The next morning, they arrived back at the school. “Rose and Sarah, you go to the maths room. Crack open those computers, I need to see the hardware inside. Here, you might need this,” the Doctor gave the screwdriver to Rose. “Mickey, surveillance. I want you outside.”
“Just stand outside?”
“Here, take these you can keep K9 company.” Sarah threw Mickey her car keys.
“Don't forget to leave the window open a crack!” Lilith called over her shoulder.
Mickey stopped walking. “But he's metal!”
“I didn't mean for him.”
“What're you going to do?” Rose asked.
“It's time Lilith and I had a word with Mister Finch,” the Doctor said.
They met by the pool, for some reason, reminding Lilith of an episode of Sherlock with Moriarti. Not the time, she told herself.
“Who are you?” the Doctor asked.
“My name is Brother Lassa,” Finch said. “And you?”
“The Doctor, this is Lilith. Since when did Krillitanes have wings?”
Finch clasped his hand behind his back. “It's been our form for nearly ten generations now. Our ancestors invaded Bessan. The people there had some rather lovely wings. They made a million widows in one day. Just imagine.”
“And now you're shaped human.” Lilith noted.
“A personal favorite, that's all,” the Krillitane dismissed.
“And the others?”
“My brothers remain bat form. What you see is a simple morphic illusion. Scratch the surface and the true Krillitane lies beneath.” Finch paused. “And what of the Time Lords? I always thought of you as such a pompous race. Ancient, dusty senators so frightened of change and chaos. And of course, they're all but extinct. Only you. The last.”
“This plan of yours,” the Doctor said, “what is it?”
“You don't know.”
“That's why I'm asking.”
“Well, show me how clever you are. Work it out.”
“If I don't like it, then it will stop,” the Time Lord warned.
“Fascinating,” Finch said. “Your people were peaceful to the point of indolence. You seem to be something new. Would you declare war on us, Doctor?”
“I'm so old now. I used to have so much mercy,” the Doctor said. “You get one warning. That was it.”
“But we're not even enemies. Soon you will embrace us. The next time we meet, you will join with me. I promise you.” Finch left.
The Doctor looked down at Lilith, frowning. “What does he mean?”
“Pay no attention to the bad guys. They just like to talk as much as you do.” Lilith said, dragging the Doctor out of the room. “Come on, maybe Sarah Jane and Rose have found something useful.”
She highly doubted it, though and her fears were confirmed when she and the Doctor walked into the maths room to find the two human women in a laughing fit.
“How's it going?” the Doctor asked. They kept laughing. “What? Listen, I need to find out what's programmed inside these.” But hysteria was setting in. “What? Stop it!” Lilith chuckled at his discomfort, but composed herself when the Doctor glared at her.
“Seriously, guys,” she said as Sarah Jane and Rose slowly stopped laughing, “what have you got?”
That was when the students started coming in. “No, no. This classroom's out of bounds.” Rose shooed the children away. “You've all got to go to the South Hall. Off you go. South Hall!”
The Doctor, meanwhile, was taking apart the computer. “I can't shift it.”
“I thought the sonic screwdriver could open anything!” Sarah Jane said.
“Anything except a deadlock seal,” the Doctor muttered. “There's got to be something inside here. What're they teaching those kids?”
“You wanted the program?” Lilith said slowly, looking at the screens of one of the computers. “There it is.”
The screens had all turned green with a cube and strange writing on it.
“Some sort of code,” the Doctor mused. “No. No, that can't be. The Skasis Paradigm. They're trying to crack the Skasis Paradigm.”
“The Skasis what?” Sarah Jane asked.
“The god maker. The universal theory,” the Doctor explained. “Crack that equation and you've got control of the building blocks of the universe. Time and space and matter, yours to control.”
“What, and the kids are like a giant computer?” Rose guessed.
“Yes. And their learning power is being accelerated by the oil. That oil from the kitchens, it works as a, as a conducting agent. Makes the kids cleverer.”
“But that oil's on the fries,” Lilith said. “We've been eating them.”
The Doctor turned to Rose. “What's fifty nine times thirty five?”
“Two thousand and sixty five.” Her eyes widened. “Oh, my God.”
“But why use children? Can't they use adults?” asked Sarah Jane.
“No, it's got to be children,” Lilith answered for the Doctor. “The god maker needs imagination to crack it. They're not just using the kids’ brains to break the code, they're using their souls.”
“Let the lesson begin.” They all whirled around to see Finch standing in the doorway. “Think of it, Doctor. With the Paradigm solved, reality becomes clay in our hands. We can shape the universe and improve it.”
“Oh yeah? The whole of creation with the face of Mister Finch?” the Doctor scoffed. “Call me old fashioned, but I like things as they are.”
“You act like such a radical, and yet all you want to do is preserve the old order? Think of the changes that could be made if this power was used for good.”
“What, by someone like you?”
“No, someone like you. The Paradigm gives us power, but you could give us wisdom. Become a God at my side. Imagine what you could do. Think of the civilizations you could save. Perganon, Ascinta. Your own people, Doctor, standing tall. The Time Lords reborn.”
“Doctor, don't you dare listen to him,” Lilith said fiercely.
“And your companions could be with you throughout eternity. Young, fresh, never wither, never age, never die,” Finch taunted. “Their lives are so fleeting. So many goodbyes. How lonely you must be, Doctor. Join us.”
“I could save everyone...” the Doctor said with a faraway look in his eyes.
“No,” Lilith growled. “The universe has to move forward. You’ve told me that, Doctor. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it's a world, or a relationship, everything has its time. And everything ends.”
The Doctor took a deep breath and threw a chair at the big screen, smashing it. “Out!” he yelled.
Lilith took the Doctor’s hand and squeezed it before the four of them ran out of the room and down the halls, almost barreling into Mickey and a student.
“What is going on?” he asked. Before anyone could answer, the Krillitanes came flying down the hall and they ran.
“Are they my teachers?” the boy asked.
“Yeah,” Lilith said. “Sorry, kid.”
Finch came in surrounded by the rest of the Krillitanes. “We need the Doctor alive. As for the others, you can feast.”
The Krillitanes swooped down. The boy dove under a table while the rest of them threw chairs at the aliens. Suddenly, a laser beam fell one of the bats.
“K-9!” Sarah Jane cried.
“Suggest you engage running mode, mistress,” the dog said.
“Come on!” the Doctor yelled. Everyone sprinted away. “K-9, hold them back!”
“Affirmative, master. Maximum defense mode!”
The Doctor sealed the doors behind them. “It's the oil. Krillitane life forms can't handle the oil. That's it! They've changed their physiology so often; even their own oil is toxic to them. How much was there in the kitchens?”
“Barrels of it,” Rose said.
The Krillitanes were battering at the door. “Okay, we need to get to the kitchens,” the Doctor said. “Mickey—”
“What now, hold the coats?” Mickey snarked.
The Doctor ignored him. “Get all the children unplugged and out of the school. Now then, bats, bats, bats. How do we fight bats?”
The boy set off the fire alarm and they all dashed out of the room passed the Krillitanes, which were in pain.
In the kitchen, the Doctor tried his sonic screwdriver on the barrels of oil. “They've been deadlock sealed. Finch must've done that. I can't open them.”
“The vats would not withstand a direct hit from my laser,” K-9 said. “But my batteries are failing.”
“Right. Everyone out the back door. K9, stay with me,” the Doctor said.
“Doctor—” Lilith began to protest.
“Go, Lilith!” the Doctor ordered.
Lilith shook her head and darted out the door behind Sarah Jane.
The school was added to the list of places that the Doctor had blown up, not that anyone (but Lilith) was counting. They all gathered in the TARDIS when all was said and done.
“You've redecorated.” Sarah Jane noted.
“Do you like it?” the Doctor asked.
“Oh, I, I do. Yeah. I preferred it as it was, but er, yeah. It'll do.”
“Well, I love it,” Rose said.
Sarah Jane smiled. “Hey, you, what's forty seven times three hundred and sixty nine?”
Rose shrugged. “No idea. It's gone now. The oil's faded.”
“But you're still clever. More than a match for him.”
“You and me both. Doctor?”
The Doctor looked up. “Er, we're about to head off, but you could come with us.”
“No. I can't do this anymore,” Sarah Jane said. “Besides, I've got a much bigger adventure ahead. Time I stopped waiting for you and found a life of my own.”
“Can I come?” Mickey asked. “No, not with you, I mean with you. Because I'm not the tin dog, and I want to see what's out there.”
“Oh, go on, Doctor.” Sarah Jane urged. “Sarah Jane Smith, a Mickey Smith. You need a Smith on board.”
“Okay then, I could do with a laugh.”
“Rose,” Mickey looked at her, “is that okay?”
“No, great. Why not?” Rose said, avoiding tuning around.
‘You’re lying through your teeth,’ Lilith accused mentally before speaking out loud. “Are we going to ask Lilith what Lilith thinks? What if Lilith has a problem with the new arrangement?”
“Do you?” the Doctor asked. “Have a problem with it?”
Lilith sighed dramatically. “At the very least, it gives me someone to talk to while you and Rose eye flirt for hours on end.”
Both the Doctor and Rose blushed deeply.
“Well, I'd better go,” Sarah Jane said. She gave Rose a hug and followed the Doctor out the door.
“I don’t know about you,” Lilith said loudly as the Doctor came back in, “but I’m all keyed up for another adventure. Where should we go?”
“To the future?” Rose suggested.
“Onwards!” the Doctor declared.
Lilith smiled and spoke to herself. “Allons-y.”