Okay, a sudden brainwave made me write this down. I was so worried I'd forget all my words that I typed faster than I ever had in my life, I think!

This little ficlet is set, as you can guess after reading it, during the last few events of The Runaway Bride. Oh, and if you haven't yet watched the last three episodes of series three, then beware, I warn thee: SPOILERS.

Disclaimer: This Doctor Who story. Me not owner. Me fantically-obsessed masochist follower. That all.


Vermin

"Sir, you might want to turn on the telly."

The young, jovial face became even more jovial, if that were possible. "So! It's finally happening, is it? Like clockwork these things are!"

The old man with the thick glasses stared at him. "What do you mean, sir?"

"It's Christmas! And every Christmas there's something or the other happening! They never disappoint, those guys." The grinning young man pointed up at the ceiling.

"Whatever do you mean, sir?"

"Oh, never mind Hailey, you'll hurt yourself with all that thinking." The young man, who had been rummaging around the comfortable clutter in the lavish room, finally found the remote control underneath a cushion. "There we go! So, what is it this year, then?" He launched himself onto the couch.

The large screen came to life, instantly showing the picture of something in the night sky above London, something that looked like a large, white-

"Is that a Christmas Star?" Hailey's glasses fell off his nose in his excitement. The young man sat bolt upright. "No," he said, his voice suddenly dark, his face a mask.

His seriousness was justified that very moment: the 'Christmas Star' began to shoot crackling beams of electricity from its points, while pandemonium erupted on the streets. The cameraman who was filming seemed to have abandoned the camera on the street to run away and the viewers were currently being treated to a blurred, unfocused image of the road.

"Send in the tanks," the young man said abruptly, and old Hailey, for all his shock, obeyed with surprising alacrity. "They're being mobilised, sir," he said, after making an emphatic phone call. The young man nodded in acknowledgement and flipped through the channels until he could find another view of the thing in the sky.

A door at the far end of the room opened with a creak and a young blonde woman in a very becoming dress of red and green slipped in. "What's going on?"

"Ah, come in, darling, come, sit by me!" The young man's face was abruptly cheerful again. "You're in for a treat!" The woman smiled and hurried over to his side, clasping his hand in hers as she snuggled next to him.

He drew his hand away, and turned to Hailey, who had stepped back respectfully from their intimate seating. "Tell them to hold their fire until my command." Hailey nodded and proceeded to relay the message.

"Is that a Christmas Star?"

"Oh, no, no, Lucy dear, don't be so daft. That is a Raknoss ship."

"A what?"

"Raknoss, dear. Raknoss. Say it after me: Rak-noss. Raaaaak… nossss. Raak-noss. Raknoss." He was talking to her as though he were addressing a child, but she repeated after him nonetheless, any implied insults simply disregarded by her adoring, glassy eyes.

"Raknoss."

"There you have it!"

She turned her attention to the television again. "But what is a Raknoss, Harry?"

He didn't answer her. As they watched, a blip of blue light emerged from the Thames and entered the Star, which now glowed blue as though a light had been turned on inside it. The young man turned to Hailey instantly. "Now."

Barely two seconds later, massive gunfire erupted as the tanks let loose their heavy ammunition onto the Star. It didn't stand a chance against the barrage, and burst into smithereens.

Cheers erupted across the streets and echoed through the television's speakers, but the three people in the lavish room were strangely silent. Hailey nodded to no one in particular and stepped outside discreetly to join the babbling people.

"The Raknoss, Lucy dear, were vermin," Harold Saxon finally answered his wife. "And if there's anything I hate the most-" he stroked her cheek gently –"it's vermin."


A/N: Since Time Lords and Raknoss(-es?) were supposed to be mortal enemies, or rather, since Time Lords were the purgers of the Raknoss(-es?) I'm pretty sure the Master knew exactly what the 'Christmas Star' really was.

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