A small smile settled on my face as I lay back on the sun lounger in my black bikini with green skulls playing with my old pocket watch. My best friend/ boyfriend Jethro was just a little bit away with his mum, Val and dad, Biff talking about... something.
"Hey," he said, suddenly next to me making me turn to see him crouched by my head. "Road trip?"
"But I'm quite comfortable here," I smirked at the handsome boy as he ran a hand through his unruly raven hair.
"Come on," he smirked back, "You'll love it. Sapphire waterfall, it will be beautiful. The enormous jewel, size of a glacier, reaching the Cliffs of Oblivion, and shattering into sapphires on the edge..." I bit my lip, tempted, "they fall 100,000 feet into a crystal ravine."
"Jet," I muttered with a smile.
"Plus, four hours there, four back," his smirk widened, "Sat at the back of the shuttle, just you, me and that amazing bikini of yours."
A blush crossed my face making me bite back a smile and turn away, "Am I tempting you?" he whispered, turning my face to his and leaning in, pressing his lips softly against mine.
"Just a little," I whispered back, my lips brushing his, only for him to pull away with a mischievous glint in his eyes.
"Jethro, Sarah! We're boarding in a minute!" his mum called, making me sit up and send him a small pout. Standing up, I slipped on my black denim daisy dukes, halter top and flip flops before lacing my fingers with his and pulling him to where his parents had walked off.
When we boarded the shuttle, Jethro tugged me to the seats at the back and I giggled slightly as he pulled me down next to him, his arm securing itself around my shoulders. It didn't take long for the hostess to get to us and start passing the things to us. "Complimentary Headphones for channels 1 – 36, complimentary earplugs, complimentary slippers, complimentary juice pack, and complimentary peanuts," She smiled at us as we swapped a look and looked back up at her, "I must warn you some products may contain nuts."
"That'll be the peanuts, then?" I smiled brightly at her making her chuckle and walk away.
"Don't be silly you two, come sit with us," Val called, "Look! We get slippers!"
"Oh god," he groaned into my hair making me bite my lip again.
"Jethro! Do what your mother says!" Biff snapped making me turn and duck my face in his neck.
"We're sitting here," he called back as his arms moved to around my waist.
"Oh, he's ashamed of us," Biff teased, "But he doesn't mind us paying, does he?"
Jethro opened his mouth to counter but I pulled away and shook my head, "Don't you two start," Val groaned, "Should I save the juice pack or have it now? Look peach and Clementine."
"Finally," Jethro muttered before ducking his face into my neck and pressing his lips against my throat making me bite my lip once again.
"Ladies and Gentlemen and variations thereupon, welcome on board the Crusader 50, if you would fasten your seatbelts, we'll be leaving any moment. Doors!" the hostess announced making me pull away from him and fasten my seatbelt as the doors sealed. "Shields down!" They descended making me look around at the blacked out windows.
"I'm afraid the view is shielded until we reach the Waterfall Palace," the hostess informed us, "Also, a reminder, Midnight has no air, so please don't touch the exterior door seals. Fire exit at the rear, and should we need to use it... you first." I raised a disbelieving eyebrow as she laughed. "Now I will hand you over to our Driver Joe."
"Driver Joe at the wheel!" the intercom sounded, "There's been a diamond-fall at the Winter Witch Canyon, so we'll be taking a slight detour, as you'll see on the map." The map showed two different routes, "The journey covers 500 kliks to the Multifaceted Coast, and duration is estimated at four hours. Thank you for travelling with us, and as they used to say in the olden days, wagons roll!"
I sighed and shifted in my seat to rest my head against Jethro's shoulder making him drop a kiss on my forehead and wrap his arms around me again as the shuttle started to move.
"For your entertainment, we have the Music Channel playing retrovids of Earth Classics," the hostess turned on some screens, "Also, the latest artistic installation from Ludovic Klein." A hologram show started up, "Plus, for the youngsters, a rare treat – the Animation Archives." Old cartoons started making me sigh, "Four hours of funtime! Enjoy!"
With everything going at once, the noise was just irritating making both Jethro and I pull out our own headphones from our music players. As we went to put them in though, the screens went off and the noise stopped. "Well that's a mercy!" some old guy, Professor Hobbes commented.
"I do apologise, ladies and gentlemen and variations thereupon," the hostess panicked, "We seem to of had a failure of the Entertainment System..."
"Aww," I sighed sarcastically.
"But what do we do?" Val asked.
"We've got four hours of this?" Biff complained, "Four hours of just... sitting here?"
"I can think of a few things to do," Jethro muttered as his lips descended on my neck again, making me squirm in my seat and turn to him.
"I'd like to hear those," I muttered as his lips locked with mine, my hand caressing his cheek.
"Tell you what!" an unfamiliar voice announced making me break away from Jethro, who sighed, "We'll have to talk to each other instead!" The man who had said that was very good looking, and he was crouched on his seat so he could look around at us, a grin plastered on his face.
98 kliks later, Jethro and I were trying our best to not listen to his parents as they told the pool story again. "I could have been soaking up the sun right about now," I sighed up at Jethro as he mimicked his dad.
"Aww come on, don't start complaining," he groaned at me making me scoff and push myself out of my seat and walk towards the galley.
"I'm the Doctor," the good looking man said, appearing at my shoulder as I poured myself some tea.
"Yeah, I got that," I smiled at him, "I'm Sarah... would you like some tea?"
"Yeah, that'd be great," he nodded, "Nice to meet you Sarah."
"You too," I nodded, pouring him a cup and handing it to him. "So, what are you a doctor of?"
"Oh, you know, this and that," he smiled cheekily making me raise a curious eyebrow as I pulled my pocket watch out again and mess with it. "Oh that's odd, where'd you get that?"
"Oh, um..." I bit my lip, as I thought about it, "I don't really remember, I just..."
"Have you ever opened it?" he asked slowly making me raise an eyebrow again before looking at the watch again and shake my head. "Ever think about opening it?"
I shook my head again, wondering why I'd never contemplated opening the watch, "Sarah?" Jethro had came over, "I'm sorry okay?"
"Yeah," I nodded, "Um, Doctor, this is my boyfriend Jethro. Jet, this is the Doctor."
"Nice to meet you," the Doctor smiled, offering his hand.
"Yeah, you too," Jethro muttered, shaking his hand before looking at me then back to him. "Uh, can you give us a minute?"
"Of course," the doctor grinned, "Yes, okay, I'll be over here." He walked away and started talking to Dee Dee.
"So you walk away from me to talk to a strange man?" Jethro asked making me roll my eyes.
"Are we really gonna start this again?" I asked annoyed. "I'm bored Jet, and that guy is interesting okay?"
"What am I supposed to do about you being bored?" he gritted out.
"I don't know Jethro," I sighed at him, "But I was actually enjoying myself talking to him before you sent him away."
With that I started to walk away from him but he pulled me back, wrapping his arm around my waist, "I'm sorry," he muttered, his face ducking into my neck, "Please, just don't walk away from me again."
Biting my lip, I laced my fingers with his and pulled him back to our seats, settling into his arms again, but playing with the pocket watch.
209 kliks later we were having our meals, "What's this supposed to be?" I asked curiously as I picked some meat up on my fork.
"A kind of mix between chicken and beef maybe?" Jethro answered making me chuckle and lift the fork to his face.
"You first," I grinned at him making him roll his eyes before taking it, he shrugged.
"It's okay," he told me with a grin.
251 kliks later, Professor Hobbes was showing his slides, making me sigh and slide down in my seat. I leant against my armrest as I watched.
"So, this is Midnight, d'you see?" He pointed, "Bombarded by the sun! Xtonic rays, raw galvanic radiation. Dee Dee, next slide." She switched them, "It's my pet project. Actually, I'm the first person to research this. Because you see... the history is fascinating, because there is no history. There's no life in this entire system, there couldn't be. Before the Leisure Palace Company moved in, no-one had come here in all eternity. No living thing."
"How'd you know?" I asked out loud making everyone look at me, "I mean, if no one can go outside then..."
"Oh the imagination of kids..." Val smiled making me send her a small glare.
"She has a point though," the Doctor countered making me smile up at him, he smiled back.
"Exactly!" Professor Hobbes agreed, "We look upon this world through glass. Safe inside our metal box. Even the Leisure Palace was lowered down from orbit. And here we are now, crossing Midnight, but never touching it."
The engines around us went silent making me rise from my seat, "We've stopped, have we stopped?" Val asked.
"Are we there?" Biff added.
"We can't be," Dee Dee told us, "it's too soon."
"They don't stop," Hobbes told us, "Crusader vehicles never stop."
"If you could just... return to your seats, it's... just a small delay," the hostess announced to us, just as confused as us as she moved to the intercom to talk to the driver.
"Maybe just a pit stop," Biff suggested.
"There's no pit to stop at," I snapped at him, "We took a completely different route."
"I've been on this expedition 14 times," Hobbes agreed, "They never stop."
"We evidently, we have stopped," the woman at the front snapped at us, "So there's no point in denying it."
"We've broken down!" Jethro laughed making me send him a small smirk.
"Thanks Jethro," Biff groaned.
"In the middle of nowhere," he grinned.
"That's enough, now stop it!" his dad snapped.
"Ladies and gentlemen and variations thereupon, we're just experiencing a short... delay," the Hostess started, "the driver needs to stabilise the engine feeds. It's perfectly routine, so if you could just stay in your seats..."
"Stabilising the engine feeds?" I muttered before getting up and making my way to the driver's cabin, evidently the doctor had the same idea.
"No, I'm sorry you two... could just please..." the hostess tried to stop us.
"Engine expert," the doctor flashed an ID but I just shrugged past her and entered the cockpit.
"You can't be in here," the driver started.
"Company insurance," the doctor stated making me send him a side glance, "Let's see if we can get an early assessment. So what's the problem, Driver Joe?"
"We're stabilising the engine feeds, won't take long," he replied as I checked the screens.
"Uh, no, coz that's the engine feed," I pointed at the screen, "That light there, and its fine, and it's a micro-petrol engine, so stabilising doesn't really make sense, does it?"
"Sorry! I'm the Doctor, and she's just very clever. So, what's wrong?" the Doctor interrupted.
"We just stopped, look, all systems are fine and everything's working, but we're not moving," the mechanic replied.
The doctor leaned over and shone some light thing at the console, "Yeah, you're right," he nodded, "No faults, and who are you?"
"Claude, I'm the mechanic," he replied, "Trainee."
"Nice to meet you," he nodded making me grin and nod at the guy.
"I've sent a distress signal," driver Joe told us, "They should dispatch a rescue truck, top speed."
"How long till they get here?" I asked simply.
"About an hour," he shrugged.
"Well, since we're waiting... shall we take a look outside?" The Doctor suggested, "Just... life the screens a bit?"
"It's 100% Xtonic out there, we'd be vaporised." Joe yelped.
"Nah," I smiled, "Those windows are Finitoglass, and they'd give us a couple of minutes. Go on! Live a little."
"I like you," the doctor said suddenly making me grin at him as he wrapped an arm around my shoulders. I leant into him slightly; something about him feeling familiar and safe, as the shields rose making me gasp at the landscape. The rolling mountains outside, were covered in diamonds that glinted in the Xtonic sunlight.
"Oh, it's beautiful..." I muttered in awe.
"Look at all those diamonds," Claude sighed, "Poisoned by the sun. No-one can ever touch them."
"Joe," the doctor interrupted, "You said we took a detour?"
"Just about 40 kliks to the west," he replied.
"Is that a recognised path?" the doctor asked him.
"No, it's a new one," he replied, "The computer worked it out, on automatic."
"So we're the first?" I asked with a large smile.
"This piece of ground, no one's ever been here before," the doctor grinned, "Not in the whole of recorded history."
"Did you just..." Claude started making me turn to him, "No, sorry, it's nothing."
"What did you see?" Doctor asked.
"Just there," he pointed, "That ridge, like... like a shadow. Just for a second."
"What sort of shadow?" The Doctor asked him but an alarm sounded.
"Xtonic rising," Joe commented, "Shields down."
"Look, look, there it is," Claude told us, making me duck to look under the shield, "there, look!"
"Where?" the Doctor asked, "What was it?"
"Like, just, something," he replied, "shifting, some sort of... dark. Like it was running."
"Running which way?" I asked turning to him.
"Towards us..." he replied making me bite my lip in fear.
"Right, you two, back to your seats and not a word," Joe told us, "Rescue is on its way. If you could close the door, thank you."
I nodded and pulled the doctor out with me, closing the door once we were in the passenger cabin again. "What did they say?" the blond woman asked, "Did they tell you? What is it, what's wrong?"
"Oh, just stabilising, happens all the time," the Doctor replied as I let go of his hand and walked back over to Jethro.
"Is that it?" he asked me as I sat down, "Stabilising engines?" I nodded before leaning against him, my eyes locked on the Doctor as I messed with my pocket watch. He was trying to talk to everyone but they were all starting to panic.
"How much air have we got?" Hobbes asked.
"Professor its fine!" Dee Dee comforted.
"What did he say?" Val asked.
"Nothing," the Doctor replied.
"Are we running out of air?" she panicked.
"I was just speculating..." Hobbes started as the hostess came back out of the driver's cabin.
"Is that right miss? Are we running out of air?" Biff asked.
"If you could all just remain calm..." the hostess started.
"How much air have we got?" Val asked.
"Mum just stop it!" Jethro snapped at her, taking my silence as fear, since he wrapped his arms around me.
"I assure you, everything is under control," the Hostess tried to calm them down.
"Well, doesn't look like it to me," Biff snapped.
"Well he said it!" Val joined in.
"...it's fine, the air is on a circular filter..." Dee Dee tried.
"... he started it..." Val carried on, everyone was talking at once as I pushed myself to sit up straight and look around.
"Everyone..." the doctor tried to make them quiet, but it didn't work. "Shh, shh, shh..."
Bringing my fingers to my lips I let out a loud whistle making them all fall silent, "Thanks," I sighed at them all, "Doctor?"
"Thank you," he nodded to me, "Now, if you'd care to listen to my good friend Dee Dee."
"Oh!" she sighed, standing up, "Um... it's just that... well, the air's on a circular filter so... we could stay breathing for ten years."
"There you go," the Doctor grinned, "And Sarah and I talked to the driver, we can guarantee you, everything's fine. Right Sarah?"
"Right..." I started but two knocks sounded on the wall of the shuttle making me spin around to look at where it came from.
"What was that?" Val asked, scared.
"It must be the metal," Hobbes suggested, "We're cooling down, it's just settling..."
"Rocks," Dee Dee suggested, "Could be rocks falling."
"What I want to know s, how long do we have to sit here?" Biff asked, but no one answered as the double knock repeated.
"What is that?" the blond woman asked.
"Is someone out there?" Val asked.
"Don't be ridiculous," Hobbes sighed.
"Like I said, it could be rocks," Dee Dee repeated.
"We're out in the open," the Hostess informed us, "Nothing could fall against the sides."
The knocks sounded again making me stand up, "Knock, knock," I muttered.
"Who's there?" Jethro grinned making me smile back.
"Is there something out there?" the blond asked, "Well? Anyone?" The knocks sounded again, "What the hell is making that noise?"
"I'm sorry, but the light out there is Xtonic, that means it would destroy any living thing," Hobbes told us, "in a split-second. It is impossible for someone to be outside."
The knocks sounded again, always two. "Well what the hell is that then?" the blond snapped.
I watched as the Doctor went to the wall and used a stethoscope to hear what was out there, "Sir!" the hostess started, "You really should go back to your seat."
"Hello?" he asked quietly, but the knocking sounded from the fire exit door.
"It's moving," I muttered as I rose from my seat as I was right next to the door. Said door started rattling, like something was trying to open it.
"It's trying the door," Val panicked.
"There is no it!" Hobbes snapped, "There's nothing out there. Can't be!"
"Then tell us what the hell it is!" I shouted at him, glaring, "Something's trying to get in here!" It tried the door again, but moves, always double knocking from the roof to the side door.
"That's the entrance," Val muttered, "Can it get in?"
"No," Dee Dee told us, "that door is on two hundred weight of hydraulics."
"Stop it, don't encourage them!" Hobbes shouted at his assistant.
"What do you think it is?" she snapped back as Biff moved to the door.
"Biff, don't..." Val stated.
"Mr Cane..." I started to protest.
"Nah, it is cast iron that door," he knocked n it three times... the thing outside copies, knocking three times.
"Three times!" Val yelped, "Did you hear that, it did it three times!"
"It answered," Jethro confirmed.
"It did it three times," Val carried on.
"All right, all right, everyone, calm down!" the Doctor tried.
"No, but it answered," the blond panicked, "it... answered, don't tell me that thing's not alive, it answered him!" There was another three knocks.
"I really must insist you get back to your seats," the hostess asked us again.
"No!" the blond snapped, "Don't just tan there telling us the rules! You're the Hostess you're supposed to do something!"
I watched as the Doctor moved to the door and knocked four times, the thing knocked four times too. "What is it?" the blond yelled in complete panic, "What the hell is making that noise?" she was backing towards a wall, "She said she'd get me! Stop it, make it stop, somebody make it stop!" I stepped towards her only to have the doctor wrap his arm around my wrist and pull me backwards, making me hit his chest. "Don't just stand there looking at me, it's not my fault, he started it with his stories..."
"Calm down," I told her in a calm voice.
"...and he made it worse..." she carried on.
"You're not helping!" Val snapped at her.
"...why couldn't you leave it alone?" she snapped at us, "Stop staring at me! Just tell me what the hell it is!"
"Calm down!" I snapped at her as the Doctor's grip on me tightened, holding me back.
The knocking became continuous, and the blond backed towards the cockpit door, panicked. "It's coming for me, ohh, it's coming for me, it' coming for me... it's coming for me! It's coming for me!" She screamed and I pulled from the doctor heading for her.
"Move, get out of there!" I screamed at her but the whole shuttle rocked, the lights going out. The rocking of the shuttle sent me flying into the Doctor and he wrapped his arms around me to stop me from hitting the solid wall. After a moment or two, the shuttle settled and everyone gasped and groaned into the darkness.
"Argh..." the Doctor groaned as I pulled away from him, "Arms, legs, head, nose, I'm fine. You okay?"
"Yeah, I think so," I nodded tentatively as I took a breath.
"How are we, everyone all right?" he called to everyone.
"Earthquake, must be..." Hobbes started.
"But that's impossible, the ground is fixed, it's solid," Dee Dee complained as I got up and shook myself off.
"We've got torches, everyone take a torch, they're in the back of the seats," the hostess told us making me pull one out and turn it on.
"Sarah," Jethro called holding his hand out and pulling me into his chest, his arm wrapping around me. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," I nodded, ducking my face into his neck.
"Oh, Jethro," Val called, "sweetheart, come here..."
"Never mind me, what about her?" he aimed his torch at the blond woman, making me turn to her. She was sat here, motionless among ruined seats, her back to us.
"What happened to the seats?" Val asked.
"Who did that?" Biff joined in.
"They've been ripped up," Val announced making me roll my eyes.
"It's all right," the Doctor moved to sooth the woman, "it's all right, it's all right, it's over. We're still alive... Look, the wall's still intact. D'you see?"
He pointed his torch at the wall in front of her, there was a dent but it wasn't broken. "We're safe." He carried on, but the Hostess passed them.
"The intercom must be down," she muttered as she opened the cockpit door... a bright light shone, making me wince and duck my face into Jethro's chest.
"What happened?" Val asked, "What was that?"
"Is that the driver?" Biff asked, "Have we lost the driver?"
"The cabin's gone," the Hostess told us.
"Don't be ridiculous," Hobbes started, "It can't be gone, how can it be gone?"
"Well, but you saw it!" Dee Dee countered.
"There was nothing there," the hostess told us, "like it was ripped away."
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the Doctor fiddling with a panel on the wall with his light thing. "What are you doing?" I asked, walking over to him.
"That's better, a bit of light," he grinned as I shone my torch on the panel, "Molto bene!"
"D'you know what you're doing?" Val asked him, worried.
"The Cabin's gone," Biff snapped, "You'd better leave that wall alone."
"The cabin can't be gone!" Hobbes stated.
"You blatantly saw that it was gone!" I snapped at the man, "Stop trying to sound smarter than you are old man!" His mouth dropped open, like he wanted to say something back, but changed his mind.
"No, it's safe," the Doctor answered Biff, "any rupture would automatically seal itself..." he took the panel off, "But something sliced it off. You're right, the cabin's gone."
"But if it gets separated..."the hostess started.
"It loses integrity," he replied, "I'm sorry, they've been reduced to dust. The driver and the mechanic. But they sent a distress signal. Help is on its way. They saved our lives! We're gonna get out of here, I promise. We're still alive, and they're gonna find us."
"Doctor, look at her," Jethro interrupted making us both turn to the blond woman, she still sat in the same position.
"Right, yes, sorry," he nodded, "Have we got a medical kit?"
"Why won't she turn around?" Jethro asked.
"What's her name?" I asked the hostess as I moved to her and the Doctor.
"Silvestry, Mrs Sky Silvestry," she replied.
"Sky, can you hear me?" The Doctor asked as we crouched by her, "Are you all right? Can you move, Sky? Just look at me."
"The noise from outside," I muttered, "It's gone."
"Well thank god for that," Val sighed.
"What if it's not outside anymore?" Jethro finished what I was thinking, "What if it's inside?"
"Inside, where?" Val asked.
"It was heading for her?" he nodded to Sky.
"Sky... it's alright," the Doctor started, "I just want you to turn around and face us."
Slowly, she turns around and stared at us with wide eyes, looking like a wild animal caught in torchlight. "Sky?" I asked.
"Sky?" she mimicked.
"Are you alright?" I asked.
"Are you alright?" she copied.
"Are you hurt?" The doctor asked.
"Are you hurt?" She replied.
"You don't have to talk," he told her.
"You don't have to talk," she replied.
"I'm trying to help," he informed her.
"I'm trying to help," she copied again.
"My name is the Doctor," he told her.
"My name is the Doctor," she mimicked.
"Ok, can you stop?" he asked.
"Ok, can you stop?"
"I'd like you to stop," he told her.
"I'd like you to stop."
"You really need to stop," I said firmly.
"You really need to stop."
"Why is she doing that?" Hobbes asked us.
"Why is she doing that?" she copied, turning to him.
"She's gone mad," Biff muttered.
"She's gone mad."
"Stop it!" Val snapped.
"I said stop!" Val snapped again.
"I said stop!"
"I don't think she can," Dee Dee announced.
"I don't think she can."
"All right, now stop it, this isn't funny." Hobbes told her.
"All right, now stop it, this isn't funny."
"Sh, sh, sh, all of you," the Doctor told them.
"Sh, sh, sh, all of you."
"My name's Jethro," he said making me glare at his amused face.
"My name's Jethro."
"Jet, leave it, just stop!" I snapped at him.
"Jet, leave it, just stop!"
"Why are you repeating?" the Doctor asked.
"Why are you repeating?"
"What is that, learning?" I asked.
"What is that, learning?"
"Copying?" the Doctor suggested.
"Absorbing," I finished.
"The square route of pi is 1.77245385090551602729816748..." the Doctor stated.
"The square route of pi is 1.77245385090551602729816748..."
"...3341. Wow!" he finished.
"That's impossible," I muttered.
"She couldn't repeat all that," Dee Dee agreed.
"She couldn't repeat all that."
"Tell her to stop!" Val asked.
"Tell her to stop!"
"She's driving me mad!" Val groaned.
"She's driving me mad!"
"Just make her stop!" Val snapped.
"Just make her stop!"
They all started talking at once, but Sky still repeated every single word she heard, copying tone and rhythm.
"...stop her staring at me, shut her up..."
"...I'm telling you, whatever your name is...
"Now just stop it all of..."
"...her eyes, what's wrong with her eyes..."
"...Biff don't just stand there, do something, make her stop..."
"...you're scaring my wife..."
"Six, six, six"
"...make her stop..."
There was a high pitched noise and the lights came back on, making everyone fall silent. "Thank god for that," I muttered with a sigh.
"Well then, that's the back-up system." The Hostess smiled.
"Well! That's a bit better!" Biff nodded.
"What about the rescue?" Val asked, "How long is it gonna take?"
"About 60 minutes," the Hostess replied.
"Then I suggest we all calm down," Hobbes nodded, "This panic isn't helping, that poor woman is evidently in a state of self-induces hysteria, we should leave her alone."
My jaw dropped as I noticed that Sky was saying everything at the same time as everyone. "Doctor," Jethro pointed out, obviously noticing too.
"I know," the Doctor replied, she was now talking at the same time as everyone.
"Doctor, now step back, I think you should leave her...alone." he'd noticed what she was doing. "What's she doing?"
"How can she do that?" Val and Sky asked together, "She's talking with you... and with me! Oh, my God! Biff, what is she doing?"
"She's repeating," Jethro and Sky answered, "At the exact same time."
"That's impossible," Dee Dee and Sky muttered.
"There's not even a delay," Hobbes and Sky commented together.
"Ooh, man, that is weird," Jethro said with her.
"I think we should all be very, very quiet," the doctor told us with her, "have you got that?"
"How is she doing it?" Val asked.
"Mrs Cane, please, be quiet."
"But how can she do that? She's got my voice, she got my words," Val panicked.
"Sweetheart, be quiet, just... hush now. Hush." Biff soothed, "She's doing it to me!"
"Just stop!" I snapped making them all look at me, "Everyone, just, stay quiet."
The Doctor nodded to me and crouched in front of Sky, "Now then, Sky. Are you Sky? Is Sky still in there? Mrs Silvestry?" he asked her, she was talking with him still. "You know exactly what I'm going to say, how are you doing that?" He paused, "Roast beef! Bananas! The Medusa Cascade!" My eyes widened at those words, I knew what that was but it was impossible. "Bang!"
I crouched by them and looked at the Doctor, "Gallifrey," I said slowly making him look at me. I was just naming things from my dreams and she was speaking with me, "The Doctor, The Master, Angel, Timelord, TARDIS!"
"Shamble bobble dibble dooble!" The Doctor said quickly her saying at the same time, "Oh, Doctor you're so handsome. Yes I am, thank you. A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L ,M,N,O..."
The rose next to me and helped me up, "First she repeats, then she catches up," he said with her.
"What's next?" I asked, looking down at her.
"Next?" Dee Dee and Sky asked.
"But that's not her is it?" Jethro asked us, "That's not Mrs Silvestry anymore."
"I don't think so, no." The Doctor replied, "I think... the more we talk, the more she learns. Now I'm all for education, but in this case... maybe not."
"Let's just... move back?" I suggested.
"Yeah," he nodded and ushered us to the galley. "Everyone get back, as far as you can."
"Doctor, make her stop," Val asked.
"Val come on, come to the back, stop looking at her," the Doctor told her, leading her back.
"Jet, you too," I told him, pulling his arm.
"50 minutes," the Doctor sighed, "That's all we need, 50 minutes till the rescue arrives. And she's not exactly strong, look at her, all she's got is our voices."
"I can't look at her," Val whimpered, "Those eyes."
"We must not look at goblin men," Dee Dee said suddenly making me turn to her as Jethro wrapped his arms around me again.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Biff asked her.
"It's a poem," I answered, "Christina Rossetti."
"We must not look at Goblin men. We must not buy their fruits. Who knows upon what soil they fed. Their hungry thirsty roots?" Dee Dee quoted, but it sounded creepy as Sky was quoting with her.
"Actually, I don't think that's helping," the Doctor told her.
"She's not a goblin," Hobbes told us, "or a monster, she's just a very sick woman."
"Maybe that's why it went for her?" Jethro asked.
"There is no 'it'," Hobbes sighed.
"Think about it," I growled at the man, "That knocking, it went all around the bus until it found her. And she was the most scared out of us. Maybe that's what it needed, that's how it got in?"
"For the last time!" Hobbes snapped, "Nothing can live on the surface of Midnight!"
"Nothing corporeal!" I snapped back, "but it can't be corporeal if it's possessing her!"
"Professor, I'm glad you've got an absolute definition of life in the universe, but perhaps the universe has got ideas of its own, mmm?" the doctor told him, "Now trust me, I've got previous! I think there might be well some... consciousness inside Mrs Silvestry, like Sarah says, but maybe she's still in there. And it's our job to help her."
"Well you can help her coz I'm not going near her." Biff told him.
"No, I've got to stay back," The doctor said, "If she's copying us, maybe the final stage is becoming us. I don't want her becoming me, or things could get a lot worse."
"Oh, like you're so special," Val snapped.
"As it happens, yes I am," he nodded simply making me bite back a giggle.
"Um, I'll go talk to her," I suggested, raising a hand.
"Hell no," Jethro snapped, tightening his hold on my waist and pulling my back against his chest.
"Well it's decided then," the Doctor shrugged, "We stay back, and we wait. When the rescue ship comes we can get her to hospital."
"We should throw her out," the Hostess said suddenly.
"I bed your pardon?" Hobbes asked shocked.
"Can we do that?" Val asked.
"Don't be ridiculous," the Doctor scoffed.
"That thing, whatever it is, killed the driver," the Hostess told us, "and the mechanic, and I don't think she's finished yet."
"She can't even move!" I argued, "And the driver and the mechanic had names! Joe and Claude!"
"Look at her, look at her eyes!" the Hostess snapped, "She killed them both and we're next."
"She's still doing it," Biff snapped as he walked back to her, "Just stop it! Stop talking! Stop it!"
"Biff, don't, sweetheart!" Val told him.
"But she won't stop," he groaned walking back to us, "We can't throw her out though, we can't even open the doors."
"No one is getting thrown out!" the Doctor told us making me sigh in relief.
"Yes we can," Dee Dee told us, "Cos there's an air pressure seal. Like when you opened the cabin door, you weren't pulled out you had a couple of seconds, coz it takes the pressure-wall about six seconds to collapse. Well, six seconds exactly. That's enough time to throw someone out."
"Thanks Dee Dee, just what we needed," The Doctor commented sarcastically.
"Would it kill her, outside?" Val asked.
"I don't know, but she's got a body now, it would certainly kill the physical form," Dee Dee answered.
"No one is killing anyone," the Doctor shouted.
"I wouldn't risk the cabin door twice," The hostess commented, "But we've got that one," she pointed at the fire exit, "All we need to do is grab hold of her and throw her out."
"Now listen, all of you." The Doctor interrupted, "For all we know that's a brand new life form over there. And if it's come inside to discover us, than what's it found? This little bunch of humans, what d'you amount to? A murder? Cos this is where you decide. You decide who you are. Could you actually murder her? Any of you? Really? Or are you better than that?"
I pulled away from Jethro and stood next to the Doctor, nodding at him as the others looked at each other in silence. "I'd do it," the Hostess finally came out with.
"So would I," Biff agreed.
"And me," Val added.
"I think we should," Dee Dee agreed.
"What?" I asked her shocked.
"I want her out," she replied.
"You can't say that," the Doctor snapped at her.
"I'm sorry, but you said it yourself, she's growing in strength," she sighed.
"That's not what he said!" I growled angrily.
"I want to go home," she sighed at me, "I'm sorry, I want to be safe."
"You'll be safe," the Doctor told her, "Any minute now, the rescue truck is on its way."
"But what happens then, Doctor?" the Hostess asked us. "If it takes that thing back to the Leisure Palace, if that thing reaches civilisation, what if it spreads?"
"No, when we get back to the base, I'll be there to contain it," he told her.
"You haven't done much so far!" Val snapped at him.
"You're just standing in the back with the rest of us!" Biff growled.
"She's dangerous," The Hostess sighed, "It's my job to see this vessel is safe, and we should get rid of her."
"Now hand on, I think, perhaps we're all going a little bit too far," Hobbes started.
"At last, thank you!" the Doctor sighed.
"Two people are dead," the Hostess tried to explain.
"So don't make it a third," I snapped at the woman, "Jet, what d'you think?"
"I'm not killing anyone," he replied making me smile at him.
"Thank you," the Doctor grinned.
"He's just a boy," Val countered.
"What so I don't get a vote?" he asked incredulously.
"There isn't a vote," the Doctor snapped, "It's not happening! Ever. If you try to throw her out that door, you'll have to get past me first."
"And me," I added, for a minute, they just stared at us.
"Okay," the Hostess said finally.
"Fine by me," Biff smirked, making my glare settle on him.
"Ooh, now you're being stupid," the Doctor groaned, "Just think about it! Could you actually take hold of someone and throw them out of that door?"
"Calling me a coward?" Biff yelled.
"Who put you in charge anyway?" Val asked him.
"I'm sorry, but... you're a Doctor of what exactly?" Hobbes asked him making me turn to the Doctor.
"He wasn't even booked in," the Hostess announced, "Rest of you, tickets in advance. He just turned up out of the blue."
"Where from?" Val asked him.
"I'm just travelling, I'm a traveller, that's all," was his answer.
"Like an immigrant?" Val sneered.
"Who were you talking to?" the Hostess asked, "Before you got on board, you were talking to someone, who was that?"
"Just Donna," he replied, "Just my friend."
"And what were you saying to her?" Biff asked as my gaze snapped from one to the other.
"He hasn't even told us his name," Val announced as I linked my fingers with the Doctors to comfort him, I trusted him, and he needed to know that.
Jethro glared slightly as he saw this, "Thing is, Doctor, you've been loving this," he said suddenly.
"Jet, not you too," I groaned.
"No but ever since all the trouble started," he replied, "He's been loving this."
"It has to be said, Doctor," Hobbes nodded, "You do seem to have a certain... glee."
"All right, I'm interested, yes," he nodded as I clutched his hand and sleeve, "I can't help it, coz whatever's inside her, it's brand new, and it's fascinating."
"What, you wanted this to happen?" Val snapped.
"No!" he yelled as Jet's hand wrapped around my elbow and he pulled me gently away from the man.
"And you were talking to her, all on your own, before all the trouble, right at the front, you were talking to that Sky woman, the two of you together, I saw you," Biff accused.
"We all did," Val nodded.
"And you went into the Cabin," the Hostess added.
"What were you saying to her?" Biff asked.
"They were just talking," I snapped, "He talked to all of us you idiots!"
"Saying what?" Biff ignored me.
"You called us humans like you're not one of us!" Jethro added making me pull away from him with a glare.
"He did," Val agreed, "That's what he said."
"And the wiring, he went into the panel and opened the wiring," Dee Dee added.
"That was after," he defended himself.
"But how did you know what to do?" Biff asked him.
"Because I'm Clever," he replied making them all fall silent, I moved back over to him, making Jethro reach for me again, I shrugged him away and held the Doctor's hand again.
"I see," Hobbes muttered, "That makes things clear."
"And what are we then?" Biff asked, "Idiots?"
"That's not what I meant," he sighed.
"If you're clever, then what are we?" Dee Dee asked, upset.
"You've been looking down on us from the moment we walked in," Val agreed.
"Even if he goes, he's practically volunteered," the Hostess said suddenly making my gaze snap to her.
"Oh, come on, just listen to yourselves, please," he almost begged.
"What d'you mean – we throw him out as well?" Biff asked.
"If we have to," she nodded.
"Wait! Hold on!" I snapped, glaring around at them all, "We get it, you're scared, so am I and so is he. But you've got to calm down and cool off and think!"
"Perhaps he can tell us his real name," Hobbes asked.
"What does it matter?" I asked them desperately.
"Then he can tell us," the Hostess smirked.
"John Smith," he said suddenly.
"Your real name," Hobbes sneered.
"He's lying, look at his face," Biff snapped making me glance up, the Doctor looked terrified, wide eyed and trapped.
"His eyes are the same as hers," Val said suddenly.
"Why won't you tell us?" Jethro asked him, "Sarah move away from him!"
"NO!" I snapped my eyes still on the Doctor.
"He's been lying to us, right from the start." Val told me.
"No-one's called John Smith," Biff said suddenly, "But come to think of it, no one's called Sarah James either."
"Listen to me," the Doctor sighed, "Listen to me right now! Because you need me, all of you, if we're gonna get out of this, then you need me."
"So you keep saying!" Hobbes sighed, "You've been repeating yourself more than her."
"If anyone's in charge, it should be the professor, he's the expert!" Val commented.
"Mum, stop, just look..." Jethro started.
"You keep out of this Jethro!" Biff snapped.
"Look at her!" he yelled making us all turn.
"She's stopped," Dee Dee commented.
"When did she...?" the Doctor asked, but she was still talking with him, "No, she hasn't, she's still doing it."
"She looks the same to me..." Val commented, "No, she's stopped! Look, I'm talking and she's not!"
"What about me, is she...?" Biff asked, "Look! Look at that! She's not doing me, she's let me go!"
"Mrs Silvestry?" The hostess asked, "Nor me! Nothing."
"Sky?" the Doctor asked, "What are you doing?" She was still talking with him.
"She's still doing him," Dee Dee commented.
"Doctor, it's you," Hobbes told him, "She's only copying you."
"Sarah?" the Doctor asked.
"I don't..." I started, but she didn't talk, "I... what's she still copying you?"
"Why me?" the doctor asked her, "Why are you doing this?"
"She won't leave him alone," Dee Dee commented.
"D'you see?" Val asked, "I said so, she's with him."
"They're together!" Biff agreed.
"How d'you explain it Doctor, if you're so clever?" Hobbes asked him.
"I don't know," he replied, "Sky, stop it. I said stop it. Just stop it!"
He let go of my hand and walked over to her, crouching in front of her, "Look at the two of them," Val commented as Jethro moved to wrap his arm around my waist, I shrugged him off and walked towards the two.
"Mrs Silvestry?" The Doctor started, "I'm trying to understand. You've captured my speech, what for? What d'you need? You need my voice in particular. The cleverest voice in the room. Why? Cause I'm the only one who can help? Ohh, I'd love that to be true. But your eyes. They're saying something else. Listen to me. Whatever you want, if it's life, or form, or consciousness, or voice, you don' have to steal it. You can find it without hurting anyone. And I'll help you. That's a promise. So what d'you think?"
"Do we have a deal?" Sky asked.
"Do we have a deal?" the doctor asked a little after making my eyes widen.
"Doctor?" I asked, sprinting to them and kneeling in front of him.
"Hold on, did she...?" Dee Dee asked.
"She spoke first," Jethro answered.
"She can't have," Val argued.
"She did!" Hobbes told her.
"She spoke first," Jethro confirmed.
"Oh, look at that, I'm ahead of you," Sky smirked.
"Oh, look at that, I'm ahead of you," the doctor said just after her again.
"Did you see? She spoke before he did! Definitely!" Hobbes declared.
"He's copying her," Jethro nodded.
"Doctor, what's happening?" I asked, scared for the first time.
"I think it's moved," Sky answered.
"I think it's moved," the doctor copied.
"I think it's letting me go," Sky told us as my eyes locked on the Doctors, he looked terrified again and I felt a tear fall from my cheek.
"I think it's letting me go," he copied.
"What do you mean?" Dee Dee asked, "Letting you go from what?"
"But he's repeating now," Biff replied, "He's the one doing it! It's him!"
"They're separating," Jethro added.
"Mrs Silvestry?" Hobbes asked, "Is that you?"
"Yes, yes it's me," she replied.
"Yes, yes it's me," the doctor repeated.
"I'm coming back, listen," she carried on.
"I'm coming back..."
"It's me!" Sky smirked.
"...listen, it's me!" he repeated and more tears fell down my cheeks. He was the one crouching motionless and Sky had slowly started to move her head and hands.
"Like it's passed into the Doctor," Jethro commented, "It's transferred. Whatever it is, it's gone inside him."
"No," I croaked, shaking my head, "that's not what happened."
"But look at her," Val snapped making me look at Sky who was on the other side of me.
"Look at me, I can move..." she smiled.
"Look at me..."
"I can feel again..." her smile turned into a smirk.
"I can move... I can feel again," the doctor repeated.
"I'm coming back to life..." she carried on.
"I'm coming back to life..." so did he.
"And look at him, he can't move." She finished.
"And look at him, he can't move," he did too.
"Help me," she looked innocently up at the others.
"Help me," he copied, his eyes looking right at me.
"Professor?" Sky asked.
"Professor?" he copied
"Get me away from him," she pleaded.
"Get me away from him," he repeated.
"Please," she whimpered.
"Please," he mimicked.
The professor moved to her, cautiously avoiding the Doctor. He took Sky's hands and pulled her to the others at the rear of the shuttle. "Sarah?" Jethro offered me his hand making me glare harshly at him before taking the Doctor's face in my hands.
"Ooh thank you," Sky smiled at the professor.
"Ooh thank you," the Doctor copied.
"They've completely separated," Jethro commented.
"It's him, d'you see?" Biff asked, "I said it was him all the time!"
"She's free!" Val smiled, "She's been saved!"
"Oh, it was so cold," Sky told them as I closed my eyes, more tears falling.
"Oh, it was so cold," he copied as I pressed my forehead against his.
"I couldn't breathe," she carried on.
"I couldn't breathe," he copied.
"I'm sorry," she sighed.
"I'm sorry," he did too.
"I must have scared you so much," she finished.
"I must have scared you so much," he did too.
"Please, you need to tell me what to do," I croaked out quietly so the others couldn't hear, "Please... I know she stole your voice. How do I help you?"
"I wouldn't touch her," Dee Dee said making me look up at the others, Val had moved to hug Sky.
"But it's gone, she's clean, it passed into him," Biff argued.
That's not what happened," Dee Dee argued.
"Thank you for your opinion, Dee, but clearly, Mrs Silvestry has been released," Hobbes snapped at her.
"No..." she tried to carry on.
"Just leave her alone!" Val snapped, "She's safe, isn't she? Jethro? It's let her go, hasn't it?"
"Think so, yeah," he nodded before looking at me with a sad look, "Looks like it. Professor?"
"I'd say, from observation... the Doctor can't move, and when she was possessed, she couldn't move, so..." he replied.
"Well, there we are then!" Biff said victoriously, "Now the only problem we've got is this Doctor."
"It's inside his head!" Sky told them.
"It's inside his head," he copied making me look at him again.
"It killed the driver," she carried on.
"It killed the driver," he copied.
"And the mechanic," Sky smirked.
"And the mechanic," he copied again.
"And now it wants us," she finished.
"And now it wants us," he did too.
"I said so!" Val smirked.
"He's waited so long," Sky smirked more.
"He's waited so long," the doctor copied, but it felt like he was talking through her.
"In the dark," she carried on.
"In the dark," he did too.
"And the diamonds," she sighed.
"And the diamonds," so did he.
"Until you came,"
"Until you came,"
"Bodies so hot,"
"Bodies so hot,"
"Stop, oh, my God, make him stop, someone make him stop!" Val cried.
"But she's saying it!" I shouted, standing up and glaring at the others.
"And you can shut up!" Val snapped at me.
"But it's not him, it's her, he's just repeating!" I growled.
"But that's what the thing does, it repeats," Biff argued.
"Just let her talk," the hostess asked.
"What do you know?" Biff asked her, "Fat lot of good you've been!"
"Just let her explain," Dee Dee shouted.
"Just listen," I sighed, "It repeats, then in synchronises, then it goes on to the next stage and that's exactly what he said would happen! It stole his voice, it's still in her!"
"And you're on his side?" Biff yelled stepping forward making me step back.
"I am!" I screamed, "Because it's still in her!"
"The voice is the thing!" Jethro argued with me.
"And she's the voice!" I yelled back, my tears still flooding, "She stole it! Look at her! It's not possessing him, it's draining him!"
"She's got his voice..." the hostess started.
"But that's not true," Val complained, "coz it can't, because I saw it pass into him, I saw it with my own eyes!"
"So did I," Biff agreed.
"You didn't," Dee Dee told them.
"It went from her, to him." Val confirmed before looking at Jethro, "You saw it, didn't you?"
"I don't know," he sighed, his eyes wide, unsure.
"Oh don't be stupid, Jethro, of course you did!" she snapped at him.
"Oi!" I snapped, "You don't know what he saw! If he doesn't know then you definitely don't!"
"But everyone saw it!" Biff countered.
"You didn't," Dee argued, "you're just making it up! I know what I saw, and I saw her stealing his voice."
"She's as bad as those two, someone shut her up!" Val sneered.
"I think you should be quiet, Dee." Hobbes told her.
"Well I'm only saying..." she started.
"And that's an order!" he snapped, "You're making a fool of yourself! Pretending you're an expert in mechanics and hydraulics, when I can tell you, you're nothing more than average, at best! Now shut up!"
No one but me noticed the satisfied smile that spread across Sky's face during the row making me glare at her. "That's how he does it," she announced.
"That's how he does it," the Doctor copied.
"He makes you fight," she carried on.
"He makes you fight," so did he.
"Creeps into your head," she smirked.
"Creeps into your head," he copied.
"And whispers," she hissed.
"And whispers," he copied again.
"Listen," she smiled.
"Just listen," she sounded sinister.
"That's him," she smirked.
"Inside," she finished.
"Inside," he did too.
"Throw him out," Biff yelled.
"Get him out of my head," Val shrieked.
"Yeah, we should throw him out!" Biff decided.
"Well don't just talk about it! Just, you're useless! Do something!" Val shouted at him.
"I will! You watch me!" he smirked, "I'm gonna throw him out!"
I looked down at the Doctor, his eyes told me how scared he was and I stood up, finally opening my pocket watch... memories flooded in to my head. Gallifrey, growing up with the Doctor, the Master, looking into the abyss... the time war, my father sending me to the chameleon arch to live as a human.
Biff grabbed the Doctor but my hand landed on his shoulder before I threw him away from him, "You need to get through me first," I growled, my eyes finally showing my age and experience. Biff ran at me, trying to get past me, but through the years, I'd learnt how to fight and protect myself, my pocket watch fell to the floor, just a useless watch now as I threw Biff into the approaching Professor.
"Cast him out!" Sky grinned, he copied.
"Into the sun," he copied her again.
"And the night!" once more he copied.
"Come on, don't just stand there, help me past her," Biff yelled at his Son who just stayed where he was.
"Do it!" Sky snapped, he copied again.
"Do it now!" he copied her again.
Arms wrapped around me from behind and I struggled as Jethro held me still, I couldn't get free and I had to watch as the two other men picked up my lifelong best friend, pulling him to the door.
"That's the way!"
"That's the way!"
"You can do it!"
"You can do it!"
"Molto bene!" Jethro's grip loosened on me as he recognised the Doctor's speech traits.
"That's his voice," the hostess sighed as a wide grin spread across my face.
I ignored what was being said as I pulled away from Jethro, I headed to the two men and tossed them off the Doctor again. The hostess rushed Sky and grabbed her, pressing the door to the button as I ran to them. She counted to six, and just as she was about to fly out of the airlock with the possessed woman, I pulled her back and closed the door.
We fell to the ground, and I heard the Doctor gasping on the ground, making me turn and smirk at him. "It's gone, it's gone..." he sighed as I crawled to him, "It's gone, it's gone, it's gone... it's gone, it's gone, it's gone..." he slowly sat up and he noticed the glint in my eye that hadn't been there before, looking at the floor he saw the open pocket watch. "Angel?"
"Hey Doc," I smirked before throwing my arms around him, he wrapped me up in his arms.
"I knew it was her," Val commented feebly making the two of us glare at her.
"Sarah?" Jethro asked slowly making me turn to him, regret in my eyes as he looked sadly at me, wrapped in the arms of this man.
"Explain to him," the Doctor told me, making me nod.
Pushing myself up, I moved to sit next to him, telling him all about Timelords and how I wasn't really human, just disguised that way. Twenty minutes later, he understood and accepted it.
"Repeat, Crusader 50, rescue vehicle coming alongside in three minutes, door-seals set to automatic. Prepare for boarding, repeat, prepare for boarding." The intercom sounded as the Hostess moved over to me.
"You saved my life," she said simply.
"You saved the Doctors," I replied with a smile, "What's your name?"
"Anita," she replied with a smile.
"Nice to meet you," I smiled at her.
Back in the Leisure Palace, I followed the Doctor towards his friend. She hugged him without a word before... hugging me? "What d'you think it was?"
"No idea," we replied together.
"D'you think it's still out there?" she asked us. Neither of us answered, "Well, you'd better tell 'em. This lot."
"Yeah," he nodded, "They can build a Leisure Palace somewhere else. Let this planet keep on turning round an Xtonic star. In silence."
"Can't imagine you, without a voice," Donna commented.
"Molto Bene," he smile weakly.
"Molto Bene," she teased.
"No," he croaked, "don't do that, just... don't."
"Sorry," she sighed, "So, who's this?"
"This is my lifelong best friend, Angel." He replied, making her raise an eyebrow. "She's a Timelady, only... well; she's been disguised as a human since the start of the war."
"So you'll be travelling with us?" she asked me.
"Well, hopefully," I smiled at her before looking at the Doctor who grinned and pulled me into a hug.