A/N: It's been a long time since I last updated- too long- and it makes me feel awful because I'm still getting so much support for this :( The truth is that I dug myself into a bit of a hole at the end of the last chapter, and it's taken me weeks and weeks to figure out how to get myself out of it. I know where I want everything to end up- I just don't know how to get it there sometimes. As is life, though, I suppose :')
Seriously, though, over fifty reviews! Hugs and cookies for all of you :)
"What plans are these, then?" Jenny couldn't help but ask as the Daleks circled around her and moved towards some machinery across the room. If she could keep them talking, maybe she'd be able to find a way out of her restraints and, more importantly, this whole sticky situation.
"PROJECT STATUS: FOURTY TWO PER CENT," one of the Daleks commented, obviously completely ignoring everything she had just said. Hey- it was better than being exterminated, at any rate.
With the Daleks' backs to her, Jenny was free to rattle her restraints around in the blind hope that they might magically fall apart. She had no luck- of course- but the ice beneath her hands slowly got more and more slippery the more pressure she applied.
The friction was causing it to melt!
Barely able to conceal her excitement, she glanced back over at the Daleks- they were still engrossed in whatever was on the monitors of the machines across the room- before beginning to discreetly rub her wrists and clenched fists against the table beneath her. Sure enough, the straps holding her in place were slowly coming loose.
She didn't know how long she worked at her bindings, but her hands were beginning to feel numb and, as she sneaked a glance down, realised the ice was red with her blood. Cursing softly to herself, she gave one final tug and felt her hands slip loose of the restraints. She could barely breathe with excitement.
Her body felt stiff and achy as she pulled herself quickly into a sitting position in order to undo the clasps holding the restraints around her legs, whilst throwing occasional glances over at the Daleks and- she realised- the bear lion creature that stood beside them. Chewie, she christened offhandedly, whilst working the last of the clasps off her legs.
Once she was free- and sure that none of her company was aware of this- Jenny slipped quickly off the ice table and dropped to the floor behind it, thinking furiously about her next move. Her whole existence screamed with exhaustion, and part of her thought-briefly- about laying back down and just taking whatever the Daleks wanted to dish out. That idea was gone in the blinking of an eye as she squinted into the darkness billowing from the edges of the room, and realised there was a gap in the ice that acted as an arch-like doorway into another part of the snowy fortress.
Taking a deep breath, she risked one last glance over at the Daleks over the top of the ice table. The monsters were still deeply engrossed in whatever it was they were doing, but she realised- freezing in place- that Chewie was staring silently at her, head tilted inquisitively to the side. Their eyes locked for the briefest of moments, and then Jenny was crawling quickly across the floor towards the door. The Daleks were going to find out she was missing sooner or later, so it didn't really matter if Chewie told them, but she wanted to get as far away as possible before that time came. Her best chance of survival at this point was trying to get a head start, because there was simply no way she would come away from a head on battle with three Daleks alive.
She was on her feet as soon as she hit the shadows, and then- treading carefully to make sure she didn't go flying across the slippery floor- bolted through the arch and quickly surveyed her surroundings. An ice corridor spread out in front of her, with more arch-doors either side of her, and another one straight ahead. She peered into the nearest room and did a double take. Mounted on the back wall was a huge, metal, circular structure that she recognised-with a prickle of fear- from her time with the Universal Army.
The Daleks had a machine that could create black holes.
What was worse- they seemed to have wired the thing up to a small, metal podium in the centre of the room. No, actually, it was wired up to the thing resting on the podium, and, with a confused jolt, Jenny realised that the object belonged to her. Moving cautiously, she drew up beside the podium and examined the work. The little piece of metal she had been given as her 'gift' at the end of the last leg of her journey had been intrinsically wired into the black hole creator- which, now she was closer, Jenny realised was humming with charged energy. There was also another set of wires being fed from the machine around the edge of the room and out into the corridor, and she could only assume that those linked with the machines the Daleks were now fawning over.
What was so important about the piece of metal she had been given? She felt like she was missing something- something important- but couldn't for the life of her figure out what, and so, with a small shrug to herself and a raised eyebrow, she reached out and tugged the metal out of its wired restraints.
"POWER FAILING. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF-" She had to supress the strangest urge to choke out a laugh as she heard, what could only be, the sound of a Dalek pausing in shock from the other room, before, "THE TIME LORD HAS ESCAPED. SHE IS A THREAT TO THE KEY OF TIME, AND BOTH ARE NEEDED AS A SOURCE OF POWER. FIND HER!"
And there it was- their plan. She had no idea what a 'Key of Time' was, but assumed it was the little piece of metal now gripped firmly in her hand. Both it- and she, apparently- were going to be used as a power source to get the black hole machine to work. For what, she had no idea, but she damned sure wasn't going to stick around to find out. And, just like that, Jenny was in motion again- flying across the room and back out into the corridor.
"EXTERMINATE. EXTERMINATE. EXTERMINATE!"
She didn't stop to look back as lasers began firing from somewhere behind her, leaving sizzling, melting craters in the walls, ceiling and floor where they hit. All she could do was keep running- occasionally glancing into other, empty rooms as she passed- until she came to the end of the corridor and ducked through the archway there.
Out of breath, she took half a second to make sense of her surroundings, before, realising she was in some sort of alien lab, she took off running again. The slide of rubber on ice alerted her to the fact that the Daleks had entered the room behind her, but still Jenny didn't stop. She ducked and dived around tables and control centres, all the time mere inches away from being hit by one of the Daleks' lasers.
"YOU CANNOT ESCAPE, TIME LORD. YOUR ATTEMPTS ARE FUTILE; WE WILL BE YOUR END."
"I'm going to have to politely decline your offer, guys," Jenny yelled through gritted teeth. "'Death by Daleks' is not on my list of preferred ways to die. Sorry!"
She dived over a set of control panels- heading for a metal door set into the ice across the room that she had just noticed- but, in doing so, her foot clipped a series of liquid chemicals resting atop the panels, and they went flying all over the metal- narrowly missing Jenny herself as she barely made it over the other side and to her feet again.
As soon as the liquids hit the dials and buttons, sparks and smoke exploded from the machine, and a terrifyingly loud, blaring alarm rang out through the entire room. Jenny paused.
"Warning: controls compromised. Self-destruct activated in thirty seconds. Twenty nine, twenty eight…"
"Oh, bugger…" Jenny muttered, genuinely surprised. She grimaced as the countdown continued, but took off again in the blind hope of getting as far away from the epicentre of an explosion she seemed to have just activated. Again.
The Daleks were squawking behind her again, and, had she not known better, she would have said she heard fear in their voices.
"THE TIME LORD HAS DOOMED US ALL. EXTERMINATE!"
The lasers were back again, and in full force. Actually a pretty stupid idea, as well, because they'd probably end up doing more damage to the controls than Jenny had managed to do already. Daleks really were stupid sometimes.
Jenny hurdled the last obstacle in her way- which turned out to be a chair, and, seriously, with the Daleks running this place, who was going to sit on that?- and was at the door faster than she ever thought she had run before. Glancing around, she spotted an emergency release button and slammed her fist into it without even a thought. The door slid open, and she was immediately hit with a face full of icy wind as she realised she was at the exterior door.
"Self-destruct in fifteen, fourteen…"
She gave a triumphant cry, and made as if to sprint out into the snow, when something snagged her foot and she tripped. Panicked, she rolled quickly, kicking out at whatever was gripping her, and realised Chewie must have entered the room at some point and dived for her, because the creature was currently clutching her leg and roaring in a terrifying fashion.
But there was fear in his eyes.
And then it clicked.
"I can save you, too!" Jenny cried desperately, reaching out to pry the creature away from her leg. "Let me go, and we can both escape! We can both live!"
Thank whatever god was out there, Chewie seemed to understand. He let go of Jenny, and she sprang to her feet, reaching out to pull the creature to its feet, too, when;
"Emergency lockdown initiated. Self-destruct in ten…"
And the door immediately slid closed between them- Jenny stood out in the snow, and Chewie locked inside.
"NO!" Jenny screamed, flying forwards to hammer on the door, and felt the resounding rumble of Chewie doing the same from the other side. "Hit the emergency release! Open the door!"
She continued to scream for another few seconds, but knew- in her heart- that it was more time than she had. She was still well within the blast radius; her only chance of survival was to run, and get as far away as possible in the small amount of time she had left. She couldn't do anything for Chewie from the outside- didn't even know if he understood properly what she was saying- and that thought set a chill about her bones that had nothing to do with the cold air and snow around her.
Reluctantly, she began to run.