Last chapter, sorry it's late, but i reckon FanFiction has had problems as well, so don't blame it all on me!
I felt sick in the stomach from stress and worry. I knew it wouldn't help to do this to myself, but I couldn't think of anything else. I shouldn't worry, the Doctor would sort things out. He had to. He had to.
It was too dark. I couldn't see a thing, though normally there was some light, stars or the sun shining though the cracks or Jeb's ingenious mirrors. There was an eerie silence that reigned as well. No Jeb, no Doc to greet us. I began to panic,
no, we'd been so careful, they can't have found us now!
I thought I heard Jared and Ian move around, but I was disorientated, I guessed this was the Games room, but I couldn't be less certain. There was something else odd about this place. It was too cold. The desert temperatures were extreme, but this...was lonely. a lonely cold that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and made me briefly think of the creepy old ghost stories Mel would tell just to scare me.
The entire group tensed at the sound of footsteps. They echoed around this strange cavern, ominous and foreboding. A light flickered on the wall from a gas lantern, the illumination revealing that we were indeed in the Games Room. But how it had changed. The place looked like nobody had been down in weeks, mattresses layered with purple dust lay strewn on the floor. Odd, we'd left just after the rains...
The stranger approaching us rounded the corner.
It was Jeb. Not looking a day older. His face cracked into a grin when he saw us.
"Well now ain't this a pickle! You told me you'd be here, an' I never doubted it. But you" he exclaimed jabbing at the doctor "You went an' got the date wrong!"
"Got the date wrong?" we exclaimed simultaneously.
"Sure, you came back no more'n five minutes after you left started talking about space rhinos an' the like, then you" he jabbed at the Doctor again, "said you'd arrive here, in my future, your past, an' I'd just have to tell you you'd got the date wrong."
"So what is the date?" Jack inquired staring at the Doctor, whose face had gone from confused to guilty to indignant.
"Lemme see, It's about 9 months since you left, an' a heck of a lot has happened..." I wasn't the only one to stare at him in confusion.
"Don't, you could..."
"Create a paradox that'd rip a hole in the fabric of time and destroy half the universe. I remember Doc."
The Doctor looked like he'd swollen a lemon. He was about to say something else but Jeb cut him off.
"You think that one there" he said jabbingn at me "would allow you to decide what was best for her? You think we'd let you destroy her that way?"
"If she goes back she will die."
"If you leave her here, you condemn the others to death"
"hang on..." Ian was trying to understand what was going on. The only people who could enlighten us were currently having a staring contest. In the end the Doctor relented. Shooting me an apologetic look, he grabbed everyone to teleport again.
We landed in the middle of a crowd of people. It seemed like the entire cave system had packed itself into the Games room. I felt arms grab me and haul me away from the group. I tried to protest and I heard Ian growl at Andy to let me go, but he ignored him. There wasn't any room to breathe so many people were pushing. Twisting in the iron hands that restrained me I saw Ian being similarly held by both Brandt and Aaron. I stared around, confused. Jeb wasn't anywhere to be seen. Maggie, eyes bright with fury was leading the mob. I saw Lacey and Sharon haul Jenny into the clearing in centre of the room. Her head was bowed, and I thought I saw blood trickling out from her nose. Jack and the Doctor followed soon after. Jack had a back eye and the Doctor immediately knelt by Jenny, checking out her injuries.
I heard a yell and saw Jamie struggling to move towards the trio. The others surrounding him were too strong, but he didn't give up instead he started screaming at them to disappear, to run.
"What are you doing?" I hadn't seen Jared so furious since he'd come back from that raid, when I first arrived. I shuddered, trying not to relive the memories. I felt an arm squeeze my waist. I looked up to see Ian. His face was tight, but he flashed an -albeit forced - smile at me. Aaron and Brandt were at the edge of the clearing, with their back to the prisoners, clearly in the mindset that Ian could go where he wanted, just not there.
"They're aliens, they're plotting another invasion!" Maggie stated calmly. The mob murmured it's assent. I looked back at the dishevelled group. They were all standing defiant. Though I noted the decidedly protective stance the two men had around Jenny, who's nose was swollen.
"Ahem." Jack cleared his throat. "Yeah. Don't know what water you're drinking, Ma'am. But we just saved you from an invasion."
"You lie! The only aliens that come, come to destroy!" I didn't recognise the voice, but turning I saw one of the Zombies there, eyes alight with hatred.
"Did the Zombies get better?" I surprised myself, the words blurted out without me wanting them to. Ian stared at me stunned. Silence reigned.
"Well, what's that..." Sharon began, but Ian had had enough
"They did that, they freed them. They saved us, and you do this?" Many people bowed their heads, a few shuffled out. The ringleaders: Maggie, Sharon, Lacey stood glaring at the trio with undisguised disgust.
"We demand to put the trespassers on trial!" Shouted Lacey. The crowd applauded and their were some cheers. I could barely believe my eyes, I felt nauseous that these three were so filled with hatred as to prosecute innocents in another's stead. I couldn't help but feel a little bit guilty, after all, the Souls were the ones to start it all. Where was Uncle Jeb?
"Right! In Jack's defence..." Jenny shouted clearly. She seemed determined to make a point, despite her father's vain attempts to silence her. She ignored him and if anything shouted louder.
"The Captain cannot possibly be trespassing on this planet. He's human, just like you." Jack shot her a look. Obviously the comparison didn't sit well with him. The crowd just muttered unhappily.
"was he born on this planet?" asked Sharon contemptuously.
"No. But I'm classified as human." Jack answered before she could interrupt. He didn't like how Jenny was trying to help, but the three women's attitude was rubbing him up the wrong way.
"Then you're in collaboration with them, a traitor!" Maggie sounded quite mad.
"Oh come on..." I heard Jack mutter. The Doctor made a choking sound, as if he were suppressing laughter.
"We caught you here, plotting another invasion, what're your plans Space-man?" Maggie's voice got higher and shriller.
"There's no plot..." Jenny said exasperated
"How long were we gone?" The Doctor asked instead of answering her.
"Four minutes, 32 seconds" Jeb had arrived. The Doctor sighed. "Right now, that's enough, back to work all o' yeh."
The crowd thinned, though I could see some people lagging deliberately, I could understand, this was much more interesting than weeding the carrots.
"I think I'd better explain..." The Doctor began.
"Yeah I think you should." Ian agreed. I silently agreed even if I disapproved of the aggression in his voice. I was tired of the secrecy, I wanted to know what they kept glancing at me for, I had a right to know the truth. The Doctor glanced at the three rebel leaders, who immediately drew themselves up and shot him death glares. I was very impressed that he could hold their gazes without flinching.
"Right, Magnolia, Lacey, Sharon, out!" Jeb stated, The Doctor shot him a grateful look. The room cleared slowly, now the leaders of the mob had been dismissed, there was no point staying. As soon as the last of the curious protesters had left, the Doctor started speaking:
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. The year we left was 2014, so about 10 years after the Soul invasion. Unknown to the invaders, the organisations like Torchwood and Unit had fail-safes in case of this sort of thing happening. A distress signal was sent out."
"Took them long enough" Jared muttered, Mel shot him a reproachful glare.
"Oh this is quick, it normally takes at least 25 Earth years before the Shadow proclamation will do anything. Bunch of pretty speakers who won't do anything until it's too late. Anyway...The distress signal was sent out. Now, planets are classed by importance. Level 1-5, Earth is level 5. Invading such a planet is strictly forbidden, an alien presence is supposedly tighly regulated. Of course, the proclamation being a load of bureaucrats, allot of nasties pass under the radar."
"Which is where we come in..."
"yes thank you Jack" said the Doctor looking at his friend pointedly "Were was I?...Oh yeah.
"A distress signal, however, can't be ignored. They sent a fleet of Judoon out to investigate. They're like galactic police, weeell more akin to interstellar thugs. They arrive Friday 13th March 2015. The planet is quickly cleansed of all extra-terrestrial forms of life. Any non-humans identified on the planet are immediately sentenced to execution. The cost is 12 billion sentient creatures. The aliens are guilty of invading, the hosts of harbouring them and being complacent."
I felt Ian's arm hold me tighter. I hadn't truly processed the Doctor's words yet. I didn't want to understand what he'd said.
" Surely they know that hosts and Souls can be seperated?" I heard Mel demand furiously
"They don't care, as I said, they view both parties as guilty."
"Judoon don't reason that way. But what's important is you can't prevent it. It's a fixed point in time. It has to be this way, the consequences are too massive to change."
"There has to be a way..."
The Doctor shook his head at their protests.
"Is that why you tried to leave us nine months in the future?" I asked, with a flash of intuition, still not thinking about the enormity of what he said...
The Doctor looked guilty. "Yes, I couldn't stand doing nothing, I thought, if I could save you... "
"But, that's what you meant!" Yelled Jamie suddenly, "You said yourself uncle Jeb : "If you leave her here, you condemn the others to death" we must be able to do something!"
My family all looked at the Doctor hopefully. He seemed to be at a crunch point.
"It just might...the Judoon aren't stealthy, nobody is stupid enough to attack them, If the Souls have scanners, they'll see them a mile away. The ships leaving probably won't be searched, as there's no proof of wrong doing. But, how would you explain your knowledge of this? The Souls will kill you if they see you." he said pointing at the humans "And if the Judoon spot you..." Ian held me close at that statement.
"We can't just do nothing, we can already extract Souls and send them away, we'll just do more, and try and see if we can tip them off without being caught..." Mel seemed resolute on doing something. I felt a swell of emotion for my sister. Then I felt guilty for not having faith in her. Of course she'd help my family.
"But Mel..." Jared interrupted, turning to her. It sounded almost like we were planing another raid and I smiled at how such a discussion could sound so familiar. I settled myself comfortably against Ian for a long debate. I wasn't worried any more.
The Doctor pulled me aside, as soon as Jared and Mel started off.
"You gonna explain the kid's outburst earlier?" I asked raising my eyebrows. I wasn't going to let him leave until I knew exactly what was going on.
"Yes, you see, I intended to drop them off in nine months when everything was over, to protect Wanda." the Doctor looked quite serious. I frowned.
"She wouldn't have survived the shock of it Doc,"
"I know, but I had to try..." He looked at me pleading.
"It ain't right to save her 'n no one else." I said stoutly.
"I know, you'll tell me so in nine months. Now listen, this is the only thing that'll make the past me bring them here: tell him that telling Wanda what happened would destroy half the universe by creating paradox that'd tear a hole in time. Remember that for me. It's the only way to convince me to bring them here."
I didn't get his logic, if the event had happened by then, then surely it didn't matter. I told him so, but he laughed.
"Yeah...but by then you'd told me I'd got the date wrong, so I couldn't take chances."
"But, you've just told them what will happen." I pointed out gleefully.
I grinned at his sheepish expression, delighted to have trapped him like this.
"Weeell, me being me, I can judge these things better." His pouting expression had me grinning so wide I'm surprised my face didn't crack in two.
"but," he continued seriously, "I've given you the knowledge that will save thousands, but the majority of the implanted population will be executed. History will be written to say an epidemic swept the globe of unknown origin. all records of the Ivasion are destroyed after the event has passed from living memory, so humans can have a clean first contact. Just a heads up, In case you wanted to preserve anything."
I nodded, grateful for his advice. Of course most of us would pass on the stories, and maybe some relics, the invasion was part of our heritage now, we couldn't let it be erased like that.
Once the Doctor had relayed everything he could remember of the few minutes of that time nine months in the future, he took his leave of us. They left quietly, slipping away, obviously trying not to be attacked by the mob again. I wasn't worried, when the Zombies had returned, the alieno-phobia had flared again stocked by the (heavily embellished) accounts from the ex-detainees. Now everyone had had time to cool down, things would go back to normal.
Well, the quiet escape was soon forgotten when Doc came running in shouting that they'd nicked the Jeep.
Life went on much as it had been, we went on stealing Souls to send home, and we started broadcasting a radio message warning the Souls of what was coming. (Luckily one of the former hosts was once a mechanic)
I wonder sometimes, if the Doctor had made the right choice. I know, had I been left without being able to do something, I'd have wasted away with grief. I don't blame him for trying to save me, putting half the universe on the line seems quite a gamble. I imagine him up there, with the daughter he didn't know and the immortal man, and wonder, if he regrets his decision. I don't.
Well I'm glad I've finally got it all out. I hope I didn't shove too much into the last chapter
please review, I can't improve if you don't!
thanks for reading