“So, what're you doing down there?” Mickey asked the Doctor who was under the console fussing with wires.
“Ricky,” the Doctor said around the sonic screwdriver in his mouth.
“Mickey,” the boy corrected.
“Ricky,” the alien repeated, “if I was to tell you what I was doing to the controls of my frankly magnificent time ship, would you even begin to understand?”
Mickey though about it for a moment. “I suppose not.”
“Well, shut it, then.”
Mickey wandered over to the other side of the console where Rose was playing with some dials. Lilith laid down on her stomach next to the hole in the grating and plucked the screwdriver out of the Doctor’s mouth. “Being rude to the boy won’t make her like you any more.”
The Doctor grunted.
“And purposefully messing up his name doesn’t win you any cool points either.”
“I need the sonic,” he said, completely ignoring his niece. Lilith shrugged and gave him the screwdriver, pushing herself up off the floor.
“So, er, in twelve months, have you been seeing anyone else?” Rose was asking Mickey.
“No,” he replied.
“Mainly because everyone thinks I murdered you.”
After a moment of silence, Mickey asked, “So, now that you've come back, are you going to stay?”
Lilith didn’t miss Rose’s eyes dart down to where the Doctor was hidden. The corner of her mouth twitched upwards. “I don’t—”
“Got it! Ha, ha!” the Doctor crowed, jumping up from under the console. Rose and Lilith were immediately at his side. “Patched in the radar, looped it back twelve hours so we can follow the flight of that spaceship. Here we go. Hold on. Come on.” He whacked the monitor. “That's the spaceship on its way to Earth, see? Except. Hold on. See? The spaceship did a slingshot round the Earth before it landed.”
“What does that mean?” Rose asked.
“It means it came from Earth in the first place. It went up and came back down,” the Doctor explained. “Whoever those aliens are, they haven't just arrived; they've been here for a while. The question is: what have they been doing?”
Lilith frowned, looking at the monitor as it showed the trajectory again. She elbowed the Doctor out of the way and started changing the channels. “Let’s see if we can find the news again. We can catch up on what we missed.”
“How many channels do you get?” Mickey asked.
“All the basic packages.” Lilith answered.
“You get sports channels?”
The young Time Lady rolled her eyes. “Yes, I get the football.”
“Hold on,” the Doctor said, stopping Lilith’s channel flipping. “I know that lot.”
On the screen, a group of people was being escorted through a building. A woman’s voice was saying, “It is looking likely that the Government's bringing in alien specialists - those people who have devoted their lives to studying outer space.”
“UNIT. United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. Good people.”
“How do you know them?” Rose questioned.
The Doctor opened his mouth to answer, but Mickey beat him to it. “'Cuz he's worked for them.” Lilith and the Doctor looked at the human, shocked. “Oh yeah, don't think I sat on my backside for twelve months, Doctor. I read up on you. You look deep enough on the Internet or in the history books, and there's his name, followed by a list of the dead.”
Lilith frowned. “Did you even look for a list of the living?”
Rose, deciding to ignore the oncoming argument, cut it short. “If you know them, why don't you go and help?”
‘‘Cuz you’ve regenerated half a dozen times since then.’
The Doctor shrugged. "They wouldn't recognize me. I've changed a lot since the old days. Besides, the world's on a knife-edge. There's aliens out there and fake aliens. We want to keep this alien out of the mix. And I’m not too anxious to shove Lilith out there either. I'm going undercover. And er, I'd better keep the TARDIS out of sight. Ricky, you've got a car. You can do some driving.”
“Where to?” Mickey demanded as they walked towards the exit.
“The roads are clearing. We should probably check out that spaceship.” Lilith suggested. They walked out of the TARDIS and straight into a helicopter spotlight.
“Do not move! Step away from the box and raise your hands above your heads!” a man announced from the helicopter.
Lilith crossed her arms and looked at Rose. “I bet you five bucks this is your mother’s doing.”
Police cars and armored personnel carriers surrounded them. Mickey bolted. (“Coward.” Lilith muttered.) Jackie appeared, coming out of the building.
“Rose!” she shouted, trying to make her way through the crowd of UNIT beret-wearing soldiers. Some of them grabbed Jackie to keep her away “Rose!”
“Raise your hands above your head. You are under arrest!” helicopter man told them. They did so.
“Take me to your leader!” the Doctor said with a grin.
Lilith just rolled her eyes as the trio was herded to a black car.
“This is a bit posh.” Rose said, getting in. “If I knew it was going to be like this, being arrested, I would have done it years ago.”
Lilith smirked. “We're not being arrested; we're being escorted.”
“Where'd you think?” the Doctor said with glee. “Downing Street.”
Rose laughed. “You're kidding.”
“I'm not.” The grin reached from ear to large ear.
“Ten Downing Street?” Rose marveled.
“That's the one.”
“Oh, my God. I'm going to 10 Downing Street? How come?”
The Doctor shrugged. “I hate to say it, but Mickey was right. Over the years I've visited this planet a lot of times, and I've been, er, noticed.”
“Now they need you?” Rose guessed.
“Like it said on the news. They're gathering experts in alien knowledge.” Lilith said. “And who's the biggest expert of the lot?”
“Apart from him.” The Time Lord frowned.
“You think you’re so impressive.” Rose grinned
“I am so impressive!” he insisted. “Who's the Prime Minister now?”
Rose shrugged. “How should I know? I missed a year.”
When they reached their destination and got out of the car. The Doctor smiled and waved for the cameras outside Number Ten. Lilith pulled him away from all the attention and into the building.
“Oh my God.” Rose breathed.
“Ladies and gentlemen, can we convene? Quick as we can, please. It's this way on the right, and can I remind you ID cards are to be worn at all times.” The junior secretary handed a card to the Doctor. “Here's your ID card. I'm sorry, your companion doesn't have clearance.”
“I don't go anywhere without her.” the Doctor said.
“You and the Collector are the code nine, not her. I'm sorry, Doctor. It is the Doctor, isn't it? She'll have to stay outside.”
He frowned. “The Collector?”
The secretary motioned to Lilith. The Doctor looked at her and she shrugged. “No clue what he’s talking about,” she said.
The Doctor shook his head. “It doesn’t matter, Rose's staying with me.”
“Look,” said the secretary, “even I don't have clearance to go in there. I can't let her in and that's a fact.”
Rose put her hand on the Doctor’s arm. “It's all right. You go.”
“I’ll stay with Rose.” Lilith added.
A woman in a pink suit jacket approached. “Excuse me. Are you the Doctor?”
“Not now. We're busy. Can't you go home?” the secretary almost whined.
“I just need a word in private.” Suit Jacket insisted.
The Doctor sighed. “Don't get in any trouble,” he told Rose and left.
“You haven't got clearance. Now leave it,” the secretary growled at the woman, then he turned to Rose and Lilith. “I'm going to have to leave you two with security.”
“It's all right. I'll look after them,” said Suit Jacket. “Let me be of some use. Walk with me.” Rose glanced at Lilith, as if for permission. Lilith nodded and they followed the woman. “Just keep walking. Don't look round. Harriet Jones, MP Flydale North.”
They stopped by the staircase
“This friend of yours, and you,” Harriet looked at Lilith. “you’re experts, is that right? You know— you know about aliens?”
“Why do you want to know?” Rose asked.
Harriet started crying. Lilith raised an eyebrow, but Rose comforted the woman. She took them upstairs and into the cabinet room as she explained what she saw. “They turned the body into a suit. A disguise for the thing inside!”
“It's all right,” Rose said. “We believe you. It's, it's alien.”
“They must have some serious technology behind this.” Lilith mused. “If we could find it, we could use it.”
She and Rose searched the room. Rose opened a different cupboard and a man's body fell out. “Oh my God! Is that the—?”
At that moment, the secretary came in. “Harriet, for God's sake. This has gone beyond a joke. You cannot just wander—” He saw the body and stopped. “Oh, my God. That's the Prime Minister!”
“Oh! Has someone been naughty?” said someone from the doorway. It was a large woman with short blond hair.
“That's not possible. He left this afternoon,” the secretary said. “The Prime Minister left Downing Street. He was driven away!”
“And who told you that, hmm? Me.” The woman grinned. She reached up to her hairline and pulled back a zipper that was attached to her forehead, filling the room with an eerie blue light. Peeling off the face of the woman like a sheet of plastic, the real being began to emerge.
When it was fully out of the skin suit, the alien grabbed the secretary with three-taloned hands, lifting him up and slamming him against the wall.
Lilith grabbed Rose’s hand and, for the second time that day, swore in her native language. “Tyler, we’re in big trouble.”