Author's Notes:
Summary: The Doctor and Jack begin to explore Satellite 5 to discover why the TARDIS has summoned them here.

“Which floor are we on?” Jack asks as the doors grind open again.

“499,” the Doctor answers. “The scanner said life signs here - they’re faint, but there’s something. Either a few people or a really impressive rodent infestation.”

“Or something slimy and evil and not quite alive.”

She nods. “Best not to think about that one.”

“I never do,” he agrees and finishes the banana.

She looks around for a few seconds, then picks a direction and walks, screwdriver in hand. Jack can hear it whirring as she follows some signal or another. They make their way down the long hallway. It’s only rendered in Jack’s mind as thin green lines, rather like an architectural outline, but he can visualise it perfectly. This is the floor where he died. For the first time anyway.

They pause outside a couple of the doors that once held those monstrous games, but whatever the Doctor’s sonic is reading, it doesn’t inspire her to go in. Then, right at the end of the corridor, she stops properly. “Ah ha.”

“In here?”

“In here.”

“And me without my blaster.”

“We don’t use blasters, Jack. You know better.”

“Nice to have a Plan B though,” he observes.

He can imagine the wounded look, all big eyes and disappointment, but the Doctor doesn’t say anything, and a moment later the door is opening.

Jack would like to think that he’s ready for anything, but in the end, preparation turns out to be unnecessary. The green lines winding through his mind pick out a broad empty space, but someone, or more likely a group of someones, have clearly set it up as some kind of makeshift camp. There are sleeping bags and the various other accoutrements of human life scattered around. A blur on his mind catches his attention, small but definitely something, and he leans down to scoop up what his fingers quickly identify as a tattered teddy bear.

A sound pulls his attention and he whirls towards a dozen or so approaching figures.

“Hello,” the Doctor says cheerfully. “I’m the Doctor, and this is my friend Jack.”

“Are you ghosts?”

Jack feels his eyebrow creep up. He’s been asked loads of weird questions over his long life, but he’s never been asked if he was a ghost.

“Nope,” the Doctor’s cheerful voice doesn’t waver. “We’re just as alive as you.” She pauses, “Why would you think we were ghosts?”

“No one here except ghosts. That’s why we’re the only ones who would come,” answers a different voice.

He feels more than hears the considering noise the Doctor makes, then a sharp whistle cuts through the room. “Is that a kettle? Brilliant. I think we all need a cup of tea and a sit down.” Fitting actions to words, she immediately settles herself on one of the crates pulled into a rough semi circle. Of course, everyone follows suit. “And now,” her tone turns serious, “tell me what’s going on here.”

“This place has been here for centuries, hanging over the earth. Been here since forever.”

The Doctor nods, “Yeah. Used to broadcast the news, and then it was reality TV shows. But it should all be fixed now, the Great and Bountiful Human Empire.”

Someone laughs.

“You sound like one of them,” retorts a man on Jack’s left suspiciously.

“Nope.” The Doctor says again. “Definitely not one of them. Who are ‘them’ anyway?”

“You know. The Broadcasters. They don’t call it news anymore, but the Broadcasters read the Daily Bulletins. They’re always talking about the Great and Bountiful Human Empire, but I’ve never met anyone who’s seen any greatness or any bounty. It’s a slave planet, and everyone knows it. Off worlders don’t even visit anymore - boycotted on moral reasons. As though that helps anyone.”

The Doctor nods slowly. “But the Broadcasters don’t broadcast from here like in the old days?”

The speaker laughs harshly. “They wouldn’t dare.”

The Doctor takes a deep drink of tea. Jack does the same. It’s been years since he had a cup of tea. “I’m confused.” She says after a moment of consideration. “Start from the beginning. Tell me your name.”

“I’m Jaydellion. Jay. This is my, well. My crew. We’re-”

“We’re refugees,” a female voice cuts across him. “I’m Cerulean, by the way. Jay’s sister.”

“Refugees?” Jack asks, “From where? You said there were no off worlders?”

“About 200 years ago,” Jay picks up, “There was a huge collapse of Earth’s society. Something happened on Satellite 5 and it shut down all information and transmissions overnight. We lost everything: communications, government, finance.”

Beside Jack, the Doctor fidgets uncomfortably and he gives her a quick look. She doesn’t look back.

“And it led to a total destruction of the planet, reversion to fossil fuels, but on a massive scale. It almost destroyed the Earth. We were on the cusp of the whole thing becoming little more than a ball of pollutants, falling through space. And then the daleks attacked. They destroyed whole continents, wiped out virtually everything that we’d managed to build since the Satellite 5 catastrophe.”

“People were leaving, evacuating,” a third voice carries on. “Earth born humans got quite the reputation as mercenaries and researchers.”

“And then some of those researchers came back, with new terraforming ideas and they resurrected the planet from the brink of death.”

The Doctor smiles, the warmth comes through in her voice. “Exactly what humans are good at. You wait until the last day, but you do always come through.”

“That’s what we thought,” Cerulean answers. “They turned Earth back into a paradise.”

“But the people that stayed, they considered it their planet. They said they had been the ones who hadn’t abandoned it. They had charters where they owned whole countries.”

“They charged hundreds of credits just to move back. Buying property became impossible and rent…crippling. It takes years to get moving permits just to move between cities, moving to a different country can put your family in debt for generations.”

“And they control the space ports and the space lanes. You can emigrate in...if you’re pure human and if you have the credits, but leaving..?”

“That’s why we’re here. This place has been hanging above Earth, useless and empty, a huge eyesore blighting their ‘perfect planet’ propaganda, but no one will dare to come here because of the ghosts. They said if we stripped it, if we could find 20 million in salvage, in antiques or tech or stores, they’ll give us the ship and we can go anywhere that’ll take us.”

“And the ghosts?”

“It’s haunted here,” says a young voice. “Everyone knows that. Bad ghosts from all the bad things that have happened.”

“But what do they do? What do they look like?” the Doctor presses.

“I don’t know,” Jay says, he’s trying to sound dismissive, but Jack can hear a thin thread of fear. “They’re just stories. People talk about shadowy figures, cold, a sense of dread...but, so the stories go, they control the systems. The lights. The doors. The life support.”

There’s the sound of a mug clinking against the floor then the Doctor claps her hands together. “Well, I suppose we’re going ghost hunting.”

A small hand tugs on Jack’s sleeve. “Can I have Mr Snuggles back?” the child whispers. Jack awkwardly hands over the bear that he belatedly realises he’s still holding.

“Where have there been the most sightings?” the Doctor asks.

Jaydellion, Cerulean and the other adults all shrug, but there are three children, all clustered together. The smallest one of them, the one who has just taken the dirty teddy bear from Jack, removes her thumb from her mouth. “At the top,” she lisps.

“That’s just a story, Sweetheart,” Cerulean starts.

“Lots of good information in stories,” answers the Doctor. She crouches down in front of the child. “How do you know the ghosts are at the top?”

“They come from the top of the castle,
Where everything is cold,
They come from the top of the castle,
Where the walls are made of gold.

“They come from the top of the castle,
Where they are trapped within,
They come from the top of the castle,
Searching always for lost kin.

“They come from the top of the castle,
Souls alone without form,
They come from the top of the castle,
Stealing bodies to be reborn.”


The child recites immediately.

“It’s nothing. It’s just a nursery rhyme. Everyone knows about the haunted satellite. Even travellers stay away from here.”

The Doctor shrugs, “Maybe, maybe not. But the very top of this station is where the Dalek Emperor died. That’s as good a place to look for ghosts as anywhere else.”

“Alright. Let’s go ghost hunting,” echoes Jack.