Disclaimer: The Doctor and Rose would be together by now if I owned them.

Notes: When the Beast mentioned the past of the crew on Sanctuary Base 6, I was intrigued by what had happen to them. This is my version of what happened in their past. I'll try to update every day but I'm finding some of the characters are very difficult. Zack, however, wasn't. So let's start with him…

Oh, and please review!

Past Life

The Captain

"The Captain, so scared of command…"

"Nicky, MOVE!"

Zack stood in the control room, watching the monitor displaying the exterior of base three. He watched as Nicky ran, away from the fiery river that was catching up fast.

Nicky was inspected the hull of the base when the volcano exploded unexpectedly. Space wasn't to be predictable. But the base was designed to withstand the onslaught. Nicky wasn't.

"Come on, Nicky. I've got to close it before the lava gets here." Captain Ben Sampson pressed the button.

"Wait!" cried Zack. But it was too late. The door was lowering.

Nicky was still running, her panic clear even on the black and white monitor. She was so close, but the wave edge closer and closer, gaining speed as it rolled down hill, eating everything in its path.

"Come on…" Zack breathed, as the door continued lowering. It was nearly there…

The monitor went blank, the heat from the lava frying the electronics outside. But the computer told them the door was shut.

"Hold on, everyone," the Captain shouted.

The wave hit the base like a missile. The building shook dangerously and the heat could be felt as it radiated through the metal.

It died as quickly as it came.

The occupants of the room got back to work quickly, assessing any damage. They had been trained to deal with things like this. Nicky wasn't trained to deal with lava.

"Nicky?" Zack said into his com link. "Nicky, you there?" Static.

Come on, he thought. Don't do this to me…

"She's gone," said the Captain, his voice solemn. Everyone in the room stopped. "No life sign readings."

Zack stared at him. "She can't be," he whispered. Then he saw the monitor himself. He leant against the control board before his legs gave way.

The Captain never took his eyes from Zack. "Report. Officer Nicola Willis. Deceased."

The room was deathly quiet, but the silence was deafening to Zack. He clenched his eyes shut. Nicky, his best friend, dead.

When he signed up for the job, he wanted adventure. The chance to go places no one had ever been before. He had met Nicky and the two had become great friends. And he had done well in his job, rising through the ranks to second-in-command. But he still remained close to Nicky. He got on with everyone on board and was a good leader, but leaders weren't supposed to show weakness and so Nicky was the only person he could talk to. She wouldn't judge him; tell him he wasn't fit to lead, although he often felt like it.

The Captain's voice pulled him from his thoughts. "Okay people, let's go. Reboot code 33845. Tom, check the experiments, Zara…"

"Why didn't you wait, sir?"

"Zack, help…"

"Why didn't you wait, sir? She was so close…"

The room fell quiet again, but this time for a different reason. The Captain was a great leader, but no one dared challenge him.

The Captain looked straight at Zack and sighed. When he spoke, his voice was quiet. "I'm sorry Zack. If I had waited any longer the wave would have got in and destroyed the shield. I couldn't take the risk."

Zack's anger flared. He stood up and stared at the Captain, eyes ablaze. "Risk? This entire operation is a risk…"

The Captain pounded his fist onto the control panel, cutting Zack off. "Dammit, Zack! Do you think I enjoy doing this? I'm the Captain and I have to make decisions. If I hadn't have closed that door we all would have died. Would Nicky have wanted that?"

The Captain stopped suddenly and looked around the room. Seeing his crew staring at him seemed to bring back to his self. He ran his hand through his greying hair and lowered his voice so only Zack could hear. Zack didn't take his eyes off him.

"Zack, please understand. I've had to make many decisions. Many of which I didn't like. But I have to look at the facts and make the best choice given the circumstances."

Zack lowered his head. Zack understood. The universe was ruthless.

"You have to learn to make these decisions and stick by them, Zack. You have to stay strong. If anything happens to me Zack, you're in charge. You will have to make those choices."

Zack looked at the Captain. His hair was now almost grey, his face creased and eyes… his eyes were empty. They showed nothing, none of the spark that Zack remembered when he first met the Captain.

"I understand, Captain." And he did. He finally understood want being in command meant. He understood you had to stay strong no matter the circumstance, be ruthless if nesseccary. He understood you had to play God, whether you liked it or not...

And Zack knew he didn't like it.