Chapter Eight

Tarana walked into the kitchen and stopped at the table. The Doctor was sitting there, studying the manipulators. Tarana pulled up a chair and the Doctor looked at her over the top of his glasses.

"Rose is resting in the bedroom," Tarana said.

"Good. She needs the rest, especially if we come across more dangers," the Doctor said.

"Do you think there are more dangers?" Tarana said.

The Doctor took his glasses off.

"Tarana, you haven't known me very long but know this, trouble seems to follow me wherever I go so be prepared for it," he said before putting his glasses back on. "I have a feeling these manipulators were tampered with and it wasn't accidental. That creature should have been cleared out of the game area but they left it there so it could kill anyone who came across it. To my knowledge, the games were benign, not some sort of life or death contest."

Tarana was disturbed by that. She wondered where Cephos had gone and she prayed he was alright. She watched while the Doctor used his sonic to scan his manipulator and she suddenly hoped that the Doctor was wrong and if he was right, the three of them would be able to get through the contest alive.

The Doctor looked up when he heard a tiny mewing sound coming from the living room.

"What's that?" the Doctor said, getting up from the table.

Tarana's nerves were on edge as the Doctor rounded the corner. But she relaxed a moment later when the Doctor came back, holding a mewing Alfred in his hands.

"Our little friend makes sounds like a cat, interesting," the Doctor said, setting him down on the table before sitting back down.

Tarana chuckled when Alfred shuffled towards the manipulators and sniffed them.

"He's a friendly chap. He will definitely make a good pet," the Doctor said, stroking Alfred's back.

"I wonder what it is?" Tarana said.

"Dunno. There's something like it on Earth called a mole. Perhaps it's a distant relative. I know one thing, Earth moles can't meow so it's not the same species," the Doctor said when Alfred mewed at him.

"Can you fix the manipulators?" Tarana said as the Doctor got up from the table and walked over to the cabinets over the sink.

"I don't think so. The manipulators are dead locked sealed. I can't open them to get at the circuitry. Thought I saw a box of raisins up here," the Doctor said, riffling through the cabinets. "If we put them on, we might be at the mercy of whoever is controlling them."

"You think someone is controlling them?"

"I do. I have a hunch and my hunches are usually correct. Ah, here we go," the Doctor said, pulling down a small purple box. "Unfortunately, I run into sinister setups all the time and my instincts tell me this is one of them."

He walked over, sat back down and opened the box. He pulled out a small raisin and offered it to Alfred. Alfred sniffed it, took it in his front paws and held it while he nibbled at it.

"Good, he likes raisins. Gotta have something on hand for him to eat," the Doctor said.

The Doctor put a small handful of raisins down by Alfred. Alfred finished the raisin in his paws, sniffed the pile and picked up another raisin.

"What do we do then?" Tarana said.

"Well, we don't know where we are. We don't even know if we're at the correct coordinates. For all we know, we're two miles from the arena. That is, if someone is controlling our movements. Unfortunately, we need the manipulators in case we do find a way to gain control and get back to the arena. Until then, we're at the mercy of whoever is doing this, if someone is doing this."


The Doctor looked over his shoulder when he heard Rose.

"He's in here, enjoying a snack," he called to her.

Rose came into the kitchen.

"Oh good, I thought he scarpered while I was sleeping. I missed him," she said.

"Nah, just enjoying a tasty treat. And he meows like a cat," the Doctor said as Rose walked over to the sink.

"He does?" Rose said.

"Yup. It's very cute," the Doctor said.

Rose opened the cabinets and found a glass. She got some water and listened while the Doctor filled her in on what he learned and his theory on what was happening. Rose groaned.

"So Johnson, he wasn't just intimidating me at random then," she said.

The Doctor looked at Tarana.

"That's right. That bloke was threating Rose last night, promising he'd get us," the Doctor said.

"So he's behind this?" Tarana said.

"I don't know but in light of recent events, I'd keep an eye out for him," the Doctor said. "Ah, now see…" he added, when Alfred mewed and walked over to him. "See, like a cat."

"Aw, the cuteness factor on him has just increased," Rose said as the Doctor stroked Alfred's back.

"Alfie, I have a huge TARDIS and I'm gonna ask my TARDIS to make a room for you where you can dig and eat to your heart's content," the Doctor said. "You'd never have to worry about getting eaten. You'd have a paradise all your own."

"We'll have to buy him a mate," Rose said. "A mate as in breeding mate, that is. We can have a family of moles in the TARDIS."

"No, Alfie, don't go domestic, stay a bachelor forever!" the Doctor said, rubbing his snout.

Rose rolled his eyes at that and emptied the rest of her water into the sink. She sat the glass down by the sink and told everyone she was laying back down. But a moment later, she was back at the Doctor's side.

"Doctor, I think I saw Johnson when I passed by the window. He ducked behind a tree at the bottom of the hill," she said.

"Bollocks. Rose, Tarana stay here with Alfred. I'm going to go confront him and find out what's going on here," the Doctor said, rising to his feet.

Rose and Tarana watched while the Doctor grabbed his screwdriver and put it in his coat pocket. Then he put a finger to his lips and walked to the front door, hoping he could subdue Johnson and get some answers.

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