Alright folks, I know the chapter's late. Unfortunately it'll be a while later.
Due to personal reasons that have contributed to a few health problems, I haven't been able to finish this chapter yet. I have about 8 pages done on this chapter, that I've put on the end of this author's note, but I can't give you an estimated time for the rest. I'm hoping really soon, but that's just optimism at the moment.
Thanks so much for your understanding, and I'll try to get the chapter up as soon as humanly possible.
Anyway, here's what I've got so far… If there are spelling errors/grammatical errors, please let me know. I haven't done the full go over I normally do before posting.
"We have to go rescue her!" Sarah was halfway through the entertainment area, ignoring the startled Wraiths, before Luke could catch up to her.
"It's not time yet. You know that." He explained patiently. "The Force is telling me to wait. I know whatever precognitive senses you've picked up are telling you to wait as well." The Jedi Master's face was serious, even as Sarah tried to pull away.
"Luke, I honestly don't care what the Time Vortex told me. I'm probably wrong. Heck, if I had arrived earlier, instead of listening to my feelings, maybe we wouldn't have fallen into this trap-"
"If we hadn't, we wouldn't be here to help Winter. You have to trust your feelings-"
Sarah tore herself away from the Jedi, glaring viciously at the man. "This isn't the Force, Luke. This isn't the Gift, this isn't the Sight, it's nothing that I know, and it's nothing that I can trust. I'm not 'precognition girl', I'm 'live in the moment girl'. And right now, I'm going to live in the moment, and go and save Winter."
He didn't try holding her back again, but his quiet voice did the job well enough anyway. "Do you trust me?"
Sarah stopped again, turning with a sigh. "With my life, Luke. You know that."
"Not with Winter's?"
"I trust you'd do what's necessary to save innocent lives, whether they be someone you know or someone you don't, Luke." The logic frustrated her immensely.
"Then don't trust the senses you've gained. Trust the senses I have mastered." He reasoned, and Sarah's shoulders drooped.
"Fine. We'll give it a little while longer." She slumped into a seat next to Shalla at the Dejarik table, dropping her head to the holographic tabletop with a thud. "Ow."
Han had been in the cockpit, monitoring the repairs, when a strange energy ready appeared on the Falcon's sensors. Probably just a ghost in the system from all the cannibalism we've had to do to get the Falcon even flight worthy.
The exsmuggler sighed and stood, peering out the cockpit. His eyes widened as he saw something seemingly appearing out of thin air, fading in and out of existence. "We have incoming!"
Sarah cocked her head as a faint, familiar sound came from outside the ship, an almost thrumming.
"We have incoming!" Han's bellow sounded from the cockpit, and Sarah stood, a thoughtful frown on her face. Donos had his laser rifle out and was quickly assembling it.
"Wait a minute." Sarah ordered, the frown still on her face as she trotted to the boarding ramp. The frown intensified, a confused spark added to the expression, as a blue box materialized in front of the boarding ramp. Turning her head slightly towards the ramp but not tearing her eyes from the Police Box, she called back, "Hold your fire… he's a friend… sort of."
Then she crossed her arms against her chest and waited.
It wasn't long before a head full of hair that almost seemed to stand up on its own poked out of the doorway to the TARDIS, a large grin on the man's face. "This isn't Raxacoricofallapatorius!"
Sarah groaned. "No, Doctor, it's not. What are you doing here?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. The TARDIS didn't seem to want to go to Raxacoricofallapatorius this time… she kept on wanting to come here. I wonder why…" He brightened and shrugged. "She must like you."
"That's fantastic. Would you mind taking the TARDIS and… well, leaving? We were about to launch an attack on an enemy complex that's shooting Republic ships out of the sky." Sarah explained, inwardly sighing. She didn't have anything against the Doctor, really… he was just irritating.
"Really?" If anything, the Time Lord seemed more fascinated. "Sounds like a bit of fun. Need any help?"
"Thank you, but no."
"Aw, please." He was actually pleading, and Sarah sent him a disbelieving look.
"You could die."
"So could you. Is that stopping- oh, hello. Sarah, would you mind telling your friend to put down the gun?"
Sarah turned to see Donos with his rifle pointed squarely at the Doctor's head. "Put it down, Donos."
"How do I know I can trust him around my Chief of State?"
"Because I vouch for him."
"How long have you known him?"
"Only a week or so, really-" The Doctor supplied helpfully, and Sarah hung her head, letting out a breath. She'd almost forgotten how frustrating and honest the man could be.
"Then I can't take your word for it, Messenger." The Lieutenant seemed angry.
"Is this because I didn't trust your girlfriend, is that it?" Sarah asked, exasperated. "Because the situation's a little different."
"How?" The man asked. Interestingly, he didn't dispute the girlfriend comment.
"Because this man is the only reason I survived the last week. Because if it weren't for Mithros trusting him enough to bring him to my dimension, I would be dead right now. No ifs, buts or maybes. Simple as that, dead as a doornail."
"Or the dodo." The Doctor added cheerily, and Sarah sent him a glare.
"So? Lara saved my life."
"Oh for crying out loud… Leia!" Sarah yelled, and the Chief of State made her way past the rifle wielding pilot, an interested expression on her face. A harried looking Shalla followed her.
"I don't think-"
"Lieutenant Nelprin, if Sarah believes this man to be trustworthy, then I have to believe her." Leia informed the woman firmly, but without rebuke.
"Oh, so you're the Chief of State, are you?" The Doctor's voice was interested. "There must be something about Sarah that makes her attract leaders."
"Yes, Doctor, Leia's the President of this government. And it's more that my job takes me to people in high places – the people most likely to affect the dimension's progress." Sarah explained patiently.
"And you said you were about to storm a complex or something?" He asked hopefully.
Sarah was about to say 'yes, but it's not time yet', when she frowned. She didn't exactly have a feeling of urgency… it was more that she didn't feel they had to wait anymore. "Yeah. Yeah we are. Right now. It's time."
"Chief of State-"
"I've told you to call me Leia." Leia began as she checked the power levels on her blaster.
"L-Leia." Lara seemed to have trouble saying the name, but she soldiered on. "I get that you don't trust me. I wouldn't either. But you've never met this man that appeared out of nowhere, and you're letting him come with you on a dangerous mission? Sarah may vouch for him, but does she know what he's like in a firefight?"
"He'd be hopeless." Sarah confirmed, before sighing. "But we had to wait for him. So he's coming with us. And something's telling me that he's good in a scrap anyway."
"Besides," Leia added, looking Lara in the eye. "I do trust you. You're coming with us."
Lara was shocked, but she nodded, checking the power levels on her own blaster, before freezing. "Just one question. There are twelve of us, and my speeder only seats five. How are we getting there?"
Sarah looked around curiously. "Well, the TARDIS seems none the worse for wear, considering my little stunt. I thought you couldn't travel between dimensions, anyway?"
"So did I! But it seems, after you absorbed the power of the Time Vortex and gave it back, the TARDIS seems to have absorbed some of your abilities, like the ability to travel between dimensions. I much prefer my own dimension, though, much nicer. People don't shoot ships out of the sky with super lasers there – well, they do. One Christmas when the Sycorax invaded, Torchwood did, but that was a bad day all round…" The Doctor trailed off when he noticed everyone else staring at him. "But anyway! Welcome to the TARDIS. It stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. It can travel through time and space, and yes, it is bigger on the inside."
I can't believe I'm willingly travelling in this thing. I don't know why, but it doesn't seem like a smart idea. Sarah thought to herself, but she shook her head. After all, it was the only way for them to get to the pirate base. "Can we just get moving, Doc?
He sent her a startled look, as though he hadn't known he was rambling, before grinning. "Sure! Hold onto something."
"Wait, what?" Face started forward. "What about the seats?"
The Doctor blinked, before gesturing to a leather upholstered seat that could fit two females, if they squished, and no one else. "Sarah and the Chief of State can take those. The rest of you should just hold on."
The knight shook her head before securing herself against the hand rail. "Tyria needs the seat more."
Leia had rolled her eyes. "Just sit down, Sarah. I'll stand."
Sarah just raised her eyebrows, shaking her head. "Nope."
"You're impossible, you know that?" The older woman grumbled, before taking the seat.
The Doctor seemed to take objection to that statement. "She's not impossible. Just a bit unlikely."
"Just get this ship moving, Time Lord." Sarah returned in exasperation.
He frowned at her. "Hold your horses." When she glared, his frown turned into a bright grin. "Alright, let's go!" He spun around and batted at a lever, before twisting a knob and pressing a button. Then he picked up the hammer, and Sarah's eyes widened. He brought the hammer down relatively gently on three sections of the controls, and tossed it aside, before running around to the other side of the control panel.
"Uh… Doc?" Sarah asked, holding on for dear life as the ship rattled and bucked. "You want some help?!"
He stopped in his tracks, expression entirely too innocent, and sent her a perplexed look. "Why? What's wrong with my flying?"
"This is normal?!" Face shouted. "We're all going to die. Gibson, I take it back. You're not a bad flyer. He is a bad flyer."
The Doctor had gotten back to his attempt at piloting. Now he frowned, turning around once more. "Well that's just rude. I have half a mind to take you back to the Millennium Falcon and leave you there."
"Just. Focus. On. Flying." Sarah growled as the TARDIS hit a particularly rough spot and her grip was almost ripped off of the rail she grasped tightly. Suddenly, the ship stopped moving. It stopped rattling and bucking, and Sarah cautiously let go of the hand railing. "That was it?"
"Yeah!" The Doctor sounded almost insulted that she would insinuate a trip in the TARDIS should last longer. "It wasn't even on the other side of the planet! Only one hundred and thirty two longitudinal degrees-"
"Right. Whatever. I suppose that's our cue to leave. Doc, stay behind, guard our escape with your sonic screwdriver-" An involuntary snort forced its way out of Sarah's mouth, and before she could continue, the Doctor objected.
"Nah, I reckon I'll come with you, see what all the hubbub is about. Maybe help out if I can." The Gallifreyan suggested, but there was something in his voice that brooked no argument.
"Why do I feel like I'm going to regret this?" Sarah muttered to herself, before nodding reluctantly. "Fine. Let's go."
Winter hung from her restraints, teeth locked together in an effort not to scream. She was hanging from a horizontal slab, bound by her hands, feet and stomach. The metal slab was apparently a very good conductor of heat – a fact the scarred man was exploiting fully. Right now, the slab was being supercooled to temperatures below zero. The cold seemed to burn more than the heat, which had been approaching temperatures that would burn human skin, just a moment ago, only to stop just before it reached it.
Her body was going into shock, and all that training she'd underwent was slipping as her body betrayed her. But she held off the scream until her vision started darkening, and she allowed herself to fall unconscious.
The scarred man sighed, disappointed. "She held out longer the first two times. Unstrap her and chain her to the wall. We'll let her body recover, so she lasts longer. I'd hate for her to die before I've had my fill."
How did I get stuck with him? Sarah asked herself again as the Doctor made another grab at her hand. "I am not holding hands while we run through an enemy compound." She hissed to him. Tyria had also drawn the short straw, and she brought up the rear. Sarah didn't bother looking behind herself to check for the grin she knew was on her face.
"We'll run faster!" He promised.
"Oh come on…" The Time Lord was nagging, and Sarah pulled him to a quick stop, pushing him against the wall.
"It's obvious that even though you're over nine hundred years old, you don't do this often." She began, talking quietly and quickly as she looked down the droll corridor. She was wishing profusely she was in Leia's group – she'd argued that they should stay together, but Luke had shaken his head, suggesting vaguely that Sarah and the Doctor needed to see what this corridor held for them, while the rest of them ran for the power conduits that powered the super weapon. "But the fact of the matter is, this is my job. I'm not going to say I'm very experienced, but I know a bit about it, and I know holding hands is not the best way to go about it. I need both hands free – one for my weapon, one for wielding my Gift. So if you really need something in your hands, clasp them in front of you or something. But this is a very serious situation, and I need you to cooperate for once in your extended existence, understood?!"
He pursed his lips before sighing dramatically. "Fine. Let's go." And with that, he continued running – straight into a couple of pirates, that had been turning the corner at the same time as he was. "Oh, hello!"
They raised blasters, and Sarah raised a hand sheathed in crimson. A shield appeared between them and the Doctor, just as they fired, and a loud whining filled the hall. Shit. That was too loud. Sarah clenched her fist, and the shield moved backwards, quickly, slamming the pirates into the wall. Then she dashed forward, grabbed the Doctor's hand, and ran back the way they'd come. Because just at that moment, half a dozen more pirates turned the corner.
Tyria had taken cover in a door frame, and was providing cover fire for the duo. Sarah reached her, put up a shield, and yanked her out of the doorway. "Doc, open the door!"
He pulled out his sonic screwdriver and fiddled with it for a moment, before pointing it at the control panel. The door slid open, and Sarah shoved Tyria inside, then the Doctor. She was next through, and without any prompting the Doctor turned and locked the door with his sonic screwdriver.
"I can't believe it! I seriously can't take you anywhere, can I?" Sarah snapped at the man, not paying attention to the room they'd locked themselves in, or their other ally.
Tyria had turned pale at the feeling of pain emanating from the room, but she hadn't had time to explain that feeling to Sarah when she'd been shoved through the door. Now, though, she looked around. There was a large slab with shackles and a restraint for the subject's waist, and a heating element on the other side of the slab. Tyria swallowed past the lump of revulsion in her throat, as she cast her eyes around the room once more. This time, she found the source of the feelings.
"Sarah!" She snapped, pulling her away from the Doctor and pushing her in the direction of the naked woman hanging from her wrists against the wall.
The knight's eyes widened. "Oh, god, Winter." She was at the woman's side in a flash, and she scrabbled at the shackles that bound her. "Come on, come on!"
When she couldn't pry them open, she let her anger seep into her Gift, and melted the shackles. Winter slumped between the two women, and they barely caught her in time. Her back was the red of a light sunburn, and she moaned lightly when Sarah's hand came in contact with the skin in an effort to catch the woman before she collided with the cold ground.
The Doctor had shrugged off his coat, now he draped it over Winter's shoulders, as the white haired woman began rousing. "Wake up, Winter." Sarah murmured, lowering her to the ground. "Come on, Winter, wake up."
Tyria was helping her with the other woman. Now that Winter was settled on the ground, she stood and walked hesitantly towards the table. When she laid a hand on the table, her shoulders stiffened, and she flinched at the pain she was feeling through the Force. "They tortured her on this thing."
Sarah's head shot up at this, and the expression on her face quickly turned to rage. "What?"
"It seems this set up-"
"Don't." Sarah interrupted. "I don't need to hear it. Let's just get her up and out of here, and contact the main group. We'll take her back to the TARDIS and meet up with them. Have you got an infirmary on that thing?"
Just as she asked that, Winter stirred again, and her ice blue eyes cracked open. "Sarah?" She rasped, before coughing to clear her throat. "What in the name of the Force are you doing here?"
"Helping out. Can you sit?" At Winter's pained nod, Sarah helped her up as gently as possible. "What were you doing here, anyway? How'd you get captured?"
"That's rich coming from you." The spy returned sharply, holding her head in her hands as she pushed herself to her feet. The Doctor's jacket hung down past her waist, and she held it closed with one hand.
"One, this is you we're talking about, not me, and it wasn't a critique, it was an honest question. Two, take it easy, we'll carry you back to the TARDIS." Sarah still had a hold of Winter's arm. Now that the woman was vertical, she wasn't about to let go. The look Winter sent her had her eyes widening. She'd never been on the other end of the woman's colder side – in fact, she hadn't known it existed until that moment. "Or, we could do it your way. What did you have in mind?"
"Is Leia here?"
"Not here here, but here, yes." The sound of blaster bolts colliding with the door made Sarah wince. "How safe are we in here, Doc?"
"The door's locked, but they can still get inside if they blast it down." He explained, not looking worried at all.
"I recognize Lieutenant Sarkin," Winter began, looking at the tall man suspiciously, "But who's he?"
"A new friend of mine. Very annoying. I apologize in advance." Sarah explained quickly. Before Winter could comment, there was a voice from the other side of the door, deep and mocking.
"You are surrounded. If you do not wish to join Agent Winter in our… fun, I suggest immediately surrendering."
"Or, we could, you know, not." Sarah yelled back, taking note of the way Winter's arm tensed at the sound of his voice. "How's about you just leave and I don't kill you painfully?"
"Very amusing. But I don't think so." He called back, and the firing on the door resumed.
"He the guy that did this to you?" Sarah asked in a low voice.
Winter's face didn't show any emotion, but she nodded slowly. "Yes."
The knight didn't bother pulling her blaster – she went straight for the dagger Ziva had leant her before she'd left Earth. "Open the door, Doc."
"We should just teleport-" He began, but Sarah just glared.
"Now, Doc, or I start blasting." She warned. He sighed, and pointed the screwdriver. Sarah had a shield up before the door opened; it contained all the blaster bolts that streamed towards them when the door opened.
There were perhaps a dozen enemies behind the door. They faltered at the sight of the crimson shield, but now they were raising their blasters. Sarah didn't waste any time – the shield flew backwards in a mirror of the trick she'd done with the first two pirates. They slammed into the wall, and Sarah strode forward, grabbing Winter's tormenter and lifting him to his feet.
She promptly put the blade to his throat, and hissed in his face, "One reason. One reason why I shouldn't carry out my threat."
"Rebel scum, you wouldn't dream of killing someone in cold blood." The man sneered at her, and she applied a little more pressure with the blade, hoping to intimidate him. His sneer just deepened, and she shifted her grip so she could sock him across the face.
"You're right." She replied through gritted teeth. "Doesn't mean I won't stand by and let your victim do it."
She quickly frisked him, liberating him of a small hold out blaster at the small of his back. Watching him warily, she backed up, and held the blaster out to Winter. "Your choice, Winter."
Sarah had expected some debate in the woman Leia had chosen for her children's protector and nanny. She got none, as the woman checked the power setting on the blaster, and shot her torturer in the head.
The Doctor's eyes had widened when Sarah had given Winter the blaster – only a firm look from Sarah had stopped him from stepping forward. Now his jaw hung open, and he was about to comment when Sarah put a hand over his mouth and dragged him forward. "Come on, let's get Winter back to the TARDIS-"
"No. Where's Leia? I'm going to help."
Big thanks to dares to dream for reviewing the last chapter! Also big thanks to hms42, who's been steadily making their way through my stories and author alerting/story alerting/favourite story – ing most of my sarah series!