Chapter Six

Rose managed to make it back into the TARDIS without anything happening but after what happened between her and her mother, she was upset and sobbing and needed to go to her room for a moment to calm down. She left the task of bringing in the android to Jack and Ianto while she tried to get herself back under control.

Rose, listen to me, the Doctor thought to her while she went into her bedroom. Rose, she's alive, do you hear me?

"I hear you, Doctor," Rose said in a weepy voice.

And did you also notice that she was trying to break her conditioning, the Doctor continued as Rose went into the en suite bathroom and turned on the sink. If that's true, there's hope. She can still be saved. And…she started to fight the moment you were near so it's your love for her and her love for you that will help to save her. Just calm down, Rose, please. All is not lost.

Rose splashed some water on her face and reached for a white hand towel hanging on a brass ring on the wall beside the sink.

"We should have grabbed her," Rose said as she wiped her face and stared at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. "She was right there."

And probably had something on her to prevent us taking her, the Doctor thought to her. Callisto wouldn't just let her walk up there alone without taking measures to keep her from falling into our hands. For all we know, she could have been wired with explosives. There are some that are small enough and flat enough to fit under that ugly outfit of hers. We did the right thing.

"I want that bastard dead," Rose said, throwing the towel on the counter. "I want him to die and I want to do it!"

No, you're not killing anyone. I won't have you become a murderer because you're upset and not thinking clearly at the moment. He will be dealt with but you're not ramming your fist through his chest and ripping his heart out to satisfy your thirst for revenge. If you think that way, I'll take over and keep you in the background. Just calm yourself. We need rationality at the moment, not irrational thoughts of vengeance.

Rose nodded but the desire to kill him still burned within her. She looked over when Jack came to the doorframe and knocked on it.

"Hey," he said as Ianto came up behind him. "You okay?"

"Just upset over seeing Mum enslaved but I'll be fine," Rose said.

"We'll get her back, Rose," Jack said.

Rose nodded and Jack took her hand and squeezed it.

"Doctor," Jack said. "We got the android inside and put it in the lab. What do you want to do with it?"

Rose listened for a moment.

"He wants it repaired but it'll take time and it'll take time for the TARDIS to make another one as well and we don't have that sort of time," she said.

"So we're headed to this Salt Plains then?" Ianto said.

Rose didn't answer.

"Is he thinking?" Jack said after thirty seconds of silence.

"Sorry, switched places with Rose again, it's quicker than her dictating what I think to her," the Doctor said with Rose's voice. "Yes, we're headed to the Salt Plains."

"And is that still on Arcadia?" Jack said.

"Yes. It's a large barren desert basically. The ground has a high salt content and nothing can grow there."

"Because of the Daleks?" Ianto said.

"No, it's been that way for millennia, Daleks had nothing to do with it. However, there is a species of lizard that lives far below the salt plain and they need the salt to survive. They live in large burrows but they come to the surface to sun themselves and hunt animals."

"If nothing can live there, what do the animals live on?" Jack asked.

"Each other, they're all carnivores."

"Great, now I see why Callisto wants us to go there," Jack said, rolling his eyes.

"But," the Doctor said, holding up Rose's hands to them. "Here's the thing. The lizards are intelligent and we were able to convince a few to fight with us during the Time War since the Daleks were threatening the entire planet."

"So…you're going to try to get a few to become allies?" Ianto said.

"Unless Callisto's already tried that," the Doctor said.

"Gee, why do I think he has?" Jack said.

"Perhaps not," the Doctor said. "The race is known as Anthrosis and they weren't overly fond of the Arcadians because the Arcadians drove them underground when they first started to colonize the planet."

"So if they hate the Arcadians, how did you get these Anthrosis to fight alongside them?" Jack said.

"I told you, they were being threatened as well. It was self preservation they had in mind when they joined up. They called an uneasy truce with the Arcadians but fights still broke out between the races."

"That you had to put down in addition to fighting the Daleks?" Ianto said.

"Pretty much, yeah," the Doctor said, nodding.

"So…we go find a few of them and try to talk them over to our side?" Jack said.

"Well, first we need to find out what Callisto is planning. He wants us there for a reason and there's more perilous things in the Salt Plains than the Anthrosis. There are huge sand spiders that also live underground and snatch things from the surface. There are sightless moles that live underground as well."

"Gee, sounds pretty crowded," Jack said.

"The Salt Plains are about five hundred miles in every direction, there's room to spread out," the Doctor said. "There are also large flightless birds that roam the plains like camels and eat whatever they can find."

"And none of these things need water?" Jack said.

"They get the water from the things they eat," the Doctor said.

"Great, sounds lovely," Jack said. "So…I suppose the next question is what about you? Where will you stay? Inside Rose?"

"Rose is telling me to stay here because that way I won't be disabled by a plasma grenade again," the Doctor said. "The only problem is we'll have to share this body."

"What are you griping about? I thought you wanted to get inside Rose for years," Jack said.

The Doctor shot him a withering look while Rose laughed inside her mind.

"Anyway, I have to stay in control for the moment since someone here needs to fly the TARDIS," the Doctor said as he turned off the bathroom light and walked out.

"So we can use the TARDIS as well," Ianto said.

"Perhaps but I'm sure Callisto will have a way to lure us away from it so we can't escape so easily," the Doctor said as he and Jack followed the Doctor back to the console room. "Callisto has probably spent a great deal of time planning this all out, that's why it took so long for him to contact us. For all we know, he managed to make an alliance with the Anthrosis already and they're laying in wait for us."

"Like I said, this will be a laugh riot," Jack said.

"Yup, we're having all the fun of the fair, aren't we?" the Doctor said, looking back at them. "See, you could have been blowing up junked Chula warships and getting paid instead of following me into the belly of the beast, risking life and limb and fighting evil everywhere!"

"Don't remind me," Jack said as they walked into the console room.

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