Chapter Ten

"Stay still, all of you," the Doctor said while the raptor studied them.

The Doctor chittered to the raptor and the raptor cocked his head while he listened to him.

"What are you doing?" Amala said to him.

"Begging for mercy," the Doctor said. "I can speak raptor."

"He can, he really can," Jack said to her while the Doctor resumed pleading for mercy to the raptor.

The Doctor turned to them.

"He says that he was commanded by the Gamemaster not to kill us," the Doctor said.

"All of us?" Jack said. "So the raptors are fake outs?"

"No, I mean us, me and you. He says he wasn't told to leave Amala alone," the Doctor said.

"What? You are in league with the Gamemaster?" Amala said while the raptor eyed her hungrily.

"No. But our friend told us before we were teleported out that the game was rigged," the Doctor said to her. "Apparently, it's being rigged in our favor then."

"Then the Gamemaster knows us?" Jack said.

"My guess is he does," the Doctor said darkly. "I have a feeling the game is fixed so we survive it. Amala, join us," he added as he turned to her. "Do you see now that this is all a sham? Together we could go after the Gamemaster and stop him."

"Ahem," Jack said, pointing to the raptor. "Spy for the Gamemaster standing right there?"

The Doctor turned to the raptor and resumed his chittering while the raptor listened. He pointed back to Amala and the raptor shook its head.

"I'm guessing the raptor won't leave you alone," Jack said to Amala.

He gasped when Amala snatched the dagger from his hand and lunged towards the raptor.

"No, wait!" the Doctor said, getting in between her and the raptor. "No! No killing!"

"It wants to kill me, fool!" Amala snarled at him. "Out of my way."

The Doctor chittered at the raptor. The raptor looked at Amala, hissed and ran off. Amala lowered the dagger.

"What did you say to it?" she said.

"It was a he and I told it to run before you killed it," the Doctor said. "It's a victim just like we are. It's innocent. It's being compelled to carry out the orders of the Gamemaster and I suspect it'll go find some friends and come back here to finish you off. Do you want to be alone when that happens?"

"Why do you care what happens to me?" Amala said.

"Because I can stand bloodshed, especially if it can be avoided. This game is a farce, it's been rigged, apparently in our favor," he said, gesturing to Jack. "Which means you're vulnerable. You wanna end up dead or do you wanna team up and help us stop the Gamemaster?"

"Come on, Amala, this is ridiculous," Jack said. "The Doctor's right. Something more insidious is going on here and we need to find out why this Gamemaster is so keen to have us all killed."

Amala considered that. She looked at the Doctor who held out his hand to her and asked to be allies with her. Jack did the same and Amala stared at the hands. She gave the dagger back to Jack and took his hand and the Doctor's hand.

"Yes, allies," she said.

"Thank you," the Doctor said, breathing a sigh of relief. "And because you returned Jack's dagger…"

He gave her dagger back to her. Amala thanked her and put it back in her sheath. The Doctor looked at his allies and told them to follow him while he led them back to the valley.


Rose groaned when she looked over her shoulder and noticed two raptors were now coming after her. They were still some distance away but they were running and rapidly gaining ground. She looked back. The slope was about eighty feet away but she was winded and tired. Her lungs felt like they were going to explode from the exertion and she didn't think she had the strength to go back up and out of the valley.

"Doctor, it's up there in the forest, it's not far," Rose said, pointing up to the forest. "I don't think I can go on. Go and find the TARDIS."

She waited and heard "I won't leave you," repeated over and over.

"Doctor, I'm tired. I won't make it," Rose said, shaking her head.

She heard "You can do it," repeated over and over along with the hand on her cheek. Knowing the Doctor wouldn't move without her, she reached down deep inside and gathered all her strength before she willed her legs to go on. She panted and gasped but she kept on going, running towards the slope in a semi-trancelike state. When she reached it, she made herself climb it and ignore the raptors. She could hear the raptors chittering in the distance but they were still far enough away that she made herself ignore them. Her lungs were now burning and she had to stop a couple of times to catch her breath but each time she did she felt the hand back on her cheek and it gave her the strength to keep on going. When she finally did reach the top, she felt like she could collapse and die on the spot. She looked back and the raptors were now nearly to the spot where she'd nearly given up.

"Come," Eleven repeated in her ear.

Rose's legs felt like lead but somehow she moved them again and she led the Doctor to the spot where the TARDIS had been.

"There, it's there," she said, collapsing against a tree while she pointed weakly to the spot.

"I see it," Eleven repeated in her ear.

"Good," Rose said, her legs giving out from under her while she sank to the ground.

She didn't hear anything more from the Doctor and she stared wearily at the spot where she knew the TARDIS was, completely exhausted. She heard the raptors coming but she didn't have the strength to move now that she was on the ground. She closed her eyes and waited for them to catch up to her.

Then she heard a familiar wheezing and her eyes snapped open. She watched while the TARDIS materialized in front of her. She smiled at that but still didn't have the strength to move to it. Then the door opened and Eleven stood there, smiling tenderly at her. Rose raised her eyebrow when she saw his tweed jacket and bow tie.

"You're wearing that now?" she said, pointing to his outfit.

"I like what I'm wearing," the Doctor said, stepping outside.

He took two steps and froze when the raptors came into the clearing. They looked at him and looked at Rose and started going towards her.

"I'm sorry, Doctor," Rose said. "I don't have the strength to fight back."

But the Doctor stopped the raptors with a chittered command. The raptors turned to him and looked at Rose. They started to move to Rose when the Doctor chittered at them again, this time in an angry tone of voice. The raptors backed away and the Doctor glared at them while he moved towards Rose.

"They're listening to you?" Rose said.

"Yes, I can speak raptor," he said, kneeling down to her. "I told them I was the Gamemaster and I had new orders for them and they were forbidden to attack you. They were a bit confused since I wasn't dressed like a medieval monk but I finally fooled them into thinking I was the other me."

He gathered her up in his arms and chittered at the raptors to go somewhere else. The raptors went away and the Doctor breathed a sigh of relief.

"Hopefully they won't return," he said to Rose.

"So you're using the TARDIS then?" Rose said.

"No. Not with the Valeyard nearby. He already has mine; I can risk him getting this one as well. However, I'll let you rest for a moment while I gather up a few helpful things. Then I'm going to hide this TARDIS again. But I'm glad my predecessor put his TARDIS out of sync so I could use it to get back in sync. And now that I'm back, we can finally stop the Valeyard and put an end to his plans."

He stepped inside with Rose and asked the TARDIS to shut the door while he carried her to the jump seat.

"I hate to delay my meeting with my previous self but you and me are going to go back to my TARDIS before we go find him and Jack," the Doctor said to Rose while he sat her down on the jump seat. "I have some friends in cryostasis there and I want to get them out of there. The more, the merrier, after all."

He kissed her forehead and told her to wait and rest before he ran out of the room.

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