“He's making it up. There's no weapons up there, there's no threat. He just invented it.” the Doctor said, petulantly.
“Do you think they'll believe him?” Harriet questioned.
Lilith laughed. “No offense, but the human race will believe almost anything when it comes to aliens.”
The Doctor nodded in agreement. “That's why the Slitheen went for spectacle. They want the whole world panicking, because you lot, you get scared, you lash out.”
“They release the defense codes,” Rose continued.
“And the Slitheen go nuclear.” the Doctor finished. Marching over to the steel doors, he opened the metal shutters. The Slitheen turned and hissed, but he glared at them, unperturbed. “You get the codes, release the missiles, but not into space because there's nothing there. You attack every other country on Earth. They retaliate, fight back, and it’s World War Three. Whole planet gets nuked.”
One Slitheen was still in their skin suit. It was the large woman who had killed the secretary earlier. “And we can sit through it safe in our spaceship waiting in the Thames. Not crashed, just parked. Only two minutes away.”
“But you'll destroy the planet, this beautiful place.” Harriet protested. “What for?”
“Profit,” the Doctor answered for them. “That's what the signal is beaming into space. An advert.”
“That’s just disgusting.” Lilith sneered. “This is a level five planet. People live here.”
“Ah, but it’s the sale of the century,” the Slitheen/woman said. “We reduce the Earth to molten slag, then sell it piece by piece. Radioactive chucks; capable of powering every cut-price star liner and budget cargo ship. There's a recession out there, child. People are buying cheap. This rock becomes raw fuel.”
“At the cost of five billion lives.”
“Then I give you a choice,” the Doctor said, eyes blazing. “Leave this planet or I'll stop you.”
The Slitheen all started laughing. “What, you?” the woman sneered. “Trapped in your box?”
“Yes,” he said. “Me.” And he closed the doors again.
Silence settled around the room and no one moved. Lilith and Rose shared a glance, but Lilith's mind was elsewhere.
‘Everything is going to work out,’ she mentally assured the Doctor.
‘You can’t possibly know that, Lilith.’
‘I have faith. And so does Rose.’
‘Sadly, that only makes me feel worse.’
The phone still connected them to Mickey’s flat, Lilith realized when Jackie spoke. “All right, Doctor. I'm not saying I trust you, but there must be something you can do.”
“Mickey, any luck?” Rose asked.
“There's loads of emergency numbers. They're all on voicemail.”
Harriet scoffed. “Voicemail dooms us all.”
“If we could just get out of here.” Rose sighed.
“There's a way out.”
Everyone turned and looked at the Doctor. At the sight of his neutral expression, a feeling of dread settled itself in Lilith’s stomach. “What?”
“There's always been a way out.”
“Then why don't we use it?”
Lilith answered, because she knew the Doctor didn’t want to. “Because it’s not safe. There’s no guarantee we’d survive, is there?”
“Don't you dare.” Jackie cried over the phone. “Whatever it is, don't you dare.”
“That's the thing. If I don't dare, everyone dies.”
“Do it.” Rose said.
The Doctor looked at here, wide eyed. “You don't even know what it is. You'd just let me?”
“Please, Doctor. Please.” Jackie begged. “She's my daughter. She's just a kid.”
“Do you think I don't know that?” the Doctor snapped. “Because this is my life, Jackie. It's not fun, it's not smart, it's just standing up and making a decision because nobody else will.”
“Then what're you waiting for?” Rose asked him.
He stared at her intently, pain evident. “I could save the world but lose you.”
I could save the world but lose you.
“Except,” Harriet said, cutting through the silence that followed, “it's not your decision, Doctor. It's mine.”
“And who the hell are you?” Jackie demanded.
“Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North. The only elected representative in this room, chosen by the people for the people. And on behalf of the people, I command you,” she gave the Doctor a nod. “Do it.”
The Doctor grinned.
“How do we get out?”
“We don't, we stay here,” he said, grabbing the Emergency Protocols from the red briefcase on the other side of the table. “Use the buffalo password. It overrides everything.”
“We're in. Here it is. HMS Taurean, Trafalgar Class submarine, ten miles off the coast of Plymouth.” Mickey said.
“Right, we need to select a missile.”
“We can't go nuclear. We don't have the defense codes.”
“We don't need it, all we need's an ordinary missile,” the Doctor said. “What's the first category?”
“Sub Harpoon, UGM-A4A.”
“That's the one. Select. You ready for this?”
Lilith could hear Mickey gulp. “Yeah.”
“Mickey the idiot, the world is in your hands.”
Lilith groaned internally. ‘I really wish you hadn’t called him that. It makes the situation sound bleaker than it already is.’ The Doctor shot her an amused glance and she shook her head at him.
“How solid are these?” Harriet asked, referring to the walls.
“Not solid enough. Built for short range attack, nothing this big.”
Lilith could almost feel Rose’s unease. She covered her friend’s hand with her own. Rose looked at her and smiled softly. “All right, now I'm making the decision,” the human girl announced to the room. “I'm not going to die. We're going to ride this one out. It's like what they say about earthquakes.” She moved over to the cupboard where the two bodies were hidden. “You can survive them by standing under a doorframe. Now, this cupboard's small so it's strong. Come and help me. Come on.”
Lilith joined her, followed by Harriet. The three of them started emptying out the cabinet.
“It's on radar.” Mickey said over the phone. “Counter defense five-five-six.”
“Stop them intercepting it.” the Doctor ordered.
“I'm doing it now.”
“Five-five-six neutralized.” He reported.
Lilith laughed to herself and shrugged when Harriet looked at her funny. “Usually, this is where Iron Man steps in and send the missile into space. The Avengers, 2012. Good movie.”
“Not the time, Lilith.”
“It empty!” Rose shouted.
The Doctor, Lilith, Rose, and Harriet crowded into the cabinet. The Doctor put his arm around Rose and held her close.
“Here we go. Nice knowing you three. Hannibal!” Harriet shouted just before the missile hit.
The world shook and threw them about, reminding Lilith terribly of a rough TARDIS landing. Would she ever get to go through another one of those? She wondered, feeling the temperature rise. Outside of the small cabinet, she knew, fire roared.
Stop being stupid, she told herself, of course you live.
The room suddenly spun on it’s head and did a complete vertical three sixty before flipping them over another time.
And then, the shaking stopped. Everything was quiet, aside from a sole fire alarm ringing. Lilith looked over to see that the Doctor had landed on top of Rose. She tried desperately not to giggle at both of their flushed faces and the Doctor shot up and pushed open the door. It fell to the ground with a loud clang.
Ten Downing Street was nothing but rubble. Flames still flickered around, but they were alive. That was all that really mattered. The young Time Lady let out a whoop of joy and hugged Rose tightly. “Genius idea, Tyler!” she cried.
“Made in Britain.” Harriet said, stepping out into the carnage.
A soldier ran over to them “Oh, my God. Are you all right?”
Harriet flashed her ID card. “Harriet Jones. MP, Flydale North. I want you to contact UN immediately. Tell the ambassadors the crisis is over. They can step down. Go on, tell the news.”
“Yes, ma'am.” He scampered off.
“Someone's got a hell of a job sorting this lot out. Oh, Lord. We haven't even got a Prime Minister.”
“Maybe you should have a go,” the Doctor suggested.
“Me? Ha.” Harriet laughed. “I'm only a back-bencher.”
Rose smiled. “I'd vote for you.”
“Now, don't be silly.” Harriet scolded. “Look, I'd better go and see if I can help. Hang on!” She made her way down the pile of rubble.“We're safe! The Earth is safe!”
“I thought I knew the name,” the Doctor said, arms crossed. “Harriet Jones, future Prime Minister. Elected for three successive terms. The architect of Britain's Golden Age.”
Something clicked in the back of Lilith’s head. She could vaguely see a man in pajamas with a dead serious look on his face. Don’t you think she looks tired?
Britain’s Golden Age indeed. This wasn’t the last they’d see of Miss Harriet Jones.
Back at the Tyler flat, Lilith was relaxing in the kitchen drinking a cup of tea that Jackie had made. The Doctor was back on the TARDIS, probably tinkering to take his mind off of the day’s events.
Jackie had the TV on, where Harriet Jones herself was giving a speech. “Mankind stands tall, proud, and undefeated. God bless the human race.”
“Harriet Jones. Who does she think she is? Look at her, taking all the credit. Should be you on there. My daughter saved the world!” Jackie put her arm around Rose and squeezed.
“I think the Doctor helped a bit.” Rose laughed.
“Hey!” Lilith called from the kitchen.
“Fat lot good you were, Smith!” Rose called back.
“I’ll have your head for that, Tyler!”
“All right, then. Them too.” Jackie said. “You should be given knighthoods.”
“That's not the way he does things. No fuss. He just moves on. He's not that bad if you gave him a chance.” Rose said pointedly.
“He's good in a crisis,” Jackie admitted. “I'll give him that.”
“Oh, now the world has changed. You're saying nice things about him.”
“Well, I reckon I've got no choice. There's no getting rid of him since you're infatuated.”
“I'm not infatuated.”
Lilith laughed, coming out of the kitchen. “You keep telling yourself that, friend. I’m gonna head back to the TARDIS. And don’t think we’re not going to have a talk about that little moment that you two had back there.”
“Don’t know what you’re talking about.” Rose said stiffly, with a grin in her voice.
“Of course you don’t.”
Lilith took her time going back to the ship, mulling over the memories she had regained since the end of this adventure’s fiasco.
I could save the world but lose you.
How many times had she questioned her mother about what the Doctor meant when he had said that. She knew now. Now that she had seen his face, his eyes, as he said those words to his companion. Rassilon, he was really head over heels for the girl, wasn’t he?
Ooh, he was never going to hear the end of it.
When she got to the TARDIS, a young boy was wiping the graffiti off of the side of the blue box. Lilith shuddered. Bad Wolf. She didn’t like hose words much.
Mickey was sitting on a can off to the side, staring at the newspaper in his hands. “I just went down the shop, and I was thinking, you know, like the whole world's changed. Aliens and spaceships all in public. And here it is.” He showed her the newspaper. The headline read ‘Alien Hoax’. “How could they do that? They saw it.”
Lilith shrugged. “They don’t want to, you know? They’re just not ready. Sure, it’s fine to believe in something that's invisible, but if it's staring you in the face? Nah, it can’t be real. There's a scientific explanation for that. Humans are morons.
“We're just idiots.” Mickey chuckled.
“Well,” she said, drawing out the word and rubbing the back of her neck, “not all of you.”
“Come with us,” she said after a moment. “Big Ears will get used to it. You’re brave, Micks. Brilliant, my dad would say. We could use someone like you as part of the crew.”
Mickey shook his head. “I can't. This life of yours, it's just too much. I couldn't do it. Don't tell her I said that.”
Rose and Jackie came out of the building. Lilith looked back to the TARDIS. “Human mother incoming!” she warned loudly. The Doctor came out of the ship, chucking.
“I'll get a proper job. I'll work weekends. I'll pass my test, and if Jim comes round again, I'll say no. I really will.” Jackie was saying to her daughter.
“I'm not leaving because of you. I'm travelling, that's all, and then I'll come back.” Rose told her.
“But it's not safe.” Jackie protested.
“Mum, if you saw it out there,” Rose said gently, “you'd never stay home.”
“Got enough stuff?” the Doctor asked, eyeing the duffel on Rose’s back.
“Last time I stepped in there, it was spur of the moment.” She shoved the duffel into his arms. “Now I'm signing up. You're stuck with me.”
Lilith giggled, the Doctor glared at her. “Not. Funny.”
Rose turned to Mickey. “Come with us. There's plenty of room.”
“Aw, I’m insulted, Tyler. Is my company not enough for you?” Lilith asked, jokingly putting a hand over her heart. “Besides, you know the saying. Three’s a company, four’s a crowd?”
“Isn’t it ‘two’s a company, three’s a crowd’?” the Doctor asked.
“Details,” Lilith waved a hand, dismissively. “Besides, Mr. High-and-Mighty Time Lord won’t let poor Micks on board. His ego’s too big.”
“We'd be dead without him.” Rose pointed out.
“Leave it, Rose.”
Rose shrugged. “Sorry,” she said to Mickey.
He kissed her goodbye and Lilith, to the Doctor’s extreme amusement, mimed puking.
“Good luck, yeah.”
“You still can't promise me.” Jackie said to the Doctor. “What if she gets lost? What if something happens to you and Lilith, Doctor, and she's left all alone standing on some moon a million light years away. How long do I wait then?”
Rose put her hand on her mother’s arm. “Mum, you're forgetting. It's a time machine. I could go travelling around suns and planets and all the way out to the edge of the universe, and by the time I get back, yeah, ten seconds would have passed,” she said. “Just ten seconds. So stop worrying. See you in ten seconds' time, yeah?”
The Doctor disappeared into the TARDIS leaving Lilith to watch the small, domestic moment between the two women. Lilith smiled and followed her uncle into the ship.
The Last of the Time Lords, a temporally misplaced Time Lady and a human shop girl. How much trouble can they get into in ten seconds time?