Chapter Twenty

Rose chuckled as she sat at the kitchen table and watched Snuffy's antics. She had cut the top off a small plastic purple cup and was trying to get Snuffy to get up completely on it. Finally after an hour and a handful of raisins, Snuffy finally was up on the cup. Rose fed her a few raisins before deciding to find the Doctor and show him what Snuffy could do. She put the box of raisins in her pocket and put the cup in the other before picking up Snuffy and holding the tiny elephant close to her body. Snuffy glanced up at her and Rose smiled when the elephant felt the underside of Rose's chin with her tiny trunk.

"Getting the sample of Weetabix was the best decision we ever made, Snuffykins," Rose said while Snuffy meed at her.

She walked into the console room and looked around but the Doctor was absent. Rose asked the TARDIS to lead her to him and she turned and went back the way she came. The TARDIS switched the corridors around and Rose followed the direct route to a door at the end. When she came to the door, she paused when she heard cries of anguish and yells of rage coming through it. She slowly opened it and the cries grew louder along with the clanking of steel. She realized there was a battle going on but this was the door the TARDIS led her to so she kept the door half closed while she yelled the Doctor's name through it.

"PAUSE SIMULATION!" she heard the Doctor yell before the battle sounds fell silent.

Rose still hesitated a moment, reluctant to go inside since she had no idea what the hell was going on.

"Yes?" she heard the Doctor say after thirty seconds of silence. "Rose?"

"Yeah, it's me and Snuffy. Can we come in?" she said at the doorway.

"Course, come in."

"What was that before? It sounded like a battle," Rose said through the door.

"It'd be much easier if you came in here and I showed you. Don't worry, it's perfectly safe."

Rose opened the door all the way and froze when she saw two strange men in front of her. Both men were frozen in the act of dueling with long swords, both of them covered with blood and mud and both had enraged looks on their faces. While she stared at the men in shock, the Doctor walked over and waved when he stopped behind them.

"They're holograms, come here," he said to her.

Rose stepped into the room and noticed that the two men weren't the only one fighting. All over the room, men were engaged in frozen combat. There were also dead and dying men all over the floor. Rose held out her hand towards the two men she first saw. Her hand went straight through the chest of one of them while the Doctor strolled up to her.

"What is this?" she said while the Doctor leaned over and kissed Snuffy on the top of her head.

"This is a simulation room; it allows me to see different things in holographic 3D. This is the Battle of Shara, an important battle that took place centuries ago on Zeke. I was studying it for my own edification and this allows me to be in the midst of the action without putting myself in danger. Come. Join me and I'll explain what's going on."

Rose closed the door and followed him when he beckoned to her. He led her through the midst of the battle while he reached into his pocket and put his glasses on. They stopped near the back of the room and the Doctor pointed out two men. Both of them were young and muscular and wearing armor all over their bodies except for their heads. The man on the right was about to strike the other one with his sword, his face contorted in rage and covered in blood and mud. The other man had a snake tattoo on his forehead, was also covered in mud and blood and was bringing his sword up to block the man's strike. The Doctor pointed to the man with the snake tattoo.

"This is the king of Zeke, Shadra the Third," he said while Rose came up beside him. "The tattoo is a symbol of his household and a sign of his rank. The other bloke is Jesthra the Usurper, the one that killed him and seized power for himself. This battle is where the Usurper took power and we are moments away from Shadra's death. I was studying it when I heard you call to me. This battle brought about a time of peace and prosperity for Zeke, it's a turning point for their entire civilization and that's why I was studying it. So…do you want to watch Shadra's death?"

Rose nodded and the Doctor patted Snuffy's head and let her wrap her trunk around his index finger while he called to the TARDIS and told her to resume the simulation. The battle started again and the sounds of rage, fear and death echoed around the room while Rose watched Shadra block Jesthra's strike. The men continued to fight with the swords while the Doctor walked around them, observing at every angle.

Then suddenly, another soldier ran up behind Shadra, swung his sword at his right leg and took it clean off, much to Rose's disgust. Shadra screamed out in anguish as he fell backwards onto the muddy ground, blood spurting from the stump as he held what remained of his leg. Jesthra sneered at the terrified look on Shadra's face as he held his hand out in a gesture of mercy.

"SO FALLS A TYRANT!" Jesthra bellowed before he brought his sword down and cleaved Shadra's neck from his body.

"Ugh, what a horrible way to die," Rose said while Jesthra raised his bloody sword and bellowed a triumphant yell.

"Compared to his troops, Shadra's death was quick and merciful," the Doctor said to her, studying the headless body.

"Why? What happened to them?" Rose said.

"Boiled and burned alive," the Doctor said. "Jesthra punished them for supporting a cruel tyrant."

"And he thought he was better? After doing all that?" Rose said to the Doctor.

"TARDIS, stop the simulation," the Doctor said to the ceiling. "Well, he had to do something," he said to Rose as the simulation stopped and the room became silent. "Shadra's supporters swore an oath to serve him; Jesthra couldn't trust them so he took steps to remove them. But after that, his reign was peaceful and prosperous. Zeke's history is fascinating, actually. It's worth a look."

"So you can see anything in this room?" Rose said as the Doctor ordered the simulation to end.

"Yes, I can," the Doctor said as the simulation vanished and Rose noticed they were standing in an enormous steel room like an airplane hangar. "In fact," he added, patting Snuffy on the head. "TARDIS, run a simulation of elephants in Africa for Snuffy."

The steel room was replaced by the African savannah and they were standing amidst a group of elephants, young and old, male and female. The Doctor took Snuffy from Rose and sat her on the ground, watching with amusement as Snuffy looked at the simulated elephants the moment she heard their trumpeting calls. She called to them with her tiny meee and Rose was aware that Snuffy was barely taller than one of the adult's feet. Snuffy walked around and meed at the elephants.

"I think she knows she's among her people," the Doctor said to Rose as he neared closer to her.

Rose wondered if Snuffy had been taken from a family group and she wondered if Snuffy thought that she was back with her family again since she was meeing her heart out, trying to get the holographic elephant's attention. She told her thoughts to the Doctor and he nodded sadly.

"Yes, I have a feeling you're right. I think little Snuffy misses her elephant family. She's our daughter now but still…we can't be actual elephant parents for her."

He walked over and bent over to Snuffy.

"You miss your real family, don't you, Snuffy Lumpkins," he said while Rose fought back a lump in her throat. "You love us but you love your elephant mummy and daddy as well, eh?"

He smiled and rubbed her back when Snuffy meed at him. He picked Snuffy up and held him close. Rose came over to him.

"I was looking for you because I taught Snuffy a new trick," Rose said. "But if you're busy in here, we can wait."

"No, I want to see it," the Doctor said. "I was doing this out of boredom. But if our daughter has a trick, I want to see it."

He let Snuffy look at the elephants for a moment more before closing down the simulation. Holding Snuffy close, he followed Rose out of the room and closed the door behind them.

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