Return to Memory

Chapter 17: For the Love of a Time Lord

The second rip was only somewhat larger than the first, still a gaping black hole against the new sea of gold in which Rose now judged her position in the universe. It was strange, this new view of the world around her. The senses she had relied on her whole life were suddenly useless, dulled against the bright lights and the song of time in her ears. Instead she used these new senses, ones she never knew she had. She knew she should be alarmed at her situation, but all she could think of was getting the Doctor back. She felt that Jack was catching up with her, his footsteps behind her shadows against the gold. The machine in her hand pinged that the scan was finished and she reached out her senses for the next rip. Before Jack had the chance to catch his breath, she was off again, the gold rising up to speed her along her way. She could feel the TARDIS singing to her, telling her where to go and to be careful on her journey.

There were only twelve minutes left.

The Doctor's timelines were fading still, and she grabbed onto as many as she could with her consciousness, trying to strengthen them and keep the rift open so that she could still find him. A gentle ping signaled her to run once more.

Jack continued to chase Rose through the streets as she ran to the fourth rip. Something was horribly wrong with her. She wouldn't speak to him, her eyes continued to swirl gold, and she seemed to not see anything around her. Cars whooshed past her, missing by mere inches, and she didn't even flinch. Her feet moved with an unbelievable speed, and he now noted that she had long ago lost her shoes. Occasionally she would reach out in front of her, seemingly grabbing at something, and a flash of gold would appear around her hand. He couldn't keep up with her and he worried that even the Doctor would not be able to fix her when they found him.

If they found him.

It had been so long since she had uttered a sound that it startled him when she spoke. "Jack, we don't have much time. We still have two more and we have to make it back to the TARDIS. I don't know what will happen. Just promise me that you will find the Doctor and keep him safe, even if I cannot." as she spoke her voice trembled and shook with raw power. Something inside of him shook with fear.

"Rose, it'll be ok. I promise I'll find the Doctor but I have to look out for you, too."

The machine pinged again and they took off for the fifth rip. Though they were running at top speed, her voice was as steady as it was when they were standing still. "I can't see, Jack. I don't know what is happening to me but I know I won't be able to hold it in for long. I can feel it trying to burn me. I don't know what's holding it back." As she spoke the ache in her head became a bit more pronounced. She wasn't going to be able to keep this up much longer. She only hoped that it would work itself out soon. It would kill the Doctor if she were to die trying to save him.

The final two gaps were fortunately very close together. The machine buzzed the final readings and Rose ran to where they had parked the TARDIS just a few happy hours ago. Her heart ached at the thought that she may never experience the joy of flight to an unknown planet with her Doctor again. She tried to figure out how much time they had, reaching out to the Doctor's timelines, but her mind was getting hazier and she couldn't make out anything.

All of a sudden, the gold disappeared. The world around diffused back into color, both brilliant and dull to her eyes after the swirling sea of time she had been seeing. Her head felt fine, but she felt a weariness in her bones. She looked up at Jack's words, only now realizing that they were back at the TARDIS, her hand on the open door.

"Oh, Rosie, thank God. I thought you were going to be like that forever." Jack said, panting for breath as they entered the TARDIS. Though Rose was no longer infused with the golden power, she still moved with speed and purpose toward the TARDIS console.

It was then that she realized she had no idea what to do. She held the machine in her hands, its whirring and buzzing the only sound other than Jack's rapid breaths. She knew, however, that she couldn't panic. That would only waste their precious time. Running her hand gently along the coral strut, she spoke softly to the TARDIS as she had seen her Doctor do.

"Please, old girl. I need to find him but I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. I know you know how to get to him. What do I do?" A warmth suffused her hand and she heard a beep from the monitor. On the screen were step by step instructions as to how to hook up the whirring device in her hands. She quickly followed the steps, afterwards taking the driving position she had seen the Doctor take on their trips together.

She felt a tickle along her senses, a sort of telepathic handshake. It was the TARDIS. Knowing she needed desperately to communicate with the ship in order to fly her, she opened her mind and welcomed her in. A golden song infused her once more, her hands going automatically to the right place on the console, flipping levers and turning dials until the great rotor began its otherworldly grind. She could feel the push and pull of the vortex, the never-ending power of time itself, weaving its way through space to the tiny pocket that housed the unknown. Though her stomach was a ball of nerves, she knew she must go there. It was the only way to get to the Doctor.

The engines changed their pitch as the ship exited the vortex. She was surprised, however, when the TARDIS engines didn't wheeze and grind as they landed. She materialized quietly in the corner of what appeared to be a cavernous control room. Two men sat at the pilot's chairs, both of them seemingly unaware of the ship that just landed behind them. Rose looked down at her attire, and wondered if she should be dressed a bit more threateningly. She had the Doctor's sonic screwdriver in her pocket, and the key necklace she used to wear was there too, warm and thrumming as it always was when she was in the TARDIS. Jack remained silent beside her as she approached the doors. This was it.

The doors didn't even creak as she and Jack exited the ship. Her footsteps were quiet in her trainers and she doubted the men had any idea there was anyone there. Thinking quickly, she shut the TARDIS door and made sure it was locked before grabbing what appeared to be a sonic blaster off of a nearby table. She pointed it at the men and spoke in her most threatening voice.

"Where have you taken the Doctor?"

The men jumped up, one of them spilling his drink all over the controls of the ship. The console sparked angrily and the acrid smell of electricity filled the room. They were more concerned, however, with the sudden intruders. The taller man, whom Rose decided to call Goony, spoke first.

"How the hell did you get in here?" he took a step forward, but Rose flipped what she presumed to be the safety on the gun, the click making him pause.

Rose smirked. "I made a call."

Jack, who had followed her lead and grabbed a gun from the table as well, pointed his weapon at the smaller man, whom Rose decided to call Loony. "Tell us what you have done with our friend."

Goony laughed. "I don't know of any "Doctor," we keep only livestock on this ship." The way he emphasized the word livestock made Rose shiver.

Jack gave the men's attire a once over. "Time agent gear, I see. Standard issue from the 52nd century. I'd say about two years before I was recruited. I wonder whatever happened to you to not have made it to my time." He said with a smirk. Loony didn't particularly like that.

"We are done with that life. Those idiots don't know what to do with the resources we have available to us." Goony said, with a disconcerting smirk on his face.

Rose glared at him. "What exactly did you mean when you said "livestock?"

Loony laughed. "As if we're going to tell you. You're standing there trying to be all threatening, but you're forgetting something. You're on our ship. There's nowhere for you to run, and no one to hear you scream."

Rose was about to respond to that, anger welling up in her throat, when Jack interrupted.

"A 63rd century counter-exchanger. I didn't expect to see one of those ever again. So what are you doing to the people you kidnapped? What are you using them for?" his voice was even and calm, though Rose could somehow tell that he was very, very worried for the Doctor now.

Goony glared at him. "You people at the Time Agency don't know the resources you're ignoring. The things we could do with the power of time travel! These useless idiots here in the past, they don't know anything. The only thing they are good for is producing delta waves and storing huon energy."

Jack squared his shoulders and Rose could hear distinct rage in his tone, though he hid it well. "These people aren't good for storing huon energy at all. It is a parasite to them because they've not grown up around it. If you keep using them to farm energy, they will all die."

Loony turned and flipped a few dials on the console. It apparently still worked even though it was soaked. "That's why they're useful. They feed the energy and make it more powerful. We aren't even hurting anyone. We used a time pocket. Nobody even knows they are here."

Rose was furious at that. "They know they're here! They suffer and die and it makes a difference to them! Why would you do this?"

Goony rolled his eyes. "So sensitive, you early humans. You must be from this century, little girl, your mind is so small." Rose bristled. She was a Gallifreyan. Her mind was not small in the least. "The energy we can farm from them with the fed huon particles could power timeships faster and stronger than any in the universe. We can build a ship that will last for centuries, repair itself, even form a sort of sentience."

Her voice was steady, but her knees shook as she replied, feeling the Doctor's presence in her mind but knowing he was very weak. She needed to find him now. "There are already ships like that. It's called a TARDIS. Whatever TARDISes you built like that, though, would be evil. They would be capable only of raining destruction and pain across time and space. I know for sure there are forces that would not stand for it."

Jack stepped forward with his blaster still carefully aimed. "Fortunately for you, we're not here to stop you. We just want the Doctor back. Give him to us, and we'll let you go."

Rose looked at him in surprise. "We will?"

Goony and Loony took that moment of distraction and used it to their advantage. Before she could blink, Rose was on the ground with her hands tied behind her back. Jack was in a similar position. She knew that she was caught, but her own well being was not her main concern.

"Where is the Doctor! At least let me see the Doctor!" she cried, losing her calm exterior for a moment.

Goony laughed. "He is dead. You are too late."

Rose could feel in her mind that the Doctor was still alive, though he was growing weak. Her panic subsided, however, and she began to form a plan. These men thought she was a weak human. What better way to slip under their radar than to have them grossly underestimate her? With that thought, she went limp and allowed a cry of grief escape her mouth. On the outside, she appeared to be an inconsolable, sobbing mess of a woman. On the inside, however, she was scheming.

Loony and Goony dragged them down the hallway, Rose crying loudly and Jack struggling all the way. Jack continued to cry out to her. "Rosie! Why are you just letting them do this! What's wrong with you? You're stronger than this!" She would just have to tell him her plan when the two were gone.

She heard the rattle of a cell door and felt the cold steel of the floor on her body as she was roughly tossed inside. She heard Jack meet the same fate right next to her. The door slammed shut quickly and she heard the two men walk away, their boots echoing on the metal floor of the ship. She felt the energy beginning to leave her. This must be the cells they use to drain people of their energy. The Doctor was likely in one of these cells, and was likely quite weak from being locked in for so long. She crawled to the wall that she knew Jack was on the opposite side of.

"Jack! I'm going to try to escape. I need to find the Doctor and get him out of here." she whispered loudly. She heard him breathe a sigh of relief.

"Oh Rosie, thank goodness. I thought you'd given up on me."

She stood and went over to the door, quickly devising a way to break the hinges with the sonic screwdriver. "I'll never give up on getting to the Doctor. As long as there is breath in my body, I will find him." The door fell from its hinges with a thud and she carefully lowered it to the ground, listening for any sign that Loony and Goony had heard the sound. When she deemed it was safe, she quickly bade Jack good luck and ran down the hallway in search of the Doctor.

A/N: I know it has been like over a year since I have updated this story. I have no excuse for this! You readers are the most loyal, amazing people in the universe and I'm so sorry this update took so long! I'll do my best to update more frequently and to finish this story!

With love,