He entered the blue police box and immediately the console room grew brighter as if in response to him entering the time machine. He slung his coat over the back of the sofa next to the console and unfastened his tie.
He glanced momentarily at the glass tube around the central column. The cracks it had sustained a year ago were starting to repair themselves. It had taken a long time, but the ship was finally starting to heal.
He pulled out a big, old wooden chest from underneath the sofa and rummaged around in it until he found some sort of futuristic, military uniform. It was a one piece jumpsuit and was dark blue. He quickly changed into it and then crossed over to the full length mirror in the corner of the room. He examined himself in the mirror. He looked pretty plain and ordinary and needed something to spruce it up.
He rummaged around in the chest a little more until he found a number of medals and pins which he affixed to the uniform. He looked in the mirror again. Much more important, he thought to himself.
He then checked his psychic paper and then placed it in the breast pocket of the jumpsuit.
Having one final glance in the mirror he made his way into the depths of his ship and towards the escape pod room.
It had taken a little bit of work, but he had managed to alter the outer dimensions of the escape pod to resemble that of a small scout ship. He materialised it outside of the nebula and headed towards the lead starship - the Haven.
On the small, micro version of a console he activated a communications panel and spoke into a small, 1950’s-style radio microphone.
“This is shuttle craft Phoenix calling starship Haven,” he lied.
There was no response.
“Useless, primitive thing,” he grumbled. “This is shuttle craft Phoenix calling starship Haven. Come in please. Come on. Chop-chop.”
A few more seconds and then…the speaker crackled with communication static and a voice came over the comm.
“This is starship Haven. Please transmit your security codes.”
The Doctor frowned. He didn’t know any codes and he was beginning to regret doing this without any planning. He decided to improvise. “Security code: ZX128K-C64”
There was a pause.
“There are no codes of that kind,” came the man’s voice.
“Again, no codes.”
“I beg your pardon!” said the Doctor, trying to sound like the man’s superior.
“There are no codes that match the one’s you’ve given me.”
“Well of course there aren’t!” snapped the Doctor.
“Then why are you using them?”
“They’re new codes. Your database hasn’t been updated yet.”
“We received no information about a code database update.”
“That’s because you’re so far out from the rest of your command centre that the information hasn’t reached you yet.”
“We’re in constant communication.”
“Look, just bring me on board and I‘ll explain. I need to see your prisoner.”
“Who are you?”
“Commodore John Smith,” he said, crossing his fingers. He may not be able to keep this lie going, but if he could just get on board the Haven he’d be able to find another way to get to Aleena.
He waited for what seemed like a very long time, until finally…
“Please standby. Power down any weapons. We’re bringing you aboard.”
“I don’t have any weapons,” said the Doctor.
There was a clanking sound and the Doctor realised that they had locked a tractor beam on the escape pod and were bringing him in.
After a while the clanking stopped and he felt the ship come to a rest.
“Please exit your shuttle,” came the same voice over the speaker.
The Doctor took a deep breath and straightened himself up. He checked he had his psychic paper again and strode towards the doors.
Outside Redcar stood, hand on the blaster that was holstered to a belt, ready to whip it out at the first sign of trouble. He was flanked by two guards.
The Doctor stepped outside the shuttle and turned to face the officers.
“Lieutenant Commander Nathan Redcar,” he said.
“Good to meet you,” said the Doctor.
“That’s right.” said the Doctor, looking around what appeared to be a large hangar bay.
“We weren’t informed of your arrival,” said Redcar. “Forgive me, sir,” - he added “sir” almost as if it was an insult to say it - “but your codes weren’t recognised. We have no order to update our systems, and for all we know you could be a spy.”
“A spy for who?” asked the Doctor, crossing over to Redcar and staring right into his eyes. Redcar was a little smaller than him, so it already made the Doctor feel above the man.
“A spy for the campaigners. Those groups that want to close down the Eyeglass.”
The Doctor laughed. “Don’t be absurd. Here’s my I.D.,” he said, flashing him the psychic paper.
“You’re part of the council?” asked Redcar, straightening up and not giving a second thought to the I.D.
“I am indeed,” said the Doctor, moving away from Redcar, pretending to look around the hanger as if scrutinizing every bit of detail.
“We weren’t informed of your arrival,” said Redcar again, nervously.
“You’ve said that already, Mr Redcar,” said the Doctor. “I’m here to inspect the prisoners well-being. I want to see her.”
“I’d have to speak to my commanding officer-”
“I want to see the prisoner now!” snapped the Doctor, putting on a pair of John Lennon-style glasses and looking down at the young officer.
“Of course, sir,” said Redcar quickly. “Follow me.”
Ten minutes later the Doctor was escorted to the room that Aleena was being kept in. She was asleep, slumped forward in the chair, her hands still tied behind the back of the metal frame. Paragrim was sat on a stool, drinking some kind of thick, green liquid and he grunted as the Doctor stepped in.
“What is this?” asked Paragrim, angry that someone had stepped into his playground.
“This is Commodore John Smith. He’s from the council. Here to check on the state of our prisoner,” said Redcar, nodding towards the prone form of Aleena.
“And I see she has been hurt,” said the Doctor, rushing over to her and carefully looking for the source of where the trickles of blood were coming from.
“All within regulations,” said Redcar.
“Regulations!?” boomed the Doctor, causing Redcar to step back.
Paragrim stood his ground.
“She’s an alien,” said Redcar quickly.
“Get out of my site,” said the Doctor. “Both of you!”
“I said get out!” thundered the Doctor.
Redcar quickly turned and hurried out of the door followed by a reluctant Paragrim, who looked the Doctor up and down before he left.
The Doctor waited for a few seconds and then pulled out his sonic screwdriver from inside the jumpsuit. He aimed it at the camera in the corner of the room, silencing it’s microphones. He was hoping that nobody would notice.
“Aleena?” he said softly. “Aleena, wake up. We only have a small window for escape.”
The blue-skinned woman stirred slightly on hearing the Doctor’s voice.
“Aleena, it’s the Doctor.”
Aleena looked up, her eyes were bloodshot and she frowned, trying to focus on the Doctor.
“What have they done to you?” he said, gently brushing the matted hair from her face.
“Doctor…” she managed weakly.
“Yes,” he smiled. “Yes, it’s me. I’ve come to get you out of here.”
“We’ve taken control of the lighthouse,” he said. “My friends are back there now. We’re going to get you home, don’t worry.”
Aleena looked up a little more and smiled weakly at him. “Doctor…”
“As soon as we get you back to Equinox we’ll get you cleaned up and see to those wounds. Then we’ll find a way to put a stop to the Eyeglass.”
“My Lord of Time,” she smiled. “I’ve missed watching you.”
The Doctor chuckled and used his sonic screwdriver to unfasten the bindings around Aleena’s wrists. She tried to get up but slumped to the floor.
“I’ve got you,” said the Doctor, helping her to her feet and putting an arm around her. “We’ve just got to get to the hangar and then we’ll be home and dry. I’ve got a TARDIS escape pod down there.”
They were about to make a move when the door swished open. Standing there was a middle-aged woman that he recognised, looking pretty severe and staring at the two of them with utter contempt. Either side of her was Redcar and the huge Paragrim.
“Doctor,” said June Caster. “How nice to see you again.”
“Ah,” said the Doctor. “Manchester airport, yes?” he remembered.
“Execute him,” said June.
But before they could do anything the Doctor’s hand went to the sonic screwdriver nestled away in his inner pocket.
Back at the lighthouse, Danny and Caroline were becoming impatient. Caroline was swirling her finger around a luke-warm glass of water and Danny was tapping his fingers on the metal table.
“Someone should really clear that cereal bowl up,” said Caroline, absent-mindedly, looking down at the upturned bowl on the floor.
“Yeah,” said Danny, not really listening to her. “This is stupid. He’s been gone ages.”
“Not that long,” said Caroline.
Danny checked his watch.
“Stop looking at that thing,” said Caroline. “It’ll make the time go slower.”
“And what if something attacks this place again?” said Danny.
“Then we…I don’t know,” said Caroline, unsure of what they would do.
Danny sighed. He considered tapping in on the power of the Apparite that was trapped inside him, but he didn’t fully understand it himself, so he certainly wasn’t going to unleash it without at least having a few instructions to follow.
“Tell me more about her?” asked Caroline.
“Who?” asked Danny.
“Lisa…you know, my un-descendent.”
“She was…wonderful,” said Danny, smiling at a memory.
“Did you meet her parents?” asked Caroline.
Danny considered for a moment. He never had met her parents. “No,” he said. “She had a falling out with them around Christmas. She never made up with them.”
Danny crossed over to his her and put a hand on her shoulder. “What are you thinking about?”
“About him,” said Caroline, trying to fight back the tears again. “About Will. About what we would be doing now.”
“Maybe there’s a chance-”
“There’s no chance,” said Caroline. “The Doctor can’t take me back there. I might blow a hole in the universe or something.”
Danny felt like he should say something more, but he couldn’t think anything could ever make Caroline feel better again. Instead he tried a different tact.
“Hey, do you remember that old swing in the back of the old caretakers house at school?”
“Of course I do,” smiled Caroline. “The one you broke!”
“I didn’t break it!” exclaimed Danny. “It just decided that I wasn’t designed for it.”
“It was a child’s swing,” laughed Caroline.
“You were alright on it.”
“Probably because I was just a girl. You were a big, stupid gangly lad.”
“Exactly,” said Danny, in mock annoyance, “I was not designed for it.”
Caroline laughed and thwacked him on his shoulder.
He turned to her and smiled. “It’s nice to see you smile again.”
Caroline’s face soon changed once she realised what Danny was trying to do.
“What?” said Danny.
“I forgot about him. Just for a moment.”
“That’s good, isn’t it?” asked Danny.
“I don’t want to forget,” she said sadly.
“But you can be happy again. You’ve just proved that.”
Caroline was about to argue her point when there came a beeping from the console in the radio room. The two of them got to their feet and raced to the room. A flashing red light was blinking beside the control desk.
“What was it the Doctor said?” asked Danny.
Caroline stared at the flashing light. “If it beeps, go to the TARDIS and pull the dematerialisation lever.”
Before the Doctor had left he had gone back to the TARDIS and set up an emergency plan, only to be used if the Doctor was in imminent danger or had been captured. Should that happen, he would remotely signal with his sonic screwdriver. The warning light would come on and Caroline and Danny would return to the TARDIS, pull the dematerialisation lever and follow the pre-determined flight plan to the main starship.
The Doctor told them that he would only use it in extreme circumstances as they couldn’t risk the TARDIS being captured.
So this must have been an extreme circumstance, thought Caroline.
They both grabbed their jackets and quickly made their way out of the lighthouse and towards the police box.
Caroline fumbled the key as she tried to open the box as quickly as she could. When they finally entered the lights grew steadily brighter. The two of them got to the console and Caroline pulled the lever.
A few seconds later the room was filled with the sound of the great, grating TARDIS engines.
And Caroline and Danny waited.
In the room where Aleena had been held hostage, Paragrim stood with his huge blaster pointed at the Doctor.
June Caster circled her two prisoners, nodding at the fact that she’d finally captured the famous Doctor.
“I really do wish you’d let us go,” said the Doctor.
“Do you now?” said June, a slight chuckle in her voice. “And why would we do that?”
“Because we mean you know harm.”
June stood right in front of the Doctor and tried to make herself look bigger, looking him right into his icy-grey eyes.
“You are an enemy of Eyeglass. You always have been. Ever since the Torchwood days.”
“That’s no reason to hold my friend here prisoner,” he said, indicating the very weak and wobbly Aleena who was standing next to him, swaying slightly.
“She’s in possession of technology that we want. Technology that could benefit the Human race.”
“It’s dangerous technology,” said the Doctor. “It’s time travel.”
“I know,” said June. “And the General wants it.”
“Yes,” said the Doctor, “who is this General and why should he be bothered about time travel? Surely he’s not stupid enough to use it.”
“Not to change anything in the past,” said June. “He wants it to go backwards and forwards and learn. Learn how to make us better.”
“Typical. That technology needs to be destroyed,” said the Doctor. He turned to Aleena who was looking at him. “I should have destroyed it when I was on Equinox last time.”
“Well unfortunately for you that tech is now the property of Eyeglass.”
“You need to get to it first, and if I remember correctly, you don’t know the correct path to steer through the nebula.”
Paragrim chuckled next to them.
“Sorry, what’s the joke?”
“We already have the information,” said June, with a smirk on her face. “During the last round of interrogating on your blue friend, we extracted the coordinates. We’re just prepping the ships now.”
Aleena looked horrified. “I didn’t know. I couldn’t remember.”
“You still won’t get through the shields I’ve put up.”
“We’ll find a way,” said June, extremely confident in her words. “Shoot them.”
Paragrim aimed the weapon and was about to fire when the air was filled with the sound of wheezing and groaning, and right before their eyes the brilliant blue of the old, battered box of the TARDIS appeared.
June, Paragrim, Redcar and the two guards were momentarily distracted as the Doctor grabbed Aleena, dragging her towards the TARDIS door.
“Stop them!” yelled June as the door shut and the TARDIS faded away.
“Where did they go?” growled Paragrim.
“Back to Equinox,” said June. She turned to Redcar. “Get down to the flight deck. Tell them to make final preparations. We must take control of that lighthouse!”
On board the TARDIS, the Doctor was attending to Aleena’s wounds. He had pressed a recall button and the escape pod had been transported back inside the TARDIS.
“Are we heading back to the lighthouse?” asked Caroline.
“Yes,” said the Doctor. “And I’m afraid we’re going to have a few visitors.”
“You mean Eyeglass are taking their ships in?”
“Not just them,” said the Doctor, trying to hide the worry in his voice and failing miserably.
“What do you mean?” asked Danny, crossing over to the Doctor and Caroline.
“Look,” said the Doctor, pointing to the scanner screen.
“What are they?” asked Caroline.
On the scanner they could see the cloudy-red colour of the nebula. Then there was the small, red planetoid of Equinox. And surrounding the planet were around half a dozen small, metal spheres, almost like giant golf-balls.
“Doctor,” said Caroline again, “what are they?”
“Sontarans,” he replied grimly.