"ROSE…GIVE ME ORDERS…ORDER ME TO DIE," croaked the Dalek from within its metal armor, one tiny shaft of sunlight illuminating its tiny, octopus-like body. From across the room, the Doctor looked on, stunned.

"I can't do that," said Rose, shaking her head. "Suicide's never the answer. You've got to give life a chance." And with that, she reached into the metal casing of the Dalek.

"Rose, no!" shouted the Doctor as he realized what she was doing. "There could be traps…" But he trailed off as Rose successfully detached the living Dalek from the metal shell and pulled it out.

"There, isn't that better already?" she asked the hideous mutation in her arms. When it didn't answer, she frowned. "What's wrong? Are you all right?"

The Doctor tried to get his mouth working again as he stared aghast at his companion cuddling a Dalek. "It needs the metal casing to speak," he finally managed.

"Oh," said Rose, biting her lip. She peered into the machine. "D'you think we detach part of it?" she asked. But meanwhile, the creature in her arms stretched a tentacle toward one of her hands. Rose allowed it to curl around her finger (much to the Doctor's horror).

"Oh," she said again, happy this time. "He can speak with his mind. Like telepathy, yeah?" she asked the Doctor. "But it has to be touching."

"Uh," said the Doctor, trying to tear his gaze away from the monstrous octopus currently twining its tentacle around Rose's right hand. "I suppose."

The Dalek made an unpleasant wheezing sound as it blinked up at Rose.

"So, um, Rose," said the Doctor uncomfortably. "What are you planning on…doing with it?"

"We'll take it with us, of course," answered Rose serenely. "Can't let it kill itself. That'd be terrible—right, Doctor?" She looked up at him with her horribly innocent and trusting brown eyes. "Besides, it has my DNA now, yeah? So it's practically family."

When the Doctor appeared too stunned to answer, she started to pick her way over the rubble toward the exit leading down to where the TARDIS waited.

"Wait, Rose, no!" said the Doctor, finding his voice at last. "We can't take it with us! It's a Dalek, Rose. A DALEK." He folded his arms and gave her a stern glare. "I'll not have it on the TARDIS."

Rose's lips tightened, and she glared right back at him. "So, what, you just want to kill it?" she asked. "Want to get your gun and put it out of its misery? Or just leave it here to die?" She wrapped her arms around the Dalek protectively. "It's changing, learning to be kind and merciful. Shouldn't we give it a chance?" She gave him a soulful look. "Didn't think you'd be so mean, Doctor," she said, suddenly sad.

"But…but…but," said the Doctor, his arguments cut off by the sorrow in Rose's eyes. "But…it's a Dalek! It's evil! It's…" But he stopped when he saw a tear gather on Rose's lashes and slip down onto her cheek.

"Please, Doctor?" she asked softly.

The Doctor didn't answer. He just watched as the tear was joined by a second one.

Rose gave a small, sad sniffle.

…And that was how the Doctor found himself with a new (and very slimy) companion.