Lilith sat in the back of the classroom watching the kids file in. Damn Mickey and his need to call for their help. Student teacher.Student teacher. Lilith could be teaching the damned class if she didn’t look nineteen! And the worst part…
“Good morning, class,” the Doctor said cheerily. “Are we sitting comfortably?”
She was the Doctor’s student teacher.
The Doctor turned and wrote the word ‘physics’ on the board. “So, physics. Physics, eh? Physics. Physics. Physics! Physics. Physics, physics, physics, physics, physics, physics, physics.”
Lilith face palmed. ‘Get to the point, Doctor.’
“I hope one of you is getting all this down. Okay let's see what you know. Two identical strips of nylon are charged with static electricity and hung from a string so they can swing freely. What would happen if they were brought near each other?”
A young boy with glasses put his hand up.
“Yes, er, what's your name?”
“Milo,” the boy said.
“Milo! Off you go.”
“They'd repel each other because they have the same charge.”
“Correctamundo! A word I have never used before and hopefully never will again. Question two. I coil up a thin piece of nichrome and place it in a glass of water. Then I turn on the electricity and measure to see if the water's temperature is affected. My question is this. How do I measure the electrical power going into the coil?”
Just one hand went up. “Someone else?” the Doctor said, looking around. Everyone else looked extraordinarily bored. “Nope? Okay, Milo, go for it.”
“Measure the current and PDs in an ammeter and a voltmeter,” Milo answered.
“Two to Milo. Right then, Milo, tell me this. True or false: the greater the dampening of the system, the quicker it loses energy to its surroundings.”
“False,” Milo responded immediately.
“What is non-coding DNA?” the Doctor asked quickly.
“DNA that doesn't code for a protein.”
“Sixty five thousand nine hundred and eighty three times five?”
Milo didn’t even miss a beat. “Three hundred and twenty nine thousand nine hundred and fifteen.”
“How do you travel faster than light?”
“By opening a quantum tunnel with an FTL factor of thirty six point seven recurring.”
Lilith’s jaw dropped. The Doctor shifted momentarily, and then continued with the lesson. ‘That was not normal.’
‘Micks was right. Something is definitely going on here.’
In hindsight, Lilith really shouldn’t complain about being a student teacher. Not when Rose was a lunch lady.
Lilith sat at a table, eating nothing, while waiting for the Doctor to get his food. He came over and sat down. Lilith looked at the glop on his place and stole one of the fries.
“Oi!” the Doctor protested.
“Deal with it.” Lilith grinned.
Rose appeared next to them, dressed in her lunch lady outfit, and began wiping the table. “Two days,” she huffed. “Two days, we've been here.”
“Blame Micks. He's the one who put us onto this,” Lilith said, snatching another fry off the Doctor’s plate.
“And he was right,” the Doctor slid the plate away from her. “Boy in class this morning, got a knowledge way beyond planet Earth.”
“You eating those chips?” Rose asked, taking a fry for herself.
The Doctor made a face. “Yeah, they're a bit different.”
“I think they're gorgeous. Wish I had school dinners like this,” Rose said.
“It's very well behaved, this place,” the Doctor commented as Rose sat down. “I thought there'd be happy slapping hoodies. Happy slapping hoodies with ASBOs. Happy slapping hoodies with ASBOs and ringtones. Huh? Huh? Oh, yeah. Don't tell me I don't fit in.”
“Oh, totally. You’re a real chameleon.” Lilith rolled her eyes.
The head lunch lady came over. “You are not permitted to leave your station during a sitting.”
Rose stood. “I was just talking to this teacher.”
“Hello,” the Doctor waved.
“He doesn't like the chips,” Rose stage whispered.
“The menu has been specifically designed by the headmaster to improve concentration and performance. Now, get back to work,” the lunch lady said curtly and left.
“See? This is me, dinner lady.” Rose started walking away.
“I'll have the crumble!” the Doctor called after her.
“She’s so going to kill you.” Lilith laughed and waited until Rose was out of earshot. “So, kissed her again yet?”
The Doctor glared at her. “We are not talking about this here.”
“Why? It’s not like anyone can hear us. I’m just curious. You seemed to really like that, what do the Brits call it, snog back on New Earth.”
“That was Cassandra,” he muttered.
“What about the near make out session on New Years Eve?”
Later, in the teacher’s lounge, Lilith’s phone rang. It was Mickey. “What’ve you got?”
“Confirmation,” Mickey said. “I just got into army records. Three months ago there was massive UFO activity. They logged over forty sightings. Lights in the sky, all of that. I can't get any photos, because then it gets all classified and secret. Keeps locking me out.”
“Torchwood,” Lilith muttered. “Rose said that three months ago, all the kitchen staff were replaced. And, I quote, ‘that lot is weird’.”
“See? There's definitely something going on. I was right to call you home.”
“I was starting to think that maybe you called us home just to call Rose home.”
“Do you think I'd just invent an emergency?” Mickey asked, insulted.
“That's the last thing I'd do. Because every time I see you three, an emergency just gets in the way.”
Lilith laughed. “Yeah, yeah, and you whine about it. I’ll talk to you later, Micks, I gotta go.”
“Later, Lilith.” Mickey hung up. She walked over to where the Doctor was talking to one of the other teachers.
“Finch arrived three months ago. Next day, half the staff got flu. Finch replaced them with that lot, except for the teacher you replaced, and that was just plain weird, her winning the lottery like that,” the other teacher was saying.
“How's that weird?” the Doctor asked.
“She never played. Said the ticket was posted through her door at midnight.”
Lilith attempted to hide a smile. “The world is very strange. Mister Smith, I just got a call—”
The Headmaster entered with someone very familiar. Lilith’s jaw dropped.
“Excuse me, colleagues. A moment of your time,” Headmaster Finch said. “May I introduce Miss Sarah Jane Smith. Miss Smith is a journalist who's writing a profile about me for the Sunday Times. I thought it might be useful for her to get a view from the trenches, so to speak.”
Finch left and Lilith looked at the Doctor. “Snap out of it. She’s coming this way."
“Hello,” Sarah Jane said.
“Oh, I should think so,” was the Doctor’s reply.
Lilith rolled her eyes and extended her hand to Sarah. “I’m Lilith Taylor.” Lilith winked at the journalist and Sarah Jane’s eye widened. Lilith put her finger to her lips.
“Nice to meet you, Miss Taylor.” Sarah shook her hand and turned to the Doctor. “And you are?”
“Hm?” Lilith elbowed him. “Er, Smith. John Smith.”
“John Smith.” Sarah Jane smiled. “I used to have a friend who sometimes went by that name.”
“Well, it's a very common name,” the Doctor said.
“He was a very uncommon man,” she said. “Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you. Yes, very nice. More than nice. Brilliant.”
Lilith sighed. “You’re making a fool out of yourself again, Mister Smith.” She walked away, leaving the Doctor to converse with his old friend.
She just wanted to get away from Sarah Jane. Last time they met was hard enough. But if she could deal with traveling with her Uncle Jack, she could deal with Aunt Sarah Jane.
“Oh, it's weird seeing school at night,” Rose said, shivering. “It just feels wrong. When I was a kid, I used to think all the teachers slept in school.”
“All right, team.” The Doctor frowned, “Oh, I hate people who say team. Er, gang. Er, comrades. Anyway, Rose, go to the kitchen. Get a sample of that oil. Mickey, the new staffs are all maths teachers. Go and check out the maths department. Lilith and I will look in Finch's office. Be back here in ten minutes.”
Lilith followed the Doctor down the hall. There was the sound of wings flapping and a soft screech. They exchanged glances before picking up their speed towards the source of the noise.
They found someone else instead.
“Hello, Sarah Jane,” the Doctor said.
“It's you. Oh, Doctor,” Sarah Jane breathed. “Oh my God, it's you, isn't it. You've regenerated."
“Yeah. Half a dozen times since we last met.”
“And you too, Lilith? Last time I saw you, you were—”
Lilith held up her hand. “Hasn’t happened to me yet."
“What are you doing here?” Sarah Jane asked.
“Well,” the Doctor drew out the word, “UFO sighting, school gets record results. I couldn't resist. What about you?”
“The same.” They both chuckled. “I thought you'd died. I waited for you and you didn't come back, and I thought you must have died.”
Lilith flinched. She really shouldn’t have said that.
The Doctor’s face darkened. “I lived. Everyone else died.”
“What do you mean?”
“Everyone died, Sarah.”
Sarah Jane sighed. “I can't believe it's you.”
From somewhere in the depths of the school, Mickey screamed.
“How about now?” Lilith asked with a grin.
“Now I can!” Sarah Jane said with an equally large smile.
The three of them ran down the halls where they ran into Rose. “Did you hear that?” the blond asked. Then, she noticed Sarah Jane. “Who’s she?”
“Rose, Sarah Jane. Sarah Jane, Rose,” the Doctor introduced them.
“Hi. Nice to meet you.” Sarah Jane shook Rose’s hand. "You can tell you're getting older. Your assistants are getting younger,” she said to the Doctor.
“I'm not his assistant,” Rose protested.
“No,” the Doctor said. “She’s my…” he shifted uncomfortably. “Friend.”
Sarah Jane raised her eyebrows. “Look at you, Tiger.”
The Doctor rubbed the back of his neck and Lilith snickered. “To the point, then? Micks is through here.”
The man in question was indeed in the next room. “Sorry! Sorry, it was only me. You told me to investigate, so I started looking through some of these cupboards and all of these fell on me.”
“Oh, my God, they're rats. Dozens of rats,” Rose said. “Vacuum packed rats.”
“And you decided to scream?” the Doctor said.
“It took me by surprise!” Mickey defended.
“Like a little girl?”
“It was dark! I was covered in rats!”
“Nine, maybe ten years old. I'm seeing pigtails, frilly skirt.”
“Hello, can we focus?” Rose cut in. “Does anyone notice anything strange about this? Rats in school?”
“Well, obviously they use them in Biology lessons. They dissect them,” Sarah Jane said. “Or maybe you haven't reached that bit yet. How old are you?"
“Excuse me; no one dissects rats in school anymore. They haven't done that for years. Where are you from, the dark ages?” Rose retorted.
“Cool your jets, ladies,” Lilith said, trying to detenisfy the atmosphere. “Maybe they mash them up and put them in the glop they’re serving the students. All possibilities.” Sarah Jane and Rose looked at Lilith with twin looks of disbelief. Lilith shook her head. “Stupid idea to get you two to shut up.”
“Anyway, moving on,” the Doctor said. “Everything started when Mister Finch arrived. We should go and check his office.”
They set off.
“I don't mean to be rude or anything, but who exactly are you?” Rose asked.
“Sarah Jane Smith. I used to travel with the Doctor,” Sarah Jane answered.
“Oh. Well, he's never mentioned you.”
“Oh, I must've done,” the Doctor said airily. “Sarah Jane. Mention her all the time.”
“To me, maybe,” Lilith snorted. “Never to Rose.”
“What, not even once? He didn't mention me even once?”
“For the record, I tried to,” Lilith said. “I was interrupted by a spaceship smashing into Big Ben.”
“Ho, ho, mate. The missus and the ex.” Mickey laughed. “Welcome to every man's worst nightmare.”
“Shut up, Micks,” the Doctor said, using Lilith nickname for Mickey. “What if the rats were food?”
Lilith looked back at him when they reached the Headmaster’s office. “Did I not just suggest that and then get stared at like a lunatic?”
“Not for the students,” the Doctor rolled his eyes and used the sonic to unlock the door. It swung open. “Rose…” he said slowly. “You know you used to think all the teachers slept in the school? Well, they do.”
Thirteen human sized, freaky looking bats were hanging from the ceiling.
“No way!” Mickey bolted. The rest of the group followed a bit more calmly until they were out of the school. “I am not going back in there. No way.”
“Those were teachers,” Rose panted.
“When Finch arrived, he brought with him seven new teachers,” the Doctor said.
“Along with four lunch ladies and a nurse. That’s thirteen. Thirteen big, creepy bat people,” Lilith added.
“Come on.” The Doctor started back towards the school.
“Come on? You've got to be kidding!” Mickey cried.
“I need the TARDIS. I've got to analyze that oil from the kitchen.”
“I might be able to help you there,” Sarah Jane said excitedly. “I've got something to show you.” She pulled him over to her car and opened the trunk. Inside was something covered in a blanket. The Doctor pulled it off.
“Is that—?” Lilith breathed.
“K-9!” the Doctor exclaimed happily. “Rose Tyler, Mickey Smith, allow me to introduce K-9. Well, K-9 Mark III to be precise.”
“Why does he look so… disco?” Rose asked.
The Doctor looked at her. “Oi!” he protested. “Listen, in the year five thousand, this was cutting edge. What's happened to him?”
“One day he just, nothing.”
“Well, didn't you try and get him repaired?”
“Well, it's not like getting parts for a Mini Metro,” Sarah Jane defended. “Beside, the technology inside him could rewrite human science. I couldn't show him to anyone.”
“Ooh, what's the nasty lady done to you, eh?” the Doctor said in a baby voice.
Lilith snorted, Rose rolled her eyes, and Mickey just stared at him.
“Not to break up the cozy reunion with your pet tin dog,” Lilith said, “but can we focus here? K-9 can analyze the oil, right? So let’s fix him up."
In the restaurant, the Doctor, Lilith, and Sarah Jane sat at one table with K-9 while Rose and Mickey sat at another. Lilith could tell by the look on Rose’s face that, despite the fries, she wasn’t enjoying herself.
‘Micks giving you a hard time?’ she asked.
Rose sent back a confirming wave of irritation and Lilith threw a fry at the back of Mickey’s head before turning back to the conversation at her own table. “So, Sarah Jane, what did I look like last time you saw me?”
“No fishing for future information,” the Doctor chided.
“I just want to know what I look like,” Lilith complained.
“Well, you had red hair—” Sarah Jane was cut off by the Doctor’s loud groan and Lilith’s cheer.
The young Time Lady laughed. “Ginger! I get to be ginger!” she crowed.
Sarah Jane shook her head. “I thought of you on Christmas Day. This Christmas just gone? Great big spaceship overhead. I thought, oh yeah, bet he's up there.”
“Right on top of it, yeah,” the Doctor confirmed.
“And Rose?” Sarah Jane asked after a moment.
“She was there too.”
Lilith snorted. “Rose was the one trying to negotiate with the Sycorax while you were sleeping off your regeneration sickness.”
Sarah Jane stayed silent before asking, “Did I do something wrong, because you never came back for me. You just dumped me.”
“I told you,” the Doctor said, “I was called back home and in those days humans weren't allowed.”
“I waited for you. I missed you.”
“Oh, you didn't need me. You were getting on with your life.”
“You were my life.” Oh, damn. “You know what the most difficult thing was? Coping with what happens next, or with what doesn't happen next. You took me to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, you showed me supernovas, intergalactic battles, and then you just dropped me back on Earth. How could anything compare to that?”
“All those things you saw, do you want me to apologize for that?"
“No, but we get a taste of that splendor and then we have to go back.”
“But look at you, you're investigating,” Lilith said, attempting to help the Doctor. “You found that school. You're doing what you always did.”
“I suppose.” Sarah Jane sighed. “It wasn't Croydon. Where you dropped me off, that wasn't Croydon.”
The Doctor frowned. “Where was it?”
“Right. That's next to Croydon, isn't it?” K-9 came back to life. “Oh, hey. Now we're in business.”
“Master,” The tin dog greeted.
“He recognizes me!” the Doctor said, ecstatic.
The Doctor waved Rose over. “Rose, give us the oil.”
Rose handed him the bottle. “I wouldn't touch it, though. That dinner lady got all scorched.”
“I'm no dinner lady.” He paused. “And I don't often say that.” He smeared a sample on to K-9's probe. “Here we go. Come on, boy. Here we go.”
“Oil. Ex-ex-ex-extract. Ana-ana-analyzing.”
“Listen to him, man,” Mickey laughed. “That's a voice.”
“Careful,” Sarah Jane warned. “That's my dog.”
K-9 finished analyzing the oil. “Confirmation of analysis. Substance is Krillitane Oil.”
“They're Krillitanes,” the Doctor breathed.
“Is that bad?” Rose asked.
“Very,” he said. “Think of how bad things could possibly be, and add another suitcase full of bad.”
“And what are Krillitanes?” Sarah Jane questioned.
“They're a composite race,” the Doctor explained. “Just like your culture is a mixture of traditions from all sorts of countries; people you've invaded or have been invaded by. You've got bits of Viking, bits of France, bits of whatever. The Krillitanes are the same. An amalgam of the races they've conquered. But they take physical aspects as well. They cherry pick the best bits from the people they destroy. That's why I didn't recognize them. The last time I saw Krillitanes, they looked just like us except they had really long necks.”
“What're they doing here?” Rose wondered.
Lilith’s eyes widened. “It's the children,” she realized. “They're doing something to the children.”