Chapter Ten

After an hour and a half, the three men made it back to the safety of the TARDIS. The Doctor glanced around; making sure no one was watching before taking his key out of his pocket and unlocking the door. They quickly went inside and closed it. Blizzard and Rory jumped off the jump seat and ran to them. The Doctor knelt down, quickly rubbed their sides while he said hello and then hurried to the console. Alan and Jack picked up the dogs and held them while they walked over. They stood behind him and watched while the Doctor turned on his monitor and started a search for Awinita's energy signature. Jack and Alan set the dogs down and commanded them to sit while they waited for a result. The first reading brought back two results. The TARDIS and the rest of the family in Edison's apartment. The Doctor frowned. He typed out a command to ignore both the TARDIS and the others in the apartment and tried again. The three men's eyes bulged when the readout came back negative.

"What?" the Doctor muttered.

He tried another scan and got the same negative readout. The three men looked at each other.

"She couldn't have been abducted by a UFO, could she?" Alan said.

The Doctor sighed.

"Worth a try. I'll scan for any artron signatures in the universe in this time period," he said.

They waited and once again, it came back negative.

"Okay," the Doctor said, frustrated, "any signatures anywhere in time and space."

He scanned again and got two matches. When he clicked on them, he growled when he noticed they were both on Volag Nok. He slammed his hand down on the rim.

"So the only thing the TARDIS is detecting is the Rani and her TARDIS," Alan said.

"Yes, which must mean…someone has a bloody damper again."

"Which means they know who you are," Jack said.

"Seems so. BLAST!"

He ran his hand through his hair.

"Dampers and I'm willing to bet barriers to keep us from reaching her mind. I would say it was the Rani except she's still on Volag Nok."

"What about this Nelak?" Jack said. "What if he's doing it?"

The Doctor frowned.

"He's human."

"What if he opened the watch before we got here though?" Jack countered. "If he's got Awinita somewhere where we can't detect her then it stands to reason he'd be shielded too and if he listened to your son and believed the same kind of bullshit he believed…"

The Doctor groaned.

"Lovely, we have another potential Time Lord basket case on our hands," the Doctor said. "And the whole brain drain thing wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for one. And we knew what Dex was capable of when he wasn't in his right mind…"

He looked at Jack.

"But how would he know we were coming?" he said. "Dex had no way to get in contact with him and there would be no need to shield his energy signature and mind if he were living among humans. Surely he hasn't been waiting 18 years for me to show up."

Jack shrugged.

"I'm just offering a theory, Doc. Seems the most plausible one to me right now. Like you said, Dex went off the deep end the moment the watch was opened and tried to kill the whole family. If these are his friends, I'm sure they were on his side and listened to his rants about how evil you were."

"As for the whole damping and shielding," Alan added. "Perhaps he is paranoid and thinks that someone from Gallifrey might still be out there ready to get him at any moment. I'm assuming all of them left and got settled before Gallifrey burned. Maybe he convinced himself that nothing happened and Gallifrey is still there and just set up defenses."

The Doctor nodded.

"Sounds more plausible than him waiting around for me to show up," he said. "Damn it, I guess now we have to deal with another insane man who'll need to be taken to the institution. Damn Sharina for doing this to my son. It was her idiotic vendetta against me that started all of this. I suppose the other five are the same way. Blast, finding them all is gonna be hell on all of us."

He took a deep breath and shook his head.

"But we can't worry about that now. Right now we have to get Awinita back safe and sound," he said.

He punched in the coordinates for Edison's apartment while Alan and Jack sat down behind him.


Theora and Edison sat on his couch listening in an intrigued silence while the Doctor's family talked. They were telling them about Jenny and how she came to be. While Donna explained it, the others ate a bit of the Chinese food. Rain sat near her daughter sipping a bit of egg drop soup while they shared an egg roll, a bit of egg foo young and some pork fried rice. When Donna finished, Edison looked at Jenny.

"Quite an unusual way to be born," he said to her. "I think you beat Max in general all-around weirdness."

Jenny smiled.

"I don't know about that, having a computer version of yourself sounds much more weird," she replied.

She sighed.

"Speaking of, you think Max has found something yet?" she asked him.

"Not sure, I'm sure if he did he'd come back and tell us. The TVs and computers are always left on so he can always jump in whenever he wants."

Mingxia swallowed the egg drop soup in her mouth.

"You leave both on all night even when you go to bed? You must have one hell of an electric bill each month," she said.

Edison frowned.

"We can't turn them off. It's against the law. You go to jail if you have an off switch on your TV."

They stared at him in shock.

"Why? Is it different in 2009?" Edison said.

"Yes. In 2009 we can turn off the bloody TV and computer and not go to jail," Donna said.

"There's not all this Orwellian Big Brother camera watching either," Rain said. "At least not to the extent it is now and there's no worldwide ident number system and TV networks don't go worldwide either."

"What about governments?" Theora asked.

"There are many governments," Rain said, shrugging.

"Not here. There's one world government running everything," she said. "Everyone uses credits for the most part, there is cash but even that is one currency. Everyone is required to learn English along with their country's native language and like Edison said, TV networks are all broadcast worldwide."

"And you're number one out of all of them?" Mingxia said to Edison. "Impressive."

"Yeah but not many reporters are willing to dig deep and find out the truth so that's why people tend to watch me and also why I get targeted for death a lot. But hey, gotta die sometime, might as well die doing what you love and make a difference where you can."

They giggled when they heard the TARDIS wheezing and both Edison and Theora looked around in confusion.

"That's Dad," Jenny said to them while she pointed back to the corner.

They looked over and watched in stunned silence while the police box came into view and then shut off. The Doctor opened the door and looked out.

"Eating without me?" he said while he, Alan and Jack stepped out.

He closed the door and sighed.

"We didn't find her," he said sadly.

They stared at him.

"Didn't find her?" Donna said. "What'd ya mean, didn't find her?"

They explained what happened along with their theories. When they finished telling their theory about Nelak being insane, Dex lowered his head to his hands.

"Father, I'm sorry. It's that's what's happened, then I'm the one to blame and…"

"No, no, no Dex," the Doctor said, walking over to him. "Don't start blaming yourself or Rain is likely to jump down your throat the way she does with me. You were young when your mum told you that stuff and you had no reason to believe differently since I was gone all the time. We don't even know if that's what happened, it's just a theory so don't do this to yourself."

Dex nodded and the Doctor squeezed his shoulder.

"So, unless we get a lucky break, we really are relying on Max," Edison said.

"It seems so," the Doctor said, sighing. "Course we could be wrong about Awinita's mind being blocked and she's still unconscious but if this person has a damper then I'm willing to bet he has a mental barrier in place as well. As you said, we have done all we can do tonight and there's no sense in stressing out. That won't help Awinita. Um…now that the TARDIS is here, we can just go in and spend the night in there so you don't have this mess all over your floor. And…Theora, you wanna see inside?"

She nodded and the Doctor led her over and opened the TARDIS door. While he showed her inside, Alan sat down next to Rose and Jack sat beside him. Edison handed the rest of the Chinese food that was still in the bag to Rain and she passed it to Alan.

"I'll get you guys some bowls, plates and forks," he said, getting up. "Do you want something to drink? I got beer, soda, milk, orange juice."

They both opted for sodas and Edison went into the kitchen. Alan looked at Rain.

"Anything interesting happen while we were gone, Te'lesu?" he asked her.

"No, we've just been talking. I finally decided to have some egg drop soup to settle my stomach and then we all smelled the food and decided to go ahead and have a bit to eat," she said.

Alan reached over and rubbed her back.

"We'll find her, Rain. Don't worry," he said.

She nodded and sent love into his mind while he smiled. He opened the bag and he and Jack looked through it while Edison returned with the bowls, plates, forks and spoons. He gave them to Alan and went to get their drinks while the Doctor came back out with Theora and shut the TARDIS door. He sighed and went to sit down beside his wife while Theora went to talk to Edison.


Awinita tried to rest but it was no use. She wasn't worried about herself as much as she was her family. She didn't fully believe that they were safe. After all, she'd been knocked out. What if they had come running when they felt her mind cut out and Thomas got them too. Logically her mind argued back that if it had only been Thomas, there was no way he could get 10 people knocked out and into the van before someone noticed, but still…

What if he had more than one person in the van? She thought to herself. He had to have had help. Damn it, I wish I could know for sure. There's got to be some way to shut off the mind block so I can reach them.

She assessed her body. Thanks to her speeded up metabolism, the effects of the drug were wearing off quickly and she felt herself becoming more alert with each passing second. She opened her eyes and noticed that everything was clearer now although there was still a bit of fuzz around objects. She slowly sat up. Keeping her eyes on the door, she swung her legs around and sat for a moment to get her bearings. Once she felt ready, she slid off and stood up. She wobbled a moment and put her hand on the bed but the dizziness passed and she slowly made her way to the door. Switching to her respiratory bypass system, she stopped and put her hand on the doorknob and opened the door a crack. She didn't see anyone directly in front of the door so she opened it further and stepped out. Thomas was sitting on the floor on her left side. He jerked his head up, giving her a shocked look.


She pinched a nerve in his neck the way the Doctor had showed her and was pleased when he immediately fell unconscious. She grabbed under his arms and pulled him back inside.

"Sorry, Thomas, but unlike you I do care about escaping from here," she muttered.

She let go when he was by the bed and hurried around him to the door. She peeked out and when she saw no one in the hallway, she rushed out, shut the door and hurried down the corridor looking all around her for any signs of life along with the nearest exit. Her hearts were beating so rapidly she was sure someone could hear them.

Come on, she thought to herself, where's the damn door in this place?

She went down another corridor and noticed that no one was in it either. Red flags went off in her mind.

Okay, where the hell is everyone? I don't like this, she thought to herself.

But she pressed on, knowing that she wouldn't get another chance like this to escape. She passed another corridor and stopped short when out of the corner of her eye, she saw a flash of red. She backed up and saw an EXIT sign glowing red over a door at the end of the hallway. Looking all around, she sprinted to it. Not caring if there was an alarm on it, she grabbed the door handle and threw it wide open before running through. It slammed shut behind her and there was a momentarily sense of relief when no alarm sounded but it was replaced by confusion when she saw she was in a small windowless room instead of outside. The feeling of confusion then turned to elation when nine very familiar minds winked back into her head. She could feel her family's disbelief and then utter elation at being able to feel her again.

Te'lesu! Alan thought. Are you alright? Where are you?

I'm…in a room. A room with no furniture in it. They had me drugged in the main building and I managed to escape after the drug wore off and I found this exit door. I thought it led outside but now I'm in this room with no windows or other doors.

Are you alright? Did they hurt you while you were drugged? The Doctor thought to her.

No, I'm alright. But listen, Thomas is here, he's one of them. The Cyber Messiah still has him enslaved and he has Nelak somewhere. Thomas said the Cyber Messiah called Nelak the lost one and Doctor, he wants you. Thomas said the Cyber Messiah called you a tool but Thomas didn't say what that meant and…

Her thought was suddenly cut off when a high-pitched piercing siren wailed through the room. Awinita's sensitive hearing made the wailing even more excruciating and she fell to her knees, screaming in agony while she clamped her hands over her ears.


Edison and Theora stared at their friends with wide eyes. They had been talking to them when suddenly they reported with relief that Awinita was back. Then they talked to her quietly in their minds, relieved grins spread over their faces. But suddenly, the joy turned to horror and anguish.

"What's wrong?" Edison said, concerned.

The Doctor looked at him.

"She's in pain, they're hurting her," he said, his eyes misting over.


The siren mercifully cut out after two minutes and Awinita slowly took her hands away from her ears. Even with her hands clamped over her ears, she still had a throbbing headache and she felt her family's distress. Mentally, she tried to reassure them she was alright but while she was doing that, the siren started again and she clamped her hands back over her ears. Gritting her teeth, she forced herself to stand and take one hand away to open the door. She knew it meant she would be cut off from her family when she went back inside but she was sure if she didn't get out before long her eardrums would burst. She put her hand on the door handle and tried it but to her horror it wouldn't open. She staggered back, putting her hand back over her ear while she tried in vain to look for something that would bring her relief from the siren. The throbbing in her head was so intense that tears were streaming down her face and she wished fervently they hadn't taken her sonic screwdriver away.

She could hear the Doctor or Alan trying to talk to her but the pain in her head prevented her from concentrating enough to be able to hear them. She clamped her hands over her ears until she was sure she was gonna mash them into the sides of her head. While she suffered, she could feel her family's anguish and it hurt her hearts knowing they were indirectly suffering which she guessed was the intention of allowing her to come out here. She knew she should have trusted her first instinct when she didn't see anyone around but the urge to get away back to the safety of her loved ones overrode it. Worse still, there had been no windows inside the building and there were no windows in the room so she couldn't give them any clues of her location. Dimly, she could make out Jack mentally screaming at the Doctor or Alan to go into the TARDIS and check her artron energy signature and hope rose briefly inside her before it crashed down. Her captors weren't idiots. She had a feeling the damper was still on but she could picture the Doctor dashing into the TARDIS to check his monitor.

After five minutes the siren mercifully fell silent although there was still a ringing in her ears. She gasped with relief and managed to tell the others that the noise had stopped. Tears came to her eyes when she felt their love rushing into her mind followed by them telling her they loved her telepathically. Her hearts longed for them and the safety they provided and she suddenly saw the wisdom in Thomas's words. She felt sure that when someone came to get her there would be a severe punishment waiting. The siren was still off but she sensed she didn't have much time left so she quickly told her family she loved them all and that she would be waiting for them to rescue her if she didn't get out first. The Doctor answered her back.

Hold on for us, Te'lesu, be brave and don't give up. We'll find you somehow, he thought.

Doctor, they want information about you but I won't say anything. I won't let them hurt you. No matter what they do to me I'll keep my mouth shut.

No, Awinita, don't. I don't care if they come after me but I don't want them hurting you. Do what they want for the moment. Obey them; don't bring needless suffering on yourself. I know you want to protect me but there's no need. Let them come after us so we can finally meet them face to face, defeat them and get some answers. Just cooperate with them, alright?

Tears streamed down her face and she reluctantly agreed to obey his instructions. Her family sent love into her mind trying to soothe her anguish.

I'll be alright, Awinita, the Doctor thought in a gentle tone of voice. Just concentrate on surviving that place. I'm a 1200 year old boy, I can handle myself. I won't hate you if you tell them about me. I could never hate you, my beloved sister. Please, I'm begging you; think only of yourself and your safety. Don't sacrifice yourself for me.

Just then she heard the door handle turning.

They're here. They're opening the door, she thought.

We will find you, Te'lesu, Alan thought. We won't rest until you're back here safe with us. Count on it.

Awinita looked back and saw two men coming into the room. She shuddered when she saw one of them holding a truncheon.

They're gonna knock me out; one of them has a nightstick. Goodbye for now, my beloved family. I love…

Her thought was cut off when the man slammed the truncheon down on her skull.

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