Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who or related monsters. Just Sam.


Having escaped the Skang, the Doctor and Sam had made their way back to Sam's appartment to clean up. Luckily for them, Sam's guess that her flatmates would still be at the party in the appartment upstairs had been correct. As they had entered the flat, loud music and the sound of voices and laughter of young people echoed down through the ceiling.

Once the two of them had washed off the remains of the oversized bug and changed clothes, they'd adjourned to the small kitchen/living room and flopped down onto the chintz covered chairs, tired out from the adrenalin rush. Or, at least, Sam was tired out. She noted that the Doctor, aside from expressing disgust at the state of his clothes and enthusiasm for a hot shower, didn't seem tired at all.

"Okay," Sam said, yawning as she used a towel to dry her hair, "you recognised that big bug thing, right? So what is it?"

The Doctor, who was now dressed in a spare pair of blue jeans and a black t-shirt that belonged to Sam's brother, frowned confusedly for a minute before answering. "It's called a Skang," he replied, running a hand distractedly through his own wet hair. "I ran into them before, back in the eighties. . . or maybe it was the seventies? In any case Sarah Jane was with me at the time. You've heard of her, yes?"

Sam nodded. "Yeah, we've met. So what were they doing here back then?"

The Doctor waved a hand dismissively. "Nothing much really, just your standard take over the world and turn all the humans into Skang or food. Thanks for the clothes, by the way."

Sam shrugged. "Thank my brother, not me. Guess it's a good thing he left them here the last time he visited, otherwise you'd have ended up wearing my jeans and I don't think that would've been very comfortable for you. You're just lucky that Stephen has pretty much the same build as you." Sam paused, as she suddenly realised just what the Doctor had nonchalantly said. "Wait a minute, turn humans into Skang? Can they do that?" She shot the Doctor a frightened glance.

"Mmm," he hummed, "unfortunately yes. The Skang er. . Leader, shall we say, excretes spores, which then scatter all over the planet, infecting human hosts and slowly turning them into Skang themselves, while maintaining an outward appearance of humanity."

Sam's mouth twisted with disgust. "Oh, yuck."

"Yes, quite."

"So what the hell are they doing here in Cork?" the girl asked, her brow wrinkling in confusion as she tried to think of a reason.

The Doctor shrugged. "I haven't the faintest idea," he said cheerfully. "But don't worry, I'll figure it out."

"And if you don't, the human race gets turned into bugs?" Sam asked, dropping her towel and going to the kitchen cupboards in search of teabags and a mug.

"Well, not all of you, just about ten percent," the Time Lord clarified, picking up the towel and using it on his own hair. "The rest'll probably be used as food stock," he said reflectively. "If the Skang converted the entire human race, they'd accidentally drive themselves to extinction through overbreeding and the resulting starvation due to food shortage."

"Gee, thanks for that info," she said dryly and switched on the kettle, having successfully located the teabags. "I feel so much better."

"You're welcome!" the Doctor beamed. "I'll have two sugars in mine, thanks."

Sam sighed and reached for a second mug.

###

The university had already shut down for the night and all the campus buildings were dark, with only the lights over emergency exits still buzzing. Anyone familiar with the daily routine of the college's population would have found no difference in the dark silhouettes of the buildings on this night when comparing it with any other.

Except, that is, for the library. Behind the window of a room at the very top of the four story building, a light flickered into life behind draw-down blinds and two shadows appeared against the blinds, like inky black stains spreading across paper. A watcher, if there had been any, would have noted that for an instant the shadows blurred, appearing almost insectlike before resolving themselves into the shape of two people, a man and woman facing each other, silhouetted against the window's blinds.

"We have a problemmm," the woman said, her voice a sibilant whisper.

"Yessss," the man hissed back. "The identity is unknown, but. . . the sssonic technology isss familiar. . ."

"The previousss attempt to colonisse thiss planet. It wasss unsuccesssful becausse of a being with that technology," the woman hissed in a worried tone.

"We ssaw the being," the man said thoughtfully. "It ssmelled of the sssame sspecies, but itsss appearance differed greatly. It wass not the ssame one."

The woman shook slightly, like a bird settling it's feathers. "He could sstill be dangerouss," she said, her voice slowly losing its hissing quality and becoming more human sounding. "The lassst time we tried to colonisse thiss planet our strategy took place over months and the two-hearted being still toppled it in a day. The Great Skang was forced to retreat and Mother Hilda died."

"It will be different this time," the man assured his companion, sounding far more relaxed than she did. "Last time we did not truly understand how the human mind worked. That was our downfall. But now we have complete understanding of the psychology of humans. The interfering being will not stop uss."

"Tell that to Brother Frank," the woman snapped. "He was-"

"He was careless," the man interrupted. "Of course I mourn his loss. All the collective do. But there is no denying that his death was caused by his own foolishness. If he'd been better at dealing with the remains of his meal he wouldn't have had to chase those two interferences. A lesson for all of us, to be more careful."

"Perhaps," the woman said. Then she straightened slightly, having thought of something. "The female being. It was human was it not?"

"Yes," the man said slowly. "It certainly appeared to be."

"The being with the sonic technology which defeated us last time. It also sought the assisstance of humans. Perhaps this one follows the same pattern?"

"That is. . . possible," the man agreed. "We must be prepared. Humans can be surprisingly resourceful."

"As well we know," the woman pointed out. "After all, all of us were human once."

There was a brief silence as both reflected on their former humanity. Then the man cleared his throat.

"The girl," he said. "I believe I recognised her. Her name is. . . Sullivan, as far as I know. She attends my lectures."

"Then you can locate her now?"

"Quite easily," he assured his confederate.

"Then do s-, no wait," she corrected herself. "Perhaps we should wait and see. Rushing in to attack failed to work for Brother Frank. As you said, we should learn from his mistake. Wait until the next lecture she attends and then ask to speak with her privately. See if you can find out what she knows without arousing suspicion."

"And if I do make her suspicious?" the man asked.

"Then sadly Ms. Sullivan will soon suffer a fatal accident."

"Ah," he replied.

"Just remember that it must look like an accident. If you feed on her the papers will be full of stories about a bizarre murder. We do not want the authorities' attention. Especially not authorities like UNIT. The remains of a human after we've fed is exactly the kind of thing they notice."

The man pursed his lips for a moment and then said: "I have a lecture tomorrow morning. She should be there."

"Good. Find out what she knows. But don't kill her unless you absolutely have to."

The man scowled and his body shook slightly. "It's been such a long time since I ate," he complained. "Can't I just. . ."

"No," the woman berated him. "University students typically have families. People who are inclined to notice if they go missing. Like I already said: the last thing we want is the police doing a search over the university grounds and stumbling on our facility." She paused and sighed, seeing the look on her companion's face. "I suppose, if you really feel that you must, you can snack on a vagrant. There are a quite a few of them in the city centre I recall."

The man brightened up visibly and the woman gave a long suffering sigh. "Just remember to clean up after your meal. No dumping it by the roadside or into the river. In my experience, human rubbish has a distressing tendency to float to the surface."

The man's countenance darkened again. "Surely you're not suggesting I dig a grave for my food?" he sulked.

"If that's what it takes," the woman snapped.

"Very well," he agreed. "See you tomorrow."

"Goodbye," she replied, walking towards the office door. "See you then, Professor Williams."


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