The room that had once been so carefully proportioned was now reduced to a wreck. Items from every room in the flat were strewn destroyed over the floor, and furnishings no one would expect to flicker and spark kept doing so in a sad electric way. On a cracked screen hovering above the mess of it all, the last face of Simon Jones split into a grin.
“Brutal world, isn’t it, business? No matter how much you respect a person, there’s always a chance you’ll have to stab them in the back. Especially when that person is yourself.”
“But not me,” said the Doctor.
“Oh, you’re no threat to me, Doctor. I wasn’t lying, when I said I wanted to keep you here. Someone different to a human, still with just one little old brain. Who’ll try to escape, in a way that’ll keep me amused.”
“I could escape, yes,” said the Doctor. “Or.”
“I could do something that’d amuse you even more. I could try and beat you.”
Simon laughed. “You’re never going to beat me, Doctor. Just one section of my mind alone could”–
“But that’s my point! If I’m never going to beat you you’ll love it, right? If I’m arrogant enough to try, and then I lose. If I do something big and dramatic I know’ll work, and then it doesn’t. You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
Simon laughed hollowly. “And you think you’ll succeed?”
“I do. And I think you’ll bloody love it, when I don’t. It’s why I think you’re going to let me try.”
She squared herself up to the centre of the screen, to be directly in the vision of the eyes that were not there.
“I want a speech. A big, powerful speech that’s broadcast to everyone. One about why humanity’s worth fighting for, that’ll make it worth fighting for. That’ll overthrow the world. And before that I want out, because I want to see my friends.”
In business, Simon had prided himself on his stern poker face. But it showed signs of cracking to pieces now.
“You think that’s ridiculous,” said the Doctor.
“I think,” said Simon as he struggled not to grin, “that it’s an offer I’m prepared to accept. But I’ll be watching you, Doctor. Remember I have eyes all over this little planet.”
“I’m not going all over the planet,” said the Doctor, “they’re probably just down the road.”
“The suburbs of old Manchester,” smiled Simon. “Not exactly a place to convince you humanity’s worth saving.”
“I know people from there,” said the Doctor, “and they convince me every day.”
“In that case,” said Simon, “I’ll look forward to your speech even more.”
His screen winked off, and the Doctor stared into the blackness.
Panicked, she wondered what on earth she was going to say.