“So, that Doctor, eh?” Mickey chuckled.
“What are you talking about?” Rose asked.
“Well. Madame de Pompadour. Sarah Jane Smith. Cleopatra.”
“Cleopatra,” Rose scoffed. “He mentioned her once.”
“Yeah, but he called her Cleo.”
Lilith rolled her eyes. “Micks, I call her Cleo. That means nothing. Listen, over the years, plenty of companions have had crushes on the Doctor. But the Doctor has only crushed on one of them back.”
“Mickey!” Rose shouted in warning.
An android grabbed Mickey by the throat. Two more grabbed Rose and Lilith from behind. Lilith felt a needle go into her neck. A sedative, she guessed, one that wouldn’t effect her. She faked going limp and let the droids drag her off.
They strapped each of them to tables and Lilith waited for her friends to drift back into consciousness.
“What's going on? Doctor?” Rose called out.
“Rose?” Mickey said. “They're going to chop us up, just like the crew. They're going to chop us up and stick us all over their stupid spaceship. And where's the Doctor? Where's the precious Doctor now? He's been gone for flipping hours, that's where he is!”
“I told you, he’s coming.” Lilith sighed, exasperated. Then, she looked over at Rose. ‘Don’t be mad,’ she directed at her.
Rose sent back a sense of confusion.
Lilith tried to shrug, but it didn’t work. ‘That’s just what he told me to tell you. Don’t be mad, he’s acting.’
“You are compatible,” a droid said.
“Well, you might want to think about that,” Rose said dangerously. “You really really might, because me, Mickey, and Lil, we didn't come here alone. Oh no. And trust me, you wouldn't want to mess with our designated driver.”
The android extended his blade, with a little cogged wheel spinning at the end. Rose gulped. “E-Ever heard of the Daleks? Remember them? They had a name for our friend. They had myths about him, and a name. They c-called him the—”
Lilith had to hold in ecstatic laughter as the Doctor stumbled in singing with his tie wrapped around his head and a glass of ‘wine’ in his hand. “Have you met the French? My god, they know how to party!”
“Oh, look at what the cat dragged in. The Oncoming Storm,” Rose said sarcastically.
“Oh, you sound just like your mother.”
“What've you been doing?” she demanded. “Where've you been?”
“Well, among other things, I think just invented the banana daiquiri a few centuries early. Do you know they've never even seen a banana before?” He leaned in close to the blond. “Always take a banana to a party, Rose. Bananas are good.”
‘Shut it, you.’ “Oh ho, ho, ho, ho, brilliant. It's you!” he said, as if just noticing the droids. “You're my favorite, you are. You are the best! Do you know why? Because you're so thick. You're Mister Thick Thick Thickity Thick Face from Thicktown, Thickania.” He turned away, and then added as an afterthought, “And so's your dad.”
Lilith rolled her eyes.
“Do you know what they were scanning Reinette's brain for?” The Doctor laughed. “Her milometer. They want to know how old she is. Know why? Because this ship is thirty-seven years old, and they think that when Reinette is thirty-seven, when she's complete, then her brain will be compatible.
“So, that's what you're missing, isn't it, hmm?” He got in one of the droid’s faces. “Command circuit. Your computer. Your ship needs a brain. And for some reason, God knows what, only the brain of Madame de Pompadour will do.”
“The brain is compatible,” the droid by Rose intoned.
“Compatible? If you believe that, you probably believe this is a glass of wine.” The Doctor removed the android's mask and poured the contents of the goblet into its head. The clockwork seizes up. “Multigrain anti-oil,” he said, clearly completely sober. “If it moves, it doesn't.”
The Doctor found the android off switch on the console. “Right, you three, that's enough lying about. Time we got the rest of the ship turned off.”
He freed Lilith first, then Rose, and then Mickey.
“Are those things safe?” Mickey asked.
“Yeah. Safe. Safe and thick, way I like them. Okay. All the time windows are controlled from here. I need to close them all down.” He checked his pockets frantically. “Zeus plugs. Where are my Zeus plugs? I had them a minute ago. I was using them as castanets.”
“Why didn't they just open a time window to when she was thirty-seven?” Rose wondered.
“With the amount of damage to these circuits, they did well to hit the right century.” Lilith said. “It was trial and error after that.”
The Doctor frowned. “The windows aren't closing. Why won't they close?”
A bell rang. “What's that?”
“I don't know. Incoming message?” the Doctor replied.
“From who?” Mickey asked.
“Report from the field.” Lilith realized. "One of them must still be out there with Reinette. That's why you can't close the windows. There's some sort of override.”
The first android reactivated and expelled the anti-oil out through its finger onto the floor.
“Well, that was a bit clever,” the Doctor said. The off switch moved itself to on again. “Right. Many things about this are not good. Message from one of your little friends? Anything interesting?”
“She is complete,” the droid said. “It begins.”
All the androids teleported out. “What's happening?” Rose asked.
Lilith swore in Gallifreyan. “One of them must have found the right time window. Now it's time to send in the troops. And this time they're bringing back her head.”
“You found it, then?” Rose asked, coming over.
“They knew I was coming. They blocked it off.”
“I don't get it. How come they got in there?”
“They teleported,” the Doctor explained. “You saw them. As long as the ship and the ballroom are linked, their short range teleports will do the trick.”
“Can’t go in the TARDIS?” Mickey questioned.
Lilith shook her head. “We can't use the TARDIS. We're part of events now.”
“Well, can't we just smash through?”
“Hyperplex this side, plate glass the other,” the Doctor said. “We need a truck.”
“We don't have a truck.”
“I know we don't have a truck!” he shouted.
“Well, we've got to try something!” Rose protested.
“No. Smash the glass; smash the time window. There'd be no way back.”
“Yes, there is.” Everyone looked at Lilith.
The Doctor furrowed his eyebrows. “It’s the last and only time window we could use. When it’s gone, it's gone.”
“And if we can’t use the TARDIS…” Rose added.
“We’re part of events, that’s why we can’t use the TARDIS,” Lilith agreed. “But that ‘part of events’ rule doesn’t apply to my vortex manipulator.”
The Doctor’s eyes widened. “If I go to France, you can come pick me up.”
Rose looked at him. “You won’t be stuck there?” she asked. “You’ll be able to come back?” The Doctor nodded. “Then do it.”
“What about getting through in the first place?” asked Mickey. “We still don’t have a truck.”
“No,” the Doctor said. “But we have a horse.”
Lilith watched as the Doctor rode the horse through the time window and watched as it shattered. Rose looked at Lilith. “Now go get him before he does something stupid."
Lilith grinned and pressed a button on her vortex manipulator. In a flash, she was standing in the back of a ballroom. “They’ve stopped,” the Doctor was saying. “They have no purpose now.”
“And that’s my cue,” Lilith said loudly, flouncing up to the Doctor and Reinette. “Doctor, Madam de Pompous-ass.”
“Pompadour.” the Doctor corrected.
“That too,” Lilith said dismissively. “Ready to go, Doctor?”
“Reinette,” the Doctor said formally. “It’s been a pleasure, but I have to go.” He put his hand on Lilith’s vortex manipulator.
Lilith gave Reinette a smile. “Goodbye.”
“Goodbye, Fireplace Girl.”
Lilith pressed the button and in a flash, they were back on the ship and Rose was crushing the Doctor in a hug. Lilith raised an eyebrow at Mickey.
“You’ve been gone for five and a half hours.” He said.
She rubbed the back of her neck. “Ah, well, it is a homemade vortex manipulator. Even I’m not perfect.”
“We figured out why they needed Reinette’s head.” Rose said.
“Why?” the Doctor asked.
“The ship? It’s called the SS Madam De Pompadour.”
They all laughed as they filed into the TARDIS. Lilith and the Doctor did their dance around the console and the ship dematerialized. Team TARDIS was off on their next adventure.