30 April 2009
The Dalek Crucible
Rose didn’t know what was going on between the Doctor and Jack, but she didn’t like it.
The antagonism was almost strong enough to cut with a knife. The Doctor seemed disapproving, almost disappointed; and Jack was hurt, and that made him angry. Something had to have occurred to put that sort of strain on the pair of them, and she didn’t think she was going to find out what it was easily.
The Doctor had changed the subject the one time Rose had asked about how Jack had come to this time, and to this Earth. There was a story about it, and she would have given anything to be able to corner one of them about it, but there simply wasn’t any time to do just that.
She had the distinct impression that she wouldn’t like it, but didn’t know why.
Still, she’d have time to discover the truth once the Daleks had been taken care of. Rose had faith that the Doctor would be able to send the Daleks packing, and to make sure the Earth got back to where it belonged.
And then she would go travelling with him once more.
She was looking forward to that.
But until that happened, Rose was going to do whatever the Doctor needed her to, and if that meant dropping the subject of the animosity between the Doctor and Jack, then she would.
But she was going to get some answers. And she was going to correct whatever had gone wrong between the man she loved and the man who was like a brother to her. They shouldn’t be like this with each other.
The Dalek space station was impressive, and the sheer number of Daleks was frightening. A part of her wished she still access to the Vortex, to be the Bad Wolf once again, and to destroy this empire just as she had the last one. If she could take away this responsibility from the Doctor, she would.
However, in this time and place she was just an ordinary woman, one who’d seen too much and who had wanted more than anything to be with the man she was meant to spend the rest of her life with. To stand at his side while he sent these Daleks packing.
That was what the Doctor did.
The Dalek that met them outside the TARDIS was larger than the others. Its body was of red metal, with gold spheres along the bottom of its frame and with heavy-duty matching struts along the upper shell. There was something even more intimidating about it than the usual Dalek, and it struck Rose that this one was in charge.
“Behold, Doctor!’ the red Dalek declared, and if a Dalek could sound smug this one certainly did. “Behold the glory of the Dalek race!”
The Doctor stepped forward, putting himself between the Dalek and Rose. She wanted to roll her eyes at him, but that the same time she was grateful that he was willing to protect her in this small way. Jack was standing at the Doctor’s shoulder, his body far too still under the long RAF greatcoat he wore. Rose remembered that coat, or one like it: Jack had had one during the Blitz, when he’d come barrelling into their lives and had made himself at home in the TARDIS. Rose hadn’t seen it after that, Jack having adopted a more up-to-date wardrobe, but at some point he’d gone back to it, and it suited him.
She had so many questions for her old friend, but she put them out of her mind in order to pay attention to what was going on around them.
There was a noise behind them, one that Rose quickly identified as the TARDIS door slamming shut.
All three of them spun toward the time machine. It sat there, looking quite innocent.
But Donna and Clint weren’t with them.
They had to have still been inside.
“Come out, you two,” the Doctor called. “It’s no safer in there than it is out there.”
Instead of them following the Doctor’s instructions, a pounding noise came from within the TARDIS.
“Let us out!” came the muffled voice of Donna Noble. “Doctor, what have you done?”
The Doctor took a step back toward the TARDIS. “I haven’t done anything!” He sounded confused as he tried the door.
It would not open.
The sound of cursing floated from inside the TARDIS as the door shivered like someone had attempted to break it down. Rose just knew that was Clint Barton, trying to get them out.
Rose couldn’t help but think that this was it. That this was what the Dimension Cannon had been pointing toward, as it couldn’t have been coincidence that the two people it had shown as being important were the ones now trapped within the TARDIS.
It was almost like a sense of déjà vu, realising that she was witnessing something that shouldn’t be happening, and yet it was doing just that.
There was more banging on the door. “Let us out!” Donna shouted again.
The Doctor rattled the door handle once more, then turned and glared at the red Dalek. “Stop it!’ he demanded. “Open the door and let them out!”
Rose didn’t know why the Doctor thought this was the Dalek’s doing. She was very much aware that the TARDIS had a mind of her own, and there were times when she did things that no one could understand. Rose had often felt that alien intelligence brush against her mind when she’d travelled within her. If the TARDIS wanted Donna and Clint to stay inside, then that was going to happen and only battering in that old wooden door would get them out.
“This is Time Lord treachery,” the red Dalek accused.
The Doctor looked as if the creature had just slapped him. “Me? The door just closed on its own!”
Jack had his hand on the wood, and there was a faraway look in his brilliant blue yes. Rose just knew the TARDIS was telling him something.
He sighed, then lowered his hand from the rough exterior of the time machine. Jack stepped away to glare once more at the red Dalek, as if he could destroy it with his brain.
Rose had to wonder why the TARDIS was talking to him in whatever way she had, and not the Doctor.
“Nevertheless,” the Dalek intoned, “the TARDIS is a weapon and it will be destroyed.”
With that proclamation, the section of flooring the TARDIS had been parked on opened, and the time machine slid into the hole, disappearing from sight.