Disclaimer: I do not own anything in relation to Dr. Who.
Previous Chapter: Without warning, a wheezing and groaning noise fills the living room and a TARDIS suddenly dematerializes to the utter horror of each Doctor."
"That…that's not possible!" exclaims Ten while whipping out his glasses and scanning the empty space with his sonic. "Even with their combined intellect, they shouldn't be able to pilot a TARDIS!"
"They wouldn't need to," determines the First Doctor as he turns to face the others. "They would only need to flip the Fast Return switch."
Eyes wide, the Eighth Doctor cries out in a panic, "Whose TARDIS was that? Where did they go?"
"It was my TARDIS," bleats the Fourth Doctor.
Seeing the fear filling the Fourth Doctor's eyes, the Fifth Doctor darts across the room and grips him by the shoulders. "Well, man? Where did they go? Where were you before you arrived here?"
The Fourth Doctor stares back forlornly and whispers his previous destination, an utterance so horrific that it instantly forces the respiratory bypass of each Doctor to kick in. "When I received Susan's call, I was…I was on Skaro."
The Oncoming Swarm
The Fifth Doctor's hands fall away from Four's shoulders as he steps back in bereavement. "Skaro?" whispers the Eighth Doctor grief-stricken. "No, not Skaro, let it be anywhere but there."
Refusing to allow his other selves to wallow in despondency, the Eleventh Doctor gripes, "Skaro? Well, of course it had to be Skaro! I'm assuming that Mondas and the Death Zone were out of season?"
Shaking off his feeling of helplessness, the Eighth Doctor urges, "Well, let's get after them then! Come on, everyone!" He beckons the others to follow him as he heads toward his TARDIS and finds his stride abruptly halted when Eleven rushes over to block his path.
"No," commands Eleven, "we're not all going. Nine, Ten and I will rescue the children, the rest of you will stay here."
"Are you out of your mind, man?" demands Eight. "The children need all of us!"
Eleven replies calmly, "It's the children that I'm thinking of. Nobody knows better than I what each of you is capable of and there would be no stronger force if we all went. However, what's needed right now is a small force. We need to strike fast and hard to find the children and bring them home. That's not going to happen if we have to locate them and then our other selves. It just won't work if I'm running around all over the place."
Taking their grudging nods and defeated expressions as signs of acceptance, Eleven calls out, "Four, give Ten your coordinates to take us to Skaro." He turns to Eight and promises, "Don't worry, there's no force in this universe that will keep us from bringing those children home."
Unable to bear the frustration any longer at feeling so useless, Six shouts, "And what do you expect the rest of us to do while we remain here? Sit on the sofa while we twiddle our thumbs?"
"No," replies the Second Doctor graver than any future incarnation can ever remember him being. "We pray."
A reverent hush settles down upon the room at Two's unusually somber words which also galvanize Eleven to direct Nine and Ten towards his TARDIS so that they can begin their mission.
The three Doctors file in through the door with Eleven leading the way, leaving the other two to follow him. As they enter the console room, Nine takes in the changes with complete nonchalance while Ten stares on in utter horror.
"I see that you've redecorated," remarks Nine casually. "I don't like it."
"You don't like it?" gasps the Tenth Doctor in disbelief. "Is that all you have to say? Look at this place! Copper walls and stairwells, glass flooring and a circular ceiling! It's like being inside a penny!"
Nine chuckles softly while Eleven starts adjusting the console's controls and Ten continues his rant. He turns to face Nine and declares, "I never changed the desktop in our TARDIS," he swivels to glare at Eleven, "because it was perfect as it was!"
Nine walks away to take his own place at the console as he states, "That's actually the first thing that you've done that I approve of."
Eleven spares Ten a dry glance before replying, "My TARDIS is perfectly marvelous, thank you very much. In fact, she's fantastic and brilliant!" With an affectionate pat to the console, he concludes, "And she's very sexy."
"Sexy?" asks Nine in concern. What in Rassilon's name do I regenerate into?
"I prefer foxy, myself," announces Ten with a sniff of disdain.
Nine's eyes widen dramatically before he closes them and takes a deep calming breath. "And I prefer not to have to listen to this. Can we just go?"
Instantly recalling the reason they're there in the first place, Eleven simply nods his head while Ten mutters, "Of course," and enters the coordinates to begin their journey.
The three Doctors seamlessly work the console as one as they reach across each other to navigate the various assortments of switches, levers and buttons. Nine happens to spy something out of the corner of his eye and turns an incredulous stare onto the object as he asks, "Is that a fez?"
Without taking his eyes off the console, Eleven stretches out his arm to pick up the fez and plop it down onto his head. "Yes, it is. I like to wear hats now and fezzes are cool."
Ten glances off to the side and spies another hat and murmurs, "Hmmm, a Stetson," before he eagerly snatches it up for a closer inspection.
He's about to place it atop his head when Eleven cautions, "I wouldn't wear that if I were you, which incidentally, I was." At Ten's quizzical gaze, he explains, "You'll mess up your really great hair."
Eleven shares a smirk with Nine when Ten tosses the hat aside as if burned. Their respite is short-lived however when the TARDIS suddenly jolts, signifying that they have landed on Skaro.
As they make their way out, everyone steels themselves in an attempt to prepare for whatever may lay waiting for them outside the TARDIS. "Does everybody have their sonic?" questions Eleven.
A quick nod from both Doctors has Eleven pushing the door open as quietly as he can so as not to alert anyone to their presence. His effort was in vain.
The Doctors barely step foot out of the TARDIS when they come upon the sight of Davros yelling obscenities at the children while a group of Daleks huddle behind his hoverchair in fear.
A brief scan of the room reveals a trail of broken gun stalks and plungers littering the floor along with several of the children's cricket balls that his Fifth self had given them over the years. It was difficult to make out the exact amount of damage as the air was thick with smoke from the old hookah that Christopher had found in Four's TARDIS.
As they move closer, the Doctors all notice that the remaining plungers on the Daleks are encased with what appears to be a homemade concoction of bubblegum and jelly babies. Then they gawk in amazement as they watch David pull out their old recorder and play a piercing high-pitched note that causes several Daleks to spin around in circles and cry out for help.
Shaking off their astonishment, the Doctors rush over to the other side of the room to the children. Eleven immediately stoops down to pick up Matthew and Ten swiftly kneels to scoop Katy up into his arms.
As the Tenth Doctor straightens, he walks over to David and watches as the boy continues to make the Daleks spin out of control. "Incredible," he murmurs in fascination. "Exactly what note is that?"
Surprised by his great-grandfather's sudden appearance, David stops playing for a moment and greets, "Oh, hello, Sir!" One more ear-splitting shriek from the recorder and he responds, "In answer to your question, this particular note is known as the I of harmony."
One of the Daleks that was spiraling across the room finally skids to a halt and directs its broken eyestalk with an entangled yo-yo hanging off of it in their direction and proclaims in relief, "It's the Doctor! We're saved!"
Davros growls, "These invaders belong to you? I should have known!" A flying missile appears out of nowhere and hits its target with deadly accuracy. "Ow! Which one of you little spawns threw that satsuma?"
Eleven does another rapid head count of the children to assure himself that they're all accounted for before they leave. "Is everyone alright?"
"Yes!" they all shout in unison as they maintain their reign of terror on the Daleks.
Ten surveys the chaos around him while Davros wipes away the last of the satsuma off of his face. "How long have you lot been here?"
Carole promptly answers, "Exactly five and a half minutes."
Nine's eyebrows shoot up as he nods with approval. "Now, that's impressive."
Eleven queries, "Who gave Davros the black eye?"
"That was me!" exclaims Ian joyfully. "I did it with my Venusian Karate!"
Davros glares at the latest Doctor and snaps, "Who are you? And what is that thing that you're wearing?"
The Eleventh Doctor straightens the fez that Matthew has knocked awry from pulling on the tassel and declares, "I'm the Doctor!" He tugs at the clothing at his waist and adds, "And this is a pink frilly apron. Pink frilly aprons are cool. Now, you'll have to excuse us as we'll just be taking our leave."
Billie runs up alongside Eleven and tugs on his apron to impart some very important information. "Look, Great-grandfather! Freddy Kruger lost his hat!"
"Quit calling me that!" orders Davros with a scowl. "Daleks! Exterminate them!"
Ten instantly whips out his sonic while balancing Katy on his hip. "I don't believe that you heard me the first time," he asserts as he jerks his head to the right to indicate Eleven. "I said that we're leaving and you're not going to give us any problems."
Davros scoffs at the meager threat and Ten's voice drops considerably lower as he insists, "I mean it, Davros, I won't repeat myself again. No second chances, I'm that sort of man."
The Ninth Doctor comes to the forefront to shield the children and growls, "Don't even think about touching these children!" He reaches into his jacket pocket to find it empty and yells, "Where the hell is my sonic screwdriver?"
David promptly runs over to him and hands him the screwdriver in question. Nine gives him a stern look and inquires curtly, "And how do you happen to have this?"
Completely indifferent to the Doctor's upset, David replies, "I took it off of Katy. She must have taken it when you were standing next to her earlier, she does that a lot."
Ten gazes down at Katy's angelic face and muses, "A thief, hmmm? Well, at least you come by it honestly." He darts a glance at Eleven who's wearing a wry expression of his own before adding, "So to speak."
Nine stares down his longtime enemy and growls, "You and I have a long history together, Davros. You have threatened my companions, harmed my friends and taken more from me than you'll ever know. There is no way that I am letting you touch my family." He crosses his arms over his chest and intones, "So this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to rescue these kids from the middle of your Dalek fleet and then I'm going home for tea. And if you don't believe me," his voice becomes as hard and as cold as his eyes, "then I'm going to wipe you and every last stinking Dalek out of existence. I'm only giving you this one warning, Davros. Leave, now."
Although trying to maintain their composure so as not to scare the children, Eleven and Ten manage to convey the same anger and threat in their own gazes and stances while keeping their sonic screwdrivers trained on Davros and his remaining army.
The Daleks demonstrate immediate compliance with their reply. "We understand and obey!" Several sticky plungers attach to the front of Davros' hoverchair as they shout, "Retreat, retreat, retreat! Resistance is futile! Beware The Oncoming Swarm!"
Davros cries angrily, "What? What are you doing? Daleks! Stop them! Don't let them leave!" While the Daleks drag Davros down a corridor, it's then that the Doctors notice a sign written in crayon stuck to the back of Davros' hoverchair stating 'JUST DEFEATED'. As he disappears down the hall, they hear his fading shouts of, "No, no, no! Go back! Who's going to clean up this mess?"
"We need to move Four's TARDIS into yours so we can all leave together," comments Ten to Eleven before he gazes at the children severely. "It's obvious that we're going to need all of me to keep an eye on all of you."
Ian's hand shoots up in the air as he offers, "I'll do it, Sir! I've been studying you at the console and I'm sure that I'd be quite proficient!"
Ten ruffles Ian's hair affectionately before placing his hand on the boy's back and giving him a good hard shove that sends him flying over to Eleven. "Over my next dead body, and that goes for all of you before you even ask! I'll do it myself; it won't take but a moment."
A quick nip into Four's TARDIS and a dematerialization later has Ten popping back out Eleven's door ready for their departure. They begin herding the children into the TARDIS when a series of explosions rock the building.
"What was that?" shouts Nine over the deafening blasts.
"That's us," claim Sarah and Christopher simultaneously.
"We happened to have some of Ace's old Nitro on us from your Seventh self's last visit," explains Christopher.
"We were waiting to put it to good use," adds Sarah wisely, "and this seemed to be as good a time as any."
The Tenth Doctor glowers at the twins and barks, "And what have I told you about taking things off of the TARDIS?"
"You said that anything is fair game as long as it isn't yours," recants Christoper by memory.
Ten's retort is cut off when another round of blasts goes off and knocks the children to the floor. "Right!" shouts Eleven as the points to the blue police box. "I want everyone into the TARDIS, now! And whoever's first receives the first helping of my Fish Finger Custard Casserole!"
Not only does he receive blank and a few fearful stares in return at his supposedly enticing offer, but some of the children even retreat a few paces. While Eleven's brow furrows in confusion, Ten suggests, "Or something else equally delicious! Come on, everybody! First one to leg it gets a hot chicken pot pie!"
The children storm the TARDIS at this prospect and Nine and Ten instantly follow to initialize the dematerialization sequence. Eleven hangs back long enough to yell down the corridor, "And it serves you right!"
Matthew provides his own opinion by blowing a raspberry towards the direction of Davros' and the Daleks' escape route. "Well said!" commends Eleven with a quick hug and kiss to the boy's temple as they dart through the door and the TARDIS disappears from sight.
He heads over to the console to discover Nine and Ten busy interrogating David and Carole. Nine works the controls as he reminds them harshly, "I thought that you two were supposed to help us keep an eye on this lot!"
"We were helping you watch them!" defends Carole in earnest. "They all wanted to spread out and hide in different directions, but we convinced them that everyone hiding in just one place would make them much more difficult to find!"
David sticks his hands in his pockets as he rocks back onto his heels and boasts, "It was my idea to use the TARDIS!"
"Oh, well done, David. Genius, you," snarks Nine in response.
"Hey!" objects David. "It's not my fault! I didn't realize that Matthew and Katy could reach the console, that's how we ended up there! And it's not like we wandered off, either! When we stepped out of the TARDIS, they were all right there waiting for us on full alert!"
Ten absorbs this latest bit of information and with a nod of his head and cluck of his tongue, he calmly states, "Oh, well that makes it alright then."
Carole's face scrunches up in uncertainty and she queries, "Are you being sarcastic?"
Both Nine and Ten respond in equally loud and gruff voices, "Yes!"
Nine runs his hands down his face and then proceeds to rub the back of his neck giving himself time to try and calm down. "So that's it then? That's your great defense? You have nothing else to say for yourselves, nothing at all?"
Knowing that any future TARDIS trips hinges on the correct response being given, the children all glance at each other in hopes that one of them will have the correct reply. Finally, it is Christopher who pulls a rumpled bag out of his trouser pocket and offers quietly, "Jelly Baby?"
Each of the Doctors returns his peace offering with a hard stare before relenting and reaching out with various responses of, "Yeah, alright," then "Oooh, yes, please!" and "Do you have any orange ones?"
Eleven munches slowly on his jelly baby as he warns, "You know, you're still not out of the woods yet, we'll deal with you all later."
Ten shifts Katy into a more comfortable position as he leans down to peer into the other children's faces. "Do any of you truly realize the danger that you put yourselves into? What do you think would have happened if we hadn't shown up when we did?"
Totally unfazed by the Doctor's admonishment, Billie replies, "We would have won."
Patience at an end, Nine bellows, "Now hear this, you lot! I'm giving you one chance and one chance only to come to your senses. I don't ever want to see, hear, smell or feel you around my TARDIS without my permission or I'll give your backsides a taste of The Oncoming Storm! Got it?"
"Yes, Sir!" shout the children in succinct agreement, some of them including salutes.
Eleven rocks Matthew as he clears his throat to draw the children's attention. "Now that we've made our feelings clear, there's one more thing that you need to remember. Under no circumstances..."
Ten interrupts, "That's any at all mind you, regardless of how dire the situation…"
Nine adds, "Are you ever and I mean ever to…"
They all conclude at once, "Tell your mother about this little adventure!"
Some salute again and the others either put their hands in the air or place them over their hearts as they avow, "Understood completely, Sir!"
Ian tugs on his ear as he relates, "You know, this trip wasn't a total loss."
"Oh, yeah?" inquires Nine. "How's that then?"
He turns eagerly to his great-grandfather and enthuses, "I had this fantastic idea while we were there that could make us rich! We could make a movie about our adventure! We could call it…wait for it…Dalek Empire Records!"
The Doctors merely stare at him in disbelief until Ten breaks the silence. He stares off into the distance as if trying to recall a distant memory and wonders, "Wait a minute, is that Disney?" He shakes his head in the negative and opines rather rudely, "Oh, no, that's crap."
Ian's excitement instantly morphs into a pout and Eleven laughs softly and soothes, "I'm sorry my boy but that really is awful. Not as awful as pears or beans, but still…" He gives a slight shudder and mutters, "Evil beans."
A soft thump denotes that the TARDIS has landed safely back home. Eleven breathes a sigh of relief and then orders, "Alright, you juvenile delinquents, everybody off!" He shoos them over towards the door. "Go, out, out of my TARDIS!"
They barrel out through the door one by one and run into several Doctors waiting arms, each man's face etched with indescribable relief at the fact that the children are back and unharmed.
The three Doctors exit the TARDIS and are immediately besieged with a ringing phone and someone pounding on the front door. "Now what?" asks the Eleventh Doctor of no one in particular while Ten heads off to open the door and Nine goes to answer the telephone.
Ten opens the door with a warm smile and greets, "Hello! How can I…" His face and voice fall instantly flat. "Oh, it's you."
"Hi, Doc!" acknowledges Jack Harkness as he marches into the living room. "Or should I say Doctors? Remember me? I definitely remember all of you, at least now I do!"
The First Doctor stalks over with his cane at the ready to attack. "I remember you! You're the young scallywag who accosted my granddaughter at Verity's Restaurant & Grill! How dare you show up on her doorstep!"
Ignoring the First Doctor's distress, Jack gripes, "Oh yeah, Susan! I almost forgot about her! Hey, you, in the cricket pants! Where is she?"
The Fifth Doctor glares back and answers frostily, "She's in the hospital giving birth."
Jack's eyes go wide and round as saucers and he gulps audibly. He steadily backs away, his hands in a defensive pose and he vows, "I never touched her, Doc! I swear it!" He looks around the room beseechingly. "You all know that!"
"Easy, you idiot," states Nine. "She's having her husband's baby." He snorts in derision. "Not that has ever stopped you before."
"Oh," murmurs Jack in relief and then with his usual cheekiness and a wink tossed at Nine, "And that's true."
Ten walks over and apologizes, "I'm sorry about the memory loss, Jack, but you have to understand that when it comes to my family, I tend to go a bit overboard."
Jack chuckles and tweaks Katy's nose as he responds, "That's okay, Doc. I burnt up most of my anger while I worked on figuring out how to get here. And having all of my memories intact only serves as a reminder as to how far you'll go to protect the people you care about."
Nine clasps a hand on Jack's shoulder and praises, "That's a good lad. Jack, would you mind staying here for a bit? The hospital just called and Susan wants to see us. It's not urgent so we shouldn't be gone long."
"No problem, Doc," replies Jack amicably. "I'll just make myself comfortable until you return."
"Thanks, Jack," smiles Eleven. "We really appreciate this. Don't worry; we'll be back before you know it." He hands Matthew over to him as he asks, "Here, can you hold him for me? Thanks."
"Oh, me too," requests Ten as he thrusts Katy into Jack's free arm. "We'll be right back! And thanks again for understanding!"
The Doctors all file one by one into their own individual TARDIS choosing either to offer their own apologies or defense of Susan as Ten did or as in Six's case, to snidely comment, "Oh, you so deserved it!"
The First Doctor is the last to stroll past him and so gives him a hard whack on the shoulder with his cane as he demands, "And don't call me Doc!"
Jack rolls his shoulder and grins at the group of children as they come up to introduce themselves. "So," he inquires politely to break the ice, "I hear your mom's in the hospital." When they all nod their heads, he asks as he scans the room, "Where's your dad?"
David answers blithely, "He's with our mother in the hospital."
"What?" screeches Jack as the last TARDIS dematerializes from the room. He stands glaring at the empty area when Billie tugs on his coat and questions, "Did you say that you lost your memory?"
He gazes down at the little girl while the two toddlers in his arms alternate between tugging on the lapels of his coat and his hair and grits out between clenched teeth, "Yes, doll, I did lose it for a while. But I don't think I'll have any problem remembering this."
To Be Continued…