Finally done with this chapter! I've had a little bit of a block with it about half way through. And then recently my sleeping patterns have been way off kilter, and I've been falling asleep as soon as I get home. So I've had NO time to write in the last few weeks. I need to set that right.
I'm having a date weekend with Matt, but in my down time I will start on the next chapter of Through the Stars and I also have about half of the next chapter of Gaps written out on paper.
With this one I made a bit of a mistake... then I realised it would actually help with the plot a little. So I hope you enjoy it!
*World Ward III*
Lunging forward, Rose grabbed the small spray bottle from her pocket and sprayed it at Margaret's eyes. Shrieking, the Slitheen dropped the man and covered her face with her giant green claws. The man held his throat, still coughing and gasping for air. She and Harriet pulled him to his feet. Unfortunately, there would be no time for him to regain his breath.
"Run!" she told them. The three of them rushed out. Before they were out, she took one quick look back. Margaret's screaming changed as an electric current surrounded her body as the device on her neck messed up. "Go!"
"No, wait!" Harriet cried. "They're still in there! The emergency protocols! We need them!"
"There's no time! Run!" She gave Harriet a slight push and they all headed down the corridor.
"Those could help," the man cried.
"Yeah, then we'll get them later. Just go. We need to hide!"
She led them through the corridors, trying to find a good room. She could hear the sound of claws on the wooden floor, running after them. It wouldn't be long till Margaret caught up with them. And even if they got into a room before she saw them, she could still smell them.
"Why can't we go down stairs?" the secretary asked.
"Because they'll be down there too. She didn't just get electrocuted for no reason. Something must have set it off. Ah, in here." She pulled them in and locked the door behind her. "Quick, hide somewhere."
Everyone dashed around the room, trying to find somewhere very safe to hide. Unfortunately, like most of this place, there weren't many places to hide. Once again, Harriet hid behind the folded blinds. She went straight to the window and curled up on the sill, ready to run when she had to. The secretary saw a small cupboard and squished himself in. It was a good thing he was small, because he was probably going to need help out.
Oh god, please don't go for him first... She reached into her pocket to grab the vinegar bottle, only to find it empty. Crap. She must have dropped it after she helped the guy.
Right as they were all in place, there was a rattle at the door handle. There was another few rattles, a pause, and then a smashing of wood. A hand clapped over her mouth to stopped the surprised squeal that would have burst out.
"Oh, such fun!" Margaret taunted, her voice coming out in its natural bubbling hiss. Little human children... Where are you? Sweet little humeykins... Come to me... Let me kiss you better... Kiss you with my big green lips."
Rose tried to let her breath out as softly as possible. She tried to calm herself, but she could feel her heart beat faster, her breath coming heavier.
"My brothers!" Margaret said sweetly, her attention drawn away for now.
"Happy hunting?" another asked.
"It's wonderful! The more you prolong it, the more they stink!"
"Sweat... and fear." She tried not to touch anything, like the curtain. Tried not to movie a bit, even though it was pointless.
"I can smell an old girl... stale perfume and brittle bones."
"And two ripe youngsters. One with hair product and testosterone, the other all hormones and adrenalin." She heard her getting closer and prepared to move. "Fresh enough to bend before she snaps!"
Suddenly a claw swung into her hiding place, ripping down the curtains and slashing her arm. A scream pried itself from her lips and she found herself scurrying backwards instead of forwards.
"No!" she heard Harriet cry. "Take me first! Take me!"
It stalled the Slitheen long enough for the Doctor to rush through the broken fragments of the doors, a fire extinguisher in hand. He blasted the extinguisher at the Slitheen's faces. Rose took her chance and pulled the curtain down over Margaret's head and round house kicked her backwards.
"Out! With me!" the Doctor cried. The two women ran towards him, getting past the aliens as fast as they could. Rose paused along the way to help pull the secretary out of the cupboard. "Nice moves," he said to her.
"Thanks," she grinned. It had hurt like anything to kick her, what with her soft, untrained body and Margaret's massive size.
He spied Harriet and the guy and looked them up and down. "Who the hell are you?"
"Harriet Jones. MP for Flydale North."
"Nice to meet you."
"No time for that now, we got to go," Rose shouted at them. Snapping to his senses, the Doctor sprayed them all with the fire extinguisher one more time before he chucked it and bolted, the others not far ahead of him. "We need to get to the cabinet rooms!"
"The Emergency Protocols are in there! They give instructions on aliens!"
"Harriet Jones. I like you," he grinned.
"Ooh, I like you too."
They bolted down the corridors with the Slitheen hot on their tails. With the sonic-screwdriver helping them, they were through doors in a second. And soon they were in the cabinet rooms, but the Slitheen were so close, there was no time to close the door. Quickly, the Doctor grabbed a bottle of brandy from the table beside them and held it up with the sonic pointed at it.
One more move and my sonic device will triplicate the flammability of this alcohol. Whoof! We all go up. So back off." The Slitheen did as he said, falling for his ruse. "Right then. Question time. Who exactly are the Slitheen?"
"They're aliens," Harriet said.
"In people suits," Indra added.
"Yes. I got that, thanks."
"Who are you, if not human?" one of the Slitheen asked.
"Who's not human?"
"He's not human," Rose told the others.
"He's not human?"
"He's an alien too?"
"Can I have a bit of hush?" he said in annoyance.
"Sorry," both of them replied. Rose just grinned.
"So, what's the plan?"
"But he's got a Northern accent." Harriet cut them off again.
"Lots of planets have a north."
"I said hush." He turned back to the Slitheen, holding the brandy out at them threateningly. "Come on! You've got a spaceship hidden in the North Sea. It's transmitting a signal. You've murdered your way to the top of government. What for, invasion?"
"Why would we invade this God forsaken rock?"
"Then something's brought the Slitheen race here. What is it?"
"The Slitheen race?" it laughed.
"Slitheen is not our species," laughed the other male. "Slitheen is our surname. Jocrassa Fel Fotch Pasameer-Day-Slitheen at your service."
"So, you're a family."
"It's a family business."
"Then you're out to make a profit. How can you do that on a God forsaken rock?"
"Ahh... excuse me? Your device will do what? Triplicate the flammability...?"
"That's what I said."
"You're making it up!" it accused.
"Ah, well. Nice try. Harriet, have a drink. I think you're gonna need it." He held the bottle of brandy out to her, never taking his eyes off the Slitheen.
"You pass to the left first," she said.
"Sorry." He changed sides and held it out to Indra, who grabbed it.
"Thanks," he said. Rose took her eyes off the Slitheen only to look at him in surprise when he drank down a large swig and after pulling a funny face, another.
"Now we can end this hunt... with a slaughter," the Slitheen said, holding up his claws menacingly. The Doctor just folded his arms and Rose went and stood beside him.
"You know, from my observations so far, Slitheen don't seem to be very bright," she said.
"You're right, Rose," he said. "Time for a history lesson, don't you think."
"After all, it does have a fascinating history, Downing Street. Two thousand years ago, this was marsh land. 1730, it was occupied by a Mr Chicken. He was a nice man. 1796, this was the cabinet room. If the cabinet's in session and in danger, these are about the four most safest walls in the whole of Great Britain." Then he hit a switch near the door. "End of lesson." Suddenly, every entrance to the room, even the windows, were blocked by metal shutters. The Doctor turned to the three humans with a grin. "Installed in 1991. Three inches of steel lining ever single wall. They'll never get in."
"That's brilliant, Doctor," Rose grinned, just ever so slightly mocking. "Now how do we get out?" It was almost comical to watch his expression as he realised the flaw in his plan.
After a while everyone started to do their own thing. Harriet sat down and started reading through the emergency protocols. Rose began looking around, searching every nook and cranny. The Doctor was sonicing things, trying to find a way out. And Indra was dragging the Prime Minister's body into a closet.
"I can't believe they did this. I organised his arrival. I should have known that he hadn't made it... alive."
"Don't be to hard on yourself," Harriet told him. "You had a lot to organise, then you had me running around like the old idiot I am. Besides, as far as you were concerned, he was dropped off safely. It's not your fault they lied to you. Or did any of this."
"Must have taken them ages to plan all this. Landing here without anyone noticing. Finding out the most important people in the government. Setting everything up. Planning the reactions to the fake crash. Hang on... they would have had to know what the government would do about a crash. They would have had to look through the protocols."
"I fear you may be right, Rose. The protocols just list people who can help, and they're all downstairs."
"Rose, you're hurt!" the Doctor suddenly said in concern. He was looking at her arm which was stained with blood.
"What? Ouch... Oh yeah. I forgot about that," she said. "Blon got me.."
"The... the female one. She scratched me when she pulled the curtain out of the way."
"Right. You sit. Let's take a look at this." She sat opposite Harriet and the Doctor beside her. He carefully rolled up the shoulder of her sleeve, making her wince. She had completely forgotten about it in the rush, but now that the burst of adrenalin had faded away, it was a little hard not to notice. She saw the Doctor make a face and knew that it wasn't looking pretty.
"Is there a first aid box anywhere around here?"
"Um... yep. In here," Indra said, grabbing it from the closet and handing it to the Doctor. "What I don't understand is why they didn't use the Prime Minister."
"Eh?" he said as he began to clean the wound.
Indra shrugged. "Well, they clearly knew who was at the top of government, and they wanted to get there. Why didn't they just use the Prime Minister himself?"
"He's too slim. They're big old beasts. They need to fit inside big humans."
"But they're gigantic. They've got to be about eight feet at least. How would they even fit in the first place."
"That's the device around their necks, compression field. Literally shrinks them down a bit. That's why there's all that gas. It's a big exchange."
"Wish I had a compression field right now. I miss being skinny."
"Excuse me, people are dead. This is not the time for making jokes."
"Sorry... you kind of get used to it after seeing enough of it. You just got to find the good side of what's happening. Even if it's joking about the worst things... Hang on, I don't have a morbid sense of humour, do I?" She looked at the Doctor in worry.
"Not that I can tell," he shrugged.
"Good. But wait a minute, Doctor didn't you say that you electrocuted the Slitheen down there?" Everyone looked at her in confusion... okay, maybe he hadn't said that.
"Erm, well, I did do that. They had chips in all the ID badges that sent out an electric current. My biology allows me to survive it at that level. So I took it off and stuck it in the device." He took out some bandages and began to wrap the wound up. "It killed everyone else."
"That's how we got out!" she said excitedly. "Right after she dropped Indra, she started being shocked by her device. It gave us enough time to get out. The devices must be linked! If we could destroy one, we may end up getting them all."
"Might be. Unfortunately we need a way to get rid of them as well as their disguise. There you're done." He patted her lightly on the shoulder and moved off to start sonicing things again.
"Thanks. Do you think it works like a translator, like the TARIDS does for us. Because the others can hear them speak English, and clearly their voices are meant to work a different way with all that burbbling."
"Burbbling?" Indra questioned.
"It's a made up word from Lewis Carol's 'The Jabberwokey' poem," Harriet told him.
"Oh, is that where it's from. Must have picked it up."
"You're a very intelligent girl, you know."
"Me, nah. Not really." Everyone in the room looked at her with either a raised eyebrow or a sympathetic look. "What? I'm not. Honestly. I dropped out of school before I had finished my A Levels for the stupidest reason imaginable. I'm not smart. Believe me." She hadn't even finished her courses in the other universe before her sickness had caused her to drop out.
"Well, you sound pretty intelligent to me," Indra told her. She gave him a big smile and out of the corner of her eyes she saw the Doctor shoot him a scowl. He passed around the room a bit more before he turned back to Harriet.
"Harriet Jones. I've heard that name before. Harriet Jones... You're not famous or anything, are you?"
"Ha! Hardly," she laughed bitterly.
"Rings a bell, Harriet Jones..."
"You'll get there eventually," Rose smiled at him. "Maybe it's something she's not famous for yet."
"You two make no sense," Indra said, shaking his head and sitting down. Rose had too much energy to be sitting down, and now that her arm was fixed, she was up and about again.
"I'm a life long backbencher, I'm afraid. An a fat lot of use I'm being now. The protocols are redundant. As I said, they list the people who can help and they're all dead downstairs."
"Hasn't it got like... defence codes or something?" she asked. "What if we just... launch a bomb at them."
Harriet looked at her aghast. "You're a very violent young woman."
"I'm serious. We could. I mean, I'm not one for killing things or jumping straight to the 'destroy them all' option. But it's what they are planning on doing to us, right? They said they want to turn it into molten rock and sell it. Bomb them before they can bomb us. Unless you've got a better plan."
The older woman sighed. "No, I don't. But there's nothing like that in here. Nuclear strikes do need a release code, yes, but it's kept secret by the United Nations. As for regular bombs, we would at least need to contact someone. Which we can't."
"Hold on, say that again," the Doctor said. He was clearly starting to recognise her voice.
"What, about the codes?"
"Anything. All of it."
"Um, well... the British Isles can't gain access to atomic weapons without a special resolution from the UN."
"Please, like that would stop them," Rose scoffed.
"Exactly, given our past record – and I voted against that, thank you very much - the codes have been taken out of the governments hands and given to the UN."
"Yeah, but... Rose is right," Indra said. "If we can find a way to contact them, we can find somewhere that would be willing to launch even just a regular missile. It would be targeted. Less people will be hurt. What about that group, Doctor? UNIT?"
"It depends. I could negotiate something if I can talk to the Brigadier, otherwise I'm not really a fan of getting them to help."
"If only we knew what the Slitheen wanted... Listen to me, I'm saying 'Slitheen' as if it's normal."
The Doctor looked as if he were deep in thought, then suddenly his head snapped up to Rose. "Hold on, Rose. What did you say before?"
"About the missiles?"
"No! ...Well, sort of. You said 'bomb them before they bomb us'. You said that what they wanted to do turn Earth into a molten rock and sell it."
"Oh, I did, yeah."
"How did you know that?"
"They... said it." She looked at him, slightly confused. Had he missed that part? ...Or had she skipped ahead?"
"No, they said that Earth was a god forsaken rock. They said nothing about melting it down and selling it." She looked about at everyone, panicking slightly. "Rose, are you sure you're not-"
"No. I'm fine!" she almost snapped. "I've already told you I'm not psychic or nothing."
"Then where did you get that idea from?"
"I don't know!" Her cry left the room hanging in silence. Everyone was looking at her, and with a growl she huffed off to the other side of the room, taking out her phone.
"But how would they sell Earth if they are bombing it?" Harriet asked. "What would they be after? Gold? Oil? Iron or other metals?"
"You're very good at this," the Doctor grinned at her, distracting himself from Rose for a second.
"Thank you," she said, sounding very pleased.
"Harriet Jones. Why do I know that name?"
Just then, there was a bleep from across the room and everyone's heads turned to Rose.
"Oh!" she said in surprise. "I was just playing 'Snake'. I've actually got a message..."
"But we're sealed off. How did you get a signal?"
"Oh, he zapped it. Alien tech. Bit of Spock. Now it's a super-phone. I can call anywhere, anywhen through space and time."
"And you didn't think to mention this phone before when we were talking about contacting someone outside?" Indra grumped.
"Hey! I can't be the brains of the operation all the time! That's his job... and why didn't he think of it either?" The Doctor held his hands up in surrender, his face saying 'don't look at me'.
"Well, now we can phone for help! You must have contacts."
"Yeah. Most of them are dead downstairs."
"It's Mickey," Rose said, getting up and walking over to them.
"Oh, tell your stupid boyfriend we're busy," the Doctor said in annoyance.
"Okay, first off, stop calling him stupid, or I'll start calling you jealous. Second, he's not my boyfriend anymore. And third, he just sent me a picture of a Slitheen in my mothers fucking living room!"
"What?" Suddenly interested, he came around and took the phone from her hands to look at the image. It was caught at the time when they were all being electrocuted. "Right then. We've got our outside contacts."
Rose waited anxiously as the phone rang. She let out a huge breath of relief when Mickey answered.
"Mickey! Are you guys alright? What happened?"
"There was a police officer who was talking to Jackie. But he was an alien." There was a rattling sound and she guessed he was trying to get into his flat.
"The police officer was an alien?"
"No, no, no, no, no, not just alien. But like... proper alien. All stinking, and wet, and disgusting. And more to the point, it wanted to kill us!"
"I could have died!" she heard her mother in the background.
"Is she alright? She didn't get hurt, though, did she? For the love of god, don't put her on. Just tell me."
Suddenly the phone was snatched from her hands as the Doctor took it and began to speak.
"Is that Ricky? Don't talk, just shut up and go to your computer."
"It's Mickey. And why should I?" she heard faintly.
"Mickey the Idiot, I might just choke before I finish this sentence, but, ah... I need you." She grinned at him smugly and he rolled his eyes. There was a moments pause before Mickey spoke again. They all went and sat in a group at the table and the Doctor held out the phone so they could all hear. But first he typed something into a message and sent it.
"Okay, I'm on. Now what?" That far away it was hard to hear what was being said.
"I sent an address to Jackie's phone. I need you to log onto that."
"Here..." For a bit all they could hear was the typing of keys.
"It says 'password'."
The Doctor put the phone on speaker and placed it on the table. "Say again."
"It's asking for the password."
"Buffalo. Two 'F's, one 'L'."
"So, what's that website?"
"All the secret information known to mankind. See, they've known about aliens for years, they just kept us in the dark."
"Mickey, you were born in the dark," he said nastily.
"Oi, stop it!" Rose growled him.
"Thank you," he said sarcastically. "Password again."
"Just repeat it every time. They want to turn the earth into molten Rock," he mused. "They crashed into Big Ben, stirred up a whole lot off attention. For what? Couldn't they have just bombed the planet?"
"They wanted to get the world on red alert," Rose said.
"But if they're hiding, then why would they do that?" Indra asked.
"Who said they wanted to hide? Well... fully anyway. They wanted to keep themselves hidden, but they also wanted to get the world freaked out about aliens. We've seen how humans react to an alien invasion, but what if it progresses?"
"Oh, would you listen to her!" Jackie scoffed.
"Shut up, Mum. At least I'm trying to do something."
"Rose, what are you getting at?" Indra asked.
"Humans are volatile," the Doctor replied.
"Exactly. Then we've got the Slitheen in high places. And what can people in high places do?"
"They can influence people. The media!" Harriet realised.
"And once they have everyone's attention, they can make them believe whatever they want," the Doctor finished up.
"Well, that's brilliant!" Jackie said bitterly. "But I have a question for you Doctor, and you are damn well going to answer it. Because ever since you walked into our lives, I have been attacked on the streets. I have had creatures from the pits of hell in my own living room, and my daughter's disappeared off the face of the Earth and gone stark raving mad!"
"Mum, I'm not mad! You've already seen. Everything I said is true."
"Yeah, well I don't believe that you've only been gone a week, because you've changed a damn lot." Rose looked at the ground. "And don't you butt into this, I'm talking to him. 'Cause I've seen this life of yours, Doctor. And maybe you get off on it. And maybe you think it's clever and smart, but you tell me. Just answer me this. Is my daughter safe?"
He looked at the phone intently, not saying a word.
"I'll be fine," she said in exasperation. "I'm a big girl, I can handle myself."
"Is she safe? Will she always be safe? Can you promise me that?" He glanced up at Rose, and she saw his eyes flick to the wound on her upper arm before he made eye contact. They stared at each other a moment, unspoken words shared between them. He was concerned. She didn't care. "Well, what's the answer?"
"We're in," Mickey's voice came, breaking the tension.
Now let off the hook, the Doctor rushed up to the table again. "Right then, on the left there's a tab. An icon. Little concentric circles. Click on that."
He did so and a strange noise was now coming from the other end of the phone. It sounded like that strange instrument that they used in old sci-fi's. "What is it?"
"The Slitheen have got a spaceship in the North Sea and it's transmitting that signal. Now hush, let me work out what it's saying." He began listening intently.
"He'll have to answer me one day," Jackie said.
"Hush!" Mickey hissed at her.
"It's some sort of message," he told them.
"What does it say?"
"I don't know. It's on a loop, keeps repeating." There was the sound of a bell in the background and Rose tensed. "Hush!"
"That's not me. Go see who that is," he said the last part to Jackie.
"It's three o'clock in the morning!"
"Well go and tell them that!"
"It's beaming out into space. Who's it for?" In the background the noises continued, punctuated with the occasional sound of Jackie's voice. Suddenly there was the sound of a slamming door and she began to squeal.
"It's him! It's the thing, it's the Slipeen!"
"They've found us," Mickey said.
"Mickey, I need that signal."
"Never mind that! Get Mum and get out! Get somewhere safe!"
"We can't it's by the front door... Oh my god, it's unmasking. It's gonna kill us."
"There's got to be some way of stopping them!" Harriet said. "You're supposed to be the expert, think of something!"
"I'll take it on, Jackie. You just run. Don't look back. Just run."
"Don't be an idiot!" Rose cried. "They can fire poisonous darts!"
"How'd you know that?" the Doctor asked her.
"Blon shot some at me when we were running. They were small, so I assumed they were poisonous."
"Yeah, I think so, why?"
"Right, that narrows it down already. If we're going to find their weakness, we need to find out where they're from. Which planet. Judging by their face and shape, that narrows it down to five thousand planets in travelling distance. Just over two thousand with the darts. About a thousand five hundred if it's only the females that produce them. What else do we know about them?"
"They're green," she said.
"Yep, narrows it down."
"Uh, good sense of smell... they hunt!"
"Narrows it down.
"The pig technology," Harriet said.
"Narrows it down."
"They can smell adrenaline. And age!"
"Narrows it down."
"Hold on," Indra put in. "Rose, what did you use to get her to let go of me?"
"Eh?" the Doctor said.
"Before she was electrocuted Rose did something that made her let me go."
"Yes! You sprayed her with something," Harriet cried.
"Rose, what did you spray her with."
"Um, vinegar," she replied.
"Why did you have vinegar in a spray bottle?"
"I use it on my chips!" she lied. "Even dispersal."
"Even d... Who even does that?!"
"I don't know!"
"But will it help?"
"It's getting in!" Mickey shouted.
"Averse to vinegar... um... Yes! That smell that's around them, like bad breath! Calcium decay! Creatures of living calcium. Plus all the other factors. That narrows it down to one planet. Raxacoricofallapatorius!"
"Oh, yeah, great. We could write them a letter," Mickey scoffed.
"Mickey, Rose is right. Vinegar will work. Get into the kitchen!"
"Just like Hannibal!" Harriet said.
"What?" Indra said, utterly confused.
"Mickey, have you got any vinegar?"
"How should I know?"
"It's your kitchen."
"He's a flatting man in his 20's. He's lucky to have any actual food at all," Rose said pushing the Doctor out of the way. "Mum, look in the cupboard by the sink, middle shelf."
"Hold on," Mickey said, before he must have handed the phone to Jackie. "Rose said to look in that cupboard there."
"What am I looking for?"
"Anything with vinegar!"
"Gerkins!" she cried. "Yeah, Pickled onions! Oh... Three bottles of vinegar. Mickey, do you even need this much vinegar?"
"I didn't even know I had those!"
"Just use it!" Rose cried in distress.
"Bloody hell, you kiss this man?" the Doctor said.
"Not any more," she muttered. She was interrupted by a loud crash and there was noises and squealing as it came closer. They waited, listening to the rustling. Then there was absolute silence for a good few seconds, finally followed by the sound of something popping.
They had done it!
Everyone in the room breathed a sigh of relief, slumping into the chairs or leaning heavily on the desk.
"Hannibal?" Indra asked Harriet.
"Hannibal crossed the Alps by dissolving boulders with vinegar."
"There you go then," Rose breathed. "Just like Hannibal... But with big green aliens instead of boulders." Everyone gave a small chuckle and raised the glasses of brandy they had poured earlier in a toast, then drunk it.
"Phew," she breathed. "Please tell me the others aren't going to be that hard?"