The Doctor made his way back to the control room. “The ground gave way. My TARDIS must've fallen down right into the heart of the planet. But you've got robot drills heading the same way,” he said.
“We can't divert the drilling,” Zach told him
“But I need my ship!” the Doctor insisted. “It's all I've got. Literally the only thing.”
Lilith crossed her arms. “Gee, thanks, Doctor.”
“Doctor, we've only got the resources to drill one central shaft down to the power source, and that's it. No diversions, no distractions, no exceptions. Your machine is lost. All I can do is offer you a lift if we ever get to leave this place, and that is the end of it.”
“I'll, er, put you on the duty roster,” Ida said. “We need someone in the laundry.”
They left Doctor, Rose, and Lilith alone, except for an Ood. Lilith sent a wave of comfort to the Doctor, but he just shook his head. “I've trapped you here.”
Rose took his hand. “No, don't worry about us.” The base shook again. “Okay, we're on a planet that shouldn't exist, under a black hole and no way out. Yeah, I've changed my mind. Start worrying about us.”
The Doctor wrapped her in a hug. Lilith sighed and looked out the window. If only they had just left, or if they hadn’t gotten out of the TARDIS without checking what was wrong with her. Maybe they wouldn’t be in this situation.
She felt sick to her stomach, memories frantically bashing against the walls in her mind, trying to warn her. Something bad was going to happen. Something terrible. She couldn’t shake the feeling that somehow, someone was going to end up dead.
Once night shift started, the Doctor went back to habitation three to study the alien language they had seen written on the walls earlier. Lilith squatted next to him. “What do you think it means?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” he muttered. “I hate not knowing.”
She watched him for a moment, and then leaned against the wall. “Things will work out, you know. We’ll get the TARDIS back somehow.”
“How? We can’t reach her; I can’t hear her. Is your vortex manipulator working?”
“No.” She sighed. “That would be too easy. Life really seems to like to throw the impossible at us, huh?”
The lights flickered. “Zach?” Ida said into her communicator. “Have we got a problem?”
“No more than usual. Got the Scarlet System burning up. Might be worth a look,” came Zach’s response.
“You might want to see this moment in history.” She opened the shutters. “There, on the edge, that red cloud. That used to be the Scarlet System. The home to the Peluchi, a mighty civilization spanning a billion years, is disappearing forever. Their planets and suns consumed. Ladies and gentlemen, we have witnessed its passing.” She went to close the shutters.
“Er, no, could you leave it open?” the Doctor asked. “Just for a bit. I won't go mad, I promise.”
Ida nodded. “Scooti, check the lockdown. Jefferson, sign off the airlock seals for me.”
Jefferson, Scooti, and Ida all leave. Rose leaned her head on her hand. “I've seen films and things, yeah? They say black holes are like gateways to another universe.”
“Not that one,” Lilith said. “It just eats.”
The human looked up. “Long way from home.”
“Go that way, turn right, keep going for er, about,” the Doctor thought for a second, “five hundred years, and you'll reach the Earth.”
Rose turned her phone on. “No signal. That's the first time we've gone out of range. Mind you, even if I could… what would I tell her? Can you build another TARDIS?"
“They were grown, not built. And with my own planet gone, we're kind of stuck,” the Doctor said.
“Well, it could be worse,” Rose sighed. “This lot said they'd give us a lift.”
“Yeah, but then what?” Lilith asked dully.
“I don't know. Find a planet, get a job, live a life, same as the rest of the universe.”
The Doctor made a face. “I'd have to settle down. Get a house or something. A proper house with, with doors and things, carpets. Me, living in a house! Now that, that is terrifying!”
“You'd have to get a mortgage!” Rose laughed.
“I'm dying. That's it. I'm dying. It is all over.”
“What about me? I'd have to get one, too,” she said. “I don't know, could be the same one. We could both, I don't know, share. Or not, you know. Whatever. I don't know. We'll sort something out.”
Lilith had to hide her face in her hand to stop herself from bursting out laughing. 'Smooth, Tyler,' she sent. Rose mentally stuck her tongue out at her.
“I promised Jackie I'd always take you back home,” the Doctor said after a moment.
“Everyone leaves home in the end,” Rose said reassuringly.
“Not to end up stuck here,” the Doctor muttered.
She smiled at him. “Yeah, but stuck with you, that's not so bad.”
He smiled back. “Yeah?”
Lilith made a choking noise. “It’s like I swallowed a bag of sugar.” The other two stared at her. “That’s how damn sweet you two are being.”
The Doctor rolled his eyes at her just as Rose’s phone started to ring.
“Oh, that’s not fair!” Lilith complained. “The one thing that could save us is broken, but the universe lets Rose’s cell phone receive calls.”
Rose picked up the phone and immediately threw it down.
Lilith knew why, she had heard the voice on the other end. “He is awake.”
“Evening,” the Doctor said as they strolled into the Ood habitation
“Only us,” Rose added cheerfully.
Danny was the one in the room. “The mysterious trio. How are you, then? Settling in?”
“Yeah. Sorry, straight to business, the Ood how do they communicate? I mean, with each other,” the Doctor asked.
“Oh, just empaths,” Danny answered. “There's a low level telepathic field connecting them. Not that that does them much good. They're basically a herd race. Like cattle.”
The Ood were sitting on benches down below Danny's catwalk. “The telepathic field, can it pick up messages?” Lilith questioned.
“Because I was having dinner, and one of the Ood said something, well, odd,” Rose explained.
“Hmm. An odd Ood,” Danny said sarcastically.
“And then I got something else on my, er, communicator thing.”
“Oh, be fair. We've got whole star systems burning up around us,” Danny said. “There's all sorts of stray transmissions. Probably nothing. Look, if there was something wrong, it would show. We monitor the telepathic field. It's the only way to look after them. They're so stupid, they don't even tell us when they're ill.”
“Monitor the field. That's this thing?” The Doctor motioned to the monitors. The reading was basic five.
“Yeah. But like I said, it's low-level telepathy. They only register basic five.”
Lilith watched as the number started to climb.
“Well, that's not basic five,” the Doctor said. “Ten, twenty. They've gone up to basic thirty.”
The Ood all lifted their heads. “But they can't...” Danny muttered.
“What does basic thirty mean?” Rose asked.
“Well, it means that they're shouting, screaming inside their heads.”
“Or something's shouting at them,” Lilith said darkly.
“But where is it coming from? What is it saying? What did it say to you?” asked Danny.
Rose scrunched her eyebrows. “Something about the beast in the pit.”
“What about your communicator? What did that say?”
“He is awake.”
“And you will worship him,” all of the Ood said in unison.
“What the hell?” Danny breathed.
“Now that’s freaking creepy,” Lilith commented.
The Doctor watched the Ood intently. “He is awake.”
“And you will worship him,” the Ood said again.
“Worship who?” he demanded. They didn’t respond. “Who's talking to you? Who is it?”
The base shook. “Emergency hull breach. Emergency hull breach,” the computer announced.
“Which section?” Danny panicked.
“Everyone, evacuate eleven to thirteen. We've got a breach. The base is open. Repeat, the base is open!” Zach said over the loudspeaker. Rose, the Doctor, Lilith, and Danny raced to habitation three. “I can't contain the oxygen field. We're going to lose it!”
The four of them met up with the others in one of the halls. “Breach sealed. Breach sealed,” the computer announced.
“Everyone all right?” the Doctor shouted. “What happened? What was it?”
“Oxygen levels normal.”
“Hull breach,” Jefferson said. “We were open to the elements. Another couple of minutes and we'd have been inspecting that black hole at close quarters.”
“That wasn't a quake. What caused it?” Lilith asked.
“We've lost sections eleven to thirteen. Everyone all right?” came Zach’s voice.
“We've got everyone here except Scooti,” Jefferson reported. “Scooti, report. Scooti Manista? That's an order. Report.”
“She's all right. I've picked up her biochip. She's in habitation three. Better go and check if she's not responding. She might be unconscious,” Zach ordered.
But when they reached habitation three, it was empty. “Nowhere here. Zach? We've got a problem. Scooti is still missing.”
“It says Habitation three.”
“Yeah, well, that's where I am, and I'm telling you she's not here.”
“I've found her,” the Doctor said, quietly. They all looked up through the open shutters.
“Oh my God,” Rose breathed. Scooti was drifting away, towards the black hole.
“I'm sorry. I'm so sorry,” the Doctor whispered.
“Captain,” Jefferson said into his comm, “report Officer Scootori Manista PKD, deceased. Forty three K two point one.”
Ida closed the shutters.
“For how should man die better than facing fearful odds? For the ashes of his father and the temples of his Gods?” Jefferson quoted.
There was a noise and Ida frowned. “It's stopped.” The base fell silent.
“What was that? What was it?” Rose asked.
“The drill,” guessed Lilith.
“We've stopped drilling,” Ida said. “We've made it. Point Zero.”
“Capsule established. All systems functioning. The mineshaft is go. Bring systems online now.”
Ida and the Doctor were in spacesuits. “Reporting as a volunteer for the expeditionary force,” the Doctor said.
“No!” Lilith shouted. “No way. Absolutely not.”
“Doctor, this is breaking every single protocol. We don't even know who you are,” Zach said.
“Yeah, but you trust me, don't you? And you can't let Ida go down there on her own. Go on. Look me in the eye. Yes you do, I can see it. Trust.”
‘I don’t trust you to not get yourself killed!’ Lilith thought to the Time Lord. He made a face at her.
“I should be going down,” Zach insisted.
“The Captain doesn't lead the mission. He stays here, in charge.”
“Not much good at it, am I?” Zach sighed. “Positions! We're going down in two. Everyone, positions! Mister Jefferson! I want maximum system enhancement.”
Rose wandered over. “Tell him this is insane!” Lilith cried.
The human girl raised her eyebrows and turned to the Doctor. “I want that spacesuit back in one piece; you got that?
“Yes, sir.” The Doctor put on his helmet.
“Is no one going to listen to me?” Lilith demanded. “This is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea!”
The Doctor smiled at Rose. “I'll see you later.”
Rose smiled back. “Not if I see you first.” She kissed his helmet.
Lilith threw her hands up in defeat. “I give up on you two.”
“Capsule active. Counting down in ten, nine, eight, seven, six,” Zach began. The Doctor and Ida went into the capsule. Jefferson closed the door. “Five, four, three, two, one. Release.”
The capsule was lowered on its cable. Rose checked their progress on the screen while clutching the microphone.
“You've gone beyond the oxygen field. You're on your own,” Zach said over the comm.
“Don't forget to breath. Breathing's good,” Rose said.
“Rose, stay off the comm.”
“That’s not gonna happen,” Lilith snorted. The Time Lady paced back and forth, alternating between walking and telepathically sending the Doctor mental threats of what she would do to him if he survived.
Suddenly, the base shook.
“Doctor? Doctor are you alright?” Rose panicked.
“Ida, report to me. Doctor?”
“It's all right. We've made it,” the Doctor finally responded. “Getting out of the capsule now.”
“What's it like down there?” Rose asked.
“It's hard to tell. Some sort of cave. Cavern. It's massive.” Pause. “Rose, you can tell Toby we've found his civilization.”
“Oi, Toby. It sounds like you got plenty of work.” Rose chuckled.
Lilith looked at the man crouched on the ground. He was shaking slightly. She frowned. What was wrong with him?
“Concentrate now, people. Keep on the mission. Ida, what about the power source?” Zach said.
“We're close. Energy signature indicates north, north west. Are you getting pictures up there?”
“There's too much interference. We're in your hands.”
“Well,” Ida said, “we've come this far. There's no turning back.”
Lilith groaned. There’s no turning back. That’s about as bad as ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ Her stomach was tying itself in knots. Oh, she was going to kill the Doctor when he got back.
Danny's voice rang out of the comm. “Captain, sir. There's something happening with the Ood.”
“What are they doing?” Zach asked.
“They're staring at me. I've told them to stop, but they won't.”
Lilith could practically see Zach rolling his eyes. “Danny, you're a big boy. I think you can take being stared at.”
“But the telepathic field, sir,” Danny protested. “It's at basic one hundred. I've checked, there isn't any fault. It's definitely one hundred.”
“But that's impossible.”
“What's basic one hundred mean?” Rose questioned.
“They should be dead,” Danny replied.
Lilith frowned. “Basic one hundred's basically brain death.”
“But they're safe. They're not actually moving?” Zach pressed.
“No, sir,” said Danny.
“Keep watching them,” Zach ordered. “And you, Jefferson, keep a guard on the Ood.”
“Officer at arms!”
“You can't fire a gun in here!” Rose protested. “What if you hit a wall?”
“I'm firing stock fifteen. It only impacts upon organics,” Jefferson explained. “Keep watch. Guard them.”
“Is everything all right up there?” the Doctor asked.
‘No! Not fine! Not great! Get your skinny ass back up here!” Lilith metally shouted at the Doctor.
He paid her no mind. “Well, we've found something. It looks like metal, like some sort of seal. I've got a nasty feeling the word might be trapdoor. Not a good word, trapdoor. Never met a trapdoor I liked.”
“The edge is covered with those symbols,” Ida added.
Lilith forced herself to ignore their pointless conversation and focused on how violently Toby was shaking. Something was very,very wrong.
“I suppose that's the writing,” the Doctor was saying. “It'll tell us what to do. The letters that defy translation.”
“Toby, did you get anywhere with decoding it?” Zach asked.
“Toby, they need to know that lettering,” Rose relayed. “Does it make any sort of sense?”
“I know what it says.” Toby said.
“Then tell them.”
Toby stood. His skin was covered in the untranslatable symbols and his eyes were blood red. “These are the words of the Beast. And he has woken. He is the heart that beats in the darkness. He is the blood that will never cease. And now he will rise.”
“Officer, stand down. Stand down!” Jefferson ordered. Lilith stepped protectively in front of Rose.
‘Doctor, we’re in trouble,’ she thought, but she had the sick feeling that he couldn’t hear her.
“What is it? What's he done? What's happening? Rose! Lilith! What's going on? I can’t hear Lilith anymore!”
“Jefferson? Report. Report!”
“Officer, as Commander of Security, I order you to stand down and be confined. Immediately!” Jefferson shouted.
“He's come out in those symbols all over his face. They're all over him,” Rose said into the comm.
“Mister Jefferson. Tell me, sir. Did your wife ever forgive you?” Toby voice was low and demonic, sending shivers down Lilith’s spine.
“I don't know what you mean,” Jefferson said shakily.
Toby grinned evilly. “Let me tell you a secret. She never did.”
“Officer, you stand down and be confined.”
“Or under the strictures of Condition Red, I am authorized to shoot you.”
“But how many can you kill?” Toby opened his mouth. The symbols left him and float over to the Ood, who jerked to attention. Toby collapsed.
The Ood turned to face them, their eyes glowing a bright red. “We are the Legion of the Beast.” Lilith dimly heard the Doctor and Zach panicking over the comm. “The Legion shall be many, and the Legion shall be few.”
“It's the Ood,” Rose breathed. “Doctor, I don't know what it is. It's like they're possessed.” She was projecting her fear. Lilith took her hand.
“He has woven himself in the fabric of your life since the dawn of time,” the Ood continued. “Some may call him Abaddon. Some may call him Krop-Tor. Some may call him Satan or Lucifer or the Bringer of Despair, the Deathless Prince, the Bringer of Night. These are the words that shall set him free.
“I shall become manifest. I shall walk in might. My Legions shall swarm across the worlds. I am the sin and the temptation and the desire. I am the pain and the loss and the dead will come. I have been imprisoned for eternity. But no more.
“The pit is open; and I am free.”