Chapter Seventeen

"Okay, there it is," Xapta said as she pointed to the freighter outside her windscreen. "About two hundred meters away and closing."

"Better hide then," Eleven said to the War Doctor and Ten.

"And you better look sufficiently cowed in case they're going to board the moment she docks," Ten said to him.

"Already practicing my helpless captive look as we speak," Eleven said.

The War Doctor tapped Ten on the shoulder and beckoned to him to follow. Ten waited till he turned, looked at Eleven and rolled his eyes briefly while Eleven chuckled. As they walked out of the room, Eleven tapped Clara on the shoulder and imitated the War Doctor with wide eyes. Clara chuckled and followed him out of the room. As the War Doctor and Ten hid under the floor and activated their forcefields, Eleven and Clara walked over to a small prison cell located near the entrance. Eleven opened it with the screwdriver and let Clara walk in before he stepped inside, closed the door and locked it with the sonic. He then put the screwdriver deep inside his trouser pocket in case they did a search. Clara's eyes goggled when the Doctor's arm kept going down, down, down deep into his pocket. Eleven noticed her amazed look and smiled.

"Bigger on the inside clothing," he said to her.

"Why doesn't that surprise me?" Clara said.

Eleven growled and tugged at the inside of his collar again.

"I'll be glad when this is off my neck," he said to Clara. "It's tight."

"I know, I hope it doesn't chafe anything."

"Same here," Eleven said.

They heard a loud clang and the room vibrated when the glider docked with the freighter.

"Time to act like captives, Claraboo," Eleven said.

Clara watched while Eleven sat on the floor and she followed suit while she mentally prepared herself for what lay ahead. The ship powered down and an eerie silence fell while they waited for someone to come on board the ship. They could hear muffled voices beyond the large circular door across the way and then suddenly the metal hatch over the door shimmered and disappeared and one of the women stepped through the doorway into the hull of the ship. Her eyes fell on the Doctor and Clara and she sneered at them before turning towards Xapta who was coming towards her now.

"Are these the captives?" the woman said, pointing to the Doctor and Clara.

"Yes. They've been restrained with shock collars," Xapta replied.

"Ortha wishes that their arms be restrained behind their backs before they are presented to her."

Xapta nodded. She glanced at the Doctor and Clara for a second before following the woman outside. They could hear other women's voices more clearly now while they waited for them to return. Most of them were discussing the ship and its contents and giving orders to search it. When Xapta returned with the woman, she was carrying thick steel manacles while the women stopped and aimed a blaster at the prisoners.

"Get up," Xapta said as authoritatively as she could.

While the Doctor and Clara got up, they noticed other women were now coming on board while the woman with the blaster ordered them to make a thorough search of the ship. Xapta ordered the Doctor and Clara to step back away from the cell door before the other woman came forward and unlocked it. She resumed guarding Xapta as she opened the door and stepped inside.

"Do as I say or you will suffer," Xapta said.

When she had her back turned to the other woman, she shot them an apologetic look. The Doctor nodded slightly to show that he understood her remorse and he put his arms behind him, waiting patiently while Xapta put the manacles on and locked them.

"Is this how you always treat your guests?" the Doctor asked the other woman while Xapta moved towards Clara.

"You are a prisoner here, you have no rights," the woman said to him.

The Doctor studied her. She looked like an Earth woman. She had Asian features and long black hair that went down the front of her dress in the usual style. She wore a red skullcap rather than the outlandish ritual headgear and the Doctor noticed a faint dueling scar across her left cheek.

"Who are you?" the Doctor asked her.

"You don't need to know who I am," the woman spat back.

"I would like to know," the Doctor replied. "I like to know people's names. It humanizes them in my eyes. You are human, correct?"

The woman said nothing as Xapta finished locking Clara's manacles.

"I'm John Smith by the way," the Doctor offered. "Friend of Clara's if you hadn't guessed."

The woman still remained silent and nodded to Xapta.

"Follow us," Xapta said to him.

When the woman turned, Xapta quickly whispered in the Doctor's ear that her name was Yumiko. The Doctor mouthed "Earth?" to her as he nodded his head at the woman and Xapta mouthed back "I think so," before the Doctor and Clara moved out of the prison cell.


Ten lay inside the compartment on his back, staring up at the blackness while he listened to scuffling noises and women's voices above him. He had turned on his forcefield and was confident that he would be well hidden from anyone who checked his hiding place. As he lay there, he thought about what Xapta had told them and his mind raged over the thought of Rose being forced to bear a child that would be used as a tool for the Pythia to take over the universe. He only hoped that they could reach her in time before that happened.

He heard voices above him and he stiffened when he heard the sound of someone opening the lid to the compartment. He used his respiratory bypass system to mute his breathing and he stayed absolutely still except when they took the lid off and he had to close his eyes the moment bright light hit them. He slowly opened one eye when he was able to see again and he saw three women standing above him, staring down into the compartment with blasters aimed right at him. He searched their faces and was elated when he saw no sign of shock or recognition and he knew that they couldn't see him and the forcefield was doing its job. One of the women, a blue skinned alien with long white hair, bent over and took a closer look inside.

"Nothing," she said to her two friends and the Doctor was relieved when the put the lid back on the compartment and took their search elsewhere.

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