snarls from her wolves. The sound, although not altogether unwanted, were starting to drill against her aching head. “Kids. Please.”
“You will quiet your animals,” the second Dalek demanded. “Or we will exterminate!”
Rose rushed in between both animals and tried vainly to press them back behind her. Neither of them were having any of that, though and rushed either side of her to have their heads and noses ahead of her protruding belly. She certainly didn’t have the strength that they did, and she groaned out as she tried to pull them back. “Please don’t hurt them. They’re just protecting me.”
“Then we will exterminate,” the second Dalek announced as it lifted its ray.
Rose Rushed forward, stumbling on a tree root, to collide with the Dalek with her hands outstretched ahead of her. “No! Please. No. They can’t do you any harm. Leave ‘em alone.” She heard a buzzing nose beside her – not unlike the whirr of the Doctor’s sonic – and flicked her ehad around to the first Dalek. “What’re you doing.”
“Secondary scan complete,” it confirmed. “This human is with child.”
“Yeah, because the huge gut doesn’t make that obvious,” she growled. “And that human, is right here. You wanna talk about me, then talk to me.”
“Binary vascular system,” it continued. “The child is Time Lord.” It turned to Rose. “Explain.”
Her brows lifted. “I had sex with a Time Lord and got pregnant,” she fired back with a shrug. “Thought that much might be obvious.”
“Is this Gallifrey?” the Dalek asked again.
“You tell me,” she growled in reply.
The wolves continued their incessant growling and snarling but had now begun to snap their jaws angrily in threat. There was no way that Rose would be able to calm them down, and so she gave up on even trying. She did try to step out from in between them, but the animals had moved to stand so closely together that she wasn’t able to break free of their protection.
“The animals will be silenced!” the first Dalek warned. “Or they will be executed.”
The second Dalek seemed to agree. “The Human will come with us.”
“The Human will not,” Rose muttered. “An’ if you try and hurt my wolves…”
Rose yelped out and dove in front of the wolves, both of which yelped out in surprise. “No! No! Please don’t!” She held up her hands. “Just. Just let me get rid of them, okay? I’ll come with you, just please don’t hurt them.”
The ray dropped and Rose spun to crouch in front of the wolves, both of whom wore expressions of confusion. “Get help,” she ordered them quietly. “Go find him, get …” She knew that saying his name might cause upset with the Daleks and risk them running riot through the streets in search of him. “Get Thete,” she said instead.
The wolves passed their front paws left and right. It was clear that they were confused and not understanding what Rose was saying to them. Her words shifted to Gallifreyan, still stilted and heavy with her Human-English accents. “Help me,” she pleaded. “Find him, find anyone. Just please get out of here.”
“We wait no longer,” the Dalek warned. “You will come with us.”
Rose stood up and gave the two beasts a nod. “I’ll be okay. Just find him, please.”
Without further urging, both wolves ran up the slip to the jagged shelf that hung at least 20-feet above her. They howled and lunged at the cliff’s edge, their snarls and growls still threatening and dangerous.
“Go!” she called up to them.
The female gave a long howl that was matched by her mate, and then both of them disappeared quickly. Rose let out a breath of worry, not quite believing that this would be as easy as Lassie trying to convince people that little Tommy was stuck in a well. Those two animals were amongst the most feared species on the planet. People would more likely run from them than approach them and ask what was wrong. Her only hope was that they’d make it to the Hospital to get the Doctor’s attention…
…Although the hospital was in Arcadia – a day’s run for both of them. She’d be long dead before then.
Her only hope was that they’d pass by the homestead and by some miracle the Doctor would already be home.
Unlikely, of course, given the most recent emergency calls. But she could hope. She rubbed her swollen belly. The both of them could hope.
“You will follow us,” the Dalek ordered.
“Yeah,” she sighed. “Coming.”
The second Dalek to leave the ship turned and rolled back through the doorway. The first made sure to stay behind her and poke her in the back with its ray when she wasn’t moving fast enough.
“Careful,” she growled hotly with a twist of her head to look over her shoulder at it. “Pregnant woman, remember, not as nimble on my fees at you are on your wheels.”
“Move,” it demanded.
As a trio they walked in through the steaming doors and deeper inside the ship. Her eyes scanned their walk, noting each turn they made in the hope that she could somehow escape and find her way to freedom. The last thing she needed was to get lost in a Dalek maze where the dead ends could literally mean that she’d end up dead. They did pass several Daleks involved in repairs and uninterested in the Human being escorted by two of their own. Then again, no emotion meant no natural curiosity .. she shouldn’t have been surprised.
Their journey ended where Rose assumed was the very centre of the ship. The narrow corridors opened up to a large and cavernous domed room. The walls were a brightly lit and orange intermittently flashing washes or reds from a red alarm signal light at the very centre of the dome.
“Damage report,” the lead Dalek demanded. “Can we send coordinates to the mother ship?”
“Negative,” another Dalek responded quickly. “Errors in multiple systems. Communication is impossible.”
Rose let out a breath of relief at that. This would give the Gallifreyan forces time to pull together and hopefully storm the ship.
“Can it be repaired?”
“It can be repaired,” came the response. “Dalekanium Crystals need to recharge and then we will be fully operational.”
The Lead Dalek turned back toward Rose. “You will lock yourself at the wall,” it demanded, rolling into a slight turn to indicate the wall to the south side of the room.
Rose looked toward the wall, and to a rather basic looking chain and cuff apparatus affixed to a small loop from the ceiling. She looked back to the robot with a perplexed expression. “Whatd’ya mean I’ll lock myself?” She quickly rolled her eyes at her own question upon realizing that with no hands by which to lock her in there themselves, she would have to be the one to do it. Stupid really. “Yeah,” she huffed. “No need to answer that.”
“Immediately,” it ordered her. “You will lock yourself or you will be exterminated.”
“Why don’t you just go ahead and do it?” she muttered through a curled lip that was wet with blood and tasting very much like rusted iron. She lifted her fingers to her head and felt the fluid warmth of blood coat her fingers. “Oh God,” he muttered woosily, never one to quite handle the sight of blood – particularly when it was her own.
“That is an order,” the Dalek ground out again. If she didn’t know better, that these creatures were completely incapable of emotion, then she’d hazard a guess it was getting quite frustrated. “Lock yourself now.”
“Yeah, yeah, okay,” she managed with a blink of one eye to complete a wince of pain and dizziness. “Jus’ gimme a tic.”
She made it to the wall and snapped the cuff around one wrist. It snapped tight and startled her enough that she lost her balance and stumbled onto her hip. The pull of her wrist kept it high in the air above her head, and she flopped off to one side, hanging, yet sitting at the same time.
“What do you want with me?” She asked finally, looking through a bloody fringe.
“You are with child,” it answered. “A Time Lord child.”
“What, you don’t exterminate pregnant women?” she asked with a small smile. “Well that’s good to know.”
“With or without child, you will be exterminated,” it warned her.
“Just not yet,” she murmured. The blood was rushing from her arm, and she felt the chill of it get into her bones. Pretty soon it would be numb, and therefore useless to try and get free.
“A Time Lord will not allow the death of an expecting mate,” it answered. “You will be kept until the ship is operational, and then you will be exterminated.”
“A bargaining chip,” she deduced with a sigh. “Yeah, well you don’t know them very well if you think that’ll work. Not exactly a sentimental bunch these time Lords.”
“You are being deceptive,” it challenged. “We know the Doctor, he is Time Lord.” It waved its weapon as though a dismissive hand. “The Doctor is sentimental.”
Rose’s eyes flashed wide at his name.
“The Human’s heart rate has increased,” another Dalek cut in. “She knows the Doctor.”
The first Dalek rolled quickly toward. “You are a companion of the Doctor?”
Her eyes widened. “No,” she said firmly. “I am not a companion of the Doctor.”
“The how are you with a Time Lord child?”
“Wow,” she sang out. “You ask me that like he’s the only Time Lord capable of havin’ kids.” She writhed slightly in search of comfort on the hard and unforgiving metal floor. “Trust me, he’s not the only one with a workable set on this planet.”
“So you confirm that we have landed on Gallifrey.” It was a statement, not a question.
“If you want to call that landing,” she muttered. “Then yeah. Alright.” Her belly contracted with a heavy kick from her child and Rose let out a very long groan. “I think I need medical assistance,” she said to them in pleading. “Let me make sure that my baby is okay, please?”
“The child is fine,” the Dalek stated. “You, on the other hand have very limited time.”
She sighed deeply. “Why did I think you’d say that?”
“We could take the child,” another Dalek suggested. “And turn it into a Dalek.”
“Inferior species,” the lead Dalek replied. “Not worthy to be Dalek.”
Rose’s arm was ice cold and had now lost feeling entirely. The ache, that had begun to set in shortly after being shackled, was now waning into nothing. Her head, however, that was mercilessly pounding a fierce rhythm against her skull. Her vision continued to shift between clarity and blurriness, and her stomach turned over again and yet again. Consciousness was fleeting at best. She found herself nodding in and out, waving to and fro between deafening pressure and then euphoric bliss.
For several long moments, with her rapidly shifting bouts of awareness, Rose lost touch of what her captives were saying. When the room suddenly lit up to bright yellow over flashing red and orange, her attention was locked once more.
“Communications systems back on line, Commander. Full outreach capability to mother ship will be achieved in three minutes.”
“Notify the mother ship of Gallifrey’s coordinates. They must fall into battle formation and prepare to attack. Gallifrey must fall.”
“Exterminate the Time Lords!”
Rose lifted her head to once again look through a blood-stained fringe toward her captors. “And what about me?” she asked tiredly.
The lead Dalek rolled over to her and lifted his ray. “You no longer prove useful. You will be exterminated.”
“Then do it,” she challenged quietly. “Just do it.”
There was a flash of amber in her eyes and the disapproving lilt of a disembodied voice fell from the dome above their heads. “I really don’t think so.”
Death ray weapons lifted to the ceiling. “Who is on our ship? Identify yourself.”
The words whispered across the deck, swimming through the robots and spiralling upward. “I am the Bad Wolf…”
“…And you’re here far too early….”
A cry to exterminate rumbled through each and every Dalek on the ship. Death rays buzzed and sang in the air, firing aimlessly at nothing.
Rose watched with tired eyes and hard panting as her breaths. Confused, delirious, and wondering just what kind of nightmare she was living, she weakly tugged on her cuff hoping to seek freedom.
Beside her a flashing light indicated an impending coordinate upload to the mothership. In moments and entire Dalek fleet would know how to find Gallifrey.
“No,” she breathed. “No,” she managed more strongly. “No – “ Her chest thrust forward and her head threw backward. A long cry ripped up her throat and out of a gaping mouth frozen into a scream. She felt a gripping pressure in her abdomen and chest, growing and swelling until it finally exploded out of her in a bright disc of light that tore throughout the ship, turning Daleks to dust and slicing apart the lights and control panels.
And everything went dark.
It was a very rare moment when Braxiatel and his wife could walk freely hand in hand. Such was their stature amongst the Time Lord Society, any display of affection was deemed inappropriate and would incur rumours and accusations that wouldn’t serve either of them well. Mutiny was always just a rumour away, and it was never worth the risk,
One of the delightful things about spending time with his brother’s wife were the moments available to him to be able to offer his own wife the small gestures of affection that would make her smile and remind the two of them that they were now – and always will be – deeply in love.
His hand was tenderly wrapped around Romana’s much smaller fingers as they walked slowly from where their transport had delivered them. He wanted to walk with her a while. To experience the exhilaration of walking through the warm and sunny countryside of Gallifrey. A pleasure that he had long forgotten about in a life locked in council chambers.
Romana was more than happy to walk, and to talk, wrapped up together as they should be as a pair in love.
Their walk had been slow, and tender, with neither of them wanting to burden the moment with words and conversation. As their destination appeared in the near distance, the cottage belonging to his brother and his wife, Braxiatel began to loosen the hold of Romana’s hand in preparation to be met at the door by what he cold only assume would be a very unhappy and angry Rose Tyler.
At least that’s what Thete had warned him to be ready for when he’d called in the request to go visit. His brother, bless, was an apologetic mess. An argument between husband and wife had been the last contact he’d had with her before disappearing in a transmat beam.
She hadn’t answered any of his calls since.
“Do you think Rose will be in a better mood than the Doctor assumes?” Romana asked with amusement. “Or do you think that this will be an afternoon where you and your sister in law can trade stories of how he is an inconsiderate fool?”
Braxietel smiled at the possibility. “Don’t suggest such a delightful option,” he cautioned her. “Especially when we know it will most likely end up as an afternoon where you will get weepy and broody over her baby bump and send me out on errands to make the both of you happy.”
“I do not get weepy, nor broody, Brax,” she countered with a smile. “My request to for you to sire me a child is not as close as you would like it to be.” Her face fell. “There is far too much ahead of us to make plans for a family.”
“And so we live vicariously through the life of my brother – the one who should never allow his seed to be sown into another.”
She bumped him with her shoulder. “Admit it, Brax. You are very happy for him, and for the Human girl who you care about much more than you care to admit.”
He opened his mouth to offer his obligatory argument against that charge, but was swiftly silenced by the urgent approach of two very dangerous animals. He pressed his hands into Romana’s belly to keep her hidden behind him. “Dahrama!” he called out. “Stay back!”
The pair of wolves bounded down the path, both of them with dark soot and dirt covering their usually pristine blue-white coats. One ran with a noticeable limp, and the other with a fierce purpose.
“Brax,” Romana yeloed out as she moved around him. “They’re Rose’s pair.”
Braxiatel’s eyes widened with immediate concern. “Where’s Rose?”
Romana ran toward the two animals, scooping herself into a low stood to lower herself to a more respectful level to address them. Her words shifted into light huffs and howls, and in a moment her head and mouth were chasing two very anxious and restless Wolves as they paced and pawed and answered her questions.
Braxiatel moved in quickly beside his wife and leaned down as well, despite not having anywhere near enough respect for the animals to give them such courtesy.
Her head shot up. “Rose is in trouble. We need to follow.”
He nodded and was on the run behind the swiftly moving wolves within a second. He petted his waist cast pockets in search of his phone. “Let me call Thete.”
“And tell him what?” she asked him, her breath steady even though she ran hard at his side. “Best we wait until we know what condition she’s in. We don’t need to worry him if this is something we can handle.” She looked back ahead of her. “I’m sure we can handle it.”
The wolves took off too far in front and had to stop multiple times to look back and let out huffs and barks for the two of them to hurry up. Braxiatel held off snapping at them, but flicked his wrist to tell them to go ahead and that they would follow.
Up ahead of them, a searing, slicing sound wooshed. The sound was swiftly on approach, and Braxiatel quickly grabbed at Ramona’s arm to bring her to a stop. The sound rushed closer. Ahead of them, the wolves, both nimble and strong, were knocked off their feet and onto their sides as the sound barrelled past. Braxiatel held onto Romana as the sound rushed through them as well.
Romana let out a sharp cry and fell against her husband. His own knees faltered under the shockwave, but he was able to hold them both up until the wave finally rushed away from them.
“What was that?” he asked worriedly.
Romana shook her head. “That was pure Huon energy,” she half whispered. “A full wave of the most ancient and almost non existent energy.” Her eyes were wide with horror as she turned toward him. “There is no known concentration of that level of Huon in that quantity anywhere in the universe.”
“Oh holy Rassilon,” he replied worriedly. He took his wife’s hand and tugged her urgently toward the direction that the wolves had started running again. “If Rose is caught up in that, it’ll kill her.”
She breathed out a long moan in the negative in response, and quickly she fell into pace beside Braxietel.
In a moment they both skidded to a halt at the edge of a crater’s path. Deep below them was an horrifically damaged ship, on fire, and dented almost beyond recognition.
…Almost unrecognisable. Both Time Lord and Lady knew exactly what ship had half buried itself in the soft Gallifreyan forest soil.
“Dalek,” Romana growled darkly.
Having only heard of them, but never actually encountering them, Braxiatel didn’t hold the same sense of morbid fear that Romana held toward the Daleks. He looked to her and then down tp the ship, where both wolves had immediately head. They disappeared into an open door.
“Rose is in there,” he ground out. “Is there any chance at all that she’s still alive?”
“Rassilon, I hooe so,” she growled as she leapt over the edge and slif on her feet down to the ship. She felt Braxiatel slide down at her side. “Because if she’s not, your brother will destroy this universe in search of the entire species to wipe them out.”
“I hardly see that as being a detriment.”
“After he’s taken out you and I both for not protecting her to begin with.”
“That,” he breathed out as he pulled a small firearm from his pocket. “Is a very good point. Now please, if you will, stay behind me.”
“I will not,” she admonished indignantly.as she stepped around him. “I have far more experience with them than you do, so you will follow me. That is an order from you President.”
His voice fell to an annoyed whisper as together they entered the dark and dormant ship. “As you wish, Lady President.”
The immediate anomaly noticed by Romana was how deathly quiet the ship was. She could sense no hum of engines, and no form of lighting – even that of emergency lighting – at all. It was dark, and far too quiet for her liking. Her foot kicked the occasional mound of silky dust, the scent of which was laced thick with residual Huon energies and dissipated as quickly as it appeared.
She frowned and looked back toward her husband. “Brax. Something just isn’t right about this. This ship is a battle scout craft and should be fully staffed with Dalek warriors. But I’m finding nothing. Not a peep, whir, or rumble of them.”
Braxietel nodded. His face set in a frown. “The outer hull is still burning, which means this ship crashed very recently, yet there are no operational, or even residual electrical waves present to indicate any active, or recently active systems.”
“Abandoned,” she remarked, “and left to fall? It makes no sense.”
Their walk finally led them into the centre of this ship, and to the high dome of the command deck. Again, it was deathly quiet and unmanned. Romana did note the amber fluttering of random particles in the air, but could find no reason for it. She followed the last of the shimmers, which seemed to concentrate near one wall, and to where the two wolves were whining and pawing at the floor with urgency.
“Brax!” she called out urgently, flicking her arm in a demand for him to follow. “She’s over here!”
Romana’s voice caught hard to see how Rose was awkwardly tethered to the wall with only one arm, and was flopped off to one side, not able to lie her head down, but unconscious and hanging.
Brax stood tall to unfasten the tie, and Romana held her as Rose’s body was released and fell hard to the ground.
“Alive,” Romana assured him. “But badly hurt. We need to get her medical transport immediately.”
Braxiatel lifted a phone to his ear. “I’ll arrange to have her sent to Arcadia. Thete’s there. He’ll know the best way to treat her.”
“She is not to leave the hospital under any circumstances,” she ordered. “Don’t let him remove her until I issue the all clear. I want to know what happened here; how she ended up shackled and tied in a barren Dalek ship.”
“Thete won’t like it.”
“He has no choice.” Romana ordered. “And while you are with emergency services, arrange a cleanup crew. I want this ship dismantled and destroyed before the Daleks have a chance to trace it.”
The Doctor pulled off his thin surgical gloves and tossed them with annoyance into a nearby bin. His throw was slightly off, and they hit the wall, and then the corner of the bin before finally flopping in. He tugged uncomfortably at the neck of his yellow and crimson scrubs, desperate to be free of them.
“With permission of everyone else on the planet who might get sick, I’m heading out,” he announced with annoyance. “I’ve had about enough of snot and mucus and people who don’t listen to their doctor’s orders.”
A pair of nurses chuckled with agreement. “Have a good night Lord Doctor,” one of them wished with a flirtatious wave. “See you in a week?”
“If I’m lucky,” he said with a wink. “You won’t see me for two.”
“A trip with Rose?” one asked with a light swoon. “Somewhere exotic?”
“That is the plan,” he replied. “I have a lot to make up for, and I’m looking very forward to making those amends. He bowed dramatically. “And so on that note, my dears. Do take care, I shall see you later – very much later.”
The Desk Nurse popped up apologetically from behind her desk, her phone pressed still against her ear. “Lord Doctor,” she called out. “I’m very sorry, but…”
“No!” he growled out with a point of his finger in her direction. “Whatever it is, find someone else. I’m on vacation.”
She dropped the pone and skirted around the desk to make a swift approach. “They’re bringing in an emergency case from a crash site.”
“Someone else,” he repeated.
He looked up as an announcement called through the overhead PA system. “Incoming transport. Crash victim. Severe head injuries and bleeding. Female. Seven months with child. Human.”
His eyes blew wide with horror and he looked down to the desk nurse, whose eyes were misted with apology. “Lord Doctor, I’m sorry. Braxiatel just called it in….”
His hearts fell. “No…”
“Sir, it’s your mate,” she said softly. “It’s Rose.”