Chapter Fourteen

In Which More Disaster Strikes

"Rose!" screamed Izzy at the top of her lungs. "Rose, there's a Dalek in the TARDIS!"

"I--" Rose began, then realized what Izzy was doing. "And the Doctor isn't here to save us!" she shouted.

"We're going to die," sobbed Izzy theatrically. "We're going to die!"

"Please desist in your wailing," the Dalek said. "I shall exterminate you if you refuse."

"A polite Dalek?" asked Rose incredulously. "Since when are Daleks polite?"

"I am not here to exterminate you. I am here to take you. You will come with me or be exterminated!"

"Oh, yeah?" Izzy challenged. "You and what army?"

"Do you surrender?"

Out of the corner of her eye, Rose saw the door open and the Doctor look out. "You won't take us alive!" she said.

"We need answers. With the right technology, answers can be retrieved from the mind once the body has perished. If I cannot take you alive, I will take you dead. Exterminate! Ex-TER-min-ate!"

The Dalek began firing its laser at them repeatedly. As it came around the console, Rose darted away, trying to keep the controls between it and herself. The laser left scorch marks where it struck the wall. A heavy, musty smell struck her, like darkness and damp and dust. She knew it was the smell of burned coral.

Izzy jumped out of the way of the laser, which still came far too close to striking her. She hisses through her teeth, her dark hair falling in her face, her eyes bright with fear and fury—a deadly combination. She pulled out her pen and fired a beam of light at the Dalek. It screamed as the lens on its eyestalk shattered, blinding it.

"Good shot," Rose called across the control room.

"Watch out," said Izzy in reply. "It can't see, but it can still shoot you."

"Can you get it with your laser?" the Doctor asked.

Three consecutive flashes of green light flew at the Dalek, leaving no mark but three tarnished points on the destructive alien's golden armor. "It's not strong enough!"

"Exterminate!" the Dalek screamed, enraged. It fired again and again, shooting blindly at anything in its path. "Exterminate!"

"We've got to get rid of it somehow," Rose said. "There's got to be some way to—to blow it up, or something, yeah?"

"We need some kind of weapon," said Izzy desperately. "I didn't think there would be any Daleks here! I knew it was bad—we've been watching this place and trying to figure out what to do for years—but not this bad!"

"Why's there a Dalek on the TARDIS to begin with?" asked the Doctor. "How did it get in?"

"The forcefield was down," explained Rose, sidestepping another shot.

"Well, why was that?"

"I don't know! You're the one who can talk to her! Ask her yourself—after we get the Dalek off the TARDIS!"

"I'll do that," said the Doctor, and neatly dodged the laser. "Oh, come on. You can do better than that, surely!"

"Exterminate!" it wailed. "I must exterminate Doctor and assistants!"

"I'm nobody's assistant," said Rose, annoyed.

"And I'm not even on their team," Izzy added. "I know lots more than either of them does. I'd be awful valuable to your masters!"

"Exterminate! Exterminate!" It fired at Izzy. She was all the way across the room, behind the console.

There was a shattering sound, and Rose covered her face with her hands as glass exploded outwards. The pieces were so small they were like motes of dust, floating in the room, making the very air deadly and blinding them all with a glittering cloud. Through the sparkling, whirling storm of glass, Rose made out a lot of blue light swarming around the dim shape of the Dalek. The only thing she could hear was a wailing, chilling and pained.

The cloud of glass dust settled to the floor, like a blanket of snow. The Dalek glowed blue, blindingly bright. The keening wail died away and everything was silent. But not everything was still. The Dalek wasn't—it was growing, or at least the light was, becoming taller and wider. And then the light faded.

The Dalek was no longer gold, or at least not entirely. It was mostly black, with gold up the sides. It was also at least twice the size it had been. It shimmered with blue, like it was reflecting the sky. Its weapons looked far more powerful. And its eyestalk, fully repaired, glowed scarlet.

For a moment, it glared at them all. Then, it said, "I...am...Chrono Dalek!"

"What did you do?" asked Rose, stepping back. "How did you get so—so--"

"This is not over," said Chrono Dalek. "This will end with all three of you—dead! But my power is not fully restored. We are not merciful. We do not surrender. You will die!"

And then, just like that, it disappeared.

The Doctor silently walked over to the console. He laid his hands on the controls, oblivious to the glass lying on the panels. "Gone," he said in a hollow voice. "Broken."

"Doctor, what happened?" asked Rose anxiously. "How did the Dalek become that—that--Chrono thing?"

"It absorbed all the TARDIS's energy," he said. "It killed her."

"So we're trapped?"

"No," said Izzy. "Unless it's magically made the whole of the vortex vanish, we can get away. Matter of fact, even if it has done we can get away, I think. Problem is, we've got no idea where that thing went, and if we run into it, we're in big trouble."

Rose crossed the room to stand next to the Doctor and laid her hand on his. "We've got to get out of here," she said quietly.

"She's gone," he repeated, stunned. "Gone. Dead."

Izzy made a huffing noise and turned around. "I'm going to wait outside. When the pair of you are ready to leave, come get me."

"Doctor," said Rose as the doors closed.

"Gone," he said, and his head fell to his chest. "No more. Completely dead."

Rose wasn't paying attention. She was watching as a faint golden glow settled over the edge of the console. She glanced up to the very highest part of the ceiling, and saw gold there, too. "If she's beyond repair, than how come she's being fixed?"

He looked up to the ceiling and down at the console. "Nanogenes? But how...why...?"

"You were hurt," said Rose. "I think a Dalek must have gotten you. You might have regenerated, or even died outright, but Izzy got the nanogenes...they hadn't seen a Time Lord before, though. They didn't try to heal you—just came over to me. And then they went over to Izzy...and it seems like she was good enough to use as a model on how to fix you. But I don't understand how, or why. They shouldn't have, should they?"

"No," he said. "They shouldn't." He wasn't looking at her. He was watching the nanogenes, coming together, leaving remade glass in their wake. Like sealing up a cut, Rose reasoned. Making new skin, knitting it together. A bigger cut meant more time to heal it.

"What's going to fill up where the energy was?" she asked. "Will she come back to life on her own?"

"I don't know," he said. "I don't even know how they're fixing her. They shouldn't know what to do. They shouldn't know how."

"But they do," she said.

For a moment, they were both silent, watching the ship rebuilt.

"You should tell Izzy," said the Doctor.

"Alright," agreed Rose. She kept her hand over his for a few seconds, then pulled away and stepped outside. "Izzy?"

"You guys ready to leave?" Izzy ran over, pulling out something silver. Her teleporter, presumably.

"Not exactly," said Rose. "Come in and see."

She opened the door and they came back inside. They joined the Doctor, and all three of them watched as the nanogenes did their slow, steady work.

There was nothing to do but wait.

A/N: So, how was it? Am I evil to my characters or what? Poor TARDIS. Poor Doctor. So many mysteries surrounding our heroes! They still don't know much about Chronis, and even less about the Keepers. And now, on top of it all, the nanogenes! What lies in store for them once the TARDIS is repaired? If you wish to find out (or have any theories/guesses/suggestions!) you should review! By the way, thanks to Soreye for the idea with the nanogenes! You're fantastic!