ARCADIA

Chapter Fourteen

Jackie was completely shocked as she watched this huge spider following Rose like a tame little dog.

"He's controlling the spider, Mum, see?" Rose said, turning and putting her hand on top of the spider's head.

Jackie made a face at the thought of her daughter stroking the spider's head like it really was a dog. But the spider stood beside Rose, passive and quiet and Jackie breathed a sigh of relief that the Doctor had been able to take control and stop the attack. She came down the hill when Rose beckoned to her. She took one look at the mandibles and the fangs that jutted from them and made another face.

"Doctor, are you alright?" Jackie said.

The spider bobbed up and down and Jackie figured that was a nod from the Doctor. She shook her head at the surreal scene before her.

"So what happens now?" Jackie said. "You can't go back into one of us without dispatching the spider, yeah? Or it'll attack us again."

The Doctor didn't say anything and Jackie realized that this was the first time he went into something that wasn't able to communicate. But she watched while he turned to Rose and stared at her as he folded his legs under his body and went down to the ground. Rose frowned for a moment before realizing his intent and she climbed on the spider's back. The spider looked at Jackie.

"You want me to ride you?" Jackie said to the spider.

The spider did another little bob of its body.

"Come on, Mum, he won't hurt us," Rose said, beckoning to her.

Jackie made a face but she walked over to the spider's body and Rose helped her as Jackie got on behind her. When they were on his back, the Doctor stood up, turned and walked off while Rose and Jackie rode him.

"So now what?" Jackie said while the Doctor carried them somewhere.

"I think we can use this spider to attack Callisto," Rose said, looking over her shoulder. "Surely, Callisto wouldn't be a match for a bloody great spider."

"Unless he goes into one of his own," Jackie said.

"If he does, he'd be giving up the Doctor's body," Rose said. "I doubt he'd do that."

"He might if he was somewhere where there were many spiders. He goes into a spider and let the others kill the Doctor's body," Jackie pointed out.

"And then he'd be stuck inside a spider," Rose countered. "As vain as Callisto is, you really think he'd wanna be trapped forever inside a spider, Mum?"

Jackie nodded in agreement.

"The Doctor can use this spider to attack him," Rose said, rubbing the spider's head. "Right, Doctor?"

The Doctor clumsily bobbed his head up and down.

"But how are we gonna communicate with him now?" Jackie said to Rose. "He can't talk now."

Rose thought about that.

"Doctor, could the TARDIS translate for ya?" she asked.

The Doctor nodded.

"But it's too far away right now?" Rose guessed.

The Doctor nodded and Rose looked at her mother.

"When it gets out of range, the telepathic circuits can't help," Rose said to Jackie.

"How far does it have to be to get out of range then?" Jackie said.

"Dunno," Rose said, shaking her head. "Pretty far, Doctor?"

The Doctor nodded.

"So where is Callisto then?" Jackie said. "He beamed us back here and leave us to die?"

"Must have done, I mean, this was out here, yeah?" Rose said, putting her hand on the spider's head.

"So he has the TARDIS now and can do what he likes with time and space?" Jackie said grimly.

"Yeah butů"

Rose trailed off in thought.

"You're thinking he'll still come back to make sure the Doctor's finished off," Jackie guessed.

"The Doctor is still a threat," Rose said. "He wouldn't leave him here without checking, right? And he has some of the Doctor's memories so he'd probably know about Jack being a time agent. Jack could find a way to find him and get the Doctor's body back. I'm thinking he'd want to make sure everyone was eliminated so he had the Doctor's body and the TARDIS free and clear. He could have killed everyone straight away but he keeps mucking about and letting everyone go and capturing them again and letting them go. The Doctor keeps saying he's playing a game with us. This might be part of the game."

"Maybe he was even counting on the Doctor going inside me and freeing me?" Jackie said.

"Yeah, I mean, I think all of this is planned. I don't know about this though," Rose said, patting the spider's head. "Surely he didn't think the Doctor would put his mind inside a spider."

"I wouldn't underestimate him, sweetie. Like you said, he's playing a game," Jackie said grimly.

The Doctor stopped moving and Rose and Jackie tilted slightly to the right to see why he wasn't moving. They saw an enormous hole in front of them, large enough for the Doctor to go down into the ground easily. The Doctor shifted his body so he was standing to the side of it. Rose slid off and came up beside the Doctor, putting her hand on the spider's head while she looked down into it with him. She frowned. She could see a faint glimmer of light deep inside the hole.

"Is this the spider's lair?" she asked the Doctor.

The Doctor nodded.

"Is it safe to go down?" Rose asked.

The Doctor thought for a moment and then nodded.

"Rose, be careful," Jackie said, sitting on the spider's back and watching as Rose sat down with her legs dangling into the hole.

Rose glanced at the Doctor. The Doctor was observing her but he wasn't making any signal for her to get back. She used her legs and felt around and finally felt a dirt ramp under her feet. She slowly slid down and stood up. She glanced at the Doctor. The Doctor was watching her quietly and Rose trusted him to protect her as she crouched down and tried to look down into the hole. Jackie slid off and walked around so she could see Rose.

"There's light down here," Rose said, glancing up at her mother. "Spiders make their own light?"

Jackie looked at the Doctor when he moved his body from side to side.

"I think the Doctor says no to that," Jackie said while the Doctor nodded in affirmation.

Jackie had a thought.

"Those lizard things, is this one of their tunnels then?" Jackie said to the Doctor.

Rose looked up at the Doctor and the Doctor nodded.

"Abandoned?" Rose said.

The Doctor nodded.

"The tunnels had these glow ball things on the walls," Rose said to her mother. "They lit up the tunnels. Do they last forever then?"

The Doctor shook his body back and forth.

"They last for many years?" Jackie offered.

The Doctor nodded.

"So the Anthrosis might have been killed off or moved away and the spider took over," Rose said to her mother.

She stood back up and slowly made her way down the dirt ramp. Jackie walked to the front of the hole, tested the hole with her right foot, found the ramp and followed Rose down. The Doctor moved over behind Jackie and followed them. Rose slowly went down the ramp, carefully putting her feet on the incline so she wouldn't fall. The air was musty and she wrinkled her nose. They walked down about fifty feet and Rose could see the glo balls on the walls. She looked around when the ground became level and moved up so her mother and the Doctor could come up behind her. Jackie walked up beside Rose and the Doctor came up on Rose's other side. Rose put her hand on the side of the Doctor's head and rubbed it while they looked at the long, empty corridor.

"Lighting makes the whole thing look creepy," Jackie said.

"Yeah but at least there is light and we don't have to walk in the dark," Rose said.

The Doctor walked in front of them. He turned to the side and caught their eyes and then turned back to the front and walked on.

"He wants us to follow him," Rose said to her mother.

"That figures," Jackie said.

She took her daughter's hand and gave it a squeeze before the two of them followed the Doctor down the long, empty corridor.

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