The Ends of the Earth

by vegetables [Reviews - 1]

Printer Chapter or Story
  • Teen
  • Explicit Violence, Swearing
  • Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Angst, Drama, General, Introspection, Mixed, Romance, Standalone

Darkness had fallen, and Yaz and the Doctor had come back to the street they’d walked down earlier in the day. This was London and the night was young, but everything seemed shockingly quiet to Yaz. There was almost no one walking along the street outside— though the pubs were still open, and those at least seemed to be busy. Yaz looked at the faces in their windows as the two of them passed by, cracking dams holding the water back. Their eyes said everything. They’d clearly had more than a few.

The Doctor was sweeping her Geiger counter round as they walked past the brightened windows, in a big, long arc that drew circles in the air. It was still beeping, but the sound was angriest at a different place: an alley to the side of the one which they’d run down before.

“No police box down there,” said the Doctor, her face set, “but I reckon we’ll come by the police.”

She bounded on her way to possible death, not even pausing. Yaz felt her shoulders sagging slightly, but she did still follow, more reluctantly than she might have done once before. Packed all around her was the human relationship with death. It bought it home all the more, how the Doctor wasn’t one of her.

The alley was deserted and dark, with barely even a window to cast some light. Old metal bins were edged up at its sides; the two of them had to struggle to get through. The smells hadn’t changed, in almost sixty years. Rubbish was rubbish, whenever you happened to be.

There was a figure up ahead, shrouded in gloom. Standing tall behind the bins was a figure, its shoulders almost scraping the alley’s sides. A bit like a policeman, but wrong, too stretched out to be human. Moving like a broken down robot, its arms like insect legs drooping long down. And of course—

—“What’s with his face?!,” said Yaz, horrified.

It was there between his neck and helmet, both police-box blue. No eyes, no nose or mouth, nothing human at all. Just the logo of the St. John’s Ambulance service, staring unhelpfully into their eyes.

“It’s PC gone mad,” muttered the Doctor.

“Wotsall,” said the figure in front of them. “Wotsall, Wotsall.”

That’s from the Time Lords?!” said Yaz.

“‘Fraid so,” her friend replied. “Must be one of the COPS. They’re trying to blend in!”

“Like that?!”

“I didn’t say they were very good at it. They’ve got the box and the person inside a bit confused.”

“Disden,” the figure said, in something between a South London accent and a voice like knocks on wood. Its badge of a head looked towards them, looking as startled as it could with a face built without any eyes.

Doctor,” it said, like the word was a slur.

A clicking noise came from inside it as it raised its copper limbs.”

“Well, they’ve got one thing right, at least,” said the Doctor with a sigh. “Monopoly on violence.”

One of the limbs zoomed out towards them, extending a long way over the cobbles like a grappling hook. The Doctor leapt back as the limb slammed through where her throat has been, then zipped back into the figure with a whoosh.

“Bigger on the inside,” said the Doctor.

“More fighting, less explaining,” said Yaz from behind a bin. “We’ve talked about this!”

The limbs smashed out of the sleeves of the COP once more, smashing into the stone walls on either side of the ally.

“Those things are strong stuff!” the Doctor cried, nodding at the metal limbs. “He’ll catapult himself towards us at speed!”

We’ve talked about this! ” yelled Yaz, as the COP catapulted towards them at speed.

“We have?” said the Doctor vaguely as she dove down to the ground. 

“You probably weren’t listening!” Yaz cried.

The COP flew past them and kept on going, tumbling into some bins behind. Rubbish splatted over its sparkling uniform, staining it with rot.

“Tobble bit com nole,” it muttered, struggling to its feet.

“He’s not stopping,” said Yaz.

“Then this calls for extreme measures,” said the Doctor. “Thing about the COPS, they’re not really alive. Just big moving lumps like plasticine. That changes things up again.”

She whipped a raygun from a pocket and was shooting it before Yaz was able to cry out. With a wham and a flash a blast hit the COP on the side. It wailed like a siren as one of its limbs fell away.

“Systill!” it cried. “Presanneret!”

“You never said you had that!” said Yaz, nodding at the raygun.

“It’s recent! Got it from a thing on a spaceship; me and a whole load of Russian playwrights against some sort of metaphor for censorship. Bloke who gave me it was annoying, though. Kept saying I should fire it, and I could never figure out why”—

“Maybe fire it now?” said Yaz. The COP was moving towards them again, sparks hissing from its severed limb.

“Right,” said the Doctor. “Less explaining.”

She looked straight at the figure before her, and shot a blast straight at its head. It roared and fell hard to the ground, green goo bubbling out of the womb. It looked vaguely unreal, artificial. Too much like a special effect.

“You shot him,” said Yaz flatly. “He’s dead.”

“They’re not alive,” said the Doctor. “Not even robots. Just a puppet, literally. I cut the strings.”

She whipped round her Geiger counter again, and Yaz heard its furious beeping.

“Radiation from that police box we were at,” said the Doctor. “There’s one still there. C’mon. It’s just up ahead.”

She ran away before Yaz could respond, not even thinking that her friend might not choose to follow her. But Yaz held back, watching as the COP’s shell dissolved.

“Just a puppet,” she said, very quietly.

She felt dull, heavy, not really alive. She’d put her whole reason for living on the Doctor’s shoulders. Now the weight of that life was pressing down hard upon hers.

She sighed, summoning the energy she had left—

—and then she was running to the place where the Doctor had gone.