Author's Note: Short chapter, but the others will be longer.

Disclaimer: O fpm'y pem Fpvypt Ejp.


Freeze

Chapter One: DAROTE

The Doctor stared at the machine. He looked like a pinstriped statue.

"What is it?" asked Martha, her eyes flitting from the big chunky silver machine to her Time Lord companion.

"It's- wait, it can't-" he shook out of his trance and ran up to it, fiddling with some of the little knobs and levers.

"What is it?" she asked again, walking up to join him. She'd never seen him this worried.

"No, stay back!" he warned, half turning, stretching a warning arm toward her. "Don't go near it."

He pressed a final few buttons, there was a beep, and he looked at something on a screen. Martha craned her neck to see it.

"No..."

She waited patiently for him to tell her what it was.

"It can't... these shouldn't even exist anymore!"

"That seems to happen a lot around you," she cut in.

He seemed to remember she was there. He turned around quickly, and she was shocked. There was panic in his eyes.

"This is Time Lord technology," he said, his eyes wide.

"Well, isn't that a good thing?" she asked as he turned back around.

"No. I'm afraid that's not a very good thing."

She stepped up, trying to see what the Doctor was looking at.

"Don't!" His arm was raised again, his eyes full of intensity. "Don't come within two feet of it."

There was a pause as he pushed more buttons, watching the screen. "Oh no. This is bad."

"What? What's bad?" Martha took another step forward, disregarding his warning.

"This is very bad. This is very, very bad."

"Why? What is it?"

"Go back to the TARDIS."

"What-"

"Go. I'll meet you there."

He didn't even look around at her before she left. He was too engrossed in the machine. Making a stubborn face, Martha backed away and leaned, hidden, against a wall, not letting the Doctor leave her sight. He was mumbling to himself.

"It's going to... no, why would anyone let it do that? I have to check the temporal displacement analysis, but the dial doesn't seem to be here..."

And with that, he left the room, in a different direction from where the TARDIS was parked. Martha shook her head. She walked forward, checking the hallway to see if he was returning. She looked at the screen he had been peering at. 'DAROTE,' it read. She wondered if it was related to the TARDIS. She leaned on the DAROTE, scrutinizing the screen.

And that's how he found her.