I don't own Doctor Who. If I did, the Doctor wouldn't be transgender, the biggest plot hole ever created. Grrr!
I have a real issue with where the show is going. In one of the more recent episodes the Doctor said, "We've [time lords] moved passed genders," implying that having genders, men and women, is lower on the evolutionary scale than transgender. He stated he's always been attracted to the Master, that the Master was "his first man-crush." This is NOT acceptable.
There is NOTHING wrong with being a man or a woman. And there is nothing wrong with being heterosexual. To imply heterosexuality is less than transgender or homosexuality is ridiculous. And if you think I'm over reacting here, think. What if the Doctor had said, "We've moved passed homosexuality." How many people would get upset?
Then there's the fact that time lords being transgender doesn't fit with "Who" canon. In "Classic Who" the Master was ALWAYS putting down women. It was his thing. They were the lower gender, second class, dumb and useless.
Even in the reboot, the Master kept the same character. "Shot. By a woman. How inappropriate!" he'd said when he was shot at the end of the universe just before he regenerated into the character who created the toclophane. If the time lords were really transgender, then the Master wouldn't have had an issue with women. It doesn't make sense.
It's long been established that a time lord could regenerate into anything his TNA allowed. TNA is simply DNA with a strand of regeneration energy wrapped around it. That's why River Song could regenerate. She had TNA. There are a myriad of possible combinations regular DNA can come up with. Gender swapping isn't one of them.
According to "Who" canon, the only time changing gender happened was when a time lord's TNA was severely damaged during regeneration, caused by high levels of certain kinds of radiation, and/or suicide. The result was insanity, severe insanity, not the fun kind.
Which makes sense. Can you imagine how insane you'd be if you were suddenly forced to think like a gender not your own? In order to save the universe from a time lord suffering this kind of genetic damage, the other time lords would force a regeneration, repairing the damage during the process.
And as far as the Doctor being in love with the Master all his life? Bull Crap! In all of "Classic Who" the Master was dark and sinister and evil. He made the Daleks look like Teddy Bears, and often used them to do his bidding.
In one "Classic Who" episode the Master extends his hand toward the Fourth Doctor, offering a hand shake. The Doctor recoiled, not even wanting to touch him. He ended up shaking the Master's hand, disgusted with having to work with him. No. The Doctor has never liked the Master. Never.
Some years ago the question of gender swapping came up at a Doctor Who event. I saw it on Youtube. Moffat said he didn't know if the Doctor would ever change genders. Then he asked the audience a question, who would stop watching the show, if the Doctor became a woman. Moffat nearly jumped. His eyes opened wide with the response. He said something like, "Well, there you go. The Doctor will never be a woman."
Don't get me wrong. I think the actress they've chosen to play the part is exceptional. But changing genders is a bad attempt to gain viewership. It'll work at first. People will tune in- "just to see what happens." Viewership will spike. But most of the old time fans won't be interested. The entire shows dynamic will change. The viewership spike will peter out. And the end of "Doctor Who" will come.
I, for one, will no longer be watching. I'm done. As Rose said, "You make a stand. You say no. You have the guts to do what's right when everyone else runs away!"
So this is me, making a stand. Maybe if enough people say no fast enough, we can still save the Doctor.
You know there's a problem when the Master propositions himself (Missy) on a "family show." (Good grief, people! Leave that to the fanfiction writers!)
To quote the Doctor, "No more."
And if you don't agree with me, or where my fanfiction goes, that's ok. You have the same rights I do. You can say no. And you can walk away.
On to the next chapter...
Chapter 26: What Luck
Lilly stood outside the TARDIS doors, gripping the Doctor's hand a little tighter. This wasn't right. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. The college student looked around the area. No one was there. There were no helicopters, no soldiers, no guns or vehicles, and no dogs. Jackie wasn't screaming for Rose, and no one was shouting out orders. It was just... normal. The street was completely normal.
A trickle of worry ran up Lilly's spine. What had happened? What had she done? Where was UNIT? How had she changed events? Did this have something to do with what happened at Albion Hospital? No, no, thought Lilly. That couldn't be it. Albion Hospital had nothing to do with UNIT showing up at the Powell Estate on the show. The only reason why UNIT found the Doctor was because Jackie called them on the pho...
Oh, no. Lilly's blood ran cold. Jackie hadn't called the emergency number! After all of her worries, after everything Lilly had done to not change events, Jackie still hadn't made that stupid phone call! Why? Was Jackie late back to her apartment? Did she miss the news cast giving out the emergency number she needed? It doesn't matter, thought the college student. How... How was the Doctor going to save the planet now?!
"Uh, Lilly," the Doctor spoke up. "Need my hand back?"
"Oh." She glanced down at the hand she was gripping, but couldn't bring herself to let it go. "UNIT," Lilly stopped her mouth before it could say more. UNIT wasn't coming to take them to Downing Street. "We're in trouble," the words slipped out, and Lilly let go of the Doctor's hand.
"Wha's it?" Rose asked. "What kind of trouble?"
"Is it life threatening?" asked the Doctor. He pulled the TARDIS doors closed.
"No. I... I don't know." Lilly started tapping her forehead with the palm of her hand.
"Is this you pretending to be psychic," Mickey voiced his opinion.
"I need to think," Lilly worried out loud, ignoring him. She needed to figure out what to do. She needed to figure out how to get the Doctor to Downing Street. But she needed to figure out how to do it without ending up there with him, and without letting him know how much she knew.
"Mickey needs to stay behind," she slipped.
"Careful," the Doctor warned.
"Why?" Rose questioned.
"In case you forgot," Mickey spoke up, "I'm the one with the car, yeh."
"Mary had a little lamb," Lilly started whispering the words to the song to keep from speaking. The Face of Boe's warning rang in her ears. Don't let him know what you know, and don't let him know when you've changed something. But how could she tell the Doctor where to go and what to do without breaking Jack's rules?
"You can think on the road," the time lord told Lilly. "Rickey, need to borrow your car."
"You think I'm going to lend you my car?"
The ancient alien brushed passed Mickey, stepping away from his TARDIS.
"DO NOT MOVE!" a loud speaker shouted. Rose jumped. Lilly's heart shot up into her throat. Mickey's eyes widened. And the Doctor's eyes landed on his ward. Instantly, the area was surrounded by lights, sounds, and helicopters.
UNIT had been waiting for the Doctor to walk away from the TARDIS. Lilly remembered how often he would escape UNIT paperwork and questions using his ship in "Classic Who." They must have had that on record, she concluded, understanding what had just happened. The whovian let out an internal sigh of relief. She hadn't changed anything. Well, she hadn't changed enough to worry about. Good grief, thought Lilly. If she kept stressing over nothing, she was going to end up with an ulcer.
"RAISE YOUR HANDS ABOVE YOUR HEAD!" the speaker continued. The sounds of sirens, and approaching police cars filled the air. A spot light pointed itself at the Doctor. "STEP AWAY FROM THE BLUE BOX!" the speaker shouted when the time lord tried to subtly move back toward safety. "YOU'RE UNDER ARREST!"
Mickey took off like a flash. He ran. There was no way he was going to get arrested again, especially since he still hadn't done anything wrong.
"Oh, no." Lilly was frozen for only half a second. This was her chance. This was her moment. This was how she was going to stay safe. The whovian bolted forward.
"No. Lilly, wait!" the Doctor called out after his ward, but she didn't listen. Police cars screeched to a stop, blocking the time lord from going after her.
"Ann!" she heard him shouting her phony name. "Ann Johnson!"
The college student ran as fast as she could, barely keeping Mickey in sight. He turned a corner, running between two buildings. Lilly turned the same corner. The mechanic spun around a pile of trash, and doubled back. Lilly doubled back too. Mickey ducked into an alleyway. It was a tunnel underneath an apartment building. Lilly followed. Her heart was pounding.
She ran through the short tunnel, and came out the other side. Where was Mickey? Where did he go? She'd lost sight of him. "C'mon. C'mon. C'mon," she muttered. "Where did you go?"
The college student bent over, letting her hands rest on her knees. She was breathing heavy. Her legs were burning. And she felt light headed. With her palms still on her knees, Lilly raised her head to look for where he could have gone. It's ok, she told herself, letting her head drop down again. I know where he lives. I'll just go back to his place and...
Lilly's head shot up. A soldier was pointing in her direction.
"Don't move!" he ordered.
The whovian stumbled backward, scrambling to get away from the man with a gun. She spun around, and ran back into the tunnel. She ran hard. Lilly couldn't let UNIT catch her. She couldn't stop. But she'd only run halfway into the tunnel before she froze. A new soldier came into view. He was blocking her exit.
"No," she whispered. Her eyes met his.
"Target acquired!" he called out, pointing his weapon in her direction. She looked behind her, seeing the soldier who had ordered her not to move only moments ago. He wasn't alone. Lilly saw three other soldiers with him. She saw their raised guns. And she saw their intent.
Visions of the pig creature flashed across her memory. She remembered the little girl's eyes, her screams, and her terror. Lilly's body shook. She trembled. She could almost smell the blood from the morgue. There was no escape. The student looked away. They'd won. UNIT had won. The fugitive turned toward the litter-covered brick wall just as her legs buckled out from under her. Lilly dropped to her knees. She felt exhausted. The clip of the soldiers' boots echoed with every step, making her cringe. Her heart pounded. Even if she'd found the strength to get up, there was no place to go. They were coming.
"Raise your hands in the air!"
Lilly didn't look up. She didn't face them. She didn't dare. This can't be real, she thought. How can this be real? The eighteen year old college student slowly raised her trembling hands, interlocking her fingers on the back of her head. Her whole body was shaking.
"Don't shoot," Lilly found her voice. "Please don't shoot." She closed her eyes, trying to block out what shouldn't be real, and trying to block out thoughts of what UNIT might do to her.
"Private, where is the secondary target?"
"I didn't see him, sir."
The senior soldier leaned down close to Lilly's ear. "Where's your friend?" he asked.
Lilly opened her tired eyes, fully prepared to deny ever knowing Mickey. But as soon as she looked straight ahead, she saw him staring back at her. He was hiding between two garbage containers with only the tiniest crack for him to peek through. Her eyes widened.
"Ha!" One of the soldiers saw Lilly's reaction. He stepped forward, and moved several old boxes out of his way. He climbed back behind the dumpsters. The tall man drew his pistol, aiming it at Mickey. "Raise your hands in the air, and stand up slowly," he ordered.
The mechanic did as he was told, bringing his hands up on top of his head like Lilly. All the while, he glared at her. "Thanks a lot," he accused.
Lilly's heart sank. It was bad enough UNIT found her. But finding Mickey was far worse.
"It's all my fault," Lilly's mouth whispered her worry. It's all my fault, she forced her mouth to stay closed.
The Doctor and Rose climbed into the UNIT vehicle.
"This is a bit posh." Rose didn't quite feel comfortable. "If I'd known it was going to be like this, being arrested, I'd have done it years ago," she joked, trying to laugh away her unease.
"Mmm," the Doctor nodded in half agreement. His arms were folded. He was frowning. An air of frustration colored his features. Lilly Brooks. Ann Johnson. The names ran through his mind. He'd lost her. He'd lost her again! This time she'd been standing right next to him when she'd run off. The Doctor was fuming.
"Wha' do you think they're arresting us for?" Rose went on.
How was he supposed to take care of his ward, if she wouldn't stay with him? Don't wander off. Maybe he hadn't stated it out right just yet, but it was still one of his rules. His rules, thought the Doctor. What a joke. How many times had Lilly broken his rules? Every recent infraction ran through his memory.
"Maybe we've been arrested 'cause your an illegal alien, yeah," Rose joked.
How many times had he talked to Lilly about her behavior, about the dangers of creating a paradox, about not sharing future knowledge, about not changing time lines? How many different ways did he have to explain how serious he was? How many times did she have to break his rules before he took action, before he gave out consequences? The time lord had been taking it easy on her because of what happened on Platform One, but this was getting ridiculous. She was worse now than when they'd first met. If the Doctor didn't know better, he'd think Lilly was intentionally...
The time lord looked up at his companion, surprised to see she was waving her hand in front of his face. "Sorry? How was that?" What had he missed?
Rose pursed her lips. She saw the worried expression on her friend's face. "I said, 's going to be alright," she repeated. "We'll figure this out, yeah?" She shook her head. "I won't let anything happen to you."
The alien's mouth dropped open. He looked at the human in front of him, and wondered how she was ready to defend him. She was trying to give him comfort. The old alien closed his mouth, his frustration melting away. His look softened, and he smiled.
"My cousin Mo's got this friend, this solicitor..."
"He's supposed to be really good, and..."
"Rose, it's alright." The Doctor smiled at her. "We're not bein' arrested, we're bein' escorted."
"Escorted?" She suddenly looked worried. "Where to?"
"Where do you think?" He paused. "Downing Street," the Doctor finished with a laugh.
"I'm not," he laughed again. She'd been so worried. His companion had been so worried about him. The fact that Rose cared comforted the lonely traveler in ways she'd never know. It was a magnificent gift. He laughed some more. He was so glad he'd met her.
Rose giggled. "I'm going to 10 Downing Street." She stopped short. "Hold on." She looked at the Doctor. "If we're goin' to 10 Downing Street, how come you were so worried."
"Just, uh, thinkin' 'bout Lilly."
Worry crossed the ex-shop girl's face. "Does she need more medicine?"
"No, I just..." The alien shook his head. "Never mind."
"I get it." Rose gave the Doctor her famous tongue in teeth grin. "You're afraid she's run off with Mickey then. 'Cause he's more impressive than you."
"No!" The Doctor's eyebrows shot up. "I'm not... She's not..."
"Oh, don't you just love it?" Rose laughed, letting the Doctor know she was teasing. "Don't worry," she told him. "If we don't see her at 10 Downing Street, we'll meet up with her when we get back, yeah."
I hope so, thought the Doctor. If not, hunting her down wasn't going to be fun.
Lilly sat next to Mickey in the UNIT car, speeding passed other motorists. She knew they were headed toward Downing Street. He was tense, arms folded and a scowl on his face, but she was trembling.
Lilly could already feel her fatigue setting in, and recognized the same sensation from when she'd run at Albion Hospital. It felt like getting hit by a brick wall. The Doctor had warned her not to over-do it. Apparently, that meant running. She blinked, trying to keep her eyes open, trying to stop trembling, and trying to figure a way out of this disaster without panicking.
Lilly knew Mickey never should have been arrested. He was supposed to be back at the Powell Estate, waiting until he was needed to save the world. Who would blow up Downing Street now? Who would let the Doctor know what was going on? Who would throw vinegar on the Slitheen trying to kill Jackie.
"Oh, no! Jackie!" Lilly's mouth spoke up.
"How was that?" Mickey looked over at Lilly.
"I..." she didn't know what to say. She let her shaky fingers rest on the pop bottle full of vinegar she had poking out of her pocket, pushing away the realization that her hand felt heavy.
Lilly realized Rose's mother was going to die tonight. Mickey had been the one who'd hit the Slitheen out of the way when it had been electrocuted on the show. If he hadn't been there, there's no way Jackie could have gotten past the alien. And once the electricity wore off, the pale green monster would have finished his hunt. He would have ripped Jackie to shreds. Which was exactly what was going to happen in real life.
Lilly watched another intersection go by. She had to find a way to save Rose's mother. She had to find a way to fix this. And she needed to find a way to escape UNIT custody.
"Mickey?" She sounded nervous. She fought to keep her eyes open.
"Don't go usin' my name," he warned in a hushed tone, pointing a finger at her. He glanced at the driver. The last thing he needed was for his name to end up associated with Lilly Brooks. As it was, there was still a chance he could get out of this. By some miracle he'd left his identification at home. No one really knew who he was yet.
"Sorry," Lilly whispered.
Mickey sat back against the seat, and started grumbling. "Gettin' me arrested. Makin' me a accomplice," he complained. "Here I am, taken in for questioning... again!" he muttered. "Stupid alien gits."
"Rickey," Lilly tried again, using an alias.
"Just shut it!" Mickey's voice was low.
Lilly looked at the floor. How could she get help from Mickey, if he wouldn't even let her talk to him? This was hopeless! But there wasn't anyone else. What could she do!
Trying to stay awake was getting harder. Her eyes started to water, and her body felt even heavier.
The mechanic looked over at the girl sitting next to him, noticing for the first time how she was trembling. He noticed how the color had drained out of her face. And he noticed how her eyes were starting to tear up. He stared at her. How could a world renowned terrorist, someone comfortable in that frightening blue box, lose it over being arrested.
"Don't... Please don't cry," Mickey heard himself say. Oh, he hated it when girls cried.
Lilly looked over at Mickey, surprised he'd actually said something nice. "Can I borrow your phone?" she asked. "I need to call Rose."
If Mickey let her borrow his cell phone, Lilly could tell the Doctor Jackie was in danger. He could have UNIT arrest the alien, and save Jackie. Then Lilly could tell him about all the aliens at Downing Street, and...
The displaced college student stopped. If she told the Doctor anything, she'd be breaking the rules. Stupid rules! Lilly wanted to hit something. She wanted to run.
A sinking feeling made the car feel too small. It was suddenly very hard to breathe. She wanted to get out. I... I need to get out! The heaviness in her limbs brought back all the fear she'd felt on the roof. I can't do this, she thought, feeling her lungs compress. I can't handle this on my own.
"Oi," Mickey drew her attention. He put his hand on her arm. "Calm down."
Lilly forced a deep breath, and held it in. But she couldn't stop feeling like she was shaking on the inside.
Focus, she ordered herself. Figure it out. Jackie's life was in immediate danger, so telling the Doctor about her wouldn't break his rules. And even though Jack said not to tell the Doctor when she knew something, she might be able to sound like she was just being a little psychic. That would take care of obeying Jack's rules, right? Lilly let out a breath, and met Mickey's eyes.
"I need your phone. Right. Now," she emphasized.
Mickey let go of her arm. "If you were really psychic, you'd know I left my mobile at home."
Lilly's whole body deflated. "Why would you do that!"
"Heard you callin' for me. Saw that blue box thing. And didn't go back for nothin'."
"Argh!" Lilly groaned, letting her face land in her hands.
"What's the big deal," Mickey questioned. "You'll probably see Rose at the station."
"We aren't going to a police station, Mi-Rickey," she corrected, letting her hands drop.
"We're going to Downing Street."
"Ten Downing Street?"
"Why would they wan' us there?"
"Because they're having a problem with aliens, and the Doctor's an expert!" Lilly whispered, nearly quoting the show.
Mickey's mouth opened. It closed. It opened again. "An' how'd you know that?"
"I just do."
"Because you're psychic?"
"Mmhm," she lied, nodding her head.
Rose's boyfriend sat back, folded his arms, and looked away.
"What's your problem?" Lilly clenched her jaw, and struggled to keep her eyes open. She was starting to get angry.
"I don't believe in psychics." The mechanical genius shifted in his seat.
"Oh, c'mon," Lilly begged. "You believe in aliens and government conspiracies, but you don't believe someone can be psychic?" She rubbed at her right eye.
"My mum's old boyfriend reads palms for a living. Met all kinds of psychics, yeh. So, I know all the tricks." Mickey stared out the window. "He didn't like kids. Said I'd grow up to be dangerous or somethin'. An' my mum left me for him. She just left me."
Lilly stopped moving. That was never mentioned on the show. She could see the deep frown Mickey was trying to hide, and she understood how Rose leaving him must have hurt.
"That's why you ended up with your grandma," Lilly's mouth explained her understanding without permission. She let her heavy eyelids rest, and couldn't hold back. "Your gram raised you." Lilly felt her body settle back in her seat. She remembered Mickey's grandmother from Pete's World, and could feel her mind beginning to drift. The college student let out a giggle. "Your gram used to smack you," Lilly's mouth went on. "But you always knew she loved..." Her voice trailed. "Poor blind old woman. You blame yourself for not fixing the carpet on that stair. It wasn't your fault she died."
Mickey's eyes widened. "How did you...? You just... How...?" He didn't know what to say. He'd never told anyone how the carpet was his fault, not even Rose. The mechanical genius tried to think, checking to see if he'd let anything slip, anything a pretending psychic could use. He stopped moving, and stared at the girl next to him. "You're... you're really psychic."
Lilly didn't stir. She didn't say anything.
"Oi," Mickey touched her arm. "Oi, Lilly." He jostled her. "Wake up." He shook her.
Lilly sat up with a start.
"Wha's the matter with you?"
The college student couldn't help letting her eyes close. "Drugs," she managed an answer. "Sleep..."
"Oi," Mickey shook her again. "What was so important, yeh? Why did you need my mobile?"
"Jackie." Lilly's quiet voice cracked. She forced her eyes open. "Jackie's going to die." The eighteen year old couldn't stay awake.
"Oi!" Mickey shook her again. "How!"
"Because you're not there to stop the alien." Tell the Doctor, Lilly tried to speak. Tell the Doctor, she tried again. My mouth isn't working! Of all the times for her mouth to finally shut up! Lilly struggled. She had to warn Mickey. She had to finish. Grr! Why hadn't he just listened to her from the start? Why couldn't he have just...?
"Mickey!" Lilly shouted, sat up, and opened her eyes.
"Easy." The soft voice drew Lilly's attention to the soldier crouched down next to her. The car was stopped. Mickey was gone. And the UNIT soldier who'd been driving them to Downing Street was checking her pulse.
He pulled his hand back. "Are you alright?" he asked. "I couldn't wake you."
Lilly looked over the man's shoulder. They were at Downing Street. They'd arrived. Mickey must have already been escorted inside. How long was I out? she wondered. And why would Mickey have gone into the building without her?
"Oi," the soldier drew her attention. He looked concerned.
"Um," Lilly shifted. "Where's the Doctor?"
"He's still on his way." The soldier answered her question. "They had to take another route because of the accident."
"Yeah," he nodded. "The accident your friend caused when he ran into traffic. Is that his name? Mickey? Mickey what?"
"Private," a commanding voice interrupted. "Is there an issue?"
"No, sir." The soldier stood up.
Lilly smiled. Mickey had gotten away. He'd believed her. And he was headed back to the Powell Estate to save Jackie Tyler. Unless he was hurt in the accident, the thought trickled through the college student's mind. Her smile slipped. This wasn't a tv show. Mickey could have been hurt, and there was no way she'd know. I can't think like that, Lilly told herself. I have to trust him to save Jackie. She looked up at the UNIT soldier. The soldier would have told me if Mickey was hurt. The thought comforted the whovian. Jackie was going to be fine.
"Then let's get her inside with the rest."
Lilly looked up at the UNIT officer offering her his hand. She hesitated. What can I do? she wondered, looking around the area, looking for a way to escape. She could hear the news media and the crowd.
"Whatever the problem might be," a nasally voiced reporter announced, "is anyone's guess. Perhaps a medic is being called in," he continued.
Lilly still didn't want to walk into 10 Downing Street. But she couldn't see a way to escape. Even if she managed to outrun the soldiers and the police, which wasn't realistic, she'd still be asleep before she made it two blocks away. They'd spot her on the cc tv, and have her back in custody before she'd wake up.
It's alright, Lilly tried to stay calm. No one had really recognized her yet. So, all she had to do was stay close to Rose, and follow the "Doctor Who" Script. If she didn't change anything, she'd be safe. The teenager pushed away the memory of the Slitheen killing her in her dream. She wouldn't think about that, not now.
I won't change anything, she repeated. The whovian let her fingers touch her bottle full of vinegar, reassuring herself. Just in case. The college student took a deep breath, reached out, and took the soldier's hand. I can do this. It's like the Doctor always says on the show, pretend you're supposed to be there. It always works for him.
"Whoever she is," the reporter spoke loudly into his microphone, "she seems to be alright."
Lilly started walking toward the building, keeping her eyes focused on the door.
"Whatever the issue was, it..." she heard the reporter. "Wait. It can't be. That looks like Lilly Brooks!" the reporter shouted.
Lilly's heart shot up into her ears. Ignore him, she told herself. I'm not Lilly Brooks. I'm Ann Johnson. I'm supposed to be here.
With all the stories he'd done on her, the nasally reporter would have recognized Lilly Ann Brooks anywhere. "Why Lilly Brooks, the World's Most Wanted Terrorist, is walking into 10 Downing Street is beyond me. She was last seen a month ago in New York City, America."
Lilly tried to keep her breathing steady. She put one step in front of another.
"I'm telling you," the reporter shouted. "That's Lilly Brooks! Lilly Brooks is about to enter 10 Downing Street!"
Lilly could hear the crowd begin to stir. She glanced at the man dressed in yellow and black guarding the doorway. Their eyes locked. His eyebrows shot up, and Lilly inhaled. He knew. He knew who Lilly was. He knew she wasn't supposed to be there. He knew she was dangerous. The yellow and black officer scrambled for his weapon.
"Freeze!" he shouted at her, aiming his handgun at her chest.
Lilly froze. Her breathing stopped. CLICK. The girl swallowed, taking in a breath. CLICK, another gun sounded. CLICK. CLICK. CLICK. The Doctor's ward didn't dare move. She didn't dare speak. Lilly watched the soldiers surround her, weapons raised and pointed in her direction. Slowly, she raised her hands.
"It's her," the leader announced. "Corporal, take her to holding."
Someone stepped up behind Lilly. He took her hands down, cuffing them roughly behind her back. He leaned in close, and spoke.
"My nephew attended Grayson Academy." He tugged a little harder. "Please," his voice was low, "resist arrest," he ordered. "Give me an excuse."
Lilly felt the corporal start patting her down, checking for weapons. His movements were harsh, jerky, and methodical. She felt him hit her sides, cringing with the unnecessary force he used. She clenched her jaw when he ran his hands down her shoulders and arms. She bit her lip when the corporal reached her hips. Lilly felt the pop bottle full of vinegar disappear from her pocket. Her bottom lip quivered, and a knot formed in her throat. Not only was she being arrested for things she didn't do, but her last defense against her nightmare was taken away.
The college student closed her eyes, grateful for the cameras watching them. She didn't know anything about Grayson Academy, but she could guess what happened to this man's nephew. Lilly wondered how many UNIT officers hated her as much as this corporal seemed to. And she could guess how much worse this could be, if he wasn't being watched.
Mickey ran. He ran hard. Without his wallet, he had no money, no oyster card, and no way to make it back to the Powell Estate except to run. His heart raced, beating with every step. He breathed heavy. And he forced his muscles to burn even hotter. He was going to save the blond nag if it was the last thing he lived to do.
Everyone knew the bossy old bat had made his life a living hell. And Mickey loved being able to tell her off in her kitchen. He loved even more when she stepped onto the TARDIS. But he didn't want anything really bad to happen to the meddling blond.
He knew what it was like to lose everyone. He lost his dad when he was six. He'd lost his gram when he was seventeen. And in a way, he'd lost his mom when he was eleven. The genius mechanic knew what it was like to be alone, and would never wish that for Rose.
Maybe that's why he didn't hate Jackie for what she'd done. Mickey could understand what the middle-aged mother was going through. He understood her loneliness.
"I'm coming, Jackie," he exhaled the words. "Hang on."
Lilly stood between two soldiers in a large richly decorated room. She noticed the ornately carved desk at one end, the floor to ceiling book shelves on the adjacent wall, and the plushly thick carpet under her feet. She also noticed the lack of windows.
There's no way out, she thought.
"No, ma'am," the new soldier on her left answered.
Lilly's eyes widened, realizing she'd spoken her thought. She pressed her lips together, determined not to let another word slip. She looked at the new soldier. He seemed young, about her age. Lilly noticed how his fingers trembled. Was he afraid of her? She glanced at the other man, the corporal. She understood the anger he wore, and couldn't blame him.
The college student took in a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. It's ok, Lilly told herself. The Doctor will get here. He'll come find me. But even as she thought the words, she worried. If the Doctor rescued her from UNIT, it could lead to him finding out about Torchwood. Which might cause that paradox Jack had warned her about. Or if the Doctor was busy dealing with UNIT... "The Slitheen might win," Lilly slipped. She cringed.
"Don't talk to her," the corporal ordered.
Other options dawned on the brunette. What if the Doctor tried to take care of the Slitheen before finding her? Or what if he couldn't come? What if he was too busy? What if I'm stuck here when Mickey blows up the building?!
I need to get out of here, Lilly tugged on her cuffs. I'm stuck, she started to panic. No. No, take a breath. Figure this out. She took in a deep breath. What would the Doctor do?
She started thinking of old "Doctor Who" episodes. More often than not, the Doctor was able to escape a situation because he had help, or because he'd made friends. Lilly pursed her lips. Nervously, she cleared her throat.
"I... I'm sorry about your nephew," she tried.
The corporal moved. He grabbed her shoulder with one hand, and punched her in the stomach with the other.
"Oof." All the air vacated Lilly's body. She bent over with the impact, hands still cuffed behind her back. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't inhale. She couldn't even think.
"Corporal!" shouted the other soldier.
"Wait outside, Private." The corporal still held onto his prisoner's shoulder. "That's an order."
Lilly struggled to inhale. She struggle to move. Memories of not being able to breathe on the roof at the Powell Estate came flooding back. But this time the Doctor was stuck in traffic. There was no mouth to mouth breathing to save her life. Lilly saw the edges of her vision begin to darken. She blinked, and gasped an inhale.
"Yes, sir," the private finally answered.
Lilly heard the door close, and let out a strangled cry. The corporal gripped her by her hair, pulling her up to see his face.
"I'll be sure to let my sister know how sorry you are."
"Just what do you think you're doing?" a new voice sounded in the room.
"Nothing, sir." The corporal let go of Lilly.
She dropped to her knees, unable to see through her tears. But she recognized the familiar voice. Who was it? Who had saved her? It wasn't Jack. Was it the Brigadier? Harry? Someone else from UNIT? Lilly's mind ran through the characters she knew.
"She was trying to resist arrest, sir."
"Yes, sir. Sorry, sir."
Lilly felt the corporal go, and tried to hold back the tears clouding her vision. She was trying to breathe normally, but only managed staggered breaths.
"See to it that man is reprimanded," Lilly heard the voice continue.
"Right away, sir."
"Now, what's all this? I'm very busy."
Lilly finally blinked away her tears, letting her vision clear. She looked in the direction of the voice. Her eyes widened, and she stumbled to her feet. Adrenaline rushed through her. She was looking at General Asquith, the General who was killed in front of Harriet Jones, the General who's body was turned into a Slitheen disguise. Lilly was looking at an alien covered in a dead man's skin. She barely managed to stop "Slitheen" from slipping through her lips.
"It's Lilly Brooks, Sir," Indra Ganesh, the Downing Street secretary introduced her.
General Asquith didn't recognize the name.
"The terrorist," Ganesh tried. He pursed his lips before continuing. "Normally we'd just let the police take her into custody, but with the current circumstances, I thought you might want to question her first."
"She mentioned a name, sir," the private who had been ordered to wait outside spoke up. "She said, "The Slitheen might win.""
Lilly Ann Brooks suddenly had all of General Asquith's attention. She cringed under his scrutiny.
"Was I mistaken, sir?" Ganesh asked. "Do you want me to turn her over to the police?"
"No." The General's eyes didn't leave her. "Did she say anything else, Private?"
"Uh, no sir."
"Was she with anyone?"
"There was a report of a man escaping custody through the passenger side front door of a transport vehicle," Ganesh answered, "but I don't know if he was her companion or not."
"Hm. Find out, would you?"
"Of course, sir." Ganesh turned to leave, but stopped when the General continued.
"I'll need all the data we have on this woman, everything."
"That might be difficult."
"Why's that?" The General turned to look at the secretary.
"Because of the virus."
Ganesh looked surprised. "The virus Lilly Brooks released into the world's systems eleven months ago." He waited for the General to recognize what he was talking about, and continued when it was obvious the military man wasn't familiar with it. "Anything anyone puts on the internet about her is erased. Emails, pictures, videos, reports, they're all gone. Only hard copies are safe. It's why it's so difficult to get people to recognize her."
"Well then," the General glared at the secretary, "get in touch with those agencies who still have hard copies, have them scan the information into their computers, and fax it over!"
Ganesh nodded, and headed off on his mission.
The General kept his eyes trained on Lilly. "Private," he spoke, "tell Joseph Green, and Margaret Blaine, I need to see them. We might want to get MI5 on this."
"Yes, sir." The private left, leaving only the Slitheen standing in the doorway.
Lilly took in a deep staggered breath, and wished the Doctor was near. The alien studied the human, stepped into the room, and closed the door.
The first question the Doctor asked after he'd arrived at Downing Street was about Lilly. "Has Ann Johnson arrived yet?"
"I don't think so." The head of security didn't know the Doctor was referring to the woman currently held in custody.
"Wha' about Mickey Smith?" Rose joined in.
"No," the security officer shook his head. "I know I haven't heard that name. Would you like me to check the register?"
"Please." The Doctor nodded.
"Where could they be?" Rose asked. "They were ahead of us, yeah?"
The time lord scanned the room. Dozens of experts milled around, visiting with one another. Some were seated on the couches, while most stood, obviously too anxious to sit. But there was no sign of Lilly, and no sign of Rose's soon to be ex-boyfriend.
Rose pulled out her phone, and dialed Mickey's number. No answer. She dialed again, looking a little more concerned the second time. The ex-shop girl dialed a third time.
"Oi, Mickey, call me as soon as you get this. Thanks." Rose hung up. "Mickey always answers his phone," she told the Doctor. "You don't suppose they were in that accident, do you?" she worried.
The Doctor frowned. "We'll find out." The alien turned to the nearest UNIT official, and interrupted his conversation. "Excuse me. Do you know where the Homeland Security computers are located?"
"She seems to be some kind of witch." Margaret Blaine thumbed through the stack of papers in her hand.
"Witch?" Joseph Green, the acting Prime Minister, questioned from behind the ornate desk. He glanced at the debris from Lilly's pockets in front of him, a half eaten protein bar, a gum wrapper, and a small fizzy drink.
"Psychic," General Asquith corrected. He glanced at the human on the other side of the room. She was standing, hands cuffed behind her back, and looking adequately terrified. His nephews, wearing their human disguises, George Maylor and Andy Anderson, stood on either side of her.
"Apparently, the entire human race has been hunting her for years." Margaret's face lit up. "Ooo! This is interesting." She showed the other two Slitheen the paper she was looking at.
"Impressive," the Prime Minister piped in.
"How could a creature so small be responsible for so much death?" wondered the General.
"Hmph!" Margaret laughed. "You should know better than to underestimate appearances." She smiled.
The General looked down at himself, and smirked. He understood what Margaret was saying. The military man winced, exhaling only when an obnoxiously loud fart rumbled the room.
Lilly watched, listening carefully. Her stomach cried from the corporal's punch, and her eyes kept watering. She was trying not to break down into sobs, so her breathing was erratic. But she could hear the aliens. They weren't trying to hide their conversation from her. Which means they're planning on killing me, Lilly worried. She glanced at her pop bottle full of vinegar on the desk, knowing there was no way she had enough vinegar, and knowing there was no way to get to the bottle while wearing her cuffs.
"Well, she's no use to us," the Prime Minister concluded. He grimaced, "Hold on." With a grunt his own fart filled the area. He glanced at the human. "Dispense with her, and let's get back to the business of making credits."
"Wait," Margaret drew everyone's attention. The woman frowned, bubbling out a juicy sounding flatulent. "If she is this witch, er uh, Psychic," Margaret continued, "she might be worth something. How much more profit could we make, if we knew which commodities will be shorted before it happens?"
"Do you really believe in such superstitions, sister?" the Prime Minister's voice was condescending. "It's more likely she's a common low grade telepath."
"She did know our family name," the General provided. But he wasn't siding with Margaret. The Prime Minister's theory was far more plausible. "She has more information than she should have. Perhaps she isn't low grade." He straightened his uniform, letting another fart rip. "And I don't think she was alone. There was someone else with her when she was arrested." The military man picked up the report from off the desk. "Mickey something or other. He escaped custody."
"Put someone on it," the Prime Minister ordered.
"Already have. The two of them were picked up at..." The General looked down at the report, "the Powell Estate. The Chief Inspector is there now. As soon as he's finished with the hunt he's on, he'll help find this Mickey."
"Good." Prime Minister Green relaxed.
"He gets all the good hunts," Margaret complained.
Lilly stared at the Slitheen, worried she'd changed events, and worried she'd somehow put Mickey in danger.
"Why then," Green questioned, "are we keeping this one alive?" He gestured toward Lilly.
"Look at all these government officials wanting her," the female Slitheen answered. "They all believe she's psychic."
"Which would make her dangerous," Green argued. "To us," he added for good measure. "We need to finish this job."
Margaret gave her brother a stern look. "If we don't keep her for profit, I want her for my experiments."
The Prime Minister rolled his eyes, and huffed. "Humans are idiots. We don't have time for your pets!" He looked at his watch. "We have a schedule to keep."
"You didn't seem to mind my experiments when I disguised that small human enough to pilot the ship we crashed."
Lilly's breath caught. She understood what Margaret said. She understood she'd just admitted to hurting that little girl at Albion Hospital.
General Asquith chuckled. "You should have see the looks on their faces," he pulled up Asquith's memories. "Everyone of the humans fell for it."
All the Slitheen broke into laughter. Each of them winced, and each of them farted.
Lilly tried to take in small breaths. The horrid smell in the room permeated everywhere. It was like trying to breathe in someone else's bad breath. She could taste the dental decay, the rotten food, and the stifling humidity. The air felt wet.
The Slitheen on either side of her simultaneously cut the cheese once more. But it wasn't the bad air that made Lilly choke. It was understanding they were laughing about the mutilation of a little girl, a little girl she saw die. The college student clenched her jaw. The Slitheen were monsters.
"We really need to do something about the gas exchange," Margaret complained. "This is getting ridiculous."
"You can keep her for your experiments," Prime Minister Green gave his permission for Margaret to keep Lilly. "As a cadaver," he laid down his stipulation. "We don't need anymore distractions."
Lilly swallowed. C'mon, Doctor, she begged, closing her eyes. Where are you? "Find me," her mouth slipped. Just find me. If the Doctor found her, they could run to safety together. She didn't have to change anything else in this episode. She just needed the Doctor to find her once more. The accused terrorist rubbed her fingers together, both as a comfort, and as a way to keep the blood flowing. Her cuffs were way to tight.
Lilly opened her eyes.
Everyone turned when the door opened. It was Ganesh. "Sirs, everyone's here. They're ready for you."
"Ganesh!" Lilly shouted. She tried to step toward him, but the General's nephews grabbed ahold of her. "Tell the Doctor I'm here!" she told him. "Please! Tell the Doctor Lilly Brooks is with the aliens! Run!"
Ganesh looked at the acting Prime Minister, confusion all over his face. "What does she mean?" he asked.
Prime Minister Green huffed. "That's what we're trying to find out," he told the secretary. He stepped forward, letting his hand rest on the secretary's shoulder. He guided him back into the hallway. The Prime Minister cleared his throat. "I'm sure I don't have to tell you anything you've seen or heard is classified Top Secret."
"Of course, sir," Ganesh answered.
Lilly's heart plummeted. He wouldn't be telling the Doctor anything.
"Now, about this Doctor she mentioned..."
"He's upstairs, waiting with the rest of the experts in the sitting room," the secretary informed his superior.
Prime Minister Green smiled. "Good. Let's get this meeting started."
Joseph Green followed Ganesh.
"Mr. Prime Minister," Margaret went after him. "Might I have a word."
Lilly watched the door swing closed. She heard it click. She swallowed, and she watch the General lock the door. He turned around, setting his sights on the human.
Lilly trembled. "Please don't kill me," she begged, realizing her luck had run out. "I'll do whatever you want." She remembered how Cassandra wanted to sell her on the black market. And she remembered Margaret's comment about being able to tell the future value of commodities. "I am psychic. I am," she tried. "You're from Raxacoricofallapatorius."
The General's eyes widened. He took off his decorative jacket.
"How would I know that, if I wasn't psychic?"
The General began rolling up his sleeve.
"Think," Lilly rambled. "Just think. I could tell you anything you want to know. I could help you get rich, really rich." She took in a breath when she saw the zipper on his arm.
"I promise I won't make trouble. I'm a good worker. Just don't kill me."
"Let's be quick about this," the General addressed the other Slitheens. "I have a meeting to get to." He reached for the long zipper on his arm.
"Sure thing, Oliver," Andy misspoke the General's alias. "Uh, I mean, General, sir."
"Ah," the General paused, letting his arm drop. "Now, there's a man I rather liked." He referred to the last human skin he'd worn before he'd killed the General. He looked at Andy. "I was ever so busy. I had a wife, and a mistress, and even a young farmer."
Lilly recognized the line from the show.
"Human romantic relations," George hummed. "I think I'm going to miss them."
"Mmhm," the General agreed.
"I wouldn't know." Andy grimaced.
"Really?" The General looked concerned. "That's horrible. You really should have tried the delicacy."
"It's a bit late now."
The General looked at Lilly, and began rolling his sleeve back down. "Try this one," he told Andy. "Just make sure you stash the body when you're done." He picked up his jacket. "I'll let Prime Minister Green know your busy."
Lilly's jaw dropped open. Had she heard right? Had she understood? Did the General just tell the Slitheen standing next to her to... to...
Lilly inhaled when Andy ran a finger down her arm. "No," she choked out. Her body shuddered.
The General tossed George the keys to her cuffs. Lilly didn't miss the chance. The moment George reached out to catch the keys, she pulled away from Andy, and bolted to the other side of the room, away from the danger. She put the desk between herself and the aliens.
"HELP!" Lilly screamed toward the door. "HELP! SOMEBODY HELP ME!" What was it people were supposed to say when they were in trouble? "FIRE! THERE'S A FIRE!"
The General chuckled, turning to leave. "The whole floor's been declared out of bounds," he told the others. "So, make all the noise you want." He looked back. "Have fun boys."
The door closed behind him, blocking off Lilly's escape.
"C'mon, Doctor. Where are you!" She didn't know if she'd spoken her thoughts or if they'd slipped out, nor did she care. She just wanted out of here. Lilly looked down at the pop bottle full of pickle juice on the other side of the desk. But before she could get to it, the Slitheen nephews came toward her, one coming around each side of the ornate piece of furniture.
Andy reached out, grabbing ahold of Lilly. She inhaled. He spun her around, and pressed her front into the wall.
"The hunt was too short," he complained. "Barely any sport at all."
Lilly struggled to get free, wishing her hands were loose. She used her body to push against the wall.
Andy returned the shove, pinning her in place.
"Uncuff her," he told his brother.
George shook his head. "No, it's better this way," he refused.
Lilly whimpered. "This isn't happening," she told herself. She cringed when she felt Andy's breath by her ear.
"Oh, it's happening."
Several feet away she heard George grunt. She heard him fart, and she recoiled when Andy added his own greasy flatulent to the mix. The college student tried not to breathe, turning her head away from Andy. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the pickle juice, the vinegar. It was right there. It was right there, sitting on the desk, so far out of reach.
"AH!" Andy cried out, stepping back and releasing Lilly.
"What is it?" George asked, concerned. "What's wrong?"
Lilly spun around, trying to run toward the pop bottle. But George caught her arm, pulling her back in place.
"I... I split my suit!" Andy placed his hand on his side.
Lilly looked down, noticing the blood seeping through his fingers.
"I told you he was too thin," George reprimanded his brother. "Well, don't just stand there. Take him off!"
Andy stepped back, reached up with his free hand, and began unzipping his head.
Lilly stared. Her whole body shuddered. But she couldn't look away. The blue light emanating from the zipper as it opened wouldn't let her eyes go. The sound it made vibrated through her, making her teeth chatter. And the smell in the room made all the farting seem like fresh air. It was ripe, sick.
Finally, finally, she blinked. The college student kept her eyes closed, squeezing them shut. She pressed her back into the wall, and held onto her hands. George didn't let go of her arm.
Lilly heard the slick flap of the skin coming off. She felt the heat from the light dissipate. And she heard Andy's strange resonating Slitheen voice reverberate when he sighed in relief.
"Ah. It feels so good to be naked."
Trembling, the whovian opened her eyes. She looked at the nine foot tall demon. The colossal miscreation towered over her, letting his claws touch the ground. He licked at his teeth.
Lilly couldn't help staring at his eyes, his empty, soulless black eyes. She wasn't trembling anymore. Lilly Brooks was shaking.
She finally understood why all the characters on "Doctor Who" would freeze while the Slitheen undressed. She understood why Jackie Tyler stood, watching the Slitheen in her kitchen, why General Asquith didn't call for help when the Slitheen inhabiting Oliver Charles climbed out of his skin and killed him, and why Rose, Indra Ganesh, and Harriet Jones didn't run past Margaret while she was taking off her skin on the show.
The Slitheen were nothing like the puppets shown on "Doctor Who." But at the same time, they were exactly like the aliens on the show.
The eighteen year old college student started to collapse in on herself. She bent her weak knees, sliding down to the floor, turning her body into a tiny ball, arms still pinned behind her back. George let her go. Lilly curled up into something like a fetal position, hiding in the corner. But she couldn't stop staring at Andy.
"Look at her," the naked Slitheen laughed. He inhaled. "Oh, her beautiful smell. Her hormones. Her fear." He looked at his brother. "Humans really have no sense of smell."
"I'll get you another skin." George shifted around his brother. "Don't let her out of your sight," he warned.
Lilly heard the door close, and finally let her eyes drop. She instantly regretted looking down, seeing the Andy-skin crumpled on the floor next to the Slitheen.
It moved. Lilly froze. The skin, the skin across the room, the skin who used to be a person, a regular man, it moved. Lilly stared harder, noticing how its flat finger flinched.
"Ahgoils," she heard a noise come from what used to be Andy Anderson. "Ahfio," she heard it again.
"Oh, my goodness," she whispered, realization setting in. "He's still alive," the words slipped out.
Andy Anderson, George Maylor, Joseph Green, General Asquith, Margaret Blaine, and every other person who'd been taken as a costume for the Slitheens was still alive. They were alive, and in hell, hallowed out and used as puppets.
Lilly thought about what the Slitheen inside the General said, how he'd had a wife, and a mistress. She thought about all the Slitheen who'd taken people with families. And she thought about the torture those people must have endured as the Raxacoricofallapatorians interacted with their loved ones.
How would Oliver have felt to live through a Slitheen kissing his wife, using her, and using his own body to do it?
What about the little girl at the morgue? Whose daughter was she? Lilly cringed, praying one of her parents wasn't taken as a Slitheen costume.
The Doctor's ward understood why the Doctor wouldn't show Margaret any mercy in the other Slitheen episode. She understood why he was willing to take her back to Raxacoricofallapatoria to be sentenced to death for her crimes. And Lilly understood there was no way a creature as evil as a Raxacoricofallapatorian was ever going to let her live.
"What are you thinking, little human?" The Slitheen moved a little closer. He inhaled, enjoying her torment.
"Here he is," George spoke a moment before the door clicked shut.
"What the hell!"
Lilly saw the obese military man George had escorted to serve as Andy's skin. She saw his shock. And she saw his terror.
"Run!" she screamed, crawling on her knees toward the desk.
BANG! A gun shot rang out. BANG! BANG! BANG! The military man was armed. He'd instinctively drawn his weapon, and was firing his gun into the naked Slitheen.
Andy swung his arm, catching the heavy military expert, lifting him up in the air, and slamming him hard against the wall, knocking the gun out of his hand.
"Do you think your puny rock thrower could harm me?" Andy growled.
The new man struggled. "Please," he cried out. "Please don't hurt me. I'll do whatever you want." Lilly heard the same plea she'd offered only a few minutes ago. She heard the same fear in his voice, and felt the same desperation.
George laughed, moving to sit on the desk like he was watching a show. "Humans all sound the same." In one fluid motion he reached down, picked up the pop bottle, and opened it.
Andy inhaled, smelling the room. His Slitheen eyes widened, recognizing the odor. "NO!" he turned around just as George took a giant swig.
George, stunned by what he'd done, spewed the vinegar from Lilly's bottle all over his brother. He accidentally dropped the bottle on the corner of the desk, bouncing more of the caustic liquid from the container into the air. Almost all of it landed on Andy.
Lilly ducked behind the desk, hoping it was enough.
George bent over coughing and gasping. Andy dropped the military leader to the ground. His eyes widened. He froze. And he exploded. His severed arm flew toward his brother, knocking him to the ground.
The whole world stopped. The room became silent, silent and still. Carefully, Lilly climbed to her feet. Carefully, she moved around the desk. And silently, she took in the sight. Most of the area was green, green walls, green desk, green lumps of furniture.
"You!" a green covered George cried out from the ground. "You meaningless copulating trifle! What have you done!"
"The gun!" shouted the military man. "Get the gun!" He was pinned under the bottom half of the Slitheen, and struggling to get free, struggling to reach his ankle with his free hand, but staring at the gun.
George's eyes widened. His arm slipped on the slime that was once his brother, keeping him on the floor. And Lilly dove toward the weapon. She dropped to her knees, bent down, and struggled to pick it up with her hands cuffed behind her back.
BANG! Lilly flinched, accidentally firing the pistol. The college student had never held a real gun before. She'd had no idea how touchy a real trigger was, and had picked it up like she'd seen characters do on tv, using the trigger like it was part of the handle.
The college student scrambled to her feet, twisting her arms around from behind her back in order to point the gun in the right direction, and was shocked to see George laying on the ground right next to her. He was so close.
Lilly stumbled back, ready to threaten the Slitheen into surrendering. She held still. She waited. She waited for the Slitheen to say something or make his move. But he didn't. He just lay there as still as a stone. It finally dawned on the whovian he wasn't moving.
The nervous college student stepped sideways toward him, ready for action, ready for whatever trick the alien was playing. But when she got close enough, she saw why he hadn't attacked her. George Maylor, or at least the Slitheen inside of George Maylor, was dead. He stared up at nothing, eyes fully dilated, and a tiny gun shot between those empty eyes.
Lilly's mouth opened and closed. I killed him, she thought. The whovian realized, when the gun had gone off, the shot had hit the Slitheen between the eyes. Death was instant.
She stumbled back, staring at the corpse. "That's not possible," she mumbled. What were the chances of her, Lilly Brooks, an average, ordinary, boring college student, accidentally shooting a deadly alien between the eyes with both hands tied behind her back? "No chance," she answered her own question. It was more likely that she would have accidentally shot herself in the leg than anything else. The teenager couldn't believe it. She couldn't believe she...
"Kehl nee," a noise broke the silence.
Lilly jumped, looking in the direction of the noise. She could see Andy Anderson, the real Andy Anderson. She saw his flat fingers, his perfectly shaped middle, and the top half of his skull wide open. But he wasn't an empty skin like what she'd seen on "Doctor Who." Lilly could see his insides. She could see his brain and several pulsing blood vessels. Mr. Anderson was alive, and at least part of him was still intact.
Beep. Tick. Tick. Beep. Lilly's eyes moved to the beeping sound. They moved to what was left of the compression field generator the Slitheen had been wearing around its neck. The machine lay right next to Mr. Anderson, attached to a piece of Slitheen. This was the device the Doctor said allowed the Slitheen to shrink down inside human bodies.
"It doesn't shrink them," Lilly put two and two together. "He lied." She took a breath. "Well, sort of lied." The generator didn't shrink the Slitheen. It merged them. It allowed the Slitheen to crawl inside a living human, merging their own body with their victim's. That's why the vinegar killed the naked Slitheen, but didn't hurt the one in the human skin. It made sense. How could a Slitheen eat Chinese food, or a hamburger with pickles on it, if the vinegar would make them explode?
Lilly looked at George, understanding what had happened to him too. The army man had shot the naked Slitheen several times, and hadn't penetrated its thick skin. But one shot killed the Slitheen wearing George's skin, because George and the Slitheen had literally become one.
"That's why they can pass as human," Lilly's mouth muttered. They had access to their victims' brains, their memories. The eighteen year old cringed, realizing all the implications. Their merging technology was why the Slitheen who took over General Asquith enjoyed being married and having a mistress. The Slitheen were able to enjoy all the natural chemical responses a human body feels. The Slitheen had felt them too.
Beep. Tick. Tick. Beep. The light on the generator was fading.
"Ple eaze Kehl-nee," Mr. Anderson repeated.
"W..what?" Lilly frowned. What could she do? How could she help him? She needed the Doctor.
She finally understood the skin's words. Kill me. He'd said, "Kill me."
Lilly's heart dropped.
But before she could act, the beeping stopped. The moment it stopped, the broken and tortured man melted away. His insides turned to jello. His brain liquified into clear slime. And his blood vessels broke apart. What was left of Mr. Anderson oozed out of his perfectly preserved skin. Lilly watch the ooze dry, turning into a thin white powder, all but forgotten and barely noticeable, leaving only his empty zipper covered skin behind.
Lilly heard the word like it was coming from very far away.
"Breathe," it repeated.
The college student didn't move.
She gasped in a deep breath, feeling the whole world suddenly come back to her. Lilly Brooks let out a mix between a sob and a cry. She bent over with the emotion, hands still cuffed and holding the gun.
"It's alright," the military man spoke. "You're going to be alright," he tried to calm her down. "I know you're scared right now, but you're going to be alright."
Lilly let out another sob, releasing all her pent up fear.
"That's good, let it out," the man cooed.
Lilly took in a staggered breath. Her eyes found Mr. Anderson's body once more. They were glued to the scene.
"I'm William Fitzgerald. You can call me William. What's your name?" he asked, keeping his voice calm. "Can you tell me your name?" he asked a second time.
"Lilly." She couldn't even think enough to lie. "Lilly Brooks."
William stopped talking. He knew all about Lilly Brooks. Everyone did. Why hadn't she been taken to UNIT headquarters? What was she doing down here?
"He's dead," she muttered, staring at the skin. "He's dead," she repeated, stuck on the idea. "He's..."
"Lilly. Can I call you Lilly?" William started again. "Look at me, Lilly."
She turned her head toward the voice.
"That's it." The gray haired middle aged man smiled, giving her reassurance. "We're going to be alright, you and I. But I need you to help me with something." He paused. "Can you do that for me?"
Lilly felt herself nod.
"My friends are just upstairs," he explained. "I need you to run up there, and tell them I'm stuck. Alright?"
"UNIT," William clarified. "I'm a member of UNIT, and..."
"UNIT?" Lilly's eyes widened. She looked around the room like she'd suddenly woken up from a bad dream. "Oh, crap!" Lilly saw the partial Slitheen body pinning William down. She saw the green slime everywhere. She saw George's corpse, still and motionless. She saw Mr. Anderson's skin. And she smelled the horrid flatulence the Slitheen had left behind. "They're here to kill UNIT!" she stated the fact.
"The aliens. They're going to use the UNIT ID badges to electrocute them so they can blow up the world!"
"Help me!" William struggled. "Help me take it off!" His ID badge was pinned under his chest. He set something down and tugged at the chain with his free hand.
Lilly jumped forward, landing on her knees, but realized there was nothing she could do so long as she was cuffed. She needed the key. The college student's head snapped back toward George. She crawled on her knees until she got close enough to his body. She let the gun drop gently to the floor, and with awkward movements, she finagled her hand into George's jacket pocket.
"Hurry." William continued to battle against the dead alien.
Lilly struggled, but she couldn't get the key into the hole. Her fingers were too numb, and the cuffs were too tight. She looked back at William, and scurried to him.
"I need you to uncuff me." She looked down, surprised to see a gun next to the old man's hand. "Wh... What's that?"
He glanced at the weapon. "My backup piece," he answered.
Lilly noticed the tiny holster strapped to William's ankle where his pant leg had been pulled up. That's what he had been reaching for when he'd told her to get his gun. He'd been trying to reach his second weapon. Wow. The college student wondered how anyone so big could manage reaching so far.
Lilly obeyed, and he took the key. William fought with the cuffs. He'd never had to do this one handed before.
"You shot him." Lilly's mouth slipped. It made so much more sense. It hadn't been her. She hadn't killed him. The gun she'd held had gone off, but it hadn't shot George.
Lilly frowned. She hadn't been upset with the idea she'd killed the Slitheen. Shouldn't she have felt something? Shouldn't it have bothered her?
"I can't believe he was helping the alien," William drew her attention.
"It wasn't him," Lilly answered. "And there are lots of aliens."
"How do you mean?" William had the key in the hole, but was struggling to get it to turn. "Is he a genetic copy? A robot duplicate maybe? Or..."
"A Slitheen crawled inside his body, and used him as a disguise like a living puppet," the words spilled out.
William let out a string of cuss words. "George didn't deserve that." The older man harrumphed. "Pull your hands away from each other, so I can get the key to turn." He was getting frustrated with the cuffs.
Lilly pulled, and felt the cuffs release. The moment the shackles were off, her fingers pulsed with the blood running back into her hands. "Oh!" She wanted to rub her aching limbs, but knew William might not have much time. She moved to kneel in front of him, and reached out for the ID badge. What if it activates when I'm touching it? she hesitated, realizing how dangerous this could be. The idea was like picking up an unprotected electrical wire without checking to see if the power had been turned off. It could kill her.
William's urge snapped Lilly out of her thought. She forced her hands under his torso, grabbing ahold of the chain around his neck, and pulled with all her strength. She fell onto her back, taking the ID badge with her, and landing in some of what was left of the Slitheen.
"Ewe!" The college student chucked the badge like it was a poisonous snake.
"Now, hurry," William didn't quit. "You've got to warn UNIT."
"I will," Lilly argued. She knew 10 Downing Street was going to be destroyed. She couldn't leave William behind. "But if I leave you, you'll be stuck down here when the building explodes."
William's eyes widened. "You're planning to blow up Downing Street?"
"Not me!" Lilly realized where this was going. "Someone else," she explained. There was no way she was giving out names. "It's the only way to save the planet." She squatted down under the green monstrosity, placing her back on the beast. Lilly ignored her pulsing fingers. "Besides," she argued. "Who's going to believe Lilly Brooks, the World's Most Wanted eighteen year old?" They didn't even believe the Doctor on the show.
"A teenager?" William looked surprised.
Lilly braced her feet on the floor. "I need you," she told him. If William Fritz... Fitz... whatever his name was, Lilly thought. If William was with her, they'd have to believe him. Maybe all of UNIT would be saved today.
"You don't need me."
"One," she counted out.
"Listen to me," William's voice carried authority. "I work with aliens all the time."
"Two," she got ready.
"And if there's one thing I know, it's how these creatures work. They have senses we don't. They know things they shouldn't."
Lilly took a deep breath.
"They could be coming. You've got to get out of here!"
"Three!" Lilly let out a shout, using all her strength to hoist the green monster. The alien moved, but it wasn't what the college student expected. Instead of the Slitheen body rolling enough for the obese man to maneuver out from under it, the alien rumbled. And with that rumble came the biggest, longest fart Lilly Ann Brooks had ever heard.
"Oh, my gosh!" she covered her nose and mouth with the back of her arm.
"Holy..." William pinched his nose, and pressed his lips together. The middle aged man dry heaved, trying to hold his stomach down.
It's like... It's like. "Oh, my gosh." she repeated. It's like the Bog of Eternal stench, she thought.
"Listen to me," William gagged. "You've got to..." He choked, unable to finish his sentence. "You've got to go. The other aliens are probably coming. Right now!"
Lilly remembered how the acting Prime Minister and General Asquith sensed Sip Fel Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen's death. He'd been miles away, hunting Jackie Tyler, but they still knew it. Somehow, the Slitheen were connected. William was right. A trickle of fear ran up Lilly's spine. She looked at the door. The Slitheen were coming.
"You can't help me," William went on, choking out his words. "But you can save everyone else. You can save my daughter, Tammy. She's with UNIT." He reached his free hand into his pocket, pulling out a ring of keys. "Thank God I have clearance," he muttered.
WHAM. Lilly jumped. Wham. Wham. Wham. Someone pounded on the door.
"Open this door right now!"
She recognized the voice. "It's the General." Lilly swallowed, nearly choking on the smell she inhaled. "He's one of them. He's an alien."
"General Asquith?" William questioned
"Yeah." Lilly nodded, keeping her eyes on the danger. "We're trapped."
William glanced back and forth between the exit and the teenager. "Get the gun he ordered."
Lilly looked at the weapon she'd dropped next to George. "I... I don't know how to use a gun." The college student moved as she spoke, picking it up with much more hesitancy and respect than before. Did William want her to shoot the Slitheen?
A look of surprise washed over the UNIT man's face. How could Lilly Brooks, a kid, be a world renowned terrorist, if she didn't even know how to hold a gun?
Wham. Wham. Wham. The General continued to pound. "Sergeant, I said, "Get this door open!""
"Yessir." The Sergeant paused. "Private, get me the keys."
"Hurry up!" the General shouted.
Lilly stared at the noise, and prepared to shoot. Her puffy hands started to tremble.
"No," the expert stopped her. "You could miss."
She lowered the weapon, understanding what William meant.
"And you're holding it wrong," he continued. "Like this." The trapped UNIT official dropped his keys, and picked up his backup gun, demonstrating how to hold a real weapon. "If you hold it like you were, you'll end up with powder burns, and the bolt action might cut your hand. Keep your trigger finger here until you're ready to shoot, so you don't accidentally let off a shot."
Lilly obeyed. She had no idea shooting a gun was so complicated. Tv always made it look so simple. It was another reminder this wasn't a show.
"Now, take this key." William set down his gun, and picked up the ring. "This will open that cupboard door there," he explained.
Lilly stared at the narrow closet door.
"C'mon!" William shook his keys. "Hurry!"
The Doctor's ward jumped forward, taking William's gift. She moved around George, and stepped over Mr. Anderson's skin, grimacing at their remains. Don't look. Don't look. Don't look, she internally chanted. She didn't want to see the bodies.
"What's in here?" she slid the key into the lock, forcing her puffy fingers to turn it.
"Your way out," William answered.
Lilly opened the door, surprised to see a computer screen and a key pad covered with all kinds of strange symbols.
"Enter the code 473."
"I... I can't." She looked back at William. "There aren't any numbers here, just weird symbols."
"Why would they...?" he started to ask. "Must be another security measure," he answered his own question. "Is there a key pad though?" William asked Lilly. "With ten buttons?"
"Push the left middle button." He waited. "Top right." Lilly pushed the second button. "Bottom left."
"State your name and security clearance."
Lilly stepped back, startled to hear the computerized voice. At the same time, she couldn't help hear the jingle of keys coming from the other side of the door on the other side of the room. The General was coming.
"Did you watch East Enders last night?" William spoke loud and clear.
"Voice recognition verified," the computer continued. "UNIT access granted." The panel with the mounted computer screen and keypad hissed, and popped open, giving Lilly access to a narrow hallway leading up some equally narrow stairs."
Lilly licked her lips, breathing in the fresh air coming from the corridor.
"I'll get UNIT and the Doctor to come back for you," she glanced in General Asquith's direction, hearing someone jiggling the door handle. Lilly wasn't going to let what happened to Andy and George happen to William... or his daughter.
"The doctor?" William questioned. "Doctor who?"
Lilly couldn't help but smile. Someone had said it. They'd actually said it, Doctor Who. She looked back at William, making eye contact. "Not a doctor," she told him. "THE Doctor. He's right upstairs." She closed the closet door, grateful to be safe, grateful for the fresh air, and grateful William had been there to help her escape.
William cussed under his breath. If the Doctor was here, things were much worse than he'd thought. Chances were no one would be getting out of 10 Downing Street alive, not him, and not his precious baby girl. William frowned. The old man's eyes started to cloud with moisture. He never should have encouraged her to follow in his foot steps. He should have insisted she pursue her art instead. "Oh, Tammy. I'm so sorry."
William looked up when the door opened.
"Captain Fitzgerald?" Lilly heard the sergeant's question. She quietly stepped away from the door, and wished William had told her how to turn on the lights.
"Where is she? Where's Lilly Brooks?" demanded the General.
"Your too late," William answered back. "She's long gone."
"Sergeant," William continued. "General Asquith isn't human. I want you to place him under arrest and..."
"This man is a danger to the crown and to the world," the General cut off William. He stared at what was left of his nephew's naked body as he spoke. He clenched his human jaw. "He's obviously working with Lilly Brooks, trying to bring down the government."
"Sergeant, you'll obey my orders," William cut back in.
General Asquith raised his voice. "By order of the emergency proclamation, I order you to..."
Lilly swallowed, backing away from the door and up the stairs. Her blood rushed in her ears. She knew exactly what the General was about to order. Prime Minister Green had given the same order on the show, telling the sergeant to execute the Doctor. But this time it wasn't the Doctor, and he wasn't standing in front of an elevator. William Fitzgerald was alone, alone and pinned to the floor. There was no escape.
BANG! The gun shot punched the air. Lilly's hands shot up to cover her ears. BANG! BANG! BANG! The college student turned and ran, climbing the stairs to get away from the noise. William Fitzgerald had saved her life. She knew it.
1. What did you think of Mickey this time?
2. What did you think of the Slitheen? The vinegar theory? How the compression generator might work? Did Raxicoricofallopatorians come across more real?
3. Sorry this chapter took so long. I'm afraid real life has to take precedence over "Reality." Sorry.
4. Thanks for being patient. And thanks for reading.