Chapter Nine

The imposter Doctor groaned and slowly opened his eyes. He had been inside the console room checking to make sure everything was running smoothly when he noticed the TARDIS had suffered a sudden power drain. For several minutes he tried to determine the cause of the power drain before he had a thought and realized what the TARDIS might have done. He gritted his teeth.

"You better not have sent a warning to Rose," he said while he probed deeper into the TARDIS databanks, trying to confirm his suspicions.

That was when the attack came. The TARDIS managed to muster enough strength to activate the sleeping gas that she could deploy in case of intruders. The console room doors had been sealed and the gas filled the room and because the brunt of it came off the console into his face he had no time to use his respiratory bypass system before blacking out. And now that he was awake, he shouted curses at the time machine while he ran off in search of Rose.


While the imposter was unconscious, Rose had gone past him and was now running across the valley towards the direction she last saw the Doctor. By now the raptors were far from her. The few remaining ones were nearing the edge of the valley and some were climbing out and into the forest. She cursed the fact that the Doctor didn't carry a mobile like she did. And he was too far away for her to yell to him so she would have to make it across the valley and hope he wouldn't move to far from where she'd last seen him. She also hoped the fake Doctor wouldn't order the raptors to come after her in retaliation or she'd never reach him in time.

She stopped a moment near the tents and caught her breath. She checked her watch but only two hours had gone by since the fighters were transported into the forest. Ten hours to go until they could return. She swallowed hard, trying to bring air back into her lungs while she wiped the sweat from her brow.

"Doctor, are you with me?" she gasped. "If you are, touch my cheek."

She waited and after a few seconds felt the sensation of the hand on her face. She began to notice that there was a few seconds difference between the time she made the request and the sensation of the hand on her face. She wondered if the Doctor had been sent back or forward in time in the same way the Doctor had hid his TARDIS.

"Doctor, are you…out of sync with time now?" she said aloud.

She listened and heard a faint yes being repeated over and over.

"My Doctor hid the TARDIS by putting it out of sync with time. How do you do that so I can bring you back?"

She waited but for several moments there was silence. She didn't realize that the Doctor was elated when he finally heard that because if the TARDIS was out of sync like he was he could get to it and get inside and come back to the present. He began to repeat over and over "Take me to the TARDIS," so she would be sure to hear it through the time delay. He repeated it, hardly able to contain his excitement. His excitement grew when he saw she had received the message.

"Doctor, who is this fake you? How did they get control of the TARDIS?" Rose asked.

The Doctor came near to her and put his hand on her shoulder. He got close to her ear and said the name he dreaded…

"Valeyard," he repeated over and over.

Rose frowned when she got the message and repeated the word back to be sure she understood. The Doctor touched her face in response. He could sense she wanted to ask more questions but to his relief, she decided instead to hold off on her questions so she could lead him to the TARDIS. She beckoned to him to follow her and he touched her face again in response. But as she turned to run, Eleven noticed with sinking hearts that a couple of the raptors had stopped and were now turning around towards her direction.


Meanwhile the Tenth Doctor was continuing his search for one of the rucksacks. The sun was climbing higher and the sky and he was starting to feel the humidity along with the oppressive heat. He was using Amala's dagger to blaze a trail, periodically checking his watch while he slowly made progress. He figured the raptors were probably to the outskirts of the valley by now since he knew they were swift footed. He had precious little time to prepare before they arrived and he wanted to be ready for them or any other threat.

He suddenly froze while cutting down a small branch. He wasn't sure but he swore he just heard the rustle of the leaves in front of him. He looked around and darted off the path he was making. He hid behind a nearby tree and used his respiratory bypass system to dampen his breathing while he watched the trail. He raised his eyebrow when several seconds later he saw Jack coming through, cutting a similar path with a dagger of his own. On his back was a black rucksack. The Doctor shook his head at all the noise he was making while he walked and cut through the foliage. He came out from around the tree, steadied himself and then lunged through the leaves, catching Jack off guard as he grabbed him from behind and put his dagger to Jack's throat.

"I could hear you coming from a mile away, you great pillock, haven't I taught you better than this?" the Doctor said in his ear.

"So what happens now? You gonna slit my throat as punishment for my noisemaking?" Jack said.

"No, because killing you is most definitely a waste of time and energy," the Doctor said, letting go and backing up.

Jack turned to him.

"Wondered where you got to. I see not very far from where I was sent," he said. "So no fighting then?"

"I just said killing you would be a waste of time," the Doctor said.

"Ah, so teaming up, are we?" Jack said. "At least for the moment?"

"For the moment? Killing me would be a waste of time as well since I'd just regenerate and kill you in return," the Doctor said. "Surely you're not thinking of winning this daft contest?"

"Oh I don't know, it would give me bragging rights," Jack said with a shrug. "Be the greatest fighter in the universe and all."

The Doctor snorted.

"Then I suggest you learn to move silently, Greatest Fighter," he said. "I see you found a rucksack though."

"Yeah, it was near me, about fifty feet from where I was sent. No trouble getting it," Jack said smugly.

"Yeah? Well, there's a female in the vicinity called Amala. I fought her briefly before she realized I wasn't a weak little beanpole and she scarpered. Probably in the trees now as we speak. Especially since you were moving around with your elephant feet and making noise for everyone to hear."

"You know, you're not helping my self esteem when you call me Elephant Feet," Jack said.

He shrugged the rucksack off his back and opened it. He handed the Doctor a small canteen filled with water and the Doctor quenched his thirst briefly before handing it back to him.

"I wonder if Rose is alright," Jack said softly as he put the canteen back in the rucksack.

"Dunno. If the Gamemaster couldn't see us coming a mile away, I'd go back and check," the Doctor said.

"What do you think she meant by the game is rigged?" Jack said. "Rigged in our favor or against us?"

"My guess is it's rigged against us. Funnily enough, I don't really trust people who dress in black and wear skull masks."

Jack was about to say something else when the Doctor held up his hand to stop him and then put his finger on his lips. He pointed up to the trees. Then suddenly he shoved Jack out of the way a few seconds before Amala came down behind the Doctor.

"Jack, this is Amala," the Doctor said.

He glanced at Jack and sighed when he saw the old lustful gleam in Jack's eye.

"She's trying to kill you," he reminded Jack.

"Wouldn't be the first time I ended up in bed with someone who was trying to kill me," Jack said.

Both men jerked their heads back when Amala tried to punch them.

"You first then," the Doctor said, stepping back and readying his dagger.

"Hey, Amala, I'm Jack," Jack said, backing up slightly when he noticed Amala was eyeing his rucksack. "Say, let's not fight. Let's team up and defeat the Gamemaster instead!"

Jack ran to the side when Amala let out a yell and tried to lunge at him. The Doctor gave her a karate chop in between the shoulder blades when her momentum carried her past him and she stumbled and fell to her knees. She hissed in anger and jerked her head back around as she got up, her teeth gnashed and her body changing to a deep red color.

"Ooo, she can change colors too," Jack said.

Jack, take your erection and run for it!" the Doctor yelled to him.

Jack turned and tried to run but Amala sprang up and over the Doctor and Jack and landed in front of Jack with a smug look on her face.

"Ooo, nimble too, I like that in a woman," Jack said. "But since you won't play nice…"

Amala jerked back when Jack tried to slash her face with his dagger. The Doctor lunged forward and landed a falcon punch on her face, once again sending her to her knees. Amala growled in frustration and the Doctor and Jack fanned out, both of them with daggers at the ready while Amala looked from one to the other.

"Join us, Amala. Help us," the Doctor said. "There is something sinister going on here and the Gamemaster is the real threat, not us."

Amala was about to lunge at him when she heard a chittering sound behind her. She froze and her breath caught in her throat when a lone raptor suddenly came out of the trees onto the makeshift trail.

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