Chapter Fifteen

After exploring below, Tania came up on deck. The air was warm with a slight breeze that blew her hair around her head. She has always wanted to be a fisherman and had always envied the men who would go out in the morning to fish but her parents as well as he gender ensured that she would never get to do anything except observe.

While she walked around the deck observing the busy crewmembers, she stopped and watched Rose who was standing near the Doctor. They were looking out at the ocean and talking softly to each other. She noticed that Circady was keeping his distance near the stern but every so often was looking Rose's way and glowering at the Doctor. Amy, Rory and River were nowhere to be seen so she assumed they must have gone below.

Rose noticed her watching and smiled warmly before beckoning her over to them.

"We're just having a chat," Rose said when she walked up to the railing and folded her arms on top of it. "How are you doing?"

"I'm fine," Tania said. "I like being here. I wish I could be a fishermen."

"Why can't you?" the Doctor said.

"Because I'm a girl," Tania muttered.

"Girls aren't allowed to fish here?" the Doctor said.

Tania shook her head.

"This town is so boring, especially for a girl. I want to do exciting things. I want to travel like you do," she said to Rose. "My parents want me to grow up and get married and have children and that's it."

"Women aren't allowed to work?" Rose said.

"Yes but it has to be women's work," Tania said.

"And what is women's work?" the Doctor said.

"Washing clothes, cooking, sewing, teaching, stuff like that."

"That's boring. Rose here has done much more than that and she's just as capable as a man," the Doctor said.

"I know I can do things that men can do but the town and my parents won't let me."

"Well, when you become an adult, can't you just leave?" Rose said. "I left my mum to go traveling with him. She protested at first but she couldn't do anything to stop me since I'm grown."

"I could move to some other town but we don't have spaceships so I can't leave the planet."

"So you're…stuck here forever?" the Doctor said.

"Until someone visits here but you're the first people to do that in ages."

"So that's why they want you to stay and make babies," the Doctor said.

"Yup," Tania said with a nod.

"But what about your neighbors," the Doctor said, pointing to a planet in the sky. "Do they have space travel?"

"All our neighbors do, yeah," Tania said, glancing up.

"And you don't," Rose said.

Tania nodded.

"Why?" Rose and the Doctor said in unison.

"The elders don't want them."

"Why? Are they afraid people will start leaving the planet and never come back?" Rose said.

"I don't know but I don't like it," Tania said. "I would love to travel around like you do. Staying here is boring."

"Well, perhaps I can speak to Zan about that when we return to shore," the Doctor said. "I find it odd that you lot are stuck in primitive mode while your neighbors have space travel. Makes for a one sided arrangement when it comes to trade. Perhaps if you had ships you could go and get supplies from other planets and you wouldn't have to fish the ocean until everything's depleted."

"That would be cool. To go and see our neighbors," Tania said. "They haven't visited here since I was a baby."

"I think we oughta look into this when we get back, Rose," the Doctor said to her. "Find out why the elders are anti-technology. If they had the means to go and trade with their neighbors they could not only guarantee enough food for everyone but an abundance of different things that could enrich everyone's lives. Do you know why the other planets stopped sending people?"

Tania shook her head.

"Maybe the elders scared them off," Rose said with a shrug. "Didn't want the people to look at the spaceships and desire them like Tania does."

"Could be, we'll ask about that as well," the Doctor said. "I just have a feeling there's more here than meets the eye."

Rose was about to agree with him when Furnish suddenly gave orders to raise the net. Circady came to the side, away from the Doctor and Rose but still keeping his eye on them while men rushed to the cranks. Two muscular men on one crank and another pair of muscular men on the other one. Both men began to crank up the rope, grunting and straining to get the net into the boat. Tania looked over when River, Amy and Rory came up beside her. River smiled at her as the three of them leaned over to watch. Rose glanced at Circady and noticed the disgusted look on his face when they finally saw the net near the surface of the water. The net was filled to the brim with stuggling fish that began to flop around the moment they hit the air. Most of the fish were dark blue with brilliant yellow spots all over their bodies. The Doctor noticed a few rainbow carp mixed in but nothing as big as the one he saw in the chest. He leaned over to look but he couldn't see any merpeople caught in the net.

When the net reached the top of the boat, more men ran to help pull it in. River, Amy and Rory ran to help them and the Doctor noticed with amusement that the men were giving Amy and River shocked looks while they tugged and pulled with the others. Rose gleefully ran to help while the Doctor chuckled and Tania, after glancing at him, ran to help as well. All of them with the men helping on the cranks managed to get the net into the boat. The fish began to spill out of the opening at the top and flop around on the deck while men ran to get containers for them. The Doctor examined the catch and confirmed that there were no merpeople inside the net. Furnish walked over to the Doctor and pointed to the blue ones with the yellow spots.

"These are the Starlight Speckled Trout I was telling you about. We called them that because the yellow spots look like stars."

"They're gorgeous," the Doctor said as a few flopped around his feet. "I see a few Rainbow Carp as well."

"Yes, but not as big as the trophy," Furnish said while the Doctor nodded in agreement.

When the men returned carrying big wooden boxes, everyone helped put the fish inside them. The waterproof and watertight boxes were filled halfway with seawater to help keep the catch fresh. By now most of the fish had died but there were still a few who clung to life. They breathed the water when they were put into the boxes but they were quickly overwhelmed when everyone piled other fish into the box. By now, Circady was inspecting the boxes, his face twisted in disgust and the Doctor kept a wary eye on him in case he started protesting to Furnish and revealing his true identity. But he noticed that Furnish was more concerned with the women helping them and was trying to shoo them away. The Doctor grinned when Furnish tried that with River while she was scooping some of the wriggling fish out of the net and putting it into a box.

"Am I doing it wrong?" she said.

"No, this is men's work," Furnish said.

"And I'm supposedly incapable of putting fish into a box then," River said.

"Men do this, it's the way things are around here," Furnish said.

The Doctor put his hand over his mouth to hide the smile when he saw the indignant look on River's face. She looked at him and he shrugged and snickered when River rolled her eyes, called to the other women to stop helping and walked away.

"What? We can't help you?" Amy said while Rose walked away laughing.

"We have jobs that belong only to men and jobs that belong only to women and this is men's work," one of the fishermen said to her.

"Well, so sorry to cause a scandal, mate," Amy said while the Doctor shook with silent laughter. "I'm sorry my female hands touched your manly fish."

Rory paused and looked at the Doctor.

"What about me?" he said.

"Apparently your penis qualifies you to put the fish in the box," the Doctor said with another shrug. "So I suppose you can keep going if you want to."

Rory shook his head and decided to follow the women's lead. He stopped what he was doing and walked around the men towards his family and friends. The Doctor looked over his shoulder when Circady came up behind him.

"Look at this! No wonder the ocean is being depleted," Circady said to him while he pointed to the boxes of fish. "They have no right to take all of this."

"Perhaps not but telling them what you really are will only get you locked in a fish tank so I'd keep silent if I were you," the Doctor said to him in a terse voice. "We're going to sort it out but you need to act like a human which means for the moment, don't say anything to them about fishing for more than their share."

Circady glowered at him but he kept his mouth shut and the Doctor breathed a sigh of relief through his nose. After the boxes were all filled and the net was empty, Circady was incensed when they threw it out again in search of more and he stomped off towards the stern so he wouldn't have to confront Furnish or the others about it.

"I have a feeling that if we don't find out what's going on soon, Circady will say something and both he and Rose will end up on display in the town square," the Doctor said as he watched Circady lean over the railing at the back of the boat.

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