“What do you mean ‘none of us are’?”
“The transmat didn’t take me for some reason, I’ve been on the TARDIS trying to fix my vortex manipulator. Uncle, they were about to cut Jack’s head off with a freaking chainsaw!”
The Doctor looked around. “Hold on, we've been here before. This is Satellite Five.” He frowned. “No guards. That makes a change. You'd think a big business like Satellite Five would be armed to the teeth.” He opened another door and they went through.
“No one's called it Satellite Five in ages. It's the Game Station now.” Lynda said. “Hasn't been Satellite Five in about a hundred years.”
“A hundred years exactly,” the Doctor said, still busy with the sonic. “It's the year 200,100. We were here before, Floor one three nine. The Satellite was broadcasting news channels back then. Had a bit of trouble upstairs. Nothing too serious. Easy. Gave them a hand, home in time for tea.”
Lilith shuddered at the memory of the Jagrafess, the cold corpses at work, and the door in Adam Mitchell’s head. That last one made her smirk a bit, which caused the Doctor to look at her strange.
“A hundred years ago?” Lynda repeated. “What, you were here a hundred years ago?”
“Yep!” Lilith nodded, popping the p.
“You're looking good on it,” the girl complimented.
“Why, thank you. I moisturize.”
The Doctor looked at the sonic screwdriver with a frown. “Funny sorts of readings, all kinds of energy. The place is humming. It's weird. This goes way beyond normal transmissions. What would they need all that power for?” he wondered.
“I don't know.” Lynda shrugged. “I think we're the first ever contestants to get outside.”
“We had two friends travelling with us. They must've got caught in the same transmat. Where would they be?”
“I don't know,” she said again. “They could've been allocated anywhere. There's a hundred different games.”
Lilith cocked her head to the side. “Like what?”
“Well,” Lynda thought for a moment, “there's ten floors of Big Brother. There's a different House behind each of those doors. And then beyond that, there's all sorts of shows. It's non-stop. There's Call My Bluff, with real guns. Countdown, where you've got thirty seconds to stop the bomb going off. Ground Force, which is a nasty one. You get turned into compost. Er, Wipeout, speaks for itself. Oh, and Stars In Their Eyes. Literally, stars in their eyes. If you don't sing, you get blinded.” She ticked them all off on her fingers
“And you watch this stuff?” Lilith asked disgustedly.
“Everyone does. How come you don't?”
“Never paid for the license,” the Doctor said absently, still scowling at the sonic.
“Oh my God! You get executed for that!”
“I’d like to see them try.” He buzzed the screwdriver.
“You keep saying things that don't make sense. Who are you though, Doctor, really? And who is she?” Lynda asked
“She’s my niece, Lilith,” the Doctor answered. “And as for who I am, It doesn't matter.”
“Well, it does to me,” she said. “I've just put my life in your hands.”
“I'm just a traveller, wandering past. Believe it or not, all I'm after is a quiet life.”
“So, if we get out of here, what're you going to do?” Lynda questioned. “Just wander off again?”
“Fast as we can,” the Doctor confirmed.
“So, I could come with you?”
Lilith grinned. “Sure! I’m sure we could take you on a trip or two, right, Uncle?”
The Doctor shot her a look. “First of all, we've got to concentrate on the getting out. And to do that, you've got to know your enemy. Who's controlling it? Who's in charge of the satellite now?”
“Hold on.” Lynda said, turning on a light breaker. A sign lit up - Bad Wolf Corporation.
“Truly, this is the Bad Wolf scenario.”
“The big, Bad Wolf.”
“Attention all personnel, Bad Wolf 1 descending.”
The Bad Wolf graffiti on the TARDIS and the walls around London.
Mickey’s Bad Wolf video game.
Bad WolfTV on Satellite Five.
Blaidd Drwg— Bad Wolf
“Bad Wolf,” the Doctor whispered.
Lilith swore in Gallifreyan.
“Blimey!” Lynda breathed as they walked onto an observation deck. “I've never seen it for real before. Not from orbit. Planet Earth.”
The Earth was nothing like Lilith was expecting. It was coated in grey smoke. “What's happened to it?”
“Well, it's always been like that, ever since I was born. See that there?” She pointed to a thick patch of grey. “That's the Great Atlantic Smog Storm. It's been going twenty years. We get newsflashes telling us when it's safe to breath outside.”
The Doctor furrowed his eyebrows. “So the population just sits there? Half the world's too fat, and half the world's too thin, and you lot just watch telly?”
“Ten thousand channels, all beaming down from here.”
“The Human Race,” he scoffed, “brainless sheep being fed on a diet of— mind you, have they still got that program where three people have to live with a bear?
“Oh, Bear With Me. I love that one!” Lynda grinned.
Lilith rolled her eyes. “You can’t even keep your damn train of thought while insulting a scatterbrained species. Hypocrite.”
The Doctor got back to business. “But it's all gone wrong. I mean, history's gone wrong again. This should be the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire. I don't understand. Last time we were here we put it right.”
Lynda shook her head. “No, but that's when it first went wrong. A hundred years ago, like you said. All the news channels, they just shut down overnight.”
“But that was me. I did that.”
“There was nothing left in their place. No information. The whole planet just froze. The government, the economy, they collapsed. That was the start of it. One hundred years of hell.”
“Oh, Rassilon.” Lilith breathed.
The Doctor’s voice dropped to a whisper. “I made this world.”
Jack came running in. “Hey, handsome, beautiful. Good to see you.”
“Jack!” Lilith cried and hugged him tightly. “Are you okay? I saw what they were going to do to you.”
“I’m fine, Lilith.” Jack assured her. “Any sign of Rose?”
“Can't you track her down?” the Doctor demanded.
“She must still be inside the games. All the rooms are shielded.” Jack said.
“If I can just get inside this computer...” the Doctor messed with a nearby console. “She's got to be here somewhere.”
“Well, you'd better hurry up. These games don't have a happy ending.”
“Do you think I don't know that?” the Doctor snapped.
Jack handed over his wrist computer. “There you go, patch that in. It's programmed to find her.”
“Hey, there.” Jack shook Lynda’s hand.
“Captain Jack Harkness.”
“Nice to meet you, Lynda Moss.”
Lilith groaned. “Oh, here we go.”
“Do you mind flirting outside?” the Doctor asked flatly.
“I was just saying hello!” Jack protested.
“For you, Jack, that's flirting.” Lilith pointed out.
“I'm not complaining.” Lynda said with a smile.
“Muchas gracias.” Jack kissed her hand and Lilith gagged.
“It's not compatible. This stupid system doesn't make sense.” The Doctor gave the computer to Lynda and kicked the console. “This place should be a basic broadcaster, but the systems are twice as complicated. It's more than just television. This station's transmitting something else.”
“Like what?” Lilith questioned.
“I don't know. This whole Bad Wolf thing's tied up with me. Someone's manipulated my entire life. It's some sort of trap and Rose is stuck inside it.”
Lilith’s vortex manipulator bleeped. She gasped. “I’ve got a lock on her! Come on!” Everyone put their hand the on the wrist tech and Lilith transported them to Game Room six on floor four zero seven.
That’s where it all went wrong. Rose was disintegrated. Jack flew off the handle. The Doctor fell to his knees.
Lilith stood there frozen. Memories forced their way against the lock in her mind. She didn’t remember this part of the story.
Rose, her best friend, her mother, was gone.
Lilith didn’t even register what was going on around her. They were being searched, interrogated, mug shots were being taken, but she was numb. Rose couldn’t have died. No, Lilith hadn’t disappeared yet.
She hadn’t disappeared yet.
Lilith shot Jack a wide-eyed look, hoping he had figured out the same thing. And by his expression, he had.
The guard headed towards the door. The Doctor looked up from the floor. “Let’s do it.”
Lilith launched herself at the nearby god and socked him in the face, then she threw him against the wall. Jack took care of the rest of the guards. He grabbed his makeshift gun and they four of them headed to the closest elevator.
It took them up to floor five hundred and they burst out.
“Okay, move away from the desk! Nobody try anything clever. Everybody clear. Stand to the side and stay there.” Jack shouted. Lilith pulled her blaster out and aimed it at the Controller. The Doctor did as well.
“Who's in charge of this place?” he spat.
“Nineteen, eighteen,” the Controller counted.
“This Satellite's more than a Game Station.”
“Who killed Rose Tyler?” he demanded.
“All staff are reminded that solar flares occur in delta point one.”
“I want an answer!”
“She can't reply,” a man said. Lilith and the Doctor swiveled to point the guns at him. “Don't shoot!”
“Oh, don't be so thick. Like I was ever going to shoot.” The Doctor threw his weapon at the man. “Captain, we've got more guards on the way up. Secure the exits.”
“Yes, sir.” Jack said.
“You. What were you saying?”
The man frowned. “But I've got your gun.”
“And I’ve got mine.” Lilith snapped. “Answered the damn question.”
“Why can't she answer?” the Doctor asked.
“She's, er, can I put this down?”
“If you want. Just hurry up. Lilith, put the blaster away,” the Doctor scolded.
Lilith stuck her tongue out at him, but obediently tucked the blaster back in her denim jacket, bigger on the inside pockets.
“Thanks. Sorry. The Controller is linked to the transmissions. The entire output goes through her brain,” the man explained. “You're not a member of staff so she doesn't recognize your existence.”
“What's her name?”
“I don't know. She was installed when she was five years old. That's the only life she's ever known.”
“Door's sealed.” Jack told them. “We should be safe for about ten minutes.”
“Keep an eye on them,” the Doctor ordered.
“But that stuff you were saying about something going on with the Game Station. I think you're right. I've kept a log. Unauthorized transmats, encrypted signals, it's been going on for years.”
“You're not allowed in there. Archive Six is out of bounds!” a woman shouted to Jack, who was just about to open the door.
He held up the two guns. “Do I look like an out of bounds sort of guy?” He opened the door and there, in all her glory, stood the TARDIS.
“If you're not holding us hostage, then open the door and let us out. The staff are terrified!” the woman insisted.
“That's the same staff who execute hundreds of contestants every day.” Lilith snipped.
“That's not our fault. We're just doing our jobs.”
“And with that sentence you just lost the right to even talk to me,” the Doctor said. “Now back off!”
The power dropped. Lilith land the Doctor looked around.
“That's just the solar flares. They interfere with the broadcast signal, so this place automatically powers down. Planet Earth gets a few repeats. It's all quite normal.”
The Controller spoke. “Doctor. Collector.”
“Whatever it is, you can wait.”
“I think she wants you.”
“Doctor? Collector? Where's the Doctor? Where are they?”
The Doctor ran up to the Controller. “I’m the Doctor. I'm here.”
“Can't see. I'm blind,” the Controller said. “So blind. All my life, blind. All I can see is numbers, but I saw you. You and your niece.”
“What do you want?” Lilith asked, walking to the Doctor’s side.
“Solar flares hiding me. They can't hear me. My masters, they always listen but they can't hear me now the sun, the sun is so bright.” The Controller sounded panicked.
“Who are your masters?”
“They wired my head. The name's forbidden. They control my thoughts. My masters. My masters, I had to be careful. They monitor transmissions but they don't watch the programs. I could hide you inside the games. Knew that you two would find me.”
“My friend died inside your games,” the Doctor said.
“Don't you dare say that!” Lilith growled.
“They’ve been hiding. My masters hiding in the dark space, watching and shaping the Earth so, so, so many years. Always been there, guiding humanity, hundreds and hundred of years.”
“Who are they?”
“They wait and plan and grow in numbers. They're strong now. So strong, my masters.”
“Who are they?” the Doctor repeated.
“But speak of you, my masters, they fear the Doctor.”
“Tell us who they are!” Lilith insisted.
The power came back on and the Controller went back to reciting numbers. “Twenty one, twenty two.”
The Doctor spun around. “When's the next solar flare?”
“Two years time,” the man answered.
Lilith made a face. “Helpful. Very helpful.”
“Found the TARDIS.” Jack said, running back.
“We're not leaving now.”
“No, but the TARDIS worked it out. You'll want to watch this.” He turned to Lynda. “Lynda, could you stand over there for me please?”
“I just want to go home.”
“It'll only take a second. Could you stand in that spot, quick as you can. Everybody watching? Okay. Three, two, one.” A beam came down and Lynda vanished in a puff of smoke.
“But you killed her!” the Doctor exclaimed.
“No.” Lilith said, realization dawning on her. “No, he didn’t.”
Another beam brought Lynda back so she was stading by the Doctor and Lilith. “What the hell was that?”
“It's a transmat beam. Not a disintegrator, a secondary transmat system.” Jack grinned. “People don't get killed in the games. They get transported across space. Doctor, Rose is still alive!”
Jack and the Doctor hugged, and then Jack swept Lilith up in an even tighter embrace. “She’s not dead. She's out there somewhere.”
“Doctor, Collector. Coordinates five point six point one—”
“Don't, the solar flare's gone. They'll hear you!” the Doctor protested.
“Point four three four. No, my masters, no! I defy you! Sigma seven seven—” The Controller disappeared in a puff of smoke and a scream.
The man gave Jack a disk. “Look, use that. It might contain the final numbers. I kept a log of all the unscheduled transmissions.”
“Nice, Thanks.” Jack said with a flirty smile. “Captain Jack Harkness, by the way.”
“I'm Davitch Pavale,” the man responded.
“Nice to meet you, Davitch Pavale.”
“There's a time and a place,” the Doctor said.
“Are you saying this entire set up's been a disguise all along?” the woman cut in.
“Going way back,” the Doctor confirmed. “Installing the Jagrafess a hundred years ago. Someone's been playing a long game, controlling the human race from behind the scenes for generations.”
“Click on this.” Jack gave the Doctor a remote of some kind. He pressed the button and a holo-viewscreen appeared. “The transmat delivers to that point, right on the edge of the solar system.
“There's nothing there.”
“It looks like nothing because that's what this satellite does. Underneath the transmission there's another signal.”
“Doing what?” Pavale asked.
“Hiding whatever's out there. Hiding it from sonar, radar, scanner. There's something sitting right on top of planet Earth, but it's completely invisible. If I cancel the signal…” the Doctor pressed a few buttons.
A large space ship appeared on the viewscreen. It zoomed out to reveal a whole lot more of them. “No.” Lilith breathed, eyes wide.
“That’s impossible.” Jack spoke up. “I know those ships. They were destroyed.”
“Obviously, they survived,” the Doctor said darkly.
“Who did? Who are they?” Lynda asked.
“Two hundred ships. More than two thousand on board each one. That's just about half a million of them.”
“Half a million what?” Pavale questioned.
Lilith and the Doctor shared twin looks of horror. “Daleks.”
Said aliens appeared on the viewscreen. The Doctor failed to hide his rage that one of the Daleks was pointing its gun at Rose. “I will talk to the Doctor.”
“Oh, will you? That's nice. Hello!” He waved at the screen.
“The Dalek stratagem nears completion.” The Dalek said. “The fleet is almost ready. You will not intervene.”
“Oh, really? Why's that, then?”
“We have your associate. You will obey or she will be exterminated.”
“No,” the Doctor said flatly. Everyone looked at him.
“Explain yourself.” The Dalek ordered.
The Doctor crossed his arms. “I said no.”
“What is the meaning of this negative?”
“It means no.”
“But she will be destroyed!" the Dalek said.
The Doctor stood up. “No! Because this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to rescue her. I'm going to save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet and then I'm going to save the Earth, and then, just to finish off, I'm going to wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky!”
“But you have no weapons, no defenses, no plan,” the Dalek protested.
“Yeah. And doesn't that scare you to death. Rose?”
“Yes, Doctor?” she said.
“I'm coming to get you.” He ended the transition with the sonic screwdriver. “Come on, Lilith, we’ve got a companion to save.”