Hello readers! I'm so so sorry for taking so long. I kind of lost my motivation and then I got obsessed with Pirates of the Caribbean and started a fic for that. I hope I did ok. Just a warning, by beta reader hasn't gone through this yet, so I'm hoping it's still good.
"Oh, Doctor?" Five's voice called. "Remember to put your shields up." Ten hit a button on the console. Suddenly, the Doctor, Tyler, and I were thrown to the floor as something crashed through the side of the TARDIS. I coughed as I inhaled some dust as I sat up.
"Wonder, are you okay?" The Doctor asked as he got to his feet.
"Yes. Tyler?" I said worriedly, scrambling to my feet and kneeling next to my son. "Are you okay, sweetheart?"
"I'm okay," Tyler confirmed, coughing a bit as I helped him to his feet and brushed him off. After giving a quick look over for any injuries, I glanced up to see what had run into us I blinked in surprise and confusion when I saw the bow of an ocean liner had broken through the TARDIS wall.
"What?" The Doctor exclaimed in utter confusion. "What?" He knelt next to a life preserver and turned it over. The word 'Titanic' was written on it. He glanced at me in confusion and we both looked back up at the ship currently imbedded in the TARDIS. "What?"
The Doctor scrambled to his feet and ran around the console, flipping various switches and buttons as he sent us a few minutes back in time. The ship hull back out of the TARDIS and the hole it created sealed shut. The Doctor landed the TARDIS on the ship and we walked out. I adjusted Tyler on my hip as I looked around. We appeared to be in a supply closet. The Doctor poked his head around the side of the TARDIS, patting the side as he made sure the hole had completely closed. We stepped out of the closet into a large, wood-panelled room decorated with potted plants and Christmas decorations. People dressed in early 20th century dress milled about as waiters pass hors d'oeuvres and champagne. A band on stage was playing a sedate version of Jingle Bells. We passed by two golden angels garbed in white. One jerked its head in our direction, the distinct sound of gears grinding as it did so. Tyler whimpered and held out his arms to his father. I passed Tyler to the Doctor who began rubbing his son's back soothingly as the toddler buried his face in his father's neck. I noticed a window and nodded towards it. We walked over and looked out.
"Riiiight," the Doctor drawled. Outside the window was space and just below the ship was the Earth. He shifted Tyler in his arms so the toddler could look out the window.
"Attention all passengers. The Titanic is now in orbit above Sol 3, also known as Earth. Population: Human," a man announced over the PA. "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Christmas."
"You know, I'm feeling rather underdressed for a cruise," I commented, glancing down at my tshirt and jeans.
"Hmm, you're right," the Doctor agreed, glancing down at his own attire. "I think this calls for a trip to the wardrobe." He glanced at Tyler, chuckling as the toddler yawned widely and rubbed his eyes. "But first, we should put you to bed."
"But I'm not tired," Tyler protested, yawning again.
I smiled in amusement. "Come on, sweetheart." The Doctor and I walked back to the TARDIS. After we put Tyler to bed, we headed to the wardrobe. The Doctor picked out a early 1900s black dinner jacket, black bowtie, and black converse. I settled for a Edwardian style dress. It had a lavender underdress and a plum net overdress with silver beading, a lavender sash was tied around my waist, and sheer sleeves with tassels on the end. I slipped on my own pair of purple converse. I stepped out of the changing room and twirled so the Doctor could get a good look.
"You look beautiful," he told me, stepping forward and placing his hands on my hips. He drew me close and leaned down to capture my lips. I responded eagerly and wrapped my hands around his neck, playing with the hair at the nape of his neck. We pulled apart after a few moments and the Doctor held out his arm to me. I smiled and took it and we walked back out to the ship's lounge. We stopped by a screen to watch the commercial play.
"Max Capricorn Cruiseliners-the fastest, the farthest, the best," the bald man on the screen announced. "And I should know because my name is Max." The man grinned and his gold tooth glinted.
"I wonder if it really does that," I mused, tilting my head to the side.
"Probably not," the Doctor said. "You only see that sort of thing on the telly." We continued our walk into reception. I looked around, admiring the elaborate Christmas decorations that adorned every room. On the stage, the band was performing Winter Wonderland as couples danced on the dance floor.
"Merry Christmas, sir, ma'am," a steward said politely as we passed.
"Merry Christmas," the Doctor replied as I smiled and gave a polite nod. We passed a man who was talking into his mobile, looking rather annoyed.
"It's not a holiday for me, not while I've still got my vone. Now do as I say and sell," the man ordered whoever he was talking to. I glanced at the Doctor who merely shrugged. He spotted another robotic angel and quickly dragged me over.
"Evening," he greeted. "Passenger 57 and 58. Terrible memory. Remind me. Uh, you would be…" The robotic angel binged before answering.
"Information: Heavenly Host supplying tourist information," the Host answered.
The Doctor nodded. "Good, so, um... tell me, cos I'm an idiot, where are we from?"
The Host binged again. "Information: The Titanic is en route from the planet Sto in the Cassavalian Belt. The purpose of the cruise is to experience primitive cultures."
"Titanic. Um... who... thought of the name?" The Doctor asked curiously.
"Information: it was chosen as the most famous vessel of the planet Earth."
I cocked an eyebrow. "Did they tell you why it was famous?" I inquired.
"Information: all designations are chosen by Mr Max Capricorn, president of Max- Max- Max…" The Host twitched with each "Max".
"Ooh, bit of a glitch," the Doctor said, reaching into his pocket to pull out his sonic screwdriver. However, three stewards rushed over before he could.
"Sir, ma'am we can handle this," the Chief Steward assured us. He waved his hand and two more stewards rushed over to help. "Software problem, that's all. Leave it with us, sir. Merry Christmas." He pressed a button on the back of the Host's neck, causing it to go rigid and topple to one side where one of the stewards caught it. The others grabbed hold and hauled it off. The Doctor and I watched as the stewards hurried off with the Host.
"What was that all about?" I wondered.
"I don't know," the Doctor said. He glanced to the stage as the band began playing Silent Night. He held his hand out to me. "Care for a dance?"
I smiled flirtatiously. "I thought you would never ask." The Doctor grinned back as I took his hand. We hurried to the dance floor. As the Doctor and I slow danced, I leaned my head against his chest, smiling as I heard the familiar four beats of his twin hearts. He slid his right arm tighter around my waist, drawing me closer to him. I closed my eyes, simply enjoying our closeness. It had been far too long since we've been able to enjoy a moment like this. Our interactions aboard the Valiant were always closely monitored and before that, I had to endure 18 months without my bonded by my side. The only thing that had kept me sane was Tyler. I opened my eyes as the song ended and looked up at the Doctor. He gazed down at me softly and I smiled, standing on my toes to press a soft kiss to his lips. He suddenly swung me down in a dip and I let out a quiet squeak of surprise against his lips. He chuckled and righted me again. "Always the charmer," I giggled, smiling fondly at him. Are moment was broken by the sound of breaking glass. We turned and I spotted the annoyed man from earlier glaring at a young waitress.
"For Tov's sake, look where you're going! This jacket's a genuine Earth antique," the man informed the waitress angrily.
"I'm sorry, sir," the waitress apologized, kneeling down to pick up the shards of glass.
"You'll be sorry when it comes off your wages, sweetheart," the man snapped. "Staffed by idiots. No wonder Max Capricorn is going down the drain." He stormed off.
"Oi!" I shouted, stalking over to the man. "You have no right to yell at her like that!"
"She nearly dumped champagne on my antique coat!" The man snapped.
"I don't care! That does not give you the right to treat her like garbage," I shot back, glowering at the man. "Now, bug off before I dump an entire bottle of red wine over your genuine Earth antique." The man glared at me, but stormed off without another word. I let out a huff. "The nerve of some people."
"Thank you, ma'am, but you didn't need to do that," the waitress told me as the Doctor and I knelt to help her pick up the glass shards.
"Well, someone needed to put that jerk in his place," I replied. "At least I can do that without fear of being fired. I'm Wonder, but the way, and this handsome gentleman is my husband, the Doctor."
"Astrid, sir. Astrid Peth," the waitress said.
"Nice to meet you, Astrid Peth. Merry Christmas," the Doctor told her with a smile.
"Merry Christmas, sir," Astrid replied, looking pleasantly surprised.
"Just Doctor, not sir," the Doctor corrected.
"You both enjoying the cruise?" Astrid asked.
"Yeah," I replied with a shrug. "Little bit extravagant for my taste, but it's nice all the same. Been awhile since it's been just us."
"Just you two then?" Astrid asked, getting to her feet with her tray now full of broken glass.
"Well, we would have brought our son, but he's a bit young to enjoy something like this," the Doctor said. "What about you? Long way from home, Planet Sto."
Astrid shrugged. "Doesn't feel that different. I spent three years working at the spaceport diner, travelled all the way here... and I'm still waiting on tables." She walked off, but the Doctor and I followed.
"No shore leave?" I asked.
"We're not allowed. They can't afford the insurance," Astrid replied as she cleared a table by one of the windows. "I just wanted to try it, just once. Never stood on another world. I used to watch the ships heading off to the stars and I always dreamt of…" She paused and hung her head. "It sounds daft."
"You dreamt of another sky," the Doctor said, giving her a knowing look. "New sun, new air, new life. A whole universe teeming with life. Why stand still when there're all that life out there?"
"... yeah," Astrid breathed, a bit dazzled. She cleared her throat. "So... you travel a lot?"
The Doctor nodded. "All the time. Just for fun."
"Well, that's the plan anyway," I added. "Never quite works out that way. We have an uncanny talent for finding trouble."
"Must be rich, though," Astrid said, sounding a bit jealous.
"Haven't got a penny. Stowaways," the Doctor whispered.
Astrid stared as us in shock. "Kidding."
The Doctor grinned. "Oh, yeah."
"How did you get on board?" Astrid asked with a laugh.
"Accident," the Doctor answered. "We've got this, sort of, ship thing. I was just rebuilding her. Left the defences down, bumped into the Titanic. Here we are. Bit of a party, I thought 'Why not?' Besides, the wife needed a bit of time off."
"I should report you," Astrid threatened.
"Go on then," the Doctor challenged with a smirk, knowing full well she wouldn't.
Astrid studied us for a moment. "I'll get you a drink...on the house." She walked off.
I smiled. "I like her." I heard a bunch of laughing and turned, taking notice of glamorously dress people laughing and pointing at a heavyset couple dressed in purple country-western outfits at the next table. I nudged the Doctor and nodded in the direction of the couple.
"Just ignore 'em," the man said to his wife as the Doctor and I sat down at their table.
"Something's tickled them," the Doctor noted.
"They told us it was fancy dress. Very funny, I'm sure," the woman grumbled.
"They're just pickin' on us because we haven't paid. We won our tickets in a competition," the man announced proudly.
"I had to name the five husbands of Joofie Crystalle in 'By the Light of the Asteroid'," the woman explained. "Did you ever watch?"
"Is that the one with the twins?" The Doctor asked, brows furrowed in thought.
The woman grinned. "That's it. Oh, it's marvelous."
"Probably not good enough for that lot," the man grumbled, gesturing to the laughing group behind us. "They think we should be in steerage."
"Hmm, well we can't have that, can we?" I asked, shooting the Doctor a mischievous look. He smirked and discretely pulled his sonic from his pocket and aimed it at the table behind us. The champagne bottle on the table popped its cork, spraying the liquid all over those around the table.
"Did... Did you do that?" The woman asked, smiling.
The Doctor shrugged nonchalantly as he slipped his sonic back into his pocket. "Maybe."
The woman giggled in delight. "We like you."
"We do," the man agreed. He held out his hand to the Doctor. "I'm Morvin van Hoff. This is my good woman, Foon."
The Doctor shook Morvin's than Foon's hand. "Foon. Hello, I'm the Doctor and this is my wife, Wonder."
"Pleasure to meet you," I smiled as I shook each of their hands.
"Ooh, I'm gonna need a Doctor by the time I'm finished with this buffet," Foon said, nodding to the mountain of food on the table. "Have a buffalo wing. They must be enormous, these buffalo, so many wings." I chuckled and took a wing.
"Attention please. Shore leave tickets Red 6-7 now activated. Red 6-7," the PA system announced.
"Red 6-7. That's us," Foon said, pulling out a red ticket and getting to her feet. "Are you Red 6-7?"
"Why not?" I answered.
"Come on," Morvin urged, putting his arm around Foon. "We're going to Earth." The Doctor and I followed Morvin and Foon.
"Red 6-7. Red 6-7. This way, fast as you can," an older man wearing a green tweed suit called as he held up a sign.
Astrid walked over to us. "I got you that drink," she held, indicating the tray with two glasses on in.
"And we got you a treat. Come on," the Doctor said. He took the tray from her and set it on a nearby table.
"Red 6-7 departing shortly," the elderly man called again.
"Red 6-7 plus one," the Doctor said, flashing the man his psychic paper.
The man nodded. "Uh, quickly, sir, ma'am and please take three teleport bracelets if you would."
"I'll get the sack," Astrid whispered to us nervously.
"Brand new sky," the Doctor tempted. Astrid hesitated for only a moment before smiling and taking the bracelet he offered.
"To repeat, I am Mr Copper, the ship's historian, and I shall be taking you to old London town in the country of U.K. ruled over by good King Wenceslas," the elderly man announced. I frowned. Where did he get that information? "Now human beings worshipped the great god Santa, a creature with fearsome claws, and his wife Mary." I cocked a brow and glanced at the Doctor who was wearing a similar confused expression. "And every Christmas Eve the people of U.K. go to war with the country of Turkey. They then eat the Turkey people for Christmas dinner... like savages." I blinked, shocked.
The Doctor tentatively raised his hand. "Excuse me, sorry, sorry, but, um... where did you get all this from?" He asked Mr. Copper.
"Well, I have a first class degree in Earthonomics," Mr. Copper answered. The Doctor and I shared a glance. "Now stand by…"
"And me! And me!" A high-pitched voice called. "Red 6-7!" A small, red-skinned alien with short spikes along his head pushed through the crowd, waving his ticket.
"Well, take a bracelet, sir," Mr. Copper told him.
"Uh, but, um, hold on, hold on. What was your name?" The Doctor asked the small alien.
"Bannakaffalatta," the red alien replied.
The Doctor blinked. "Ok, Bannakaffalatta. But it's Christmas Eve down there. Late-night shopping, tons of people. He's like a walking conker," he said. Bannakaffalatta snapped his head to the Time Lord as I elbowed my husband. I knew what he said was true, but he could have said it a little more delicately. "No offence, but you'll cause a riot 'cause the streets are going to be packed with shoppers and parties-" The Doctor didn't get to finish his sentence as we all disappeared in a flash of blue light. A moment later, we arrived on an empty street on earth. The Doctor and I glanced around and frowned. "Oh."
"Now, spending money. I have a credit card in Earth currency if you want to buy trinkets or, uh, stockings or the local delicacy, which is known as "beef" but don't stray too far, it could be dangerous. Any day now they start boxing," Mr. Copper warned. I tuned him out, glancing around the unusually empty street.
"Something's wrong," I said, voicing my concerns. "There should be tons of people milling about."
"But it's beautiful," Astrid protested, looking around in awe.
The Doctor looked to her. "Really? Do you think so? It's just a street. The pyramids are beautiful."
"New Zealand is amazing," I added. I turned to the Doctor. "We should go back sometime."
"But it's a different planet. I'm standing on a different planet," Astrid said happily. She jumped a couple times, testing the ground behind her feet. "Th- there's concrete... and shops, alien shops, real alien shops! Look, no stars in the sky. And it smells. It stinks!" She gasped in delight. "This is amazing! Thank you!" She threw her arms around the Doctor than around me.
The Doctor smiled at her. "Yeah? Come on then, let's have a look." He took my hand and led Astrid and I over to a newspaper booth manned by an old man, bundled in winter clothes. "Hello there! Sorry, uh, obvious question, but where's everybody gone?" He asked the old man.
"Oh-ho, scared!" The old man replied with a laughed.
I furrowed my brows. "Scared? Of what?"
"Where have you been living? London at Christmas? Not safe, is it?" The old man said.
"Why?" The Doctor asked.
"Well, it's them, up above," the old man said, gesturing to the sky. "Look, Christmas before last we had that big bloody spaceship, everyone standing on a roof." He pointed to the tv he had in his booth that was playing a clip from the Christmas the Sycorax paid us a visit. "And then last year, that Christmas Star electrocuting all over the place, draining the Thames."
"This place is amazing," Astrid said.
"And this year, Lord knows what," the man continued. "So everybody's scarpered, gone to the country. All except me... and Her Majesty." He stood proudly and looked at the tv.
"Her Majesty the Queen has confirmed that she will be staying in Buckingham Palace throughout the festive season to show the people of London, and the world, that there's nothing to fear," the tv reporter announced.
"God bless her!" The man said, saluting the screen. "We stand vigil."
"Well, between you and me, I think her Majesty's got it right," the Doctor assured the man. "Far as I know, this year, nothing to worry about." He had just finished his sentence when we disappeared in a flash of blue light. "I was in mid-sentence," he complained in annoyance as we appeared back on the Titanic.
"Yes, I'm sorry about that. A bit of a problem," Mr. Copper apologized. " If I could have your bracelets…"
The chief steward walked over to our group as we all passed our bracelets forward. "Apologies, ladies and gentlemen, Bannakaffalatta, we seem to have suffered a slight power fluctuation," he informed us. I frowned in curiosity. I glanced at the Doctor to see that he had a similar look on his face. "If you'd like to return to the festivities. And on behalf of Max Capricorn Cruiseliners, free drinks will be provided. The ticket holders depart." Murmurs of agreement rippled through our group.
"That was the best, the best!" Astrid exclaimed happily, grinning widely. She trotted off to return to her duties, a new spring in her step.
"What sort of power fluctuation?" The Doctor asked the chief steward.
"Nothing that you need to concern yourself with, sir," the chief steward dismissed with a pleasant smile. "The issue will be handled. Now, if you excuse me, I have duties to attend to."
I narrowed my eyes at the chief steward's back as he walked away. "Something tells me that this 'slight power fluctuation' is worse than he's making it sound," I mused.
"I think you're right," my bonded agreed. "We need to get a look at the scanners." He took my hand and led me through the crowd. We stopped in the reception, glancing around in search of a suitable means to view the ship's scanners. Our gazes passed over Astrid as she served drinks to the other passengers. She smiled at us and we returned her smile. Continuing our search, I spotted a framed screen showing a video of Max Capricorn. I nudged the Doctor and indicated the screen. He led me to the screen, slipping on his glasses, taking out his sonic, and using ot on the frame. He opened the frame, ignoring the screen as it continued to loop through Max Capricorn's speech. He changed a few settings in the screen's mechanics until it showed the Titanic and her immediate surroundings.
"The shields are offline," I noticed, frowning and pointing to a particular part on the screen.
"That's odd," the Doctor muttered. He mimicked my frown and peered out the window beside us. His eyes widened at whatever he saw.
"What is it?" I asked apprehensively.
"We've got company." I switched places with him and peered out the window. Just like his had, my eyes widened as I spotted the meteors headed straight for the Titanic.
"Is that the bridge? I need to talk to the captain," the Doctor demanded over the comms. "You've got a meteoroid storm coming in West 0 by North 2."
"Who is this?" A man, who I assumed must have been the captain demanded.
"Never mind that," the Doctor dismissed hurriedly. "Your shields are down. Check your scanners, Captain. You've got meteoroids coming in and now shielding!"
"You have no authorization. You will clear the comms at once," the captain ordered.
"Yeah? Just look starboard!" The Doctor snapped. Before the Doctor could say anything else, three stewards came over.
"Come with me, sir, ma'am," the chief stewards told us in a tone that, while pleasant, clearly conveyed he expected us to cooperate. However, he didn't give us a chance to contemplate whether or not we would acquiesce his request as he grabbed one of the Doctor's arms, another steward grabbed his other arm, and the third grabbed me.
"You've got a rock storm heading for this ship and the shields are down!" The Doctor argued as we were dragged through reception. As we passed by the stage, I got an idea. Since I only had one steward holding me, I was able to pull away and bolt to the stage, shoving aside the singer as I scrambled to get to the microphone.
"Everyone, listen to me!" I shouted in a rushed voice. "This is an emergency! Get to the lifeb-" My sentence was cut off as a Host clamped its hand over my mouth. I struggled against the Host's hold as one of the stewards grabbed hold of me again.
"Look out the windows!" The Doctor urged to a group of onlooking passengers as we were forcibly hauled off. "If you don't believe me, check the shields yourself!" He pleaded with the stewards.
"Please, must listen to us! Everyone of this ship is in danger!" I warned desperately.
"Sir, I can vouch for them!" Astrid said as she ran alongside us.
"Look, Steward, they've just had a bit too much to drink," Morvin added hopefully as he and Foon joined us.
"Sir, something seems to have gone wrong. All the teleports are down," Mr. Copper said as our little group passed by.
"Not now!" The chief steward snapped, clearly getting agitated.
"The shields are down, we are going to get hit," the Doctor tried again as we were dragged through the maintenance corridor. Unfortunately, his warning went unheard as everyone in our group was talking at once.
"Oi! Steward!" A voice shouted. Everyone stopped and turned to see the grumpy man with the 'genuine antique' coat. "I'm telling you the shields are down!"
"Listen to him! Listen to him!" The Doctor urged pleadingly. The chief steward finally seemed to pause and think and I smiled hopefully. That hope was short lived, however, as the meteoroids struck the side of the ship, throwing everyone to the floor. The Doctor threw himself overtop of me as we fell, doing his best to shield me from the falling debris. Things seemed to settle and the Doctor slowly got to his feet, shushing everyone as he listened intently.
"It's stopping," the Doctor whispered. The Titanic creaked and groaned as everything resettled. "You alright?" He asked me, reaching a hand out to me to help me up and scanning me over for any injuries. I nodded and smiled gratefully. My smile quickly turned into a grimace as I put weight on my right leg. "What is it? What's wrong?" He asked, his chocolate brown eyes shining in concern.
"My leg," I answered, shifting my weight to my left leg with another wince. He quickly knelt down to check the damage and I had to put my hand on his shoulder to keep my balance. There was a tear in my dress that ran about halfway up my lower leg. The Doctor shifted aside the torn fabric to reveal a cut a few inches in length. Blood trickled down my leg as he prodded the area around the cut, trying to determine how bad it was. "Ow!" I complained, moving my leg away slightly.
"Sorry," the Doctor apologized, getting to his feet. "It's just a small cut. You'll be fine until we can get back to the TARDIS." I nodded and he gently kissed my forehead. "Astrid, you okay?" He asked, as he turned to help the blonde to her feet.
"I think so," Astrid replied.
"Bad name for a ship," the Doctor commented. "Either that or this suit is really unlucky."
"Probably a mixture of both," I said. The Doctor then notice one of the stewards lying motionless on the floor and knelt next to him, placing his fingers on the man's neck to search for a pulse. After a moment, he looked back at me and shook his head, indicating the man was dead.
"Ev-everyone... Ladies and gentlemen, Bannakaffalatta, I must apologize on behalf of Max Capricorn Cruiseliners. We seem to have had a small collision," the chief steward announced in an attempt to calm everyone down. I looked around at the carnage and noticed another screen a few feet away. I limped over to check it out and the Doctor followed behind.
"Small?" Morvin asked indignantly.
"You know how much I paid for my ticket?" The grumpy man demanded angrily.
"If I could have silence, ladies, gentlemen…" The chief steward said, attempting to things under control as everyone started talking at once. "Quiet!" He shouted and they quited. "Thank you. I-I'm sure Max Capricorn Cruiseliners will be able to reimburse you for any inconvenience. But first I would point out that we are very much alive."
"Are you alright?" I heard Astrid ask and turned to see Mr. Copper dabbing at a cut on his head. The Doctor and I walked over to join the others. I bent over slightly, examining the cut.
"She is, after all, a fine, sturdy ship. If you could all stay here while I ascertain the exact nature of the... the situation," the chief steward. I blinked as what the steward said finally registered and snapped my head up to see the steward about to open a hatch.
"Don't open it!" The Doctor yelled, but it was too late. The hatch opened and the chief steward was immediately sucked out into space. Everyone quickly grabbed onto any bit of piping they could get ahold of. We all hung on for dear life, afraid we would meet the same fate as the steward. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the Doctor move back over to the comms and soniced them. I dropped back to the floor with a thud as the shielding was replaced.
"Oxygen shield stabilized," the computer announced.
"Everyone alright?" The Doctor called. "Wonder?"
"Fine," I replied.
"Yeah," Astrid said, panting.
"Foon? Morvin? Mr Copper? Bannakaffalatta?"
"Yes," Bannakaffalatta answered.
"You, what was your name?" The Doctor asked the grumpy man.
"Ah, Rickston Slade," the man said.
"You all right?"
"No thanks to that idiot," Rickston muttered in an annoyed tone as he untied his bowtie.
"The steward just died, show a little bit of respect," I snapped.
"Then he's a dead idiot," Rickston shot back. I glared at him and took a step towards him, but the Doctor's gentle hand on my shoulder stopped me.
"All right, calm down," The Doctor told me softly. "Just stay still, all of you. Hold on." He walked over to the hatch opening and I followed.
"What happened? How come the shields were down?" Astrid asked, joining us.
"I don't think it was an accident," I told her quietly. I stared out of the hole in the ship's hull, watching sadly as bodies floated amongst the debris.
"How many dead?"
"We're alive, just focus on that," the Doctor told her. "I will get you out of here, Astrid. I promise. Look at me. I promise." Astrid nodded shakily. "Good. Now if we can get to Reception, we've got a spaceship tucked away. We can all get on board-" I nudged him gently in the ribs and pointed to a blue police box floating amongst the debris. "Oh."
"What is it? What's wrong?" Astrid asked worriedly.
"That's our spaceship over there," the Doctor sighed.
Astrid's gaze scanned the debris. "Where?"
"The little blue box," I told her, pointing to where the TARDIS was floating.
"That's a spaceship?" Astrid asked in confusion.
"Oi, don't knock it," the Doctor told her, sounding a bit offended.
"It's a bit small."
"Bit distant," I corrected.
"Trouble is, once it's set adrift, it's programmed to lock onto the nearest centre of gravity and that would be... the Earth," the Doctor added. As we watched, the TARDIS floated further away, picking up speed as I was caught in Earth's gravitational pull. I felt a flash of panic as I suddenly remembered that Tyler was in the TARDIS. The Doctor noticed my distress and wrapped a comforting arm around my waist, drawing me close to him. I looked up at him, my eyes filling with tears as I thought of how scared Tyler would be and that I would be unable to comfort him. The Doctor brought one hand to gently cup my cheek. "Tyler will be fine," he assured me. "The TARDIS will look after him."
I closed my eyes and sighed helplessly. "I know, but that doesn't mean I won't still worry about him."
The Doctor smiled softly. "You're his mum, it's your job to worry about him." I didn't respond as I stared unseeingly at his chest. He placed a finger under my chin, forcing me to look at him and I could see the worry in his eyes. As much as her tried to hide it, he was as worried about our son as I was. "I know it's hard, but I need you to focus on our current situation. I'm going to need your help if we want to get back to our son safely, okay?" I nodded. "Good." He pressed a gentle kiss to my forehead. "Now, we need to see if we can find out the status of the engines." He ran back over to the comms. "Deck 22 to the bridge. Deck 22 to the bridge. Is there anyone there?"
"This is the bridge," a voice answered after a tense moment.
"Oh hello, sailor," the Doctor answered cheerfully. "Good to hear you. What's the situation up there?"
"We've got air. The oxygen field is holding. But the captain…" The man paused, his voice cracking. "He's dead. He did it. I watched while he took down the shields. There was nothing I could do. I tried. I did try."
"All right. Just stay calm," I told him gently. "Tell me your name. What's your name?"
The Doctor grinned. "Nice to meet you, sir. What's the state of the engines?"
"They're um...Hold on," the man said. The man groaned in pain.
"Have you been injured?" The Doctor asked in concern.
"I'm all right," Frame dismissed, though he sounded far from alright. Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do for him right now. "Oh my vot. They're cycling down."
The Doctor rubbed an eye tiredly. "That's a nuclear storm drive, yes?"
"The moment they're gone, we lose orbit."
"The planet," Frame gasped in realization.
"Oh yes. If we hit the planet, the nuclear storm explodes and wipes out life on Earth. Midshipman, I need you to fire up the engine containment field and feed it back into the core," the Doctor told him.
"This is never going to work."
"Trust me, it'll keep the engines going until I can get to the bridge," the Doctor assured him. He switched off the comms and we walked back to the others.
"We're going to die!" Foon cried.
"Are you saying someone's done this on purpose?" Mr. Copped asked.
"We're just a cruise ship!" Astrid added.
"Okay, okay. Tch, tch. First things first," the Doctor said, holding up his hands to get everyone to listen. "One: we're going to climb through this ship. B…"
"Two," I corrected.
"Two: we're going to reach the bridge. Three or C: we're going to save the Titanic. And, coming in a very low Four or D or that little 'iv' in brackets they use in footnotes... why," the Doctor finished. "Right then, follow me." He started walking off.
"Hang on a minute. Who put you in charge and who the heck are you anyway?" Rickston demanded.
The Doctor turned back around, a very serious look on his face. "I'm the Doctor. I'm a Time Lord. I'm from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. I'm 903 years old and I'm the man who's gonna save your lives and all six billion of the people on the planet below. You got a problem with that?"
Rickston looked to me. "And her?"
I glared at him. "I'm his wife. I'm 890 years old and the mother to his child who just so happens to be stuck on Earth in our ship. Now, I would like very much to return to my son as soon as possible, so unless you have any brilliant ideas, I would suggest you keep your mouth shut. Do I make myself clear?"
Rickston swallowed thickly under my intense gaze. "Yes."
The Doctor nodded, satisfied. "In that case, allons-y!" He took my hand and walked off, leaving the group behind us to follow. We walked until we came to a door, which he slowly pushed open. On the other side was a stairwell littered with debris and sparking cables. "Careful. Follow me." He let go of my hand and walked ahead, clearing the way.
"Rather ironic when this is very much in the spirit of Christmas. It's a festival of violence," Mr. Copper commented. "They say that human beings only survive depending on whether they've been good or bad. It's barbaric."
"Actually, that's not true. Christmas is a time of-of peace and thanksgiving and…" The Doctor paused in his correction and sighed. "What am I on about? Christmas is always like this."
"Well, our Christmases are anyway," I added. The Doctor shifted aside a large chunk of metal, revealing a broken Host.
"We've got a Host," he said happily. "Strength of ten. If we can mend it, we can use it to fix the rubble."
"We can do robotics, both of us," Morvin spoke up, gesturing to himself and Foon.
"We worked on the milk market back on Sto. It's all robot staff," Foon added.
The Doctor nodded. "See if you can get it working. Let's have a look." The rest of us continued up the stairs, but stopped when we noticed our path blocked by wreckage.
"It's blocked," Astrid said.
"Well, I suppose that leaves us with only one thing to do," I decided.
"We shift it," Astrid said determinedly.
The Doctor smiled. "That's the attitude. Rickston, Mr Copper, and you, Bannakaffalatta... look, can I just call you Banna? It's gonna save a lot of time," he asked the small alien.
"No! Bannakaffalatta!" Bannakaffalatta stated firmly.
The Doctor sighed in slight defeat. "All right then, Bannakaffalatta, there's a gap in the middle. See if you can get through."
Bannakaffalatta nodded. "Easy. Good." The small alien squeezed through the opening. I flinched as he ship lurched, sending loose debris falling around us.
"This whole thing could come crashing down any minute!" Rickston said, beginning to get impatient.
I rolled my eyes. "I guess you didn't get our message, did you, Rickston?" I asked irritably.
"No. What message?" Rickston asked in confusion.
"Shut up!" I snapped. Rickston looked a little taken aback, but thankfully stayed quiet.
"Bannakaffalatta made it," Bannakaffalatta announced from the other side of the wreckage.
"I'm small enough, I can get through," Astrid said, making her way through the hole.
"Careful," the Doctor warned.
"I'm fine," Astrid assured him.
"Thing is, how are Mr and Mrs Fatso gonna get through this gap?" Rickston demanded.
The Doctor shot him a glare. "We make the gap bigger. So start."
"I'm going to slip through and help Bannakaffalatta and Astrid clear the other side," I told the Doctor.
"Be careful," he said.
I smiled. "Aren't I always?" I carefully made my way through the hole. I smiled gratefully as Astrid grabbed my hand and helped my the rest of the way. As I made it to the other side, I heard Morvin and Foon laughing about something.
"What happened? Did they find a donut?" Rickston asked sarcastically.
"Shut it, Rickston!" I snapped, poking my head back through the hole. "Astrid and I are going to start clearing this side. Let us know if anything starts moving," I told the Doctor.
"Bannakaffalatta, what's wrong?" I heard Astrid ask as I shifted a large chunk of metal.
"Is he alright?" I asked Astrid in concern, turning my head and noticing Bannakaffalatta lying a few feet away.
"I'll check on him," Astrid told me and I nodded and returned to my task. I tuned out their conversation and focused on carefully shifting pipes and other debris. Astrid came back over a few minutes later, smiling brightly.
"I take from your expression that he's okay," I said. She nodded.
"What's going on up there?!" The Doctor asked, poking his head into view.
"I think Bannakaffalatta and I just got engaged," Astrid told him. My eyes widened slightly before I smiled and chuckled.
"Well, congratulations," I told her. She smiled gratefully and began to help me.
"It's working!" I heard Morvin exclaim happily.
"Turn it off!" I heard the Doctor shout.
"I can't, Doctor!" Foon yelled, panicking.
"Doctor!" I shouted, worried that I couldn't see what was going on. I saw Rickston back into view. "Rickston, was going on?" Unfortunately, the man was too terrified to answer.
"Lock! Double deadlock! Okay, go upstairs!"
"Run, darling, run!" Foon urged her husband.
"Information: kill, kill, kill…" I heard, causing my hearts to skip a beat.
"Foon! Foon!" Morvin yelled.
"Rickston! Get them through!" The Doctor ordered.
"No chance!" Rickston replied, turning and squeezing through the hole.
"Rickston!" Mr. Copper yelled.
"I'll never get through there," Foon protested.
"Yes, you can," Mr. Copper assured her. "Let me go first."
"Come on, Mr. Copper," I urged as the older man squeezed his way through. "Doctor, what's going on?"
"It's the Host!" The Doctor answered. "They've gone berserk! Are you safe up there?"
"Yes! Your turn, Foon," I told the woman. She started to make her way through, but stopped part way up.
"No, I'm stuck!" Foon panicked. Astrid and I each grabbed a hand and tried pulling her.
"Come on, you can do it!" Astrid urged. Mr. Copper grabbed a metal pole jutting out from under a heavy, metal beam to try and widen the space.
"It's going to collapse!" Mr. Copper warned. With a final grunt, Astrid and I pulled Foon through. The debris shifted, causing Mr. Copper to groan and adjust his grip. "Rickston, vot damn it, help me!"
"No... way," Rickston snapped. I glared at the man, but unfortunately there wasn't any time to argue.
I rushed over to Mr. Copper and took hold of the pole. "I've got it," I assured him. He nodded and back away, panting.
"Morvin, get through!" The Doctor said. Morvin obliged and made his way through, but got stuck just like his wife. Astrid tugged on Morvin's arm, but he seemed more firmly stuck than Foon.
"Kill. Kill. Kill," the Host continued to repeat.
"Doctor, he's stuck!" Astrid announced worriedly.
"Mr Van Hoff, I know we've only just met but you'll have to excuse me," the Doctor apologized. Morvin grunted as he was finally pushed through.
"That's it. We've got you. Doctor, come on, get through," Astrid said.
The Doctor started making his way through, but stopped and turned to the Host that was still following. "Information override! You will tell me the point of origin of your command structure!" The debris shifted again.
"Doctor, hurry up!" I groaned, wincing as I shifted my bad leg to get a better angle. "I can't hold it much longer!"
"Information: Deck 31," the Host answered.
"Thank you," the Doctor said and scrambled through the hole. "Let go!" I happily obliged. I dropped the pole and the beam crashed onto the Host's head. I shot my husband a glare and slapped his arm, causing him to yelp.
"Next time, hurry up when I tell you to," I panted.
"Sorry," he apologized, rubbing his arm. I closed my eyes and sighed, then reached up, grabbed his tie, and tugged him down for a kiss. I pulled back and smirked as the Doctor blinked at me.
"Come on, let's keep moving," I said, patting his chest and limping off.
We continued through the corridors, stepping over and around any debris we found. We stepped through a doorway and found ourselves in an open room.
"Morvin, look, food," Foon breathed happily, staring at a table full of food.
Rickston rolled his eyes. "Oh great. Someone's happy," he bit out sarcastically.
"Don't have any then," Morvin shot back.
"Why don't you go and check on the Midshipman and I'll get us some food," I told the Doctor. He nodded and headed off to the comms. I walked over to the trolley of food and grabbed a couple plates and went back over to the Doctor just as he finished talking with Midshipman. "Everything alright?" I asked, passing him his plate of food.
"Mr. Frame had to use a maximum deadlock to keep the Host from getting in," he sighed. I sat down next to him, stretching out my bad leg with a slight wince.
"Well, that's not good," I muttered.
"No, it's not," the Doctor agreed. "There also appears to be something strange going about Deck 31."
"What about it?"
"It doesn't register on the scanner," he told me. "No heat, no light, nothing."
I frowned in thought. "Hmm, that's odd." We both looked up as Astrid came and sat next to us, holding her own plate of food.
"So, you look good for 903 and 890," Astrid commented.
"You should see us in the mornings," the Doctor said through a mouthful of food.
"Yeah," I giggled. "His hair sticks up all over the place. It's rather adorable to be honest." Astrid chuckled.
"You said you had a son?" She asked.
My smile faded. "Yeah. He's three years old now." I closed my eyes for a moment and sighed. "We left him in our ship because he was tired. Poor thing is probably scared half to death."
The Doctor wrapped his arm around my waist and drew me into his side. "He'll be fine," he assured me, though I knew he was just as worried as I was. "The TARDIS will look after him. He probably hasn't even woken up yet." I nodded and leaned my head on his shoulder. We were quiet for a few moments and Mr. Copper wandered over.
"Doctor, it must be well past midnight, Earth time. Christmas Day," Mr. Copper said.
The Doctor smiled. "So it is. Merry Christmas."
"This Christmas thing, what's it all about?" Astrid asked curiously.
"Long story. I should know, I was there," the Doctor said. "I got the last room."
I glanced at my husband. "Oh, so that was your fault. Why am I not surprised?" He smiled and shrugged sheepishly.
"But if the planet's waking up, can't we signal them? They can send up a rocket or something," Mr. Copper said hopefully.
"They don't have spaceships," the Doctor said, frowning a bit a the old man.
"No, I read about it," Mr. Copped insisted. "They have shuffles, space shuffles."
"Mr. Copper, where exactly did you get your degree in Earthonomics from?" I asked.
Mr. Copper looked at us apprehensively. "Honestly?"
"Just between us," I assured, giving the old man a gentle smile.
Mr. Copper sighed. "Mrs Golightly's Happy Travelling University and Dry Cleaners." The old man sat down next to us, pulling out a hankie and mopping his brow.
"You... you lied to the company... to get the job?" Astrid asked in shock.
"I... I wasted my life on Sto. I was a travelling salesman, always on the road and I reached retirement with nothing to show for it. Not even a home," Mr. Copper replied sadly. "And Earth sounded so exotic."
The Doctor and I smiled fondly. "Hm, I suppose it is, yeah," the Doctor agreed.
"How come you know it so well?" Astrid asked him.
"I was sort of... a few years ago, was sorta made... well, sort of homeless, and, um there was the Earth," the Doctor answered.
"Thing is, if we survive this, there will be police and all sorts of investigations," Mr. Copper pointed out. "Now the minimum penalty for space-age fraud is ten years in jail. I'm an old man. Well, I won't survive ten years." Before he could continue, something started banging on the door. The Doctor dropped his food and rushed to the door.
"A Host!" The Doctor shouted. "Move! Come on!" We all dashed to the other side of the room, the Doctor using his sonic screwdriver to open the door. He opened the door, revealing a huge space running the whole length of the ship. The only way across was a fallen metal beam stretching across the engines.
"Is that the only way across?" Rickston demanded.
"Just be glad we actually have a way across," I replied.
"The engines are open," Astrid pointed out.
"Nuclear storm drive," the Doctor said. "Soon as it stops, the Titanic falls."
"But that thing, it'll never take our weight," Foon said worriedly.
"You're going last, mate," Rickston snapped
"It's nitrofine metal. It's stronger than it looks," the Doctor assured us.
"All the same, Rickston's right," Morvin said, stepping forward. "Me and Foon should-" Suddenly, Morvin stepped on a weak piece of metal near the edge of our platform. The railing gave way and Morvin fell over the edge.
"Morvin!" Foon screamed as she watched her husband fall to his death. My hand shot to my mouth as I stared in horror.
"I told you! I told you!" Rickston shouted.
"Just shut up! Shut up!" Mr. Copper snapped angrily.
"Bring him back! Can't you bring him back? Bring him back, Doctor!" Foon shouted hysterically at the Doctor.
"I'm sorry, I can't," the Doctor apologized, gazing at the distraught woman helplessly.
"You promised me!"
"I know. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
"Doctor, I rather think those things have got our scent," Mr. Copper announced nervously. I rushed over to the door and looked through the window to see a group of Hosts heading our way.
"I'm not waiting," Rickston declared. He began making his way across the bridge.
"Careful! Take it slowly!" The Doctor warned. The ship trembled and rocked, very nearly knocking Rickston off the beam.
"Vot help me," Rickston gasped.
"You're okay. One step at a time. Come on, you can do it," the Doctor urged.
"Kill. Kill. Kill," I heard the Host outside say.
"Doctor!" I called.
"They're getting nearer!" Mr. Copper warned.
"Seal us in," the Doctor muttered. He rushed over and used the sonic on the door.
"Leaving us trapped, wouldn't you say?" Mr. Copper said nervously.
"Not trapped, just inconveniently circumstanced," I replied.
"I'm okay!" Rickston called back as he reached the halfway point.
"Maybe he's all right," Foon said hopefully. "Maybe... Maybe there's a gravity curve down there or something. I don't know. Maybe he's unconscious."
"I'm sorry, Foon. He's gone," Astrid said sadly. She wrapped her arms around Foon as she began to sob.
"What am I going to do without him?" Foon cried.
"Yes! Oh yes! Who's good?!" Rickston shouted excitedly as he finally reached the other side.
"Bannakaffalatta, you go next," the Doctor said.
The small red alien nodded. "Bannakaffalatta, small." He started moving across the beam and it shifted dangerously.
"Slowly!" The Doctor warned. I jumped as the Host began pounding on the door.
"They've found us!" Mr. Copper gasped.
"Astrid, get across right now," the Doctor ordered.
"What about you?" Astrid asked worriedly.
"Just do it. Go on," the Doctor told her. "Mr. Copper, we can't wait. Don't argue." Mr. Copper nodded and started across after Astrid. He turned to me.
"I'm not leaving you," I stated firmly.
"I'll be right behind you," he assured me. "I need to stay back and make sure Foon goes across." I set my jaw, knowing there was no arguing with him. I grabbed his lapels and pulled him into a passionate kiss.
"You'd better be right behind me," I warned. I turned and began carefully making my way across the beam. I tried my best to ignore the sheer drop on either side.
"Doctor! The door's locked!" Rickston shouted from the other side.
'Crap!' I thought.
"Doctor, I can't open the door. We need the whirring key thing of yours!"
"I can't leave her!" The Doctor protested.
"She'll get us all killed if we can't get out!" Rickston shot back angrily. I glanced back at the Doctor and we locked eyes. As much as we hated to admit it, Rickston was right. We needed to get out and we needed the Doctor's sonic screwdriver to unlock the door. I would have told the Doctor to toss his sonic to me so I could take it, but I didn't want to risk dropping it. He turned back to Foon.
"Mrs. Van Hoff, I am coming back for you, all right?" The Doctor told her. Foon nodded, more tears slipping down her cheeks. He began making his way across the beam, causing the metal to creak under the extra weight.
"Too many people!" Bannakaffalatta shouted.
"Oi! Don't get spiky with me! Keep going!" The Doctor snapped.
"It's gonna fall!" Astrid panicked.
"It's just settling! Keep going!" Suddenly, we all became aware of how quiet it had become.
"They've stopped," Astrid said.
"Gone away?" Bannakaffalatta wondered.
I frowned. "But that doesn't make sense. Why would they just give up?"
"Never mind that. Keep coming!" Rickston shouted.
"Where have they gone? Where are the Host?" The Doctor wondered.
"I'm afraid... we forgot the tradition of Christmas that angels have wings!" Mr. Copper exclaimed, looking up and pointing. We all looked up and saw Host gliding down and encircling.
"Information: kill," the Hosts declared, reaching for their halos.
"Arm yourselves! All of you!" The Doctor shouted. I glanced around and grabbed a metal pole. I raised it just in time to deflect a halo. All around me, everyone was swinging their weapons, doing their best to defend themselves from the deadly halos. The Doctor suddenly cried out in pain as a halo grazed his arm. The next moment, another halo grazed Mr. Copper's side. I ducked as a halo flew over my head, swinging my pole as it came back around.
Astrid collapsed to her knees. "I can't," she cried.
"Bannakaffalatta stop!" Bannakaffalatta declared, throwing down his own pole. "Bannakaffalatta proud! Bannakaffalatta, cyborg!" The little red alien lifted his shirt, discharging a wave of energy and short circuiting all the Hosts.
"Electromagnetic pulse took out the robotics. Oh, Bannakaffalatta, that was brilliant!" The Doctor complimented. The red alien toppled over and Astrid hurried over to him.
"He's used all his power!" Astrid exclaimed.
"Did good?" Bannakaffalatta asked.
Astrid nodded. "You saved our lives."
"We can recharge you, get you to a power point and just plug you in!" Astrid said hopefully.
Bannakaffalatta shook his head. "Too late."
"No, but... you gotta get me that drink, remember?" Astrid reminded him, smiling tearfully.
The little red alien smiled. "Pretty girl." He closed his eyes. Astrid sniffled and went to button his shirt.
"I'm sorry. Forgive me," Mr. Copper apologized, reaching for Bannakaffalatta's power source.
Astrid tried to brush him off. "Leave him alone."
"It's the EMP transmitter. He-he'd want us to use it," Mr. Copper told her, removing the device. "I used to sell these things. They'd always give me a bed for the night in the cyborg caravans. They're good people. But if we can recharge it, we can reuse it as a weapon against the rest of the Host. Bannakaffalatta might have saved us all."
"Do you think?" Rickston snapped. "Try telling him that." He pointed to one of the Hosts that had landed on the beam behind the Doctor. We all looked to see the Host was moving.
"Information: reboot," the Host said.
"Use the EMP!" Rickston shouted.
"It's dead!" Mr. Copper informed him helplessly.
"Doctor!" I shouted in panic as the Host moved closer.
"No, no, no. Hold on," the Doctor said, attempting to stop the Host as it reached for its halo. "Override loophole security protocol... Ten! 666! Oh. 21, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Um, I dunno, 42! Uh, one!"
The Host stopped. "Information: state request."
The Doctor blinked, obviously not having expected that to work. "Good... right. You've been ordered to kill the survivors, but why?" He asked.
"Information: no witnesses."
"But this ship's gonna fall on the Earth and kill everyone," the Doctor pointed out. "The human race have nothing to do with the Titanic so that contravenes your orders, yes?"
"But why do you want to destroy the Earth?"
"Information: it is the plan."
"Information: protocol grants you only three questions. These three questions have been used."
"Well, you could have warned me," the Doctor said.
"Information: now you will die."
My eyes widened as the Host prepared to strike the Doctor with its halo. "Doctor!" Suddenly, a lasso was thrown over its head.
"You're coming with me," Foon declared.
"No, Foon, don't!" I cried, but it was too late. She closed her eyes and jumped over the side, pulling the Host with her.
"Nooooo!" The Doctor yelled. I watched in horrified silence as Foon fell. So many people had died already. How many more would die before we got out of this? I met the Doctor's gaze and I could tell he was thinking the same thing. He set his jaw in determination. "No more." We all made it out of the engines and wound up in another set of maintenance halls and the Doctor immediately began dishing out instructions. "Right. Get up to Reception One. Once you're there, Mr. Copper. You've got staff access to the computer. Try and find a way of transmitting an SOS. Astrid, you're in charge of this." He passed her the EMP. "Once it's powered up, it'll take out Hosts within fifty yards but then it needs sixty seconds to recharge. Got it? Rickston, take this." He passed Rickston his sonic screwdriver. "I've preset it. Just hold down that button. It'll open doors. Do not lose it! You got that? Now go and open the next door. Go on! Go!"
"All right!" Rickston shouted, hurrying to obey. I glanced around and grinned when I spotted a First Aid kit. I grabbed it and walked over to Mr. Copper.
"Here we go," I said, kneeling in front of him and opening the kit. "We can go ahead and clean that head wound. We need you at top performance." As I cleaned Mr. Copper's head wound, Astrid lead the Doctor to the power point under the comms. Once done there, the Doctor moved to the comms.
"Mr. Frame, you still with us?" The Doctor asked into the comms.
"It's the engines, sir. Final phase. There's nothing more I can do. We've got only eight minutes left!" Frame announced, panic evident in his tone.
"Don't worry, I'll get there," the Doctor assured him.
"The bridge is sealed off!"
"Yeah, yeah, working on it. I'll get there, Mr. Frame, somehow." The Doctor glanced down at Astrid who had finished charging the EMP. "All charged up? Mr. Copper, look after her. Astrid, look after him. Rickston, um... look after yourself. Wonder, look after all of them. And I'll see you again, promise."
"Wait!" I protested, grabbing his arm. "I'm not going to let you go to Deck 31 all by yourself!"
"Wonder, please, you have to stay here," the Doctor told me, placing his hands on my shoulders. "We don't have time to argue."
I gazed at him and knew immediately I wouldn't be able to change his mind. "Fine," I huffed. I reached up and tugged him down for a passionate kiss. "You better come back alive."
"I will," my husband assured me. He captured my lips in another kiss and ran off. I turned back to the group. "Right then. Once more onto the breech!" I lead the group through the corridors and stopped at a locked door. I gestured to the locked door. "Rickston, if you please." Rickston used the sonic and walked through the door. He immediately moved out of the way as we came upon more Hosts.
"Do it!" Rickston shouted. Astrid stepped forward and used the EMP and the Hosts collapsed. Mr. Copper, Rickston, and Astrid cheered. We kept moving at finally found Reception. Astrid once again used the EMP to take out the Hosts.
"Right, Rickston, seal the doors and secure the room," I ordered. "Astrid, Mr. Copper, keep an eye on the Hosts. I need to check the computer and send an SOS." Everyone moved to obey my orders. I tried the computer, but it was still down. I slammed a fist on the keys in frustration.
"No luck?" Astrid asked.
I shook my head and ran a hand through my hair. "No." I noticed the teleport bracelets. "But I have an idea." I ran the comms. "Bridge, this is Reception!"
"Who's there?" Frame asked.
"Wonder, the Doctor's wife," I replied. "Mr. Frame, can you divert power to the teleport system?"
"No way. I'm using everything I got to keep the engines running," Frame protested.
"Mr. Frame, please. I just need to be able to Deck 31."
"And I'm telling you no," Frame insisted.
"Mr. Frame...I'm doing this for my husband," I pleaded. "Please, he's gone down there on his own and I don't care if he told me to stay behind. He's my husband and the father to my son. He's always doing everything he can to help everyone, now it's my turn to help him."
"...Giving you power." I grinned and grabbed a bracelet. Astrid came over and grabbed one too.
"What are you doing?" I asked her.
"Coming with you," Astrid replied.
"I want to help, please." I sighed and nodded.
"Mr. Copper, we're gonna find him," I said.
"Good luck," Mr. Copper told us.
Astrid and I arrived on Deck 31. I could hear the Doctor and another man talking. We snuck around some rubble and peeked our heads around. I spotted the Doctor, a few Hosts, and a machine which looked like some kind of life support system with the head of Max Capricorn inside.
"This interview is terminated," Capricorn announced, rolling forward.
"No, no, no, no, no, no!" The Doctor protested, hurrying to get in front of Capricorn. "Hold on! Hold on! Hold on! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! I can work it out. It's like a task. I'm your apprentice. Just watch me. So... Business is failing and you wreck the ship so that makes things even worse. Oh yes! No. Yes. The business isn't failing, it's failed. Past tense." I smiled proudly. I always loved watching him work things out.
"My own board voted me out. Stabbed me in the back," Capricorn said.
"If you had a back," The Doctor replied and I had to clamp a hand over my mouth to keep from laughing. Astrid and I moved closer, careful not to be seen. "So...You scupper the ship, wipe out any survivors in case anyone's rumbled you and the board find their shares halved in value. Oh, but that's not enough. No, 'cause if a Max Capricorn ship hits the Earth, it destroys an entire planet. Outrage back home. Scandal! The business is wiped out."
Capricorn grinned devilishly. "And... the whole board thrown in jail for mass murder."
"While you sit there, safe inside the impact chamber," the Doctor added, glaring at Capricorn.
"I have men waiting to retrieve me from the ruins and enough off-world accounts to retire me to the beaches of Pentaxico Two where the ladies, so I'm told, are very fond of... metal," Capricorn told him, grinning.
"So that's the plan," the Doctor said indignantly. "A retirement plan. 2000 on this ship, 6 billion underneath us, all of them slaughtered. And why? Because Max Capricorn is a loser."
Capricorn glared at the Doctor. "I never lose."
"You can't even sink the Titanic," the Time Lord pointed out.
Capricorn smirked. "Oh, but I can, Doctor. I can cancel the engines from here." Suddenly, an alarm sounded.
"You can't do this!" The Doctor shouted in protest.
"Host, hold him." Two Host grabbed the Doctor's arms. I knew I had to do something. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see Astrid pointing to a forklift. I grinned and nodded. We both hurried over and climbed in.
"Not so clever now, Doctor. A shame we couldn't work together. You're rather good. All that banter yet not a word wasted," Capricorn complimented. "Time for me to retire. The Titanic is falling. The sky will burn. Let the Christmas inferno commence. Oh! Oh, Host! Kill him." One of the Hosts not holding the Doctor removed his halo.
"Mr. Capricorn!" Astrid shouted, announcing our presence. "I resign." I started the forklift and Astrid drove it towards Capricorn.
"Wonder, Astrid, don't!" The Doctor yelled. Astrid lifted the front of Capricorn's life support just enough so the tires had no purchase. Unfortunately, his rear tires had just enough traction to keep us from moving. One of the Hosts threw its halo at Astrid and I. I ducked and Astrid let out a startled scream. "He's cut the brake line!"
Astrid looked at me. "I'm sorry," she said.
"Astrid, what are you-" I didn't get a chance to finish as she shoved me off the forklift, raised the fork higher, lifting Capricorn completely off the ground, and stepped on the gas.
"Astrid!" The Doctor and I shouted. I scrambled to my feet and bolted after her. I managed to grab her hand just before the forklift went over the edge. Unfortunately, the sudden extra weight pulled me to the ground, my right arm dangling over the edge as Astrid hung on for dear life.
"I've got you!" I told Astrid through gritted teeth.
The Doctor slid the ground beside me. "Hold on!"
"I had no intention of letting go," Astrid replied, her eyes wide with fear. "Do you think you could help me up?" The Doctor nodded and reached down and grabbed Astrid's other hand and together, we pulled her up. "Thanks!" She breathed.
"No problem," I said. We flinched as an explosion went off behind us. "Now I believe we have a crashing Titanic to save."
"Right!" The Doctor said. He snapped his fingers and the Hosts stepped forward, two grabbing his arms and another two grabbing Astrid and I. We flew upward, gaining speed as we went. As we neared the ceiling, the Hosts raised their arms and broke through into the bridge. Frame let out a startled cry as the Host broke through.
"Deadlock broken," a computer announced.
"Ah, Midshipman Frame at last!" The Doctor greeted cheerfully as he climbed through the broken floor boards.
"Hello!" I said, helping Astrid up.
"Uh, but... but the Host!" Frame warned, staring at the Host worriedly.
"Ah, don't worry," I assured him. "With their controller dead, they divert to the next highest authority and that just so happens to be my husband." I noticed Frame had a hand pressed to his side and blood was trickling over his fingers and I made a mental note to take care of that later. The Doctor hurried over to the controls.
"There's nothing we can do," Frame protested. "There's no power. The ship's gonna fall."
"Not if we can help it!" I announced.
The Doctor took the wheel. "What's your first name?"
"Alonzo," Frame answered.
"You're kidding me," the Doctor said, looking surprised.
"Alonzo, I think you just made his day!" I laughed.
Alonzo game me a puzzled look. "What?"
"That's something else I've always wanted to say. Allons-y Alonzo!" The Doctor shouted happily. The ship lurched and headed straight towards Earth's atmosphere. "Whoa!" He struggled to hold the wheel while Astrid, Alonzo, and I braced ourselves against the back wall. An alarm sounded and I crawled to the console to check. The computer screen showed the impact zone.
"We're going to crash somewhere in London," I announced. "Looks like, ah crud!"
"What is it?" The Doctor asked.
"Impact zone is Buckingham Palace!"
The Doctor groaned. "Pass me the phone!" I did. "Hello, yes, um... could you get me Buckingham Palace? Listen to me! Security Code 771! Now get out of there!" I watched with growing apprehension as the Titanic burned through the atmosphere and drew closer to the ground.
"Engine active. Engine active." The Doctor pulled back hard on the wheel and I had to grab hold of the console to keep from toppling back. We drew closer and closer to the ground and for a terrifying moment, I thought we would crash. Thankfully, the ship finally pulled up, just barely missing Buckingham Palace. I let out a breathless laugh, hardly believing our luck.
"You did it!" Astrid exclaimed happily. Alonzo got to his feet and rang a bell on the wall, grinning in relief.
"Whoo-hoo-hoo!" The Doctor cried excitedly. I chuckled and shook my head and turned to Alonzo.
"Might I have a look at that?" I asked gesturing to his wound.
Once the Doctor got the Titanic back into orbit, he came over and sat next to me. "Used the heat of re-entry to fire up the secondary storm drive," he explained to Astrid and Alonzo, who was nursing his newly bandaged wound. "Unsinkable, that's me."
"We made it," Alonzo said.
"Not all of us," I said sadly, thinking about Foon and Morvin.
"We should get back to Reception to check on the others," Astrid suggested. We agreed.
Back in Reception, we found Mr. Copper and Rickston alive and well. Alonzo went over to the comms to check the engines.
"Alright you two?" I asked as Astrid, the Doctor, and I approached.
"Well, we're alive, so that's something," Mr. Copper said.
"The engines have stabilized," Alonzo announced as he walked back over. "We're holding steady till we get help and I've sent the SOS. A rescue ship should be here within twenty minutes. And they're digging out the records of Max Capricorn. It should be quite a story."
"They'll want to talk to all of us, I suppose," Mr. Copper said nervously.
Alonzo nodded. "I'd have thought so, yeah."
"I think, uh, one or two inconvenient truths might come to light," Mr. Copper commented to the Doctor, Astrid, and I. "Still, it's my own fault, and then years in jail is better than dying."
Rickston walked over. "Doctor... I never said... thank you." He hugged the Doctor, who simply stood there, not entirely sure what to do. "The funny thing is... I said Max Capricorn was falling apart. Just before the crash, I... sold all my shares, transferred them to his rivals. It's made me rich. What do you think of that?" I raised my brows in shock. He was seriously still thinking about money after everything that just happened? Rickston's phone rang. "Salvain? Those shares, I want them triple-bonded and locked."
"Of all the people to survive, he's not the one you would have chosen, is he?" Mr. Copper asked quietly. "But if you could choose, Doctor, if you decide who lives and who dies…" He shrugged. "That would make you a monster." I smiled as the old man's wise words.
"Mr. Copper…" The Doctor said, reaching behind him and taking a couple teleport bracelets. "I think you deserve one of these." Mr. Copper smiled as he took the bracelet.
"Care to join us, Astrid?" I asked, holding up another bracelet. Astrid grinned and took hers. Alonzo stared at us for a moment, before saluting.
"So, Great Britain is part of, uh, "Europee" and just across the British Channel you've got Great France and Great Germany," Mr. Copper said as the four of us walked to the TARDIS.
"No, no, it's just... it's just France and Germany. Only Britain is great," the Doctor corrected.
"Oh, and they're all at war with the continent of Ham-erica?"
"No, well... not yet, uh... could argue that one," the Doctor mumbled. I grinned as we arrived at the familiar blue box. "There she is." He patted the box fondly. "Survive anything."
"I'll meet you inside, Doctor," I told my husband. "I'm going to check up on Tyler." I walked over to Mr. Copper. "Take care of yourself." I kissed his cheek. I turned to Astrid. "See you in a few minutes." I opened the TARDIS doors and stopped just inside, smiling as I gazed around the console room I was so fond of. I quickly hurried down the hall to Tyler's room and carefully opened the door. I peeked my head in and saw Tyler sleeping soundly, completely unaware of what had happened the last couple hours. I smiled softly and closed the door, sending a mental thank you to the sentient time machine. Hearing my thoughts the TARDIS hummed happily. I wandered back to the console room just in time to see the Doctor close the door behind him. My brows furrowed in confusion as I noticed the lack of a blonde woman."Where's Astrid?" I asked.
"She decided to stay behind and look after Mr. Copper," he replied, a sullen look on his face.
"Oh." I was a bit disappointed. I had rather liked Astrid and I knew the Doctor had too. She would have made a fine traveling companion.
"Anyway, how's Tyler?"
The Doctor smiled lightly. "I told you the TARDIS would take care of him."
I chuckled. "I never doubted it." He walked up to the console and pulled a lever, sending us into the Time Vortex.
"Come on," he said, holding out a hand to me. "We need to get that leg taken care of."
"Fine, but you have to let me tend to your arm," I told him.
"Deal," he replied as I took his hand. I let out a surprised yelp when he tugged me closer and scooped me up in his arms, carrying me down the hall to the med bay.
Once again, I'm so sorry for taking so long. Please leave a review. Till next time!