Part Two — Uneasy Things
“How long…?” Rose started to ask.
“Five minutes and forty seven seconds longer than last time,” the Doctor replied, his voice muffled behind his hands as he scrubbed at his face in frustration.
“That puts us at, what, one hundred and eighty five minutes?” Jack said.
“One hundred and eighty six. Give or take a couple of seconds,” the Doctor corrected, dropping his hands and gently thumping his head back against the wall.
The three of them were seated side by side on the metal floor of their cell, leaning against the back wall. They had been there for just over three hours.
“This is boring,” Rose observed.
“Terribly,” the Doctor agreed with a sigh.
“Come travel in the TARDIS, see all of Time and Space, get locked up in various cells and spend hours doing absolutely nothing,” Jack said sarcastically.
“I’m going to go mad soon,” Rose said mildly.
The Doctor thumped his head against the wall again, just for something to do.
“That’s probably the point,” Jack sighed. “Why else would they stick us in here and then ignore us? They’re trying to send us mad.”
“What, you think?” Rose asked, partly sarcastic and partly honestly wondering.
“Well, it’s either that or…” he trailed off.
“Or what?” Rose asked.
“Nah, they’re probably just busy… doing… something,” Jack finished lamely.
“Or what, Jack?” Rose insisted.
“Or they want something from us and this is their idea of softening us up before they start asking us for it, whatever it is,” the Doctor replied, sounding vaguely amused at the idea.
“Well, it’s working,” Rose huffed. “I’m going out of my mind.”
“Oh, it’s not so bad,” the Doctor mused. “There are all sorts of interesting things to do in here. Really.”
“I wouldn’t call banging your head on the wall particularly interesting,” Jack pointed out skeptically.
“Have you tried it?” the Doctor asked him, eyes innocently wide.
“Well… no,” Jack admitted.
“Then how do you know?” the Doctor replied, smiling brilliantly.
Jack just shook his head. He supposed this was the Doctor’s revenge for all his attempts at flirting. He was starting to agree with Rose, this was going to send him mad.
“How long…?” Rose asked again.
The Doctor thumped his head against the wall a bit harder, and started composing a tirade in which he hoped to sufficiently explain the reasons why he was not, in fact, Rose’s personal stopwatch.
Before he could get going, a door somewhere out of their sight up the corridor banged open.
“Finally!” Rose cheered as the three of them stood and moved to the center of the cell.
One of the humanoid aliens appeared in their field of vision a moment later, flanked by guards. He stopped in front of the cell, looking at its occupants critically.
The Doctor didn’t give him a chance to talk.
“So! There you are, and here we are. Lovely day for it. Assuming it’s actually day, that is. Not that it’s really anything more than arbitrary on a ship like this one. Nice ship, by the way! The decor could use a little color, but very nice, otherwise… what?” he finally stopped as Jack thumped him on the arm to shut him up.
“Speaking of ships,” their captor started without preamble, “we have yours.”
“Do you really?” the Doctor breathed, affecting the same wide-eyed innocence as he had for Jack.
“We do. We witnessed everything you three did on the planet below. We know that you soundly defeated our enemies there. This intrigues us. We will have your power,” the alien intoned menacingly.
“Really?” the Doctor asked again in the same exaggerated tone of voice.
“Yes. We have not been able to enter your ship. We require entry. You will tell us how to gain it,” the alien ordered.
“Now why would I ever do that?” the Doctor wondered.
“It is simple. We will torture one of you until the other two tell us what we wish to know,” the alien explained.
“That’s not very neighborly of you,” the Doctor complained.
“Nevertheless, that is what will happen. Unless one of you wishes to divulge the required information now?”
Jack, Rose, and the Doctor shared a look between them. Obviously, their captors were not going to just search them again to find their keys. Or maybe their technology was sufficiently different that the idea of keys simply hadn’t occurred to them. Either way, their situation had finally shifted from mind-numbingly boring back to danger-filled and exciting.
With a grin, the Doctor said, “Well, when you put it that way! Of course I’ll show you how to get inside my TARDIS. Let’s all go visit the old girl now, shall we?”
“We are not fools,” the alien replied after a moment. “You will quickly find that it is not in your best interest to lie. Incidentally, thank you for volunteering.”
The Doctor seemed unconcerned as the guards ordered Rose and Jack to the back of the cell, brandishing their weaponry threateningly. Suddenly uneasy, Rose and Jack both began to wonder if the Doctor actually had a plan or if things were about to get ugly. Or possibly both. They were both ready to act, intently watching the Doctor for the signal to run or to fight.
But their captors were brutally efficient, and left no careless opportunity for escape as they opened the cell and swarmed inside. Four of the guards focused on Jack and Rose, keeping their weapons trained on the two of them. Two more guards descended upon the Doctor, each one gripping one of his arms tightly to hold him in place as their leader approached him.
“I can see that we’re going to have some trouble communicating,” the Doctor said, ignoring the manhandling. “I said I’ll let you inside my ship. Isn’t that what you want?”
“Of course,” the alien nodded, pulling a small tube out of his pocket. Jack’s eyes widened as he recognized it, but the Doctor showed no reaction and Rose had no idea what it was. “But we are not going to give you such an obvious chance to make contact with the ship on your own terms. We must ensure your cooperation through other means.”
“You’re being rather unreasonable, honestly. I don’t mind showing you the TARDIS. If you’re enemies with that lot we dealt with on the planet, we might even be friends! You know, the enemy of my enemy…? No?” the Doctor asked, now looking a bit uneasy, himself. “Can’t we just talk about this?”
“We will,” the alien promised, raising the tube towards the Doctor. “Or rather, your friends and I will. I’m afraid you won’t be joining the discussion.”
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