Back to the Doctor
Hello Sweetie Part 7
River didn't lose consciousness. She felt herself falling, rocks falling before her, next to her, on her, but she managed to stay awake through it all. When the ground finally settled down and the earthquake ended she was completely enveloped in darkness, but she could move around and she could sit up.
"Is anyone there?" She spoke to the dark and heard someone sitting up, letting out a pained sigh, one that she knew all too well.
"River, where are you?" The Doctor felt around the dark, but found nothing but rocks.
"Right here, sweetie," she moved towards him and her hands found his coat. She wanted to pull him close to her, embrace him, but she stopped herself, knowing with an unfathomable sadness that she couldn't.
River fished in her belt and pulled out a small flashlight that fit into the palm of her hand. She shined it around the small clearing they were in, but Marty was nowhere to be seen. The Doctor got a slightly frantic look on his face as he imagined the teenager crushed between the rocks.
"He's all right," River started looking for a way out.
"How can you possibly know that?"
"I don't, but wherever he is we'll find him once the time loop restarts."
"How much longer do we have?"
"15 or 20 minutes, my watch is broken."
"We're not in the same cave," the Doctor remarked.
"No, we fell down a level."
"You mean to the level the robot was in?"
"Let's not think about that. Ah," she smiled, she found a hole large enough for the two of them to crawl through. "Come along darling."
"Wait," the Doctor was still looking for his sonic screwdriver. He had lost his grip on it sometime as they had fallen.
River quickly shined her light around the clearing until it picked up a metallic glint. The Doctor grinned and reached for his trusty tool, but his smile quickly faded. It had been crushed under a rock, smashed the pieces.
"Oh no, I liked this one. I can't replace it, it made just the right kind of whirr."
"Don't be so dramatic, you'll get it back in a few minutes."
"Oh right," he grinned. "Having a restart button isn't such a bad thing sometimes."
"C'mon," River sighed and began crawling through the small tunnel, the Doctor following behind.
They crawled for an agonizingly long time in the winding tunnel, certainly for more than ten minutes. Sometimes it would widen a little, but more often than not they were squeezing themselves between fallen boulders and were constantly worried that any second the tunnel would lose its hold and tumble down on them.
Finally the rocks ended and they found themselves in a hall, straight cut walls, and stood trying to get their bearings. There were still fallen rocks all around them, but now they had no trouble moving unhindered. They had no idea what way they had gone though.
"Well, we must have gone back towards the entrance if we're out of the cave," the Doctor thought out loud.
"I wouldn't be so certain. These aren't the same tunnels we were in before. There could be a lot more to these ruins than we knew about."
"Well there's nowhere to go but forward from here."
Suddenly there was another rumbling, the sound of rocks falling and scraping against each other echoed around the hall.
River narrowed her eyes and took out her gun. "This is new."
"Time traveller detected," the robotic voice sounded distant, but close enough. The Doctor sighed in annoyance. There was nowhere for them to run.
"What were you saying about it freezing people, Doctor?" River held her flashlight against the barrel, which was pointing straight down the tunnel.
"It's stealing time energy. What worries me is what will happen if it freezes us in a time loop. We might not necessarily restart with the rest of it."
"Then I hope your boy knows what he's doing."
The Doctor thought about Marty, useful in a tight spot but not the most scientifically minded person he had ever met. He winced a little as he saw the red eyes of the robot coming towards them.
"I'm hardly giving up here," he reached down a picked up a rock. A machine was just a machine at the end of the day and a rock could certainly smash one to bits if it had the right amount of force behind it… or at the very least he might be able to distract while they managed to get around it and escape.
"I'll aim high, you go low," River aimed her gun at the robots eyes.
"River Song." The robot whirred. "Subject acquired."
To Be Continued in Episode Six: Restart
(And now the truth is revealed! This is a two parter! I wrestled with whether or not I should actually split up my two parters, seeing how in the literary world I'm not constrained by time limits, but I decided to do 13 episodes in the Doctor Who style and I'm going to honour that. I didn't have as much time to work on the chapters as I thought it would, as I was still settling back into my routine and running around to go on errands I had put off while away, so the last two chapters ended up being quite short as well. Hopefully next week everything will be back to normal and I'll be able to give the proper amount of attention to this story. All right, see you next weekend for part two!)