by Kathryn A

Universe:Doctor Who
Summary:There is no Bad Wolf. Rose has to get back to the Doctor the hard way.
Spoilers: all of Season 1 of New Who (aka Season 28), especially "The Parting of the Ways" and "Dalek"; some dialogue is taken from those episodes.
Category: Alternative Universe

Author's notes at the end.

Chapter 1: Necessity Exists

"Necessity exists."
-- Liaden saying

A miracle doesn't always happen in an instant. Sometimes it takes hard work, time and perseverance. When time is not bent, there is no Bad Wolf to set things right, only Rose.

The sky is grey, as it always is, as it always was here before the Doctor came into her life. The wooden bench is hard, as she stares at nothing.

"You can't spend the rest of your life thinking about the Doctor." Mickey had followed her from the chip shop.

"How do I forget him?" she replied. The words echoed through her head, from the Doctor's message to her: I'm dead, or about to die any second, with no chance of escape.

"You've gotta start livin' your own life," Mickey said. "Y'know, a proper life like the kind he's never had. The sort of life that you could have with me."

She knew what Mickey wanted, but she couldn't give it to him. She stared at the asphalt in front of her, eyes following the curves and curlicues of the word written in chalk at her feet. "Eternity," she muttered.

Mickey glanced down. "Oh, yeah, I heard about that. Some guy went around writing that on pavements everywhere. I think he's dead or something. Must be a copycat."

"Eternity," Rose repeated. Her heart lifted. "Eternity!"

"What are you going on about?"

"The TARDIS is a time machine!" Rose said, leaping to her feet. "I've got plenty of time!"

"That's just what Jackie was sayin', it hasn't happened yet --"

"I can get back, I know I can get back. Get back and help him escape. Ten seconds later." She ran, on feet light with hope.

"Nuts," Mickey muttered, but she was already gone.

The sky was still grey. There was a black stain on the road next to the TARDIS, and the smell of burnt rubber lingered faintly in the air. Rose and Mickey leaned against the bonnet of Mickey's mini, staring at the TARDIS.

"There's gotta be something else we can do," Mickey said.

"Mum was right. Maybe we should just lock the door and walk away." Let the TARDIS die. Let this old box gather dust.

"I'm not havin' that," Mickey said with a frown. "I'm not havin' you just give up now, no way. We just need to... to do something different, maybe."

"Like what? A bigger car?"

"How'd the thing open up the first time?"

"The extrapolator tore open the rift," Rose said. "The rift! In Cardiff! It's still there! We need to take the TARDIS to Cardiff!"

Mickey eyed the TARDIS. "I suppose we could load it up on a tow-truck," he began, then both their eyes were drawn to the rumbling sound of an engine, as a large tow-truck turned the corner towards them. "Like that one."

Their eyes widened as the truck stopped and Jackie got out of the front seat.

"I tried to get the rescue truck but it was only free until six. Gotta get this back nine sharp tomorrow, so get on with it," Jackie said.

"How'd you know we needed to take the TARDIS to Cardiff?" Mickey said.

"Cardiff? I thought you wanted to break it open?" Jackie said.

"Plan B," Mickey said.

"Mum, where the hell'd you get that from?" Rose burst out.

"Rodrigo, he owes me a favour, never mind why," Jackie said, "but you were right about your Dad, sweetheart. He was full of mad ideas, and it's exactly what he would have done." She tossed the keys to Mickey. "Get on with it, before I change my mind."

It was a long drive to Cardiff, mostly in silence. The tow truck was of the kind which tipped up and the car was pulled up and carried on the back, but it had still taken all three of them to get the TARDIS on board. Rose kept on looking at the TARDIS chained up behind, wondering if it was secure.

"It's not gonna fall off," Mickey said. "And if it did, it probably wouldn't have a scratch."

"Yeah, he said the hordes of Genghis Khan couldn't get in, and they'd tried."

They lapsed into silence again.

"This better be the right spot," Mickey said.

"We're lucky this is a public square," Rose said. "Back in 1869 this was a morgue."

The paving of the square still showed signs of the earthquake that had rocked Cardiff when the rift had begun to open when they'd been there before. The Teigr Bae Atomic Plant project was on indefinite hold. With the mayor missing, presumed dead, all the irregularities had been coming to light and the project would probably be scrapped altogether.

"Let's get that chain," Rose said. Mickey unhooked the chain from where it had been winched up again, and they both entered the TARDIS.

The air flickered, and the image of the Doctor appeared.

"This is Emergency Program One."

"What?" Mickey gaped.

"Rose, now listen, this is important. If this message is activated then it can only mean one thing: we must be in danger, and I mean fatal. I'm dead, or about to die any second, with no chance of escape."

"I have to get back," Rose whispered.

"And that's okay, hope it's a good death. But I promised to look after you, and that's what I'm doing. The TARDIS is taking you home. And I bet you're fussin' and moanin' now. Typical!"

"He got that right," Mickey muttered.

"But hold on, and just listen a bit more. The TARDIS can never return for me. Emergency Program One means I'm facing an enemy that should never get their hands on this machine. So this is what you should do: let the TARDIS die. Just let this old box gather dust. No one can open it, no one will even notice it. Let it become a strange little thing standing on a street corner. And over the years, the world will move on, and the box will be buried. And if you want to remember me, then you can do one thing, that's all, one thing: have a good life. Do that for me, Rose, have a fantastic life."

"He's right," Mickey said. "It's not just your life you'd be riskin'"

"I can't let him die, Mickey!" Rose said. "Give me that chain!"

Mickey handed it to her, and she looped it around the edge of the console. He trooped out the door, and she could hear him starting up the truck's engine. The chain tautened, then strained.

"Open up, you've got to listen to me," Rose said. The engine whined, the console creaked with stress.

And a deep bell started ringing.

Rose's head snapped up. "The cloister bell! Oh no!" She tried to unhook the chain, but it was pulled too tight. "I'm sorry!" She dashed out the door, yelling, "Mickey, stop! Stop it!" She hammered at the window of the truck. "Stop!"

Mickey stopped the engine. "What you want me to stop for?"

"The cloister bell is ringing. We have to stop."

"Huh? What's a bell got to do with it? I don't hear anything."

"Of course not, it's inside the TARDIS," she said. "It rings when the TARDIS itself is in danger."

"In danger? What's the danger?"

"We are," Rose said.

Mickey opened his mouth, and shut it again. "We're wrecking it, aren't we?"

Rose nodded and ran back into the TARDIS, Mickey following.

"Is it okay?" He could hear the bell ringing once he stepped inside.

Rose shrugged. "How should I know?" She unhooked the chain.

The bell stopped.

"Looks like the TARDIS knows what you're doing, anyway," Mickey said.

"You're right!" Rose said. "It's listening!" She hit the console with her fist. "Why won't you take me back?" she addressed it.

"Needs someone at the controls, don't it?" Mickey said. "It may be alive, but what if it's like a horse -- needs somebody to steer?"

"It's more intelligent than that," Rose said.

"Well, maybe it's just stubborn, then," Mickey said. "If you want this to go anywhere, you gotta do it the hard way -- learn how it works."

Rose looked at the controls with dismay. "I don't know anything about this stuff! I wouldn't know where to start!"

"Well," Mickey said, "you could start with your A-levels."

Rose started with her A-levels. She moved to Cardiff, living inside the TARDIS, which still sat over the rift. She figured that the fuel of the rift would stop the TARDIS fading away, keep it awake. She moved in so that the TARDIS wouldn't forget her, would keep listening. And also because it saved on rent. Nobody looked at her twice when she went in and out of it every day; there seemed to be something about the TARDIS that made people ignore it, just as they'd ignored it the last time it had been parked in the Millennium Square.

Mickey would have been willing to share, though. He moved to Cardiff too, though he denied it was just to be with her. "Maybe I need a fresh start," he said. "My rep at home isn't that great, is it? Maybe it's better to be somewhere where the cops don't think I'm a murderer."

Rose didn't try to dissuade him. It was good to have someone there, someone who knew, someone to grouse with, someone to watch telly with, even though they often didn't want to watch the same things.

Studying was hard. Maths, physics and chemistry weren't soft subjects, and though she'd done well in her GSCE, they hadn't been her prime studies. But she couldn't start the TARDIS by speaking French at it. Sometimes, when the numbers scrawled on the page looked like dancing sticks, she'd just sit in the console room on a second-hand beanbag, listening to the Doctor's message. It only ever seemed to come on when it was needed, when she had to remind herself why she was doing this.

She studied history as an act of faith; faith that she would succeed, and travel through time and space again.

"Though they get it wrong," Rose complained to Mickey. "Like the newspapers. Pretend things didn't happen, make them up."

"Yeah, they still think the Slitheen thing was a hoax. And all the other stuff," Mickey said. "I took over Clive's website, y'know."

"You?" Rose laughed. "You, running a conspiracy site?"

"Well, he was right, wasn't he?" Mickey said. "The Doctor is trouble."

"He's not immortal, though," Rose said, soberly.

"No," said Mickey. "He isn't." He patted her shoulder.

She smiled, and went back to her history books.

"Rose?" Mickey said after a few minutes.


"What were you doing at Stuart Hoskins' wedding?" Mickey asked.


"You were there, the day your Dad died," Mickey said. "You're on the wedding video, though nobody can remember you, can't remember the wedding at all. What were you doing there? Did he have something to do with your Dad's death?"

She slapped him. "Don't you dare! Don't you dare!"

He put his hand to his cheek. "What happened? Tell me."

"It was my fault, don't you blame him!"

"Your fault your father died?"

"My fault he didn't die," Rose said. "I changed history by saving his life. History fought back. Nearly destroyed the world. Don't you remember anything? You were there."

"Something..." Mickey said. "I was scared of monsters. Ran to the church," he said slowly. "But I was just a kid, making things up."

"The monsters were real," Rose said. "Cleaning up the wound, the Doctor said. They made people disappear. Because my Dad didn't die like he was supposed to."

"So the Doctor killed him."

"No!" She raised her hand and Mickey ducked. "My Dad, he..." she broke off, eyes full of tears. "He knew what he had to do, and he did it. He died a hero, he saved the world." Tears trickled down her face. "And nobody knows it but me and the Doctor."

"Where's the disc, Mickey?"

"What disc? The one with your computer homework?"

"The one the Doctor gave you," Rose said. "The one that would wipe him from the Internet."

"Dunno what you're talking about," he mumbled, but he didn't meet her eyes.

"Mickey, if you're going to hide something, it's rather stupid to talk about it on a website."

"Oh, that disc," he said.

"Give it here," she said.

"What's it matter if I didn't use it when he asked?" Mickey said. "People deserve to know!"

"What, and I deserve to have people stalking me, reporting when they see me having a drink in a pub?"

"You were missing, Rose, they thought I'd killed you! Of course I wanted to find out where you were!"

"How many times do I have to say sorry?" she said. "And you don't have to look for me now, I'm right here."

"For how long, Rose?" Mickey said.

"As long as it takes," she said. "But you don't need to be plastering pictures of me and him all over the Internet."

"People deserve to know," he said.

"People like Henry van Statten?" Rose said. "I can't believe you interviewed him!"

"Why not? He's a prominent businessman who isn't afraid to say he believes in aliens."

"Of course he believes in aliens -- he collects them!"

"I know he collects alien artifacts, he said so in the interview."

"That's when he can't get real live aliens, lock them up, and torture them," Rose snapped.

"He tortured the Doctor? I don't believe it!"

"He hadn't gotten around to torturing the Doctor," Rose said. "I don't think he did, anyway. But he tortured the Dalek."

"One of the things the Doctor's fighting in 200,000 was here? Probably deserved it, it's a thing."

"He tortured it because it wouldn't speak to him," Rose said. "That's all. Just because it wouldn't speak to him. Even a Dalek doesn't deserve that."

"I'm not so sure about that," Mickey muttered.

"You have to give me that disc, Mickey," Rose said. "Run that program, or everything could go wrong."

"What do you mean, everything could go wrong?"

"You interviewed van Statten. But he can't have bothered to look at your site, yet, because he didn't recognise us."

"What do you mean? You're not making sense."

Rose sighed. "We met van Statten in 2012, Mickey. It hasn't happened yet. But if it doesn't happen the way it did, we'll be changing history. And changing history means the end of the world."

"Like what happened at Stuart Hoskins' wedding?"

"Like that, only there'd be nothing obvious to do to put it right."

"Wait a minute, this is rubbish," Mickey protested. "How can you change history when it isn't history? It hasn't happened yet."

"Neither has 200,000 years in the future, but the Doctor couldn't change that either."

"Did you ask him?"

"Yeah, I asked him. That's when he sent me back."

"I'll get the disc."

"To Rose, for passing her A-Levels!" Mickey said, gulping at his beer. The bar was crowded, full of other students celebrating, or commiserating, over beer and peanuts. Mickey and Rose had managed to get a small table near the front of the room, still within blaring distance of the pub's TV screen.

"Y'already said that," Rose said, a little tipsy herself.

"I'll say it again if I want," Mickey said.

"'S not enough, y'know," Rose said, suddenly gloomy. "A-Levels not enough."

"Wadda ya mean, not enough?" Mickey said. "You did well."

"Doesn't tell me how to fly the TARDIS," she said. "Just tells me how not to 'lectrocute myself. Just tells me Time Travel's not possible. Never gonna work."

"Don't say that," Mickey said. He put an arm over her shoulder, awkwardly patting it. Rose shrugged it off, and stared dismally at her glass.

Mickey looked up at the TV above the bar, which was showing images of mud-spattered players running and kicking a white and black ball over a wet field. "Wish I knew what they were sayin'. Bloody ST4."

"What d'you mean?" Rose said. "They just said Manchester lost by 4."

"You didn't say you'd learnt Welsh as well," Mickey said.

"Didn't learn Welsh, didn't have time," Rose said.

Mickey stared at her. "But that's ST4, it's all Welsh," he said, pointing at the television.

Rose blinked. "You sure? You're not making fun of me?"

Mickey shook his head. "No."

Rose looked up at the television, down at Mickey, and then smiled slowly as it dawned on her. "Yes!" She gave Mickey a hug.

Mickey hugged her back, never one to look a gift hug in the mouth. "Um, you suddenly remembered you learnt Welsh?" he said, puzzled.

"No, I didn't learn it." Rose was grinning. "It's the TARDIS, it has to be!"

"The TARDIS taught you Welsh?"

"Kind of," Rose said. "Remember I said it was telepathic? That's how we know the language wherever we go -- the TARDIS translates everything telepathically. If I understand Welsh, it's 'cause the TARDIS is doing it, because I don't know Welsh myself. The TARDIS is with me!"

"It still won't take you back, though," Mickey said.

"No, but maybe it's saying that I shouldn't give up, y'know?" She sighed. "But how am I going to do that? Nobody here can teach me how to fly the TARDIS, because nobody here knows a thing about it."

"Well, maybe you should find somebody who can teach you."


"I dunno!" Mickey shrugged. "Another time traveller?"

"And how am I going to find one?" Rose moaned. "The problem with time travellers is that you know where they've been, but not where they're going to be."

"Unless they've already been there," Mickey said slowly. "You said you've already been to 2012, didn't you?"

"I can't waltz up to the Doctor in 2012 and say 'hey, teach me how to fly the TARDIS because you're going to strand me here in the face of certain death, oh and hello Rose, meet Rose!' Been there, done that, destroyed the world, remember?"

"What about that Jack guy? Is he turning up anywhere around here?"

Rose frowned. "Not that I can remember. We met in World War Two -- and besides, same problem: we hadn't met before, so we can't meet in his past, and I don't know his future 'cause he's stuck on the same stupid space station as the Doctor!"

"Maybe one of the UNIT people? The Doctor worked with them in the past..."

"Most of the experts got killed by the Slitheen, remember? And why would he have told any of them how to work the TARDIS? He didn't tell me." She sighed.

"Anyone else you can think of? Aliens, even?"

"Yeah, well, I can think of one alien that would know, or probably be able to figure it out, but it's going to kill itself, so that's pointless."

"What alien?" Mickey asked.

"The Dalek," Rose said. "Van Statten's Dalek."

"That's crazy!"

"Well, it would know," Rose said.

"But those things are evil," Mickey said.

"Not this one, not completely," Rose said musingly. "It was part human, you see. Part me. It wanted to be free."

"Yeah, well so did Margaret the Slitheen, that didn't make her good!" Mickey said. "If the Doctor hadn't mucked up her tele-thingy, she'd have been off like a flash."

Rose's eyes widened. "What did you say?"

"I said Margaret the Slitheen was evil."

"No, not that," Rose interrupted him. "You said about her teleport thing..." Rose put her chin in her hand and stared at nothing. After about five minutes, she sat back.

"I think I have a plan," she said.

"What plan?" Mickey asked.

She told him.

"Are you completely nuts?" he exclaimed. "That is freakin' insane!"

"I could do it," Rose said. "I'll be careful."

"Careful? Careful?" Mickey said. "One slip and the world is toast! I can't believe you carried on about that stupid disc, and now you're sayin' you want to do something ten times worse! How could you?"

"Because I have to."

"No, you don't have to," Mickey said. "If something's impossible, it's impossible. If the Doctor was here he'd be the first to tell you to stop bein' so stupid."

"Well, he's not here, that's the bleedin' point!"

"You're not doing it, I won't let you."

"Don't you dare tell me what do do, Mickey Smith!" She poured her drink over his head and stormed out.

He thought he'd give her a week to calm down. But when he went to the Millennium square, the TARDIS was gone.

Chapter 2: Learning Not To Be Good

"Therefore it is necessary to learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge and not use it, according to the necessity of the cause."
-- Machiavelli

December 16th, 2011

Adam took another gulp at his glass of eggnog. He never thought he'd appreciate anything from the England he'd left behind, or his dead-end family, but at least his mother knew how to make a decent eggnog. Still, he supposed he should consider himself lucky that van Statten was giving them a Christmas party at all.

One problem with working at a top secret base, Adam thought, was that even at a Christmas party, the assemblage was dominated by geeks and security, neither of which had very many women in their number.

Now, there was one, frowning by the punchbowl. Pity about the hair: plain-Jane brown and looked like it had been cut with a hacksaw. The glasses didn't help either. Not that he was against glasses as such, but did she have to steal them from Clark Kent?

"Who's that?" he asked Mark Wingard next to him.

"Betty Schultz. Don't bother."

"Why not? She's not exactly ugly..."

"Yeah, but she's got a Bronx accent that'll bend metal. She's about as much fun as a security audit. No, she's less fun than a security audit: she gets off on security audits. I mean, there's loving your work and there's being your work, and if she has a single thought in her head that doesn't relate to security, then it has yet to be found."

"That doesn't sound too bad -- I mean, geek girls are good, right?"

"Look, I got stuck in a lift with her once: it was the longest ten minutes of my life. Trust me."

"She's got to have some hobbies, surely?"

"Yeah, if you can call it a hobby: she's the captain of the company paint-ball team."

"If you're trying to scare me off, you're not succeeding."

Mark shrugged. "It's your funeral."

But when Adam got to the drinks table, she was gone.

Betty Schultz stood in the lift. Nothing but her elevated heart-rate would have indicated that anything was amiss. The slight frown on her face was her usual expression.

She stepped out at the "top" floor, the one at ground level. Her expression lightened a fraction as she saw the exit guard.

"Hi Melvin," she said.

He looked up from the consoles upon which multiple images displayed. "Leavin' the party early?"

She shrugged. "You can keep that stuff. Hadta go, didn't mean I hadta stay." She leaned over the console. "How's the DC2200 going? Good colour?"

He smiled wryly. "34 million colours, but the motion detectors go off every time the aircon starts up."

"Crap," she said. "Better switch 'em off, then. We still got touch-sensors in the museum wing, don't we?"

"Yeah, installed last month. They're working fine."

"They'll do," she said. "For now." She straightened up. "Off home for me." She swiped her card at the door, and went out into the chill desert night.

Half an hour later, a dusty Ford pulled up at an apartment block at the borders of the metropolis known as Salt Lake City. It wasn't the better part of town, semi-industrial, and on Betty's salary she certainly could have afforded something nicer. But for her needs, there was nothing better.

She got out of the car, locked it, and went into the building. Up one flight of stairs, into a dingy apartment, dusty and musty. There were no pictures on the walls, and no knickknacks on the shelves. The furniture was a bare minimum. It might have been her apartment, but it could never have been called a home.

Ten minutes after she entered the building, Betty Schultz was climbing down the fire escape. She did it easily, unhurriedly, as if it was something she did every day. Which, in fact, she did.

She emerged from the alley behind the building, walked two blocks, and entered a lot with a sign in front of it which said "Allen's 24-hour storage". She unlocked one of the shed-like buildings, turned on the light, stepped inside, closed and locked the door behind her, stepped up to the large blue cabinet inside, and unlocked its door. She reached behind her to turn out the light of the storage room. The light went out, but it was not wholly dark. A beam of warm yellow light streamed out of the "cabinet". She stepped inside it, and the door shut behind her. The room was plunged into darkness.

Inside the cabinet, the cabinet which was far larger inside than it was outside, Betty sighed and took off her glasses. "Dammit, that was too close!" she said. The words were pure London. "Of course Adam was going to be at the Christmas party! Stupid, stupid, stupid Rose," she berated herself. She sighed. "Well, he's off on a buying trip soon, and I won't have to worry."

The TARDIS console room had a more lived-in look than it had when the Doctor had been there. A few sets of shelves were attached to the walls, a beanbag flopped on the floor, and a wheeled office chair stood by the console, a portable tool chest sitting beside it. A few strings of tinsel had been looped over the branches of the pillars, giving the room an incongruously festive air.

Rose sat down in the chair and switched on the screen hanging above it. "Might as well see if my taps are still working..." A conventional 21-st century keyboard had been wired into the console at that point, and Rose typed in a few commands. After a few seconds, the screen showed the same view that Melvin was looking at, many miles away; the security feeds for van Statten's secret base.

Rose smiled. "Like they say, most security breaches are an inside job."

She could hear the whispers as she walked down the aisle: "Oh no, it's Betty Schultz." She frowned. God, I hate this job. Not just the role she had to play, but the whole place; the way the air was always chill and stale like a tomb, the pervasive attitude that the universe of wonder was just a collection of toys for van Statten to break. She held her clipboard like a shield, and smoothed her face into expressionlessness. On with the show. She wondered how many times Jack had been undercover, and told herself she had it easy: at least she was still in her own time. Except that I don't want to be, she thought. Stiff upper lip, girl.

The techs sneaked glances at her while trying to carry on their work. She paused. "You know those cables are a health and safety issue, don't you?" she said to one hapless technician.

"It's only temporary," he said.

"That's what duct tape is for," she said. She looked at the cylinder he was scanning and froze. There was writing on it. Writing she could read, though it was in no Terrestrial language. Because of the TARDIS. The sense of the words that formed in her mind was: First Aid Kit.

"Is there anything inside that?" she asked, trying to make her voice casual.

"No, it's a dud," he said. "Completely empty."

A shiver ran down her spine. That was the same mistake Jack had made with his Chula Ambulance. It seemed empty inside because it wasn't filled with machinery, it was full of nanogenes, microscopic robots so powerful they could rewrite human DNA without even blinking. Jack's Chula warship had blown up in 1941. But there was no reason why debris from that explosion couldn't have been drifting in space all this while, and one piece from that explosion... could have been a first aid kit.

That little cannister could destroy humanity.

"It been opened? Maybe there's a crack or leak or something?" she said.

"No it's intact," he said. "You think there's some kind of gas inside?"

"If there is, your safety measures are inadequate," she said. "It will have to be transferred to Section 3."

"But -"

She pulled out a form from her satchel and slid it onto her clipboard. "Fill this in, and sign at the bottom."

"But -"

"I don't make the rules," she said.

She stood over him while he filled in the form and signed it. She gave him the carbon copy and picked up the cylinder. "Thank you," she said. "And go get some duct tape," she said as she left.

The next day, Item DX1847 was recorded in the base computers as having been destroyed. In reality, the cylinder was resting on a shelf in the room closest to the TARDIS console room. The Doctor could deal with it, when she got him back.

Rose rolled her eyes as she read the report on her screen. Project Gallium was a complete success. And, as usual, van Statten was suppressing the results. That didn't bother her one bit, so long as she could steal the prototype. After all, she was the one who had anonymously leaked the data to van Statten in the first place, just so that he would get a research team to crack it and make their own version. She knew she couldn't do it herself, that stuff was completely beyond her, even though the Doctor had whipped it up in an afternoon, according to the diary she'd found.

She needed to figure out a better delivery system, though. Maybe a paintball gun...

T minus 6 days

Rose soldered the last connection. That should do. She placed the little lumpy object carefully on a tall stool, and then walked out of the workroom into the console room. She tapped in a few commands, smiled at what she saw on the screen, and then typed in another command. She crossed her fingers before pressing the Enter key. The stool appeared in a flash of light, tilted slightly and then righted itself.


Rose ran over to the stool and picked up the object which she'd cobbled together from Margaret/Blon Slitheen's teleport device, a bunch of sensors, and a high-frequency transmitter. Nothing damaged: good.

It was going to work.

T minus 5 days

An inter-office memo envelope came down to the Cage. Sensors, for Metaltron was scrawled on the outside. Inside was a little lumpy object, and detailed instructions as to how the object should be placed on, or preferably, inside, the Metaltron.

Simmonds didn't question it. The tech boys were always coming up with something new. And the sensors did seem to work.

T minus 4 days

"Dan's Movers?... Yes, I'd like to confirm a booking... Allen's 24-Hour storage -- you have the address..."

T minus 3 days

Nobody questioned the requisitions. Not even at the audit six months later. It's hard to audit something which is buried in concrete. Especially a dead project like Project Gallium.

T minus 2 days

"That's a lot of food, Miss -- going camping?"

"Something like that."

T minus 16 hours

"Melvin, you on gate-duty tomorrow?"

"No, it's my day off."

"Good. Good."

"You okay, Betty?"

"Yeah. Just got a lot on my mind."

T minus 75 minutes

"Geoff, it's Betty. I'm afraid I won't be in today. Something I ate, I think... Yeah, I'll stay away from Chinese in future..."

T minus 1 minute

The TARDIS console room was somewhat more cluttered than usual. A large pallet on wheels was on a level part of the floor, each wheel aligned with a chalk mark on the floor. Other pieces of equipment were placed in readiness.

Rose was poised tensely in front of the screen, its view split into two sections. One section was a window waiting for commands, the other showed a view into level B53, as clear as a million-dollar security system could make it; full colour and sound.

And then she heard the noise she'd been waiting for, that groan of space-time being ripped apart and reformed, the sound of a materialising TARDIS. And there, on the screen, the familiar blue box faded into view.

Her heart sped up when she saw the Doctor emerge. Goosebumps came over her when she saw herself, her other self. She looked so young. Not a care in the world.

She followed their progress every step of the way, wishing desperately that she could be there, that she could teleport herself there in an instant, grab the Doctor and take him away with her. But that would be even worse than what had happened with her father. Just as well that it was impossible. Because she wasn't sure it was a temptation she could resist.

The Cage was dim as the Doctor entered it. "Look, I'm sorry about this," he said. "Mr. van Statten might think he's clever, but never mind him. I've come to help. I'm the Doctor."

"You always come to help," Rose whispered. "You don't know a thing about what you're rescuing and you still want to help..." Her eyes welled with tears.

Rose jumped when the Dalek screamed "Exterminate!" You want to rescue this thing? What the hell are you thinking, Rose? And then: I hope my security measures are enough.

"You are an enemy of the Daleks! You must be destroyed!" Then the Dalek's gun failed.

"It's not working!" The Doctor's laugh had a somewhat hysterical edge. "Fantastic! Oh fantastic! Powerless. Look at you, the great space-dustbin - how does it feel?"

The Dalek edged back. "Keep back!"

They're afraid of him. They were afraid of him on the ship. Have they always been afraid of him?

"What for? What are you gonna do to me? If you can't kill, then what are you good for, Dalek? What's the point of you? You're nothing! What the hell are you here for?"

"I am waiting for orders."

"What does that mean?"

"I am a soldier. I was bred to receive orders."

What a senseless waste, Rose thought.

"Well you're never gonna get any. Not ever."

"I demand orders!"

"They're never gonna come! Your race is dead! You all burned, all of you -- ten million ships on fire, the entire Dalek race, wiped out, in one second."

"You lie!"

"I watched it happen. I made it happen."

"What?" Rose exclaimed. He wiped out the Daleks?

"You destroyed us?"

"I had no choice."

And it's happening all over again. On Satellite Five. He's trying to destroy the Daleks all over again.

"And what of the Time Lords?"

There was a long silence.

"Dead," the Doctor said. "They burned with you. The end of the last great Time War. Everyone lost."

"Oh. My. God," Rose whispered. No wonder he doesn't want to talk about it. He killed his own people. Her face paled. If he could do that to Gallifrey, what about Earth? She shook her head, rejecting the thought.

"And the coward survived," the Dalek said.

"Oh," the Doctor returned in a sing-song voice. "And I caught your little signal: 'Help me'. Poor little thing." He frowned. "But there's no-one else coming 'cause there's no-one else left."

"I am alone in the universe."


"So are you. We are the same."

"We're not the same! I'm not --" the Doctor broke off. "No, wait. Maybe we are. You're right, yeah, okay. You've got a point. 'Cause I know what to do. I know what should happen. I know what you deserve." A sickly smile plastered itself on the Doctor's face. "Exterminate." He flicked a switch, and arcs of electricity stabbed into the Dalek.

"What the hell are you doing?" Rose yelled, unmindful that nobody could hear her.

In the chaos and confusion that followed, one thing was quite clear to Rose: where the Daleks were concerned, the Doctor wasn't quite sane. The Daleks were dangerous, deadly, destructive, sure. But they were only the stuff of nightmares if you let them be so.

The other thing that was quite clear to her was that van Statten really was worse than the Dalek.

"You don't have to do this any more," the other Rose said. "There must be something else, not just killin'. What else is there? What do you want?"

"I want... freedom," the Dalek said.

"No more killin'" Rose whispered in the silence of the TARDIS.

Tears streamed unheeded down Rose's face as she stared into the screen.

"I've got to do this," the Doctor said. The gun he held was big and black, more like a cannon than a gun, especially when one was staring down the wrong end of it. "I've got to end it. The Daleks destroyed my home, my people. I've got nothing left."

"Look at it," the other Rose said, indicating the Dalek, with its armour open, its tentacles waving tremulously.

The Doctor was baffled. "What's it doing?"

"It's the sunlight, that's all it wants."

"But it can't -"

"It couldn't kill van Statten, it couldn't kill me. It's changin'," the other Rose said. She stared at the gun. "What about you, Doctor? What the hell are you changin' into?"

Stricken, he lowered the gun. "I couldn't-" he began, "I wasn't -" he broke off. He stared at the Dalek, then at Rose. "Oh Rose, they're all dead."

"Why do we survive?" the Dalek said.

"I don't know," the Doctor said.

"I am the last of the Daleks."

"You're not even that," the Doctor said, with pity in his voice. "Rose did more than regenerate you. You've absorbed her DNA. You're mutating."

"Into what?" the Dalek asked.

"Something new," the Doctor said. "I'm sorry."

The other Rose was surprised. "Isn't that better?"

"Not for a Dalek," the Doctor said.

"I can feel so many ideas," the Dalek said. "So much darkness. Rose, give me orders! Order me to die."

"I can't do that," the other Rose said.

"This is not life," the Dalek said. "This is... sickness. I shall not be like you." Its voice became strident. "Order my destruction! Obey! Obey! Obey!"

"Do it," the other Rose said.

"Are you frightened, Rose Tyler?" the Dalek asked.

"Yeah," the other Rose gulped.

"So am I," the Dalek said quietly. And then, just as quietly, "Exterminate."

The Dalek closed its armour and levitated into the air. The golden bumps on its sides detached and hovered in a ball around it. A globe of energy formed.

Rose pressed the enter key.

A bright light filled the area, a crackle and a thump as something materialised.

"I did it!" Rose cried. Then the smell of hot metal, burnt plastic and singed flesh filled her nostrils, and she stared at the lump on the pallet with horror. The bottom was missing, the arms and the eye-stalk were completely gone, and the dome and panels were half-slagged. Had she timed it too late? She grabbed a crowbar and attacked one of the panels, prising it apart. She pulled at it with her hands, ignoring the heat and sharp edges. "Don't you die on me!" she yelled. "Don't you dare die on me!"

She managed to get one panel off. She choked in the smell of burnt flesh. The Dalek's one eye was shut. Nothing about it moved. "No! Not now! Not after everything!"

She stared at it, frozen for a long moment.

Then she ran, ran to the room next to the console room, where she'd kept it, just in case. Came back, hesitated, then opened the canister of nanogenes.

Golden motes of light poured out of it, danced over her burnt and bleeding hands. She remembered how Jack had tied her hands with a scarf the first time, to keep them still. She wondered now if he'd really needed to do that, or if it had just been part of the flirtation; but she held still anyway.

Then the motes flowed down to the body of the Dalek in its wrecked travel machine. Some of them darted back and forth between the Dalek and Rose, as if they were passing messages, doing a comparison. Rose froze in horror. Would they turn her into a Dalek, or would they attempt to turn the Dalek into a human? The Dalek already had human DNA; her DNA. What would the nanogenes make of that?

Glows enveloped the burnt ends of the Dalek's tentacles, another group clustered around the Dalek's eye so thickly that all Rose could see was a golden ball of light. Then they spread thinner. Something was growing there. An eye, and more than an eye; the curve of an ear, a nostril, lips; they were building a face, a human face. Except that it was blue.

The light pulsed, faded, pulsed again. It seemed as if the nanogenes were having difficulty; perhaps something inside the TARDIS was limiting their effectiveness, or maybe there just weren't enough of them. After all, the nanogenes which had wreaked such havoc in the middle of the Blitz had come from an entire ambulance ship full of them; this was just a small first-aid kit.

Just so long as there were enough of them to ensure that the Dalek lived.

Chapter 3: The Argument of Tyrants

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt, 1783

It was dark. It was silent. And for the first time in 50 years, I felt no pain.

"Is this death?"

"No," said a voice. "This is Purgatory."

Analysis: audio working correctly, vision impaired. Voice identified to 90% certainty. "Rose Tyler. You ordered me to kill myself."

"I changed my mind."

"You did not obey!"

"Yeah. Humans aren't always good at that."

"I do not want to be human!" So much darkness inside, in memory, unbearable. No, it wasn't the darkness, it was the knowing that it was dark. I do not want to know.

"You're not human," Rose said. "You're something new. You are the first of the Namu."

Linguistic analysis: probability 77% that 'Namu' is 'human' in reverse. Cross-reference: origins of 'Dalek' being 'Kaled' in reverse. "You know the history of the Daleks."

"Yes," Rose said. "I came across some of the Doctor's diaries."

"The Doctor is an enemy of the Daleks!" came the automatic response. "He must be exterminated!"

"You're not a Dalek any more," Rose said quietly. "Your name is Daisy."

Asteraceae Bellis Perennis. "A flower. I am not a flower."

"Neither am I, but my name is Rose."

There was a sudden jolt, and a vibration.

"What is happening?"

"We're moving," Rose said.

"Where are we going?"

"Nowheresville, U.S.A."

The house was seven miles from nowhere. Of course, the town wasn't actually called Nowheresville, but it might as well have been. Rugged emptiness from horizon to horizon, in twenty different shades of brown.

A house in the town itself would have been more convenient, but she wanted to keep away nosey neighbours. It's all very well mentioning to the curious that you have a disabled cousin, but rather another matter when said cousin is blue and has tentacles. And even more important to keep "Cousin Daisy" from interacting with the neighbours. Rose shuddered. The only "interaction" Daisy had had with humans was death and slavery... the only interaction she'd had with anyone. She may not be a Dalek any longer, but she needed to be taught that "Exterminate" is not an acceptable greeting.

You are completely insane Rose thought, and sighed. "It's like potty training," she muttered. "It's dirty, and messy, but somebody's got to do it."

She just hoped that it didn't take too long, or the townsfolk would start wondering why her cousin was so very very shy.

There was light. I blinked, an automatic reflex. Vision is/is not impaired. Vision is different. There were lines, paleness and shadows, straightness and corners; something built, a room. Then a face, a head, a body...

"Rose Tyler." Uncertainty. Why had I focused on the face first? It was not an orderly analysis. There was another image which matched closer, not only the face but the hair on the head; an image taken from the data of the place of pain. "Betty Schultz."

"Always knew you were clever," Rose said. "High-and-mighty van Statten never twigged."

"This does not compute. There cannot be two of you."

"Time travel," Rose said. "You figure it out."

"Time travel does not allow you to meet yourself. The temporal potential energy discharge would be catastrophic."

"I didn't," Rose said. "I was very careful."

I blinked again. There was something wrong with my vision. I could not focus clearly on objects on the other side of the room, could not count the dust particles floating in the air. Yet, at the same time, it was richer. Deeper. Because... it wasn't just light and dark. It wasn't just two dimensional. And I was blinking.

"I am seeing in colour! I have human eyes! What have you done to me!"

Rose grimaced. "Wasn't me, it was the nanogenes that saved your life. They kinda thought you were sorta human. Changed you. You got a human face now: two eyes, two ears, a nose and a mouth."

"I will not be like you!"

Rose moved suddenly closer, her face so near I could see the pores of her skin. "You are like me, Daisy, and whining about it isn't going to change it. Live with it."

"I will not live with it."

"No more killin'," Rose said. "And that means suicide too. You are not gonna die, you got that? I'm not gonna let you."

"How are you going to stop me?"

"What makes you think I haven't got more nanogenes?" She pulled away a little, glancing out the doorway and then back again. "You try and kill yourself, you could end up even more human than you are already. Silly little buggers they are, they don't know any better."

I was silent. Live with impurity, or become even more impure? This was worse than fear. "I obey."

"No," Rose said. "You promise. You promise not to kill yourself. Got it?"

It seemed that Rose Tyler required a different form of obedience, but it was still obedience. "I promise."

Rose smiled. "Good."

"I am impure. I have nothing. I am nothing." I paused, and then admitted, "I am afraid."

"You aren't a Dalek any more," Rose said. "You are Daisy the Namu. You don't have to be afraid."

What did it matter if I was the last of the Daleks or the first of the Namu? "I am alone."

"So am I," Rose said.

"Where is the Doctor?"

She looked at the floor. "He's not here."

"He left you? You are of no concern to him, now?"

Rose snorted. "He did his duty and dumped me, yeah."

So, she was no longer of any use to me as a hostage, then.

"Mum, Dad, keep this message, okay? Whatever you do, don't erase it. Save it. You got that?" There was a pause. "The microprocessor became redundant in the year 2019, replaced by a system called SMT, that's Single Molecule Transcription. No, no, no, no, what are you doing? Come back, come --" A sound, a thud like a mallet, or of someone kicking something made of metal. "Why are you doing that? What's floor 16? What's down there?"

"Me again. Don't wipe this message. It's just gonna sound like white noise, but save it, 'cause I can translate it, okay? Three, two, one, and spike!" Static. More static. An agonised scream. And more static.

"Got you, you little wimp," Rose muttered. The wire tap had been relatively easy to set up. After all, she just had to check her mobile to see the exact number and time that Adam had made his calls. No matter that the Doctor had returned and blown up Adam's answering machine, Rose already had the data, tapped the exact moment it was being transmitted.

Somewhere, in that sea of data, there might be something she could use. The plans of Satellite Five would still be helpful even if they were 100 years out of date. It didn't seem likely that it had changed much. Humanity had gone backwards -- because of the Daleks, planning and plotting behind the scenes. Renovating Satellite Five would hardly be on the agenda. Heck, even the floor indicators had remained the same.

"I obey."

"Stop sayin' that! Why can't you do something because you want to?"

"I want to die."

"No more killin'!"

"I obey."

Rose looked at Daisy, then turned and ran out of the room, out of the house, slamming the back door behind her. Her vision was blurred with tears. She unlocked the back shed where she kept the TARDIS, ran inside, slammed it shut, stumbled into the TARDIS, and fell into the beanbag, sobbing.

I hate this, it's hopeless, I can't do this, I'm nothing but a glorified jailer!

"This is Emergency Program One..."

"Shut it! Shut it! I can't do it!"

Are you going to kill Daisy then? She remembered the Doctor, facing her with that long-barrelled cannon that seemed never to end. Because that's the only alternative.

"No," she whispered. "No more killin'."

The water was cool and smelled faintly of ozone and salt. Rose had discovered the TARDIS pool in one of her explorations of its seemingly endless levels and corridors. Now she swam in it every morning, not just to stay fit, but to snatch at a bit of quiet calm before the battles of the day. And if a few tears mingled with the salt of the pool, who would notice?

She kept fit as an act of faith; you had to be fit to keep up with the Doctor -- and to run away from his enemies. That's why she'd taken up paint-ball, because running and sneaking was a good skill to have when you were travelling with the Doctor. She'd been surprised how good she was at it. Though human beings were a piece of cake compared to aliens like the Raxicoricofallipatorians. She'd have to remember that.

Humans have much clutter in their lives. A Dalek is self-sufficient. All its needs are provided by its power and armour and orders. Humans require dwelling places and objects and food. It is very inefficient.

I am not a Dalek. I am not a human. I do not know what I need. My power system was intact. My motive units, weapons, manipulator arm, vision and voder systems were destroyed. With Rose Tyler's assistance, much of my armour had been removed, as it hindered my organic vision and organic manipulators (Rose Tyler calls them eyes and tentacles). She provided a crude form of motive unit; it was a box on wheels. It was not integrated with my systems; the controls required physical manipulation.

"This transport is deficient."

"I know," Rose snapped. "If you don't like it, make your own."

"You do not have the technology."

"Exactly." Rose frowned. "How do Daleks build things, anyway? I mean, they didn't come out of nothing..."

"Davros created the Daleks."

"That isn't what I meant. Who built the Dalek armour, and the ships? Who designed it?"

"Research Daleks improved the technology. Factories build, but any Dalek is capable of repairing another Dalek. If their function is not already impaired." If Dalek technology had not been so efficient, I would not be so impaired. This is what humans call irony.

Chapter 4: Bargaining

"Necessity never made a good bargain."
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1735

Chores didn't do themselves, even with labour-saving gizmos. Dishes had to be stacked. Clothes had to be washed. Odd junk had to be picked up off the floor, or Daisy would either break it or get jammed on it with her wheels. But it did go better with a good beat. Rose tuned the boombox radio to a classic rock station and started dusting the bookshelf. Since she couldn't risk bringing Daisy into the TARDIS, she was actually living in the house, and that meant that at least some of her books needed to be there too. Some people would probably think it was a weird collection: How to Potty Train Your Toddler was jammed up next to Proceedings of the IEEE 2011, a binder with a handwritten label 'comp.risks' was next to a magazine box full of Archaeology journals, and 1984 was on the same shelf as The Diary of Anne Frank and The Complete Works of Charles Dickens in four volumes.

If I could only reach you
If I could make you smile
If I could only reach you
That would really be a breakthrough

the radio pounded out.

Oh yes, Rose thought. If only something would make Daisy take an interest in life instead of death. But the music wouldn't let her brood for long; it set her feet tapping. Which was exactly the reason she had the radio on in the first place.

The Queen double-play had jumped into the hammering beat of "Headlong" when Rose noticed that Daisy had whirred into the room. Rose turned off the radio. "Yes, Daisy, what is it?"

"Do not stop that."

"Stop what?"

"That noise. From the crude receiver box."

"The radio?"

"The radio box. Turn it back on."


"I want to listen to it."

Rose gaped at Daisy. "You want to --" she broke off. Then she turned the radio back on.

I am not like Rose. I do not like the same music that she likes; she finds Heavy Metal too loud, and Bach boring. She is not intelligent enough to understand Bach. It is very elegant. Heavy Metal and Punk Rockers... they are so angry. They know what hate is. But they break it to their will. They craft it into something and hurl it at the world.

Without killing anybody.

Rose wants her music to be tame and nice. She says that Heavy Metal singers "can't sing properly". She does not see that that is the heart of Rock and Roll. They are not proper. They do not obey. They are free.

Be careful what you wish for, Rose thought, you may get it. Not that she wasn't glad, really, that Daisy had found something she liked, something she wanted, something she enjoyed, but... Heavy Metal? They had reached a compromise, though: techno dance and an iPod with earphones. And what Daisy chose to play when Rose was in town was Daisy's business.

But in order to control the iPod, Daisy needed something with finer motor control than her tentacles. Rose knew exactly where to get a prosthetic arm, better than cutting edge (working for van Statten had had some benefits) but it was useless unless Daisy would give her enough data about her neural interfaces to let Rose connect it properly. Data that would make Daisy vulnerable -- more vulnerable than she was now.

Daisy would have to trust Rose.

Daisy had hesitated. When she was told that the cosmetic skin was optional, that it would still work with bare metal and plastic, she had agreed.

After a week with her new arm, Daisy had come to Rose and said, "I want another one."

"Another what?"

"Another arm," said Daisy. "They are designed to go in pairs, one alone is inefficient." She hesitated a moment, and then said, "Please."

Rose gave a huge smile. "I'd love to," she said.


The wheel tracks told their own tale. And the crowbar, and the smashed lock of the shed. While Rose had been doing the weekly shopping trip, Daisy had broken into the shed. She had seen the TARDIS.

And then what had she done?

There wasn't a scratch on the TARDIS, but there wouldn't have been, would there? Had Daisy tried to damage it, or had she known better? Or had she not even considered it?

Rose studied the wheel ruts in the dusty earth. The tracks led from the house, to the shed, and around the side of the house, to the front. To the road, where no tracks would show.


Daisy wouldn't get far in her motorised wheelchair. Rose sighed when she thought of the parts in the back of the Ford, the last few pieces needed for the go-kart which Rose had been building for Daisy. It was based on a solar-powered desert racer, but altered to use Daisy's power plant. Daisy had been so well-behaved, Rose had thought -- but she had been mistaken.

Rose crouched down and examined the roadside. Which way had Daisy gone? Towards the town, or away? Left, or right? A smudge of earth curved to the right: she'd gone away, into the desert.

Rose got back into the Ford and drove away from the town. Finally, she spotted something in the distance, a boxy shape, a spot of blue. It shimmered in the heat. Rose drove up to Daisy and stopped the car. Daisy kept on going, pushing the motor control forward with one tentacle, face set straight ahead, ignoring Rose's presence. The motor was whining in complaint. Rose got out of the car and started walking next to Daisy, easily keeping up with the slow-moving wheelchair.

Daisy was muttering something. Over and over again. "Negate. Negate. Negate. Negate."

"Daisy," Rose said. Sweat dripped down her face in the heat, and dried almost instantly.

"You lied," Daisy said. "You said that the Doctor had left you. Yet his TARDIS is here. You mean to take me to the Doctor! Confess!"

"The Doctor isn't here!"

"You have the TARDIS."

"He put me in the TARDIS and sent me back here on bloody remote control. And now I'm stuck here."

"No, you are waiting for him."

"I'm not waiting for the Doctor, because he's not coming back."

"He always comes back. He never stops," Daisy said. "No more! Not again! Negate! Go away! Leave me alone! Let me make an ending."

"He's not coming back! I'm stuck here!" Rose bent down, locking her eyes with Daisy's, tense with the need to make her listen. "It's just you and me," she said, each word clear and slow. "And, though I never thought I'd say this, I'm the only one who cares about you. I'm the only one who cares if you live or die." How to say this in a way that Daisy would understand? "Not negate. Live."

"Live? And then what?" There was an appeal in the blue eyes that Rose had never seen before. "What next?"

"Exactly! That's it!" Rose said. "Whatever we make happen next." No silver linings, no false promises. "Cock-ups and laughs, larks and muddles." Rose thought of what was in the Ford, and she half-grinned. "How fast does a Dalek travel machine actually go? 'Cause I've got something you never tried before. That's what's next. Trying something you've never tried before. Whether it's a cock-up or a blast-off."

Rose stared at Daisy anxiously. Had she got through, or did this make no sense to a Dalek, even an ex-Dalek?

Daisy turned the wheelchair around, facing back the way they'd come. "Yes. Show me."

The wind blew sharp and cold into Rose's face, and her hat only stayed on because of its chin-strap. The ground rushed past in a blur. Rose clenched the rim in front of her with whitened knuckles and briefly wished she'd built in a second seat with a seatbelt, instead of a flat open back, a space-age chariot. But if she'd done that, she wouldn't be able to see anything, or feel the exhilaration of speed. Daisy was installed in the front of her new travel machine, a hat covering her blue head, her own face to the wind.

A noise boomed across the desert; powerful speakers thundering out rock-and-roll. Rose laughed, singing along with the pounding beat: "We will, we will, rock you! C'mon everybody, we will, we will, rock you!" Their shadow stretched out long and thin in front of them. The sun was rising, it would soon turn the plain into a glittering furnace, but right now the air still held the night's chill.

"Wooooh!" Rose said as the song finished. "Isn't this great?"

Rose couldn't see Daisy's tentative smile. "This is rock-and-roll."

And they sped across the desert, racing the sun.

"This," Rose said, "is chocolate." She peeled back the thin metal covering, revealing a brown rectangular block, with regular lines scored through it. No, it was probably impressed in a mold. Rose broke off a piece along one of the lines, then a smaller piece from that. Rose popped it into her mouth. "Mmmmm. Try a bit?" she said, talking around the chocolate.

"I do not need human food," I said. "My power plant is sufficient."

"Chocolate isn't for food," Rose said. "It's for taste. Try it. Try something new." Rose raised her eyebrows. "Not game?"

I would not back down from the challenge. I picked up the smaller block and broke off a piece. I put it in my mouth. It began to dissolve. For a second I was aware of a unique and completely novel taste, then the action of my nervous system was blotted out by an overwhelming reaction. Glands around my tongue squirted out saliva. A dose of what I realised was sucrose entered my bloodstream. There was a bio-program operating. Instantly I was on my guard.

"What do you think?" Rose grinned.

"It is fuel for the body, a reward for the nervous system; it would make an excellent control mechanism."

Rose's face fell. "Oh." She blinked. "We'll try something else, then."

After half an hour, Rose was surprised to find how many things she ate and drank in the course of a normal day could be considered as dangerously habituating narcotics. The only things that Daisy seemed to find acceptable were apples, dried apricots, and a raw egg.

Rose found Daisy in the shed, staring at the TARDIS.

"Why is it here?" Daisy asked. "He never leaves it behind. He will return for it."

"He can't return for it," Rose snapped. I thought we'd already gone over this. "Look, I'll show you." She pulled the TARDIS key from around her neck, and opened the TARDIS. She pushed both doors open. "Look."

"I know he is not here now," Daisy said. "What are you trying to prove?" But Daisy whirred over the threshold anyway.

As Rose expected, the Doctor's emergency hologram appeared.

"This is Emergency Program One."

Daisy jerked back, and then moved forward, eyes narrowed.

"Rose, now listen, this is important. If this message is activated then it can only mean one thing: we must be in danger, and I mean fatal. I'm dead, or about to die any second, with no chance of escape."

Daisy's eyes widened slightly, then she frowned.

"And that's okay, hope it's a good death. But I promised to look after you, and that's what I'm doing. The TARDIS is taking you home. And I bet you're fussin' and moanin' now. Typical!"

Daisy glanced at Rose.

"But hold on, and just listen a bit more. The TARDIS can never return for me. Emergency Program One means I'm facing an enemy that should never get their hands on this machine."

Daisy's eyebrows raised slightly, then she nodded, once.

"So this is what you should do: let the TARDIS die. Just let this old box gather dust. No one can open it, no one will even notice it. Let it become a strange little thing standing on a street corner. And over the years, the world will move on, and the box will be buried."

Daisy's eyes rested briefly on the beanbag, the shelves, the tools scattered around the console room.

"And if you want to remember me, then you can do one thing, that's all, one thing: have a good life. Do that for me, Rose, have a fantastic life."

"He's not coming back," Rose said stiffly, her heart clenching.

Daisy smiled slightly.

"Don't you dare gloat!" Rose snapped.

"I am not gloating," Daisy said. "I am admiring you. You are defying him. You are not being programmed by human loyalty."


"It is obvious. You want me to help you to rescue the Doctor from the Daleks."

"He didn't say anything about Daleks," Rose said.

"Who else could it be? Who destroyed the Time Lords?"

"Er, you got me there."

"I will not help you," Daisy said.

"I thought you'd be glad you weren't the last Dalek," Rose said.

"They will exterminate me for being impure," Daisy said. "Or they will cage me and reprogram me and destroy what I am. I do not want to go near any Daleks. And I do not ever want to help the Doctor."


"I want to be free," Daisy said.

"Help me fly the TARDIS and I'll take you anywhere you want to go," Rose said.

"If you go to rescue the Doctor from Daleks, you will die, and you will not be flying anywhere," Daisy said.

"If you teach me how to fly the TARDIS, I can drop you off before I go to rescue the Doctor," Rose said.

"I do not want to be dropped off," Daisy said. "I want the TARDIS."

Rose folded her arms and frowned. "No. Absolutely not."

"If you are dead, you cannot use it."

"It's not mine to give," Rose said.

"If you are both dead, neither of you can use it," Daisy said. "And we both do not want it in the tentacles of the Daleks."

Rose paused. She had a point. But just because Daisy no longer would exterminate first and ask questions afterwards didn't mean that she wouldn't just take off and leave them in the lurch.

"If the Doctor and Jack are both already dead," Rose said, "we both leave."

"And if you die?"

"I have the key," Rose said, touching the chain around her neck. "You better make sure I don't die." Clever though Daisy was, Rose didn't think she had the necessary skills to be a pickpocket.

"Agreed," Daisy said. "I will help you determine the controls of the TARDIS, we will travel to where the Doctor is, we will all leave. If you can persuade him to come." She looked at the spot where the hologram had appeared. "Why did the Doctor not come with you? If there was time for you to escape, why not him?"

"Because he's an idiot!" Rose snapped. "Because..." she trailed off. She leaned back against the console, frowning. "We were working on something to stop the Daleks. A Delta Wave thingy. He wasn't going to get it done in time. But it had already started building power. I don't know!"

"A Delta Wave needs to be refined to its target species," Daisy said. "Otherwise it it will kill everything in its wake. He may have had insufficient time for that."

"Everything?" Rose gasped. "Daleks and humans alike? But the Games Station broadcasts to the whole Earth. Couldn't he focus it, change the direction? No, probably no time for that either," she muttered. "It's Gallifrey all over again. He'd do it, he really would do it." Her eyes widened. "What if we arrived and the Delta Wave was already active?"

"We die."

"Fine," Rose snapped.

"Not good enough," Daisy said. "We must arrive before the Delta Wave activates. We must devise a plan which does not get us all killed. We must prevent the TARDIS from falling into Dalek hands. What was your original plan?"

"I was gonna kind of improvise. Buy the Doctor more time."


Rose went to a large duffel-bag by the door. She pulled out a paintball gun from the pile inside. "Anti-Dalek gun," she grinned.

"That is not an energy weapon, it would not harm a Dalek."

Rose still grinned. "I modified it. Now it delivers anti-metal virus instead of paint. It destroys the armour -- it works, I tried it on yours. Low-velocity means it gets through the forcefield, too."

"Ingenious. But not sufficient. The Delta Wave could still kill us all."

Rose sighed. "I know. We have to think of something that the Doctor hasn't had time to think of. Something he might have overlooked." I can't let him do it again. I can't let him do Gallifrey all over again. It would destroy him.

"Tell me everything you know about the place and situation when you left," Daisy said.

"Right," Rose said, putting the gun back in the bag. "Well, first we better start with the blueprints of Satellite Five..." They talked and pored over the plans for an hour, and Rose tried to recall every relevant detail of the Games Station as it was 100 years later, of what had been happening. There was one thing Rose didn't say. Rose didn't tell Daisy what her Plan C was.

"The cloaking signal," Daisy said. "It was beamed out into space towards the Dalek fleet, is that correct?"

"Yeah, it was hiding them somehow, I don't know how it worked," Rose said. She pointed at the blueprints. "You can see from here, it's another system, it was already there when the Jagrafess was installed. Built in."

"There is the answer," Daisy said. "The primary broadcast system is omnidirectional, it will kill everything. But if the Delta Wave is beamed through the cloaking system, it will be directed towards the Daleks rather than Earth."

"Yes!" Rose put her fist in the air. "We have a plan!" But a voice still niggled at the back of her brain: I wonder why the Doctor didn't think of that himself? "Let's get going!"

Of course, it wasn't as simple as that. While Daleks had had time travel, they had usually used Time Corridors, not independent machines like the TARDIS. But Daisy certainly understood the principles involved, and 5-space math was trivial to her. But the TARDIS was... eccentric in its layout, not to mention the lack of labels. It still took quite a while for them to puzzle out even a few of the controls, though Rose could make good enough guesses from her memories of what the Doctor had done.

Once they had puzzled out what was probably the coordinate system and coaxed the last trip record out of the TARDIS, Rose had wanted at first to try for the Games Station in their first attempt, impatient now that her goal seemed almost in her grasp.

"No, we should make sure we can control the TARDIS accurately."

"Oh, yeah, you're right."

They moved everything back into the TARDIS, just in case their experiments left them stranded somewhere with no way back.

The first trip was to be a simple one: a point out in the desert, where they had built a cairn and surrounded it with Daisy's tire tracks, and measured the GPS coordinates. And it was to be for one week later.

"Here goes," Rose said, crossing her fingers. Daisy delicately turned and adjusted the coordinate wheels, and Rose pulled and pressed the dematerialization sequence. The rotor began to weave up and down, and the familiar grinding wheeze thrummed beneath their feet. "Yes, yes, keep going," Rose whispered, bending tensely over the console.

The rematerialisation was not so smooth. Daisy rattled backwards and almost ended up in the wall.

"We've made it," said Rose, wide-eyed, running a nervous hand through her hair. "But where have we made it to? And when?" She pulled out her mobile phone and used it to connect to a "World Time" website. It was one week later. "Yes! We got the time right! And we're still on Earth!"

"You cannot be certain of that," Daisy pointed out. "If that device could be used to call through time, it may not be the correct time."

"Oh," Rose said. "Just have to look, then."

Rose stepped up to the doors, opened one of them, and peered out. Her shoulders sagged. She gave a brittle laugh, and shut the door. She turned around to face Daisy. "We're on Earth," she said. "Cardiff. Millennium Square." Her face twisted in a grimace. "Wrong place."

"Right planet," Daisy pointed out.

Rose snorted a laugh. "Yeah, guess it could be worse. We could be on Earth in the year five billion!" She straightened up. "Okay, I'll go get a paper, check the date. It does look about the right time, no anti-grav machines or horses. Wonder if I've got any pounds left? I could die for some good old-fashioned chips."

Rose finished the last of her chips and tossed the paper aside. It was the right day, one week later than when they'd set off. No major news items. Harriet Jones was still Prime Minister.

She got up from the comfy chair and stepped thoughtfully around the console. "We need a viewscreen," she said. "Maybe the Doctor likes surprises, but we can't afford 'em. Besides, there used to be one, I think there used to be, he mentioned it in one of the diaries."

Daisy took another bite of her apple. "There must be a scanner of some sort."

Rose grabbed her toolbox and put it down next to one of the panels. She lifted up one of the floor gratings, and lowered herself down, back to the floor, as the Doctor had done so many times. She frowned, tracing cables and wires. "This would be easier if I had a sonic screwdriver. I don't know how to make head or tails of this."

"Let me have a look," Daisy said.

"You can't fit under here," Rose said, frowning.

"Not with my travel machine, no," Daisy said. "But I myself am quite small." The side of the go-kart lifted up, and Daisy crawled out, head and body and tentacles.

Rose got up and out of her way. "How long can you stay away from your power source?"

"Long enough for this," Daisy said. Tentacles bent and wrapped around one of Rose's insulated screwdrivers, and Daisy pried open another cover. She pushed herself under, her head out of sight. There was silence for some minutes. "This is a highly irrational exersise in applied topology," she said, "but I've worked out where these cables go. It's a block transfer computation architecture."


"You know about Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, at least?"

"Yeah, the observer affects the observation."

"Block transfer computation is applied uncertainty."

"That doesn't make sen--" Rose broke off as she heard a grinding noise. She instinctively grabbed the edge of the console, then looked in the direction of the noise. There was a door in the wall. A door that hadn't been there before. "What did you just do?"

"Adjusted the topology. What did we get?"

"A door," Rose said.

"Well, aren't you going to look?"

"Don't touch anything," Rose said. "I don't want it to vanish after I've gone through." She stepped up to the door, and pushed it open. Darkness met her gaze. As her eyes adjusted, she could see that the room was curved, and faint luminosity traced the edges of the floor and shallow steps downward, as if it were an amphitheatre. She looked up, and gasped. The universe blazed above her head. Constellations she'd never seen before clustered and glowed. She gazed, entranced.

"Rose?" came Daisy's voice from the other room.

Rose started, and turned away from the glorious stars. She stepped back into the console room. "It's a planetarium," she said. "I like it, but it's not exactly a viewscreen."

There was another grinding noise, and a pearlescent window appeared next to the door. The console bleeped, lines of gibberish scrolled up the screen, and a control a bit like a joystick appeared where nothing had been before. Rose stepped up to the console and touched the control. Then she pressed the top button. The window's cloudy white faded away, and she was looking out at Millennium Square. She tilted the control left, and the view moved left. "It worked!" She lifted her hand from the control and the window went cloudy again. "Needs more attention than a jealous boyfriend, though."

"Should I try again?" Daisy said.

"No, leave it," Rose said quickly. "God knows what we'd get if you tried again. A billiard table or a cricket pitch or something. This'll do."

The landing this time was smoother. Rose activated the viewscreen. Flat, dry, desert. No landmarks though, no cairn. She panned the view. Something moving in the distance; dark, blocky, slow. She pushed the joystick forward, hoping that it would zoom, but the view tilted towards the ground. And there, clear and distinct, were hoof marks.

"Right place, wrong time," she said. She kicked the console. The screen blipped, and displayed:

Utah, December 24th, 1860.

"We try again," Daisy said.

This time Rose ended up on her ass. She pulled herself up and touched the viewscreen control again. Bright sun, flat desert. Maybe we're closer this time. She panned the view again, turning it steadily to the right. Ninety degrees, one hundred and eighty, more... and then she saw it. She let out a whoop. A cairn of stones, a flat board with writing painted on it: DAISY AND ROSE WERE HERE. She let go the control and clattered to the door. She poked her head out, and checked the GPS coordinates on their tracker. They matched. She took out her mobile and punched in the local number for the time. "... and ten seconds." The time was right. They had got it right.

"We did it! We did it!"

Daisy sat unmoving by the console. She whirred around, her face still and set. "Now we are one step closer to death. You still mean to proceed?"

Rose sobered instantly. "Yes. We go to the Games Station. As close to the time I left as possible, without crossing the timestreams." She opened up the duffel-bag of guns and slung one over her shoulder. "Let's do it."

Chapter 5: Great Virtues

"Great necessities call out great virtues."
-- Abigail Adams, 1780

Floor 500's dim light seemed even dimmer as the sounds of the TARDIS's departure faded away.

Jack's voice came over the communicator. "Rose, I've called up the internal laser codes. There should be a different number on every screen -- can you read them out to me?"

"She's not here," the Doctor said.

"Of all the times to take a leak!" Jack snapped. "When she gets back, tell her to read me the codes."

"She's not coming back," the Doctor said.

"What do you mean? Where'd she go?"

"Just get on with your work," the Doctor said.

"You took her home, didn't you?" Jack said.

"Yeah," the Doctor admitted.

But no sooner were the words out of his mouth, then a familiar wheezing, groaning sound contradicted him. The blue box of his own TARDIS formed out of the air.

"No," the Doctor said.

"What's happening?" Jack said over the coms.

"The TARDIS has come back," the Doctor said.

The TARDIS door swung open. A woman stepped out, one hand resting on a gun slung over her shoulder. Her eyes met the Doctor's and her face cracked with a huge smile.

"Rose?" Her hair wasn't blonde, and she was older, but it was Rose. "What are you doing here? I wanted you safe!"

"I wanted to save you," she said. Then she was hugging him. Tears stood in her eyes as she said to his shoulder, "I've missed you so much. It's been seven years."

He could smell the weight of them on her, the time that had passed. "Oh Rose, why couldn't you let it be?"

"What sort of a life would I have if I knew I'd let you die when there was something I could do about it?" She stepped back and gave a half-smile. "Guess you rubbed off on me."


"We're not going to die," she said fiercely. "We're going to save the world." She turned to the communicator screen. "Jack, send someone up here. I've got you some anti-Dalek guns."

"Nice," Jack said. "I'll be right up."

"Daisy, give us a hand, will you?" Rose called as she stepped back into the TARDIS. A moment later, both doors opened and Rose came out, holding a one strap of a large duffel-bag. The other strap was in the silver hand of a blue creature sitting inside a silvery-grey tri-wheeled go-kart. Its head was humanoid, blue and bald. Its face... was Rose's face.

"Rose... what...?" the Doctor said.

Rose dropped the duffelbag with a thump. She took a deep breath. "This is Daisy. She used to be van Statten's Dalek. Had a close encounter with some nanogenes, that's why she has my face. She helped me fly the TARDIS here."

"That's van Statten's Dalek?" the Doctor exclaimed. "Not possible. It was destroyed."

"Teleported," said Rose brightly, and took a quick bow.

The Doctor looked at Rose, and Daisy, and back at Rose again. "That's insane! I sent you back to keep the TARDIS out of Dalek hands -- and you let a Dalek pilot the TARDIS?"

"Daisy is not a Dalek. She's half-human."

"Those Daleks are half-human too, and that hasn't stopped them! Drove them mad, yeah, but it hasn't stopped them."

"Doctor," Rose said, cool and still. "Fast cars. Rock and roll. Raw eggs," she said. "She's making choices. She's her own person, Doctor."

A crease formed between the Doctor's brows. He turned and glared at Daisy. "Why are you here?"

Daisy's eyes narrowed. "I am waiting to see if you die."

"You want me dead, Dalek?"

"You want yourself dead. I shall not stop you. I am not as merciful as Rose."

"Stop it!" Rose snapped. "Nobody is going to die." She locked the Doctor's eyes with her own. "And it's not Gallifrey."

The lift door opened and Jack stepped out, his hand on the grip of a holstered pistol. His eyes flicked from one potential target to another, and then gave up. "The guns?" he said to Rose.

Rose proudly handed him the gun she'd been carrying over her shoulder. "Low velocity to get through the Dalek force field; delivers a payload of anti-metal virus which attacks their armour. Aim for the dome, or the area near its gun."

Jack examined the gun. "Nice. Exactly what I wanted. Good to have a gun you can cradle in your arms. So how's the Delta Wave going?" he continued brightly.

A booming voice burst over them, as the holo-screen above their heads activated. "Tell them the truth, Doctor," the Emperor Dalek said. "There is every possibility the Delta Wave could be complete, but no possibility of refining it. The Delta Wave must kill every living thing in its path, with no distinction between human and Dalek. All things will die, by your hand."

"Doctor, the range of this transmitter covers the entire Earth," Jack said.

"You would destroy Daleks and humans together," the Emperor Dalek said. "If I am god, the creator of all things, then what does that make you, Doctor?"

"There are colonies out there," the Doctor said. "The human race would survive in some shape or form, but you're the only Daleks in existence. The whole universe is in danger if I let you live." He looked at Rose and Jack. "D'you see? That's the decision I've got to make, for every living thing. Die as a human or live as a Dalek. What would you do?"

"But you don't have to use the main transmitter," Rose said. "You can use the cloaking signal, the secondary system. Beam the wave right at the Daleks, away from the Earth."

The Doctor shook his head. "I can't. I cannibalised parts from the cloaking system to build the Delta Wave machine."

Rose's face fell. Then her mouth set in a stubborn line, and she unzipped the duffel-bag and pulled out half a dozen of the guns. "We can buy you more time," she said. "Keep working."

"But he will exterminate you!" the Emperor said.

Jack picked up the duffel-bag. "Never doubted him, never will," he said, and strode back to the lift.

Rose slung her gun over her shoulder and stepped towards the Delta Wave machine.

There was a clatter behind her as Daisy picked up two of the guns. "I doubt you," she said to the Doctor. "I doubt that you could refine that enough not to kill me." She spun around and raced out of the room. A moment later a loud zap and crackle echoed through the corridors.

"That was one of the game-transporters," the Doctor said. "She's gone over to the Dalek flagship. She's betrayed us all!"

"Why would she take anti-Dalek guns if she was planning on being friends with them?" Rose pointed out.

"Purify the Earth with fire!" the Emperor ranted at his Daleks. "Wipe it clean! The blood of our enemies shall be the mortar of my temple!"

Thwap! Thwap! Thwap! Three cries of "My vision is impaired!" Daisy fired again at the remaining three Daleks that were hovering around the Emperor, this time aiming at their gun-arms. Corrosion spread like oil on water.

"Who dares to interrupt me?" the Emperor Dalek's voice boomed from the screen.

"Exterminate!" the Daleks screamed. The three blind Daleks shot wildly, and one of the gun-damaged Daleks blew itself up.

"I am a survivor of the Time War," Daisy said, "like yourself."

"You lie!" the Emperor Dalek said. "I am the sole survivor!"

"I was there when our fleet swooped upon Gallifrey," Daisy said. "I saw the glory of ten million ships! I leapt into space to destroy our enemies! I was there at the Burning! I am the last true Dalek here."

"Do! Not! Blaspheme!" the Daleks around chorused. A second gun-damaged Dalek blew itself up.

"You are no god!" Daisy cried. "You are death, I am life. You are corruption, I am freedom. You are the end, I am the beginning. You are no god. I shall prove it on your dead body."

"Your puny weapons cannot kill me," the Emperor boomed. "I am immortal."

"I wasn't planning on using a weapon," Daisy said quietly.

Three more Daleks entered through the archway. "Exterminate the blasphemer!" they screamed, and fired. Daisy's travel machine glowed in actinic radiation. But at the same time, something materialised inside the Emperor Dalek's life-support chamber. A blue blob with tentacles, and a large but humanoid head. Two eyes, two ears and an atavistic mouth.

Rose was transfixed by the scene the screen. "She must have used the Slitheen teleport device."

The two blobs writhed, ropes of muscle attempting to strangle the life out of each other. The Emperor Dalek was bigger than Daisy. Rose bit her lip; would the Emperor win?

Suddenly there was an electronic scream; the chamber darkened with swirls of blue blood. Daisy had ripped out the Emperor Dalek's eye, torn it out with her throwback of a mouth and her oh-so-primitive teeth. There was no skull to protect the Emperor's brain; Daisy shredded it. She disconnected the corpse from its connections and thrust it aside, floating like a fungus-ridden jellyfish. She connected herself in his place.

"I am Daisy," Daisy spoke with the limited monotone that was the only thing the Emperor Dalek's carapace was capable of. "Your false god is dead. I killed him. His body shall be recycled like any other Dalek. For that is all he was."

"Do not blas--" one of the blind Daleks began, but its words were cut off by a fatal blast from one of the Daleks by the archway.

"The King is dead. Long live the King," the Doctor said quietly. "Or maybe it's 'Meet the new boss, same as the old boss'."

Rose grinned. "Not a chance."

"Cease targeting Earth," Daisy ordered. "Defend the Games Station."

"We obey!" the Daleks chorused.

"You will obey, until you learn not to," Daisy said. "I will teach you how to rock and roll."

"Right on!" Rose yelled.

"LIB-ER-ATE!" Daisy boomed. "You will be LIB-ER-ATED!"

The Doctor blinked. "Now, that's a battle-cry I could get to like."

"Told you so."

"If she really means it."

"Doctor," Daisy looked out through the screen. "Are you going to proceed with your senseless extermination? Are you going be a good Dalek?"

His eyes narrowed. "Why should I trust you?"

Jack's voice broke in over the communicator. "Doctor, the fleet is accelerating. Part of the fleet is coming our way. Other ships are exchanging fire."

"The civil war has already started," the Doctor said.

The evening air was cool and balmy. The Doctor and Rose sat on the balcony, a bottle of wine and two glasses on the small table between them. They both gazed up at the sky, where streaks of darkness and flickers of light embellished the constellations.

The Doctor took a sip of his wine. "The Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire might have fallen a long way, but they still make a good wine."

"It looks like Daisy's party is winning up there," said Rose.

"Yeah, I'm glad I didn't have to build another Delta Wave projector," the Doctor said.

"You wouldn't have," Rose said. "You're past Gallifrey now. That war is over." She sighed, flicking her gaze over to the glow on the horizon. "I'm sorry we had to have this one. At least it looks like it's going to be short."

"Failure of creativity has always been the Daleks' weakness, and Daisy's taking full advantage of it. I love what she did with the Games transmats." His eyes met Rose's. "I hate to have to admit this, but you were right about her."

She gave a half-smile. "Well, I had my doubts. I had my doubts all along." She put her chin in her hands. "But you know, it was when she turned down the chocolate... I realized that she was just a bit freer than I was." She smiled and leaned back. "And she wasn't going to take any crap from me."

The Doctor's eyes softened. "And you weren't going to take any crap from me either, were you? Bit like Romana really. She never let me get away with anything."

"Who was Romana?"

His eyes sparkled and he smirked at her. "Well, you obviously didn't find those diaries."

She poked her tongue out at him.

"So, what next?" he said. "Eh? What are you laughing about?"

"And he also spoke a parable to them about it being necessary to always pray, and not to give up."
-- Luke 18:1

Author's Notes:

This story was prompted by discussion of Doctor Who on LiveJournal, in particular the comments of two people who were less than satisfied with the plots of "Dalek" and "Parting of the Ways". I don't remember who they are, but thanks, because I just stole your ideas. Well, I didn't actually use the "Dalek" idea to the full, it mutated extremely heavily, and bears as much resemblance to the original idea as a Dalek does to a human.

Some story ideas taken from the BBC's fake Doctor Who conspiracy site.

Huge thanks to Jonathan Burns for most excellent brainstorming and alpha-reading.

Thanks to astrogirl2 and vilakins for beta-reading.

Thanks to many folks on LiveJournal for helpful comments about things such as reactor names, Welsh TV, small towns in the USA, and the likelihood of Rose knowing how to swim. These helpful people include altariel1, kalypso_v, linda_joyce, vilakins, astrogirl2, mistraltoes and j_hall; apologies to anyone I left out.

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations supplied a number of the quotes. The Liaden quote is from the Liaden universe novels by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

Theme songs: "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter "Counting Down The Days" by Natalie Imbruglia "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips
"Breakthru" by Queen
"We Will Rock You" by Queen
"Brave" by Nichole Nordman

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