Liz Shaw tried to restrain from rolling her eyes as a young man, who barely looked old enough to shave, finished waving a metal detector over her. "Once again, I'm sorry about this," he said apologetically. "We have strict rules, even for people who are expected. It's for. . ."

"Yes, yes, I know," she said irritably, cutting him off. "Security. Some things never change."

The young soldier shot her a curious look. "You've worked for UNIT before then, Ms. Shaw?"

"Dr. Shaw, if you please," she corrected him. "And I've been working with UNIT off-and-on since before you were born. Now will you please escort me to the control room?"

"Right away, Dr. Shaw," he said, nodding as he turned and started walking down the hallway. "If you don't mind my saying so, you seem to be in quite a hurry."

Liz glanced over at him. "A hurry?" she repeated, shooting him an exasperated look. "The last I heard, almost a third of your staff are currently on the roof, the Prime Minister and your ranking officer have been beamed up into the alien spacecraft, and these Sycorax are planning on destroying the entire planet. And you want to know why I'm in such a hurry?"

The man's face paled slightly, but he didn't stop walking. "I didn't know all that, Dr. Shaw," he replied after a moment's pause. "They . . . haven't told us much. All I knew was that I was supposed to wait for a civilian alien expert, that would be you, to arrive."

Liz sighed and started on down the hallway again. "As I said before," she said tiredly, "some things never change."

They continued in silence for several seconds before the young solider cleared his throat. "Why did they call you, if you don't mind my asking?" he asked. "Are you really an alien expert?"

She paused for just a moment before shooting him the briefest hint of a smile. "Let's just say I've had some experience with difficult-to-please aliens over the years."


On the top of a high building in São Paulo, Jo Grant clung tightly to her son's hand as he stared blankly out into the distance. She could hear the panic in the voices of everyone around her, most of them frantically talking about the alien spacecraft that was rumored to be hovering over London, half a world away.

Deep down, she knew that she should be just as terrified as everyone else, but impatience was the feeling that kept pushing aside all the others. She was worried about Matthew, true, scared that something might go wrong . . . but, at the same time, she couldn't help but wonder what was taking the Doctor so long.

There was absolutely no doubt in her mind that he was out there, somewhere, trying to find a way to stop the madness. She didn't know what he looked like, but she knew that he was there. Her heart wouldn't let her believe otherwise. She was careful, though, not to dwell too closely on the fact that she had complete trust in someone that she hadn't seen in over thirty years.


Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart stared out his bedroom window.

"I should be out there, helping them find a way to fight this," he said quietly, his gaze focusing on the spaceship that hung eerily in the distance. "Not in here, watching from afar and hoping that the incompetents who run UNIT now will be able to stop this."

Doris shook her head as she squeezed his shoulder. "You've only been out of the hospital two days," she pointed gently. "I doubt you'd be much help to them right now."

He let out a sigh. "I'm sure there would be something," he said tiredly. "You should have at least let me talk to them."

Shaking her head, Doris planted a quick kiss on his cheek. "Fine then," she said. "The next time aliens try to invade the planet, I won't say a word when UNIT calls to ask for your help. Even if the doctors keep warning you about your heart, I'll just let you go storming out to help save the day."

He glanced over at her, a surprisingly serious look on his face. "I'm going to hold you to that."


As Sarah Jane Smith stared up at the spaceship that filled the sky, she couldn't help but feel slightly awed. "Oh my god," she whispered. "This can't be happening."

Harry Sullivan pulled his coat more tightly around him as he let his own gaze drift upwards. "After all the things we've see, is this really that unbelievable?"

"Considering that I'm standing next to a man who, until a few months ago, I didn't know was dead or alive?" Sarah asked, raising an eyebrow. "Considering that I spend my free time looking into possible alien influences? Considering that I spent several years of my life traveling through time and space? Considering that I've helped fight Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Zygons. . ."

"Yes," Harry said, cutting in as he reached out to teasingly tweak her nose, "considering all that."

She stared at him for a moment before slowly starting to smile. "No, it's not really that unbelievable," she admitted. "Not in that way, at least."

"What other way is there?" Harry asked softly.

Sarah didn't answer. Instead, she turned her gaze back onto the spaceship that was still hanging in the sky overhead.

"Do you think the Doctor's up there?" she asked after a few seconds. "Fighting the monsters to keep us safe, just like always?"

Harry glanced over at her and smiled reassuringly. "I'm sure of it," he said, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. "I'm absolutely sure of it."

"You're right," Sarah slowly agreed, looking up one more time. "I bet he's up there."


In Bristol, John Benton stood on the roof of one of the city's tallest buildings and stared out at the distant horizon. There was a blank look on his face, as if he didn't see anything, and it was obvious that his mind was elsewhere. Dozens of others stood on the roof with him, each of them surrounded by worried friends and relatives.

Mike Yates stood beside him, his hand resting loosely on Benton's arm. Everyone around them could tell, though, that he was prepared to tighten his grip instantly if the status quo changed.