Chapter Five

River glanced at Rose while they sat in the raft with the Doctor. Before taking the raft into the water, the Doctor had a thought and went back into the TARDIS for a few more things…

"Here we are," the Doctor said, coming out of the TARDIS carrying three life vests and a megaphone.

"Well, isn't this thoughtful," River said as the Doctor passed out the life vests to Rose and River. "I'm glad you decided to give us something to wear in case Rose and I go overboard at some point."

"What with the megaphone though?" Rose said, pointing to it.


Amy, Rory and Tania, who were walking towards the town, turned at the sound of the Doctor's booming voice and stared at him. River rolled her eyes and told them to go on.

"OKAY, EVERYONE INTO THE BOAT!" he said into the megaphone as he pointed to the raft.

"I can already see this will be irritating beyond measure," River said to Rose as they stepped into the boat.



Rose and River glared at the Doctor as he sat at the front of the boat, using the megaphone and yelling at them while they propelled the boat forward with the oars.

"If you don't stop that, I will shove that thing down your throat," River growled at him.

"MUSH!" he said, pronouncing the word like "moosh." "MOOSH, I SAY! MOOSH, MY DOGGIES! ROW FOR YOUR MASTER!"

"Can I pulled the megaphone back out when you ram it down his throat? I want to have a go when you're finished," Rose said to River.


He stopped when River raised her dripping wet oar above her head and gave him a warning look. The Doctor put the megaphone in between his legs and folded his hands in his lap.

"Only trying to help. I obviously can't row since there are two oars," he said.

By that time, they reached the spot that Tania pointed out to them. Rose and River put the oars in the boat and all of them peered over the side, trying to see anything down below. The ocean was bobbing slightly with the beginnings of waves and the boat rode the bumps while the three of them scanned the water for any sign of a flash. When the boat began to drift away from the spot, the Doctor used one of the oars to go back. They stared at the water for ten minutes but didn't see anything. Then the Doctor reached down and grabbed one of the breathing tubes from the bottom of the raft.

"Gonna have a dekko and see if I can see it," he said as he put the prongs in his nose and wrapped the tube around his face.

"I'm going with you," Rose said, grabbing another one.

"River, stay with the boat for now and make sure it doesn't drift away since we don't have an anchor."

"Just be careful, both of you," River said.

The Doctor helped Rose put her breathing tube on and snapped the end of the tube into the metal box. They shrugged off their life vests and put them on the bottom of the raft. Then they sat up on the plump side of the boat and both of them went into the ocean backwards. River gripped the sides for a moment until the boat stopped its violent rocking. She used the oar to paddle back to the spot the Doctor and River dove in and leaned over the side to watch for them.


It took a moment for Rose to get over her feeling of panic and breathe normally through the tube. She kept her mouth clamped shut as she and the Doctor kicked through the water. For the moment, she couldn't see much of anything except for a few strange fish swimming past her. They were out far enough that she could barely see the sandy bottom below them. For the life of her, she didn't know what to look for. She wondered if any of the fish swimming past them was the life forms they were hunting for. She had to admit though; swimming through the water was extremely peaceful. And thanks to her hair being tied back, it was away from her face, unlike her mate who kept having to pull his droopy hair out of his eyes as he kicked through the water.

She glanced over her shoulder and saw the bottom of the orange raft bobbing in the water. She could make out the outline of River's head and knew she was watching for them. She smiled and angled her body up towards the surface of the water. She stuck her hand up through it and looked back when she waved at River. She could see River wave back and she brought her hand back down again and kicked her legs, trying to catch up to the Doctor.

The further they went from the boat, the deeper the water became until Rose suddenly couldn't see the bottom anymore. She saw a deep darkness beneath her and guessed it was an underwater trench. More strange fish swam around under her and she prayed none of them were bloodthirsty.

The Doctor turned around and got her attention by waving. He then pointed up and both of them surfaced.

"Did you see anything?" the Doctor asked her as River began to paddle towards them.

"Not a sausage. I don't know what we're s'posed to be looking for," Rose said as they treaded water.

"No, me neither. I assume it's bigger than a fish if it can kidnap people."

They put their hands on the side of the boat when River came up beside them.

"Anything?" she said.

"No. Just random fish that wouldn't be big enough to pull people under," the Doctor said.

Suddenly, Rose gasped and they looked at her.

"I felt something brush my feet and I don't think it was a fish," she said.

The Doctor looked down and noticed a couple of flashes in the water under Rose. He told Rose to wait and he went under. He was shocked when he saw a merman glaring at him. He was a few feet under Rose's feet and he noticed that the sun was shining off his iridescent scales, making them glow. He suddenly realized that the flash of light must be the light bouncing off the scales while he swam just under the surface. The man had sandy blonde hair that went down to the middle of his back and an angular face and square jaw. He had intense blue eyes, the bluest the Doctor had ever seen. The man's fish tale was also blue but with that iridescent sheen that the Doctor thought was beautiful. He pointed up to the surface so he could communicate with the merman face to face. The merman shook his head and blonde hair rippled around his face.

Who are you and what do you want? The merman thought to the Doctor.

Ah, telepathy is it? The Doctor thought back.

The merman seemed surprised that the Doctor could communicate back.

You're not like the others, he thought to the Doctor.

No, I'm not. I'm called the Doctor and you are…

The merman hesitated a moment and he swam around in an agitated figure eight. The Doctor saw the sun flashing off the scales and he glanced up and saw Rose and River looking at him.

"The flash of light," Rose mouthed to him as he pointed to the merman's body.

The Doctor nodded. He surfaced beside her.

"Trying to establish a rapport with him. He's speaking telepathically and I'm doing the same. I told him my name but when I asked for his, he grew agitated. Or maybe he's decided whether to trust us or not."

The merman surface on Rose's left side.

"Good thing Jack isn't here, he'd be on him in a heartbeat," River said to the Doctor.

"Yes, I know," the Doctor said, rolling his eyes. "So…can I have your name then?" he said to the merman.

"Why are you disturbing our hunting grounds?" the merman said to him.

"Ok, so no introductions then," the Doctor said. "If you mean why are the people of Seashell hunting in your hunting grounds, it's because they're in need of food. Why are you taking people?"

Again, the man hesitated and gave them a wary look. The Doctor sighed, hating wariness when he was trying to establish a friendship.

"Look, we're trying to help all of you," the Doctor said. "We want your people and the humans to live in peace but that can't happen unless a dialogue begins. We're not going to harm you; we just want to know what's happened here and why you're taking people. And I would love to know your name as well. I gave you mine and this is River and Rose."

The merman studied Rose for a moment and Rose thought she could see a flicker of lust in his eyes.

"Please, we want to help you," Rose said.


"I'm sorry?" the Doctor said.

"Circady. You asked for my name and my name is Circady. I am prince of the merpeople of theKingdomofSheshandalla."

"Okay, Circady. Can you ask your father or mother to come and speak with us so we can come to a peace between the merpeople and the humans?" the Doctor said.

"If this…dialogue is to occur, it will occur in Sheshandalla," Circady said.

"Okay. But is that underwater? Because that might be a problem," the Doctor said.

"You swam underwater. I watched you from the deep, dark hole."

"Yes. But this is a special breathing apparatus that allows us to breathe underwater," the Doctor said, pointing to his breathing tube.

"Then wear the breathing apparatus and come to Sheshandalla."

"Okay, how far down is it? Because if we go too far down the water pressure will crush us," the Doctor said. "Can't we have this here…on a boat?"

"No. My parents will never come to the surface. You come to us," Circady said.

"Look. You're being unreasonable," the Doctor said. "No human can survive for long under the water."

"Then you will not be able to follow us," Circady said smugly.

The Doctor was confused. He was about to ask who "Us" were when suddenly Rose gasped and was pulled under the water. Circady dove under the water, a smug grin on his face while the Doctor cursed. River quickly took off her life vest and put her breathing tube on while the Doctor went under and began to kick. He could see Circady swimming away while three burly mermen surrounded Rose and took her with them. Rose was enclosed in some sort of air bubble and the Doctor hoped that would protect her from the water pressure since the mermen were heading towards the trench as fast as they could go. He looked up when River came into the water and tried to kick down after them. But the mermen were faster than they were and they watched Rose beat on the air bubble in futility a few seconds before they vanished down into the inky black darkness of the trench a hundred feet below them.

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