Hello. Yes. I only have one request for you today. Please don't kill me.
A New Enemy
After about half an hour of everyone fiddling around with their respective jobs, they were about ready to go. Professor Yana had been getting bothered by a communications screen that kept cutting out. Martha had gone to help him.
Everyone was staring to watch the screen as the tension rose in the room. It was some sort of room with five cylinder like things. It was bathed in a red light. A Man in a white biohazard suit had been sent in.
"He's inside," the Man named Atillo said over the comm. "And good luck to him."
"Captain, keep the dials below the red," the Professor said urgently, going over to them.
"Where is that room?" the Doctor asked.
"It's underneath the rocket. Fix the couplings and the footprint can work. But the entire chamber is flooded with stet radiation." He and the Doctor walked over to the screen where Martha was.
"Stet? Never heard of it," the Doctor said.
"You wouldn't want to. But it's safe enough if we can hold the radiation back from here." It was tense, watching the man do his job. And as soon as he had completed the first one, an alarm went off. "It's rising," Yana panicked. "0.2! Keep it level!"
"Yes, sir," Jack replied, comparatively calm.
"Anything we can do to help?" Rose asked the TARDIS. She got a negative hum in reply.
Soon they had the second coupling done, and they breathed a sigh of relief. That relief was short lived, though, when the entire room began to shake. Alarms blared and systems went haywire.
"Chan - we're losing power - tho!" cried Chantho, the blue insect lady.
"Radiation's rising!" the Doctor said.
"We've lost control!" Jack shouted back at him.
"The chamber's going to flood."
"Jack! Override the vents!" They could hear Atillo trying to warn the man to get out as they all rushed about, trying to stop it.
Feeling useless, Rose rushed inside and began frantically working at the controls. Something in her just knew what everyone one of them did. But no matter what buttons she pressed to try and send them more power, or extend the atmosphere shields, nothing would work. All the time the TARDIS was making noises, trying to tell her that there was nothing she could do to help. There were a few things, but they were so complicated the man would be dead by the time they took effect.
Angrily, she rushed to the door again, in time to see Jack slam two loose wired cables together.
"Don't! It's going to flair!" the Doctor cried to late. Jack was shaking as electricity ran through his body, a straggled cry escaping him. Then he fell to the ground, dead.
"Jack!" she cried.
In the radiation room, the man disintegrated as levels rose too high. The alarms still went on.
"I've got him," Martha said, rushing to Jack's side.
"Chan - don't touch the cables - tho," Chantho said, throwing them out of the way. Martha began mouth to mouth on Jack, everyone watching on in worry, except the Doctor. The Doctor was completely calm, looking on as if he were merely watching a bee flying from flower to flower.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," Yana told them.
"The chamber's flooded with radiation, yes?" the Doctor said.
"Without the couplings, the engines will never start. It was all for nothing!"
"Oh, I don't know." He walked over to Martha and gently pulled her away from the body. "Martha, leave him."
"But, Doctor-" Rose said in disbelief.
"You've gotta let me try," Martha said.
"Come on, come on. Just listen to me. Now, leave him alone." He turned to Yana. "It strikes me, Professor, you've got a room a man can't enter without dying. Is that correct?"
"Well…" Suddenly Jack's eyes snapped open and he drew in a huge breath, as if he'd been starved of oxygen.
"Jack!" Rose cried in surprise and relief.
"I've got just the man," he finished.
"Rose?" Jack muttered, looking over towards where the TARDIS sat. Then he pulled a face and touched his lips. "Wait a minute, was someone kissing me?" Martha let out an incredulous laugh.
Rose did the same, she was so baffled that Jack had come back to life. Hang on… Jack had heard her. Earlier he had looked right at her, and just then he had heard her shout. Hope rose within her.
"Jack!" she shouted. "Jack, it's me! Can you hear me? Jack, look at me, please." Jack was not roused from his conversation with the others. "Come on, I know you saw me before. You heard me. You said my name! Come on, Jack, don't do this to me! Please!" She paused a moment, but still it did not seem like Jack had noticed her. She banged her hand against the frame hard enough to hurt, then slunk down against it until she was sitting in the doorway. She fought against the sting of tears.
Was anyone ever going to know she was there?
Soon the Doctor and Jack were down in the room the other men had been. Martha, Professor Yana and Chantho stood around the computer, watching what was happening. She had stepped from the doorway as far as she could without it hurting and was trying to see, but there were too many bodies in her way. Thankfully, she could hear them chatting away.
"We lost picture when that thing flared up," Martha said. "Doctor, are you there?"
"Receiving, yeah," came the Doctor's voice. "He's inside."
"And still alive?"
"But he should evaporate," Yana said in awe. "What kind of man is he?"
"I've only just met him," Martha shrugged. "The Doctor sort of travels through time and space and picks people up. God, I make us sound like stray dogs. Maybe we are."
"He also picks up stray horses," Rose told her, amusement touching her lips at the memory of Arthur.
"He travels in time?" Yana said. He seemed a little more distracted than usual.
"Don't ask me to explain it," Martha laughed. "That's the TARDIS. The sports car of time travel, he says."
"She's so much better than a sports car, aren't you, Old Girl," Rose smiled fondly and patted the box. A warm, fuzzy feeling reached her and she heard a pleased hum in her head. Only Rose knew how wonderful she was, and a sports car was more than an insult… A sports car wasn't even alive.
Over at the computer, the others had fallen silent, and Jack and the Doctor's voices could be heard.
"When did you first realize?" the Doctor asked Jack.
"Earth, 1892," Jack replied. "Got in a fight in Ellis Island. A man shot me through the heart. Then I woke up. Thought it was kinda strange, but then it never stopped. Fell off a cliff, tramped by horses, World War I, World War II, poison, strangulation, a stray javelin." She heard the Doctor make a wincing sound. "In the end, I got the message, I'm the man who can never die. And all that time, you knew."
"That's why I left you behind."
"What?!" she cried. "You son of a-"
"It's not easy even just… just looking at you, Jack. 'Cause you're wrong."
"Thanks," Jack said sarcastically, his tone highly offended.
"You are, I can't help it. I'm a Time Lord. It's instinct. It's in my guts. You're a fixed point in time and space. You're a fact. That's never meant to happen. Even the TARDIS reacted against you, tried to shake you off. Flew all the way to the end of the universe just to get rid of you."
"So, what you're saying is that you're, uh… prejudice?"
"I've never thought of it like that," the Doctor contemplated in amusement.
"Shame on you!"
There was a lull in the conversation and Rose looked back towards the others at the computer… then blinked in surprise. The Professor was standing not too far from her, staring up at the TARDIS with an unfathomable expression. But she was distracted when they began to speak again.
"Last thing I remember, back when I was mortal… I was facing three Daleks. Death by extermination." Rose's eyes widened when she realized that it must have been on the Game Station. "And then I came back to life. What happened?"
"Rose," was the Doctor's soft reply. Her head snapped to the computer. Her? What? How would she…?
"I thought you sent her back home," Jack said in confusion.
"She came back," the Doctor replied. She could almost hear the happiness and pride in his voice… and the sadness. "Opened the heart of the TARDIS and absorbed the Time Vortex.
"What does that mean, exactly?"
"No one's ever meant to have that power. If a Time Lord did that, he'd become a god. A vengeful god. But she was human. Everything she did was so human. She brought you back to life, but she couldn't control it. She brought you back forever. I doubt she even knows what she did. She didn't remember much, and I left a lot out when I told her. But she did it all. Saved us, destroyed the Daleks, and the Emperor, scattered 'Bad Wolf', bought you back to life, ended the Time War… That's something, I suppose. The final act of the Time War was life."
"Do you think she could change me back?" Jack asked hopefully. Rose looked down at the ground, finding the blue wood of the TARDIS frame she was sitting on a slight distraction.
"I took the power out of her. She's gone, Jack. She's not just living on a parallel world, she's trapped there. The walls have closed," he said bitterly. "I tried everything… I couldn't get her back."
"I'm back now," she murmured, throwing her hands out. And look at all the good it did her.
"I went back to her estate in the 90's. Just once or twice. Watched her growing up. Never said hello, timelines and all that."
"Do you want to die?" the Doctor suddenly asked. Rose was unsure if it was a threat, or if he was genuinely curious.
"This one's a little stuck," Jack grunted, struggling with something.
"I thought I did. I dunno. But this lot, you see them out here surviving and that's fantastic!"
"You may be out there somewhere."
"I could meet myself," Jack laughed.
"Well, it's the only man you're ever going to be happy with."
"This new regeneration. It's kinda cheeky."
"Hmm," the Doctor almost giggled in agreement. At this point, Martha began to talk, something about how she didn't understand what he says. But Rose continued to listen.
"You remind me of her, actually," Jack said.
"You. You're more like Rose. Look, I've heard myths about Time Lords, regeneration and stuff. I know that you can chose what to look like if you try hard enough. I think you fitted this body for Rose. You must have been thinking of her pretty hard at the time.
"Well, yeah. Died for her, actually. Taking in the Time Vortex, it was killing her. So I took it out of her and let it kill me instead."
"How romantic," Jack sighed, only slightly mockingly.
"Ha, you want romantic? You should have seen the kiss."
"You two kissed?! Finally?" The incredulity in Jacks voice was almost funny.
"A couple of time, yeah. Well… it was to save her life… And then she was possessed. I just kind of wish that…"
"There were more," Jack finished for him.
There was a pause. "That last time I saw her…" the Doctor said, his voice quiet. "Sent a projection through just before the walls closed. Rassilon, her face… I'm going to have that image burned into my head for the rest of my life."
Tears stung in Rose's eyes. It was something she wasn't ever going to forget either. Scrubbing at her cheeks with the heel of her palm to remove the wetness she felt there, she stood from the door of the TARDIS and went inside to the console room.
She didn't much care for the conversation the other's were having. It seemed to have moved from the Professors health to something about a watch. She just couldn't deal with that at the moment.
Walking further in, she walked to the kitchen and sat at the bench and thought about what she'd just heard. She had been the reason that Jack was immortal now. Was it a gift or a curse? Had she done the right thing? Would he have preferred to stay dead?
Shaking her head, she sighed and got up to make her self a cup of tea. Why did everything she do come out wrong or get mucked up? It wasn't fair. She ruined everything. She was supposed to stay with the Doctor forever, to keep him happy and loved. Now he was sad and broken. She only wanted her friend to be alive. Now he was alive forever. She was just supposed to talk to the stupid Gralis. Instead she got killed! And now look at her. Look what they had all become.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.
A noise from somewhere back outside and a slight shaking grabbed her attention, and she put down her tea to go and investigate. Had the Doctor and Jack managed to get the rocket flying? And what about the Professor and Chantho. They weren't on the rocket. Was the Doctor going to take them with him? The Professor could be dropped off at any point in history and be considered a genius. Chantho, however… well, you couldn't really leave a big blue bug like woman in 2007. And she wouldn't leave the Professor. Perhaps they could go to the Fifth great and Bountiful Human empire. She'd liked it there.
The door was only partly open, and what she saw instead when she got to the door of the TARDIS surprised her. Neither the Doctor, Jack or Martha were in the room. It was just the Professor and Chantho. And the professor had… changed. Chantho lay on the ground, barely alive and reaching for a gun beside her. The Professor was pulling the cable out from the TARDIS. She could hear the Doctor shouting through him at the door, but the Professor ignored him.
"Open the door, please!" the Doctor shouted.
At that moment, the Professor turned around to chuck the cable out of the way and Chantho fired at him. He cried out and staggered backwards, bumping against the TARDIS. She jumped back in shock when he landed almost right beside her. There was the sound of a door braking open, and she could just see a panicked Doctor run into the room.
There was a small moment where the Doctor and the Professor looked at each other. Then, just when the Doctor stared to run towards him, the professor stepped back, right through her and into the TARDIS.
"What the hell are you doing?!" she cried as he locked the door. The Professor turned and staggered up to the console, using the rails as support. She tried to undo the lock, but it wouldn't budge. She couldn't tell if it was the TARDIS, or something the Professor had done. On the other side, she could hear the Doctor attempting to break in.
The Professor moved around the console and pressed a few buttons, causing the TARDIS to make a few sounds. "Deadlocked," the Professor rasped, looking back at the door.
"Let me in! Let me in!" the Doctor shouted, banging on the other side of the door.
"Doctor!" Rose cried. She didn't know what was going on. She didn't want to be taken away from him. This man seemed to know his way around the TARDIS. How did he even now what to do?
"I'm begging you! Everything's changed! It's only the two of us! We're the only ones left! Just let me in!" came the Doctor's desperate voice.
Rose's head snapped back to the man at the console in realisation. He was a Time Lord. The watch, they had talked about a watch. And the Doctor had used a watch to make himself human, make himself someone else… So who was this man?
"Killed by an insect!" he hissed, leaning heavily against the console. "A girl! How inappropriate. Still, if the Doctor can be young and strong, then so can I." He straightened up and stood tall, giving himself room from the console. He was dying. She understood what was coming next. "The Master… reborn."
Suddenly his head jerked back and arms flung out. Golden energy exploded from him, pouring out wherever his skin showed. A piercing scream came from his lips as she watched his face transform. Rose pressed herself as far back as she could, practically gripping the door. She was scared of this man.
As suddenly as it stared, the gold energy was gone, and the Master fell to the ground. Rose didn't move, her back still firmly against the door. Then he sat up…
And looked right at her.