“There you are,” Nellie says, drawing Anaya into a relieved hug. “It's been ages!”
Anaya blinks, then remembers their adventures in Ireland. “Sorry, we were stuck in a temporal bubble, so it only feels like a few days for us. How have you been?”
“Not to bad for us,” Henry says, producing a newspaper. “But there's some debate in the papers about our good friend Clarence DeMarco.” Jenny and Vastra flatten the column out over their trunk and skim the words.
“They think he's gone mad,” Nellie explains. “I don't say I feel sorry for him, but I can't see punishing someone if he didn't know what he was doing.”
“We put down mad dogs, do we not?” Vastra bristles.
“If keeping him in treatment will keep him out of harm's way?..” Jenny offers. She hasn't seen this side of Vastra for a few years now, this vitriol towards a human being.
“Perhaps,” Vastra allows. “But I suspect that DeMarco knew full well what he was doing. The only thing unhealthy about him was the pleasure he took in his murders.”
“Anything else of note?” Jenny asks, deftly changing the subject. Vastra notices, of course, but decides to hold off on further discussion until they have seen DeMarco again.
“Thomas Edison is in town,” Nellie says. “And he's been rounding up stray animals. Hasn't said why, yet.”
“Most unusual,” Doyle notes. “Edison isn't known for his biological brilliance. Perhaps he is planning to expand his scientific repertoire.”
“We shall see.” Vastra takes her trunk by one handle, and Jenny dutifully snatches up the other. “For the moment, I should like to return home.”
“If you don't mind,” Mirabelle interjects, “so would I.” Vastra makes a gracious hand gesture just as Cianna coughs.
“Yes, I suppose we will need to find a place for you,” Vastra notes. “Jenny, have we any spare rooms?”
“If you like, she can have my old room,” Anaya volunteers. “I've pretty well moved out, anyway. I'll just come and fetch any stragglers.”
“That should do nicely,” Jenny decides. “As long as you don't mind staying with us until you're properly settled in, that is,” she adds delicately.
“No, that sounds lovely,” Cianna agrees. She blushes, the red filling the gaps between her freckles. “I suppose I should introduce myself,” she notes as they pile into the carriage.
“Pleased to meet you,” Nellie says, offering her hand to the younger woman, and Henry nods his assent.
Awaiting them at Paternoster Row is a familiar face. “If it isn't Nikola Tesla!” Jenny exclaims. “We've been thinking about putting wires in the house,” she proffers, hoping to get the eccentric genius talking on a comfortable topic.
“Perhaps I could provide some advice on the matter,” he replies, face briefly brightening. “I am afraid that I shall have little else of value to offer, and all the fault of Thomas Edison.” He sighs as Jenny and Vastra invite him inside. “I do not mind that he uses my ideas, so long as they benefit mankind. But I wish that he would not badmouth the inventions which he does not care to steal. You see, he has come to England to advertise for his electrical system, which competes with my own.” He pauses to thank Jenny for the cup of tea. “His system uses direct current, whereas mine uses alternating current.” They nod politely—some more genuinely than others—as Tesla expounds upon the nature of electricity, and the superior efficiency of his own system. “But Edison wants to prove that alternating current is more dangerous, and to that end I believe he plans some sort of demonstration, though the Lord only knows what he has in mind.”
“If it is industrial espionage or sabotage you have in mind, we are no strangers to that discipline,” Vastra offers. “We could offer you a very reasonable rate.”
Tesla laughs. “Why would I want to steal my own ideas back? No, I do not want you to do that.” He sighs. “In fact, I do not know what I want you to do, but I have so few friends in London that I knew not where to turn.”
“We do have a few friends in the press,” Jenny begins. “But I'm afraid that our name is mud at the moment, so you'd be better off not using us as resources.”
Tesla makes an indifferent gesture. “I am no stranger to unpopularity. However you can manage to help me, I shall be most grateful.”
Vastra makes a stately nod. “I should not be surprised if other clients have accumulated in our absence, and there is a matter of great personal and professional importance which requires our attention, but we will certainly do what we can.”
“We are not the only ones here, madame,” Jenny whispers. They have gone to look at Edison's factory with Henry while it is closed for the weekend. Edison himself is at some sort of electrical demonstration which some of the others are at.
“We did pass a guard on the way in,” Vastra ventures hopefully, but Jenny shakes her head.
“This is something different,” Jenny replies. “Can you hear it? Like the clank of machinery, but nothing's on. Like...” She gasps. “Like when you proposed to me.” Henry raises an eyebrow.
Vastra curses under her breath. She might have wished to find something more helpful here, but if there were Cybermen about... “We must get going,” she decides as the mechanical footsteps draw nearer. “We will have to split up.”
Jenny nods; they cannot afford to let themselves all be captured; Henry reluctantly agrees. Not with Cybermen on the loose. She steals away to the left as Vastra darts to the right and Henry heads straight up the middle. Getting killed by inhuman metal things would take care of their lifespan difference, she thinks amusedly to herself. But the footsteps have faded to almost nothing, now, she thinks, and lets out a sigh of relief.
“Oi, what are you doing here?” Too loud a sigh, apparently, she thinks as a pair of guards flank her. “All the lads are off for the weekend.”
Ah, yes. She recalls that she is wearing her trousers at the moment. Perhaps these lunkheads will take her more seriously. “You won't believe me,” she says. They never do. “But I think there might be an army of cyborgs somewhere back there.” The two men look at her as if she is speaking Greek. She thinks a curse very loudly. The word cyborg hasn't been coined yet. “They come up with goofier stories all the time, don't they, Frank?”
Jenny sighs. She has her katana with her, but she'd prefer not to gut a couple of innocent people doing their jobs. That means hand-to-hand. She flips Frank onto his back, but he gets a hold of her tie, slowing her long enough for his partner to get a blow in, dropping her to her knees. Another wallop has her seeing stars. Before she blacks out, she hopes Vastra and Henry get away safely.
Vastra knows intellectually that she should probably just leave as fast as she can, and come back with something resembling enough firepower to handle a squad of Cybermen. But she can't help but want to confirm their suspicions, and, if possible, learn their plans. And there is a voice that she cannot ignore which reminds her that if they catch Jenny, they will make her into one of them, and, more than likely, force one of them to kill the other. Whereas if she is captured, they will just kill her, and maybe they won't go looking for Jenny and Henry, and that is a fate she can live with. Except, of course, for the fact that she will be dead. She smiles humorlessly as she creeps past a row of machines. “These machines will be suitable,” the Cyberleader proclaims tonelessly. “Collect the raw material.”
“Affirmative,” another Cyberman replies, and leads half of the group away while the rest establish a perimeter around the machinery or begin their work.
She is pressing her luck, she knows, by staying so long and pressing so close, but the Cybermen are hard enough to fight without knowing exactly what one is up against. “Sensors indicate presence of lifeform.” A handful of emotionless faces turn towards her, weapons raised.
“I surrender,” she says, raising her hands.
“Scans indicate unsuitable for upgrading,” the Cyberleader drones. “You will be deleted.”
“Wait!” Vastra offers, removing her veil and tucking it into her purse, using the gesture to conceal her hands as she activates a recording device. “I can help you. I'm a Silurian—I hate the humans as much as you do,” she bluffs. “I came here to see if I could help you destroy them.”
The Cybermen pause, as if reconsidering. “Your position is acceptable. Join us.”
“So, how did you meet Jenny and Vastra?” Anaya asks as they wait for the demonstration to begin.
“They helped the Doctor solve a murder,” Tesla explains. “I was aboard his ship at the time, along with several others.”
“Goodness,” Nellie blurts out. “When was that?”
“Either three hundred years ago, or about two months, depending on who you ask,” he laughs. “What about the three of you?” Up on the dais, Edison comes out and introduces himself, expounding upon the dangers of alternating current.
Anaya does some quick math in her head. “About eight years now for Nellie and I.”
“And only a few days for me,” Cianna adds.
Meanwhile, Edison describes his latest invention, the electric chair: “The only safe use of alternating current is ridding the streets of hardened criminals and other pestilence.”
“Has it been that long?” Nellie wonders, keeping one eye on the dais. “I suppose we have grown quite a bit. It does make one think, when you put it like that, if there isn't something else I should be doing with my life.”
“There you are,” Henry bursts in, breathless.
“What's the matter?” Cianna asks.
Edison continues his spiel as Henry's heart rate settles back to normal. “For instance, your serial killers, like Clarence DeMarco,” he offers. “Or putting down the stray animals that choke your streets,” he continues, bringing up a series of bare metal cages filled with ill-cared-for cats and dogs.
“Cybermen, probably,” he blurts out. “In the factory, come on,” he insists, taking them each by the hand.
“As if I needed an excuse to go,” Nellie says. “Looking at what he's going to do to those poor animals...” she shudders. “It's almost enough to make me feel sorry for DeMarco all over again; how can people watch that?”
“Everyone loves a bit of blood—public executions haven't been out of style that long,” Anaya points out.
“Still, equating stray animals with undesirable people?” Behind them, they can hear a sizzling shock, followed by a cheer. “I don't like the sound of that in the least.”
“No more do I,” Tesla adds, shaking his head. “I wanted nothing more than to improve the lives of my fellow men—science can work such wonders as you could scarcely imagine.” He smiles. “Well, perhaps you could imagine them, being so young and yet having seen so much.”
“Aren't we going to get Strax and Dr. Doyle?” Nellie asks. The two medical men are reviewing DeMarco's psyche in an effort to determine whether or not he is of sound mind.
“Nope,” Henry says, releasing their hands. “Because he'd recommend a frontal assault, and get us all killed.” Nellie blinks; she hadn't expected that sort of response from Henry. “We're going to need to find some other way of stopping them, which is why I went for you two and Tesla.”
Vastra runs a gloved hand along her sweaty brow; the device, whatever they have been working on, is finished. She has been working as slowly as possible, taking every possible moment to search for escape routes or listen for plans. The Cybermen stop what they are doing, standing at attention, and Vastra takes a moment to drop out of sight behind the machine. “The strategy is proceeding as planned,” the Cyberleader reports. “We shall begin phase two: cyber-conversion of lesser species for diversionary strike at local capital.” They mean to attack Parliament, Vastra realizes, but neither that news nor the sound of a familiar voice cause her to gasp.
“Splendid!” Simeon! She thinks. Impossible: she saw him fall. She shakes her head at the tragedy of the past Christmas. How did he survive? How long has he been scheming against them? Is he the shadowy hand which she has suspected to lie behind DeMarco and the attacks in the press?
The Cyberleader hesitates with some vestige of its human curiosity. “Why do you betray your kind? On many worlds, humans are so foolish as to prefer to die rather than abandon that which makes them weak.”
Simeon smiles frostily. “I assure you, I am even less human than you are. One of them, a man named DeMarco, betrayed them willingly enough. He was already a cold-blooded murderer when I found him, and it was easy enough to guide him along his natural inclination. But his usefulness has come to an end, and so I need other means for my revenge against the Doctor.”
“But the Doctor will not interfere?” If a Cyberman can express trepidation, then this one surely has.
“No, I can assure you that he is distracted at the moment.” A noticeable pause. He knows that I am here, Vastra thinks wildly in the instant before Simeon continues, and that split-second of notice may well have saved her life, she realizes as she flees. “But one of his associates is here. Kill her.”
“The Silurian had become surplus material,” the Cyberleader replies nonchalantly. “She will be deleted.” Fortunately for Vastra, the Cybermen hold their fire around the conversion devices, giving her time to break into a full run. She reaches the shadows of the factory unscathed, and now the plodding cyborgs cannot hope to catch her. She breathes a sigh of relief, pulls her hat and veil back on, and vanishes into the crowd. Time to find Strax, and see what fate befell her wife. They will need all the firepower they can muster against a dozen Cybermen, maybe more.
“Pat him down,” one of the toughs orders. “Skinny the lad may be, but he gave me quite a wallop.”
“Hush it,” the second tough rebukes Jenny, his hands rough. Jenny sighs. He'll figure it out in a moment.
She rolls her eyes as the man's hands find her breasts, small and bound as they are, and pull away as if burnt. “Sorry,” she tells him mockingly. “Birth defect.” She curtseys as well as she can with her hands tied behind her back.
“What is it?” the first tough asks.
“She's a girl,” the other replies nervously.
“I was trying to tell you that,” Jenny informs him crassly.
“In that case, maybe we have a little fun before the boss comes in,” the first tough decides, cracking his knuckles as he steps towards her. His hands and mind are at his belt buckle when Jenny floors him with a roundhouse kick. Blood sprays from his broken nose.
“Try that again,” she proclaims as she cleans the blood from her boot by wiping it forcefully on the crotch of his trousers, “and I'll kill you.” The man on the floor whimpers in pain as she grinds her heel one last time before stepping back.
“I expect she will,” opines a new voice. “Leave her be.” The tough on the floor takes advantage of the opening to skitter away to a far corner of the room.
“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Edison,” Jenny replies. “Please, have a seat.” There, she thinks, that ought to put him off his guard. She carefully doesn't look at her sword, across the room from her.
“I am afraid that I do not know your name, and so you have me at a disadvantage,” he responds, equally polite.
“Do you?” she replies sweetly, turning slightly to show her bound wrists.
“No matter. All I really care about is the name of your employer,” he presses on. “Who is it? Westinghouse? Tesla?”
“Just a concerned citizen, curious as to what a great inventor such as yourself gets up to.” Jenny's voice oozes like treacle.
“And that's about as likely as the foreign army you used as your excuse last time,” Edison snarls, finally losing his temper. Jenny keeps her face blank, but knows she has already won. “I haven't got time for this nonsense.”
Jenny blinks as she hears the sound of metal footsteps. “No,” she agrees as they break down the door to her left, “you really haven't.” She dives to her right as the first Cyberman electrocutes the man with the broken nose and grabs her sword, slicing through her bonds as she goes. Edison trails after her, in good shape for a man in his middle forties.
“What the hell were those?” Edison asks as soon as they are safely away. “And what are they doing in my factory?”
“Cybermen. Half-human, half-machine killers.” Jenny shudders. “And if you want to see the inside of your factory again, you'll help me figure out how to stop them.” Edison nods, half-reluctantly, still shaken by watching a man die. “Come on, then.”
“The female Silurian has escaped,” the Cyberleader informs Simeon. “She is of no consequence; scans indicated primitive edged weaponry.”
Simeon scowls. “She and her friends have proven to be capable adversaries in the past. You would do well not to underestimate her.”
The Cybermen pause, their collective intellect processing and adjusting probabilities. “We will accelerate the assault. The first wave of conversions is complete. The diversion will be adequate against the humans' weaponry.”
“Good, good.” Simeon rubs his hands together as the specter of glee flits across his face.
Henry blinks when they reach the factory. “I swear there were Cybermen here—I could hear the footsteps.”
“I'm sure you're right,” Nellie says as they approach the abandoned machinery. “I just wish you weren't.”
“I wonder what they wanted with this machinery?” Tesla asks, peering at the devices.
“And with Edison's menagerie,” Anaya adds, gesturing to the cages, some empty, but most packed with stray animals, many of them sickly or whimpering uncomfortably.
“Tell me,” Tesla says, straightening up, “what is it that these Cybermen do?”
“From what we've heard, from Vastra, Jenny, or the Doctor, they used to be human, but now they're barely more than a few organs in a metallic body,” Nellie recalls.
“Fascinating,” Tesla whispers. “Horrifying, but certainly fascinating.”
“And now they want to convert the rest of us into their so-called superior state of being,” Henry concludes. Cianna closes her mismatched eyes and shudders.
Tesla mulls this over as he reexamines the machinery, taking several silent moments to himself. “I could be wrong, but I believe that these devices could be used for the conversion process you describe, except for the fact that they do not appear to be configured for human beings.” His eyes flick over to one of the empty cages. “Ah. Oh dear.” He bows his head. “Tell me, how do we fight these monsters?”
“Emotion!” Nellie recalls. “That was how Jenny fought off being converted. They can't handle bursts of raw emotion.”
“And presumably these machines are capable of tapping into the emotion centers of the brain,” Henry theorizes. “If only we had some way of beaming that emotion at the Cybermen.”
Tesla smiles. “I will see to that.”
“Strax!” The Sontaran perks up as Vastra bursts into the jail. “Have you heard from Jenny?”
“No,” Strax replies, puzzled. “I was not expecting a report from the boy.”
“There are Cybermen, in London, plotting an assault on Parliament,” Vastra relates. “We must run back to Paternoster Row and arm ourselves.”
“I beg your pardon, madame, but that will be unnecessary.” Strax lifts a heavy-looking bag from the floor and opens it to reveal a vast array of weaponry. “Dr. Doyle had the foresight to tell me to bring along the tools of my trade.”
“I meant medical instruments...” Doyle sighs. “Why do I even try?” He shakes his head. “To Westminster, then?”
“First to the factory,” Vastra corrects him. “If Jenny hasn't come here, then she may have been captured. But let us move with all haste. Dr. Doyle, if you would mobilize the police here; they will be useless against the Cybermen in a pitched battle, but perhaps they could assist with evacuating the civilians from the area. Strax and I will proceed to Westminster Hall at once.”
“Wait,” Jenny whispers, grabbing Edison by the arm and pulling him back. As little as she liked the man, she didn't want him dead, not when they could put his inventive brain to work against the Cybermen. He nods and waits behind her in the shadows as ranks of Cybermen march past. Once they are clear, she sets off in the opposite direction.
“Why this way? Aren't we going to fight them?” Edison asks, though frankly, she thinks he sounds relieved.
“Just the two of us? Not on your life,” Jenny snorts. “No, we're going back to the factory to see if they left it undefended—that looked like it might have been all of them.” And maybe my wife will be there, she thinks. It's times like this I wish I prayed, she muses, and her heart is in her throat until they reach the factory just as Vastra and Strax arrive. “Madame!” she cries, heedless of the risk, and Vastra pulls her into a kiss.
“Europeans,” Edison mutters. “Come on then, it's your city.”
Vastra coughs, and they all move into the factory, moving cautiously. “Do you hear that?” she whispers. The others nod and raise their weapons: the sounds of machinery are quite distinct.
They inch along carefully until they hear voices, causing Jenny to break into a smile and rush forward. “You lot!” she cries joyfully. “Never cease to amaze me.”
Henry grins sheepishly as he begins to explain their plan. “And then we beam the pain of the animals directly into them with Tesla's machinery.”
Vastra nods. “That should do the trick.”
Strax is crestfallen. “I was rather looking forward to that firefight.”
“We'd best get to Parliament anyway,” Jenny observes with a shake of her head. “They haven't got anything yet.”
“I should like to help, if I can,” Edison announces. “I shudder to think that humanity could have created something so cold, so artificial, desiring only to draw all else within itself the way that race of metal men does.”
“Sounds like the Edison Corporation to me,” Vastra notes dryly before she leaves, and Strax and Jenny follow close behind her. Edison merely chokes on his reply, and offers his hand to Tesla, who accepts with a smile.
“I would be happy to work by your side, and let the past be the past,” he offers. Edison merely nods, and sets to work.
Henry waits until they are out of sight, then stands up. “Come on, then,” he implores the others. “We aren't going to do any good here—we might as well try to find where the Cybermen are going to make their main attack.”
“I'll come with you, then,” Nellie offers. She is a bit surprised by the fact that Henry has had two quite sensible, non-violent ideas in a row, but perhaps she hasn't been paying as much attention as he warrants, even with all the time they have spent together. Henry nods in acquiescence, with just a tinge of pink at his temples.
“Are they dating?” Cianna asks Anaya as they leave.
“I don't think so,” Anaya replies dubiously. “Though I suppose it has been a while since the last time I saw the two of them; I suppose things could have changed since then. And I did always suspect that they fancied each other.” She pauses to bite at a thumbnail as a carriage rattles by. “Maybe they are. Or will be. Or maybe they have been and don't know it.” They did go to the circus together. And the suffragist rally. And now Edison's demonstration...
“Did you fancy him?” Cianna asks; Anaya blinks. “Sorry,” the strange girl apologizes hastily, “I just saw the way you looked at him.”
“He is rather handsome,” Anaya admits. “And he finally seems to have grown a brain to match.” She sighs, allowing herself a hint of wistfulness. “I used to think I wasn't good enough for him. But I'm very happy now, thank you, and I wish my friends might be happy as well.”
“A noble wish,” Cianna admits. “I don't know that I could do the same.”
“Henry?” Nellie hesitates as they track after the Cybermen.
“We are chasing after an army of murderous cyborgs, aren't we?” He nods breathlessly in confirmation as they run. “And we're almost certainly going to be killed unless two rival scientists can stop their feuding long enough to build us a weapon which we aren't sure is going to work,” she continues, plowing ahead without waiting for acknowledgment lest she stop. “So I thought now would be a good time to tell you that I think I love you.”
Henry pauses, blinks, stammers. Then he gives Nellie a proper kiss, bending her backwards until her hair nearly brushes her heels. “Come on then,” he gasps. “We've really got to save the world now.”
“Yes, I suppose so,” Nellie laughs. Goodness, she thinks, that went well. And if that's what he can muster up when surprised, she can't wait to see what he can manage with some planning. And some practice.
“We're getting close,” Anaya whispers, and in the hush they can hear the relentless clang of metal footsteps interspersed with the screams of fleeing civilians.
Cianna cranes her neck about and nods. “That way,” she points; though the echoing sounds are difficult for Anaya to pinpoint, she seems confident in her choice. “Sorry,” she continues, flustered, and gestures to her eyes. “I forget sometimes...”
Anaya shakes her head. “Don't worry about it,” she assures her, recalling that the girl had hinted that her unnatural eyes had some unusual characteristics. “Hardly the strangest thing I've ever come across. And there's nothing wrong with being different,” she continues, noticing the beat of hesitation in Cianna's face.
The other girl merely smiles shyly, and remarks, “Oh, I know.” Anaya is curious, but doesn't push the issue further, instead creeping closer to the Cybermen.
“The jail,” she whispers excitedly. “That's where they're going. Come on, let's get back to Tesla and Edison.”
Henry and Nellie arrive back at the factory a moment after Anaya and Cianna, having given up the search, hands clasped and faces red with exertion. “How's it going?” Nellie asks, dropping Henry's hand as they catch their breath.
“Almost done!” Tesla announces giddily. “There was some difficulty in translating the synaptic impulses—which are, of course, electrical in nature—which have some fascinating theoretical implications—”
“Nikola,” Edison interrupts, tone practiced and weary. He turns his gaze to the younger ones. “If you fetch a carriage from the factory stable now, we can finish the final details on the road.”
“Do you need any help?” Anaya asks. Tesla shakes his head, and all four step outside. She pivots to Henry and Nellie, who are walking rather closer to one another than she might expect. “And is there something I should know?”
“We're madly in love!” Nellie proclaims, and she and Henry both laugh with nervous excitement.
“Terrific!” Anaya exclaims, and Cianna joins her applause as they reach the stables. A few minutes later, two carriages are ready to go, and, with some effort, their secret weapon is stowed aboard the first.
Vastra replays her recording as they bounce in their carriage to see if Jenny can spot anything new. Her wife hisses as she hears Simeon's voice, but keeps listening. Finally, however, she shakes her head. “Nothing,” Jenny says at last. “Interesting that DeMarco was essentially healthy before he claimed his first victim, or before Simeon got to him.”
“I thought so as well,” Vastra agrees. “But we have nothing further to go on than that a group of Cybermen wants to distract us from their main target with an assault on Parliament, and that we have no choice but to walk into their trap.”
“And here we are,” Strax announces, bringing the carriage to a halt. “Time for the fun to begin.” He hops heavily to the ground, laser rifle in hand. Vastra nods curtly, surveying the scene; Doyle and his policemen have done a good job of evacuating the area, and there is hardly a soul to be heard. That makes the clatter of metal paws that much easier to hear.
“Take your positions,” Vastra orders, and the trio fans out, longer-range weapons aimed at the first wave of cats and dogs. “And fire,” she concludes as the former strays move into range. She shoots quickly but methodically, trying not to waste the limited charge on the weapons. Fortunately, the creatures appear to be imperfectly armored, and if it comes to it, she has her swords beside her. Jenny smiles grimly beside her; she knows her love is less practiced with the gun than she is, but she cannot afford even a moment to reassure her.
Then an almighty thump spoils her aim. “Sweet goddess,” Vastra murmurs, involuntarily retreating a half-step. She suddenly recalls the size of the cages in Edison's factory; one of them must have been big enough to house an elephant, for that is surely what trundles towards them, the smaller animals scurrying closer as if desperate to stay out of its way.
Jenny's eyes widen as she notices the vast beast. Tales of the African continent are among her guilty pleasures, and she has heard how difficult it is to bring down an ordinary elephant; she can scarcely imagine the amount of punishment necessary to put down one with armor-plating. “Our chances of dying gloriously have just increased,” Strax calls giddily as he flings a grenade into the approaching cyber-animals. Jenny nods nervously, and draws her katana as she plunges into their midst. At least there are far fewer now than there were when they started, she muses as she slashes at her foes.
“It's getting closer,” she yells, and indeed, it is beginning to trample the stragglers of the canine and feline army. She laughs, a little wildly, because there is a metal elephant trundling down the street, after all, and if any further proof was needed that the Cybermen were emotionless hulks, it was that this image failed to tickle their sense of the absurd. At least it isn't firing a laser out of its trunk, she muses. “Try and lure it over here,” she cries, cutting through her foes until she reaches a nearby building. She doesn't wait for Vastra's nod as she scales two flights of stairs. She smiles as she reaches a window—in their haste, the Cybermen left the back of the creature poorly-armored. She locks eyes with Vastra as she jumps. “Get out of the way!” she cries, as the elephant attempts to shake her off. She sinks her blade into its back, cutting through hoses and flesh, and hangs on for dear life, her weight sawing her sword back and forth as she slides to and fro. Suddenly, without a sound, the elephant sags to the ground, dead. Jenny stands, knees weak, blood leaking from her nose and mouth where she bit her cheek, and pulls her sword free. Surveying the scene and seeing no other threats, she plunges the blade into the elephant's neck to make sure that it is truly dead. Her face is a bloody mess, and her arms and legs are covered with claw-marks and bruises, but she is alive, and victorious. Having a difficult time finding a clean patch of cloth to wipe her katana with, but alive and victorious nevertheless. That final feat accomplished, she sags to the ground, drained.
Cianna and Anaya lead them back after the Cybermen, and Henry goads their carriage parallel to their foes until they are nearly at the jail. Then he cuts across the path of their indefatigable march and comes to a stop. “You would fight us with children?” the Cyber-leader taunts.
“Yes, actually,” Henry tells him.
“And science,” Anaya adds.
“And emotions,” Nellie concludes as Tesla flips the switch on the device. White lightning flares out to each of the nearest rank of Cybermen. They have time for one, brief, electronic scream before their heads explode from the infusion of raw, instinctual emotion.
With a savage grin, Henry wheels the carriage around and drives into the heart of the formation. In seconds, the metal army is a pile of slag. His grin fades as he recognizes the jail. “I can't believe it,” he spits, disgusted. “I just helped save Clarence DeMarco's life.”
“Let's leave him for the justice system,” Nellie tells him playfully. “If nothing else, I expect Madame Vastra will find a way to murder him in his cell if a just verdict isn't rendered.”
“Speaking of which, we should see if they're okay,” Anaya reminds them, and Henry nods, and starts the horses trotting.
Nellie is gratified to find all three of her friends alive and well, and the city still standing. She beams as she hops down from the carriage and pulls Henry into a celebratory hug.
“Is there something you wish to tell us?” Jenny asks; Strax merely looks baffled.
“The good news is that we blew up a bunch of Cybermen, and that Nellie and I are in love,” Henry begins cautiously.
“The bad news is that we've decided to leave your employ in favor of finding steadier work,” Nellie adds, heart in her throat. But Vastra merely nods, and Nellie smiles as the weight lifts.
“I expected that you would all move on someday,” she says simply, “as you grew older, and settled down with your new families or found more fulfilling careers.” She smiles easily. “Please let me know if you require any assistance in the future, and if it is within my power, I shall do it.”
“Good luck to the both of you,” Jenny wishes them as reporters and photographers begin to circle around them. “And keep in touch.”
“Of course,” Henry promises them. He beams. He supposes it has been a rather hectic day, even by their standards, what with a serial killer facing trial, an industrial rivalry, a Cyberman invasion, a pair of great, big battles, and all, but somehow, it all seemed less important with Nellie by his side.