When he woke up he was lying in the middle of a huddle of his people. There was Chloe and Molly and Sam and around six others. Also there was the strangers who he had taken in. The tanned-skinned woman, Edith, was lying on the other side of the room in a pool of blood.
“What…What happened?” asked Peter, sitting up and rubbing the back of his head.
“There was an explosion,” said the Doctor glumly.
“What? From what Where’s everyone else?”
The Doctor nodded towards the far corner. In a pile was the rest of the survivors. They were dead.
And then Peter realised why. Surrounding the group of them were six Daleks and six Robomen. They had executed them and left the others alive.
“How do you think?” said the Doctor. “You spent too long in one place.”
One of the Daleks pushed forward. “WE HAVE BEEN TRACKING YOU FOR THE LAST FEW WEEKS.”
“They knew you were here,” said Tylaya.
“You gave us away,” said Chloe.
“Don’t be stupid,” said Maxus, “we just got here.”
“WE WERE AWARE OF SURVIVORS IN THE AREA. ALL SURVIVORS WILL BE TAKEN TO THE SAUCER TO BE CONVERTED INTO ROBOMEN.”
“But you killed those poor people,” said Sam.
“THEY HAD CONTRACTED OUR PLAGUE. THEIR SYMPTOMS WERE YET TO DEVELOP. THEY WERE USELESS TO US.”
Peter felt sick. They had the plague and none of them realised it.
“YOU WILL COME WITH US.”
“No,” said Peter. “I don’t think so.”
“THERE IS NO NEGOTIATION,” said the Dalek.
The Robomen brandished their whips and the remaining group were ordered to their feet and herded through the massive, gaping hole in the wall. The streets were lined with Robomen and Daleks and nobody dare move.
“We can’t go out like this,” said Peter.
“No,” said the Doctor, looking back towards the shop. He’d gotten partway through fixing the time drive, but when the explosion had happened he’d thrown it into a corner, hidden away from the Daleks. Now he was being escorted away from everything. Whatever happened to these people happened, but he had gotten Ty and Maxus into this situation. He had to get them out.
“What do we do, Doctor?” said Peter.
“That’s entirely up to you. I can’t force you to do anything, but you can guarantee that the Daleks will follow out their plan. They won‘t have compassion and they won’t listen to reason.”
“Then we have to get away,” said Sam.
Peter turned to Chloe. “You need to get Sam and Molly away. I can’t let this happen to them. Or you.”
“Don’t worry,” said the Doctor, “take Tylaya with you. Me, Maxus, Peter and the others will find another way. We can distract the Daleks whilst you escape.”
Tylaya had heard the plan and leaned in. “I don’t like this.”
“It’s the only way,” sad the Doctor.
“Why only us? What’s the point?”
“We split into two,” said Peter, “and that might give us the distraction we need for the rest of us to escape.”
“Where do we meet up?” said Chloe, feeling the situation running away from her.
The Doctor thought. He didn’t really know any specific places in the town. And then he remembered. “436 Wheelton Street. It’s towards the East of the town.”
“I know it,” said Chloe. “The area’s mostly deserted now.”
Tylaya shook her head, but she was mostly in agreement. Staying in a big group wouldn’t help them. No matter how many of them there were, it’d still not be enough to fight against the Daleks.
Tylaya managed to pass the word on to the others in hushed tones as they turned the corner to walk past the local hover port. The Doctor remembered this being where the old bus station was. For a moment he got nostalgic to his days with Danny and Caroline, having a quiet drink in the Barge, but he knew he couldn’t let himself get distracted.
Before he knew it Tylaya, Sam, Chloe and Molly had broken away, sprinting in the opposite direction.
“HALT!” yelled one of the Daleks. It fired and hit the road just behind where the escapees were running sending chunks of shattered concrete flying into the air, but they had escaped the blast and were already a third of the way down Victoria street.
“PERSUE!” screamed one of the Daleks. “PERSUE AND EXTERMINATE!”
The Doctor smiled as three Daleks and five, slow Robomen wandered off down the street. Ty and the others would be too quick for them and they’d escape as long as they didn’t run into any more Daleks.
“Now what?” said Maxus, also anxious to make his escape.
“We bide our time,” said the Doctor, as they began to be marched away again. He turned to Peter. “Do you know where the saucer is?”
“Somewhere near the docks,” said Peter as they turned the corner and began to be marched down a road that led past some big warehouse shops towards the area formerly known as the Central Market. It had landed there during the first few months. He had spotted it through his binoculars. “What’s in Wheelton street then?”
The Doctor smiled. “Nothing anymore, but a friend of mine had a flat there a long, long time ago. It was the first place that popped into my head.”
“Let’s hope they make it,” said Maxus.
“They will,” smiled the Doctor.
Tylaya, Chloe, Sam and Molly turned the corner into Wheelton street, saw the coast was clear and collapsed to the ground in a exhausted heap. Tylaya sat on the floor with her back to a wall and wiped the sweat from her brow. It wasn’t exactly warm, but she found Alice’s body to be less athletically fit than her own body. The droplets of fine rain cooled her face down.
“We need to find this house,” said Chloe, getting back up and catching her breath.
“Give us a minute.”
“No, Molly,” said Chloe. “The Daleks might be right behind us.”
“They’re not that fast,” said the teenager.
“No,” said Tylaya, “but if I know the Daleks they’ll have radioed for reinforcements. They could appear from around the other corner any minute.”
“If you know the Daleks?” said Sam. “Have you met them before?”
“Not exactly,” said Tylaya, trying not to dig herself into a big time travel hole, “but I’ve heard of them.”
“Where from?” said Sam.
Tylaya didn’t know what to say, but she was saved by Chloe.
“They’ve been here before. Quite a few times actually. Not on this scale, but they’ve always been sighted on Earth.”
Tylaya nodded, remembering the history books detailing the attacks during the early 21st century.
“I guess I should have paid more attention to history at school,” laughed Sam.
“And you used to have a go at me!” said Molly.
“Sorry, sweetheart,” smiled Sam.
“SEEK. LOCATE!,” came a Dalek voice in the distance.
“Quick!” said Tylaya. “Let’s get out of the open.”
They continued down the street, checking the numbers, when they finally found the house they needed. Thankfully the door was ajar and Chloe pushed it open. She drew a knife from the waistband of her jeans and edged into the hallway of the house.
She gently opened the doorway leading to the living room on her right and then ran through to the backroom and the kitchen.
She came back through to the hallway. “Downstairs is clear,” she said.
The rest of them piled inside and Tylaya closed the door behind her just as the blurred shapes of the two Daleks and the Robomen could be seen through the frosted glass.
“We made it,” smiled Molly.
“I’ll check upstairs,” said Chloe, making her way up the staircase.
“Let’s hope there’s some food left here,” said Sam.
“What happened to the owners?” said Tylaya.
“What happened to everyone should be the question, Tylaya. A lot of them died,” said Sam. “Some were captured by the Daleks and others formed groups and sheltered elsewhere. Some people are probably still holed up in some of these houses.”
“Upstairs is clear,” said Chloe. “There’s a few mattresses up there as well, so at least we can get some sleep.”
Sam smiled as she came down the stairs and Chloe gave him a very fleeting grin.
There was something between those two, thought Tylaya.
“What do we do now?” asked Molly.
“We rest,” said Chloe, “and then we wait for Peter and the others to get here. Let’s hope they have just as good luck as we did.”
The Doctor and his team were marched for another twenty minutes until they reached the edge of the docks. Most of the buildings were just ruin, but sat on top of the rubble with a ramp extending downwards was a large, silver saucer, it’s perimeter flanked by Daleks and Robomen.
“There she is,” said Peter. He voice was almost filled with wonder.
The Doctor nodded. He recognised the design. He had seen it so many times in his past.
“Look, Doc,” said Maxus, “if we’re gonna make a break for it then we should do it now.”
“Not yet,” said the Doctor.
“Why ever not?” said Peter. “Any closer to that thing and we’re going have a difficult time getting clear.”
Peter was right, of course, and the Doctor was just letting sentiment cloud his judgement. Ever since he had landed back in Thornsby he’d had this strange notion at the back of his head to keep the town safe. He felt like he owed it. He’d helped the town before against the Apparites, and now this disaster had befallen it, he felt like he had to put it right. Of course it would be another nine years before the occupation of Earth ended, so any impact he made on this squad of Daleks would be more or less pointless.
“Well?” said Maxus, itching to get away.
The Doctor sighed. “I want to put that saucer out of action.”
“What? You’re joking, aren’t you?”
“Doctor,” said Peter, “I don’t want the Daleks here either, but trying to take out a whole saucer is suicide.”
The Doctor bit the side of his mouth. He didn’t have long left for this world. He needed to help Thornsby one last time. “Then you two go,” he said. “Let me do this.”
“Don’t be crazy,” said Maxus, “you don’t stand a chance.”
“Maxus, this town means a lot to me. All my friends here have gone, but I want to try and save it one last time.”
“SILENCE!” barked a Dalek. “MOVEMENT DETECTED IN NEARBY ALLEYWAYS.”
The Daleks had become twitchy, their eyestalks looking up and down, their domes swilling from side to side.
“ROBOMEN, INVESTIGATE SURROUNDING AREAS. EXTERMINATE ANY HOSTILES.”
The Robomen began to move out, fanning out from the street and heading down the narrow streets and alleyways on the right side of the street that led to the train line that cut through the town and curved around the follow the line of the docks.
“What’s happening?” said Peter, looking around him.
“SILENCE,” said the Dalek again.
Everything went quiet, when suddenly there came a almighty roar of voices from the alleyways the Robomen had gone down. A group of about twenty men and women piled out of the alleyways and launched themselves at the group of Daleks surrounding the Doctor’s party. Each bore a different weapon. One had a club, another a metal pipe.
“ALERT! ALERT! WE ARE UNDER ATTACK. REINFORCEMENTS REQUESTED!”
In the distance there was a whirring sound from the saucer and laser blasts began firing from the underneath of the saucer on their position.
“Run!” said the lead attacker, a man with long blonde hair tied into a ponytail.
The Doctor and his team didn’t need to be told twice. They broke away and ran down the alleyways the fighters had come from, avoiding dead Robomen bodies and rubbish.
They seemed to be running for a long, long time and the Doctor was out of breath, having to stop to rest on his stick.
“Keep going,” said a young girl with dark hair, grabbing the Doctor and helping him along.
The Doctor could feel his hearts beating erratically and he was finding it hard to keep up, the girl was now literally dragging him along.
They climbed the steps that led to a old, iron bridge that crossed the railway and then they went down the other side, passing more houses.
“Where are we going?” he heard Peter’s voice in the distance.
“A safe place,” came the voice of the man in the ponytail.
The Doctor couldn’t go on. His hearts were beating too irregularly. He found himself slipping away. Was this the end…?
The Doctor opened his eyes. He was in a cave and it was dark. He could the dripping of water from up above and a drop of water splash on his forehead.
He sat up and standing there was the old lady with the greying blonde hair that he had seen in the mist when he rescued the Sleight family from their time bubble.
“Am I dead?” was all the Doctor could say.
“Don’t be silly,” said the old lady.
“Then I’m dreaming,” said the Doctor.
“Sort of,” said the lady.
“So you’re just a dream?”
“You may be dreaming, but it doesn’t mean that the projection of me and this cave isn’t real.”
The Doctor clambered to his feet and suddenly realised he no longer needed the use of his cane. “I need to wake up. I need to get back to Thornsby.”
“They are taking care of you,” said the woman.
“Then why are you showing me this?”
“Because you are losing focus again, Doctor.”
The Doctor frowned.
“Follow me,” said the woman.
The Doctor and the woman made their way through the cave and entered a narrower tunnel. At the end of the tunnel was a wooden, panelled door with a brass doorknob.
“I’m going to show your something,” said the woman, “and I want you to try and understand before you attempt your suicidal attack on that flying saucer.”
“Go on then,” said the Doctor.
The woman opened the door and the Doctor was momentarily blinded by the sunlight from the other side. She guided him through, and by the time his eyes had cleared he was no longer standing in a cave. He was now standing at the entrance to a sunny, tree-lined cul-de-sac with six houses around its circumference.
“Where is this place?” said the Doctor, not recognising anything.
“The place you need to find.”
“Stop being so cryptic,” said the Doctor. “What’s your name?”
“Helenia,” said the woman.
Something triggered at a long, lost memory at the back of the Doctor’s mind. “Helenia…” he mused over. “And this place?”
She smiled. “You need to find it first.”
“Because if I tell you now, you won’t believe me. You need to discover this place for yourself.”
“By going to Mount Cassius?”
“Yes,” said Helenia. “Right now you’re so hell bent on trying to save Thornsby, that you’re losing your way.”
“I need to save the town.”
“You’re doing it because you want to go out in a blaze of glory and do one last good thing, when I’ve already told you that you don’t have to die. There is a way to save yourself.”
The Doctor shook his head. “Don’t you ever think I get tired? I have already accepted my fate. I’m not going to waste time looking for another answer.”
Helenia smiled. “But this answer is the correct answer.” She sighed. “Maybe the name Celestia will spur you on.”
“Celestia?!” said the Doctor, shocked, “but how…?”
Then everything was plunged into darkness.
The Doctor woke up. He was on a mattress on the floor of some large warehouse with Maxus sat at the end.
“You okay?” he said.
“Yes,” said the Doctor, sitting up and rubbing the back of his head. “What happened?”
“You passed out cold,” said Maxus. “I thought you were a goner. Your hearts stopped beating, oh, and I haven’t even come up with a good explanation for why you have two hearts. Thor wants answers.”
“Thor?” said the Doctor.
“Guy with the blonde hair and ponytail,” said Maxus. “Not his real name though. Just a nickname I think.”
Thor made his way over to Maxus and the Doctor. “Peter here has explained what was going on. I still don’t get why you have two hearts though.”
“And why do they call you Thor?” said the Doctor.
He smiled. “Nickname at school after I became obsessed with reading those old comics. Even grew my hair long like him.”
“Do you have a hammer?” smiled the Doctor.
“No, but I have a pretty good fist. Although a powerful hammer might come in handy right now.” He stopped smiling. “So, two hearts? Some sort of an experiment gone wrong?”
“Not exactly,” lied the Doctor. “When I was a child I had…heart failure. The doctor’s tried experimenting on me and put in a new heart. Looks like they’re both failing now.”
Thor looked at him and frowned. It sounded like a load of rubbish, but the Doctor hoped that Thor would be willing to accept his answer. The planet was, after all, being occupied by an alien foe.
“Poor guy,” said Thor. “We’ll make sure you keep out of the main action then.”
The Doctor breathed a sigh of relief. He didn’t want to go into the whole Time Lord thing right now.
The girl who had helped him walked over. She had long dark hair and wore black rimmed glasses. She looked about seventeen. “Glad to see you’re doing better,” she said.
“Thank you for helping me, Miss…”
“Millie,” she said, extending her hand. “You’re lighter than you look, you know.”
The Doctor noticed that her arms had a few scars on them.
“What are you all doing here?” said the Doctor, glancing around the room at the others.
“We’re the resistance,” smiled Thor. “Well, one of the resistance groups anyway.”
The Doctor smiled to himself. It was a resistance group nine years into the future that would help to defeat the Daleks. He had the utmost respect for them.
“Listen, Doctor,” said Millie, edging closer to him, “do you think I can have a word in private?”
“Of course,” said the Doctor, getting up off the mattress.
“Millie?” said Thor, frowning.
“I just want to do another medical check on him,” said Millie, lifting up an old, battered medical bag.
Thor nodded. “Don’t wander too far.”
Millie guided the still fragile Doctor through a door to a small ante-room and then directed him to a plastic chair. The Doctor sat down, still feeling a little wobbly.
“Well?” said the Doctor.
Millie looked a little embarrassed and sat down on the chair opposite him. “You’ve been to Thornsby before, haven’t you?”
“A few hundred years ago?”
“How could you possible know?”
Millie smiled and held out her hands. They began to glow orange and she held them in front of her face, smiling at the Doctor’s reaction.
“You’re descended from them, aren’t you?” he said in wonderment.
“From the Ancestors? Yes,” she smiled.
“So you all survived?”
She nodded. “Yes. My name is Millie Caroline Fieldgate-Parker.”
The Doctor was lost for words. Not only was she one of the Ancestors, but she was directly descended from his former companion, Caroline Parker.
Next time: The Doctor and co meet the Slither! Coming Sunday 24th August 2014.
Please note from now on all chapters/parts will be uploaded on a Sunday instead of a Saturday.