A/N: All right, so it's another little follow up story, but I thought I might as well wrap things up. For the seaQuest crew, it immediately follows Splashdown. Amy, Rory, and the Doctor are somewhere between The Vampires of Venice and The Hungry Earth. Standard disclaimers apply.
Quick comment: this first chapter is more Doctor Who-focussed, while the last one will be more seaQuest-focussed. And I welcome tips writing any of the characters, since these aren't the ones with which I'm the most comfortable.
An alarm started sounding in the TARDIS. That wasn't the worst part, actually. It was just that the Doctor couldn't remember which alarm it was or what it was for. He and Amy and Rory weren't heading anywhere in particular at the moment. They were, in fact, just drifting in space, and an empty part of it at that. Not so much as a piece of space junk in sight. Well, nothing when he'd last checked the scanner, at least. But the point still stood that there was no logical reason for any of the really pressing alarms to go off, as nothing was going to crash into them, the TARDIS hadn't suddenly lost power or been pulled somewhere against her will, they weren't anywhere where someone who had a grudge against him could find them…. That sort of thing.
The eggs weren't done, either, so it wasn't that.
Amy Pond burst into the console room, followed by her fiancé, Rory Williams. Neither looked impressed. It probably wasn't just because of the alarm. The two had reminded him, quite plainly, that they needed more sleep than he did, and they just wanted to catch up on some. Personally, he hoped that that was all they had been doing, since, once they'd drawn his attention to it, he realized that they really did look like they needed rest, but…. "What's up with the sirens?" Amy asked, her hands pressed over her ears.
That was the bad part. It was never good to admit to his companions that he didn't know what was going on. It didn't look good to be forgetful, and it gave them something else to use against him the next time he was trying to win an argument and played the higher species card.
"And can you turn it off?" Amy added. "My ears are starting to ring."
"She wouldn't wear the earplugs I found," Rory added.
The Doctor spared them a glance before turning back to the mishmash of the TARDIS controls in front of him. He still didn't know what half of them did. Not that that was too surprising; he'd never entirely worked out all of the uses of every control with the coral theme, either, but now that she'd remodelled herself…. Why couldn't the blue switches have just stayed blue switches? Or had they, and just been moved next to the red switches? Well, either way, he definitely wasn't going to admit that there was even the slightest possibility that River Song knew the layout of his TARDIS better than he did. He reached out and threw a green switch.
He looked up at Amy and Rory again. "It'll be a minute; she's a bit temperamental."
He received two identical looks telling him, quite plainly, that he was full of it. Amy was clearly rubbing off on Rory, though he supposed he shouldn't have expected any less. Still, he would've hoped that the pure astonishment of travelling in time and space would've lasted a little longer. They always got much more argumentative once they realized he was fallible. Granted, that usually didn't take very long…. The Doctor sighed and brought the screen around to look at it again. He typed a few things in, checking the history, and—
He remembered setting that now. But, really, he had a very good excuse for not remembering it earlier. He'd been busy when he'd set it. And, when he'd looked into things, he had known that then was not the time to do anything. He only had one shot at this, and he wanted to make it a good one. So, he'd set himself a reminder.
And now the time was ripe, the circumstances all set for the picking.
The Doctor jiggled a stick, threw a different lever, and hit a couple buttons. This time, the alarm fell silent.
"Took you long enough," Amy said, finally pulling her hands away from her ears as Rory pocketed his earplugs. "So, what was that for, anyway?"
"Hang on," was all the Doctor said in reply. The TARDIS had the coordinates, and she'd even displayed them on the screen for him. She knew what he wanted; she was just letting him make that final choice. She was giving him a chance to get ready, to decide to go.
The Doctor set her in motion without checking to see if his companions had heeded his warning.
From the cries and the thuds, he assumed they hadn't.
"Okay, that really hurt that time," Rory said as the TARDIS shuddered to a stop. He paused just long enough to help Amy up from the floor before resuming rubbing his arm.
"Yeah, I'd appreciate a little more warning," Amy said, massaging her leg. "So what was the alarm for? Where are we?"
The Doctor didn't answer her. "Amy, stay here," he ordered. "Rory, I'll need your help, so you come with me." Amy opened her mouth, and the Doctor cut her off, adding, "We'll be two minutes. Less, if we can. You are not to move a muscle, Pond."
Amy crossed her arms defiantly. "And why's that?"
"Because I said so," the Doctor retorted.
"Um, Doctor," Rory said, perhaps seeing more in Amy's deadly glare than he was, "maybe we should let her—"
"No. She's staying here."
"At least tell me where we are," Amy said. "Tell me what I'm missing, what I can't see."
"It doesn't matter. We're not here to see anything."
"Then why are we here?" Amy demanded.
"Because I made a promise to a friend a lifetime ago," the Doctor snapped, in no mood to delay things because he knew how short their time was now that they'd arrived, "and I mean to make good on that without you getting hurt."
There was a brief silence before Rory said, "And you're fine if I get hurt?"
The Doctor snorted. "Of course not. You're travelling with me. I take care of the people I travel with. I just need your help for the simple reason that I can't carry two people by myself, nor can I take one and make sure you get the right other one while making sure your fiancée doesn't get into any trouble."
"I don't get into any more trouble than you do," Amy said indignantly. "I probably get into less."
"I'm not taking any chances, so there's no point in arguing." Amy opened her mouth again, so the Doctor cut across her, saying, "There's a war on out there, Amelia Pond, and I am not taking you into the middle of it."
"So you're taking Rory?" Amy asked incredulously.
"Again," Rory said, "it's sounding like you're fine if I get hurt."
The Doctor sighed. "Rory, you're a nurse, and we're about to step out onto a battlefield to nab two of the victims before they get killed. I have to trust that you'll have enough of a head on your shoulders not to get caught in the crossfire, but I know that you'll know enough to make sure we can move these people without injuring them further. You," he added, looking over at Amy, "don't have that knowledge."
Amy huffed but didn't argue. "Fine. I'll stay in here. But can you at least tell me where we are?"
"I'll explain after," the Doctor said. "I don't have time now. Come on, Rory," he added, starting down the ramp.
"But, um, Doctor," Rory said, running to catch up to him, "I don't know who I'm looking for."
"I'll point her out," the Doctor said. He paused at the door. "Don't do anything stupid. No drawing attention to yourself, no sticking around to see what's going on, no talking to anyone. I'm trusting you. You're just going to grab Wendy Smith and run back here. Understand?"
Rory looked uncertain, but he nodded anyway. The Doctor closed his eyes for a moment, composing himself, remembering what he'd promised Lucas Wolenczak and all the research he'd done when he'd been looking into things to see if he could ever make good on that promise. He had a chance to do it now. One chance. One chance, two lives, and a promise fulfilled….
The Doctor glanced back at Amy, who was still sulking by the console, nodded to Rory, threw the door to the TARDIS open, and stepped outside.
Rory was hit by a wave of sound when he stepped out. The gunfire, or the equivalent, was the most prevalent. Judging by the green and yellow and white flashes of light he could see, he was guessing laser guns. But over the sounds of the shooting, he could hear the cries of the fighters and the screams of the injured. "There're too many of them!"
He shot a nervous look at the Doctor, who put his finger to his lips and pointed ahead of them with his other hand.
"We're near the ship's power core," the Doctor said in a low voice, "and it's been rigged with explosive charges that are about to go off."
"Just be quick. I don't fancy sticking around for the explosion." The Doctor pulled out his sonic screwdriver and turned it on to get some sort of reading, but Rory couldn't even hear its familiar whine over the ruckus. Pocketing the device again, the Doctor grabbed his arm and dragged him to the right, down a narrow corridor. "We're going to come out beside them," he said quietly. He put his finger to his lips once more, then slowly crept ahead.
Rory had no choice but to follow.
It was darker than he would have liked, even considering the flashes from the lasers that lit everything up. It was creepy, and creepier because it was real and dangerous. The people cowered behind barrels and tanks, trying to treat their injured or recharge their weapons for another round of fighting against the…things that were attacking them, things that looked a lot more alien than the Doctor did.
Rory felt a poke when the Doctor prodded him to get his attention, and he pointed to a woman who was bent over a man who was currently moaning in pain. "Her," the Doctor mouthed. Or perhaps he actually said it; Rory couldn't tell.
"What about him?" Rory asked, pointing to the injured man.
The Doctor shook his head, and when Rory opened his mouth again, he received a very clear 'don't argue' look, so he shut his mouth and nodded.
The woman might not be injured yet, but Rory had a feeling that her luck wasn't going to last very long. He just hoped that his would.
The Doctor caught his eye again. He held up three fingers, then two, then—
"What, now?" Rory asked, but his words were lost as one of the tanks in the room in front of him exploded when one of the lasers hit it in a weak spot. Rory blinked, but the Doctor was gone, and he figured he'd better get moving, too. Besides, the floor was shaking, and that probably wasn't a good sign.
He stumbled ahead, trying to keep his head down, and grabbed the shoulders of the woman. She was unconscious now, as was the man she'd been tending. She was probably a doctor, or at least someone who knew first aid. It looked like she'd been trying to put pressure on the man's wounds.
Rory took a deep breath. "I've got to focus," he muttered, and he quickly checked the woman over. He knew he needed to move. He knew he didn't have much time. But he had to be sure.
"Rory, come on!"
Rory looked up and his mouth dropped open. "What are you doing here?" Rory hissed as Amy grabbed the woman's feet. "The Doctor told you to stay in the TARDIS!"
"No time to talk, remember?" Amy said. Rory shut his mouth, and together they lifted the woman and started back to the TARDIS as quickly as they dared. "Besides," Amy added as they approached the safety of the Doctor's ship, "you didn't really think I was going to stay out of this, did you?"
"I could hope," Rory muttered, but he was smiling. That was his Amy.
"I left the door open," Amy said as she nudged it open with her foot. "Didn't want the Doctor to have to find his key. Where is he, anyway?"
"I don't know," Rory replied. "He went to grab the other guy, I guess. I lost sight of him." He bent over the woman again. After a moment, he said, "I don't know what they hit her with. I don't even know if it was the aliens or the explosion. I think she's stable, though."
"Good." Amy looked towards the TARDIS door again. "Where is he?" she hissed.
"He's coming," Rory said. "It's fine. He'll be fine. Don't worry." He didn't want to think about what it meant if the Doctor wasn't fine. He was their only way home. He was the only one who knew where they were. And when they were, for that matter.
"He better be," Amy muttered darkly. "If he's not, I'll kill him."
"Here, Amy, you keep her head elevated," Rory said. "I'll go look for the Doctor." Amy frowned, and Rory added, "He probably just needs a hand, and he wanted you to stay here, remember?"
"Fine." Amy traded places with Rory, and he stepped back outside the TARDIS.
There was no sign of the Doctor.
Deciding that he'd rather venture off again than face Amy's wrath, Rory hesitantly started down the corridor again.
He nearly ran into the Doctor as he turned the corner. "Where were you?" Rory asked. Then, noticing that the Doctor was half-carrying, half-dragging two men, he said, "I thought we were only grabbing two people."
"I lied," the Doctor said. "Help me, would you? We have about thirty seconds to get inside the TARDIS."
"Closer to twenty-seven and a half, now," the Doctor added as Rory picked up one of the men. "Now, run!"
Rory ran. Or, at least, he ran as best he could when carrying a deadweight, which meant he was really stumbling after the Doctor, but he made it to the TARDIS without tripping, so that was a feat in itself. The Doctor pushed the door shut behind him, raced up to the console, jumping over the woman Amy was sitting with in the process, and threw a lever.
The TARDIS jolted into motion, but the flight settled out and became remarkably smooth. Rory, remembering all the times he had seen the Doctor stroking the TARDIS and talking to her, couldn't help but wonder if his ship had somehow actually known about the delicate state of her passengers.
Of course, if that were the case, the TARDIS probably didn't like them, judging by how they were always thrown about. Unless that was her way of showing that she did like them, but…. Rory shook his head. He wasn't going to think about it. He knelt down and starting checking the men over.
"Are you going to explain now?" Amy asked. "Are you going to tell us what that was all about?"
"And why there are three of them?" Rory added, looking up.
The Doctor stepped back from the console and slumped against the railing. "It's a long story."
Amy crossed her arms. "Do we look like we're going anywhere?"
"That was Hyperion," the Doctor said. "It was in the middle of a civil war. Those aliens you saw, Rory, were Stormers, their fighters. Nasty things; don't want to meet them in a dark alley. Or anywhere else, for that matter."
"So? Who won?" Amy asked.
"It was a war, Pond," the Doctor replied quietly. "No one wins in a war." He stopped for a moment before continuing, saying, "But, since the KrayTak overlords didn't succeed in drawing a comet towards the planet, the rebels had their way."
"And these people are some of the rebels?" Rory guessed.
The Doctor shook his head. "The rebels won because of them, but they weren't rebels. They were just recruited to the cause without their knowledge and, initially, against their will, torn from Earth and dropped into the middle of a war on an alien planet. They weren't given a choice, not at first. They chose to help in the end because they didn't have a real choice. These people," he added, "are the ones who weren't accounted for out of that group, when the rest of them turn up on Earth ten years after they left it."
"Okay," Amy said, "so who've we got?"
"Dr. Wendy Smith," the Doctor replied, nodding at the woman Amy was watching, "Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz, and Commander Scott Keller." He pointed to the older man, adding, "Scott Keller was the one I forgot about. He's not part of the seaQuest crew like the other two. I didn't know he'd be here, but I suppose I shouldn't've expected anything else. He disappeared off the records on Earth a bit before the seaQuest crew was taken."
"Right." Rory knew that look on Amy's face, and he suspected why it was there: the Doctor had admitted to forgetting something, and Amy was squirreling that bit of information away for later use. "So what's the seaQuest?"
"One of the greatest undersea vessels you two will see in your lifetime," the Doctor answered. Turning his attention to Rory, the Doctor asked, "How do they look?"
"Well," Rory said, "considering the circumstances, they're a lot better than they would have been."
"They would have been dead if we'd left them," the Doctor pointed out. He pulled out his sonic screwdriver and proceeded to scan the three they'd rescued. Rory sighed; he should've just given the Doctor a straight answer, but the truth was, he couldn't really tell. He wasn't exactly well-versed on injuries incurred by laser guns, assuming the injuries were even caused by laser guns in the first place.
"They're stable," the Doctor announced after a moment, "but we'd better take them to the sick bay for the time being."
Rory blinked at him. "You have a sick bay?"
The Doctor shot him a withering look, the one which accompanied that arrogant look he wore whenever he thought Rory had asked a stupid question. "Of course I have a sick bay! Do you think that, in all the years I've been travelling, no one in this ship has ever gotten ill or injured? Use your head, Rory Williams."
"Don't mind him," Amy advised quietly. "He's just in one of his moods." Louder, she said, "So you know where to find the sick bay, right? Because I still have not found the swimming pool, and you told me it hadn't moved from the library."
"It hasn't," the Doctor replied quickly. Then, slowly, "At least, I don't think it has. Which library were you in?"
"Never mind that," Amy said. "Sick bay. Where is it?"
"Next to the wardrobe room, of course."
"Yeah, last I checked, the wardrobe room was surrounded by storage rooms."
"Maybe it was," the Doctor conceded, "but it's not now, because we need the sick bay, and we need it close."
"But the wardrobe room isn't exactly close," Rory said, remembering how long it had taken him to get there the first few times.
"It is now," the Doctor said.
"Doesn't anything stay where it's supposed to be?" Amy asked.
The Doctor looked surprised. "Where's your sense of adventure? It wouldn't be any fun if things stayed put." But then he seemed to remember the situation at hand, and his light mood vanished as quickly as it had come. "Come on. We'd best move them now. Can you handle Wendy by yourself, Amy?"
Amy, to Rory's surprise, nodded, and in much less time than he would have expected, the three people they had rescued were lying in the sick bay, and the Doctor was tending to his patients.
"You know," Rory said quietly to Amy, "I didn't think he actually knew much about this stuff."
"He knows lots about everything," was Amy's response. "Probably has a degree in glass blowing and cake decorating, too." She glanced over at him. "Can you do anything to help?"
Rory looked over the various bits of equipment in the room and slowly shook his head. "I'd be helping already if I could. I don't recognize enough of what's in here to be able to use any of it."
"Well, he'll probably be busy for a while, then," Amy said. "He shouldn't notice if we slip off for a bit."
Rory smiled. That was his Amy. He got to his feet and offered her a hand up, and they went off in search of a more secluded section of the TARDIS.