Hello everyone! This is the second chapter of my first fanfiction ever. It's more Ten/Rose-orientated though, so sorry, but it had to be done. I'm still open to alien name suggestions, just so you know :) Please comment!
This has got to be the worst Tardis trip Rose has ever had in her entire life.
Rose could hardly keep her balance as the Doctor fussed about the console, yelling at ninety miles an hour.
"The Salox should be close. I've just got to increase engine power and stabilize focus jets and maybe tweak that position fulcrum before trying to even trying to move the Tardis off-center-Ow!" the Doctor yelled. Rose had lost her grip on one of the Tardis' support columns, careening straight into the Doctor's side. The Doctor nearly toppled to the ground.
"If you could drive this thing perhaps with a little more skill, I wouldn't have to collide with you so often, would I?" yelled Rose. She nursed her sore arm, breaking into a grin when she saw the Doctor's face; pained and indignant.
"You know I failed my driving test! Besides I think I'm doing pretty well, considering the circumstances." the Doctor was rubbing his side. Note to self: Rose's elbows were deadly and not to be messed with.
Once again, the Doctor's attention was grabbed by the console screens. He started to mutter again, when Rose poked him in the ribs.
"Oi! There ain't any buttons where you're poking that can make this ride any less bumpy, so quit it!" the Doctor said, annoyed. Rose pursed her lips.
"You still didn't tell me where you were going to bring me to! Normally your trips aren't as bad, so I'd reckon some explaining is in order?"
Not taking his eyes off the screens, the Doctor spoke. "We were going to see Atlantis at its peak, but the Tardis detected the presence of the Salox lingering somewhere where we were passing through, so immediate change of plans."
"Ancient species. Great and magnificent and in their prime, until the Time War." the Doctor's face was expressionless.
"The Salox used to possess a great wealth of information about everyone, everything, every planet, every galaxy, every time." Rose's eyes widened.
"Every time? So they can see the future?"
"Not exactly. You see, the reason why the Salox knew so much was because they assimilated knowledge. They're a race with unique psychic skills. Usually they can simply look into your head and get what they want without harm. Simple clairvoyance stuff. However, the Salox can also remove knowledge or memory. They get there inside your heads and suck the knowledge out of you. It usually hurts like crazy if they did it by force. Some baby Salox might accidentally assimilate their parents, sucking out all that knowledge and memory into themselves, leaving their parents witless." Rose shuddered.
"How come a race that terrible can be 'great'? I mean won't they be like feared by everyone, since they can just take away your memory and stuff?"
"Well... Not everyone wants to remember things that they have done."
Rose looked at the Doctor, understanding.
"That's how they live. They offer to take away certain memories, and in return either get information from the customers' heads, or money. The information can then be bartered off for other stuff. Don't worry, they usually don't go around eating people's minds. You see, the Salox have got to get verbal permission in order to 'edit' your memory. So they're actually a very gentle race. You know, more often than not, Salox parents actually feed their children their knowledge and memory voluntarily, as a way of passing down information and history. That way, each generation of Salox grows more and more intelligent."
An explosion rocked the Tardis. Rose almost hit the Doctor again. The Doctor actually flinched, and looked embarrassed.
"What happened to them?"
"After the War, we all thought the Salox were wiped out. Their planet was destroyed. However my scans are picking up on Salox brain signals here on Earth, and it appears that we are very close to wherever it is right now..."
A tremendous boom knocked both the Doctor and Rose to the ground, and they clung onto the railings for dear life as the Tardis spun out of control. Rose squeezed her eyes shut, promising to make the Doctor pay after all this. The Doctor, sprawled on the floor, reached out and quickly slammed down on a button.
All at once, there was silence as the Tardis shuddered to a stop.
Coughing, the Doctor picked himself up and started towards the door. He opened a door shakily and peered outside.
"What? What is it?" Rose was sitting on the other side of the room. She saw the Doctor stick his head through the door, from which gentle light was streaming through.
The Doctor stuck his head back in. His face was puzzled and grim as he returned to the console.
"No idea where we are presently. You can take a look outside, if you want, but I wouldn't recommend it." he glanced at the screens and turned a dial.
Rose went to the door, left ajar. She could smell acrid smoke, and a certain hint of something. Something... metallic.
Nervously, Rose looked outside.
It was a war zone. Or to be more precise, what's left of a war zone. Rose could distinctly see a burning tank lying somewhere to her left. There were the remains of what once might have been a house further down. And everywhere Rose looked, there were bodies. Human, soldier, bodies. Rose's stomach churned. This was Earth. But where? And when?
Rose could hear the Doctor groan in frustration.
"The Salox aren't here anymore. They must've travelled further off... No no no!" the Doctor slammed the palm of his hand on the edge of the screen. "Behave!"His eyes were darting furiously. Finally he let go of the abused screen. "I've lost the signal. Just great." he ran a hand through his hair, thinking hard.
Rose wasn't paying attention to the Doctor at all. She'd spotted a strange glow emitting from a nearby trench. She turned around, mouth opened, when she saw him muttering to himself, hair sticking up wildly, looking a lot like a lunatic. Rose then decided that maybe she could handle this one herself. After all, she was only going to take a look.
"...Maybe if we went back into the Vortex, we might be able to get a better signal! Yes! Well, worth a shot anyway. Rose, let's get outa here... Rose?" the Doctor pulled down on a lever, and the Tardis hummed. The Doctor turned around, and blinked. No Rose. He spun around, calling out her name.
The Doctor's eyes rested on the open door.
Rose picked her way gingerly towards the trench, feeling sick. Whatever happened here? Rose tried her best not to look at anything in particular.
The orange glow was fading fast. It wasn't like a fire; it was a steady glow, with a slight buzzing sound that grew louder as she approached it. Rose reached the edge of the trench, her shoes scuffing up dust. She peered into the gloom.
What she saw made her gasp.
The Doctor saw Rose walking towards the glowing trench. He quickly closed the Tardis doors and hurried towards her.
"Rose! You get back here this instant!" the Doctor yelled, sounding a lot like Rose's mother, Jackie. His voice sounded strangely muted in the dead atmosphere. He saw Rose look back and shush him hurriedly. It was obvious that Rose felt extremely uncomfortable standing among so many of the dead.
"Come on, I've found something!"
"Yeah, I think I kinda guessed it." the Doctor reached the trench and looked down. He whistled.
It was alien, definitely. The object was triangular in shape, with a large piece broken at the top. It looked metallic, and was steaming.
"Can I touch it?"
"Not unless you want to burn yourself." the Doctor replied. "Hang on a moment; I've got just the thing." the Doctor dashed back into the Tardis. Rose watched the object. It had strange markings carved deep into its surface that looked suspiciously like Gallifreyan. The markings were glowing a deep golden hue, which was fading as it cooled slowly. The object seemed to have been smashed violently into the ground, for large chunks of earth lay dislodged all around it. Rose turned to see the Doctor return, wearing a large pair of kitchen mittens.
"Step 9, take the cake out of the oven." the Doctor rubbed his mittened hands together, imitating a cooking show Rose was watching a few days before, causing her to giggle. The Doctor then jumped into the trench to study the object.
"Time Lord technology." he announced, tracing the markings with a mittened hand. "it seems to me, like someone had just taken a Gallifreyan transport vessel and adapted it for space travel!" the Doctor picked up the object, excitement in his voice. He clambered back up to where Rose was waiting, giving her a close-up view of the object.
They walked back to the Tardis. It seemed so out of place, a blue box in the middle of a ravaged battleground. Rose realised the Doctor was speaking again.
"I think, that instead of transporting physical beings, this vessel once held the consciousness of the Salox. There are very distinctive signs pointing to this. Ingenious! Pity it's broken though... Maybe the Salox crashed? But why did it choose to land here? Not exactly the most welcoming of places for extraterrestrial life forms, unless..." the Doctor's eyes widened, his grin fading.
"Unless the Salox found some use here on Earth... Oh! No, no!" the Doctor spun on his heels, eyes closed in agitation. Suddenly, Rose understood.
"Unless the Salox decided that humans would make perfect hosts for themselves." she completed, and saw the Doctor nod. They re-entered the Tardis.
"The Salox needs a physical body, without which their consciousness would decay and disappear. What better opportunity than to inhibit the lovely humans while they attempt to fix their ship? Which, by the looks of it, is going to be near impossible," the Doctor placed the now-cool object on the Tardis console. He pressed some buttons and activated its scanners.
"Yep, definitely damaged and unrepairable. If we could find the broken pieces, there's still a chance of fixing it. But scanners aren't picking up on any more of the vessel. Strange... Let's just hope the Salox don't get too comfortable with human minds while we figure this one out... Trust the humans to go start a stupid war and hit the Salox by accident." the Doctor grumbled. A beep attracted his attention.
Rose sighed. Seems like the world's threatened by aliens again. She glanced at the Doctor, and was surprised to see his face paling.
"Ate something wrong?" Rose joked, but grew serious as she saw the Doctor swallow nervously.
"Did I happen to mention, that Salox consciousness are also extremely prone to...well...accidentally creating annoying Rifts in Space?"
"We are, presently, standing in an entirely different universe."