Chapter Fifteen

"Doctor, what are you doing?" Rose said when they went past the lift.

"Going to speak with Tish and her family. We need to know where the pods are," the Doctor said.

"Doctor, wait, Jack! We can't leave him!"

"Rose, he's right. I can't risk you staying here. I keep wondering if this sudden freedom is a buildup to something. The Master might be doing this to torture us. He'll allow us to become close and then steal your memories away or hypnotize you again. I can't let that happen. We're the ones who are in the most danger here. We need to escape and find Martha."

Rose nodded and the Doctor squeezed her hand. She wanted to get away from her husband as fast as she could but she cared about Jack and she hated to think of him being tortured and killed over and over because of her. But she reasoned she and the Doctor could do more good if they were free and down below so she hurried with him as he looked for Tish.

They found Tish and asked where the escape pods were. Tish looked around and beckoned to them.

"Wait, what about you and your family?" Rose asked as they followed her.

"Don't worry about us. It's you and him he'll be after," Tish said. "If you take one escape pod, it won't be as noticeable as three or four."

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry for my part in all this," Rose said.

"No, Rose, you couldn't help it. No one blames you," Tish said. "We're all worried about you. You need to leave with him now before he makes it worse for you."

Rose sighed, hating that people were opting to stay behind while she escaped with the Doctor. Tish noticed her sadness and put her hand on her shoulder.

"We'll find a way to escape with Jack if we can and meet up with you. Just don't worry about us," Tish said.

Rose nodded but she still felt guilty. When they turned the corner, Tish slowed down and casually walked past a guard, nodding hello while she did. Rose glanced at them but they showed no sign of seeing her or the Doctor.

I hope those Toclafane will be just as fooled, she thought as they walked past.

After leading them through a labyrinth of corridors and pipes, Tish led them to a round steel door. There was a steel wheel in the center of the door and Tish turned it around and around and pulled it open. On the other side was a large orb shaped escape pod. Two black leather seats were inside along with control panels.

"Get inside first, I'll follow," the Doctor said to Rose.

Rose climbed inside, sat in the seat furthest from the door and strapped herself in. There was a control panel in front of her and a small Perspex window above it. Another window was on the wall to her right and she looked out at the clouds. The Doctor slowly got in and groaned as he sat down.

"Damn these aches and pains. I'm gonna find some ibuprofen when we get down there," he said. "Thank you, Tish."

"Good luck, find a way to save us," Tish said before she closed the door.

"Can you control it?" Rose asked as Tish locked the door.

"Yes. The Master modeled this escape pods after ones found on Gallifrey. I know how it works."

"Thank God for that," Rose said.

The Doctor strapped himself in and flipped a few switches. Rose hung on to the harness around her body while the pod roared to life. She watched while the Doctor pushed buttons and flipped switches and then suddenly there was a jolt and the pod jettisoned away from the airship. The Doctor continued pushing buttons, glancing at a little monitor on the front panel to see where they were headed. He corrected course in midair and then activated a parachute. The pod slowed and Rose breathed a sigh of relief when they began to slowly drift down to the ground. It landed with a soft thump and Rose looked out the window at the London Eye in the distance. She gulped when she noticed the Eye was a burnt ruin and she felt even more guilt. The Doctor pulled a lever on the inside of the door and the wheel spun around until the door could be opened. The Doctor pushed on the door and it swung open. He and Rose undid the harnesses and the Doctor slowly got out. He stood up and looked around while Rose followed him out. She looked at the parachute streaming out the back of the pod like a big canvas ponytail and looked up at the clouds, trying to see the Valiant. But it was an overcast day and the airship was nowhere to be seen. She looked at the Doctor when he took her hand.

"Come, we need to get away from here before the Toclafane investigate," he said.

Rose nodded and walked with him towards a nearby road. The road was pockmarked with holes from where the Toclafane had fired into it. Rose glanced around but so far there was no sign of the orbs. The streets were deserted and it gave Rose the creeps. She could see trash lying about and the wind blew old bits of paper around.

"The Apocalypse," Rose murmured as they walked. "It's the end of the world."

"Not yet. The world has been crippled but it's not the end of it," the Doctor said, looking around.

"The way it looks, I'm surprised there aren't any zombies about," Rose said.

"What makes you think there aren't?"

Rose looked at the Doctor and smiled when he winked at her.

"Never mind, the Toclafane are bad enough," the Doctor said.

They walked for a bit, only finding one Toclafane patrolling around. Rose and the Doctor froze and for a moment when the Toclafane came near, Rose thought the end was coming. But the orb moved on and she relaxed when she realized they wouldn't be detected.

"Good. It'll be easier to survive down here if they can be fooled by the filters," the Doctor said.

They walked on until they found an abandoned hotel. The Doctor and Rose glanced at each other and headed inside. They walked by the front desk and Rose noticed the laser blast marks in the front of it. She also noticed the electricity was still on and she looked at the Doctor while she thought that to him.

The Master needs electricity, he thought to her. For the slaves and for the machines he needs to build his arsenal. He's keeping the electricity going which is good for us. Come, let's go on an upper floor.

They got on the lift and went to the third floor. They walked down the hallway to room 311. The Doctor unlocked it with the screwdriver, opened it and nodded when he saw it was empty. They went inside and Rose smiled when she saw the beds were still intact along with the sheets and blankets. There was a nightstand, chest of drawers and a TV on top of it. The Doctor tried the brass lamp on the nightstand and turned it off when he saw it worked.

"Sleep for a bit. We need to rest and build up our energy," the Doctor said. "As long as we have the keys on, no one will see us."

Rose nodded. She went into the loo and used the toilet while the Doctor sat down on the side of the bed and took his shoes and socks off. By the time Rose came out, the Doctor was under the covers staring up at the ceiling. Rose came over to him and the Doctor looked at her and smiled tenderly. He raised his eyebrow when Rose took her shoes off, lifted the covers and climbed in beside him.

"Wife of the Prime Minister in bed with an alien, people may talk," he said.

"Shut up," Rose said as she snuggled beside him.

The Doctor watched her with love in his eyes while she lay against him. She lay there for a moment, lost in thought about what the future might bring until she finally let out a sigh, closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

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