I have to get to her, I'm not sure what they have done or where they have taken her but I do know that somewhere in this nightmare Rose is fighting for her life. I can't lose her, not again. I came so close to losing her on Woman Wept and each time we have been separated it seems to get worse. The drug induced vision the Essarrians had convinced me was Rose's body mangled at my hands and seeing her headless animated body in Earth's prehistory still compete for time in my nightmares with the Time War making those rare times when I try to sleep all the more horrific. The thought of her in one of these horrible games, not knowing where she is or how she has got there, makes my skin crawl.
I'm not exactly sure when her presence has become almost as necessary as breathing but the events on the shopping planet Illupodifettoso showed me I need her in a ways that I never have needed anyone other than Verity before; losing her is not an acceptable option. I will find both of them if it means tearing the place apart by hand. I have to find Rose first, though, as she is the one with the least defenses.
The terminal I am working on isn't responding and try as I might I can feel the panic rising as I know that her life depends on me finding her and soon. In utter frustration, I begin swearing under my breath in Gallifreyan; that act brings it's own pang – only Verity would know what I am saying and she isn't around to object. Part of me actually hopes she does object then I would at least know that she is safe. She just can't be lost to me - I would know it if she was really gone, but I just can't sense her and that by it self is very disturbing. Not too many things can prevent a TARDIS from talking with their Time Lord bond mate if they want to talk; a chill travels down my spine as I realize that the Essarrians had been able to shield her from me before and my stress rises with the knowledge and the fear that it might be happening again. I've got to focus on finding Rose; she's just a fragile human despite the incredible courage and spirit that frequently makes her my match. Verity is more than able to take care of herself, I know that, and I have to focus on finding Rose before the universe decides to take her from me; I don't know if I could take losing her, she's the one being who has made my darkness retreat, who has brought light and joy back to my existence and even Verity as much as she has tried couldn't do that.
Jack is saying something, whatever it is it has to wait. Finding my Rose is more important right now. Jack's quip about the games not turning out well just makes me snarl in frustration at him for stating the obvious, his response is to throw me his vortex manipulator stating, "Patch that in, it's programmed to find her". When it can't locate her, I give up on the more delicate approach and rip the side off the control panel. What I find worries me; this system is wrong; it's twice as complicated as it needs to be and it is slowing down my efforts to find Rose. Rage burns within me - this is completely unacceptable and someone is going to answer for this charnel house. I mean to find out once and for all why the words Bad Wolf in a variety of forms keep showing up, almost as if they have been following us. I can't help but to think aloud, "This whole Bad Wolf thing is tied up with me. Someone is manipulating my entire life and it is some sort of trap and Rose is stuck inside it." My hearts skip a beat as the device registers Rose's location; "Found her Floor 407!" As Lynda tells me what Rose is caught up in, I move to the elevators at a speed that forces Jack and Lynda with a 'y' to have to run to catch up with me. The doors are already closing as they arrive and I impatiently hold them open a moment longer for them to enter. I can't help but stare at the numbers flying along - I have accelerated the lift to make it go faster but it does nothing for the anxiety that keeps increasing as I imagine what may be happening to Rose as I am trapped in here unable to help her. Even knowing that the lift is moving faster then normal it still feels like it is crawling its way up the central hub of the station far too slowly. Every minute counts in finding her and I don't know what I will do if I'm not in time. Finally we arrive at floor 407 where the small device in my hand has assured me I will find Rose and I caress it lovingly like a talisman that will keep away evil from her.
In frustration I begin to decode the lock, behind which it says my beautiful Rose is captive. I reject Jack's offer to blast the door, having already determined that it will just cause the system to throw up a force field to replace the doors, further barring our progress. With a flourish, I finally force the doors to unlock. As the doors open my hearts leap for joy as I spot Rose standing at one of the podiums in front of an android asking questions. She's there; my brilliant Rose has found a way to survive in this hostile environment.
Then the android vaporizes her.
My legs fail me and I crumple before the small pile of ash that is all that is left of my sweet Rose. She too has now become ash, like all the other things I have ever loved and cherished, and I can hardly breath for the suffocating feeling of knowing that she is dead because of me. I can practically hear the laughter of Black Guardian in the roar of grief that explodes though me. She's gone. Without Rose here to hold back the darkness it drags me under and I am oblivious and uncaring. Why should I care about the demands, and violent wrenching the guards who have finally arrived give to my arms? Caring is for those who want to live, and it would be kinder if the guard just carried through on the threat to kill me, for what is my life worth without Rose in it to keep the darkness at bay? The universe I live in is not kind.
The pain of losing Rose is far greater than any physical discomfort that they can inflict on me. I am dully aware of a stab of pain in my right shoulder as the guard twists my arm just a bit more, trying to get some reaction from me as he drags me to my feet. Somewhere far away I hear Jack's protests at my rough treatment but the pain in my body doesn't come anywhere close to being sufficient to break through the nightmarish looping vision of Rose's death repeating and the knowledge that I have failed her and the price of that failure was her life.
Jack's words finally filter though my shock as they drag us from the game room and his simple question snaps everything into an almost surreal clarity. Such a simple question, "Are we going to make them pay for killing Rose or are you going to let them get away with her murder?" The look I give Jack makes my roiling righteous anger abundantly clear. I will bide my time, learn as much as I can, and at just the right moment I will act and they will live only long enough to regret their actions. The guards hustle us off and I push a small simple message into Jack's mind, "Be ready". I know by the look in Jack's eyes and the ever so slight nod that he has heard my instruction.
The guards bully us and process us through their system, confused as to why they can't find any records of how we arrived on the station. All the time I continue in an act of appearing too grief stricken to do anything other than mindlessly follow the guards directions. It is not hard, but there is also my desire for vengeance and I permit that to shunt the grief to the side, allowing me enough respite from the pain to plan, to examine my environment and to figure out their destruction. As the guard outlines what he believes is our fate he is oblivious to the deadly churning anger simmering just below the façade I have put up. When the guard turns to leave I have seen enough and utter the three little words that I know will seal their fate; "Let's do it." In response Jack acts and the guard closest to him crumples to the floor. The more senior guard silently crumples at my hand and I hardly slow as I move out the door.
Having used only the briefest of contact I have extracted part of my vengeance, anger fueling the speed of my actions as I ripped the information I desired from the man's mind. I learn every bit of information the guard knows on how this place operates and its every security measure. I restrain myself enough that the guard will live, even though he doesn't deserve it, he lives because I know Rose would have been angry with me if I killed him. I am sure he won't appreciate that; none of them understood how wonderful my Rose was, it's with much bitterness I know that no one else ever will again. My only consolation is that for a good long while he will wish he didn't survive as I was in no way gentle rummaging through his mind, it's not enough but that's all I have now.
As we head out the door I don't think as I snatch up the gun Jack had brandished earlier. It doesn't take us long to get to the control room and even as we exit the lift I feel the familiar hum of Verity in my mind and a moment later her disapproval as she reads what I have done to the guard, followed rapidly by bewildered alarm as she registers my grief and its cause; I don't have time to consider why she is so confused. I also refuse to make time for her feelings of compassion as she warms me of the guards converging on our location. I snap orders to Jack and begin to grill the staff to try to find out who or what has caused this disaster and what they have to do with Bad Wolf. As the flunky I am speaking to tells me the controller can't answer my questions, I realize with horror that I am still holding the gun I had come in here with and throw it at him in disgust more with myself the with him for allowing my self to stoop so low.
As I continue to speak to the staff, I let Jack know where to find Verity and send him to go work with her as I try to get more info from the systems of Satellite 5. Suddenly solar flares shut down a large portion of the systems and I continue to work through the electronic structure to try to hunt down the information I seek. Someone is going to pay and pay just as dearly as the loss of Rose will cost me. The Controller then begins to speak in riddles and I know that something is terribly wrong and something truly evil is lurking, hiding behind the broadcasts of the Satellite. I want to scream in frustration as the solar flare ends and I am left with more questions than answers, a sudden blindness around the events to come, the likes of which I rarely see, sends an icy chill down my spine.
As Jack comes running back into the control room, I can't help but wonder what it all means. As he begins to speak what he is saying doesn't make sense. I watch as this man I who I had thought I knew, who I had begun to trust with my life, more importantly with Rose's life, suddenly vaporizes the young woman who I had less than two hours ago promised to save. I can't help but blurt out in furious disbelief, "You killed her!"
Before I can act, he chirps in delight, "You think?" and triggers yet another command on the console in front of him and Lynda with a 'Y' comes staggering out of another beam of light at my side. As the import of that action registers I barely realize what Jack is saying, till I hear the sweetest words I have heard as long as I can remember. "Rose is alive!"
As I cancel the signal Satellite 5 has been sending I stare in horror as I realize what I am seeing. Cold terror settles around my hearts. Daleks! My brain is already processing how many even as my conscious mind overcomes the shock of seeing my worst enemy has survived. They have not just survived, but mutilated the only planetary home I have left in their ruthless pursuits, and on top of that they now have my Rose. My desire to save Rose wars with the desire to run as far and a fast as possible away from my worst nightmares once again come to life before my eyes. Part of me begins to shut down my emotions, icing them over to protect me from the knowledge of what may have to happen to try to stop them once again, and walling away the sense of futility that screams that my people died for nothing.
As they appear on the view screen, I brace myself as a surge of panic almost chokes me and shrug my jacket tighter about me, taking small comfort in its shelter, never letting them see how their presence fills me with anguish. I finish locking off the feelings that threaten to swamp me, sealing them away, and slip into the mask of pointless frivolousness I wear in front of Daleks, the mask that hides my true feelings and has so often been useful in confusing my true intentions. I feel a short-lived flood of relief as I see Rose alive. I listen to their boasting of their plans almost being complete and how they think holding Rose hostage will prevent me from doing what needs to be done to stop them. As much as my emotions scream in denial, I know I can't trade one life, not even Rose's, for the lives of everyone on the earth but I want to. I have to find another way and the word "No" slips from my lips before I even consciously register its escape. Then the words are flowing from me, my desires and hopes stated as a concrete plan, as I have done in the past to confuse these monsters. I have no idea how I am going to execute the plan I am speaking, but I know that if I don't know then neither do they and my past successes have shown them how greatly they should fear me, however impossible my plans seem. Their logic has more than once caused them to make mistakes, trying to guess what I am thinking, and part of me is counting on that fact as I mentally scramble through the resources I have at my disposal to make my seemingly impossible plan into a reality.