Chapter 9 – Loose the Hounds

"Ready?" The Doctor asked Rose as she walked down the ramp.

"Yeah. I'm really gonna miss them." The girl said.

"They do grow on you. Especially the green one."

"Yeah, well the green one was a little too cute for my taste." Rose said darkly. The Doctor raised an eyebrow but she just shook her head.

"Right, next stop, Skon's ship." The Doctor threw the switch that sent the TARDIS into flight, and immediately threw it back. Rose looked over his shoulder into the scanner as the river started to boil, the huge ship coming out of the water like Leviathan under them.

"Huh, guess they were keeping an eye out. Oh well. Now, a bit of hocus pocus, razamataz and voila! One Slitheen starship wrapped up in a nice tight gravio-dimensional field and we're off!"

"Pity I didn't think of this before. The field wraps space around them like a blanket, so if they fire any weapons blammo, no more Slitheen. They'd be hit by their own fire. Likewise no communications either so we won't have to listen to that maniac rant."

"You should have said!" Rose complained. "That Skon gives me the screaming jib-jabs. Not to mention he's butt ugly. If I never see another naked Slitheen I'll be a happy girl."

"The only disadvantage of using the field this way is we have to make the run to the portal through normal space. Well, at least we aren't likely to run into any space ships up—oh my."

"What?"

"Looks like I spoke too soon. There's a good fifteen—no—twenty ships closing in around us."

"Things never run smoothly for you, do they Doctor?" Rose said, chuckling in spite of the danger.

"This is Javelin-7 calling the small blue box."

"Hello, this is the Doctor." The Doctor said cheerfully. "Won't be a mo', I'm just towing this lot through the portal, and we'll be out of your hair. Sorry for the trespass, won't happen again, you have my word."

"Understood. We're actually here to escort you to the portal. We've been informed the ship under tow is armed and hostile. Is that true?"

"Well, they are armed and hostile." The Doctor admitted. "But right now they're as helpless as a kitten wrapped up in a carpet. I've got them inside a gravio-dimensional field so they're pretty much blind, deaf, and dumb at the moment."

"Good to know." The voice said drily. "But if it's all the same to you we'll still escort you in case your charges decide to open their eyes."

"Happy for the company, Javelin-7." The Doctor thumbed the switch that ended communication.

"Well, looks like Robin arranged this little honor guard for us. So thoughtful of him."

"Yeah, it's nice to have friends." Rose said. "Pity they won't be coming through the portal with us."

"Just as well." The Doctor said. "The portal leads through the Spiral and that's not going to be a comfy amusement ride. Better grab onto something when we go through, no telling how rough it'll be."

"Cyborg's going to be mad if you beat up the TARDIS again." Rose warned him.

"Not half as mad as I'll be." The Doctor said. "Portal coming up in 30 seconds." Rose grabbed onto a support arch that held the console in place.

"Javelin-7, this is the Doctor. Thanks for the escort but I'd clear off if I were you. No telling how exciting the portal's going to be when it closes. I recommend you keep a healthy distance."

"Acknowledged, Doctor. Bon Voyage."

The Doctor watched the escorting ships peel off and sprint back toward Earth with one eye as he watched the approaching portal with the other.

"All up to you now, old girl." He grabbed a stanchion. "Hang on!"

The fleeing Javelins saw the two ships pass through the portal, which flared brilliantly, then winked out.

"Well that was anti-climactic I must say." The Doctor said in indignation as the TARDIS shivered a bit and settled into smooth flight.

"Here I was all set for horrific banging and clanging! Where's the noise? The excitement of racing through the most terrifying forces in the universe? Its total pants! Bah!"

"You are insane." Rose said sarcastically. "If you ask me we deserve a bit of peace and quiet after all the sound and fury."

"Speaking of crazy, guess it's time to let the inmates out and give them back their toy." The Doctor said. "You want to toss this through the door when we land?" He handed her the transduction coil.

"Who, me?" Rose said. "What do I look like, a complete idiot? I'd rather drop them in a sun, not give them back their hyperdrive."

"As fun as that would be, there's still the Reapers to consider." The Doctor said, grinning. "Be quick."

Grousing under her breath Rose made her way to the outer doors.

"Now, Rose." The Doctor said, pointing to the doors.

Without pausing to think she cracked open the door, tossed the ball-like device as hard as she could, and slammed the door shut and latched it. The TARDIS was back in flight in under a minute.

"Now you owe me a beach, you prat." She said, punching him in the arm. "A lovely warm beach with nobody around. No monsters, no poison ivy, nobody needing me to claim I'm your wife." She glared at him.

"I know the perfect spot." The Doctor said. "But first we've got a delivery to make."

"A delivery? Of what?" Rose asked, honestly puzzled. The Doctor reached in his pocket and pulled out a blue and silver box with an LCD screen on it. He handed it to her.

"What's this then?" She asked, turning it over.

"A tracking device. Tuned to the output from the modified dimensional instability transduction coil you just returned to the Slitheen."

"Skon loves the hunt, does he?" The Doctor said with a feral smile. "Let's see how well he likes it from the other side."

Rose stared down at the device in her hands. She found herself wondering just how well a single Slitheen starship would fare against two police corvettes.

"That wasn't nice." She said. "Not at all."

She felt herself start to grin. Then she started to laugh…