Chapter Seventeen

After Rose was freed from the webbing, the Doctor led them over to the console. He studied it for a moment before telling his companions how to turn it on. Rose stood in front of a computer keyboard that was beside the monitor and the Doctor told her what to type in while Jackie stood on his free side and watched. He had Rose do a scan of the area and map out their position on a 3D representation of the planet. The map came up and there was a blinking red dot in the middle of a vast desert like area.

"That dot is us?" Jackie said to the Doctor.

Yes, the Doctor thought as he nodded. Good job I was here before because I know the planet fairly well. If you notice, we're far into the Salt Plains, very far. That green area near the edge of the map is where the military compound is located.

"But that's miles and miles from where we're at," Rose said in alarm. "He really did drop us off in the middle of nowhere. But…the Anthrosis…they're this far out then? We were really this far from the compound all along?"

Yes and no, we were far out but perhaps halfway between our present position and the compound.

"That's still far though," Jackie said. "Those lizard creatures live this far out?"

No, they were pushed this far out by the Arcadians. The Arcadians didn't want them anywhere near their towns and cities, the Doctor thought.

"So without the TARDIS, we're basically screwed," Rose said.

Pretty much, yeah, the Doctor thought as he nodded. There's nothing between us and the compound except barren soil, sparse vegetation and things that can kill you. We'd be dead before we got there if we started walking now.

"What about traveling underground?" Jackie said. "Using these tunnels?"

They're not connected to the other settlement, the Doctor thought. There's more than one settlement out here. The Anthrosis breed fast and they spread out to avoid overpopulation. Even if we managed to walk to the end of these tunnels, it still wouldn't connect to the next settlement and the next settlement could still be miles away which means an aboveground walk. Not to mention, I don't know what the entire settlement is like. The spider never explored all of it. For all I know, there are more spider nests in other areas.

"So we could still run into more spiders?" Rose said.

Perhaps but the spiders are very territorial. They don't come together except to mate and if they know a spider is here, they try to stay far away. That doesn't mean a spider looking for shelter won't run into us but hopefully, that won't happen.

"What about the TARDIS then? Where is it?" Jackie said.

The Doctor asked Rose to run an artron energy scan on Arcadia. He directed her on how to do it. When she was finished, there were two black blinking dots where the red dot had been.

So that is you and Jackie, the Doctor thought. I don't register because the radiation only affects the physical body and the spider's never been inside the TARDIS before.

"Radiation?" Jackie said alarmed. "There's radiation on me now?"

The Doctor explained about artron radiation and that it was harmless and Jackie relaxed. When he finished his explanation, he asked Rose to bring up the other side of the planet. Rose pushed a few buttons and the map view switched to the other side of the planet.

Okay, this is problematic, the Doctor thought to them.

"Why?" Jackie said.

No more dots which means the scan is picking up only you and Rose. Jack and Ianto have been inside the TARDIS too but they're not registering.

"Oh God, they're not on the planet anymore," Rose said.

Yes. I have a feeling…

"Callisto took them," Jackie finished the Doctor's thought.

He put us here and must have transmatted them back to his ship, the Doctor thought. Rose, run a scan of the area around Arcadia. Let's search for the TARDIS and Callisto's ship.

He directed Rose and after a few minutes, the view on the monitor changed to outer space and the view around Arcadia.

The dots would be white now since space is black, the Doctor thought. But I don't see any sign of them. Okay, Rose, widen out. Do about a…five light year scan.

He directed her and the view widened out so Arcadia was now a faint white dot among many planets and stars. They looked but saw no blinking white dots. The Doctor directed Rose to widen the parameters to ten light years and Arcadia was nothing now except a tiny white dot among the other stars and planets. But there were still no blinking dots and the Doctor cursed.

"He didn't use the TARDIS to go back in time, I hope," Rose said.

I don't think so. The TARDIS now knows I'm no longer in my body and I gave her commands not to listen to anyone resembling me until further notice. Callisto might get Jack to let him in and he might pretend to be me but the TARDIS won't be fooled by it, especially if she runs a scan of his mind.

"But he's far enough away that the TARDIS isn't around to translate," Rose said.

The Doctor nodded. He asked Rose to keep going and they kept checking until they got to one hundred million light years and then he stopped her.

It's further than one hundred million, so we can assume he's quite a long distance away now, the Doctor thought. And still no sign of Jack or Ianto, so we have to assume that they and possibly Tiana and Pagos are his prisoners now.

"Is there a way to bring them back here?" Jackie said.

The Doctor turned away for a moment and began to pace back and forth while he thought that over. Rose shook her head.

"What if he took Jack and Ianto to somewhere else far away and he wants to continue the game there?" Rose said to her mother.

"Then I suppose he'd send for us eventually, Rose," Jackie said, turning and leaning back against the monitor.

"Which means we'd have to wait for that to happen," Rose said grimly.

Rose glanced at the Doctor and noticed he was now still and staring intently at Jackie's leg. Then he walked over to her and continued to stare.

"What? What is it?" Jackie said.

A lot of mind control devices have homing beacons attached to them, the Doctor thought to them. Because a lot of people use mind slaves as assassins and they need to be able to track their movements. If I can find something that could trigger the homing beacon, Callisto would see it on the monitor on his ship. It might be a way to lure him back here.

The Doctor asked them to get on his back again and when they were sitting on his back, he walked back to the lab. When they got there, Rose and Jackie slid off and walked with him back to the cabinets.

I don't have my sonic but maybe there's something similar that would trigger the homing beacon, the Doctor thought as the women opened the drawers for him. Hullo…

Rose had opened a drawer on the far right and the Doctor held out a leg to stop her.

There, that long thin penlike thing near the back, he thought to her. I think that's a sonic probe. It might do the trick.

Rose pulled it out and held it out to him.

Yes, it is, the Doctor nodded. Rose, aim it at Jackie's leg and turn it on, let's see what happens.

Rose knelt down and held the tip of the probe close to Jackie's leg while her mother watched her. She turned it on and heard a faint humming coming from the probe. Then they heard a higher pitched beeping and she turned off the probe.

That's it, the Doctor said excitedly. That's the homing beacon beeping.

"So he'll see it now," Jackie said.

Yes, it should send a signal to his ship. Mind you, it might take several minutes if he's more than one hundred million light years away but it'll get there eventually.

"So we just wait then and see what happens?" Rose said.

Yes, but in the meantime, let's see if we can find something that will get this bodysuit off your mother.

"Yes, by all means, look for something," Jackie said.

Rose laid the probe on the counter and she and Jackie resumed their search for something to loosen the bodysuit while the Doctor silently watched.

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