6: Escape to Danger
Ben calmly approaches the hatch. Beyond is whiteness.
Krella: Don't despair, CHAV. The Holy Mother embraces all her offspring. You'll face perfection in the final realm. Hey, if we didn't believe that, this whole society would be insane!
Krella chuckles. Ben shakes the gadget in his hand. Nothing.
Ben: Oh, God... this is it. This is real.
He steps forward into the hatch. It closes after him. Krella sighs.
Krella: Nice mind, but what a body...
Ben opens his eyes. He is standing in a circular room with a vaulted ceiling. Standing at a narrow, triangular console is a man with short hair, big ears and a leather jacket. At his touch, the doors behind Ben close and the cylinder in the middle of the console starts to rise and fall. The man turns to face Ben and beams.
Observer: Ah! Speak of the Devil!
He snatches the gadget off Ben and peers at it, then glares at Ben.
Observer: Have you been messing about with this?
Elsewhere, Mickey is pacing while Jake taps at the computer.
Jake: Well, it seems you're only locked out for the next day.
Mickey: Giving her plenty of time to pump that muck in her belly.
Jake: Come on, Mickey. You know Rose. If there was any danger to the baby, a squad of Cybermen couldn't get her on that operating table.
Mickey: No, no, Jake, she THINKS there isn't any danger. Big difference.
Jake: You showed me the test results.
Mickey: For intertile cell structures! Not fertile ones! Not eight and a half months pregnant ones from a different universe on the far side of the Void ones! It's not safe.
Jake: So... why hasn't she tested it.
Mickey: She is, she's doing it to herself! Cause all the computers say unless we start now, humanity will be lucky to see out the decade, let alone the century. Now, that baby is 50 per cent mine, and I say 'no'.
Jake: You're sure?
Jake: That it's yours.
Mickey silently approaches Jake.
Mickey: Are you saying what I think you're saying, Jakey boy?
Jake: I mean, all I'm sayin is - you counted the heart beats?
Jake: (lowers eyes) Griffin got wasted at Christmas. Says that, during the ultra sound, she made damn sure he counted how many hearts he could here. He said there were two.
Mickey is silent.
The man in the leather jacket is wiring up the gadget to the console.
Observer: This is an Ameralian teleporter. Musta got soaked in artron energy before it arrived on Earth. The Ameralians use it to jump from place to place, using their mental energy. You musta been terrified when you used it, and instead of jumping through space, through time.
Ben: I wasn't terrified!
Observer: Well, you don't look like you were the happiest you'd ever been and I doubt anythin else coulda set this off. But somehow, you've pushed time entirely out of shape. You jumped into the future and pushed that future so off the beaten track, they sent me, muggins here, to sort it out. I'm a bit of an expert when it comes to humans.
Ben: And who are you?
Observer: Just an observer. Passin through. So, tell me... What scared you death?
Ben: You ever hear of Rose Smith?
Observer: Never heard of it. Is it an acronym?
Ben: No... look. You're an alien, right?
Observer: The rightest alien you'll ever meet, Bert.
Observer: Ben. Whatever.
Ben: Look, it's a long story.
Observer: The best to tell. (works at the console for a few moments) Well? Go on.
Mickey and Jake are now inches apart.
Mickey: You think that the Doctor is the father? Is that it?
Jake: I dunno. Griffin was wasted, like I said. He was telling a story, he passed out before the end of it... But you said the Doctor had two hearts.
Mickey: Oh yeah, Jake, I did. And I also said, Rose is eight and a half months gone. And when did we last see the Doctor? A year ago. A year and a day. And he was a hologram at the time. Last time we saw him in the flesh, it was fifteen months ago.
Jake: Maybe Time Babies take longer than nine months.
Mickey: Are you looking for a bruise, Jake?
Jake: (grins) More a snog.
Mickey laughs, despite everything.
Mickey: Man, time and a place. Time and a place. (sobers) We've gotta stop Rose.
Jake: Yeah. Trouble is, she's our boss. She's higher up, smarter, clever, cuter, she's got this entire institute on her side and she knows we're onto her. Plus, she's really worked on the bambi eyes lately, so no one's gonna go against her.
Mickey: Plus she learned all the tricks from the most dangerous bloke in both universes.
Jake: So, we're basically screwed.
Mickey: Oh no. I was with the Doctor too, you know.
Jake: And he gave you a trick did he?
Mickey: Yeah. It's called diagonal thinking.
Jake: You mean 'lateral'?
Mickey: Nah, this is way more extreme than just lateral.
The Observer is pacing around the console.
Observer: Things like this never go well. You always go at your own pace, you do not, ever, steal alien technology and reverse engineer it. It never works. Unforeseen side effects, long term social mutation, cats and dogs living together, this is bad on so many levels.
Ben: She says it's the only way to save mankind.
Observer: Oh, come on, Barry, how many dictators use that as their excuse? On the other hand, she's clever. She must be clever. I mean, to succeed, even in a parallel timeline... Does she strike you as the sort that would purge genetically impure humans?
Ben: No. Her husband's black.
Observer: (chuckles) Honestly, you lot. So superficial. But that's a good sign. If this future isn't what she wanted, then that means something went wrong. Really wrong. Something linked to you being taken out of time. Now, what's so special about you?
Ben: Uh. I've got a first from Cambridge.
Ben: That's it, pretty much.
Observer: What's your name?
Ben: Ben Chatham.
Observer: Never heard of you before. And I've heard of everyone. You're not famous, you're not on the radar, so why are you so important? (blinks) Cosmically speaking, I mean, everyone's important. Just cause a wandering Time Lord hasn't heard of you don't mean you've wasted your life, I'm just talking in temporal terms. No offence, yeah? Thought not. OK, Baxter, time to subdivide our forces. First thing first, return you to your customary time and place. You say Smith wanted you to be the first to be made fertile?
Ben: It's what she said.
He starts operating controls.
Observer: And you believe her, so as long as you aren't injected, that history cannot happen. There you go, Blake, you are important! Bless!
In the operating theatre, Rose is wearing a gown, sitting on the bench. A nurse has taken her blood pressure. Griffin is attaching cables to her shoulder, chest, leg and forehead.
Griffin: Your blood pressure is higher than I'd like, Director...
Rose: It's been kicking a lot and it's a hard day. Go on.
Griffin: All right. Just lie back.
Rose does so, putting her legs into the styrrups. Griffin is still undecided.
Rose: Look, if you don't wanna do this, you don't have to be the staff gynaecologist. Do it.
Griffin: Yes, Director.
The nurse lifts a circle of the gown covering Rose's engorged stomach.
Griffin: The chemical has been treated as you requested. It will take five minutes to complete the process, and then your... child will be complete.
To be continued...