Lilith looked at the Doctor. She could see the fury that hid behind his semi-neutral mask. All those innocent people were dead.
Goddard called up a schematic of the base. “That's us, right below the surface. That's the cage, and that's the Dalek.”
“This museum of yours, have you got any alien weapons?” the Doctor asked,
“Lots of them,” Goddard answered, “but the trouble is the Dalek's between us and them.”
“We've got to keep that thing alive,” van Statten insisted. “We could just seal the entire vault, trap it down there.”
“Leaving everyone trapped with it. Rose is down there. I won't let that happen. Have you got that?” the Doctor said fiercely. He looked back at the computer and pointed to a section on the schematic. “It's got to go through this area. What's that?”
“Give guns to the technicians, the lawyers, anyone. Everyone,” he ordered. “Only then have you got a chance of killing it.”
Goddard got up and the Doctor took her place in front of the computer. Lilith put her hand on his shoulder. “We got this,” she told him.
“I sure hope so,” the Doctor muttered.
“I thought you were the great expert, Doctor. If you're so impressive, then why not just reason with this Dalek? It must be willing to negotiate. There must be something it needs. Everything needs something!” van Statten said.
“Daleks don’t think like humans, van Statten.” Lilith said. “It’s not how they operate. Shoot first, ask questions never.”
“What's the nearest town?” the Doctor asked.
“Salt Lake City,” van Statten responded.
The Doctor looked up from the computer. “All dead. If the Dalek gets out, it'll murder every living creature. That's all it needs.”
“But why would it do that?” van Statten demanded.
“Because it honestly believes they should die. Human beings are different, and anything different is wrong. It's the ultimate in racial cleansing and you, Van Statten, you've let it loose!” He turned away from the man and spoke into the comms unit. “The Dalek's surrounded by a force field. The bullets are melting before they even hit home, but it's not indestructible. If you concentrate your fire, you might get through. Aim for the dome, the head, the eyepiece. That's the weak spot.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” came the Commander’s voice, “but I think I know how to fight one single tin robot. Positions! On my mark. Open fire!”
The TV screen flickered to life, giving the people in the office a view of the loading bay. “We've got vision.” Goddard said.
The Doctor looked over at the screen. “It wants us to see.”
The hail of bullets was having no effect. Then, the Dalek started to rise straight up into the air. It shot the fire alarm and the sprinklers are set off. When the concrete floor was covered with a layer of water, it fired downwards and electrocuted every wet person on the ground.
“Fall back! Fall back!” the Commander ordered.
The Dalek killed him and the rest of his men with another strategic shot, then continued to hang there, water pouring down its shell. It looked to Lilith like the damn thing was pitifully crying in the rain.
Silence settled around the office. Lilith’s expression hardened. It must have been another twenty people who had been killed for no reason. “Perhaps,” van Statten said, "it's time for a new strategy. Maybe we should consider abandoning this place.”
Lilith rolled her eyes.
“Except there's no power to the helipad, sir,” Goddard said sharply. “We can't get out.”
“You said we could seal the vault.”
Lilith looked at her Uncle in shock. Rose was still down there, what was he thinking?
“It was designed to be a bunker in the event of nuclear war. Steel bulkheads.”
Goddard cut him off. “There's not enough power, those bulkheads are massive.”
“We've got emergency power. We can re-route that to the bulkhead doors,” the Doctor said.
“We'd have to bypass the security codes. That would take a computer genius.”
Van Statten smirked. “Good thing you've got me, then.”
“You want to help?” the Doctor asked, suspicious.
“I don't want to die, Doctor. Simple as that. And nobody knows this software better than me.”
“Sir?” Goddard said, nodding to the screen that showed the Dalek.
“I shall speak only to the Doctor,” the Dalek said.
“You're going to get rusty.”
“I fed off the DNA of Rose Tyler. Extrapolating the biomass of a time traveller regenerated me.”
“What's your next trick?”
“I have been searching for the Daleks.”
“Yeah, I saw.” the Doctor snorted. “Downloading the Internet. What did you find?”
“I scanned your satellites and radio telescopes.”
“Nothing,” the Dalek admitted. “Where shall I get my orders now?”
“You're just a soldier without commands,” the Doctor taunted.
“Then I shall follow the Primary Order, the Dalek instinct to destroy, to conquer.”
“What for? What's the point?” the Doctor demanded. “Don't you see it's all gone? Everything you were, everything you stood for.”
“Then what should I do?”
“All right, then. If you want orders, follow this one,” the Doctor spat, “kill yourself.”
“The Daleks must survive!” the Dalek protested.
“The Daleks have failed! Why don't you finish the job and make the Daleks extinct. Rid the Universe of your filth! Why don't you just die?”
The Dalek was silent for a moment. “You would make a good Dalek.” The screen went blank.
“Seal the Vault.”
“I can leech power off the ground defenses, feed it to the bulkheads. God, it's been years since I had to work this fast.”
Lilith frowned at van Statten. “Are you enjoying this?”
“Doctor,” Goddard said, “she's still down there.”
Lilith reached into her pocket and pulled out a late twenty first century Bluetooth earpiece. She gave it to the Doctor, whipped out her cell phone, and dialed Rose’s number.
“This isn't the best time!” Rose answered.
“Where are you?” the Doctor demanded.
“Level forty nine.”
“You've got to keep moving. The vault's being sealed off up at level forty six.”
“Can't you stop them closing?” Rose asked.
“I'm the one who's closing them. I can't wait and I can't help you.”
Lilith huffed, impatient. “Now for Rassilon's sake, Tyler, run.”
“Done it!” van Statten said. “We've got power to the bulkheads.”
“The Dalek's right behind them,” Goddard informed then.
“We're nearly there. Give us two seconds!” Rose panted over the phone
“Doctor, I can't sustain the power. The whole system is failing. Doctor, you've got to close the bulkheads.”
The Doctor looked at Lilith who could see the panic and uncertainty in his eyes. She nodded. “I'm sorry,” he said to Rose and hit Enter.
“The vault is sealed.”
The Time Lord jumped out of his seat. “Rose, where are you? Rose, did you make it?”
There was silence for a moment. Then, “Sorry, I was a bit slow.” Lilith’s stomach dropped in horror. “Sealed in, Doctor. It wasn't your fault. Remember that, okay? It wasn't your fault. And do you know what? I wouldn't have missed it for the world.”
Then came, “Exterminate!” and the unmistakable sound of a Dalek’s laser. Lilith fell to her knees and let out a loud sob.
The Doctor tore the earpiece off and just stood there, frozen in place. “I killed her.”
“I'm sorry,” van Statten said.
“I said I'd protect her. She was only here because of me, and you're sorry? I could've killed that Dalek in its cell, but you stopped me!"
“It was the prize of my collection!”
“Your collection? But was it worth it? Worth all those men's deaths? Worth Rose? Let me tell you something, van Statten. Mankind goes into space to explore, to be part of something greater.”
“Exactly!” van Statten cried. “I wanted to touch the stars!”
The Doctor fixed him with a glare. “You just want to drag the stars down and stick them underground, underneath tons of sand and dirt, and label them. You're about as far from the stars as you can get!” He stopped to take a breath. “And you took her down with you. She was nineteen years old.”
Adam came into the room. The Doctor made to snap at him, but Lilith beat him to the punch. She flung herself at the boy and pinned him against the wall. “You were quick on your feet, leaving Rose behind!” she growled.
“I'm not the one who sealed the vault!” Adam protested, looking pointedly at the Doctor.
“Open the bulkhead or Rose Tyler dies.”
Everyone turned to the wall TV where it showed an image of the Dalek holding a living, breathing Rose at gunpoint.
“You're alive!” the Doctor gasped in relief.
“Can't get rid of me,” she joked shakily.
“I thought you were dead.”
“Open the bulkhead!” the Dalek demanded.
Rose shook her head vigorously. “Don't do it!”
The Dalek aimed its eyestalk directly at the camera. “What use are emotions,” it said, “if you will not save the woman you love?”
The woman you love.
“I killed her once,” the Doctor said, “I can't do it again.” He pressed the Enter key again and the bulkhead opened. The Dalek led Rose through.
“What do we do now, you bleeding heart?” van Statten snapped. “What the hell do we do?”
“Kill it when it gets here.” Adam suggested.
“All the guns are useless, and the alien weapons are in the vault.”
“Only the catalogued ones.”
Lilith looked at the British boy with new eyes as he explained on his way to his workshop, “Mister van Statten tends to dispose of his staff, and when he does he wipes their memory. I kept this stuff in case I needed to fight my way out one day.”
“You? In a fight?” Lilith scoffed.
“I could do.” Adam protested.
The Doctor snorted. “What're you going to do, throw your A-Levels at 'em?” He continued to go through Adam collection of alien weapons, tossing them aside when they didn’t suit what he was looking for. “Broken. Broken. Hairdryer. Oh, yes.” He pulled out what Lilith recognized as a Tranzonian blaster cannon. “Lock and load.”
Lilith wasn’t sold on the idea of using the alien weapon. Her Doctor was a man who despised guns and seeing him holding a blaster cannon, fully ready to use it, unsettled her. But she knew better than to question him.
Not even she could stand in the way of the Oncoming Storm.
The Doctor stood in the corridor, blaster cannon raised, ready to shoot. To kill. “Get out of the way!” he yelled. “Rose, get out of the way now!”
“No. I won't let you do this.”
“That thing killed hundreds of people!” the Doctor spat.
“It's not the one pointing the gun at me.” Rose pointed out.
Lilith’s eyes flicked back and forth between the two. She could sense the rage and hate that was rolling off of the Doctor. But she could also sense pity. It wasn’t hers, and it definitely wasn’t his. Lilith tried to calm the Doctor, send him a calm feeling, but he threw up his telepathic shields. She shrunk away.
“I've got to do this. I've got to end it!” He insisted. “The Daleks destroyed my home, my people. I've got nothing left.”
“But look at it.” Rose stepped aside.
The Dalek’s armor was open, showing the freakish mutation that was the alien’s true form. One of its tentacles was tentatively stretched out, reaching for the sunlight.
“What's it doing?”
“It's the sunlight, that's all it wants.”
“But it can't—”
“It couldn't kill van Statten, it couldn't kill me. It's changing. What about you, Doctor?” she questioned. “What the hell are you changing into?”
The Doctor lowered the blaster cannon. “I couldn't...” he choked. “I wasn't… Oh, Rose. They're all dead.”
“Why do we survive?” asked the Dalek.
“I don't know.”
“I am the last of the Daleks.”
“You're not even that,” the Doctor said. “Rose did more than regenerate you. You've absorbed her DNA. You're mutating.”
“Something new. I'm sorry.”
“Isn't that better?” Rose asked.
The Doctor shook his head. “Not for a Dalek.”
“I can feel. So many ideas, so much darkness. Rose, give me orders. Order me to die.”
The Doctor and Lilith stared at the Dalek incredulously. “I can't do that.” Rose said.
“This is not life,” the Dalek insisted. “This is sickness. I shall not be like you. Order my destruction! Obey! Obey! Obey!”
Rose hesitated. “Do it.”
“Are you frightened, Rose Tyler?”
“Yeah,” she managed.
“So am I. Exterminate.”
Rose retreated and ran to the Doctor’s side as it closed up its armor again then rises into the air. The spheres on its lower body spread out around it creating a force field, and then it imploded safely.
The Doctor dropped the blaster cannon and swept Rose into a hug. “I thought I lost you,” he whispered hoarsely.
“I’m alive,” she whispered back, “I’m right here.”
“Well, Tyler,” Lilith said as they walked through the museum part of the bunker, “I’m glad you’re not dead.”
Rose chuckled. “Me too.”
The Doctor stroked the side of the TARDIS when they reached their destination. “A little piece of home. Better than nothing.”
“Is that the end of it, the Time War?” Rose asked.
“Lilith and I are the only ones left. We win. How about that?” he said bitterly.
“The Dalek survived. Maybe some of your people did too.”
The Doctor shook his head. “I'd know, in here.” He tapped his temple. “Feels like there's no one.”
“Gallifreyans are telepathic. We can feel each other in the back of our minds.” Lilith explained, seeing Rose’s confused expression.
“Well then, good thing I'm not going anywhere.”
The Doctor smiled. “Yeah.”
Adam jogged over. “We'd better get out,” he said. “Van Statten's disappeared. They're closing down the base. Goddard says they're going to fill it full of cement, like it never existed.”
“About time.” Rose snorted.
“I'll have to go back home.”
“Better hurry up then,” the Doctor told him. “Next flight to Heathrow leaves at fifteen hundred hours.”
“Adam was saying that all his life he wanted to see the stars.” Rose said.
Lilith covered her face. “Rose!” she whined.
“He's all on his own, Lil, and he did help.”
“He left you down there!” the Doctor protested.
“So did you.” Rose retorted.
Adam stared at the three of them. “What're you talking about? We've got to leave.”
“Rose, he's a bit pretty.”
“I hadn't noticed.” Rose said. Lilith heard the honesty in her voice.
Apparently, so did the Doctor. “On your own head.” He unlocked the TARDIS and went inside.
Lilith looked at her friend. “I am not cleaning up any messes your pet ape makes,” she said with jest in her voice. She joined her uncle at the console as he started the dematerialization sequence.
Adam stepped into the TARDIS. Both his bag and his jaw dropped to the floor. “It’s…” the boy genius struggled for words. “It’s bigger on the inside.”
Lilith turned to the Doctor and, for the first time that day, laughed. “Onwards?” he asked with a grin.
She grinned back. “Allons-y.”