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The Next Adventure

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Rose was just sitting on her bed when she heard a knock on her door. “Come in,” she called, wiping away the tears. She had only met the Face of Boe a few times, but she felt like she knew him so much better than that. And he had called her Rosie, and no one did that. Sometimes Mickey would, and sometimes Jack, but that was about it. She had never been one for nicknames. So the fact that a billion year old alien called her that made her think that she must be missing something.

The Doctor poked his head in and broke her out of her silent musings. “Are you okay?” he asked, coming all the way into the room.

“Yeah,” Rose replied. “It’s just strange, is all. We only met the Face of Boe a few times, but I feel like I just lost a best friend.”

“I know what you mean, but I was also wondering if you were okay, you know, after having been kidnapped and all,” the Doctor said, sitting down next to her on her bed.

Rose looked at him as though she had just remembered that that was how the day had started. “Oh, yeah,” she replied.
“I’m honestly fine. They were good people, neither of them wanted to do anything bad.”

“But they kidnapped you!” The Doctor yelled, jumping up, unable to hold back his anger as the fear of almost losing her resurfaced.

Rose laid a hand on his arm and pulled him back down into a sitting position. “But I’m fine, yeah? They were pregnant, and they were just trying to do what was right by their baby. Was it still wrong? Yeah, but they were scared and desperate, and
they were just doing their best.”

“But, Rose,” the Doctor started to argue, but he couldn’t come up with the words.

“But nothing Doctor. I’m fine. And I always knew you’d get me out of that mess. You always do,” Rose smiled, leaning her head on his arm.

He absentmindedly kissed the top of her head before he remembered all of his rules. He couldn’t keep doing this. The number of times he had almost lost her in the past week alone, and his reactions each of those times were proof that he couldn’t let their relationship go any further. If he did, it would eventually kill him when he lost her. “Well, if you’re sure you’re fine, I’ll let you get to bed then,” the Doctor said, standing up and walking out of her room suddenly.

“Goodnight Doctor,” Rose called from behind him.

“Goodnight Rose Tyler,” the Doctor whispered, far too quiet for her to hear.

**********************************************************************************************************************

Rose woke up when she felt the TARDIS land. “Where are we now, Old Girl?” Rose asked. The lights flashed a few times and
Rose sighed. “I’m guessing it’s not Martha’s flat?”

The TARDIS materialized a simple, old fashioned pair of brown trousers, an off-white blouse, and a thick jacket on her bed. “Definitely not Martha’s flat then. What happened to just one trip?” Rose grumbled, throwing on the outfit and brushing her hair back into a low bun.

When Rose came into the console room, Martha started laughing. “What are you wearing?”

“The TARDIS picked it out for me,” Rose shrugged. “It never hurts to blend in, and by the outfit she gave me, I would recommend changing if I were you.”

“Oh, you don’t have to change for every place we go,” the Doctor argued.

Rose shook her head, “No, you don’t have to change for everywhere because you wear the exact same thing
everywhere!”

“No I don’t,” the Doctor whined. “I’ve even put on my blue suit today!”

Rose rolled her eyes. “You can keep wearing that if you want Martha, but if you want to change, the TARDIS will lead you to
the wardrobe room.” The TARDIS lights flashed overhead, and Rose giggled. “She promises she won’t send you on a wild
goose chase.”

Martha looked hesitantly up at the ceiling before she shrugged. “I’ll be back in just a second, yeah?”

As soon as she had disappeared down the hall, Rose turned to the Doctor. “Just one trip, yeah?”

“Oh, come on, Rose, she’s brilliant!” the Doctor argued.

“Maybe, but ever since we picked her up it’s been adventure after adventure,” Rose sighed.

The Doctor looked at Rose and frowned. “I thought you said you were ready for adventures.”

“I am, but maybe not every day. We’ve never done things like this. I mean, trouble’s just the bits in between, yeah?” Rose asked.

Before the Doctor could respond, Martha came back into the console room. “Alright,” she smiled, “let’s go.” Rose shot the Doctor a look to tell him that they would finish the conversation later, but he was already moving down the ramp, chatting with Martha.

Rose made it out of the TARDIS just in time to hear the Doctor say, “Martha, have you met my friend?”

Rose followed their gazes as she heard Martha exclaim, “Is that? Oh, my God. That's the Statue of Liberty.”

“Gateway to the New World. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” the Doctor quoted.

“That's so brilliant. I've always wanted to go to New York. I mean the real New York, not the new, new, new, new, new one,” Martha gasped.

“Well, there's the genuine article. So good, they named it twice. Mind you, it was New Amsterdam originally. Harder to say twice. No wonder it didn't catch on. New Amsterdam, New Amsterdam,” the Doctor muttered.

“I wonder what year it is, because look, the Empire State Building's not even finished yet,” Martha declared, pointing at the tower on the skyline.

“Work in progress. Still got a couple floors to go, and if I know my history, that makes the date somewhere around—" the Doctor started.

“1930,” Rose said, tucking the newspaper she had just picked up behind her back. “Early November too.”

“I’m impressed Rose. You’re getting really good at this,” the Doctor exclaimed turning around to face her. It was then that
she pulled out the newspaper and tossed it to him, her tongue peeking out between her teeth as she grinned at him. “Now
that’s just cheating!” he whined.

“Eighty years ago. It's funny, because you see all those old newsreels all in black and white like it's so far away, but here we are. It's real. It's now. Come on then, you. Where do you want to go first?” Martha asked, ignoring Rose.

The Doctor handed the paper to Martha, pointing out the headline that read Hooverville Mystery Deepens, as he declared, “I think our detour just longer.”

**********************************************************************************************************************

Rose felt like they had been walking through the sewer for ages. Normally, she wouldn’t mind that much, this was just part of her life. And she knew that they would end up doing something like this from the moment Solomon told them that people had been going missing. She just had this feeling that something really bad was about to happen.

Finally, Solomon voiced her thoughts exactly. “We're way beyond half a mile. There's no collapse, nothing.”

“That Diagoras bloke, was he lying?” Martha asked.

“Looks like it,” the Doctor replied, but Rose could tell he wasn’t really paying attention. He could feel it too, whatever it was that was coming. “Solomon, I think it's time you took these three back. I'll be much quicker on my own.”

“No,” Rose said firmly, before she heard what sounded like a pig squealing.

“What the hell was that?” Solomon asked.

“Hello?” Frank whispered into the near darkness.

“Shhh,” Martha hissed as Solomon said sharply, “Frank.”

“What if it's one of the folk gone missing? You'd be scared and half mad down here on your own,” Frank argued.

“Do you think they’re still alive?” the Doctor asked, letting most of his attention return to the people around him rather than the sense of dread that he had been feeling since they got into the sewer.

“Heck, we ain't seen no bodies down here. Maybe they just got lost,” Frank shrugged.

As more squeals echoed through the tunnel, Solomon said, “I know I never heard nobody make a sound like that.”

“Where's it coming from? Sounds like there's more than one of them,” Frank said.

“This way,” the Doctor said, pointing down one tunnel.

“No,” Solomon argued, shining his torch the opposite way to show a huddled-up figure. “That way.”

“Doctor?” Martha asked, stepping toward him, but Rose held her back.

“Something isn’t right,” Rose whispered to her. “There is something really wrong here.”

“What do you mean?” Martha asked, turning her attention away from the poor man.

Rose shook her head. “I can’t pinpoint what it is, but there’s something really wrong here.”

“Are you saying you think we should leave?” Martha asked, unable to keep the judgement out of her voice. How had she managed to stick around this long if she couldn’t even stand a bit of trouble?

“No,” Rose sighed, “because I think we’re the only ones that can fix it. Oh, but if this is as bad as I feel like it’s going to be, I wish we could lea—”

The rest of Rose’s sentence died on her lips as she looked at the man crouched in the corner. Well, man was a loose term because he had the face of a pig.

“Oh, but what are you?” The Doctor asked.

“Is that, er, some kind of carnival mask?” Solomon asked, trying to make some sense of the crazy reality he had just stepped into.

“No, it's real. I'm sorry. Now listen to me. I promise I can help. Who did this to you?” The Doctor replied, never taking his eyes off the pigman.

“Doctor?” Martha called, looking to the corner of the tunnel where more pig men had suddenly appeared. “I think you better get back here.”

When he didn’t answer Martha, Rose immediately yelled, “Doctor!”

His eyes snapped to her, and he registered the fear in her voice. “Actually, good point,” he said, returning to the group.

“They’re following you,” Martha said.

“Yeah, I noticed that, thanks. Well then, Martha, Frank, Solomon,” the Doctor said. Rose didn’t fail to notice how her name was missing from the list, and for a fraction of a second, she was hurt, thinking he had forgotten she was there.

“What?” Martha asked.

Then the Doctor looked at Rose and smiled, a smile he hadn’t give her in a long time. He held out his hand to her and said one word, just one word. “Run.”

“Where are we going?” Martha asked, but the Doctor didn’t answer, he just ran with Rose, and hoped the others followed him.

When they reached a ladder, the Doctor let go of Rose’s hand to climb up, opening the cover with the sonic. “Come on,” he urged, pulling Rose, Martha, and Solomon up behind him. Frank, however, was busy trying to ward off the pigmen.

“Frank!” Solomon yelled. “C’mon Frank!”

He started to climb up, and the Doctor grabbed him to haul him the rest of the way up. “I've got you. C'mon! Come on!”

The pigmen were too strong, and they pulled him down. “No!” The Doctor yelled, but Solomon pushed the Doctor away and closed the cover.

“We can’t go after him,” he said, with an air of finality.

“We've got to go back down. We can't just leave him,” the Doctor argued.

“No, I'm not losing anybody else. Those creatures were from Hell. From Hell itself! If we go after them, they'll take us all!
There's nothing we can do. I'm sorry,” Solomon said, shaking his head.

Before anyone could respond, a woman with a gun stepped out from behind a rack and pointed it at them. “All right, then.
Put them up. Hands in the air and no funny business. Now tell me, you schmucks, what have you done with Laszlo?”

“Who’s Lazlo?” Martha asked.

The woman led them back to what looked like a dressing room and had a seat in front of the mirror, still pointing the gun at them all. “Laszlo's my boyfriend. Or was my boyfriend until he disappeared two weeks ago. No letter, no goodbye, no nothing. And I'm not stupid. I know some guys are just pigs but not my Laszlo. I mean, what kind of guy asks you to meet his mother before he vamooses?”

She was waving the gun around wildly, occasionally even pointing it at herself, so the Doctor interrupted her rambling to say, “Yeah. It might, might just help if you put that down.”

She laughed and sat it down on the vanity. “Huh? Oh, sure. Oh, come on. It's not real. It's just a prop. It was either that or a spear.”

“What do you think happened to Lazlo?” Martha asked.

“I wish I knew. One minute he's there, the next, zip. Vanished.” The woman replied.

“Listen,” the Doctor said, “ah, what’s your name?”

“Tallulah,” she replied.

“Tallulah,” the Doctor repeated, just to make sure he had it right.

“Three L’s and an H,” she replied, as though the Doctor was going to need to spell it sometime soon.

“Right. We can try to find Laszlo, but he's not the only one. There are people disappearing every night,” the Doctor said.

“And there are creatures, such creatures,” Solomon shivered behind the Doctor.

“What do you mean, creatures?” Tallulah asked.

“Look, listen, just trust me. Everyone is in danger. I need to find out exactly what this is,” the Doctor said, pulling the
jellyfish-like creature he had found earlier out of his pocket. “Because then I’ll know exactly what we’re fighting.”

“Yuck,” Tallulah said, scrunching up her nose at the creature.

“Ok, now you all stay here. I’m going to go raid the props room to see if I can find what I need to identify this,” the Doctor said.

“I’ll go with you,” Solomon said. “This room feels like it’s more for the ladies.”

As soon as they were gone, Rose and Martha both settled in. “Were those pig things what you meant?” Martha asked.
“When you said you felt like there was something wrong?”

Rose shook her head. “No, they’re just sad. This is something much, much worse.”

“Sad? They killed Frank!” Martha exclaimed.

“I know, that’s not what I—I mean, I don’t think they know what they’re doing. I think someone is controlling them,” Rose
replied.

“Why do you think that?” Martha asked.

“I don’t know, it’s just this feeling,” Rose shrugged.

Before they could continue their conversation, Tallulah walked in wearing a different outfit. Before they could ask, she
replied, “I’ve got to start getting ready for tonight’s show.”

“Oh, we can leave if you need us to,” Martha replied.

“No, you don’t have to do that,” Tallulah replied. “I thought I could tell you a bit about Lazlo. I don’t really get to talk about
him much around here. The other girls get jealous, and it’s a dog-eat-dog world right now.”

“Oh, yeah. Tell us everything you can about Lazlo. Maybe that’ll help us find him,” Rose replied, moving to sit next to Tallulah on her bench.

“Laszlo. He'd wait for me after the show. Walk me home like I was a lady. He'd leave a flower for me on my dressing table. Every day, just a single rose bud,” she said, her eyes glazing over as she got lost in thought.

“Well, haven’t you reported him missing?” Martha asked.

“Sure. He's just a stagehand. Who cares? The management certainly don't,” Tallulah huffed.

“Can’t you kick up a fuss or something?” Martha asked.

“Okay, so then they fire me,” Tallulah replied. Rose nodded. She remembered that feeling from her days at Hendrick’s.

“But, they’d listen to you,” Martha argued, clearly unaware of the realities of a job like that. “You’re one of the stars.”

“Oh, honey, I got one song in a back street revue and that's only because Heidi Chicane broke her ankle. Which had
nothing to do with me whatever anybody says. I can't afford to make a fuss. If I don't make this month's rent, then before
you know it, I'm in Hooverville,” Tallulah replied angrily.

“Okay, I get it,” Martha replied.

“It's the Depression, sweetie. Your heart might break, but the show goes on. Because if it stops, you starve. Every night I
have to go out there, sing, dance, keep going, hoping he's going to come back,” Tallulah smiled sadly. “But, at least I’ve
got hope,” she said, holding up a white rosebud. “On my dressing table every day still.”

“You think it’s Lazlo?” Rose asked.

“I don't know. If he's still around, why is he being all secret like he doesn't want me to see him?” Tallulah asked.

A stream of girls started to file past Tallulah’s dressing room, so she got up, grabbing Rose and Martha by the arm. “Come
on ladies; take a look. You ever been on stage before?”

Rose and Martha glanced at each other. “Oh, a little bit. You know, Shakespeare.”

“How dull is that?” Tallulah asked. “Come and see a real show!”

**********************************************************************************************************************

Rose wandered off to find the Doctor. She just couldn’t shake the feeling that something very bad was about to happen, and so she knew she wasn’t going to be able to enjoy the show like Martha would. When she found him up in the lighting gallery, he was mumbling to himself.

“Fundamental DNA type four six seven dash nine eight nine. Nine eight nine,” the Doctor muttered. “Hold on, that means planet of origin: Skaro.”

“Skaro?” Rose asked with a sinking feeling. The Doctor turned to look at her, and he could see his own fear mirrored in her eyes. “Like the Cult of Skaro?”

The Doctor nodded, but before he could say anything, they heard a scream and took off to find Martha.

When they finally found Tallulah again, the Doctor yelled, “Where is she? Where’s Martha?”

“I don’t know, she ran off the stage,” Tallulah replied.

Then they heard a scream and the three of them took off running. “Martha!” the Doctor yelled, noticing that the sewer cover hadn’t been shut properly.

“Where are you going?” Tallulah asked as the Doctor and Rose began to climb down into the sewer.

“They’ve taken her,” the Doctor replied.

“Who’s taken her?” Tallulah asked. “What’re you doing?”

“Rose, you stay up here, with Tallulah,” the Doctor said as she started to climb down.

“No,” Rose replied. “If there are Daleks, I’m not letting you go alone. You’ll need me.”

“Rose, it might not be Daleks. No planet has just one life form,” the Doctor argued.

“Yeah?” Rose asked. “Well I’ve had this feeling all day that something was going to go terribly wrong, so I’d bet you ten quid it’s Daleks. That’s just the sort of luck we have.”

“It isn’t safe down there,” the Doctor said.

“Can you promise me it’s going to be safe up here?” Rose asked. When he didn’t answer, Rose took that as her sign that he
was giving in, and she started to crawl down after him. She was shortly followed by Tallulah.

“No, no, no, no, no way. You're not coming,” the Doctor said, shaking his head at her.

“Tell me what's going on,” she said.

The Doctor said, “There's nothing you can do. Go back.”

“Look, whoever's taken Martha, they could've taken Laszlo, couldn't they?”

“Tallulah, you’re not safe down here,” the Doctor argued.

“Well, like she said,” Tallulah pointed at Rose, “you can’t promise that I’m safe up there, so that’s my problem. Now, which
way?”

The Doctor sighed. “This way.”

After a few minutes of silence, Tallulah said, “When you say, they've taken her, who's they exactly? And who are you
anyway? I never asked.”

“Shhh,” the Doctor whispered.

“Okay, okay,” Tallulah replied.

“Shush, shush, shush, shush, shush, shush, shush,” The Doctor said.

Rose saw the shadow first and clamped a hand over Tallulah’s mouth before she could say another word. The three of them retreated into an alcove to wait for the Dalek to pass. Once it was gone, Rose released Tallulah’s mouth.

Neither one was sure who initiated the hug, but Rose was immediately in the Doctor’s arms. He held her tight as he whispered into her hair, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no. They survived. They always survive. How do they always survive?”

“I don’t know,” Rose whispered, hugging him back just as fiercely, unsure if it was to reassure him or herself.

“That metal thing?” Tallulah asked. “What was it?”

“It’s called a Dalek. And it’s not just metal. It’s alive,” the Doctor replied, letting go of Rose, albeit reluctantly.

“You’re kidding me,” Tallulah replied.

“Does it look like I'm kidding? Inside that shell is a creature born to hate, whose only thought is to destroy everything and everyone that isn't a Dalek too. It won't stop until it's killed every human being alive,” the Doctor snapped.

“But if it's not a human being, that kind of implies it's from outer space,” Tallulah said. When the Doctor just looked back at her without refuting that statement, she whispered, “Yet again, that's a no with the kidding. Boy. Well, what's it doing here, in New York?”

The Doctor looked between Rose and Tallulah. “Every second you’re down here, you’re in danger. I’m taking you back right now.”

“No,” Rose replied. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Before the Doctor could reply, he saw a pigman around the corner and turned on it. “Where's Martha? What have you done with her? What have you done with Martha?”

“I didn’t take her,” he replied.

“Can you remember your name?” The Doctor asked, walking closer to it.

“Don’t look at me,” the pigman said, hiding his face against the wall.

“Do you know where she is?” Tallulah asked.

The pigman got louder and held out a hand. “Stay back! Don’t look at me.”

“What happened to you?” the Doctor asked.

“They made me a monster,” he replied.

“Who did?” Rose asked.

“The masters,” the pigman spat.

“The Daleks. Why?” The Doctor asked.

“They needed slaves. They needed slaves to steal more people so they created us. Part animal, part human. I escaped before they got my mind, but it was still too late,” he said. Rose stepped forward and put a hand on his shoulder.

“I know you didn’t take her, but do you know what happened to Martha?” Rose asked.

“They took her. It's my fault. She was following me,” he replied.

“Were you in the theatre?” Tallulah asked.

“I never—” he started, before he let out a quiet, “yes.”

“Why? Why were you there?” Tallulah asked.

“I never wanted you to see me like this,” he replied.

“Why me? What do I got to do with this? Were you following me? Is that why you were there?” Tallulah asked, growing increasingly more desperate.

He finally turned around to face her with a simple, “Yes.”

“Who are you?” Tallulah asked, though Rose thought she might already know the answer to that.

“I was lonely.”

“Who are you?” Tallulah asked again.

“I needed to see you.”

“Who are you?”

“I’m sorry,” the pigman said, turning away.

“No, wait. Let me look at you,” she said, turning him back around. She stared at him for a few seconds before a small smile reached her face. “Lazlo? My Lazlo? Oh, what have they done to you?”

“I’m sorry. So sorry,” Lazlo whispered to her as she threw her arms around him.

After a few seconds, the Doctor interrupted. “Lazlo, can you show me where they are?”

“They’ll kill you,” Lazlo warned him

“If I don’t stop them, they’ll kill everyone,” the Doctor replied.

“Then follow me,” Lazlo said, leading them through the sewer without ever letting go of Tallulah’s hand.

Subconsciously, the Doctor’s hand also found Rose’s. He was trying not to hold her hand so much, because any physical contact made it harder and harder to keep to his rules. But with Daleks nearby, the Doctor needed to keep Rose close. Because he couldn’t lose her to them, not her, and not them.

It wasn’t long before they reached a group of people being herded around by the pigmen. Rose heard Martha and knew that at least they were in the right place. They watched the Daleks sort them by intelligence, with most of them being taken to become pig slaves while the rest were marked for ‘The Final Experiment.’

Lazlo tried to lead them away, but the Doctor and Rose insisted on staying. “Do you remember the way?” he asked Tallulah.

“Yeah, I think so,” she replied.

“Then go, please,” Lazlo replied.

She shook her head. “But Lazlo, you got to come with me.”

“Where would I go?” Lazlo asked. “Tallulah, I’m begging you. Save yourself. Just run. Just go. Go.”

The Doctor turned to look at Rose. He let out a long and shaky breath. “Rose…” She looked at him, daring him to tell her to leave, but in that moment, he couldn’t even ask her to. He was weak, and he needed her. He knew she would be in more danger with him, but he needed to be able to see her, make sure that she was okay. But the Carrionite’s warning still rang in his head. “Let’s go,” he finally said, falling into line behind Martha.

“Just keep walking,” he whispered in her ear.

“Oh, am I glad to see you,” Martha replied.

“Yeah, well, you can kiss me later. You too, Frank, if you want,” the Doctor replied, trying to keep his tone light as they
made their way to the transgenic laboratory.

When they got to the laboratory, the Daleks were talking about evolution and one of them was smoking and shaking in its
shell.

“What’s going on?” Rose hissed in the Doctor’s ear.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Martha, ask them what’s going on.”

“What, me? Don’t be daft,” Martha replied.

“They know me, and they know Rose. We’re practically Public Enemies Number 1 and 2 with the Daleks. We don’t exactly
want to get noticed. Just ask them what’s going on,” the Doctor replied.

Martha took a step forward, and she tried to be commanding as she said, “Daleks, I demand to be told. What is this Final
Experiment? Report!”

“You will bear witness,” the Dalek replied.

“To what?” Martha asked.

“This is the dawn of a new age,” the Dalek replied.

“What does that mean?” Martha asked.

“We are the only four Daleks in existence, so the species must evolve a life outside the shell. The Children of Skaro must walk again,” the Dalek said.

Suddenly, the Dalek that was shaking and smoking stilled, and its eyestalk went out. The casing opened, and a creature stepped out. It had a body like a human, but its head was clearly that of a Dalek.

“What is it?” Martha gasped.

“I am a human Dalek. I am your future.”