Back in the UNIT Tower Base, the Brigadier and the Prime Minister stared at each other. “Surrender or they will die,” she muttered, then turned back to the Major and Llewellyn as they re-entered.
“According to the stations across Earth, we’re seeing about 1.5 Billion People - that’s a third of the world population ready to… wait a minute.” Alex was reading from a fax which was coming in from Geneva. “There is a pattern. All these people tend to be father and son, mother and daughter. Brothers and sisters; family groups, but not husbands and wives.”
A grave look appeared on Llewellyn’s face. “Oh, God, it's Guinevere One. Have you got medical records on file for all your staff?” At a nod from Alex he asked to see them.
Meanwhile the PM inquired to the Brigadier about Torchwood, at which a disappointed response ended with the news that he had ‘made inquiries’ but couldn’t take responsibility, not this time.
“I can,” the PM said curtly.
Within ten minutes a set of files of those who appeared to be possessed appeared in his lap and he read from them. “A Positive, A Positive… that’s it, they’re all A Positive.”
“What's so special about that blood group?” the Major asked.
Llewellyn wiped sweat off his brow and continued. “Nothing, but... it's my fault. Guinevere One... it's got one of those plaques identifying the human race. Er... a message to the stars. I mean, you don't expect anything to come of it, but... I put on maps and music and samples. There's wheat seeds, and water, and... and blood. A Positive. The Sycorax have got a vial of A Positive. And well, I don't know how, but... through that...”
The Prime Minister finished for him. “They control the blood.” A worried sigh escaped her lips. “Then there's only one more thing I can try left. Major, with me.”
With Benton and the others still on the roof, Yates and Jo had resorted to staring at the television as the Prime Minister spoke. “People of Britain, if I can take this opportunity to address both you and the world, to those in the United States and in the Soviet Union, across Europe and the Pacific, across the entire planet on this tragic Christmas Day. It's hardly the Queen's speech, I'm afraid that's been cancelled.” She turned off camera. “Did we ask about the royal family? …Oh, I see. They’re on the roof. But - Ladies and gentlemen - this crisis is unique, and I'm afraid to say, it might get much worse. I would ask you all to remain calm. But I have one request… Doctor, if you can hear me… I don’t know what to do. Please Doctor, heal and help us.”
And the tears which Jo had been keeping from sobbing all night poured out, she couldn’t help herself. Mike Yates took her shoulder and let her brave it out as she carried on.
“He’s left us, Mike! I don’t know what to…”
She screamed as all at once the glass around them smashed every window pane breaking. Mike jumped up with alarm. “Now what?”
And then in the distance, he saw it, hovering over where London should be. Blocking out the sun as it was snuffing a candle. The ship of the Sycorax, an enormous vessel made of stone.
“Now we’re in trouble…” he muttered softly.
Jo was with him, and with a sudden burst of determination rushed back inside the mansion and raced for the medical ward. Reaching the Doctor’s side she grabbed as many things as she could and with tears still streaming down her face, tried to lift the prone form of the Doctor.
Mike rushed in and looked at her dumbly. “What are you doing?”
“TARDIS, only safe place left. If the Doctor’s isn’t going to wake up in time then the Sycorax will destroy Earth, or enslave it or whatever. All we can do is to hide and I’m sorry that it sounds horrid but it’s the truth and you know it. Now grab his legs.”
Yates sighed and complied.
With a rudimentary translator to hand, the Prime Minister and the others watched as once again, the form of the Sycorax leader loomed on screen. It spoke, and Alex translated for her. “Would the leader of this planet step forward?”
Trying to seem as assertive as normal, she stepped forwards. “I’m proud to represent Earth if I must.”
Suddenly they glowed with the same blue light as before and then found themselves transported up to the hollow dark caverns which appeared to be the interior of the Sycorax Spaceship. The leader stepped down to meet them and they walked towards him as he removed his helmet, exposing the fleshy, bony skull beneath.
“Good grief!” was all that the Brigadier could say.
“You will surrender, or I will release the final curse. And your people will jump.” Alex read the translation as the Sycroax Leader spoke.
Llewellyn pushed his way in front over the other’s protests and nervously began to speak. “If I may, sir… The human race is taking its first step towards the stars, but... we are like children compared to you. Children who need help. Children who need compassion. I beg of you now... show that compassion.”
For a moment there was silence. Then the Sycroax Leader simply raised a whip in his hand and lashed it round Llewellyn’s neck. With a loud scream he was reduced to a mere skeleton. Angrily Major Blake stepped forwards. “That man was your prisoner! Even your planet must have articles of war, forbidding-” He never finished as the same fate happened to him and he too began mere bones. A cry of anger emitted from the Brigadier and he attempted to reach for his pistol to avenge his old army friend, but the Prime Minster stopped him and moved forwards herself.
The Sycorax Leader spoke once more and Alex again translated. “Surrender or they will die.’
She swallowed saliva and tried to compose herself before continuing. “If I surrender, how is that better?”
“‘One half into slavery or one third dies. Your choice,’” Alex ended gravely as the Sycorax leader placed his hand over a glowing red button, grinning evilly.
The TARDIS was still humming with that off-key vibe, but it still seemed preferable to Jo as she and Mike dragged the Doctor, still clad in a dressing gown, into the control room. She put him on a chair, not wanting to slump him down lest it bring back the memories of how she’d found him when all this first started.
“I wish we could fly this thing, but the Time Lords would never allow it, even if the Doctor was well.” In desperation, Jo tried to flick a couple of switches, including the TARDIS viewing screen button.
The Sycorax leader glanced angrily at something and roared out some words which Alex struggled to translate. “The noise - the bleeping - they say it's machinery. Foreign machinery. They're accusing us of hiding it. Conspiring… Bring it on board.”
The Brigadier started. “Do they mean…?”
And with a wave of blue light, the TARDIS abruptly appeared behind them as they turned to look at it. A few seconds later Jo came out, apparently about to check on Benton and Letts, and was roughly grabbed by two Sycorax. Her screams brought out in turn Mike Yates, who was similarly jostled away. Only quick thinking caused him to have slammed the TARDIS door switch beforehand, leaving the fallen Time Lord save from within.
As the Doctor sat prone on the chair, his mouth once more spew out the mysterious yellow mist that had come from the heart of the TARDIS. As if in response, the control panel hummed, and a pale purple light began to shine over the Doctor’s body while the chair shifted into a bed upon which the Doctor lay…
“The yellow girl. She has the clever blue box. Therefore, she speaks for your planet.” Alex once again finished translating the language of the Sycorax leader.
“You must be joking! Let me-” The Brigadier stepped forwards but a hand from Jo stopped him.
“No, I… I can do this.” She straightened and spoke directly to the Sycorax leader. “By…the power of the Nestene Consciousness and um… the Axonite Empire, and the Azal Alliance… I command you to leave this world alone, lest you force us to use the… erm, the Keller Machine, and the Doomsday Weapon… so leave this planet in peace! In… peace…”
There was a few seconds of silence. Then the Sycorax burst into laughter and once more their leader grinned menacingly before he spoke.
“You are very funny. And now you’re going to die…”
“NO!” Mike struggled to break free, as did the Prime Minister and the Brigadier, but to no avail.
“Did you think you were clever with your stolen words? We are the Sycorax. We astride the darkness. Next to us you are but a wailing child. If you are the best your planet can offer as a champion... then your world will be gutted...and your people enslaved.”
Jo blinked. Weren’t those last few words from the leader’s mouth English? “That… that was English.” As the Sycorax leader denied that he would speak in such a tongue as their own, she realised what that might mean.
“If I can hear English... then it's being translated. Which means it's working. Which means...”
And the five humans turned to stare as the TARDIS doors swung open.
The Doctor’s face beamed back at them. “Hello, Jo. Did you miss me?”