No reviews? Okay...I understand.
And yes, there is a Hitchhiker's reference, but you don't need to have read/watched it to understand. But in my own little universe, Doctor Who and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are both in the same universe. Adams wrote a few Dr. Who episodes too, so I think it counts.
It had been several hours since the doors had closed and Jenny had hijacked the old broken down space ship. Merlin was nowhere to be seen. The bearded kidnapper was still locked in the closet, and every once and a while Jenny would crack open the door to make sure he was still being a good boy. It was hard not to be, considering that she had used some heavy duty tape to secure his wrists behind him and his ankles together. Another strip kept his mouth firmly shut.
Now Jenny sat in the cockpit, scrolling through the entertainment options, of which there weren't many. She kept forgetting that she had gone back in time, and her favorite movies and books hadn't been dreamt of yet. Her mind wasn't really on the entertainment though.
How was Merlin doing? Back on Earth, he had a sort of happy-go-lucky attitude, only occasionally punctuated, when he thought nobody was looking, by a dropping of the shoulders and a hopeless stare. But then he would shrug it off and keep going. But last time Jenny had seen him, Merlin had been sitting in one of the other rooms, staring at a dancing flame in the palm of his hand, taking deep breaths.
It's just culture shock, Jenny told herself, pushing on the dashboard of the ship to make her pilot chair spin in a lazy circle. Get it together, girl. You've seen how those cultures react when you crash in their backyards. He's just been taken from his planet.
Stars and buttons morphed into red and white streaks as she made herself spin faster and faster, grinning to herself and laughing.
Jenny caught herself, a wave of dizziness slamming into her and making her laugh as she looked up at the warlock. "What's up?" she asked. "Culture shock still getting you?"
That fake grin he used flashed across his face. "Nah, I'm fine," he responded. "I was just going to get something to eat. Want something?"
The time lord nodded and stood, stumbling from the dizziness that hadn't worn off yet. Of course the thing that she stumbled against couldn't be the wall, or the chair.
"Sorry," she muttered, glancing up at the warlock's face. He looked incredibly surprised to have her suddenly leaning heavily against him, but the surprise soon turned to a snort of laughter.
"It's okay," he said.
Jenny stepped back, taking a moment to find her center of gravity again, before flouncing in from the cockpit, trying to regain a bit of dignity. That had been embarrassing. First getting caught playing with a spinny chair like a little kid, and then falling into the warlock. The fact that he hadn't pushed her away was kind of nice though.
They reached the galley, and took up a search on what to eat. Unfortunately, beardy hadn't seemed to want much except for various protein bars and dehydrated cubes of nutrients. Jenny knew she'd have to be starving before she ate those. Merlin didn't believe her and nibbled on the edge of one.
"That's worse than Gaius's medicines," he exclaimed, throwing the grayish 'food' aside.
"Told you," Jenny responded. "When we get there we have to find something to eat."
"Yes," Merlin agreed, nodding. "And then back to Camelot."
Jenny bit her lip. "Yeah. Well, do you really want to go back? There's some pretty amazing stuff in the universe."
Merlin dropped his grin. "It's my destiny."
"Who told you that?" Jenny asked. "Because I don't believe in predestination."
"The Great Dragon Kilgharrah," Merlin responded, blue gaze not wavering. "I need to protect King Arthur so that he can herald in the age of Albion."
Jenny blinked. A plan suddenly sprang into her head. As soon as she thought it though, she felt ashamed of it, and switched her own gaze to the floor.
A soldier never takes advantage of the weaker man.
"What?" Merlin asked gently.
The time lord shook her head. "No, no. It's stupid."
"So's half the things I say," Merlin pointed out. "I won't laugh."
Jenny offered a half hearted smile. "You wouldn't like it."
"Does it have anything to do with hurting my friends?"
"No, nothing like that."
The warlock nodded. "Then just say it. I promise I won't laugh."
"Oh you won't," Jenny agreed. "But the Doctor- my dad- is a time traveler. And, from what I've learned, he likes to fix things when they get screwed up."
"Sorry, that just means messed up," Jenny translated her own slang. "But if Arthur somehow didn't make Albion... If an alien girl stopped him... That would attract the Doctor." Jenny twisted her fingers through her blond hair. "Ug, just don't listen to me," she muttered. "I told you it was stupid. Even the Rules think so."
"A time traveler?" Merlin asked, his eyes going wide. Suddenly, faster than Jenny thought possible, he was right in front of her, so that there was barely an inch of space between them. "That means he could go back in time..."
Jenny stared at the warlock as he turned from her, eyes bright, a genuine smile on his face. "We could stop Lancelot, and my father from dying! I could tell Morgana that she isn't alone! I could stop Arthur from ever killing the unicorn and causing all those people to starve! I could save all of the people that Morgana killed!" He turned to Jenny, smiling in a way she had never seen him smile (not that she had known him for that long).
"I don't know if time travel works that way..." the time lord said slowly."I've done a lot of reading on it. You could cause paradoxes and such."
Merlin didn't look too surprised, although he did look disappointed. "You're probably right," he muttered. "Probably the same thing as the crystals."
"You do drugs?"
Merlin's head jerked up. "What?"
"Crystals," Jenny said. "There are a billion drugs that come in crystal form."
"No!" Merlin exclaimed. "There's a cave, and the crystals have the power to show visions of the future."
Jenny put her hands on her hips. "You were so high, weren't you."
Merlin scowled. "I just looked at them. There was no smoking or swallowing involved."
Jenny smirked. "Whatever you say."
"But the visions did come true," Merlin pointed out. "It was awful. Morgana-"
"Morgan le Faye?" Jenny asked, suddenly excited. "Like the witch? That is so cool. You know her?"
"She's... evil," Merlin responded dubiously.
Jenny grinned. "Sweet. You know, maybe I misjudged Earth. Being stranded tends to make everything seem worse. But maybe it wouldn't be so bad to hang there for a little while."
Merlin opened his mouth to respond, but was cut off as the ship bucked suddenly, slamming them both to the floor. "What just happened?" Merlin moaned.
A soldier is always aware of his surroundings.
"I think we were just pulled from hyperspace," Jenny responded, picking herself up. "That isn't good. Come on!"
The time lord and the warlock sprinted through the ship to the cockpit, hunger forgotten. Merlin stared out the window as Jenny frantically ran a scan through the navigational computer.
Jenny ignored him, running her hands through her hair frantically. "No-no-no-no-no! This is impossible!"
A soldier always keeps his emotions under control.
Jenny took a deep breath. As much as she hated the rules, she had been born with them, and they were almost a comfort at times like this.
"Jenny, look outside. What. The hell. Is. That."
Jenny glanced at the warlock's panicked face, and out the window at the grand ship several kilometers away that now had them in a tractor beam. It wasn't the Nameless Man's ship, to be sure, and she doubted even he had the funds to send that many people back in time. Besides, he had probably spent most of his money trying to fix his face.
"Right," said Jenny, thinking fast. She saw Merlin jump out of the side of her eye as she darted off to one of the hall closets, where the spare flight suits were kept. "Put this on, right now." She pulled one out for herself and pulled it on over her clothes. It was messy, and made her look about forty pounds overweight, but that was a good thing.
"Hurry!" She urged, gathering up her hair and shoving the whole mess under a dirty hat that no doubt had about fifty species of lice from fifty different planets living in it. Merlin obeyed, pulling off his shirt since the suit actually fit him.
"Right," she said, running her fingers around the bottom of the swivel chair, greased nicely to spin well, and smeared some of the dark grease over her face. "I'll talk. We crashed on Earth, and our ship was damaged. We made as many repairs as we could, and then took off for the nearest spaceport."
The entire window was filled with the sight of metal. Suddenly remembering, Jenny threw open the closet they had hidden the original pilot. He made a little noise in his mouth when he saw them, but fell silent when Jenny slammed him on the head with a broom. Quickly, breathing hard, she locked the closet.
A controlled crash echoed through the ship as they docked.
A soldier is always under control.
Jenny took a deep breath, and, almost unconsciously, reached out and squeezed Merlin's hand. He jumped at the contact, but before he could say anything Jenny was marching off to the airlock to meet her fate.
It opened slowly, full of suspense, and beside her, she could hear Merlin's breath stop. "No magic," she hissed quietly, and he nodded.
Two people appeared from behind the door, both wearing matching grey uniforms. Jenny ignored Merlin's sharp gasp of breath, and stepped forward confidently.
"A Tree of Cheem and a Silurian?" Jenny asked confidently. "I didn't know that you were allies."
The tree, a tall man with ornate carvings in his head along with the normal swirls of bark, responded in another language. Jenny stared at him, and muttered, "crap."
"What's it say?" Merlin asked her quietly.
Jenny shook her head helplessly. "I don't speak that language. I speak twelve languages from my own time, but not from this one. Crap."
The tree glanced down at the Silurian man, who was shorter, his scales a bright green. The two exchanged looks, and then the tree gestured to Jenny and Merlin to step forward. Merlin glanced at Jenny for permission, and took it as a yes when she strode forward, off the ship and onto the other.
"Oh, I like this much better," Jenny admired as they arrived onto the newer ship, a gleaming chrome structure that still bore the scent of newness. "What I would give to drive this baby around."
Merlin didn't respond. He was just staring around, wide eyed, like a little kid on a vacation for the first time. Jenny decided to ignore him, and began memorizing the twists and turns they took through the ship.
A soldier always knows where he is.
They came to what seemed to be the sitting room. Jenny supposed it must have been the highest quality they had to offer, but it paled in comparison to some of the luxury liners she'd been on before. The couches were soft though, and the view screens flag and large, and whoever decorated really seemed to be partial to the color orange. Ridiculously bright orange.
The Silurian walked over to a cabinet bolted to the wall, opened it, and rifled around a bit before pulling out a jar filled with liquid and yellow, slippery little fish.
"What's he doing with that?" Merlin whispered frantically to Jenny, who was grinning from ear to ear.
"Oh brilliant!" she exclaimed. "Babel fish! Those are so expensive in my time; you have no idea what people would pay for them!"
She took the fish offered to her, and without hesitating, shoved it into her ear, shuddering only a little at the slimy, slippery feel. And then she couldn't feel it anymore, but she could understand, and that was the greatest thing ever.
"Thank you so much!" She exclaimed. "I'll never have to learn another language again."
"Who are you two?" asked the tree, cutting right to the chase.
"Who are you?" Jenny shot back.
"Bounty hunters," the tree responded. "We've been waiting for an illegal time jumper heading this way."
"Ah, yes," Jenny responded. "He was coming after me. We have him tied up in a closet back in our ship. You guys can have him."
The tree nodded at the Silurian, who disappears back the way they came. "But you haven't answered our question," he pointed out. "Who are you?"
"Answer me this," Jenny said, "and I'll tell you my name. Have you seen a man in a blue box? Wears a suit? Travels with a ginger named Donna?"
"The Doctor?" the tree responded, sitting down on one of the couches and putting his hands behind his head casually. "I've heard of him. Why do you want to know?"
"I'm his daughter, Jenny Smith," Jenny responded, trying to push away the feeling that maybe... this time...
"The Doctor has a daughter?" the tree responded. "I did not know that. Take a seat, you two, don't just stand there all day looking awkward. Now tell me, Jenny Smith, why was the time jumper looking for you?"
Jenny wondered if she should say it, and decided that she was thousands of years back in time and she didn't care. "I'm from the future," she said. "I was sent back in time, somehow."
Jenny paused for a moment, and then said awkwardly, "I'm not actually sure. It was different for each planet. Uh, I'm from Messaline."
The tree nodded. "And that is incredibly helpful, in that it is only an empty ball of rock in this time period, no doubt. Why were you being chased?"
Jenny shrugged. "There was a crime lord in the future. He calls himself The Nameless Man, and he fancied me, but wasn't exactly looking for a long term relationship, if you know what I mean. But before he even had a chance to try anything I clawed out one of his eyeballs and escaped. He's been hunting me ever since."
As she finished speaking, the Silurian returned with the kidnapper thrown over his shoulder. Jenny added, "and this bloke works for the Nameless Man. Feel free to do horrible experiments on him."
The corner of the tree person's mouth twitched like he was about to smile. The Silurian remained emotionless, merely dropping the kidnapper onto the ground. He landed with a dull thump, and his head lolled limply. The Silurian pulled a small tablet from his pocket, and ran it over the pilot.
"Scanner's positive," he said.
Jenny smirked. "I'm pretty sure he's not pregnant."
Both bounty hunters and Merlin shot her a look that clearly stated, not funny. Jenny shut up.
Merlin chose that moment to speak up for the first time. Until now, he had been so quiet Jenny had nearly forgotten about him. "If you have a ship, can you bring me back to Cam- Earth?"
"Earth?" the tree asked. "That planet is but a level two. Why would you want to go there?"
"It's my home," Merlin responded simply.
The time lord shrugged awkwardly. "He got dragged along when he tried to rescue me," she pointed out. "It was an accident." In a stroke of inspiration she added, "He's sort of like my traveling companion."
The Silurian rolled his eyes, picked up the pilot again, and left the room. Jenny waited until he was out of earshot. "What is that bloke's problem?" she asked.
"He does not exactly like humans," the tree said. "And he's partially my slave."
A frown crossed Jenny's face. "I thought the Trees of Cheem didn't go for slavery."
The tree smirked, standing. "Well, I'm not exactly an orthodox Tree of Cheem, am I? Now, I am only in this for the money. I will allow you two to leave at the next space port, as long as you never mention that you saw me."
"Price on your head?" Jenny asked sympathetically. The tree didn't respond. She continued. "That sounds fine to me."
The tree stood. "Feel free to rest in here, but do not leave this room until we dock. Oh, you're back."
The Silurian, who had just returned, shot Jenny a strange look and gestured to the tree to lean in close. All Jenny could hear were near silent whispers, but the widening of the tree's eyes spoke volumes.
"Well," he said, striding over until he was looming over the pair. "It seems we have a Time Lord on our ship. It seems that you, Jenny Smith, were telling the truth about your parentage."
A soldier always knows when he is in danger.
"Actually, I was lying," Jenny said quickly. "I just like the attention. My Dad's actually from the future, Doctor Daniel Smith, PhD in psychology. He never loved me as a kid, and I wanted some loving, so I made it up, thinking maybe that Doctor would come find me, but he doesn't care about me, really, and I've only met him once, and he thought I died, but I wasn't, I was just knocked out, and then I got on a space ship, and I'm worth no money whatsoever, no price on my head, no sir-"
The tree seemed to have given up following the rant. "Shut up, Miss Smith. Scanners have picked up a binary vascular system, and certain regenerative qualities about you. I'm not going to hurt you, or your traveling companion. I'm only going to make a bit of money off of you. And, be warned, the air ducts are far too small on my ship to escape."
With that statement, he left, with the Silurian following meekly behind him. Jenny turned and looked at Merlin, who looked utterly terrified.