Chapter Six

Zara showed them into a huge barn that was about one hundred and fifty feet long. Near the front of the building were stalls on each side of a concrete pathway. In several of the stalls, Putong were being milked by a machine that was attached to their udders. The bovine calmly munched hay from a metal box attached to the metal fence that held them in. Zara led them to the first stall and rubbed the putong's nose while she pointed to the bovine's udders. Steel sheaths covered each udder and each sheath was attached to a plastic tube that ran along the straw covered floor to a hole in the concrete wall. Beside the hole was another metal gate and beyond that was a short covered corridor the led back out to the pasture.

"Our putong are brought in by servo robots and placed in these stalls. They're milked daily and the milk is transported back through the tubes to a central vat that is in the back part of the building. The milking usually takes about thirty minutes and then the putong are free to roam for the rest of the day," Zara said to them.

"Does it hurt them?" Hope said, pointing to the sheaths.

"No, sweetie. It's the same sensation they'd get if a calf was taking milk from them. There's no pain at all," Zara said.

"And this part is run completely by the robots?" the Doctor said.

"Yes. If there is a problem, we get a call on our communicator telling us what the problem is and the ID number of the robot that made the call so we can see it for ourselves. Most of the time things run smoothly though. We make sure the milk isn't contaminated in any way and oversee production when the milk is bottles or made into other dairy products. So if you come this way, I'll show you the vat and our processing plant."

Everyone followed Zara while she led them to the back of the barn.

"I want that one and that one and that one," Hope said, pointing to the putong while they walked by them.

"Do you want me to hook you up to the milker, motor mouth?" Alan asked her.

"I don't have any milk," Hope said smugly.

"Oh, believe me, I could find a way to get some outta ya if you give me enough time," Alan said.

The back of the building contained two twenty foot tall steel vats filled with milk. The plastic tubes had been replaced with steel ones that fed the milk into the vat. They heard a whirring sound as Zara led them around the vats and showed them more tubes leading out of the top of the vats that snaked halfway up the room. The tubes were suspended in the air and they were part of a conveyor belt system that processed cartons of milk. Empty bottles were run along the conveyor belt as the milk flowed into them and they were sealed and stamped with a sell by date. Another conveyor belt poured the milk into steel containers.

"This one over here," Zara said, leading them over to it. "is milk that will be used for other things like cream, butter and cheese. At the end of both conveyor belts are robots that check the milk and load them onto hover lorries. The milk is shipped out and this milk is taken to other barns on the property where they're made into other things. And we oversee everything and make sure it all runs smoothly."

"So…Alan would just be in charge of the cows and the robots then?" Rose said.

"And promotion. Occasionally we do adverts for TV or magazines," Zara said.

"Oh God, I can just imagine Alan doing adverts," Rose said while the Doctor snickered.

"Buy my milk, the Doctor's my brother," Alan said. "That oughta up the sales."

"No, we're not using my name to promote your business," the Doctor said while everyone laughed. "I told you, you're on your own with this one."

"Can I pretend to be you and do it that way?" Alan said.

"No, because if you do, I'll feed you to the putong, all the ones that my daughter has selected up to now," the Doctor said.

After completing the tour, Zara led them back to the house. By now, her husband, Baylor, had returned home and Zara introduced him to everyone when he came outside and stood on the front porch. Baylor was an elderly Asian man with a wizened face. But he had a strong, healthy body and had youthful energy and exuberance. He bowed low when Zara introduced the Doctor.

"It is an honor, sir," he said. "Zara's told me about you but I am honored to meet you in person."

"It's a pleasure to meet you as well," the Doctor said. "And please, don't call me sir. I hate that."

Baylor nodded. They went inside and Zara took them into the kitchen. It was a huge kitchen with modern appliances but with a country and cow theme. Zara offered them some milk and cheddar cheese made with fresh putong milk and the Doctor sat with his family at the wooden kitchen table while Rose and Alan chatted with Zara and Baylor on the other side of the room.

"Mmm, this is good cheese," Hope said as she bit into a slice.

"Yup, didn't think you'd get free samples at the end of the tour, eh?" Rain said to her.

"I want Uncle Alan to have the farm so we can come visit," Hope said.

"I want Daddy Doctor to get off his tush and come to the zoo with me," Tara said.

"I want Daughter Tara to shut her gob about the zoo and leave me alone," the Doctor said before taking a sip of milk.

"You love the zoo and you know it," Tara teased.

"Oh yes, I just love imprisoned creatures. Reminds me of all the times I've been imprisoned," the Doctor said dryly before taking another sip of milk.

"You know…this is a large farmhouse," Rain said, leaning in. "If Alan and Rose won't be using it and if Baylor and Zara are leaving, perhaps they can rent it out then."

"To who?" the Doctor said to her.

"Well, Dad did mention that he and his roommates were looking for a bigger place," Rain said. "Perhaps, they would enjoy living here. They could help watch over the farm when Alan and Rose aren't around."

"Would they come to the other side of the planet though?" the Doctor said.

"They have a TARDIS, they can come and see us whenever they like," Rain said with a shrug. "Besides, I think they'd rather live in the country, especially since they go fishing all the time."

"And I can stay with them and have my cow army," Hope said.

"More like dork army," Tara said.

"Daddy, can I borrow your sonic so I can give my sister brain damage?" Hope said.

"Daddy, can I borrow your fist so I can give my sister brain damage?" Tara said.

The Doctor said nothing. He got up from his chair, walked over to Alan and whispered in his ear. Alan glanced at the children, patted his brother on the shoulder and took his place at the table.

"I have been informed by my brother that strife is occurring at the breakfast nook," he said to the children. "I have been asked to tell you to stop these shenanigans, otherwise I will have to intervene and that would be bad because after all, I was born from blood and anger and revenge and I am a ticking time bomb ready to explode. Ask Rose. Anyway, back to working out the details of our massive farm. Be good."

Alan waggled his finger at the children before getting up and walking towards Rose. The Doctor reclaimed his seat and winked at his wife while he bit into a slice of cheese.


"So…it's settled then?" the Doctor said to Alan and Rose after everyone said goodbye to Zara and Baylor and returned to the TARDIS.

"I think we'll let him try it out," Rose said.

"Ooo, the wife is letting me try it out, that's very big of her," Alan said. "Perhaps she'll let me choose my own socks next."

He grinned when Rose swatted his head.

"And we will definitely talk to John and the others about moving in. We wouldn't mind having them stay there," Rose said. "Otherwise, the house will be empty."

"The cows could live there and have cow parties all day long," Hope said.

"She's just hoping we'll abandon her so she can live here without going to the Academy," the Doctor said to his wife. "Sorry, you'll have to go back to school."

"Blast," Hope said, sulking.

"But Brother," Alan said, coming up behind him and putting his head on the Doctor's shoulder. "Do we want that? I mean she gets awards and certificates and stuff. She's making us look bad now."

"Hmm, you do have a point," the Doctor said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully while Hope giggled. "Perhaps it is bad to have an overachiever in the family."

"Especially if she majors in genetics and cloning and really does make a cow army of her own," Alan said.

Hope giggled some more when the two men stared at her intently.

"Will she become the Cow Queen someday and make zombie cows to take over the universe?" Alan finally said.

"Hmm, good point. So…Cow Queen, will you be making zombie cows eventually?"


She, her sister and her mother laughed when the Doctor and Alan gave her angry looks.

"No zombie cows, you hear me, young lady?" the Doctor said, pointing at her.

"Yeah, no zombie cows or I'll have to activate that whole blood, anger, revenge thing I got going on," Alan said. "What?" he said when the Doctor gave him an odd look. "You said it, I didn't. But anyway," he said when the Doctor looked at Hope. "No evil Cow Queen…sorceress, empress, goddess or whatever you're going to call yourself or else."

"Okay, no evil Cow Queen," Hope said.

"Good, carry on," the Doctor said as he and Alan turned and walked away.

"Mummy, I'm gonna be the Cow Queen someday," Hope said to Rain with a loud whisper.

"D'ya hear that?" Alan said to the Doctor. "Kill the child now?"

"Nah, I'll do it when she's not expecting it," the Doctor said while Rain hugged her giggling daughter.


Later on that night, Hope got ready for bed while Anne and Elizabeth lay on the floor of her bedroom, waiting for her to crawl under the covers so they could get up on the bed with her. She was in her en suite bedroom cleaning her teeth when the Doctor appeared behind her. He smiled tenderly at her while she stared at his reflection in the mirror.

"Good evening, Cow Queen," he said to her.

Hope spit into the sink.

"Do you want me to become the Cow Queen someday, Daddy?" she said to the reflection.

"Well…actually no, since that would involve me having to stop you from ruling the universe. Not to mention you'd probably try to kill me by drowning me in cow manure or something like that…which wouldn't be pleasant. So no, don't become the Cow Queen."

"So I don't have to go to school then?" Hope said.

"Well, yes, you have to but don't use your brilliance to become an evil genius hellbent on killing me and your family."

"Okay, I'll be a nice cow queen then."

"Good," the Doctor said, ruffling her hair. "Mum will be in to tuck you in and kiss you goodnight. I will do that now and let you have alone time with her."

"Daddy, are you going to the zoo?" Hope said while the Doctor kissed the top of her head.

"Oh, not you as well. Why is everyone so keen to get me into a zoo. Is that another evil trap to ensnare me?"


Hope giggled when the Doctor feigned anger at that and lightly bopped her head repeatedly.

"I'm the Oncoming Storm, just remember that…Cow Queen," he said to her.

"Okay, I'll remember, Daddy."

The Doctor grinned. He kissed her cheek and squeezed her shoulder. Hope watched him leave the room before she picked up her toothbrush and finished cleaning her teeth.


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