Chapter 2: Rose
Disclaimer: Doctor Who and all associated characters, plotlines, etc. are not mine. No matter how much I wish that I was Russell T. Davies illegitimate offspring. *sigh*
However, Astrid is mine in every way, shape, and form. *glomps* No takies!
Also, I am an American…which means my British colloquialisms come from Doctor Who and Torchwood. So forgive me please if I mess up.Astrid’s thoughts
She was a brunette with sky blue eyes and a five foot four inch tall form to match. Her name was Astrid and she was also best friends with a girl named Rose Tyler, even though she was American.
Several years ago the company she worked for as a manager wanted to expand into Europe and she volunteered to head their London branch. That was how Astrid and Rose met, Astrid had been hiring for the new openings. The two girls had made an instant connection and since had treated each other as sisters. Astrid was only three years older than Rose anyway.
At least, this was the story she told Rose when Rose asked in the beginning of their relationship. Rose never thought to question it. Astrid never gave her reason to.
“Rose!” Astrid’s voice with its incandescent ringing quality literally sang through the lobby of Heinrik’s, like a bell choir. Though few customers were around at that time of day, all the regulars just shook their heads along with the employees at the all-too-familiar sound of their boss. Astrid had a reputation as a sweetheart with an unnatural ability to still be chipper at almost all hours of the day. And eight in the morning was no different than any other day.
Rose Tyler, Heinrik employee of 364 days, grinned at her best friend as she crossed the forum. She didn’t speak until she was within ‘inside’ voice distance, but her tone was no less happy. “Morning Astrid. So what are you planning?” After almost a year being friends, Rose knew Astrid better than anyone alive. So the subtle tone to Astrid’s standard greeting was quite blatant to her attuned ears.
“What? Can’t I call over a friend on this beautiful morning and not have an agenda?” Astrid batted her eyelashes innocently.
Rose laughed. “Not with that tone you can’t. Last time that tone came up, Mum’s kitchen managed to get covered in exploded turkey.”
“I cleaned it up! And besides, how was I supposed to know that would happen?”
“I’m pretty sure the stuffing recipe didn’t call for a chemistry lesson in combustion.” Rose grinned, “So, which kitchen do you plan to ruin this time?”
Astrid huffed indignantly. “None. I was wondering if you would like to go out tomorrow in celebration of one year as best friends.”
Rose’s face darkened considerably, though not for the reasons Astrid thought. Rose had known Astrid for twelve months and in that time had gotten to know the quirky, slightly eccentric interior. Many nights of staying up talking, aided by alcohol, had revealed secrets that only Rose knew. How Astrid didn’t have a family anymore out of a forced choice. How her childhood was beyond not-normal and the reasons for her being such a bookworm and science geek. In her 22 years of living, Astrid had lived a lifetime of loneliness and misery. Astrid’s only friend was Rose.
Most of the time, Rose forgot about Astrid’s past because she was so good at hiding it. But every now and then, Astrid would say something that would remind Rose and she couldn’t help but feel anger toward Astrid’s family for making her this way. The argument of nature versus nurture was a lost cause in Astrid’s case.
“You can bring Mickey if you want. Heck, bring your Mom.” Astrid said hesitantly at Rose’s expression, snapping the girl out of her thoughts.
“No, that’s sounds brilliant. Actually, Mickey would be nice to have along, but Mum probably wouldn’t like it.” Rose pasted on a smile to reassure her friend. “Anything special you need me to do today?”
Astrid nodded quickly, gesturing Rose into her office –if the little 100 foot square room could be called that—and pointed out the Ziploc bag of pounds and change. “I have that doctor’s appointment this afternoon, so I’m leaving early. If you could give that to the chief electrician after closing I would appreciate it. It’s the lottery money and the company wants Wilson to use it to upgrade the water heater. Apparently they’ve been getting complaints.”
Rose nodded easily. “No problem.”
Astrid gave her a little wink, “As I am a good friend, I will give it to the doorman on the way out to remind you so that you don’t forget.”
Rose raised an eyebrow, “Why can’t he deliver it then?”
“Because I don’t trust him when the cameras are off,” she answered seriously. Astrid’s expression changed easily into a genuine smile as she leaned in to hug her friend. “Wish me luck. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Astrid walked into her apartment and dropped her keys onto the side table before she laughed in delight as her golden dog, Julian, came bounding up in another attempt to lick her to death. Thirteen months she had been in London. Fifty six weeks of pure hell. The only bright spots were Rose and Julian. She had found Julian the very first night, a stray that wouldn’t leave her be. Over a year later and he still didn’t like her out of his sight.
She actually lived just a few doors down from Rose, by complete accident too. They met by chance at the store the day she took over as manager. They had hit it off instantly. At the time, Rose was bemoaning all guys and Astrid’s comment of “love ‘em and leave ‘em” had Rose laughing. They had become inseparable ever since. Jackie sometimes said that Astrid might as well be her second daughter.
But neither of them knew the whole story. How she had been dumped in an alley, a goose egg on the back of her head from being knocked unconscious since that had been the only way the Master could get her into the TARDIS. He had shoved a knapsack into her hands. It was a special Time Lord knapsack, bigger on the inside, and contained all the things that she had said wouldn’t be available: clothes, money, and identification. As well as GCSE’s and A-levels, which at the time she had no clue what were, but they got her a job as the manager of Heinrik’s.
In that first week, a lot happened. A job hunt, an apartment hunt (they call them flats! Remember, flats!
), and the language barrier was a huge undertaking. She still couldn’t get used to it. Even though after watching Doctor Who for god knew how many hours she could pick up and adopt the accent easily enough, the slang of Britain still threw her sometimes. She had almost had a conniption the first time someone had offered her a ‘fag’. Not to mention the time she had told Rose that she had gotten a wonderful ‘half-price shag’ carpet. Rose still held that over her head as blackmail material.
Astrid had also noticed the date when she landed. She knew that if everything went as with the release date of the first episode of the new Doctor Who series, it meant she had quite a while to wait. Apparently the Master couldn’t drive either. So, in a fit of inspiration, she picked up a leather bound black journal and worked one whole weekend recording down all the episodes she could remember, in as much detail as possible, in order. She knew she forgot some—some episodes she only watched once because she either didn’t like them or they made her cry—and others were just a few paragraphs of what she could remember—as opposed to ‘Girl in the Fireplace’ and ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ as her favorite episodes she could practically quote them all the way through—but hoped she had gotten most of them down. The book, once completely filled with the Doctor’s life from Nine to Eleven’s first year and a half, went into a small space under a loose floorboard under the dark green shaggy carpet in her bedroom. That was where it had stayed until the last month. Astrid had noticed that it was about the month that the new Doctor aired, and had taken to keeping it in her purse at all times, just in case. For all she remembered of the episodes, remembering what exact day the new series aired had never really been on her list of things to concentrate on.
So she lived. Going from day to day, waiting for the Doctor to show up. Rose helped a lot, more than she could ever know really, but it wasn’t enough. Her parents had been the only people to understand her, never to criticize a decision or interest or comment. She’d never had a boyfriend for long because they all thought she was too weird or crazy. Her parents kept her from feeling lonely. Now she would never see them again. Her father, her best friend in the whole world, she would never again hear his hyena-like ‘evil’ laughter as he ‘whomped’ on World of Warcraft. She wouldn’t ever feel her mother’s comforting hug ever again. No more ‘I love you’s or ‘I love you more’s. She truly was alone.
No matter how much Rose tried to pull the truth out of her—and she did a really good job with alcohol since Astrid was a cheap drunk—Astrid never spoke of how her American self got to England with perfect papers except for the cover story she had come up with. Rose knew of her childhood, the adoption and school, her ADD and book addiction. But Astrid never spoke of how she came from another world. There was not enough alcohol on the planet to make her say that.
Shaking her head from the depressing thoughts she kept so tight behind her mask, Astrid stripped off her clothes and fell into her bed, feeling the bed dip as Julian jumped up and nestled beside her legs. “Goodnight, my baby.” He was the only connection she allowed herself. The only one who knew everything, for he had been there to see her arrival.
She was woken from her sleep by the phone ringing insistently. Blinking blearily awake, she grabbed the receiver and spoke, “Hello?”
“Is this the manager of Heinrik’s clothing store?” That got her attention. She clicked on the light on the bedside table and sat up.
“Yes. Is there a problem?”
“Yes ma’am. A bomb exploded there an hour ago. I’m afraid I need you to come down here to identify some remains.”
Astrid closed her eyes, knowing exactly who was dead, but unable to say unless she became a suspect. She would have to go see the body. It had started. The Doctor had finally showed up.
Hours later, running on way too little sleep, Astrid made her way into the pizza parlor that Rose had called. Mickey would be joining them as well…sorta. He’s not Mickey is he? This might get awkward.
She sat beside Rose while Mickey was across from his girlfriend. He sat there in a white shirt and black jacket, smiling inanely. Rose was wearing a gray and magenta hoodie, not really focusing on Mickey, talking about trying to find a new job. No matter the real reason for this luncheon, the blow up of Heinrik’s had shadowed all of it.
“Is that it, then--dishin’ out chips? I could do A-levels.” Rose looked at Astrid with a serious face. “You got a good job with ‘em. I dunno. It’s all Jimmy Stones’ fault. I only left school ‘cause of him and look where he ended up.”
Astrid grinned, that was the boy Rose had been bemoaning when they met and repeated her wisdom. “Love ‘em and leave ‘em.” Not that I have a lot of wisdom, never having had a boyfriend. And now I can’t. Doctor comes through, only guys that will ever travel with him are Jack and Rory, and one is a player and the other is taken. Well, Mickey did travel a little bit but then he stays in the other world. No-win situation. Face it; I’ll be alone for a very long time.
Rose smiled with her best friend and faced Mickey, “What do you think?”
The Mickey Lookalike leaned forward, “Where did you meet this Doctor?”
Rose half glared at him. “Oh, I’m sorry. Was I talking about me for a second?”
Lookalike just talked over her, “’Cause I reckon it all started at the shop. Am I right? Was he something to do with that?”
Rose looked at her hands on the table top, “No.”
“Come on.” Lookalike said, trying to wheedle his way to the answer. He grinned winningly.
“Sort of.” She admitted slowly.
“What was he doing there?” His tone changed to one that was slightly threatening. Astrid shivered but stayed silent. I can’t change anything here. If I do, then the Doctor might not show up and I really don’t want the Master on my ass again. He gave me a concussion last time. Probably maim me next.
“I’m not going on about it, Mickey. Really, I’m not. ‘Cause I know it sounds daft but I don’t think he’s safe. He’s dangerous.”
“You can trust me sweetheart. Babe. Sugar. Babe. Sugar.” Lookalike had slipped up with his voice at the end and Astrid began to tense. Discreetly as possible, she grabbed her purse strap and tightly wrapped it around her hand. Mickey Alike had kept going; he hadn’t even glanced at her the whole time, focusing completely on Rose. “You can tell me what the Doctor’s planning and I can help you Rose. That’s all I really want to do, sweetheart. Babe. Babe. Sugar. Sweetheart.”
Rose frowned slightly, finally having noticed the odd behavior. “What are you doing that for?”
There he was. The Doctor appeared by their table with a bottle of alcohol. “Your champagne.” Astrid looked up at him, but he was looking at Mickey Lookalike. The Doctor was just as she had dreamed hundreds of times since she had arrived. Tall, black leather jacket, black shirt and slacks with black shoes. The ears sticking out, his chiseled features and close-cropped hair style. It was exactly as she remembered. I’m just as invisible to him as Mickey Alike. Not important enough to acknowledge. Which means I must stick close to Rose if I want to get on the TARDIS. Fair enough. There was a reason I wore my black sneakers today. ‘There’s an insane amount of running involved.’ Just as Donna said.
Lookalike didn’t even glance at the Doctor, the irony lost on the plasticman. “We didn’t order any champagne. Where’s the Doctor?” He grabbed Rose’s hand. Don’t hurt her you asshole!
The Doctor moved around the table to Rose’s left side, “Madam, your champagne.” She didn’t glance at him either. “It’s not ours. Mickey, what is it what’s wrong?”
“I need to find out how much he knows. So where is he?” Oh, he knows that you are plastic, that the Nestene Consciousness is on Earth, and that you plan on making humans your slaves. Nothing much at all.
“Doesn’t anybody want this champagne?” The Doctor sounded almost hurt that no one was taking him up on his generous offer. So, in a fit of pique, Astrid answered, holding up her glass.
“Sure, why not. Mickey’s being weird and she’s only just noticed. Drunk’s more fun.” He finally looked at her, but only for a split second since Mickey talked straight over her.
“Look, we didn’t order any—“ And the Lookalike finally looked up and saw his quarry. “Ah! Gotcha!”
The Doctor started to vigorously shake the bottle. Astrid set down her glass, grabbed the body of her purse with the opposite hand, reached her fingers in to feel that The Book was there, and scooted her chair slightly away from the table. And now comes the running…in 3…
“Don’t mind me. I’m just toasting the happy couple. On the house!” The cork went into Lookalike’s forehead dead center. Mickey Alike rearranged it and then spit it back out across the table. 2…
He jumped up, raised his hand and it turned into a giant spatula looking thing. 1…
He brought it down on the table hard, but Rose and the Doctor were already up and away, Astrid sticking to Rose’s side like glue, even if she screamed like a girl She does have a wonderful excuse though.
Astrid watched as the Doctor jumped at Lookalike, grabbed his head and began to pull. Yanking three times before the head came off and the Doctor’s momentum crashed him into a nearby table. She couldn’t hear what Mickey said, but the man screaming was a little childish.
Rose looked at her best friend, hand tightly clutching her purse like a weapon, but the motion let her see the fire alarm and she pulled it. “Everyone out now!” Now comes the fierce running.
They went, Rose first, Astrid in the middle, and the Doctor bringing up the rear. They ran from a headless plastic body with a spatula hand chasing them all through the kitchen, down a little dark hallway, that’s not at all ominous
, through a big metal door and into a back alley.
The Doctor shut the door, pulled out his sonic screwdriver and locked the door. Rose continued to run down the alley, running to the opposite chained gate, “Come on! Use that tube thing!”
He corrected her, “Sonic screwdriver.”
“Nah. Tell you what. Let’s go in here.” He walked casually over to the TARDIS and opened the door with the key. The last time Astrid had heard that squeaky sound of the door, she had been kidnapped five minutes later. Suck it up girl. No getting out of this.
He walked through, closed it after him.
“You can’t hide inside a wooden box!” Rose ran to the middle of the alleyway, where Astrid hadn’t moved from since they had gotten into it. The blond looked at her friend, but the expression that she saw was one she was familiar with. It was the same expression Astrid got almost every day. A terrified longing.
The pounding on the metal door from the plastic man hadn’t let up. Rose made her decision. She grabbed Astrid’s arm and physically yanked her running into the blue box. She closed the door after the two of them, turned around and froze. Astrid stood to one side as Rose ran back out of the door.
Astrid heard the pounding and didn’t see Rose. This was enough to kick her into gear. “Oh no you don’t!” Astrid ran outside, grabbed Rose that was just standing there, and yanked her back in. “Freak later, running now. Yes, it’s bigger on the inside. Yes, he’s an alien. And yes, that thing out there following up is not Mickey.” Astrid pulled the TARDIS door shut.
The Doctor hadn’t paid a lick of attention to the two girls, but he did respond to her comments. “The assembled lords of Genghis Khan couldn’t get through that door. Believe me, they’ve tried. Now shut up a minute.” He started to hook up things to the central console and began narrating. “You see, the arm was too simple, but the head is perfect. I can use it to trace the signal back to the original source. Right. Where do you want to start?” He turned to face the blond and brunette.
Rose looked at Astrid. Her friend smiled. “It’s all right. He could have left us back there. We can trust him for now.” Astrid squeezed Rose’s hand gently, encouragingly.
The Doctor registered the comment, but didn’t look offended. “It’s called the TARDIS, this place. T-A-R-D-I-S. That’s Time And Relative Dimension In Space.” Rose suddenly sobbed, placing a hand over her mouth. Astrid turned her so that she cried into her shoulder. “That’s okay. Culture shock. Happens to the best of us.”
“She’s not crying over the ship, she’s crying over Mickey.” Astrid glared at him. I forgot how clueless he was in the first episode.
“Is he dead?” Rose straightened up and pulled away from her, getting some courage so that she could hear the answer.
“Oh. I didn’t think of that.” The Doctor frowned momentarily at himself.
“He’s my boyfriend. You pulled off his head. They copied him and you didn’t even think? And now you’re just gonna let him melt?” Rose gestured to the console in outrage.
“Melt?” The Doctor turned around in time to see the Mickey Alike head deforming as it dripped down the console. “No, no, no, no, no!” He yelled as he swiftly ran up the catwalk, pushing button and pulling levers.
Astrid heard the noise that had started her life on this hellish quest to save the universe and she blanked out. She didn’t hear anymore yelling or questions. Her heart was breaking, aching to see her parents again. Remembering the Master’s words and hating him for them. The whooshing noise all she could focus on.
Then it was over and the Doctor ran passed her and out the door. “Don’t go out there, it’s not safe!” Rose yelled and dashed out the door as well. Astrid gathered herself, dropped her purse and The Book by the right column she stood next to and followed.
Astrid walked into a yelling match.
“If I did forget some kid named Mickey, it’s because I’m trying to save every stupid ape blunderin’ about on top of this planet, all right?” The Doctor yelled at Rose, his back toward the TARDIS and Astrid.
Rose was shocked, “All right?!”
“Yes, it is!”
“If you are an alien, how come you sound like you’re from the north?”
“Lots of planets have a north.” He crossed his arms defensively and Astrid giggled. I always loved that line.
“What’s a police public call box?”
“It’s a telephone box from the 1950s.” He went over and patted the TARDIS lovingly. “It’s a disguise.” He grinned from ear to ear. Astrid moved out of his way and went to stand by Rose.
“And this, this living plastic, what’s it got against us?” Rose moved away from Astrid and toward the Doctor.
“Nothing. It loves you. You’ve got such a good planet. Lots of smoke and oil, toxins and dioxins in the air. Perfect.” The Doctor moved toward Rose until there was barely a foot between them. “Just what the Nestene Consciousness needs. Its food stock was destroyed in the war. All its protein planets rotted, so Earth—dinner!”
“Anyway of stopping it?” Astrid chimed in, feeling a little left out. Hope they don’t notice that I haven’t asked about what the Nestene Consciousness is…I missed that part of the tell-all here.
He reached into his coat and held up a vial of blue liquid. “Antiplastic.”
Rose frowned, “Antiplastic?”
“It’s like antipasta, Rose. The two meet and go boom.” Astrid commented with a smile. She had always thought of Italian restaurants and their appetizers as hilarious and had explained it to Rose the first time they ever went to one together.
The Doctor looked at the brunette, really looked, for the first time. The woman was a little shorter than the blond, maybe twenty years old. She was in a dark green long sleeved shirt that hugged her in all the right places and blue jeans. But it was her eyes that drew him. Even behind the wire-rimmed glasses he could see that they knew things, made connections that others didn’t, intelligent. But dark. Sad. Something had happened to her, something that had made her simply accept what was in front of her. She hadn’t even blinked at the TARDIS, nor at the plastic boy chasing them. She was different. Not broken, but close. Now was not the time to be thinking about it though. “First I’ve got to find it. How can you hide something that big in a city this small?”
“Hold on. Hide what?” Rose frowned in confusion.
“The transmitter. The Consciousness is controlling every single piece of plastic. So it needs a transmitter to boost the signal.”
“What’s it look like?”
“Like a transmitter.”
“Doesn’t help.” Astrid said.
“Round and massive. Somewhere slap bang in the middle of London. A huge metal circular structure. Like a dish. Like a wheel.” He and Rose, Astrid following beside Rose, walked down the sidewalk as he gestured more expressively. He pulled to a stop to gesture more fully and was innocently framed under the London Eye. “Close to where we’re standing. Must be completely invisible.”
Rose looked at the wheel, then at her friend. Astrid was shaking her head, hand on top and looking down as her shoulders shook with laughter. Rose turned to the Doctor, confident that she was right since Astrid had seen it too.
“What?” The Doctor said, just as clueless as before. Rose looked pointedly behind him. He turned around but didn’t stay long before he turned back. “What?” Rose looked again. “What is it? What?”
Astrid glanced up at him, her smile the first he had seen on her and was amazed at how it lit up her face and blue eyes. “The Eye you dumbo.” It was all she could get out before she was back to laughing. How a man with the highest IQ in the galaxy can miss something so important is just bloody hilarious! Oh damn, I just thought ‘bloody’. I really am turning into a Brit.
He turned back, and finally saw what they had. “Oh.” He grinned at the laughing girl, “Fantastic!” He ran toward the bridge, Rose and Astrid at his heels. About halfway across the bridge he reached out and grabbed the nearest hand, only discovering that it was Astrid’s when he let go and faced the two girls. Astrid also had a tight grip on Rose’s hand though. “Think of it—plastic all over the world. Every artificial thing waiting to come alive. The shop window dummies, the phones, the wires, the cables…”
“The breast implants.” Rose interjected and Astrid snorted softly.
The Doctor looked at the brunette again, wondering how much like him she was. How much had she lost that she thought this kind of situation funny? “Well, we found the transmitter. The Consciousness must be somewhere underneath.”
Rose turned around and ran to the side of the walk, looking for way under the river. “What about down here?” she called over her shoulder, raising her eyebrow when she saw the way that the man was looking at her best friend. Astrid had always been oblivious to how beautiful she was, just didn’t see the looks she got from any male. She wore the clothes because they were comfortable and she liked them, but never noticed how they hugged her curves made her attractive. Rose made up her mind, that if the man stayed, she would get them together whether they liked it or not. She had Mickey; it was time for Astrid to have someone.
They all raced down and dropped into the manhole entrance. Carefully being as quiet as they could, they moved through the levels and toward the ominous red light at the end of the tunnel. The three of them stopped when they saw a huge vat of liquid orange, yellow, and red. “The Nestene Consciousness. That’s it inside the vat. A living plastic creature.” The Doctor gestured.
Rose was beside the Doctor and wondering how she could manuevar Astrid into her spot and didn’t really think about what she said next, “Well then, tip in your antiplastic and let’s go.”
The Doctor glared at her for a second, his eyes seeking out the brunette and saw that she was also glaring at her friend. More pieces to the puzzle. He loved puzzles. “I’m not here to kill it. I’ve got to give it a chance.”
He turned and made his way further down into the large room, down stairs and across catwalks, Rose behind him and Astrid behind her. He raised his voice so that he could be heard from thirty feet up, “I seek audience with the Nestene Consciousness under peaceful contract according to Convention 15 of the Shadow Proclamation.”
Astrid covered her ears as the vat roared. It was grating, like a metal against plastic scraping noise. Nothing at all like the show. It hurt her ears it was so loud.
“Thank you. If I might have permission to approach?” the Doctor stayed where he was, but Rose made her way down more stairs when she caught sight of Mickey on a catwalk. The Consciousness gave a less loud sound as Rose rushed down to her boyfriend, followed closely by Astrid. The Doctor walked behind them.
Rose went to her knees by Mickey. “It’s all right. I’m here.”
“That thing down there—the liquid, Rose—it can talk!” Mickey was in shock. How in the heck can he understand the Consciousness? We can’t and we traveled in the TARDIS…speaking of, shouldn’t the translation circuits have kicked in? Or do we have to travel in time for them to do that?
“You’re stinking! Doctor, they kept him alive!” Rose yelled up to him, happiness in her tone but it quickly vanished at his reply.
“That was always a possibility. Keep him alive to maintain the copy.” The Doctor said over his shoulder as he walked further down stairs to get closer to the Consciousness.
“You knew that and you never said?” Rose and Astrid both glared at him. Rose from around Mickey and Astrid standing by the side.
“Can we keep the domestics outside? Thank you.” He went further in to a platform above the Nestene to talk. The three humans stayed on the catwalk one floor above him. Though both girls were on their feet, leaning in to see what was going to happen, Mickey was still kneeling. The kid needed to grow a spine. “Am I addressing the Consciousness?”
Astrid covered her ears again as the creature roared the answer. A vague face-shape formed in the vat. “Thank you. If I might observe, you infiltrated the civilization by means of warp-shunt technology, so may I suggest with the greatest respect that you shunt off?” More roaring. “Oh don’t give me that. It’s an invasion, plain and simple. Don’t talk about constitutional rights.” The face raised itself out and moved side to side as it roared. Astrid tightened her grip on her ears, tears leaking out of her eyes.
“I am talking! This planet is just starting. These stupid little people have only just learnt how to walk, but they are capable of so much more. I’m asking you on their behalf. Please just go.” He missed the two plastic men coming up behind him.
Rose yelled out to him, trying to get his attention but it was too late. He was caught on either side and saw Mickey’s fear, Rose’s worry, and Astrid’s pain. The Doctor was distracted from the image they made as one of the plastic men reached into his coat pocket and found the antiplastic. “That was just insurance. I wasn’t gonna use it.” The Consciousness roared. “I was not attacking you. I’m here to help. I’m not your enemy. I swear. I’m not.” It roared louder. “What do you mean?”
A panel opened to reveal the blue box of his spaceship. “No! Honestly, no! Yes, that’s my ship” The Nestene roared again, its tone changing and Astrid whimpered. “That’s not true. I should know. I was there. I fought in the war. It wasn’t my fault.” A roar. “I couldn’t save your world. I couldn’t save any of them!”
The creature roared and waved its body in outrage. Rose couldn’t take it anymore. She could see her friend in agony from the thing speaking, and her boyfriend was useless. “What’s it doing?”
“It’s the TARDIS. The Nestene’s identified it as superior technology. It’s terrified. It’s going to the final base. It’s starting the invasion. Get out, Rose. Grab Astrid and leg it now!”
Rose immediately pulled out her cell phone as the Consciousness roared an order, calling her mother. “Mum? Where are you, Mum? No, go home. Just go home right now. Mum? Mum!” Blue lightning, or what looked like it, slammed into the ceiling of the room, blowing a hole through so that it could reach the London Eye above them.
“The activation signal. It’s transmitting!” The Doctor yelled. The Consciousness had finally quieted to a more bearable level and Astrid uncovered her ears. In time to hear Rose say that it was the end of the world. A low humming filled the air as the Eye began to transmit.
“Get out, Rose! Just get out! Run! Astrid, run!” But Astrid was covering her ears again as the Nestene roared louder, whimpering in pain.
Rose grabbed her friend by the shoulders and held her close. “The stairs have gone!” She held Astrid with one arm and snatched Mickey’s sleeve with the other and forced them to run to the TARDIS as she saw the Doctor try desperately to get free.
Tears streamed down her cheeks as Astrid looked at the Doctor and he looked at her. Rose and Mickey pounded on the ship’s doors before realizing they didn’t have a key. Rose turned around and all she could do was stare in horror, Mickey clutching her tightly on her left as Astrid cried in agony on her right. She sank to the floor in terror, not knowing what else to do.
Astrid had given up trying to block the aching sound of the Nestene Consciousness’ language. She stood there as she heard the creature call out the Doctor species. The translation circuits are starting to work. But he still only sees Rose. How could I possibly think for a second he would want me when he has her? Her love is the reason Bad Wolf exists in the first place. Will exist. Whatever.
Rose slowly got to her feet. She had to do something. This man looked at her friend and her friend looked at him with an expression she had always wished to see. They couldn’t die now, not when she knew Astrid hadn’t been laid yet. The world couldn’t end until after Astrid got to experience the same kind of love she felt for Mickey. She wouldn’t let it. She ran over to the wall, Mickey yelling something behind her. Rose grabbed a handy axe and raised it above her head, trying to aim. “I’ve got no A-levels. No job. No future. But I’ll tell you what I HAVE got.” She swung the axe as she tried to unhook the chain. “Jericho Street Junior School Under-7s Gymnastics Team.” She pulled the chain to her and got a good grip. “I’ve got the bronze.” Then she ran to the side of the walk and swung.
The Doctor used her distraction to pull the plastic man holding him over his shoulder and into the Consciousness. Her swing landed her feet into the other plastic dummy that was holding the antiplastic, dumping it over the side and into the vat as well. She continued to swing, holding on tightly as the Nestene began to have glowing blue spider cracks throughout its body. The Doctor called out Rose’s name right before she swung back and he caught her.
“Now we’re in trouble!” He grinned at her then ran up to the ladder to the catwalk. Explosions started to rain down on their heads from the ceiling of the vast room and the humming stopped as the Eye quit. The Doctor got out his key and went to the door of the TARDIS, Rose grabbed Astrid’s arm as she passed and pulled her along. They got through the door of the Doctor’s ship as the Consciousness glowed brighter.
The door closed and the whooshing noise started up as they began to travel through space. Astrid was still gripped by Rose as she stood by her purse. Astrid could just see The Book’s binding peeking out of the opening and relaxed slightly. That journal had the information to destroy this universe and all others. It needed to be kept safe and away from everyone else, the Doctor especially.
As soon as they landed, Mickey was out of the ship at a run, staring at the TARDIS with as much terror as he had the Consciousness. Rose walked out with dignity, calling her mother at the same time. Rose laughed softly and grinned when she heard her mother’s voice safe and sound before she clicked the phone off.
Astrid stepped out of the ship, but didn’t go far. She watched the others. Smiled at Rose when Rose grinned. Rose ran to her boyfriend. “Fat lot of good you were! Astrid are you alright? What happened down there?”
“It was so loud. It hurt. I’m sorry.” Astrid looked down at the ground, blushing in shame. She heard the buzz of the screwdriver and glanced over to see The Doctor.
“Your hearing is about 20% above that of the average human. Still within normal ranges but enough that anything above a certain frequency causes pain. Probably because of your eyesight.” He snapped his fingers as he smiled. “Nestene Consciousness? Easy!”
Rose, relieved that her friend was fine, gave The Doctor an incredulous look. “You were useless in there. You’d be dead if it wasn’t for me.”
The Doctor nodded, still grinning, “Yes, I would. Thank you. Right, then, I’ll be off…unless…I don’t know…You could come with me.” He glanced at the brunette as she nodded slowly and gave her a soft smile. He focused back on Rose. “This box isn’t just a London hop, you know? It can go anywhere in the universe free of charge.”
Mickey finally found his voice. He pointed at the Doctor, his tone afraid. “Don’t. He’s an alien. He’s a thing!”
“He’s NOT invited.” The Doctor gave a slight glare at the boy. “What do you think? You could stay here, fill your life with work and food and sleep, or you could go anywhere.”
Rose asked, knowing that Astrid had already agreed. “Is it always this dangerous?”
Mickey grabbed onto Rose’s waist and held her tightly, not taking his eyes off the Doctor. “Yeah, I can’t. As much as I’d love to, I have to look after this stupid lump and find my mum, so…”
The Doctor’s expression didn’t change. “Ok. See you around.” He stepped into the TARDIS and looked at Astrid, expecting her to join him.
The brunette stared at her best friend. “Don’t you remember, Rose? He said TIME and relative dimension in space. You can be back in time for dinner. No one will notice.” She saw that it didn’t really register the meaning of her words, so tried again. “It’s a time machine, Rose. We can come back whenever we want.”
Rose smiled, pressed a kiss to Mickey’s forehead, pulled out of his grip, and ran to the open doors. Astrid matched her grin and held out her hand. They clasped hands and ran into the TARDIS together.
[break]Well? Reviews are love!