There was no source of light and there were no shadows, making Jyn feel detached from everything. She kept expecting to fall through the floor no matter how solid it felt beneath her feet. She, Cassian, and K-2SO had left the strange door behind them but now she was starting to regret it. The corridor was long and there was no ceiling, only white walls that rose high above their heads on either side.

"Still no readings," K-2SO said. "I'm starting to think I'm broken."

"You're not broken, Kay," Cassian said. He looked up as if he expected danger to swoop down on them from above. "I wonder if this is why everyone evacuated."

"Some sort of invading force, do you think?" Jyn asked.

"Except they haven't invaded."

Yet. Jyn shivered. Ever since the Doctor had come into their lives, the universe had gotten stranger and stranger. As much as she was tempted to go back, there was nothing left there for any of them. They'd failed their mission but now they'd been given a new one. Find answers.

The corridor gradually transformed into an artificial geography of right angles and shadowless contours, of alien shapes that hummed so lightly it could only be heard if you held your breath.

Cassian exhaled slowly. "We're definitely nowhere near Yavin 4."

Despite the lack of shadows and the place's uniform whiteness, Jyn got the impression of being in a vast space. "You don't suppose it was some sort of experimental teleportation technology?" If so, they shouldn't have been so ready to go through that door. For all they knew, they'd been atomized and cloned half-way across the galaxy.

"I don't know what to believe anymore."

White shapes gave way before them, revealing something familiar which broke up the bright monotony.

Here was the aliens' fleet of Death Stars. At least some of them. Because the space was so vast and empty, they could see many of the huge, spherical craft. Some were grounded and some seemed to be docked high above them. Some were in a state of construction, metal skeletons only half-covered in paneling.

Jyn's heart sank as it really hit home. Everything they'd lost to get the Death Star plans came washing over her, everything they'd sacrificed for nothing. And this time they were on their own. No rebellion and no Doctor to help them this time.

"No time to think about it," Cassian said suddenly. "Come on."

There was movement and several armored aliens appeared. Jyn didn't get a good look at them as Cassian dragged her aside. They fell behind one of the many near-invisible shapes. Feeling around it, Jyn realized it was hovering several inches off the ground though it felt as stable as a boulder.

The aliens didn't seem to notice them and now they spoke together in a quick, chirping language.

"It's even bigger than we realized," Jyn whispered. How many Death Stars were there? A hundred? Two? How many had there been near Kalee? "How could they have kept this a secret for so long?"

Cassian shifted so he could better watch the aliens. "It doesn't add up. Your father helped design the Death Star. Yet he knew nothing of this?"

"If he did, he would have told me." Despite what she'd thought of him through the years, she believed it wholeheartedly. She believed in Galen Erso and that if those plans had ever made it into rebel hands, it would spell victory. At least, it would have once, in a universe in which such a devastating weapon was one-of-a-kind. "And besides, the Doctor said they're not Imperial."

"Well, the Empire is really purist," Cassian said in disgust. "But you can't believe everything the Doctor said, can you?"

"What reason would he have to lie?"

"There are lots of reasons."

"He saved our lives." Jyn couldn't believe they were arguing about this again.

"Why? In my experience, nothing comes for free."

"You saved my life. You and Kay."

Cassian looked torn. "You know why we took you from that prison transport."

Jyn bit her lip. "Maybe that's my point. You saved me in order to find my father but I'm better off, aren't I?"

"Are you?"

The aliens were still talking. They seemed to be in deep discussion about something. Jyn watched them for what seemed a very long time. If the rebels had left her alone, she might have lived out the rest of her days in a labor camp. She'd have lived longer, but she wouldn't have been free. If she'd died on Scarif, she wouldn't have regretted it. She didn't.

"We need to figure out our next move," Jyn said, steering the conversation to more pressing matters.

"There's not much we can do on our own," Cassian said. "We need back up."

"We need to get out here."

"We need a ship."

"I wish we could hear what they're saying," Jyn said. "We need to know what they're planning."

"You could have started with that and skipped the bickering," K-2SO said. "I will go ask them." He rose out of their hiding place.

"No, Kay, stop –" Cassian hissed, drawing his blaster.

"Excuse me." As soon as K-2SO was visible, the aliens leveled their weapons at him, weapons that looked like electrostaves but which Jyn suspected worked more like blaster rifles.

"Dammit." Cassian rose.

K-2SO unapologetically raised his hands. "I don't think they're going to tell," he said.

"Kay!"

Several of the aliens pointed their blasters at Cassian and Jyn as they abandoned their hiding place. Taking advantage of the momentary distraction, K-2SO lowered one hand and shot a blaster bolt directly at one of the aliens' chests. It collapsed and there was no time to think.

There was alien shouting and the fizz of energy in the air. Jyn's finger squeezed the trigger of her own blaster. It was over in seconds, the group of aliens lying still on the ground, spilling watery blue blood.

"I cannot believe you did that!" Cassian said, running over to K-2SO. His voice was so tense it threatened to break. "And when did you get a wrist cannon installed?!"

"Two months ago. I don't see what all the fuss is about, you were there."

A blaster bolt struck the floor a foot away from Jyn. She immediately spun, blaster at the ready. "Come on!" They were out of their element. More aliens were coming for them.

Cassian returned fire and missed. One of the aliens shouted something.

The way back to Yavin 4 was blocked off and so Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO had no choice but to run even deeper into this strange and alien dimension.


"That is so wrong," Bill said as she shut the Tardis door, closing them off from the world outside.

The Doctor wholeheartedly agreed. As he adjusted controls on the console, he kept one eye on the video screen which gave him a view of the mine where the slaves were busy toiling away under the watchful eyes of the Wardens. There were many practices throughout the universe that he couldn't tolerate but the worst was the robbing of free will. Everyone had a right to live their lives freely, to think and act as they pleased so long as it did not impinge on another's rights. He would never understand the sapient's desire to take advantage of others.

"The situation is worse than I thought," the Doctor said.

"So what are we going to do about it?" Bill joined him at the console.

"We're going to find out where these Wardens came from." He pulled a lever.

The Tardis groaned and the video of the mine was replaced by tightly-wound Gallifreyan script. If anything, at least this moon gave them a place to start.

When the Tardis rematerialized and he checked the readings to make sure the environment outside was safe, he opened the door and peered out.

The Tardis was perched on a ledge half-way up a mountain and from here he had a good view of the valley below.

Many of the furry aliens were gathered there, all of their attention riveted to the spacecraft in their midst. From the belly of the ship marched several Wardens, clad in armor, faces obscured by their helmets.

"Is this before they were slaves?" Bill asked, peering around him into the valley. "Shouldn't we do something?"

"We can't change time." The Doctor wished he could hear what was being said though he could guess. He'd seen it before. An advanced species landed on a primitive planet and set itself up as gods. It was actually quite common. "Fixed points and all that."

It didn't matter if the two species could understand each other or not. Judging from the natives' clothing, they were pre-industrial and the lack of weapons spoke of a pacifistic society. The Wardens were sure to impress.

As if on cue, the aliens knelt as one, bowing before their gods.

The Doctor retreated back into the Tardis. He went to the console and tweaked the temporal coordinates. "Korva said his people were expecting the Wardens. But for how long, I wonder?"

When they next emerged from the time vortex, it was at the edge of a town five hundred years prior to the arrival of the Wardens. Too late, when the Doctor and Bill entered the town, he realized that he couldn't blend in like he did on Earth. He looked nothing like these furry, long-eared aliens who openly pointed at them and whispered to their companions. Some of them scurried away when the Doctor met their gazes.

"Maybe we should have started with 'we come in peace,'" Bill said, forming the Vulcan salute with one hand and trying to smile disarmingly though it looked more awkward than friendly.

"Excuse me," the Doctor said but the words were barely out of his mouth before the alien he addressed bolted. They were a timid bunch, that was for sure.

"We don't mean you any harm," Bill tried. "Is this how you feel whenever you go to a planet without any humans on it?"

"Usually when I go to an alien planet, they've already accepted the existence of extra-terrestrials." He caught the eye of one alien who didn't run and took that as an invitation. Putting on his friendliest smile, he approached and said, "Hello. Can you spare a moment to talk about our lords and saviors, the Wardens?"

The alien seemed taken aback at being addressed. He lowered his gaze, forced himself to look back up again, and made a visual effort to remain composed. "Are you here as the Liar? You were not sent by the gods."

"Well that's an impossible question to answer. If I say no, you'll only assume I'm lying but if I say yes and I am the Liar, then I must not be but if I'm not, then I was telling you the truth, in which case I am." He could have gone on forever except that both Bill and the alien were giving him incredulous looks. "Paradoxes can be tricky to navigate. So you are waiting for someone?"

It took a second for the alien to realize he'd changed the subject. "Our gods," he finally said, "whom we obey."

"Good. That's all I needed to know." He turned and strode away, leaving the perplexed alien to stand there and stare.

So even in this time period, they were still expecting the Wardens to show up. It was starting to look more and more like the Wardens had shaped their culture and beliefs to suit their own needs, giving themselves a willing slave race for when the time came.

The Doctor put in the next temporal coordinates with more force than necessary.

"Where are we going?" Bill asked.

"Further back in time." The Doctor pulled the lever.

Here, beneath the glow of the gas giant, many aliens gathered at the foot of the stone temple and raised their voices in eerie song which drifted across the night. They danced and they left offerings for the statue perched atop the temple, a statue of a humanoid figure with long arms and long legs, a staff in one hand, its elongated face devoid of features.

The Doctor shut the Tardis door. "Further," he said.

At their next stop, the surface of the moon was dry and covered in salt and sulfur. The air was hot. Vapors wafted on the breeze and Bill stayed behind because she couldn't breathe as long as he could here.

The Doctor's steps took him across the barren landscape when he found, long ago engraved in the multicolored rock, a pictogram. It was not made by the natives' hand as their ancestors were still floating in the shallow seas. The shape of the head was unmistakable.

Bill said nothing upon his return, only watching him as he ran a hand through his dusty hair and worked once more at the console. "Further," he said.

The Wardens hadn't come to make themselves gods. They were gods and they'd never left.

The Doctor hesitated before going out this time. There was no going back any further. According to his readings, there was enough atmosphere to maintain a bit of heat but no oxygen. This was the end of the line.

There was no use in waiting any longer, so he looked.

Before him stretched a gray, desolate expanse of rock and not too far from the Tardis, a white glowing door.