Author Note: Hey guys, sorry for the REALLY long delay between the last chapter and this one. But things have just been so hectic lately, and then I got caught up watching the newest series of Doctor Who - how brilliant is it!! And of course, after the Episode Turn Left, I really wanted to get back to writing this again, lol, so here I am, writing again. For those of you who've seen the new series, you'll know where some of the stuff in these next few chapters come from...and even if you haven't...well, you'll soon understand what's going on, I hope, lol. Without trying to spoil too much for those of you who haven't seen series 4 yet, here's the latest chapter for you all! lol
The next morning, on their way to work, Rose and Scooti were chatting about everything and nothing - the weather, plans for the weekend, which actor was better looking, who should have won Britain's Got Talent, Rose's dream and it's meaning, the Walking Doodle, Rose's pregnancy, baby names - Just silly little random conversations that only two good friends could have.
However, as they passed by a group of tourists on Westminster Bridge and Rose had to step into the road to avoid a pushchair, Scooti grabbed her arm and pulled her back, with a warning look, and raised eyebrows.
"Remember what happened last time you did that?" she chided, and Rose grinned, nodding sheepishly. It seemed there were some things she'd never learn.
Tucking her hands into the pockets of her new leather jacket - which was in the same style as her old black one, but was a dark navy instead, she and Scooti continued on, through the streets and past the Royal Hope Hospital, which Rose and the rest of the Torchwood team had recently saved from an alien species called the Judoon.
"Wonder how Martha's getting on now," Scooti commented lightly. Rose paused and frowned.
"What?" Scooti asked.
"Martha? Martha who?"
"Jones. The med stude-"
"Martha Jones? I've heard that name before..." Rose interrupted, frowning.
"Oh don't start this whole 'I'm being followed by words' thing again," Scooti groaned with an exaggerated roll of her eyes. "Mickey told me about the last time that happened."
"Two times," Rose corrected. "But it's just a coincidence, that's all." She shrugged lightly. "I probably just heard someone say it once and remembered the name."
"Well she's a friend of mine...med student at the hospital, hoping to pass her exams. So you probably heard me talking about her to your Mum, the other day."
"Yeah...I s'pose," Rose nodded, not entirely convinced. She knew she'd heard that name before. But where? And why did she have the strangest feeling that the Doctor was behind it? Even after all these years, she was still being haunted by him. More now than she'd ever been before.
Further along, they passed a place called Adipose Industries. A tall building with a huge ADIPOSE sign on the front, above the rotating doors leading in to the entrance. It was a well known company who had recently revolutionised the diet pill by creating one unlike any other.
"That place is weird," Scooti commented, nodding to the building. "How can they have developed a pill that helps you lose weight so quickly? I mean...normal pills take weeks. But those take days, apparently."
"Yeah, there is something suspicious about it," Rose nodded, looking up at the building towering over them. "What is it they say in the adverts? 'The fat walks right off you' or something. Yeah right."
"Maybe we should check it out?" Scooti suggested, but Rose laughed and shook her head.
"Nah, I think we're just being paranoid. Come on."
They continued on, towards Torchwood Tower in the distance, not noticing a figure standing at the window watching them, dressed all in black, hair scraped back into a bun, thick rimmed spectacles perched on her nose, and a rather odd looking pen in her hand.
As Rose swiped her security clearance card through the scanner in the reception to sign herself in, her phone started to ring. Leaving Scooti to finish signing them both in, in the log-in book (for emergencies in case the systems ever shut down and a written copy was needed), Rose walked off into a quieter corner of the busy reception and answered her phone.
"Miss Tyler? It's Rajesh."
"Hey Raj, what's up?"
"There's something I think you need to see. I think I may have finally found a way to monitor the time spans of not only our universe, but of every other universe out there, using some of the parts from that sun-glider thing we salvaged recently. It's quite fascinating, actually. But there's one universe in particular...I've only managed to get readings from the others...but this one...If it is indeed another universe, and not just another part of this one...I've managed to get a visual link up from a satellite that seems to have been lost way out in space. The only universe of the lot that we can monitor visually, but I thought you'd be interested to see."
"I'm on my way," Rose replied excitedly. This was something she and Raj been secretly working on for years, ever since Rose had come to this universe, in fact. Because she was so desperate to see the Doctor again...find a way back to him. Over time, however, it looked like that would be impossible, so she'd given up and moved on with her life. But apparently Raj hadn't...and now...
"Scooti! Raj has done it!" she called over as she put away her phone.
"Done what?" Scooti replied, confused. But Rose didn't reply. She was already sprinting for the elevator.
"You realise it might not even be his Universe, don't you?" Mickey was saying as he and Rose walked into the very top floor of the newly reconstructed Torchwood Tower. Rose had assumed Pete's office was the top floor, until Raj had shown her this floor, right on top of Pete's - unknown to everyone but himself, Pete and now Rose and Mickey, too. This would have been the exact same part of the tower that she'd arrived in all those years ago, after Pete had caught her and saved her from the void, but transported her back here and effectively trapped her, instead. That huge white wall over at the end...she'd sobbed her heart out against that wall, begging to be taken back...pleading and weeping and banging her hands against it furiously. And then she'd heard something...and had stopped to listen. A heartbeat. Two heartbeats. His heartbeats?
Or was it just her own, echoing over and over in her ears.
She was so sure she'd heard the Doctor's hearts beating on the other side of that wall, for just a few seconds, before they had vanished and she'd forced herself to walk away. Course, that had been in the old tower...the one that was destroyed. But even so, she couldn't help walking over to the wall now, and just resting a hand on it's smooth white surface.
"Miss Tyler." Raj called out in greeting to her as he walked in through the door at the opposite end of the room, carrying a laptop, a small projector and a bundle of wires, which he threw across the floor to unravel them. Then he set the laptop on the floor at one end of the line of wires, the projector at the other end, pointing towards the wall where Rose now stood, and finally attached the wires so that the projector started to project the computer screen onto the wall. Rose, blinded by the bright light, stepped out of the picture and walked over to where Mickey was standing, just behind Raj.
"See, now when this first happened, I wasn't sure if it was just showing us pictures of this place, or of a whole other Universe, because how can you tell?"
Rose shrugged, because she didn't actually have an answer to this.
"Well, I decided to do a little test," Raj explained as he clicked some buttons on the laptop, typed in a few passwords and other things, and finally pulled up a video played, which was projected onto the wall. "This was recorded this morning, using the increased range of the sun-glider's own technology. Our satellites and technology would never have picked this up...but that sun-glider can send and receive signals up to a million miles further than we can," He explained, before pressing the 'enter' button on the keyboard to show them what he was actually talking about.
The video started playing, and Rose and Mickey watched intently as a satellite image beamed a picture of the sun onto the wall, burning away. Only, Rose realised after a second that it wasn't the sun, because it was glowing purple and orange and was only half as bright as the sun. She'd seen an image like this before...from one of the NASA websites she'd caught Jack Jnr hacking into a few years back.
"That's...that's a supernova!" she exclaimed.
"Yes. An ancient one, that burnt up billions of years ago...in this Universe."
"So then...how come we can still see it?" Mickey asked, confused.
"Well, normally, stars like this are so far away that it takes billions of years for the light to reach us. So it could well have died out billions of years ago, but the light hasn't reached us yet, so we're still seeing it...or..."
"Or it's the same star in a different Universe," Rose completed, although she didn't actually sound like she believed it.
"Well yes. But...look at this," Raj replied, taping a few things into the keyboard so that the picture zoomed in, closer to the supernova. "What do you make of that? I've certainly never seen anything like it...even at that distance, nothing could survive the extreme heat. So what's it doing there?"
Orbiting the supernova was a tiny blue box shaped object, impossible to make out clearly from where they were standing.
"Just coz you've never seen it, doesn't mean its not part of our Universe," Mickey replied sceptically. "Isn't that right, Rose...Rose?"
Rose was frowning at the screen, arms folded, a look of severe concentration on her face as she stared at the object. "Can you get any closer?" she asked, turning to look back at Raj.
"I can try," Raj nodded, tapping away at the keyboard again. The image zoomed in closer, although it became less focused and harder to make out everything. Rose squinted her eyes and stepped towards the wall a little.
"I did try zooming in closer when I first watched the footage, but that was as close as I could get, and I couldn't sharpen the image enough to clearly make out what it is..."
"But?" Mickey asked, sensing there was more.
"But...I did pick up a very faint audio clip too."
Another button was pressed and a sharp crackling filled the room, causing both Mickey and Rose to throw their hands over their ears. Raj cringed and frantically pressed some more buttons, lowering the volume until it was at a tolerable level.
"Sorry," he muttered.
After a moment, the crackling evened out and became more like static, and slowly...very faintly...the sound of voices could be heard through the crackling. Indistinguishable at first, but slowly becoming clearer.
"Again, I had to use the sun-glider's technology. This would have been impossible to pick up with the stuff we've got here."
Rose stood staring at the image of the burning supernova, and the strange object orbiting it. She quietly listened to the static and the voice hidden within it, trying to make out what was being said. And then, as if she'd been slapped, her eyes went wide and her mouth dropped open a little, as a voice...that oh so familiar voice...echoed around the room, suddenly as clear as if he'd been standing right next to her.
"You can't do that, I wasn't... we're in flight! That is-- that is physically impossible! How did--??"
"Rose that's...that's...Is it?" Mickey started, seemingly just as amazed as she was, as they listened to the voice.
"Yeah," she nodded, suddenly breathless. It was him!
"Tell me where I am. I demand you tell me right now - where am I?" a female voice could be heard, shouting so loud that even through the static, Rose doubted whether her voice would have been drowned out.
"Inside the - "
A loud burst of static interrupted the clip, causing it to fizzle out and go back to the static crackling once more..
Rose walked right up to the picture on the wall then, and traced the outline of the shape with her finger. It was still just a blurred image, but she knew...she just knew it was him. There was no doubt about it.
"Can you play it again?" she asked, almost desperately, suddenly seeming to snap from her trance and spinning on the spot to face Raj. Raj nodded and obliged by replaying the clip. When she asked him to pause it, he did...and then he sat there, silently waiting as she studied the picture, as if expecting something from her. Praise? An explanation? A rollicking for getting it wrong? Something!
But she said nothing. She just stared at the wall, as if mesmerised. He looked to Mickey, but Mickey was just standing watching Rose watch the image on the wall. Two of a kind, they were!
In the end, he cleared his throat.
"So, Miss Tyler...is it another Universe we're seeing? Or is it something from our own?"
"Raj..." she said quietly, still looking at the image. "See if you can clear up this image...and that sound. That's the only way we can know for sure that it's him. And keep working on this time line observation thing. I want it to be perfect before we show Dad or any of the others..."
"But who's 'he'? Who are you talking about?"
"Just call me when you've improved the quality of those images, yeah? And make sure you record any more that you manage to find. I don't want to miss a thing. Oh, and not a word of this to anyone, yeah? Keep it between us three...and JUST us three, until I say so."
"Yes Miss Tyler," he nodded with a sigh as he shut down the laptop, collected up the wires and projector, then left the room. How people ever put up with her when she was so strange...he'd never know. Still, it was not his place to argue with or speak ill of the boss's daughter, so he kept his thoughts to himself as he went back to his lab to carry out her request.
"Rose," Mickey said quietly as he walked up to her. "Was that...really him?"
"I think so," she nodded. "But until Raj tidies that clip up, we can't know for certain. What we do know, though...is that things are gonna get a whole lot worse," she replied darkly, placing a hand back on the wall once more, almost tentatively, as if she was afraid to touch it now.
"How do you mean?" Mickey asked, noting her anxious expression. "I thought you wanted to get back to the Doctor?"
"I did...I still do! But you remember what he said? About the Universes and moving between the two?"
The whole thing would fracture. Two Universes would collapse.
"He said the two Universes would collapse, if anything tried to come through now that the breach is closed." Mickey replied after careful consideration, remembering back to the beach when Rose had said what she thought would be her last ever goodbye to the man she'd loved. Then he looked at Rose in alarm. "So...so if we can see through the breach into his world. If light and sound are starting to seep through...then the walls are weakening."
"Exactly," Rose nodded. "We've no idea how much longer they'll hold before they collapse completely. It could be billions of years, or just a few days."
"And when they do?" Mickey dared to ask the question that they were both thinking. The silence that followed pretty much confirmed what they were both thinking.
This is bad!