Chapter Sixteen

The Doctor was giggling insanely. Ever since his companions were denied the job of handling the fish, they were now running down into the hold and putting their fingers on them and running back out. According to River, their new game was called Defiling the Fish With Alien Estrogen. Rory and Tania stood beside the Doctor watching while Amy looked around before dashing over to the hatch and climbing down. He was even more amused that now they were timing each competitor on how long it took them to get in and out without being seen.

"What if Furnish decides this isn't funny and shoots them?" Rory said to the Doctor while River and Rose made bets on how fast she could go.

"I'm guessing they consider that a worthy risk," the Doctor said.

"They're gonna get in trouble doing that," Tania said as Amy raced out of the hatch and raised her arms in triumph.

"Well, poppet, here's the thing," the Doctor said to her. "My friends and lives mate are extremely headstrong people who don't like someone telling them they can't do something because they're a woman. Which is why now they're running back and forth putting their hands on the fish. Actually, I'm a little surprised at their restraint since I was sure that River was gonna punch Furnish's face in when he told her to get away from the net."

"Trust me, sweetie, I'm still considering it," River said to him while Amy tagged Rose for her turn.

Rose started to run towards the hatch. Then she stopped when she saw the crank and River and Amy laughed when she rubbed her chest against it. Then she ran to the side of the boat and rubbed her butt on the railing. Tania giggled while the Doctor sniggered at her antics. Then she ran over to Rory and pushed on his nose before running back to the other women.

"No one can tell me what to do!" Rose crowed as she put her hands on her hips.

"See, they're hard to control once they get going," the Doctor said to Tania.

Tania giggled. She ran over to the crank and touched it while the women applauded. She ran back to the Doctor and the Doctor grinned and tousled her hair when he saw how proud she was of herself. While they were doing this, Circady was at the bow of the ship by himself, his back turned away while he ignored them. The Doctor noticed him and sighed. He excused himself and walked over to him. When Circady sensed him coming, he looked over his shoulder and glared at him. The Doctor held up his hands.

"I'm not here to tell you to leave Rose alone, I just want to talk to you," he said. "I'd like to be friends, Circady. I hate making enemies. I have too many enemies as it is and besides, I never did anything to you except demand that you return my lives mate to me. You may love her but she's her own woman and she's allowed to be with whoever she wants. Dunno if you've been paying attention to the game behind you but Rose doesn't like being told what to do. Even I have a problem with that sometimes. But I'd rather see her be independent and defiant at times than on her knees bowing and scraping before me. Wouldn't you rather have someone who loved you and wanted to be with you."

"That is not the way for us. We are betrothed to others," Circady said.

"Well, that's not Rose's way. And pulling her down into the depths was a wrong thing to do, especially since she's married to me."

"I lost my betrothed, I cannot be a ruler without a consort," Circady said.

"And did you bother to look first before you snagged Rose?" the Doctor said. "Because you don't seem too gutted that your betrothed is missing. You keep banging on about Rose being yours forever more. So tell me the truth, mate, was there ever a Lalura to begin with?"

"Of course there was," Circady said indignantly.

"Then why are you fixated on Rose?"

Circady shifted a bit and lowered his eyes.

"Because I do not love Lalura," he said, glancing at the Doctor.

"Okay, that's understandable if you're betrothed to someone you barely know. But you barely know Rose so why do you think you could love her instead?"

"Because she reminds me of the woman I did love."

"At last, we're getting somewhere," the Doctor said. "So tell me about her? Who is she and why isn't she around?"

"Her name was Aura," Circady said after a moment's pause.


Circady nodded.

"She was…murdered."

"By who?"

"My father," Circady said, looking at the Doctor. "Because I chose to be with her instead of Lalura."

"He executed her?" the Doctor said, feeling sorry for him.

"Yes. He charged her with fornication with the future heir to the throne and she was eaten by sharks."

The Doctor winced.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I'm sorry Aura suffered and died because you loved her. But you can't replace her with Rose. Rose isn't Aura and never will be."

Circady nodded, his eyes turning down towards the ocean.

"What about Lalura? Is she really missing?" the Doctor asked.

"No, she's still among our people."

"Then why come here then?"

"Because I thought it would allow Rose to say a final goodbye and placate her."

The Doctor snorted.

"See, you don't know Rose very well, mate," he said.

"And because I wanted to see with my own eyes what the humans are doing to the ocean."

"And have they truly taken any of your people captive?" the Doctor said.

"I don't know. But my father thinks they have. He wishes to go to war with them and now I can see why. All these sea creatures they caught today…don't they know that we eat them as well?"

"I don't think they know of your existence," the Doctor said. "At least Furnish doesn't. I asked him about merpeople and he thought you were a myth."

Circady snorted.

"Such is the intelligence of the surface dwellers," he said. "But you are helping them so why make friends with me?"

"I never said I was helping them. I'm trying to find out what's going on here so I can find a solution that will work for everyone. And lying to me doesn't help matters. Now that I know the truth, I can work with that."

"These…creatures need to go back where they came from," Circady said, gesturing to some of the crewmen.

"Well, at the moment, they don't have spaceships…apparently, so they're stuck here. And I want to find out about that as well since everyone around them does have space travel. I'm guessing the other planets are more advanced while Seashell is run like a medieval village."


"Planets, Circady," the Doctor said, pointing up to the planets in the sky. "Other worlds, other places for life to exist. There is more than the ocean, you know."

"And these creatures are stuck here with us," Circady said, making a face.

"Listen. Help me, yeah? Help me to find out the truth about Seashell and why the humans are fishing the ocean dry. Stop fixating on Rose. I'm sorry Aura died, I really am, but enslaving Rose and forcing her to be your mate isn't the solution. Why not be friends with her instead? I'm sure she'd love that. I know I would love being friends with you and your people. Just work with us because war isn't the answer for either side."

Circady thought that over and finally nodded.

"Alright, I'll help. I don't want war either but we have a right to live just as they do."

"And I agree with that," the Doctor said, happy that things were finally moving in the right direction.

He held out his hand and Circady stared at it, confused. He showed Circady how to shake hands and explained the gesture and Circady held his hand more firmly and shook it.

"Thank you. So let's wait till we get back to shore and then pay Zan and the elders another visit," the Doctor said to him.

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