“There it is,” Jack said. “Hey, they've got Algy on duty. It must be important.”
“We've got to get past him,” the Doctor said.
“Are the words ‘distract the guard’ heading in my general direction?” Rose asked.
“I don't think that'd be such a good idea.” The three turned their heads to look at Jack.
“Don't worry,” Rose said, “I can handle it.”
“I've got to know Algy quite well since I've been in town. Trust me, you're not his type. I'll distract him.” Jack grinned as he started walking away. “Don't wait up.”
Rose stared after him disbelievingly. “Relax, he's a fifty first century guy,” the Doctor shrugged. “He's just a bit more flexible when it comes to dancing.”
“How flexible?” she asked.
“Well, by his time, you lot have spread out across half the galaxy.”
Lilith snickered. “So many species, so little time.”
“What, that's what we do when we get out there? That's our mission? We seek new life, and… and…"
“Dance,” the Doctor confirmed with a chuckle. They watched Jack as he dropped to the ground and went after Algy. The two exchanged some words before the latter fell to his knees and his face began turning into a gas mask.
“Jack, tell them to stay back!” Lilith shouted, running to Jack’s side.
“You men, stay away!” Jack yelled to the other soldiers.”
“The effect's become air-borne,” the Doctor said. “Accelerating.”
“What's keeping us safe?” Rose asked.
Lilith and the Doctor exchanged glances before answering. “Nothing.” Lilith glanced down at the back of her hand, half expecting to see a scar. The air raid sirens started going off.
“Ah, here they come again.” Jack said, looking up.
“All we need.” Rose sighed. “Didn't you say a bomb was going to land here?”
“Never mind about that,” the Doctor said dismissively. “If the contaminants airborne now, there's hours left.”
“Till nothing, forever, for the entire human race. And can anyone else hear singing?”
“Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree tops.”
They looked around for the source of the song, following the voice until they found Nancy handcuffed to a table, singing to keep one of the gas mask zombies asleep. The Doctor slipped into the shed and used the sonic to unlock the handcuffs. He led her out to the crash site where Jack and Lilith were pulling away the tarpaulin.
“You see? Just an ambulance.” Jack said.
“That's an ambulance?” asked Nancy
“It's hard to explain.” Rose said. “It's from another world.”
“They've been trying to get in.” Jack said, frowning.
“Of course they have. They think they've got their hands on Hitler's latest secret weapon. What're you doing?” the Doctor questioned.
Jack was keying in the access codes. “The sooner you see this thing is empty, the sooner you'll know I had nothing to do with it.” There was a bang, sparks, and an alarm. The access panel had a red flashing light. “Didn't happen last time.”
Lilith rolled her eyes. “Well, duh. It hadn't crashed last time. There'll be emergency protocols and stuff.”
“Doctor!” Rose shouted as the gates on the other side of the crash site started shaking.
“Captain, secure those gates!” the Doctor ordered.
“Just do it! Nancy, how'd you get in here?”
“I cut the wire.” Nancy said.
“Show Lilith.” The Doctor threw Lilith the sonic screwdriver. “Setting two thousand four hundred and twenty eight D.”
“Reattaches barbed wire. Got it! Come on!” Lilith grabbed Nancy’s hand and the girl let her to the hole in the barbed wire. Lilith used the sonic and started to fix it.
“Who are you? Who are any of you?” Nancy asked.
“You'd never believe me if I told you.” Lilith said, focusing in the barbed wire.
“Your friend just told me that was an ambulance from another world. There are people running around with gas mask heads calling for their mummies, and the sky's full of Germans dropping bombs on me. Tell me, do you think there's anything left I couldn't believe?”
Lilith paused. “We're time travellers from the future.”
“Mad, you are.” Nancy laughed shakily.
“Nope. We’ve got a time travel machine and everything.”
“It's not that. All right, you've got a time travel machine. I believe you. Believe anything, me. But what future?”
The elder of the two put down the sonic screwdriver. “Nancy, this isn't the end. I know how it looks, but it's not the end of the world. Not even close.”
“How can you say that? Look at it.” Nancy nodded towards the bomb dropping planes.
“I may not sound like it, but I was born in this city. I'm from here, just about a century away.”
“I'm a Londoner from the future.”
“But, but you're not…” she trailed off.
Lilith raised her eyebrows. “What, British?”
“Nancy, the Germans don't come here. They don't win. Don't tell anyone I told you so, especially not the Doctor, but you know what? You win this war.”
“We win?” Nancy repeated, almost smiling.
Lilith grinned. “Come on!” She took the younger girl’s hand again and they went back to the Chula ambulance, which they had gotten open.
“It's empty. Look at it.” Jack was saying.
The Doctor had his arms crossed and was glared irritated at the captain. “What do you expect in a Chula medical transporter? Bandages? Cough drops? Rose?”
Rose shrugged. “I don't know.”
“Yes, you do.” Lilith said, pointing at her hands.
The Doctor nodded. “It wasn't empty, Captain. There was enough Nanogenes in there to rebuild a species.”
Jack paled. “Oh, God.”
“Getting it now, are we? When the ship crashes, the Nanogenes escape. Billions upon billions of them, ready to fix all the cuts and bruises in the whole world. But what they find first is a dead child, probably killed earlier that night, and wearing a gasmask.”
“And they brought him back to life?” Rose marveled. “They can do that?”
“What's life? Life's easy. A quirk of matter, nature's way of keeping meat fresh, nothing to a Nanogene. One problem, though, these Nanogenes— they're not like the ones on your ship. This lot have never seen a human being before. Don't know what a human being's supposed to look like. All they've got to go on is one little body, and there's not a lot left. But they carry right on. They do what they're programmed to do. They patch it up. Can't tell what's gasmask and what's skull, but they do their best. Then off they fly, off they go, work to be done. Because, you see, now they think they know what people should look like, and it's time to fix all the rest. And they won't ever stop. They won't ever, ever stop. The entire human race is going to be torn down and rebuilt in the form of one terrified child looking for its mother, and nothing in the world can stop it!”
“I didn't know.” Jack cried.
‘Easy, Uncle. He’s just a human.’ Lilith telepathically said.
The Doctor ignored her and started to work on the ambulance. The gas mask patients from the hospital began to approach. “Mummy. Mummy.”
“Stay calm, Nancy.”
“It's bringing the gas mask people here, isn't it?” Rose asked.
“The ship thinks it's under attack. It's calling up the troops. Standard protocol,” said the Doctor.
“But the gas mask people aren't troops.”
“They are now. This is a battlefield ambulance. The Nanogenes don't just fix you up; they get you ready for the front line. Equip you. Program you.”
“That's why the child's so strong.” Rose guessed. “Why it could do that phoning thing.”
“It's a fully equipped Chula warrior, yes,” the Doctor stood. “All that weapons tech in the hands of a hysterical four year old looking for his mummy. And now there's an army of them.”
The gas mask people surrounded them outside the barbed wire.
“Why don't they attack?” Jack wondered.
“Good little soldiers, waiting for their commander.”
“Jamie.” Lilith and Nancy corrected.
Jack looked at them. “What?”
“Not the child.” Nancy said. “Jamie.”
“So how long until the bomb falls?” Rose asked.
“Any second.” Jack’s voice was tense.
“What's the matter, Captain? A bit close to the volcano for you?” the Doctor teased sharply.
“He's just a little boy.” Nancy whispered. “He's just a little boy who wants his mummy.”
“I know.” Lilith said. “There isn't a little boy born who wouldn't tear the world apart to save his mom. And this boy can.”
“So what're we going to do?” Rose demanded.
“I don't know.” the Doctor said.
“It's my fault.” Nancy cried.
“No,” the Doctor said kindly.
“It is,” she nodded. “It's all my fault.”
“How can it be your—”
“Mummy. Mummy. Mummy. Mummy,” the gas mask people began to chorus around them.
The Doctor frowned. “Nancy, what age are you? Twenty? Twenty-one? Older than you look, yes? “
The bombs were getting steadily closer. “Doctor, that bomb. We've got seconds.” Jack said.
“You can teleport us out.” Rose suggested.
“Not you guys. The nav-com's back online. Going to take too long to override the protocols.”
“So it's volcano day. Do what you've got to do,” the Doctor said. Jack vanished, and he turned back to Nancy. “How old were you five years ago? Fifteen? Sixteen? Old enough to give birth, anyway. He's not your brother, is he?” Nancy shook her head. “A teenage single mother in 1941. So you hid. You lied. You even lied to him.”
The bombsite gate opened and Jamie stood there. “Are you my mummy?”
“He's going to keep asking, Nancy. He's never going to stop.”
“Tell him, Nancy.” Lilith put a hand on her shoulder. “The future of the human race is in your hands. Trust me and tell him.”
Nancy and Jamie walked towards each other. “Are you my mummy?” Jamie asked. “Are you my mummy? Are you my mummy?”
“Yes. Yes, I am your mummy.” Nancy breathed.
“Are you my mummy?”
She knelt down in front of him. “I'm here.”
“Are you my mummy?”
“Are you my mummy?”
“He doesn't understand,” the Doctor said. “There's not enough of him left.”
“I am your mummy. I will always be your mummy. I'm so sorry. I am so, so sorry.” Nancy hugged Jamie and a cloud of Nanogenes surrounded them.
Lilith’s jaw dropped and Rose’s eyes widened. “What's happening? Doctor, it's changing her, we should—”
The Doctor shushed her. “Come on, please. Come on, you clever little Nanogenes. Figure it out! The mother, she's the mother. It's got to be enough information. Figure it out.”
“The Nanogenes. They’re recognizing that Jamie and Nancy have the same DNA.” Lilith said.
Jamie let go and Nancy fell back. The Doctor, Lilith, and Rose rushed over. “Oh, come on. Give me a day like this. Give me this one,” the Doctor said, removing Jamie's gas mask. “Ha, ha! Welcome back! Twenty years till pop music— you're going to love it.” He picked up the boy and swung him around.
“What happened?” Nancy asked.
“The Nanogenes recognized the superior information, the parent DNA. They didn't change you because you changed them! Ha, ha! Mother knows best!”
“Oh, Jamie.” Nancy cried, pulling her son close.
“Doctor, that bomb.” Rose warned.
“Taken care of it,” the Doctor said.
The bomb hurtled towards them, and got caught in Jack's tractor beam just before impact. Jack was sitting astride the bomb. “Doctor!”
“Good lad!” the Doctor shouted.
“The bomb's already commenced detonation. I've put it in stasis but it won't last long.” Jack shouted.
“Change of plan. Don't need the bomb. Can you get rid of it, safely as you can?”
“Rose?” Jack called.
“Yeah?” She called back,
“Goodbye.” Jack and the bomb vanished, and then reappeared a moment later. “By the way, love the t-shirt.” They vanished again. The spaceship sucked up the light beam and flew off. The Doctor summoned some Nanogenes to himself.
“What are you doing?” Rose asked.
“Software patch. Going to email the upgrade. You want moves, Rose?” the Doctor grinned at her. “I'll give you moves.” He threw the Nanogenes to the waiting gas mask people, who all fell to the ground. “Everybody lives, Rose! Just this once, everybody lives!” the Doctor yelled ecstatically.
The people all stood up again, back to normal. The Doctor bounded over to where Doctor Constantine was too talk. Lilith watched him with a big smile on her face. She rarely ever got to see her father so happy. It wasn’t every day that everybody lives.
“Right, you lot. Lots to do. Beat the Germans, save the world. Don't forget the welfare state!” the Doctor announced. “Setting this to self-destruct, soon as everybody's clear. History says there was an explosion here. Who am I to argue with history?”
“Usually?” Lilith asked, winking at Rose who finished, “the first in line.”
The trio started back towards the TARDIS.
“The Nanogenes will clean up the mess and switch themselves off, because I just told them to. Nancy and Jamie will go to Doctor Constantine for help, ditto. All in all, all things considered, fantastic!” the Doctor grinned.
“Look at you,” Rose laughed. “Beaming away like you're Father Christmas.
“Who says I'm not, red-bicycle-when-you-were-twelve?”
Rose paused. “What?”
“And everybody lives, Rose! Everybody lives! I need more days like this. Go on, ask me anything. I'm on fire.”
“What about Jack? Why'd he say goodbye?”
Lilith sighed. “I got this."
“Okay then,” Jack was saying. “Think we'd better initiate emergency protocol four one seven.” A martini appeared. Jack drank it. “Ooh, a little too much vermouth. See if I come here again. Funny thing, last time I was sentenced to death—”
“You ordered four hyper-vodkas for your breakfast.” Lilith interrupted. Jack spun around and stared at her. “All a bit of a blur after that. Woke up in bed with both of your executioners. Lovely couple. They stayed in touch. Can't say that about most executioners.” Lilith grinned and offered him her hand. “Coming, Uncle Jack?”
He grinned back and put his hand over her vortex manipulator. In a flash, they were back on the TARDIS where Rose and the Doctor were attempting to do some sort of dance.
“Okay. And right and turn. Okay, okay, try and spin me again, but this time don't get my arm up my back. No extra points for a half-nelson.”
“I'm sure I used to know this stuff,” the Doctor frowned.
“Forgetting in your old age, obviously.” Lilith teased. Rose came over to greet them, while the Doctor started up the ship. “Welcome to the TARDIS.”
“Much bigger on the inside.” Jack said weakly.
“You'd better be.”
“I think what the Doctor's trying to say is you may cut in.” Rose said with a smile, taking Jack’s hand.
“Rose! I've just remembered!” the Doctor said.
The music changes from waltz to swing. “I can dance! I can dance!”
“Actually, Doctor, I thought Jack might like this dance.”
“I'm sure he would, Rose. I'm absolutely certain. But who with?”
Rose danced with the Doctor while Jack and Lilith watched. This style, the Doctor could do. Lilith leaned her head on her godfather’s shoulder. “Your parents?” Jack guessed in a voice only she could hear.
“And aren’t they sweet?” Lilith beamed as Jack offered her his hand. They danced to the music.
Life in the TARDIS can’t get much better than this.