Chapter 21

"Follow me! I know the way from here." Jack told the Doctor after a good ten minutes of threading their way through a dizzying array of underground passages.

Leading them on, Jack took them down a narrow tunnel until the three of them came to what seemed to be a dead end. Facing the Doctor was a blank wall of smooth, slate gray rock. Raising his eyebrows he glared at Jack.

"I am loving your superb sense of direction there, Captain. It's a shame Torchwood didn't develop..say...I dunno'...a compass?"

"As it happens, I know exactlywhere we are, Doctor." Jack sniffed.

"So do I." The Doctor responded testily. "And I believe it's called a dead end."

"As a matter of fact it's—"

"Oy!" Clara admonished with a shake of her head, "You two! This isn't the school playground. Oh, never mind. Let's just get on with this, right?"

With that, Clara bent down and pressed her hand against a projecting piece of rock. Instantly, the wall glided silently open. Without another word, she stepped through.

"How did she know that was there?" An astonished Jack asked the Doctor.

"Erm—?" Looking askance at Clara, he appeared just as baffled.

"She is standing right here, you know." Clara sighed. "And I could see the crack in the rock where the door was. Which you would have also seen, Doctor, if you'd stop picking on Jack."

"I wasn't—!" The Doctor protested.

"You were." Jack said accusingly. Then without warning, he leaned over and kissed the Doctor on the cheek. With a mischievous grin he added, "But I forgive you."

"Did you have to do that here, Jack?" The Doctor whispered, making a face, "What if the Dalek's had seen? How scary do you think I'd be to them if they thought I went around kissing everyone? They'd have to change my nickname from The Oncoming Storm to The Oncoming Snogger."

"You're right, Doctor. Daleks are rubbish on a date. They always threaten to exterminate the waiter. Though that is one way to get better service."

"Where is this cy—what was it called again?" Clara asked.

"Cyclotron particle accelerator." Jack answered. "Big thing. Believe me, you can't miss it."

"Never heard of it. What's it do?"

"Helps to power the weapon the Daleks are planning to use on this planet. They want to turn earth into molten slag, then use the raw materials as energy for something big Davros was building." Turning to face the Doctor Jack said, "From what I could gather, it's something every bit as dangerous as his reality bomb. So you know what we need to do."

With an abruptly somber glance at Clara, the Doctor nodded and said softly, "Yeah. I know, Jack. And believe me, I wish I didn't."

Clara didn't say anything, but she wasn't sure she liked the tone of the Doctor's voice. Something was very wrong. But she knew by now that he might never tell her what it was—or only tell her when he felt he had no other choice. Clara decided if things were that serious, she would just play along for now.

Unlike the tunnels they'd been in most of the day, this time the three of them were in a long, almost clinically white hallway. At the end was a large steel door. Opening it carefully, the Doctor and the others found themselves inside a cavernous room. It was like being inside a factory or the boiler room of a passenger liner. Steam rose from a vast complex of pipes. The chamber was dark in places, but mainly it appeared to be lit by purple, red and yellow utility lights.

Taking up the centre of the room was an enormous round chamber, about twenty meters across and thirty meters high.

"And that's this cyclotron thing, I take it?" Clara pointed.

"Yes. Now let's go do this, Jack. We haven't much time."

As she made to follow them, the Doctor faced her and put his hand out.

"No. Not you, Clara" He said gently, but firmly. "I need you to stay here. Keep an eye out for Daleks."

"And I can't do that just as well from over there with you, can I?" She asked suspiciously, arching an eyebrow at him.

"Look, Clara. I..." He stared at her, as she stood there with her hands on her hips. Clara's expression told the Doctor that he was probably wasting his breath. Giving an exasperated sigh he relented, "OK. Alright. I give up! You can stop making that face at me, now. Come on, then. I suppose you can watch just as well from over there."

Stalking over to the chamber, where Jack was already waiting for him, the Doctor suddenly looked suspicious.

"You notice anything, Jack?"

"Meaning that there's no Daleks around? Yeah. Now that you mention it, I kinda' did notice that, Doctor."

"You think it's a trap?" A suddenly worried Clara asked.

"Could be. It doesn't make sense that they'd leave an important piece of machinery like this unguarded." Jack told her.

"Maybe they don't have to." The Doctor told them. "Have a look at this."

Both Jack and Clara leaned forward to peer over the Doctor's shoulder. There was a box attached to the side of the cyclotron. On it was something resembling a key pad.'

"There must be a code of some kind. Can't you figure it out?" Clara asked.

They saw that the keypad was laid out like a grid, with no numbers or letters, only red and black coloured squares.

The Doctor was bent down studying it intently. "Working on it, Clara. It's a sequence of some sort. I just have to find out the pattern. Jack, watch my back, will you? I rather not have any interruptions. You know what bad manners Daleks have. And both of you be quiet just this once. I need to concentrate."

"Sure thing, Doctor." Jack responded, un-slinging his anti-Dalek rifle. He faced the way they came in, his eyes alert, scanning for any signs of movement.

"Always got to get in the last word." The Doctor muttered as he took a deep breath. "Right. Let's do this, Doctor ol' son."

Clara watched in silence as the Doctor's fingers deftly tapped a sequence into the red and black keys of the keypad. To her, they seemed entirely random. But as the Doctor's right index finger tapped one final key, there was an audible click from the access panel.

"There we are! Easy as falling off a log. And I have done, just ask Paul Bunyan. Oh, I'm so very good!" A jubilant Doctor punched the air. Then noticed that no one else was doing it. "I suppose neither of you want to high five me, either." He grumbled. "Mood killers."

"Don't you think that was too easy, though?" Clara suggested.

Just as she said that, a red light began flashing over the keypad. It read, "DEVICE ARMED."

Back                         Home                              Doctor Who Main Page                          Next

Your Name or Alias:      Your E-mail (optional):

Please type your review below. Only positive reviews will be posted! Constructive criticism will e-mailed to the author.