Chapter Seven

All of them crowded into the tiny room. It had once been someone's office but Thomas or someone else had knocked a crude hole in the left wall making another room for him. The room was cluttered with old and second hand furniture taking up most of the space. But it was a lot cleaner than Sam's house and unlike him; Thomas only had one old PC sitting on a computer desk by the door. It was turned on and had an old Microsoft pipe screensaver running.

"Make yourself comfortable," he said to them. "I'm gonna have a beer. I would offer you some but I'm running low. But I do have chilled water."

Everyone politely declined and he walked through the hole. While he was gone, Edison set his camera on the floor, took off his trench coat and draped it on top so it was covering the red light. The others pressed up against the walls so Theora had a clear shot of the room. Awinita was up against the computer desk with her hands in her pockets.

"Find anything y-y-yet?"

She jerked her head around and saw Max was on the screen smiling at her.

"No," she whispered.

Everyone looked in her direction and Edison groaned.

"Max, get off the screen before he sees you," he muttered under his breath.

Max shrugged and left. Edison rolled his eyes and muttered under his breath about how one day Max was gonna get him killed. Just then, Thomas came back through the "door" opening his beer. He settled down into a chair and gestured to the other furniture.

"You can have a seat, my couch and chairs won't bite ya," he said.

Edison walked to the couch nearest him. The Doctor glanced at Rain and gestured to it.

"No thanks, I'm fine, Love," she said.

Alan glanced at Rose who shook her head. Mingxia glanced at Jenny and both of them sat when no one else moved.

"So, Eron says you want to talk to me about the cult?" he said to Edison after taking a sip of beer.

"Yes, we're trying to find it so we can stop it," Edison said.

Thomas glanced around at everyone. His eyes settled on Awinita for a moment and he gave her a wink before he turned his attention back to Edison.

Well, well, Alan thought to everyone, purply doo apparently fancies Awinita.

I'm sure he does that with everyone, Awinita thought back.

Well gee, Te'lesu, there are five other women in this room and he didn't wink at them, Alan said, flashing her an amused grin.

He's not my type. I don't go for punkers, Awinita thought.

They listened while Edison talked to Thomas. So far he hadn't said much, being hesitant to talk about his experiences. Edison tried to get him to tell him the location of the cult but he claimed not to know saying he had been knocked out and taken there and when he left it was a moonless night, which he added was what allowed him to slip away unnoticed.

"But how did you get back?" Edison said.

"I managed to find a phone and bummed a few credits off a man and I called Eron to come and get me."

"And did you tell Eron where you were at?" Edison said.

"No, I don't know where I was at."

"The direction you came from, any landmarks you ran past. Surely there were some. It couldn't have all been barren land with no buildings and trees around."

"Look, Carter, I'm sorry but I was in a panic when I left there. I wanted to get the hell away from that place as fast as I could. That was my first priority, not memorizing every single building and tree stump along the way."

"What direction did you come from?"


"Okay, I'll drive you north then and maybe you'll be able to recognize something that was around the cult…"

"No, no way!"

Edison was taken aback.

"What? Why?"

"I agreed to talk, Edison, not get driven back out there where I could possibly get caught again."

"Fine, I have a couple of friends in the police department who could accompany us and…"

"No, I said. I'm not risking it. I'm pretty sure they're watching me now and I'm not about to risk going back there."

The Doctor couldn't keep quiet any longer.

"And yet you can sit by and let innocent people suffer," he said angrily.

"I'm sorry, I feel for them I really do but if it's gotta come down to me or them; I'm choosin' me, alright?"

The others felt the Doctor's rage flair up in their minds and Rain put her hand on his back to try to calm him down before he started screaming at him. The Doctor took a deep breath and composed himself while the man glared at him.

"And…" the Doctor said in a cold tone of voice, "if others die or become mindless because you failed to act, are you willing to live with yourself then?"

"Look, I don't know who you are, buddy, but I invited you here when I didn't have to do it and I don't appreciate you talking to me like that. Judging from your clothes, you live in the city which means you don't know what it's like living here in the fringes, doing whatever you can to survive day to day. I'm sorry those people are in there but I have a right to think about myself and if I'm the one who was clever enough to get out when they couldn't, well, that's a shame but that's the way life is. You know what; I think I'm done now. Get out!"

Damn it, the Doctor thought, me and my big gob. I need to learn to keep my mouth shut.

No, Doctor, Rose thought. You were right to be angry. Besides he wasn't gonna tell us anything anyway. It was a huge waste of time coming here.

They thanked him for his time and Edison picked up his camera and coat. Guilt pricked at the Doctor's mind while they walked out. He knew he sometimes had a problem with running his mouth before his brain was fully in gear, but Rose was right, he could see they were gonna get nowhere with the man who was obviously more interested in self preservation than in helping others, still there was that "what if?" game that he began to play with himself. Rain glanced up at her husband, saw the guilt and took his hand while she threw up a privacy block.

Thete, love, don't do this, she implored. Don't start beating yourself up over what you said.

Latara, I ran my mouth when I shouldn't have. I should have kept it shut.

If you hadn't done it, others would have. I saw Jack. He was about to say something too before you beat him to it. I was thinking exactly what you said and I'm sure everyone else was too.

Edison came outside, closed the door behind him and beckoned for them to follow him.

We weren't gonna learn anything from him, Rain thought to him. So it really didn't matter if you spoke up or not because I think he was about ready to boot us out anyway.

I just hope I didn't ruin our chances of finding the other cult members. I'm sorry, love, I know I shouldn't feel guilty but lives are on the line and I want them found before more people end up having their memories stripped away.

Rain smiled and squeezed his hand.

We will find them, I have faith in that, she thought to him.

The Doctor smiled and kissed the top of her head.

They opened the door to the stairwell and went down.

"Well, that was a humongous time waster," Edison said, briefly setting his camera down so he could put on his trench coat.

"Edison, I'm sorry for what I said," the Doctor said. "I shouldn't have said anything."

"Don't be sorry, I was gonna say much the same thing, Doctor," he said to him. "Guy was a complete prick. Like I said, it was a time waster being there even if you hadn't spoken up. Don't worry about it."

While he picked up his camera and moved on, the Doctor glanced at Rain and saw her raised eyebrow.

I know, I know, once again, you're right and I need to listen to you more, he thought while she smiled and squeezed his hand.

He waited till they got away from the building before he spoke to Theora.

"Control, you get that pointless little interview?" he said to her.

"Yup, sorry Edison, I guess we'll have to try something else," she said.

He glanced at a TV screen and held up his hand. They stopped.

"Theora, Donna suggested sending Max out to try to find the cult. It's a long shot but I'm not sure what else we can do right now," he said to her.

"Well, it'll get him out of our hair for the moment," Theora said.

He grinned.

"My thoughts exactly."

He set his camera down and walked over to it.

"Max?" he yelled. "Come back, buddy, I need ya to go on that reconnaissance mission Donna was asking you to do."

The screen flashed and they saw a photo still of a library.

"Max! Get your ass over here, now!" Edison said annoyed.

"I'm in my b-b-barcalounger reading S-Shakespeare's sonnets right now. I'm comfy!" they heard him yell off-screen.

"If you don't get your computer generated butt in front of the screen right now I'm gonna go tell Bryce to release a really nasty virus into the system."

Max slid into the picture. He had on a pair of reading glasses and was giving Edison an annoyed look.

"You know, there are some of us who do enjoy r-r-reading a good novel novel," he said in a posh accent. "But you wouldn't know that, would you, Mister B-B-Barely Legal B-B-Brunettes?"

Everyone fought to keep from laughing when Edison turned a deep crimson.

"Max," he said through gritted teeth. "Get going and try to find that cult before I find a way to reach through the screen and strangle you!"

He sighed when the screen went black.

"Urgh! One of these days I'm gonna get back at Bryce for creating him from me," he said, grabbing his camera.

Hmm, the Doctor thought to Rain. Dare I make an I know how you feel comment?

Rain giggled and glanced at Alan who was eyeing him.

I am not as bad as Max, Brother, Alan thought to him.

Rain couldn't hold it in anymore and bent over laughing when the Doctor looked at him with eyes so wide they nearly popped from his skull. Edison noticed the look and everyone laughing.

"What? What is it?" he asked them.

The Doctor explained what they had just said. Edison gave Alan an amused grin and clapped him on the shoulder.

"I don't think you're as bad as Max. I don't think anyone is. Besides I'd rather have a flesh and blood version of myself than computer generated any day. At least with flesh and blood I can see more than the upper torso and head."

He checked his watch.

"I think we should call it a day and start the search again tomorrow. If you want, you're welcome to stay in my apartment. I only have one bed but I have extra sheets and blankets and it's a very spacious penthouse so there'll be plenty of room for all of you. And Theora agreed to come with me to dinner so let me take all of you with us, my treat."

They thanked him and he smiled and shrugged.

"No problem. If there are others, Theora might not think it's an actual date."

"And is it?" Alan said.

"Weeeeell, I like to think it is but…I'm not so sure about her. I think she likes me but I think she's wary of dating coworkers. But…hey, here's hopin', right? Anyway, it'll give you guys a chance to explain things to her so she won't be sitting there wondering why a bunch of blanks are following me around and won't go home. So follow me, just gotta check in with Murr and remind her of the dinner date and I'll take you to a lovely steakhouse I know."


Theora sat in a stunned silence while the Doctor explained themselves to her. They were at a long table in a private room in one of the ritziest restaurants in all of New York. Every so often Theora kept looking at Edison who would nod encouragingly. When he was finished speaking, Theora took a sip of wine while she mulled it over. She looked at Edison.

"It's true, Theora, he took me and Bryce to see this TARDIS earlier today and I heard his heartbeat. He's got two of them. But what he's told you, you can't tell anyone else."

"Who would I tell, Edison? I'd be sectioned if I told anyone," Theora said to him.

"Well, just so you know it's a secret between you and me and Bryce…and Max."

Theora took another sip of wine.

"So this friend, this Mark Patterson chap, why is he hiding then?" she asked them.

Dex glanced at his father.

"That's… my fault. I used to be angry at my father, long story, but when Gallifrey was going to be destroyed, I convinced six of my friends to come with me and hide throughout time and space and use the chameleon arch to turn ourselves human and forget about our Time Lord lives. Nelak is the first of the six that we're looking for and he is here, at least he's here on Earth if he's alive. I was the only one who had a TARDIS and since mankind hasn't colonized other worlds yet he won't be anywhere except here."

"But if he's living under an assumed name and can't remember his other one," Theora said, "then he must be dead or a blank since I didn't find anyone matching your description."

"Unless…" Edison said, "unless he's dyed his hair or had a face lift or maybe had an accident and has damage to his face. You gave us a description of him as you remember him but it was how long ago that you dropped him off here?"

"18 years ago," Dex said.

"Okay, well a lot can happen in 18 years," Edison said. "Shouldn't you try some of the Mark Pattersons that closely resemble your description and see if you get lucky that way?"

Dex shrugged.

"It wouldn't hurt to do that," he said. "I don't know what else we can do if he's not registered anywhere. Earth is a huge place and so far, I've only lived in Georgia and visited London, Arizona and now New York. The Earth is more Father's area of expertise."

"Well, nice to know I'm the resident Earth expert here," the Doctor said while they laughed. "You might as well try it, Son. I really can't think of anything else right now and unless Max happens to get lucky, our options are very limited."

He glanced over when Awinita got up from her seat.

"Where are you off to?" he asked her.

They giggled when she shot him a look.

"I gotta pee, is that alright with you, Bro?"

"Just keeping tabs on you, is all."

They laughed harder when Awinita raised her eyebrow. She walked around the table to the spot where he was sitting, bent over, wrapped her arms around his neck and put her lips to his ear.

"I'm going to the toilet or as you like to call it, the loo, is that fine and dandy with ya, Nosy?"

"Yes and use a minimal amount of toilet paper or as I like to call it, disposable biodegradable hygienic loo tissue, and please be sure to lather your hands well after you finish wiping your anal region and use a generous amount of anti-bacterial foaming soap on them. Rub the hands well for thirty seconds covering every area of your epidermis to prevent transmission of harmful bacteria and germs and…"

"Alright, smart ass," she said while everyone laughed, "I get the idea. I'll be back in a minute."

He patted her arm and she let go and walked out of the room.


Awinita settled down on the toilet and let out a sigh while she relieved herself.

Are you wiping your anal region and using the soap yet? The Doctor thought to her.

Buzz off, Bro! She thought back while the others laughed in her mind.

She grinned when the Doctor sent love into her mind and she sent it back.

While she peed, she heard someone come in and get in one of the other stalls. She finished peeing and wiped herself. Flushing the toilet she came out and began to wash her hands.

I'm using the soap now, Bro, she thought with a smile.

Excellent, now remember to lather them for thirty seconds to kill the transmission of germs and…

Awinita didn't hear the end of the Doctor's thought because the other person rushed out of the stall and clubbed her on the back of the head while her head was down, knocking her unconscious.


Edison and Theora's eyes widened when everyone at the table let out a collective gasp and stared at each other in horror.

"What is it?" Edison asked.

They sat, stunned, while everyone else suddenly leapt up and ran out of the room. They looked at each other and quickly followed them. They left the room just in time to see them standing around a shocked waiter asking where the women's restroom was.

"It's over near the front door, just off to the right of it," he said to them.

Everyone in the restaurant stared at them in shock and Edison and Theora followed their friends while they sprinted for the front.

Once they got there, the women ran inside while the men stood anxiously at the entrance. Edison ran up to them with Theora right behind him.

"What is it? What's going on?" Edison said.

"Awinita, something's happened to her," the Doctor said. "Her mind just cut out in ours."

Rose ran back out and shook her head.

"No one's in there," she said.

The men cursed and quickly ran outside while the rest of the women came out behind Rose.

"Are you sure something's happened?" Theora said.

They nodded.

"Believe me," Rose said. "We're trying to contact her telepathically and she's not responding."

The manager walked up followed by the waiter.

"Is something wrong?" the manager said.

"Sir, our sister is missing," Rain said. "She went to the bathroom and she's not in there now. Something's happened to her."

"Are you sure, Madam?" the manager said.

The women nodded.

The manager looked at the waiter.

"Summon the police, now!" he said to him.

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