A/N: So it didn't take as long as I thought it would. Well... technically I've had this one planned for a while. It was going to be episode 10 but... I really couldn't think of anything to do, and when I was reading over my original plan for this one I decided that I really wanted to write it, and I probably wouldn't be able to write anything else until I got this out of the way. So instead of waiting a week or two until I'd finished to start another to be episode 9, i decided to make this episode 9. Bit of a mix in this one, humour and drama... meh lol.
ANYWHO here comes chapter one. Enjoy! xD
The night sky was illuminated with vivid colours that moved gracefully over the dark clouds. The landscape, which seemed to stretch on for miles, glowed slightly under the lights – but this only emphasised its barrenness. Two lone figures sat on a rocky outcrop side by side, staring up at the beautiful sky, in silence. They were the only two beings on the whole planet, and were the first beings to ever see Neptune's version of the Aurora Borealis.
'You'll never see anything like this on Earth.' The Doctor said, breaking the silence. He leaned back and put his hands behind his head, looking up at the sky. 'Neptune has a much stronger magnetic field than Earth, making these lights so much more fantastic. Really, I think the best aurora in the universe is the one right here. You should be proud that it's in your solar system.'
Ashley stared upwards, her hands between her knees. She said nothing.
The Doctor observed her for a moment. 'Right now, as we're sitting here, Earth is just starting out.' He told her. 'I'd say your solar system has only been here for… a thousand years? Give or take?'
She made a slightly impressed sound. 'Bloody hell.' She replied. She was amazed, but there was a lack of interest that made the Doctor frown slightly.
'I wouldn't have bothered taking us so far back,' he went on, watching her as he spoke. 'But from…' He looked at his watch. 'About two weeks from now the tourists start coming to check it out. Thought you might like to see it without some four foot tall Glavis asking you to take a photo for them.'
Ashley smiled. 'It's beautiful.'
The Doctor watched the lights for a moment longer. He had seen them hundreds of times before and, to be honest, he wasn't all that amazed by them anymore. He had brought Ashley here to see if she would open up a bit. Since leaving the hospital two weeks ago she had been quiet and distant. Which was understandable after what had happened on that submarine. He had taken her to a few places that he thought might cheer her up, and she did cheer up – considerably so – there was just something different about her. Her spark had gone. And the Doctor had liked her spark a lot.
'I know somewhere else we can go after here,' he said, sitting up again and allowing his arms to droop between his legs. 'Are you hungry? I can take you for the biggest banana split you've ever seen in your life. Seriously, these bananas are a meter long. And bananas are good.'
Ashley glanced to him and smiled. 'Stop it.' She told him.
He raised an eyebrow. 'Stop what? Don't tell me you don't like bananas because I'll take you home right now if that's the case.'
'Don't worry, I like bananas. Although sometimes I get this weird tingly feeling on my tongue after I've eaten one…' She paused to ponder over this for a second before continuing. 'It's just… you've got to stop doing this.'
'Trying to cheer me up by taking me to places like this!' she laughed, pointing up at the sky. 'I mean… you're making too much of an effort! It's been two weeks since we landed somewhere and had to run around for our lives and, to be honest, I kind of like that part.'
The Doctor shrugged his shoulders. 'I just thought you'd like a break.'
'Believe it or not the running around part helps keep your mind off things.' She nodded, looking back up. 'Although you should know that, seeing it's the main reason you travel.'
He looked at her thoughtfully and made a mental note that she was doing that more and more often; picking out pieces of his personality that she shouldn't really know about. He decided to let it pass and looked up also.
'Well it beats sitting around and moping.' He told her.
'Well you have been doing an awful lot of moping.'
'I'm trying not to.'
He sighed and put an arm around her shoulders. 'Tell you what, we'll go jump in the Tardis right now and try and find the biggest, most dangerous situation we can find and have ourselves a bit run around, eh?'
Ashley turned and grinned at him, and for the briefest of moments, that spark reappeared. 'Biggest you say?'
'Gargantuan.' He grinned.
'Then what are we waiting for?'
Before either of them could get up or move from their seats, a sudden bright white light shining down from above blinded them. They both shielded their eyes and looked up.
'Bloody hell those lights get bright, don't they?' Ashley commented, squinting to see.
The Doctor narrowed his eyes to slits. 'That isn't the aurora.'
Ashley struggled to see, but eventually saw the teardrop shape of a spaceship above the light. She looked to the Doctor with a confused frown. 'Don't tell me we're getting abducted.'
There was a whine of feedback, and then a voice. 'Put your hands in the air and surrender. Throw any weapons you might have so they are at least ten feet away from your person.'
'Surrender?' the Doctor enquired in bemusement. 'What for? I didn't even realise we were in a fight!'
Ashley looked at him in alarm. 'What do we do?'
'Well we're not surrendering.' He replied, getting to his feet. 'Even if we were in a fight I wouldn't surrender. Come on.'
He pulled her to her feet and the both of them ran back towards the Tardis, which was parked at the base of the rocky outcrop. The spotlight from the spaceship followed them.
'Stop immediately, or we will be forced to open fire.'
'They're going to shoot us before we reach it, Doctor.' Ashley pointed out worriedly.
'No they won't,' he replied with a dismissive wave of his free hand. 'If they wanted us dead they would have shot us instead of asking us to surrender.'
They reached the Tardis and he pulled open the door. Ashley ducked inside, but the Doctor remained for a moment, taking the time to grin and wave at the craft above them. Then he ran inside and shut the door. Leaning against it, he looked at Ashley with wide eyes.
'We have a problem.' He told her.
Ashley stood out of the way as he ran to the control panel and started up the Tardis. 'What kind of problem?' she asked.
'Bounty hunters.' The Doctor replied, looking up at the blue cylinder as it began to move. 'Remember the ship we found in the cave? With the Arakreu?'
Ashley grimaced. 'Oh yeah.'
'Well that's another one.' The Tardis jerked into motion and the Doctor shot Ashley a wild grin. 'Hold on, this is going to be a rough one.'
Ashley gripped onto the nearest coral beam and found herself grinning back at him. 'Better get moving then.'
He beamed. 'That's my girl!' he cried, and then snapped back the lever.
The Tardis lurched and both of them almost went flying across the control room. The Doctor held on, punching buttons seemingly at random. He grabbed the screen and his eyes widened.
'They're following us!' he cried. 'Got a lock on…'
The Tardis shuddered suddenly. A shower of sparks flew up from the controls.
'Damn it!' the Doctor yelled.
'What? What's happening!'
'They're shunting us!' He stretched himself around the console, bashing a button with the palm of his hand whilst kicking another button with his foot. 'They're trying to force us to land!'
'Well just… Just make us disappear!' Ashley cried.
'That's what I'm doing!'
Before the Doctor had the chance to do this however, there was another hard jolt and he was thrown away from the console, hitting the back wall with force. He groaned, clutching his stomach. Ashley scrambled over to him, but she could feel the Tardis losing control under her feet.
'Are you okay?' she cried.
'I can't…' The Doctor hissed and winced. 'Can't get up…'
Ashley looked around desperately. A sudden bell sounded, deep and monotonous and very worrying. 'What's that?' she cried.
'You're going to have to… You're going to have to steer…'
He looked at her impatiently. 'Are you going to carry me across there?'
'I can't pick you up.' She shook her head.
'Then get over there and do something!'
She stumbled towards the console and looked at it in panic. It was nothing but buttons and lights and things she had no idea what they did. She noticed a flat black button and went to push it.
'No!' the Doctor cried, trying and failing to get to his feet. 'Don't push that!'
Ashley turned back to the console. She closed her eyes and slammed her hand down randomly. The Tardis made a loud whirring sound – louder than she had heard it ever make – and suddenly it seemed to be moving down very rapidly. Ashley felt like she was on a quickly descending elevator. She held on tight and closed her eyes tightly, waiting for the impact.