Emily's eyes were drawn to the Marco Perez's oxygen gauge, 23 minutes left. She had no answer for Kramer's question. How could the ship they saw have been the Malcolm Zinn? They both saw it explode, felt the blast that had created all the damage to their ship and left them stranded. The next event left even more unanswered questions; a huge battle cruiser had appeared in the view screen. Emily closed her eyes and shook her head, convinced it was the start of hypoxia making her hallucinate, no ships like that existed in this section of the galaxy!
"Human ship, this is the Vorcon War Master. You are in a restricted zone, unless you can explain yourself to my satisfaction, you will be destroyed."
Emily blinked, yes, she had to be hallucinating, she looked at Kramer, for reassurance, but the look of terror on his face told her that he too had heard the transmission. "Vorcon?" she said, "What's a Vorcon?"
"Someone with a very nasty attitude, " Kramer smiled.
"I don't see how you can find this situation at all amusing, " Emily hissed.
"It's the only way I can cope! And given the prospect of a slow death by oxygen starvation versus a quick blast from one of those huge guns. I think I'll take the later!"
Emily reached for the radio, Kramer might be prepared to give up, but she wasn't. "Vorcon ship, this is the Marco Perez, please we are damaged and no threat to you."
" I see, how did this damage occur?"
"We were damaged when another ship, The Malcolm Zinn, exploded….
"The Malcolm Zinn? Impossible, you lie!" The transmission ended.
A light blinked on the Marco Perez's control panel.
"Oh my God! They've locked weapons on us." Emily exclaimed.
On board the Vorcon Ship Abi sunk to the floor of the holding cell, her arms crossed protectively across her chest. Maybe if she went to sleep she'd wake up to find the last few hours had all been a terrifying dream. The only member of her crew that she knew was alive, though like her locked in a holding cell was Lloyd. Where were the others? Kramer and Emily? Were they safe somewhere in what was now her future? The Doctor interrupted her thoughts.
"This ends now, " he said. Grinning he pulled a rubber band from the pocket of his jacket and a small piece of something resembling plastic about the size of a credit card. He wrapped the rubber band tightly around the card three times and then jammed his creation into the force field. For a second nothing happened, then a small burst of energy shot through the object, charring it black and deactivating the forcefield. He quickly released the others with the same method.
The Doctor put his hand on Lloyd's shoulder, his eyes dark and intense." Right now, you are the key to our survival."
"What?" Lloyd tried to back away but he was caught immobile in the Doctor's gaze.
"Jolus connected with your mind and gave you the tools to fight the Vorcons."
"You're kidding me, I'm not some sort of human torch!"
"No, that would require a change in your DNA, but you still have the power to disable them." Lloyd tried to protest again, but the Doctor continued, "Focus on what you felt when you were connected to Jolus and you'll feel it."
Lloyd shrugged, " I don't think…"
The Doctor's face darkened, "Do it now…or we all die!"
"Please Lloyd, give it a try." Abi pleaded.
The sound of her voice reinforced that it wasn't only his own life at stake; he closed his eyes and tried what The Doctor had told him. Nothing happened. He tried again and there was something, a memory he couldn't quite get hold of, like trying to put a name to a face. It was so close, almost there, yes! Yes he had it! He opened his eyes. "Yes Doctor, you were right, I know what to do."
"Told you so!" laughed The Doctor." Let's go!"
The small group followed him out of holding cell. Abi shivered as the tall menacing figure of a Vorcon marine approached the group. Lloyd spoke one word, a strange alien word that made the hairs on the back of her neck tingle. The Vorcon froze and with what she could only assume was look of surprise turned his attention on Lloyd. "Yes master, " said the creature, "how may I serve you?"
"Free the prisoner Jolus and bring him to me." Lloyd commanded.
Once Jolus was free, they headed for the War Master's private chamber. The Doctor was able to open this door with his sonic screwdriver. Inside he saw Rose suspended in a force field a few feet from the floor.
"Ah Doctor, you are just in time to witness the death of your companion." He pressed a switch, which sent an electric shock through her body, held like a fly in a spider's web she convulsed for a few moments. "That was the minimum setting, barely tickles, the fun really starts when I crank it up," smiled the War Master.
"Oh I see!" The Doctor folded his arms across his chest. "This is the part where you go into a long monologue about how evil you are and I'm supposed to be scared and do exactly what you want, " he tilted his head to the right and grinned. "So I think we'll fast forward to the part where I beat you, rescue Rose and save the universe and be back in time for tea!"
"How about I fast forward to the part where your companion becomes a crispy corpse!"
Jolus stepped forward, "There's been enough killing and tormenting done by your race to last several generations, I will not allow you to do this!" He directed a wave of psychic energy toward the Vorcon, which lifted him off the floor and pinned him against the wall.
The Doctor gestured to Lloyd to take over the controls of the device and as he went over and stood beneath Rose. Lloyd deactivated the holding force field and Rose fell into the Doctor's waiting arms. He hugged her tightly, relieved that she was safe.
"Jolus, from what I remember about this neurotic feudal race, the War Master has the ability to override all major ship's functions from his quarters, very useful when you want to be an all powerful dictator!"
"That's correct Doctor, "Jolus replied, without taking his gaze from the War Master.
"Fantastic!" The Doctor got to work on the controls. He disabled the main weapon systems and locked down certain areas of the ship. " That should do it, we can get to the Transmat without any trouble now."
"I want to kill you War Master, " Jolus said, "but that would be futile, another would simply take your place and anyway the humiliation you'll receive from your crew will be much more painful than anything I can deliver to you!"
The War Master groaned and spat a string of expletives at Jolus as he was still held in the psychic field unable to move, " A little of your own medicine first, I think." Jolus told him and using his telekinetic powers he moved the Vorcon to the device that had previously held Rose.
"Time for us to leave, we need to get back to the TARDIS, " said the Doctor.
"No argument from me, " said Rose.
The Doctor, Rose, Abi, Lloyd, Jolus and The Captain used the Transmat and returned to the Malcolm Zinn
Aboard the Malcolm Zinn Wilson had managed to remain hidden, using the air vents to travel from the storeroom to other parts of the ship. He gave up his idea of raiding the armoury as it was too heavily guarded by the aliens. However, he'd managed to arm himself by collecting a gun from one of the dead crew. The corridor leading to the Transmat had been quiet for awhile but now someone, someone human, was approaching, they would not pass until they had told him where Abi was. He needed answers.
The Malcolm Zinn seemed deserted, The Doctor or the Captain checked all the bodies they found but none were alive, some charred beyond recognition by the flame thrower style Vorcon blasts. Jolus disabled the few Vorcons they met along the way. Close to the TARDIS, a figure flew out in front of the party, a blast from his gun knocking Jolus to the floor. "Where's Abi?" he screamed, his eyes wide.
"Wilson, I'm here." She said softly.
He spun around to face her his gun still aimed and ready to fire as if he saw something else other than her pleading warm brown eyes. "Abi?"
She nodded; the gun dropped to the floor. "Those things? Aliens? I…"
"Yes Aliens and now you may have destroyed our best weapon" The Doctor told him. He was kneeling beside the unconscious Jolus. "Lloyd, help me get him up."
Jolus opened his eyes, "It's OK Doctor, you are safe now. I can sense that all the Vorcons have gone from this ship. It's time for me to go."
The whole of Jolus's body began to glow with purple fire, the colour deepening to almost black. Then there was just the blackness, a thick swirling dust; Jolus was gone. The dust filled the corridor, silver shimmers sparkling in the dark depths. The cloud lingered momentarily on Lloyd, the dark colours changing to reds, yellows and finally golds before completely vanishing.
A single tear ran down Lloyd's cheek, "He showed me…I think…it's where he's gone…was so beautiful so peaceful…he's free now." He smiled.
Jolus's disappearance seemed to calm Wilson, the haunted look was gone from his eyes, or else it was the relief of being reunited with his fellow crew members. "I'm sorry…" he began.
"It's OK, " The Doctor reassured him, "it was his time, he was tried of being a pawn in the fight against the Vorcons."
"Is there any way we can fight these monsters?" The Captain of the Malcolm Zinn asked.
"Yes, there are ways, but it doesn't matter, they will come back time and time again…." The Doctor paused. He knew the fate of the Vorcons; they would soon be a part of and later causalities of the great Time War. That war was responsible for the unstable time pockets in this area of space and the reason he was now all alone, the last of the Time Lords. Burying his emotional pain, the Doctor continued, " we need to get to the TARDIS and get out of here."
"TARDIS?" asked the Captain.
"It's his ship," Abi answered as the Doctor had already headed off down the corridor.
The Captain frowned, "Ship? How? Where?"
"You'll see." Abi Smiled.
Emily closed her eyes, waiting for the blast of energy to hit the Marco Perez but nothing happened, she opened them again. The ship was still on the view screens but the weapons lock on her console had gone out.
"Do you think they changed their minds?" she asked Kramer.
He didn't get a chance to reply. A strange whirring noise was coming from outside the bridge. The door swung open.
"Abi!" Kramer exclaimed, " Oh My God! You're alive…we thought…"
"We hitched a lift from a passing traveller," she smiled, " come on, we need to get out of here, before the Vorcons have control over their weapons again." She led Emily and Kramer to the TARDIS.
No one noticed the blue box dematerialising for the second time in a corner of a storage compartment on board the Isabella V space station. The first time had been two hundred years in the past to drop off the Captain of the Malcolm Zinn and others from the ship that had survived the Vorcon attack. Now it was time to say farewell to the Marco Perez's crew.
Lloyd shook the Doctor's hand, " Thank you," he said. The Doctor grinned in response and went back into the TARDIS.
Rose gave Abi a hug, said, "Good luck," and followed him in. A few seconds later the TARDIS was gone.
"Why did she wish you luck?" Kramer asked.
Abi smiled at him and took his hand, " Because it's about time I started living my life and not trying to be my father. My ship is gone, but all my friends…my family are safe and that's the most important thing." She blushed, "And you Mike…."
She didn't have to say anymore he could see in her warm brown eyes that she was thinking back to that night on Salente IV and the kiss that they had shared. Kramer pulled her close in his arms and kissed her deeply; this time she didn't resist. They only broke apart when Wilson clapped him on the back, " It's about time you two got together, " he laughed. Abi and Kramer laughed with him.
"Let's go find a bar, " said Abi, " We have something to celebrate!"
Wilson nodded, "That's the best idea I've heard all day."