"Piper," the Doctor cried one last time as her companion dissolved before her eyes. Piper was gone, the Doctor hadn't had the chance to save her, or even tell her how she felt. The Doctor was ready to scream in frustration, or grief, but probably a combination of the two. She looked to the floor where Piper McLean once stood expecting to see a pile of ashes, but she was greeted by no such sight. There was no pile of ash and dust characteristic of a disintegration ray, not a single speck. The Doctor felt a surge of hope, that meant that Piper hadn't died, she'd simply been teleported somewhere. But where that might be, who had that sort of technology, and why they wanted losing game-show contestants, the Doctor couldn't say.
"They aren't dead," the Doctor thought, her face lighting up like the sky on the Fourth of July, "they've been teleported."
"Who exactly are you," the host asked, with look of intense confusion, as if her grass had suddenly been turned pink.
The Doctor stepped forward and plucked the gem from her hands, "That isn't your concern." She placed it in the left pocket of her red plaid shirt, opposite to the one in which she kept her sonic screwdriver.
The woman stepped forward and said, "You can't just-" The Doctor cut her off with a glare as icy cold as the earth's poles and the woman wisely shut her mouth as the Doctor left.
Piper awoke with aching arms, sleeping legs, and a head ache so bad she wondered if Athena might spring from her brain any moment now. She groggily opened her eyes and tried to orient herself. She was surrounded by hundreds of people hanging by their wrists, half-dead, with fluids pumping into their bodies through strange IVs. She didn't remember how she'd gotten here, or where her Doctor was, and she was afraid. This was obviously an experimentation lab, and they were the guinea pigs. And the ones in charge obviously didn't care about being humane. Piper felt herself start to panic and she flailed about in her bonds. This wasn't how she was going to die. She wouldn't die as a lab-rat, surrounded by her pathetic, beat-down kinsmen. She let out a scream, perhaps someone, anyone, would come to her rescue, though in hindsight, it wasn't probably the best idea. There was almost certainly a staff member of whatever this establishment was running about, and they wouldn't take kindly to her mortified screams.
She saw a young woman in a white lap-coat walking towards her. She let out a sigh of relief, but it was premature. The woman took out an enormous needle with green fluid in it and Piper screamed again before she felt the needle penetrate her arm and the world was black once again.
The Doctor slunk about in the metal and ominous corridors. They passed various large metal doors labeled things like "The Battle of Wits", "Love Sucks", "The Ultimate Make-over", and "Monopoly: Extreme", before coming across a set of enormous double doors labeled "Control Room." They were locked, but a quick bit of sonicing did the trick and they entered the large hall. There were many rows of desks, with laptop computers setting on top and people working and spinning about in swivel chairs. At the head of the room sat a large super-computer, with cables and wires sticking out every which way and buttons and glowing dots all over it. At the very top, was a large screen, larger bigger than a white board but much smaller than one in a movie theater.
The Doctor strutted down the aisle and towards the computer. She took out her sonic screwdriver and started tinkering with the device, trying to set up communications with however sat on the opposite end of the teleportation system. The man who was sitting directly beside the computer sent her a confused look.
He loudly asked the whole room, "Is she supposed to be doing that?" Some people rolled their eyes and continued to work, but a few others looked around the room and noticed her perched by the computer system.
"No," said a woman that seemed to be a superviser, "security!"
"And, got it!" the Doctor said with a triumphant look on her face. The screen started to show the other end of the teleporter. She continued to fiddle around with the device for a moment before she established two-way auditory communication as well. The employees around the room seemed to be in a state of shock, and many of their jaws hung agape. A few looked angry or embarrassed, as if their terrible secret had been unearthed, the skeletons they kept in their closets finally being brought to light.
The Doctor took a few steps back to see what exactly she had stumbled upon. Over a thousand years of time and space, the Doctor had seen some pretty terrifying things. The fall of empires, the murder of species, slavery, torture, war, the deaths of friends, her race, and many more, but now she had another atrocity to add to her infinite list. On the screen, the Doctor could see at least twenty people, and she assumed that there were many more. They were lining the walls in Mid Evil prison style shackles, and most looked half-dead. They all had various IV's hooked up to their bodies, pumping odd and dangerous looking chemicals into their bodies. The Doctor felt as though she was going to be ill.
Then, she looked more closely at a certain mocha skinned woman towards the middle of the row. She had braided pigtails and was wearing a lavender dress. She was twitching around in pain, which wasn't a fantastic sign, but she was alive.
"Piper," she thought, and then the Doctor took a final look around the picture of the room. She told herself that she could do it, she could save Piper, and hopefully, all those people as well. She clutched the gem in her hand and fiddled with its hard-drive, making sure that it could transport her back when she was done.
The Doctor held the gem out in front of her chest, and her molecules dissipated.
She reappeared in the vast hallways of that testing area. She walked for a long while through the twisting and curving corridors lined with dying people and she was vaguely reminded of catacombs and a short story by Edgar Allen Poe. She was surprised that she hadn't ran into any of the beings that are in charge of this facility, and she wondered for a moment who they might be. What would anyone have to gain by experimenting on humans? Her mind offers up thousands of disturbing possibilities, but she pushed them away. She didn't want to think about the terrible things they might have done to Piper. A few corners later, the Doctor saw the glittery dress Piper was wearing twinkle in the fluorescent lights. Her breath hitched, but she continued to walk towards her.
Apart from a nasty bruise on her head, presumably from falling over after being dossed with anesthetic or a similar occurrence, and the IVs sticking out of her arm, Piper looked perfectly healthy. The Doctor gently removed the IVs and then set to work undoing her bonds. The sonic screwdriver quickly freed her and the Doctor gathered her in her arms. She paused a moment, considering her next course of action, when she heard loud and frantic footsteps.
"I saw someone," a voice with a slight robotic quality said, it sounded loud and near, "I swear, they were walking about, and it wasn't one of us."
"That's ridiculous," said another, similar voice, and now it sounded even closer, "no one is here-" The two humanoid robots turned the corner and caught a glimpse of the Doctor and Piper. Whatever he was going to say, the rest of his sentence died on his lips as he turned the corner and saw the Doctor standing there with another woman in her arms.
"I told you," the first said, but the second took out a taser like device and aimed it at the Doctor. She was hit with a bolt of electricity and she heard their voices as she faded into unconsciousness.
"Doctor, Doctor, Doctor," said a voice as she awakened, "I'm so glad that I brought you here. I haven't seen you in years." She opened her eyes with a jolt. Before her stood a black haired man with a thick, curly beard and ominous golden eyes.
"Kronos," she snarled, "I should have known that you'd survived." She tried to come to grips with where she was. She was seated in a metal chair with metal binding her arms to the sides. They were in a small room with metal walls and little scenery, except for the small window that showed the vastness of space, constellations of stars twinkling in the distance. In the corner sat a computer, similar to the one in the Control Room. The Doctor filed that away for future reference. Piper lay discarded and ill on a nearby table.
"Well I am a titan," he said with an inhumane grin, "the titan god of time."
"God of time," she said as if the words tasted foul on her tongue, "you aren't the god of anything, much less time. You had to steal a TARDIS from my people."
"So did you," he said in complete nonchalance, "we aren't so different, Doctor."
The Doctor wasn't in the mood for Kronos' join me on the dark side, rule the world, be a titan speech today, so she went right to the point.
"Why do you want these people," she said, "why are you experimenting on humans? This is an abomination."
"I'm figuring out the perfect combination of DNA to resurrect my race," he said, "humans would be the perfect building blocks for titans. I could bring them back. You'll witness the recreation of my race. And then, my new titans and I, we'll rule the universe, just as we were always destined to." There was a mad look of both hope and power in his eyes, one that the Doctor remembered well. The Doctor felt bile rise within her as she remembered the Hero's last day, when he'd turned into that monster.
Kronos starred out the window, and the Doctor saw her chance. She bent her right wrist into an uncomfortable position, and she tried to lean forward. She worked her wrist into the inside of her shirt and gently pulled out her screwdriver, wincing from the strain of using her wrist this way. She grasped it like a life line, and silently undid the bonds on her hands, placing her screwdriver back into her pocket.
"And I've finally got it right," he said, turning back to face her with a mocking look on his face, "I'm going to try it on your friend." She almost burst out of her chair right then, but she held herself down. She couldn't blow her cover now. She had to formulate a plan to get out of this mess.
"Bring in the formula," Kronos said, and another humanoid robot burst through the door with a giant needle filled with pink liquid.
"As soon as this enters her little bloodstream," Kronos said, an arrogant tone in his voice, "she'll start her metamorphosis, and when it's through, we'll have ourselves another titan." Kronos turned away from her and faced the robot and Piper. The Doctor hopped out of her chair, and ran silently to the computer in the corner of the room, hacking into the system and setting up a self-destruct. Kronos had grabbed the needle himself and was starting to walk towards Piper.
"Kronos," the Doctor said, looking to him, "step away from her. Step away from her or I'll blow this whole bloody ship up. This is your warning: Don't mess with the people I love."
"You wouldn't," he said, completely calling her bluff, "if you set it off you kill all these people that I've tortured, yourself, and your precious girl. We both know that you won't." And with that, Kronos stabbed the needle into Piper and though she was still unconscious, her body convulsed on the table.
"It's going to be wonderful," he said, "a new Titania with new titans! Oh, we're coming back, Doctor, and there's nothing you can do to stop it."
The Doctor looked back to the computer, and she tried to rip through the grief and the panic and come up with a logical solution. She ran forward, towards Piper's pained form, and pushed Kronos to the ground. She grabbed her, and ran back to the computer.
"You wouldn't," Kronos said, starring her down, but the Doctor had already removed the gem from her pocket.
"I don't do third chances, Kronos," she said. The Doctor clicked the self-destruct on the computer, and as the explosion started, the gem teleported them far, far away from the carnage and inferno.