The Wolf and The Flower @mia_marauder_potter
The Long Game

The Long Game

"'Just in and out, Rose. We're busy, Rose,'" she mumbled as she crawled through some air vents with the Doctor. "Don't get distracted, we've got things to do."

The Doctor ignored her as he ducked under a laser beam shooting from the wall and hurried to catch up. She was a little ways ahead of him and they were almost out of danger.

"I didn't even get the books!" she told him, and he sighed.

"We can go to another time and pick them up," he huffed as he dropped to the bottom, avoiding another beam. Rose did the same and he twitched as it scraped her side. The pain only intensified as they moved, but she said nothing about it and kept going.

It took them another five minutes and a lot of dodging before they came out the other side, luckily very close to the TARDIS. They'd lost the people chasing them, and the pair sprinted to the TARDIS, just in case. Once they reached their ship, they slowed down and leaned over to take some deep breaths.

There was a moment of silence before they looked at each other and burst into laughter, Rose throwing her head back, grinning.

And the Doctor couldn't help but feel elated, looking at the amazing woman in front of him laughing just after nearly dying.

Which reminded him of the pain throbbing from Rose, and he grew serious, moving over to her to grab her arm. She hissed in pain, and he winced, feeling it over their bond. He hadn't really caught sight of the injury yet, and she hadn't complained so he'd figured it wasn't serious, but the cut was pretty deep along her shoulder. It had cut into her jacket and shirt - both of which could be fixed later - and at a deep angle in her arm and shoulder. It was bigger than he'd expected, and his hearts skipped a beat at the sight.

"Rose," he gasped, moving to look at her eyes. "Why didn't you say anything?"

"It didn't hurt that bad," she shrugged, twisting around to catch a glance at it. "We were running, anyway. Couldn't have done anything about it."

The Doctor sighed at her and began walking to the infirmary, his danger friendly Rose following him. It took them just a minute to get there as he'd left it permanently close to the console room, just in case. "Sit."

She did as he said and shed her jacket and shirt, wincing at the fabric scraping against the cuts. The Doctor came over and cleaned the injury before healing it as best as he could. It was still irritated and red but they could try and heal it again later once the skin had relaxed.

"Thank you," Rose sighed as he covered it with some bandages.

The Doctor hummed. "We can have the TARDIS repair your jacket tonight, and the shirt, if you want."

Rose nodded, picking up the jacket she'd been wearing constantly and glancing at the dark blue tye dye shirt she'd been wearing. "Just the jacket, I think."

The Doctor stood and grabbed it from her and she stood too, carefully stretching her arm. It didn't hurt too bad anymore, and she appreciated it. The Doctor left to repair her jacket and she went to bed, exhausted from the meds he'd given her.

OoOoOoOoOoOo

Two days later, the pair had finally picked up the necessary books, and without incident this time. Rose spent nearly two hours writing what had already happened, including her run ins with River, Jack, and the future Doctor. She wanted to make it as detailed as possible so that everything was easier in the future. When she was done, she put her book in the pockets of her newly fixed and upgraded jacket - now fitted with multi dimensional pockets, just like the Doctor, as well as some amazing temperature technology.

Under the jacket, she was wearing a tight dress that adjusted to her curves and fell to just above her knee. It was black and sheer toward the top. She'd put on some nice, reddish purple tights with a beautiful pattern in them, and topped it off with combat boots and a black tattoo choker.

She wasn't sure where they'd end up that day, but she had a feeling it was going to be important.

And she was proven right, twenty minutes later, when she and the Doctor had landed the TARDIS and walked out to see Satellite Five. Her breath caught in her chest as she looked around at the familiar and anxiety filled space, and she hurried to tamper the anxiety before any questions came her way.

"Rose? Are you okay?" the Doctor frowned, and she stifled a sigh. With a quick nod, she plastered on a smile and turned to face him completely.

"Yeah! Where are we?"

"Spaceship. The year?" he quizzed, letting her distract him.

"Um," she frowned. She knew the year, but she wanted to feel it, too. "200,000?"

"Exactly!" the Doctor grinned, patting her back, careful to avoid her still injured shoulder. "Oh, wait, no. It's a space station."

"What sort?" she pulled at her jacket, the heat starting to get to her. "It's a bit warm in here, they could turn the heating down."

The Doctor's eye caught on a gate nearby, and they made their way over quietly. After sliding it open, they stepped up into the observing room and Rose gasped. She never got tired of the sight.

"It's… incredible," she whispered. She was amazed by how different it looked from her time.

"The Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire," he explained to her. "And there it is. Planet Earth, at its height. Covered with megacities, five moons, population 96 billion-,"

"Blimey…"

"The hub of a galactic domain stretching across a million planets, a million species, with mankind right in the middle."

"This is amazing, Doctor. To think, we got here from what Earth is right now… it's amazing. And I know there's so much bad in humanity, but I'd like to think… to hope that there's more good in us than bad, at least by now. Hopefully by now."

The Doctor was silent, and she knew he couldn't answer her. He'd seen too many people do awful things, and she'd seen one person do to many awful things. But she couldn't rid herself of the hope that her planet, the one she grew up on and loved for so long, wasn't all bad.

The pair stayed in the room for a bit, staring at the Earth. Rose felt everything fade a little, moving too fast and not because of her Time Senses. It was always an uncomfortable feeling, and one that she didn't know how to describe or put a name to. The Doctor had, but he hadn't really explained what it was. Her breath caught in her chest as she stared at him and tried to connect the part of her brain that was seeing him and processing him to the part that knew him and knew he was real, but it wasn't working. Her anxiety picked up as she looked around, waiting for anything to feel regular and slower and real, but it only got faster and scarier.

And before she knew it, the Doctor was easing her into a chair and kneeling in front of her. She hadn't had one of these sort of… attacks while he was with her, and that made it all worse. She already felt incredibly weak, and now she couldn't tell what was slow and real and right and what was just… fake, and wrong. The Doctor was speaking, but her anxiety made her deaf to his words. His hand moved just a little too fast, like it was being edited and sped up. A vague part of her wondered if that was what was happening, but she figured probably not.

"Rose!"

The word, the name, her name, was loud inside her mind, their mind? She wasn't sure anymore as it got worse. She wasn't sure what her thoughts were, and she wasn't sure they were hers, or his, or anyones. The sounds were slower and the sights were faster, and the nausea that came through her didn't even feel real, and that was extremely frustrating.

She could see the Doctor's hands on her face and feel him in her, his, their mind, but it wasn't right.

And then she felt something inside of her that, when she touched it, made everything just perfectly slow. So she gripped it and held onto it and felt her mind fall into a bliss. Everything felt right again, sort of. Her mind felt calmer.

"Rose?" she heard the Doctor, and he sounded worried, he felt worried. And slower, but too slow? She couldn't tell. Time still wasn't right, and it was so frustrating. Slower still wasn't better because it was too slow. "Rose, let go. You're a Time Lady, these are your time senses, you have to let go."

"I can't," she answered, and she thought she shook her head but she wasn't sure.

"It won't feel right again if you don't let go," he told her, and she believed him because everything was still wrong. She struggled to force her grip on that tight, slow feeling away, but she eventually, quickly, managed it.

As soon as she did, everything was fast again and she felt off balance. It was so startling, and she inhaled deeply.

"Rose, listen to me," the Doctor said, holding her face. "This is derealization. And you'll be okay."

It was incredibly hard to listen to him and focus really, but she tried as hard as she could. He still felt fake, though the feeling of their minds touching was edging that away slowly. And though it didn't go away completely, the feeling calmed her to the point where she could function much better. Like usual, things still felt a little too wrong but she was much calmer, and she knew she could continue through the day.

It was a surprise to her, really, how easily the touch of the Doctor's mind helped her, mostly because nothing had ever helped before.

She pulled away from him and looked up into his eyes, smiling, albeit weakly. "Okay. I'm okay."

It was another two minutes of sitting and making sure she was really okay before the pair made their way out of the room, leaving the beautiful view behind and closing the gate so no one would notice their intrusion.

They came back out into the large room, Rose's hand being held tightly by a worried Doctor as he explained the era to her. She remembered this specifically and smiled brightly.

"Fantastic period of history, human race at its most intelligent. Culture! Art! Politics! This era has got fine food, good manners, the works…"

"Out of the way!" a man grunted, interrupting the Doctor. He stopped walking, and Rose laughed aloud, mostly at the offended look on his face. "Let's get to it," the man said again as a buzz sounded and people rushed out to the now opening food stalls. "Thank you very much, indeed."

There were loud noises and talking all around them, people trying to make sales and others trying to decide what they wanted. It was absolutely chaotic, and the Doctor's mouth was still open slightly.

"You're gonna catch a fly if you keep that open," Rose laughed, looking at the Doctor now, who snapped his mouth shut immediately. "Fine cuisine?"

"Maybe we were wrong?" the Doctor suggested weakly, but he obviously knew it wasn't true.

"Both of us?"

The Time Lord sighed. "No, suppose not."

"Something's wrong here, isn't it?" Rose suggested, thinking of Floor 500. "That, or your history isn't as good as you thought it was."

"My history is perfect!" he defended, looking away from the food stands and at her now. He stared into her eyes, like he often did, and it sent a shiver down her body. She hated being there. She was with him, in the place where he would die. The Doctor stroked her hand with his thumb, and she relaxed a little. She still had some time with him, and she'd be with her other Doctor when this one regenerated. Her hearts settled a little at those thoughts, and she sighed.

"What about the aliens?" she wondered, remembering Adam's admittedly good question. "Where are they? Everyone here is human, or at least they look human."

"Good question," the Doctor nodded, glancing again at the people around them. His eyes caught on two women and he tugged Rose over, tapping one of them on the shoulder. They both stopped and looked at him, a little startled. "Um, this is gonna sound daft, but can you tell me where I am?"

"Floor 139," Cathica replied, pointing off to the large sign behind her. "Could they write it any bigger?"

Rose shook her head. "Floor 139 of what?"

"Must have been a hell of a party," she commented, looking at them like they were stupid.

"You are on Satellite Five," Suki supplied, and Rose felt her breath catch at the words. She hated this trip so much.

"What's Satellite Five?" the Doctor wondered, frowning.

"Come on, how could you get on board without knowing where you are?" Cathica looked at them critically, and Rose smiled softly. It was that curiosity and wonder that had saved them before.

"Look at me, I'm stupid," the Doctor answered, forgetting Rose. She smacked his arm and he coughed to cover his involuntary chuckle. "She's not, she just fell asleep on the way here."

"Hold on," Suki said, glancing at her friend and then back at the pair of them. "Wait a minute. Are you a test? Some sort of management test kind of thing?"

"You've got us," the Doctor admitted, and Rose could feel his smug relief at not having to come up with an excuse. "Well done. Too clever for us."

The Doctor pulled out his psychic paper, and Rose followed his lead, grabbing the one he'd given to her recently. They both showed them and the pair of girls in front of them looked suitably impressed.

"We were warned about this in basic training," Suki explained to Cathica, who was beginning to look annoyed. "All workers have to be versed in company promotion."

"Right, fire away," Cathica said, straightening. "Ask your questions. If it gets me to Floor 500, I'll do anything."

"Why?" the Doctor asked, and Rose was very willing to stay out of this part of the conversation. "What happens on Floor 500?"

"The walls are made of gold," Cathica answered, looking like she thought he really was stupid. "And you should know, Mr. Management."

Rose's eyes narrowed at Cathica, and she squeezed the Doctor's hand tighter. She hadn't known that the woman had flirted with the Doctor.

The Doctor glanced down at her, both startled and amused, and followed Cathica as she said… something. He wasn't sure what.

"...and over on the Bad Wolf channel, the Face of Boe has just announced he's pregnant."

Rose gasped, covering her mouth. Jack was pregnant? She could imagine some alien getting him pregnant as his normal, human self, but this was him as a… huge head. The Doctor glanced down at her and she shook her head. She knew he'd noted the connection between her and Boe, so it shouldn't come as a shock that she was so surprised… right?

But that wasn't the only thing she'd noticed. She'd heard it again, Bad Wolf. Still calling out to her. Which meant… she did have to do it again, didn't she? Or it wouldn't be there, right?

She wasn't sure, and it was driving her crazy.

"I get it," the Doctor nodded, a tone close to sarcastic coloring his voice. "You broadcast the news."

Cathica smiled a little, shaking her head briefly. "We are the news. We're the journalists. We write it, package it, and sell it. 600 channels, all coming out of Satellite Five, broadcasting everywhere. Nothing happens in the whole human empire without it going through us."

OoOoOoOoOoOo

"Promotion!"

The Doctor looked around the room as Cathica begged for a promotion. He felt an odd anxiety bubble up inside Rose, something that had happened frequently since they'd gotten there. He'd have to ask her about it later.

"Promotion for… Suki Macrae Cantrell. Please proceed to Floor 500."

"I don't believe it!" the girl said, standing up. Cathica looked… very much not happy, and the Doctor sighed. He had a feeling that whatever was on Floor 500, it was not good and definitely not walls made of gold.

"How the hell did you manage that?" Cathica spat. "I'm above you!"

"I don't know, I just applied on the off chance. And they've said yes!"

"So not fair," the woman in front of them complained. "I've been applying to Floor 500 for three years!"

The Doctor frowned at the sight in front of him. He had a bad feeling about the entire situation, and he wasn't sure how to help. Not yet.

OoOoOoOoOoOo

They said their goodbyes quickly, and Rose tuned out the conversation as she pushed away the grief for Suki. There was nothing they could do for her, not really. She knew no one would listen if they'd tried to stop her, and so they'd let her go to her death. It was an awful feeling.

"Have you ever been up there?" the Doctor asked a couple minutes later as they were walking.

"Can't. You need a key for the lift, and you only get a key with a promotion. No one gets to 500, except for the chosen few."

They made their way back into the circular white room that they were in before, and Rose leaned against the bars surrounding the platform.

"Look, they only give us twenty minutes maintenance. Can't you give it a rest?"

"But you've never been to another floor? Not even one floor down?" the Doctor asked, settling into the chair in the middle of the platform. Rose rolled her eyes softly as she noticed him looking vaguely at it in disgust.

"I went to floor sixteen when I first arrived," she shrugged. "That's medical. That's when I got my head done. And then I came straight here. Satellite Five, you work, eat, and sleep on the same floor, and that's it. That's all." She looked at the pair of them, Rose having moved to lean against the chair the Doctor was on. "You're not management, are you?"

Rose gave her a wide grin as the Doctor nodded firmly. "At last! She's clever!"

"Yeah, well, whatever it is, don't involve me. I don't know anything."

"Don't you even ask?" the Doctor wondered, disappointed.

"Why would I?"

Rose frowned. "It's your job!" she informed her. "You're a journalist."

The Doctor glanced at her, giving her a small smile before he turned back to the other woman. "Why's all the crew human?"

"What's that got to do with anything?" Cathica frowned, shifting uncomfortably.

"There's no aliens on board," he clarified. "Why?"

"I don't know," Cathica blinked. "No real reason. They're not banned or anything."

"But where are they?" Rose asked her. "Surely there should be some aliens, right?"

"I suppose immigration's tightened up," she nodded, like she'd finally found a good excuse. "It's had to, what with all the threats."

"Threats?"

"I don't know… all of them. The usual stuff," she shifted uncomfortably under their gazes and continued. "And the price of space warp doubled, so that kept the visitors away. Oh, and the government of Chavic Five collapsed, so that lot stopped coming, you see? Just… lots of little reasons, that's all."

"Adding up to one great big fact, and you didn't even notice," the Doctor rolled his eyes, annoyed.

"Doctor, I think if there was some big conspiracy, Satellite Five would have seen it. We see everything."

"I can see better," the Doctor shook his head, standing. Rose reached for his hand and he squeezed it. She could feel his stress from the unknown situation and she wished she could help. At least, she thought, Adam wasn't there to make things worse. "This society's the wrong shape, even the technology."

"It's cutting edge!" Cathica argued.

"You think having a great big hole in your head is cutting edge?" Rose snorted.

"She's right," the Doctor nodded at Rose. "You should've chucked this out years ago!"

"So what's going on, then?" Rose muttered to the Doctor, and he looked down at her, startled by the sudden realization of just how close they were standing. He took an awkward step back before he answered.

"It's not just this space station," he told them, glancing between them. Rose's hand was still in his and he could feel the constant underlying anxiety running through her that had been there since they'd arrived, but he couldn't focus on that now. He sent her silent comfort through the bond as he continued on. "It's the whole attitude. It's the way people think."

"Like a journalist that isn't curious," Rose nodded, understanding his point.

"Exactly. The Great and Bountiful Human Empire is stunted. Something's holding it back."

"And how would you know?" Cathica asked, sounding frustrated. The pair looked up at her, surprised.

"Trust me," the Doctor said. "Humanity's been set back about ninety years." He tilted his head as a thought occurred to him. "When did Satellite Five start broadcasting?"

Cathica's eyes widened. "Ninety-one years ago."

OoOoOoOoOoOo

"You're not allowed to touch the mainframe, we'll get told off!" Cathica whispered urgently. The Doctor barely looked up at her and Rose ignored her, leaning against the wall next to the Doctor.

"Rose, tell her to button it," the Doctor muttered, obviously annoyed at the interruption of his work.

Rose gave the woman a small smile. "He's trying to focus, really, he doesn't mean to be rude."

"Yes, he does," the Doctor said, though Rose could see a smile falling across his lips.

"You'll just vandalize the place, someone's gonna notice," Cathica insisted, looking over her shoulder.

The Doctor pulled the sonic away suddenly and passed it to Rose as he ripped open the panel in the wall. She flipped it around in her hand and wondered vaguely when she'd be getting her own sonic but set the thought aside to bring up later.

"This is nothing to do with me, I'm going back to work," Cathica declared, moving away from them.

"Go on then, see ya!" The Doctor answered as Rose rolled her eyes. Cathica stopped and turned to look at them, throwing her hands up.

"I can't just leave you, can I?"

"If you wanna be useful, get them to turn down the heating, it's boiling," Rose snapped. She was helping the Doctor work now and he was silently explaining what he was doing, a habit he'd picked up to help speed up her learning process.

"We keep asking, it's something to do with the turbines," the woman shook her head.

"Something to do with the turbines," the Doctor muttered, rolling his eyes. Rose had the sonic in her mouth as she worked, and the Doctor pulled it gently out to use it.

"Well, I don't know!"

"Exactly!" the Doctor snapped, pausing to look at her finally. "I give up on you, Cathica. Now, Rose. Look at Rose. Rose is asking the right kind of questions."

"Thank you," she winked at him, having paused when he said her name.

"Why is it so hot?" the Doctor asked Cathica again and the woman threw her hands in the air.

"One moment you're worried about the Empire, the next minute it's the central heating!"

"Never underestimate plumbing!" the Doctor told her seriously. "Plumbing is very important." He stopped talking as the sonic did its job, severing a bunch of wires. He held them up and Rose giggled slightly at the distressed look on Cathica's face. He pulled the monitor out for everyone to look at. "Here we go, Satellite Five pipes and plumbing. Look at the layout."

The women quickly looked at it and the problem was extremely obvious.

"This is ridiculous," Cathica gasped. "You've got access to the computer's core. You could look at the archive, the news, the stock exchange… and you're looking at pipes?"

Rose made a noise of frustration. "Stop it," she sighed. "Look at what we've been trying to tell you. Look at the pipes!"

The woman looked at Rose for a moment before doing what she'd said and frowned as she began to understand. "Cooling ducts, ice filters, it's all working flat out… Channelling massive amounts of heat down."

"All the way from the top," the Doctor nodded his arm wrapping around Rose and pulling her a little bit closer. "Something up there is generating tons and tons of heat."

"Well, let's go!" Rose said, plastering a smile on her face. "We're missing out down here."

"You can't you need a key," Cathica told her.

"You think we can get into the computer's core but not an elevator?" Rose laughed. "The Doctor can do it."

"Yep!" He agreed. "Keys are just codes and I've got the codes right here. Here we go…" He pressed a few buttons before reading off some numbers. Rose felt the suspicion roll off of him.

"How come it's giving you the codes?"

"Someone up there likes us."

OoOoOoOoOoOo

"Come on, come with us," Rose invited, though the Doctor was fairly certain the woman wouldn't. She was a victim of whatever had happened to the human empire. As much as he hated it, he also knew she wasn't completely at fault.

"No way!"

"Bye," the Doctor waved happily.

"Well, don't mention my name," Cathica insisted. The Doctor rolled his eyes. "When you get into trouble just don't involve me!"

And she ran off, leaving him alone with Rose once more. "Looks like it's just you and me."

"Good," Rose smiled softly, gripping his hand in hers. He squeezed back as the elevator began moving up quickly. It was a short trip and the Doctor was immediately apprehensive as the doors opened and revealed an icy room that was definitely not made of gold.

"The walls aren't made of gold."

"Yeah. but did you really think they would be?" Rose wondered, staying by his side. He felt her need to be close and knew it would be pointless to try and send her away - she'd never go.

The pair moved along the empty space until they found a room full of frozen computers and… people. Maybe. There was one man standing in the middle of the room who reminded the Doctor of the Snow Miser.

"I started without you," Snow Miser said, turning to look at them as he laughed. "This is fascinating. Satellite Five contains every piece of information within the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire. Birth certificates, shopping habits, bank statements, but you two… You don't exist. There's not a trace. No birth, no job, not the slightest kiss. How can you walk through the world and not leave a single footprint?"

"Magic," Rose spat. Her eyes fell on Suki and she nodded. The Doctor followed her gaze and felt guilt rush through him as he understood. "She's dead, isn't she? But she's working…"

"They've all got chips in their head, and the chips keep going. Like puppets."

"Oh!" the man said, grinning at them. "You are full of information. But it's only fair we get some information back. Because, apparently, you're no one." He chuckled slightly. "It's so rare to not know something. Who are you?"

"Doesn't matter," the Doctor told him, gripping Rose tightly. "Cause we're off. Nice to meet you. Come on," he said to Rose. As he turned around, bodies slammed into him and grabbed him tightly, ripping him away from Rose. He saw her being grabbed too and his fear spiked.

"Tell me who you are," the man demanded.

"Since that information is keeping us alive, I'm hardly gonna say, am I?"

"Well, perhaps my editor-in-chief can convince you otherwise," the man said, stepping back slightly.

"And who's that?"

The man gave him a small, conspiratorial smile. "It may interest you to know that this is not the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire. In fact, it's not actually human at all. It's merely a place where humans happen to live." There was a loud growling sound and the man mumbled for a moment in response before turning back to them. "It's a place where humans are allowed to live by kind permission of my client." He pointed up and the attention shifted to the large mass of alien that was secured to the ceiling.

"You mean that thing is in charge of Satellite Five?" the Doctor asked, horror settling into his bones.

"That thing, as you put it, is in charge of the human race. For almost a hundred years, mankind has been shaped and guided. His knowledge and ambition strictly controlled by its broadcast news. Edited by my superior, your master, and humanity's guiding light, the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hodrojassic Maxarodenfoe… I call him Max.

OoOoOoOoOoOo

"Create a climate of fear, and it's easy to keep the borders closed. It's just a matter of emphasis," the Editor informed them. The Doctor felt Rose shift uncomfortably in the manacles and wished he could do something to help her. "The right word in the right broadcast, repeated often enough, can destabilize an economy. Invent an enemy. Change a vote."

"So all of humanity are slaves," Rose growled, glaring at him darkly.

"Well, now, there's an interesting point. Is a slave a slave if he doesn't know he's enslaved?"

"Yes," the Doctor and Rose said together, both of them angry.

"Oh," the Editor pouted. "I was hoping for a philosophical debate. Is that all I'm gonna get? 'Yes.'"

"Yes."

"You're no fun," the Editor laughed.

"Let us out of these manacles, you'll find out how much fun we are."

"Oh, he's tough, isn't he? But come on! Isn't it a great system? You've got to admire it, just a little bit."

"But people noticed, didn't they?" Rose asked. "You couldn't hide something so big for this long without someone noticing."

"From time to time, someone, yes. But the computer chip system allows me to see inside their brains. I can see the smallest doubt and crush it."

"Or crush them," Rose muttered.

"And then they just carry on, living the life, strutting about downstairs and all over the surface of the earth, like they're so individual. When, of course, they're not. They're just cattle. In that respect, the Jagrafess hasn't changed a thing." The Doctor's eyes shifted until he spotted Cathica wandering around in the next room, looking decidedly upset.

"But you're not a Jagrafess," Rose said, keeping the man's attention on her. "What's your place in all of this?"

"I represent a consortium of banks," he told them. The Doctor felt Rose's frustration climb. It really was always about money, she was right about that. "Money prefers a long-term investment. Also, the Jagrafess needed a little hand to, um, install himself."

"No wonder," the Doctor looked up again at the creature above them. "Creature that size, what's its life span?"

"Three thousand years," the Editor answered willingly.

"That's one hell of a metabolism, generating all that heat. That's why Satellite Five is so hot," he said, hoping Cathica would get the hint. He could only give her as much information as possible, being in the position he was in. "You pump it out of the creature, channel it downstairs. Jagrafess stays cool, stays alive." And, just to get the point through completely, he stated the obvious. "Satellite Five is one great big life-support system."

"But that's why you're so dangerous!" The Editor pointed for emphasis. "Knowledge is power, but you remain unknown."

And then he snapped, and a horrible pain began as the manacles zapped both him and Rose. He could feel both of their pain and he knew she could, too. The pain increased as he turned the settings up, and the Doctor ground his teeth to keep from screaming. Rose let out a whimper, and that was more than the Doctor could handle. She never seemed to make noise when she was in pain.

And then, abruptly, it ended. The Doctor caught the Editor's eyes and knew he looked as urgent as he felt. "Leave her alone. I'm the Doctor. She's Rose Tyler. We're nothing, we're just wandering."

"Tell me who you are!"

"I've just said," the Doctor snapped.

"Yeah, but who do you work for? Who knows about us?" The man paused as the Jagrafess said something to him, and the Doctor felt Rose's fear spike once more. The Editor's gaze shifted to Rose solely now, ignoring the Doctor completely. "You're a Time Lady."

"What?" the Doctor felt his control slipping. How did he know? "Someone's been telling you lies."

"Oh, I don't think so," the Editor shook his head, snapping. A screen popped up and they saw their moment earlier when Rose had been using her time senses, trying to calm down.

"You're a Time Lady, these are your Time Senses, you have to let go."

There's something wrong with her, isn't there?" the Editor asked, waving his hand to show her obvious panic attack. "Oh, but she certainly isn't human… let's see how well she does with the highest setting."

The Doctor barely had time to register what the man had said before he felt Rose's pain and heard her screams. It was agonizing and for a brief moment, he wished they didn't have their bond. Still, he brushed his fingers against her arm and sent as much comfort through it as possible.

"Today, we are the headlines," the Editor announced. "My employer seems to know what a Time Lady is… and we can rewrite history. We could prevent mankind from ever developing."

"And no one's gonna stop you. Because you've bred a human race which doesn't bother to ask questions. Stupid little slaves, believing every lie. They'll just trot right into the slaughter house if they're told it's made of gold." The Doctor stopped talking very quickly as he felt Rose fall limp, her manacles forcing her to stand even while unconscious. His breath left him at the sight of her pale, and he felt her mind retreating from the pain. He wished he could help her, take her from that place and make sure she was safe, but he couldn't.

An alarm blared, distracting the Editor. The Doctor ignored it, though he was fairly certain it was Cathica. He pushed himself gently into Rose's mind and stroked it, terrified by how unresponsive it was. He wasn't sure how bad the highest setting really was, but he had a feeling it'd kill her if she didn't get out soon.

The Doctor's manacles malfunctioned - Rose's probably taking most of the power - and he slipped out of them, using his sonic to release Rose as well. She shook in his arm as he lifted her up gently, carrying her easily as he forced himself to focus on the situation around them.

Cathica was venting the heat to floor 500, essentially ensuring the Jagrafess would sit on top of a volcano. What came next would not be pretty, so he ran as fast as he could and got out of there.

The trip down to floor 139 was rather quick, and he sped his way over to the TARDIS, banging his way in and barely remembering to close the door behind him. He only slowed down when he reached the medbay, just so that he could focus on healing Rose.

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