Disclaimer: Doctor Who and anything related to it do not belong to me and I'm making no money from them.
A.N. Apologies for the delay in updating. I've just moved house (and country) so things have been hectic for a wee while. Here's the final chapter! Thanks for your patience and I hope it's worth the wait! Enjoy!
Epilogue – Water, Water Everywhere
The plan was a work of absolute genius, if Rose did say so herself. They had quickly decided that they couldn't leave Cherush in its current state. The first thing they had to do was give the citizens back their free will. Next, they would deal with Ardeth and her mother.
Rose had ordered the Doctor to redress in his slave costume to which he had protested, but it was ultimately to no avail. They were now both on their way to the water distribution plant and instead of climbing in through the pipes, this time they were headed straight for the front door.
As they approached the guards, Rose gritted her teeth before forcing a smile onto her face and prepared for the performance of a lifetime. The smile became a bit more real, however, when she glanced up at the Doctor who was working on perfecting his puppy-dog look.
Rose quickly informed the guards that she was at the plant to inquire about making a donation, and they eagerly let her and the Doctor through. New blood, she thought ominously.
They were escorted into an elaborate office on the top floor of the building and asked to wait. Rose took a seat rather smugly as the Doctor had to stand behind her. A large window looked out over the mountains in the distance and as she squinted through the sunlight she thought she could see a mansion in the distance.
"Ms Tyler," a woman's voice spoke from the doorway behind her. Both Rose and the Doctor turned around and Rose stood to shake the woman's proffered hand. "It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Please," she gestured at the seat and the intention was quite clear. Rose sat down as the woman crossed to the other side of the desk and also took a seat. "I'm Sheryl Kayner, the administrator of this facility. I was told you were interested in making a donation?" For the first time since she had entered the room she acknowledged the Doctor's existence as she glanced up at him.
"I'm considering it," Rose said with a wide smile that she couldn't stop from spreading across her face. "I'm new to the area and I don't really know what happens here. I was wondering if you could give us a tour before I decide?"
The Administrator was momentarily confused when Rose included her slave in the request, but she squashed the feeling. Here, people didn't recognise their slaves in such a way, but this woman was from a different province. Perhaps things were different there. If the lady wanted a tour, she'd get one. The slave in question looked to be in fine physical condition- she could get a lot of work out of him. Not only that, but she had heard rumours about this Rose Tyler. Some called her a Dame. Someone of that title must be of some importance. Perhaps, if they gave a good enough impression, more workers would be forthcoming. She would have to give Dame Rose her utmost attention.
The Doctor was utterly bored. The grand tour hadn't yet taken them to the main distribution centre where he hoped he would be able to slip away unnoticed.
Rose didn't seem to be any more interested in the tour than he was. She was nodding in all the right places and hmmm-ing and ahhh-ing, but her disinterest was obvious. This was actually working to the Doctor's advantage. The Administrator seemed almost desperate to impress Rose and so was giving her all of her attention. The Doctor, on the other hand, was like an echo or a ghost. He was invisible.
Finally they entered a rather plush elevator and began to descend slowly to under the planet's surface and the Doctor had to try hard not to bounce on the balls of his feet in anticipation. They were entering the belly of the beast.
The Administrator and Rose walked forward towards the central console that the Doctor had seen before. He hung back before slipping away, unnoticed, into the adjoining room that held the chemical antidote. He waved the sonic screwdriver about the room, hoping to disable any alarms that were bound to go off, before turning it to another setting and putting it back in his pocket.
A ladder scaled the wall opposite him and he climbed it quickly. Hanging onto the rungs with one arm he reached for the sonic screwdriver hanging off his belt. Pointing it towards the heavy chemical containment tank he activated it at the setting he had previously programmed it to.
For a few moments it appeared as though nothing was happening. Then, with the screeching of metal, the tank began to rupture. The antidote poured from its housing, cascading over the Doctor as he gripped the ladder tightly, into an overspill tank.
When the last of the chemical had been swept away the Doctor gingerly climbed back down the ladder, shook his hair out like a wet dog, and slipped out of the room. No one, except Rose, seemed to notice his disappearance and subsequent reappearance. No one even noticed that he was soaked to the skin. All the slaves were hard at work in the Administrator's presence, minding nobody's business but their.
This time, the Doctor stood directly under one of the tanks, holding the sonic screwdriver in one hand and an open test tube in the other. He pointed the screwdriver directly upwards and listened to its distinctive hum. It was soon marred by the creaking of the tank above him.
The following waterfall was so forceful that it brought him to his knees. Thankfully he was still able to function enough under the heavy weight that he was able to cork the now full test tube and secure it and the screwdriver to his belt. When the rushing of water in his ears finally ended he was able to hear the alarms echoing loudly throughout the chamber.
He found himself being grabbed tightly around his arm and hauled to his feet. He and Rose were escorted out of the building rather promptly with the profuse apologies of an embarrassed Administrator Kayner and a solemn promise to find out exactly how this accident had occurred.
Rose and the Doctor, drenched as he was, made their way back to the TARDIS with a spring in their step, congratulating each other on a job well done.
They didn't even go looking for Lady Ardeth. News of Rose's escape from the clutches of death and the accident at the water plant would surely spread and she would come looking for them. As it was, when she did find them they were sitting outside the TARDIS on deck chairs eating ice-cream. Rose was dressed in a light pair of shorts and t-shirt, slathered in layers of sun block. The Doctor's attire was a rather garish orange Hawaiian shirt and shorts.
The Doctor sat up a little straighter in his deck chair and perched his sun glasses on the top of his head before giving the woman a cheerful wave. "Lady Ardeth! So glad you could join us!" He thrust a drink that was as bright as his outfit at her. "Here, have a drink!"
Ardeth practically marched over to them, a furious cloud of dust rising up behind her. She found the tropical drink being thrust into her hand and greeted by two bright smiles, though Rose's looked somewhat sinister. She had to admit, she was stunned that Rose was there at all. She was supposed to be dead!
"Dame Rose," she began scathingly, ignoring the Doctor. "You appear to be in good health."
Rose's smile was fixed on her face but it didn't reach her eyes. "Never been better. You're looking a bit stressed. Maybe you should see someone about that."
The Doctor shuddered, even as the sun beat down on him. He could have sworn the temperature had dropped around the two women who were glaring at each other. He cleared his throat to gain their attention.
"Rose told me all about your little baby-making proposal, Alex. Can I call you Alex? Anyway, as flattered as I am," he resisted shuddering, "I'm afraid I have to decline. We're not going to be in the area for much longer." He looked her right in the eye, almost challenging her to forbid it.
Ardeth broke the contact first. It was almost as though he was peering into her very soul. She took a drink from the fruity concoction in her hand to hide her discomfort. This Doctor was obviously no ordinary slave.
Suddenly the Doctor's eyes lit up, almost gleefully. "As for the matter of the brainwashing the population of Cherush, well," he grinned, "there's not much we can do about that. But I'd like to make a suggestion. Don't speak," cut her off before she could even open her mouth to speak. "Just listen."
And to her absolute, unadulterated horror, Lady Alexandra Ardeth found that her mouth simply wouldn't open. Her lips stayed firmly pressed together.
"You see, I destroyed the tank of antidote at the water distribution facility. I also destroyed a tank of the brainwashing formula. I suggest that you don't bother repairing or replacing these tanks. In a few days the drug will wear off and the citizens of Cherush will have their free will back. And I don't think that some of them will be pleased with the status-quo around here. Don't you agree?"
Ardeth found herself nodding, despite the curses that she was screaming inside her head.
"I also suggest," the Doctor continued, "that you force your mother to resign as President and find someone more appropriate to take over. But before you do, I want you to make sure you abolish the slavery laws. No man, nor woman, is ever going to be a slave on this planet again."
A cold dread filled Ardeth. Not at the Doctor's words, but at his tone. He sounded frightening. Powerful. Dangerous.
"You will also destroy any of the chemicals used to control the minds of others and you will destroy the formula. They are never to be used again." He stood up and walked towards her. She found herself unable to look away from him. Staring down at her he concluded, "Do you understand me?"
She nodded, conveying her obedience.
"Well then!" Suddenly a completely different man was standing before her. Gone was the dark and dangerous Doctor, though she suspected he lurked just below the surface, keeping watch. "Hop to it! There's no time like the present! Allons-y!"
Ardeth was only too happy to leave, cursing her own stupidity at being fooled into drinking her own formula.
The only stayed a few more days on Cherush and the situation was already getting back to normal. A new president had been elected, a former slave of President Ardeth's. It seemed that he had done most of the drudge work when his previous mistress had been in charge and he had gained a good grasp of politics.
There were downsides to the reformation, however. The Doctor predicted that crime would rise but that was a small price to pay for a life with free will.
"Do you think they'll be okay? They lived this way for over a thousand years." Rose asked as they entered the TARDIS to leave.
The Doctor glanced out over their surroundings. "Why don't we find out?"
They had only been gone a few seconds and yet over a decade had passed. Outwardly it looked like the same Cherush that they had arrived in only a few days ago. The market place was bustling, a hive of activity. The attire was still the same heavy dresses and tunics. But the people were very different.
Each person was standing straighter, taller, and prouder. Each person was an individual, worth no more than the person standing next to them whether they were male or female.
Neither traveller spoke as they walked to the fountain opposite the cliff face. Everything looked so perfect, but they had to be sure. The Doctor cupped his hands and dipped them in the water before lifting them to his face and taking a sip.
Rose glance anxiously at him as he swirled the water around his mouth. Finally, he swallowed.
She couldn't help it. Rose jumped towards him, hugging him. They both laughed as he spun her around.
Together, they stood for a while, staring out in wonder at the slave free world.
A.N. Finally the last chapter! Over three years after starting this fic I'm finally finishing it! Thanks to everyone who has reviewed so far and let me know what you all thought of this final chapter!