Chapter Sixteen

The Doctor walked down the corridor, using the spider's memories of his lair to navigate. He had known that the cocooned bodies were Anthrosis, he had seen the attack in the spider's memories. But he had enjoyed watching Jackie actually participate and help out and he allowed her and Rose to discover on their own the victim's identities. He had gained a newfound respect for Jackie the moment she stopped whining and became proactive about their situation. He was pleased that both of them were able to decipher his movements and intuit what he wanted. But he also knew there was a war room here as well as an abandoned lab. He was hoping the lab might have some sort of translator that he could use to communicate with his companions and he wanted to use the computer in the war room to try to find Jack and his friends. He had been taken by surprise by the holodisc and the message the TARDIS left for Rose. He hadn't known about it but he was glad she did that since it brought some comfort and hope to the woman he loved. And now Jackie seemed to relax around him so he was hoping that mean the situation would improve now.

The lab was nearest to their position. When he found the doorway, he entered and looked around. He felt Rose and Jackie slide off his back and he walked off to the left, exploring while he let Rose and Jackie inspect the right side. He listened to Jackie and Rose talking about the lab while he tried to open the cabinets. He shook his head when his spider legs proved useless with the handles on the drawers. Then he glanced over when Rose came up beside him.

"You want to see inside the drawers?" she said as Jackie came up beside her.

The Doctor nodded. He waited for Rose to open one but Rose was thinking about something.

"You came in here for something, yeah?" Rose said. "I mean, you ignored all these other rooms and headed straight for here. You're looking for something specific?"

The Doctor nodded, pleased she was reading his mind.

"If I put my hands on your head, could you just communicate without entering my mind?" Rose said.

The Doctor nodded enthusiastically, happy she was clever enough to figure that out. Rose put her hands on the sides of his head.

I'm so happy you figured this out, Rose, he thought to her. Makes it easier. Yes, I was hoping there was a translator disc that I could use to communicate while I'm in here. I think you're right; this spider body could be to our advantage at the moment. The disc sorta looks like the hologram disc, except smaller and it would fit on the side of my head or on my forehead and I can think and it will translate my thoughts to you. I was hoping it was in one of these drawers but as you can see, I have a teeny bit of trouble opening them. Would you be a lamb, my hearts…"

"The Doctor is looking for a translator disc that he can use to communicate with us," Rose said to her mother as she took her hands away from his head. "He thought it might be in one of these drawers but he can't open them with his spider legs."

Jackie nodded and the Doctor stood back far enough to let them work but not so far that he couldn't see into the drawers. Rose and Jackie opened two drawers side by side and stood back to let him see in, rummaging and moving things around so he could see everything in the drawers. They checked five drawers before the Doctor finally found what they were looking for. He nodded his head rapidly when Rose put her finger on the disc and she pulled it out of the drawer. Rose examined it. It had a black button on the top.

"Push it?" she said, showing it to the Doctor.

She put her fingers against the sides of the spider's head.

Put the disc against my head and push the button, that will affix the disc to my head, he thought to her.

Rose nodded. Her mother watched while she put the disc on the right side of his head, held it there and pushed the button.

Can you hear me, the Doctor thought to them.

"Yes," Rose said while Jackie nodded.

Good, that's what I needed in here, he thought to them. Now get on my back and I'll take you to the war room.

He lay down and Rose and Jackie got on his back. He stood up and walked out of the room.

"So what's it like, being a spider?" Rose asked as he walked down the corridor.

Weird, the spider's memories mostly consist of killing and eating different prey, not very interesting, he thought to them. But the layout of these tunnels is useful and that's what I'm doing now. Using its memories to guide myself through this labyrinth.

"What's in the war room?" Jackie asked.

I'm hoping I can use it to pinpoint our location and find Jack and the others. You'll have to help me, of course, but at least you can hear me and I can direct you without Rose having to put her fingers on my head and translate my thoughts.

The war room was further down the passageway. When they entered, they saw more cocooned bodies along the back wall. The Doctor walked over and examined them while Rose and Jackie slid off his body. The room had been dug out and made square and there was a large monitor on a stand to the left along with several consoles. To the right was a large wooden table with wooden chairs around it. On top of the table was some paperwork and Jackie walked over and examined it while Rose looked at the buttons and switches on the console.

"How do…"

Rose turned to ask the Doctor how to start it and noticed he was still staring at the bodies, lost in thought. Rose walked over to his side and looked at them.

"Horrible way to die," Rose said as she rubbed the side of his head.

Yes. But that's not why I was looking at them.

"Why are you looking at them?" Rose said.

Trying out a scenario in my mind, a little plan that we could use to trap Callisto.

"Yeah?" Rose said.

You trust me, don't you?

"Yes," Rose said.

Because I was thinking perhaps I could wrap you up and make it look like you were cocooned like these people were and perhaps that would fool Callisto into thinking you were dead. But I need to try out my webbing skills. I was wondering if you would allow me to wrap your body and we can use the knife to cut you free when I'm finished. Is that alright?

Rose nodded.

I won't hurt you; the cocooning doesn't hurt, so there's nothing to worry about except maybe a bit of dizziness from my spinning you around during the wrapping, he thought while Jackie walked over. Jackie, could you take her rucksack and you can cut her free when I'm finished.

Jackie took the rucksack off her back and the Doctor instructed Rose to lay down in front of him and relax with her arms and legs straight. Jackie watched while Rose did as asked and waited. Rose heard the Doctor muttering to himself about what steps to take before he approached her. Rose lay still and let the Doctor pick her up with his two front legs, holding her under his jaws. He paused for a moment in thought and then slowly began to spin her, using his legs to rotate her while a thick stream of webbing came out of his mouth.

"Wow, this is weird, now I know how a fly feels," Rose said to her mother while the Doctor wrapped up the lower part of her body.

He left the head unwrapped and when he was done, he gently lowered her to the floor, letting her rest on her back.

"How do you feel?" Jackie said, bending down to her daughter.

"Tight. I'm betting this is what I would feel like if I were a mummy," Rose said.

"So what will you do with this then?" Jackie said to the Doctor.

I was thinking if I could find a way to track him I could cocoon you both and have it look like you fell victim to the spiders. If Callisto finds you, he'd assume I was inside one of you and probably dead. But I'm guessing he might return anyway to check or bring us on board again.

"And you're hoping if it looks like we're dead, he'll let his guard down," Jackie said.

That's part of it; I'm still working out all the details.

"But what about our breathing? What if he cuts open the cocoon and checks? We can't hold our breath forever," Rose said.

Well, that's another part of my plan, I can put you both in a state of suspended animation and lower your heart rate and body temperatures to the point that it looks like you're dead when in reality you'll be in a trancelike state.

"It might work, Mum," Rose said to Jackie. "It's worth a try."

"S'pose. There aren't many options at the moment," Jackie said. "Not here in the middle of nowhere. But you'll have to look after us if we're in a trance."

I know and I will, the Doctor thought to them. I'm hoping I could overpower Callisto, wrap him up and transfer my mind back into my body. Maybe even put him in the spider and subdue him that way.

"It'll be risky," Jackie said.

"Yeah, but…we like risky," Rose teased.

"I can see that," Jackie said dryly. "Honestly, I never thought you were an adrenaline junkie, Rose."

"Um…wasn't but…I met him," Rose said, nodding her head at the Doctor.

"Can I cut my daughter out of this webbing now?" Jackie said to the Doctor.

The Doctor nodded and Rose relaxed while Jackie carefully freed her from the webbing.

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