"So, who would like to bell the proverbial cat?" Six asked, stuffing his hands into his pockets and rocking back on his heels. He looked around the circle.
"I'm a doctor," said Martha. "I've gotten plenty of people to swallow pills."
"These are giraffes," Ace said. "Not bloomin' people in hospital."
"I know," said Martha.
"We just don't want you to risk yourself unnecessarily," Evelyn soothed. "Now what do you propose?"
"I'm not risking anyone. All we have to do is put them into something the giraffes will eat anyway and leave it where they can get it. Basic common sense. If they were penguins you could put them in a fish, for instance."
"Depends," said Frobisher. "What kind of fish? Red snapper is very tasty."
"Inside a head of lettuce?" suggested Ace.
"Or a cabbage," added Jamie.
"I wish we had some peanut butter," Martha mused.
"No, no, no," said Two. "These aren't normal giraffes. You're all thinking of things normal giraffes would like."
"Exactly. These are evil vampire giraffes," Frobisher nodded.
"Evil? I don't know if I would call them evil," Two frowned.
"That's precisely what I said," said Six.
"I wouldn't call them evil," said Seven.
"Obviously," Frobisher said. "Thrice over. But I like the sound of it anyway."
"So," said Ace. "What's a not-evil vampire giraffe like to eat?"
"Something nice and meaty, of course. Do any of me have any steaks handy? I'm afraid Jamie ate all of mine."
"I do," said Seven. "Because I've been here before. I bought some just for the occasion down at the meat market today."
"So that's where you went!" said Ace.
The Doctor paused to touch his hat. "Sorry, Ace. Took longer than I expected. Do run to the TARDIS, will you? They're in the console room, just inside the door."
"Not in a refrigerator?" asked Martha as Ace ran off.
"Goodness no. It may be a bit unsavoury to us, but vampires of all types prefer their food to be as close to regular body temperature as possible."
As soon as the steaks were produced, Jamie let them use his dagger, which he was glad to have back again, to cut flaps for inserting the pills. They all walked to the giraffe house and found the sheltered concrete hallway where Two and Six bumped one another's shoulders trying to be the one to unlatch the locked door, ignoring the large hand-lettered sign telling everyone to Keep Out Due to Quarantine. It was an almost anticlimactic end to the problem as the pills were inserted and the steaks tossed in, though the scramble to slam the door before a long neck could propel a nasty, hungry mouth right at them. Frobisher had been right, they had to agree, there was definitely something evil about that after all.
"Will they eat them?" Martha worried.
"Oh yes," assured Seven from behind them. "As I said…"
"You've been here before!" chorused the others.
He raised his brows in surprise then smiled. "Yes. So I also know the keepers are about to come in here and catch us, if we don't get out that door there right away. When I say run…"
There was a thumping of feet and the other door cracked open. "Run!" said Two.
They all piled out the opposite door with the sound of men shouting behind them. Seven let them all pass then paused to latch their escape and lock it against further pursuit before going off to scoop up a golden canopic jar from the greenery, its lid firmly taped shut. He quickly trotted with it across the way to the other half of the zoo and turned for the aquarium.
"Sarah Jane! Look, there it is," a tall man with far too much scarf about his neck pointed, striding towards him.
A young dark-haired lady trotted at his heels. "Did you have to let a gorilla out? It might get us instead of someone else, you know."
"Merely a useful distraction," the tall man said. "Excuse me, do you mind if I have a look at that jar you're carrying?"
"Not at all," Seven said cheerfully and handed it over then tipped his hat to Sarah Jane. "I hope it's useful. Just remember that the octopus will need at least 48 hours to metabolize the parasite after it eats it." He turned and trotted away. "Must be going now, you know how it is!"
"Ah yes, how time flies," the other Doctor said and smiled toothily, tucking the jar under his arm.
Panting, the others had reached the point where they would need to split off to the three ships. With a chorus of hurried goodbyes, they each ran to their particular police box and clambered in. There was a grinding as two of the three faded away.
Ace waited beside 'her' TARDIS, which was still locked. Slipping around it into the shadows, she flattened herself against it and watched as several men in night guard and zookeeper uniforms went past with torches waving. There was the sound of a phone ringing somewhere, a motorized golf cart whizzing past and shouts that faded off towards the entrance gate.
"Professor! You about made me jump out of my skin. Where have you been? Didn't you see all those men chasing us?"
"Oh, they weren't chasing us, Ace. They were chasing the gorilla I just recently let loose."
"I thought it would be a useful distraction. After all, I've…."
"Don't even say it."
He grinned and tweaked the end of her nose, then opened the door and bowed, waving her on before him. There was a twirl of an umbrella and the door hummed shut, then a grinding sound as it faded away into the air.