The Doctor and Rose were cuddled up on the jump seat while Mickey was holding down a button. “And that weird munchkin lady with the big eyes? Do you remember?” the Doctor recalled. “The way she looked at you! And then she opens her mouth and fire comes out!”
“I thought I was going to get frazzled!” Rose laughed.
“Yeah. One minute she's standing there, and the next minute, roar!”
“Yeah. Where was that, then? What happened?” Mickey asked.
“Oh, it was on this er, this er planet thing. Asteroid. It's a long story. You—"
“Had to be there,” Lilith finished for him, joining them in the console room. She twirled around, letting her new ankle-length dress flow outwards. “What do you think?”
Mickey looked at her. “Why the style change?” he asked.
Lilith shrugged. “I felt like wearing blue and my shorter, TARDIS blue dress still had slime on it.” She made a face. “Um, what are you doing that for?” she nodded to the button he was holding down.
“Because he told me to,” Mickey said.
“When was that?” the Doctor frowned.
“About half an hour ago.”
“Er, you can let go now.”
Lilith giggled at Mickey’s face. “Well, how long's it been since I could've stopped?”
“Ten minutes? Twenty?” The Doctor rubbed the back of his neck. “Twenty nine?”
“You just forgot me!” Mickey cried while Rose and Lilith dissolved into laughter.
“No, no, no. I was just, I was, I was calibrating. I was just. No, I know exactly what I'm doing.” And with that, the time rotor blew up.
Sparks emitted from the console and the light flickered. Lilith could feel the TARDIS screaming in her mind.
“What's happened?” Rose shouted.
“The time vortex is gone! That's impossible!” the Doctor yelled. “It's just gone! Brace yourself! We're going to crash!”
The TARDIS came to a sudden stop, and gas masks dropped from the ceiling. The power was off; everything was off. A feeling of dread settled itself in Lilith’s stomach.
“Everyone all right?” the Doctor asked. “Rose? Lilith? Mickey?”
“I'm fine. I'm okay. Sorry. Yeah.”
“She's dead.” Lilith breathed, studying the console. “The TARDIS is dead.”
“You can’t fix it?” Rose asked hesitant;y.
The Doctor stood there, shell shocked. Lilith slipped her hand into his. “There’s nothing to fix. She's perished. The last TARDIS in the universe…extinct.”
“We can get help, yeah? We've landed. We've got to be somewhere.” Rose voice became panicky.
The Doctor shook his head. “We fell out of the vortex, through the void, into nothingness. We're in some sort of no place. The silent realm; the lost dimension.”
The dread she was feeling increased tenfold when Lilith figured out where they were. Through the void. It was the first time her parents had crossed the void.
Mickey opened the door. “Otherwise known as London.” He laughed and stepped outside. The three others followed out into the sunlight. “London, England, Earth. Hold on.” He picked up a discarded newspaper. “First of February this year not exactly far flung, is it?”
“So this is London?” the Doctor said dubiously.
“Yep.” Mickey confirmed.
“That's the one.”
“Just as we left it.”
“And that includes the Zeppelins?”
They all looked up. Massive airships passed overhead. “What the hell?”
“That's beautiful.” Rose breathed.
“Okay, so it's London with a big international Zeppelin festival,” Mickey reasoned.
“This is not your world,” the Doctor said darkly.
Lilith shuddered. She didn’t want to be there. Not in that world, the world that stole her mother, the world that she was going to have to go to on her own eventually. No, parallel London was the last place Lilith wanted to be.
“Where everything's the same but a little bit different, like, I don't know, traffic lights are blue, Tony Blair never got elected,” Mickey was saying.
“And he's still alive.” Rose was staring at an advertisement for Vitex Lite, cherry flavour, starring Pete Tyler. “A parallel world and my dad's still alive.”
“Don't look at it, Rose,” the Doctor said lowly. “Don't even think about it. This is not your world.”
“But he's my dad and…” She touched the poster, triggering a short film.
“Trust me on this,” the poster said.
“Well, that's weird. But he's real. He's a success. He was always planning these daft little schemes. Health food, drinks and stuff. Everyone said they were useless. But he did it.”
The Doctor grabbed Rose’s shoulders. “Rose, if you've ever trusted me, then listen to me now. Stop looking at it. Your father's dead. He died when you were six months old. That is not your Pete. That is a Pete. For all we know, he's got his own Jackie, his own Rose, his own daughter who is someone else, but not you. You can't see him. Not ever.”
“Trust me on this. Trust me on this. Trust me on this. Trust me on this.”
Lilith sat on the jump seat silently while the Doctor searched in vain for something to bring the TARDIS back to life. Mickey wandered in to the ship. “I told you to keep an eye on her,” He snapped.
“She's all right,” Mickey said.
“She goes wandering off. Parallel world, it's like a gingerbread house. All those temptations calling out.”
“Oh, so it's just Rose, then? Nothing out there to tempt me?” Mickey snapped.
“Well, I don't know, I can't worry about everything. If I could just get this thing to—” The Doctor kicked the console.
Lilith rolled her eyes. “Did that help?”
“Yes,” the Doctor said snippily.
“Did it hurt?”
He sunk onto the jump seat next to her. “Yes. Ow.” He sighed. “We're not meant to be here. The TARADIS draws it's power from the universe, but it's the wrong universe. It's like diesel in a petrol engine.”
“But I've seen it in comics. People go hopping from one alternative world to another. It's easy,” said Mickey.
Lilith shook her head. “Not in the real world. It used to be easy. When the Time Lords kept their eye on everything, you could hop between realities and be home in time for dinner. Then they died, and took it all with them. The walls of reality closed, the worlds were sealed.”
“Then how did we get here?” he wondered.
“I don't know. Accident?” The Doctor pinched the bridge of his nose. “Should've been impossible. Now we're trapped.” He frowned and leaned forward. “What's that?”
“That, there.” He pointed to a tiny green light. “Is that a reflection? It's a light! Is it? Is that a light? I think that's a light. That's all we need. We've got power! Guys, we've got power! Ha!” He moved the grating and crawled down below the console. “It's alive!”
“What is it?” Mickey asked.
“It's nothing. It's tiny. One of those insignificant little power cells that no one ever bothers about, and it's clinging onto life, with one little ounce of reality tucked away inside.”
“Enough to get us home?” asked Lilith.
“Not yet. I need to charge it up.”
“We could go outside and lash it up to the National Grid.” Mickey suggested.
“Wrong sort of energy,” Lilith said. “It's got to come from our universe.”
“But we don't have anything.”
“There's me.” The Doctor cradled the green light in his hands and blows on it. It glowed a bit brighter. “I just gave away ten years of my life. Worth every second.”
It started to dim. “It's going out. Is that okay?”
“It's on a recharging cycle.” the Doctor explained. “It'll loop round, power back up and be ready to take us home in, ooh, twenty four hours?”
“So that gives us twenty four hours on a parallel world?” Mickey clarified.
“Shore leave. As long as we keep our heads down. Easy. No problem. Let's go and tell her.”
“Way ahead of you!” Lilith was already out the door and running down to the bench where Rose sat. “You okay there, Tyler?”
The Doctor sauntered over. “There you are. You all right? No applause. I fixed it. Twenty four hours, then we're flying back to reality.” Rose didn’t respond to either of them. “What is it?”
“My phone connected,” Rose said quietly. “There's this Cybus Network. It finds your phone. It gave me Internet access.”
“Rose, whatever it says, this is the wrong world,” the Doctor said.
“I don't exist.”
“What do you mean?” Lilith asked gently.
“There's no Rose Tyler. I was never born. There's Pete, my dad, and Jackie. He still married mum but they never had kids.”
“They're rich.” Rose laughed. “They've got a house and cars, and everything they want. But they haven't got me. I've got to see him.”
“You can't,” the Doctor said.
“I just want to see him.”
“I can't let you.”
“You just said twenty four hours!” Rose protested.
“You can't become their daughter,” the Doctor insisted. “That's not the way it works. Lilith, tell her!”
Lilith bit her lip. “I don’t think that’s what she’s asking for, Doctor.”
Mickey stood up. “Twenty four hours, yeah?”
“Where're you going?” the Doctor demanded.
“Well, I can do what I want.” Mickey said, baking away.
“I've got the address and everything.” Rose said.
“Stay where you are, both of you. Rose, come back here! Mickey, come back here right now!”
“I just want to see him.”
“Yeah, I've got things to see and all.”
“I'm sorry. I've got to go.” Rose dashed away
“Tyler, wait!” Lilith ran after her. “Tyler! Rose!” She caught up with her.
“You’re not changing my mind, Lil,” Rose said firmly.
Lilith linked her arm through Rose’s. “Nah, I’m just tagging along. Don’t want you to be alone in this.”
The Doctor caught up with them after a few moments and the three of them strolled down the streets, arm in arm.
“Mickey's mum just couldn't cope,” Rose explained. “His dad hung around for a while, but then he just sort of wandered off. He was brought up by his gran. She was such a great woman. God, she used to slap him! And then she died. She tripped and fell down the stairs. It's about five years ago now. I was still in school.”
“I never knew,” the Doctor said, contritely.
“You never asked,” Lilith reminded him.
“You never said,” he countered.
“That's Mickey.” Rose sighed. “I suppose I, we just take him for granted. Do you think she's still alive, his gran?”
“Could be.” The Doctor shrugged. “Like I said, parallel world, gingerbread house. We need to get out of here as fast as we can.”
There was a beeping sound and everyone froze. No one moved an inch.
“What're they all doing?” Rose asked. “They've stopped.”
Everyone's ear pods flashed. “It's the earpieces,” the Doctor said. “Like Bluetooth attachments, but everyone's connected together.”
Rose took out her phone. “It's on my phone. It's automatic, look. It's downloading. Is this what they're all getting? News, international news, sports, weather.”
“They get it direct. Downloaded right into their heads. Everyone shares the same information. A daily download published by Cybus Industries.”
The people laugh all laughed at the daily joke, and then continue about their business as if nothing had happened. “You lot, you're obsessed. You'd do anything for the latest upgrade.”
“Oi, not my lot!” Rose protested. “”Different world, remember.”
“It's not so far off your world. This place is only parallel.” The Doctor continued messing with Rose’s phone. “Oh, look at that. Cybus Industries, owners of just about every company in Britain, including Vitex. Mister Pete Tyler's very well connected.” Rose grinned at the Doctor. “Oh, okay. I give up. Let's go and see him.”