Jarod shuddered as he looked around the gloomy, burnt-out corridors the Doctor and Rose led him through. Rose gave him a sympathetic smile. You didn't have to be Angelo to know there was something ominous about SL-27.
"I did not know there were twenty-seven sub-levels to the Centre," he said. "Although, perhaps if you were to do a calculation involving the earth displacement in building the Centre—"
"I don't know anything about maths," Rose said. "Come on. The TARDIS is this way."
"The…TARDIS? What is a TARDIS?"
"It's your ticket out of here," the Doctor answered. "They'd have expected you to go up, after all, not down. Having gone down, you will now go—not up but out. Here we are. This is the TARDIS."
The blue police box did look out of place in the smoke and gloom. And yet somehow it always managed to make itself look at home.
"This is…familiar. A telephone booth? A British telephone booth from the 1960s and 1970s? I saw one of those in my Irish terrorism simulation—in 1971."
"Irish terrorism?" Rose whispered. "1971? You couldn't have been more than eleven or twelve then."
"I thought you said you didn't know anything about math."
"Oh, look!" the Doctor called. "Somebody's left us a present. Left you a present, Jarod." He picked up the silver Halliburton briefcase leaning against the door of the TARDIS. "Your DSAs."
Jarod slowly reached out and took it, opened it. "When I planned my escape for yesterday, I planned to take these. They're my entire life." He held up a small, round disc labeled with some numbers. "My whole life on these discs." He ran his fingers over them. "There's one here that says 'Doctor.'" He held it up.
"That's it. Jarod, this is why you didn't escape yesterday. Your time simulation. Do you remember it?"
"Yes, I do." Jarod's face went dark. "Another thing the Centre has used against me and other innocent people?"
The Doctor put a hand on his shoulder. "Yes. It must never fall into Raines' hands. Can I take it? It will be safe with me."
Jarod looked him in the eyes for a long moment. "Yes," he said. He held onto the disc another moment, a tiny piece of his life, and then relinquished it. "Who put them here? Who knew?"
"Someone's left you a note," Rose said. She picked it up out of the case. "'Your life.' Signed, C.J. With an email address."
"C.J.? There's someone inside the Centre helping me? Is that why you two came?"
"Er…not exactly," the Doctor said.
"Who are you?"
"An old friend, Jarod. Come on, now. Into the TARDIS."
Jarod gasped and gaped at the TARDIS's interior, larger and far more peculiar than its outside. "But this is—"
"Impossible?" the Doctor said. "Well, impossible is what I do, Jarod. I frequently think of six impossible things before breakfast, and then I do them, just for fun. I'm the Doctor! Hold onto something now."
He pushed buttons, pulled levers, gave something a kick, and the wonderful TARDIS sound that always made Rose smile grew around them, died again.
"Here we are."
"Here we…are? We've…gone somewhere?"
"We are in the woods outside Blue Cove, Delaware, yesterday. In a few minutes a man will drive by and give you a lift, and your adventure will begin. It's quite a world you're going to discover, Jarod. I've been to a lot of places, but I have a soft spot for Earth."
"Earth? Who are you?"
"Oh, you know. Just a bloke who goes around solving problems, fixing things, helping people. Like you."
Jarod muttered, his eyes darkening, "I haven't helped anyone."
"Oh, but you will. Are you ready?"
"Will I see you again?"
"Me, yes. Don't be surprised if I don't recognize you. At that point I won't have met you yet. Your future but my past, you see. Rose? I don't know. It's still the future for her."
"Goodbye, Jarod," Rose said softly, and she did what she had been wanting to do since she first saw him. She spread out her arms, and he, with a rapid blink and a swallow, stepped into her embrace, clinging almost like a child might, his face down on her hair.
The Doctor opened the door. It was dark out. They could barely see a road ahead through some trees. Jarod picked up his DSA case and gave them both a sudden smile, his whole face alive, then stepped through the door.
"Who is he really?" Rose asked.
"Just a man. Just another Human."
"Well…OK, it's true that there's a genetic marker in his blood that makes him unique."
"What kind of genetic marker, Doctor?"
"Perhaps not entirely Human, Rose, but that's pure speculation. I'm a Time Lord, not an alien geneticist."
"You mean he's not entirely Human?"
"Genetics aside, he's Human alright, Rose. No one's more Human than Jarod."
They watched him walking away down the wooded road in the moonlight. In the distance a vehicle was coming.
"Time to go," the Doctor said. He closed the door and began pushing and pulling and kicking things.
"So the timeline's all restored?"
"Yes, it is. Ticking along beautifully. Though I might have been wrong. The results Jarod came up with for that time simulation might really have put an end to life as we know it."
"It always does."
The TARDIS sound rose around them.