Lilith flounced into the console room as the Doctor was setting the coordinates. “What do you think?” she asked, showing off her usual turtleneck tank top and jeans, her sonic blaster hanging at her hip.
The Doctor looked up. “You wear the same style everyday, Lilith,” he reminded her.
“I meant the color, hypocrite.”
“TARDIS blue, very nice,” Martha complimented.
“Why, thank you, Martha.” Lilith stuck her tongue out at the Doctor as he landed the TARDIS with the customary shake. “Where are we?”
“Cardiff!” the Doctor declared.
“Cardiff?” asked Martha.
The Doctor danced around the console, flipping a few switches. “Ah, but the thing about Cardiff, it's built on a rift in time and space, just like California and the San Andreas Fault, but the rift bleeds energy. Every now and then I need to open up the engines, soak up the energy and use it as fuel.”
“It’s basically a pit stop,” Lilith explained. Martha nodded.
“Exactly. Should only take twenty seconds. The rift's been active.”
“Wait a minute!” Martha said. “They had an earthquake in Cardiff a couple of years ago. Was that you?”
“Bit of trouble with the Slitheen.” The Doctor made a face at the memory and Lilith shuddered. “A long time ago. Lifetimes. I was a different man back then.”
“Literally,” Lilith muttered. She slipped her hand into his. ‘Thinking about Rose?’
‘Rose and Jack,’ the Doctor thought back sadly.
Jack. Lilith furrowed her eyebrows. The familiar sensation of memories trying to break loose filled her head. It had only been a year since she had last seen him. Why—?
“Finito! All powered up.” The Doctor’s eyes flicked to the scanner and he frowned.
“Something wrong there, Dad?” Lilith asked.
The Doctor waved her off. “Nothing to worry about.” He pulled the lever, setting the time rotor in motion.
‘Liar,’ she accused.
‘Not now, Lilith.’
Lilith opened her mouth to verbally accuse her father of hiding something, but she was cut off by a loud bang and the console exploding into sparks.
“Whoa! What's that?” Martha shouted.
The Doctor grabbed at the monitor. The console sparked some more. “We're accelerating into the future. The year one billion. Five billion. Five trillion. Fifty trillion? What? The year one hundred trillion? That's impossible.”
“Why? What happens then?”
The Doctor and Lilith shared wide-eyed looks of horror. “We're going to the end of the universe.”
“Why is the TARDIS taking us that far?” Lilith demanded. “Dad, what did you see?”
“Nothing!” the Doctor insisted.
“Our timeship is taking us to the end of the freaking universe! She doesn’t do that for nothing! What are you hiding?”
The TARDIS shook one last time before landing. The Doctor brushed himself off, ignoring Lilith’s glare. “Well, we've landed.”
“So what's out there?” Martha asked, hesitantly.
“I don't know,” the Doctor said.
“Say that again. That's rare.”
“Not even the Time Lords came this far. We should leave. We should go. We should really, really go.” He glanced at Lilith.
She struggled to keep her face in a scowl, but failed and matched his grin instead.
The three of them raced to the door.
Outside, Lilith spotted someone lying on the ground near the TARDIS. Apparently, Martha did too. “Oh my God!” She ran over to the body. “Can't get a pulse. Hold on. You've got that medical kit thing.” She sprinted back into the TARDIS.
Lilith moved closer, and then squealed with delight.
The Doctor frowned at the corpse. “Hello again. Oh, I'm sorry.”
“Here we go. Get out of the way.” Martha knelt down next to the man. "It's a bit odd, though. Not very hundred trillion. That coat's more like World War Two.”
“Don’t insult the coat,” Lilith warned. “He loves that coat.”
“I think he came with us,” the Doctor said.
Martha looked at him. “How do you mean, from Earth?”
“Must have been clinging to the outside of the TARDIS all the way through the vortex,” he mused.
“Typical.” Lilith snorted.
“What, do you know him?” Martha asked.
“That, Miss Jones,” Lilith said with a grin, “is my Uncle Jack.”
“But he's... I'm sorry, there's no heartbeat. There's nothing. He's dead.”
Jack gasped and grabbed Martha, who screamed. Lilith started cracking up.
“It's all right,” Martha said. “Just breathe deep. I've got you.”
Jack shot her a smile. “Captain Jack Harkness. And who are you?”
“Martha Jones.” She smiled back.
“Nice to meet you, Martha Jones.”
Lilith groaned. “Oh, don't start,” the Doctor complained.
“I was only saying hello!” Jack snapped.
“I don't mind.” Martha chuckled, helping Jack up.
“Doctor,” he greeted, coolly.
The Doctor responded in the same tone. “Captain.”
“Good to see you.”
“And you. Same as ever. Although, have you had work done?”
“You can talk!” Jack snipped.
The Doctor looked at him, confused for a moment. “Oh yes, the face. Regeneration. How did you know this was me?”
“The police box kind of gives it away. I've been following you for a long time.” Jack paused. “You abandoned me.”
Lilith rolled her eyes. “For the last time, Uncle Jack, it was me. I thought we went over this.”
Jack grinned and pulled her into a tight hug. “Hey there, sweetheart.”
The Doctor frowned. “Since when do you call him ‘Uncle Jack’?”
“Since I traveled with him for ten years,” Lilith said, flippantly.
“Ten years?” Martha asked, disbelievingly. “You can’t be older than twenty.”
“I’m one hundred and twenty five, thank you,” Lilith sniffed.
“Just got to ask. The Battle of Canary Wharf,” Jack said slowly. “I saw the list of the dead. It said Rose Tyler.”
Lilith saw the Doctor’s face fall before he schooled it into an expression of joviality. “Oh, no! Sorry, she's alive.”
“You're kidding!” Jack beamed.
“Parallel world, safe and sound. And Mickey, and her mother.”
“Oh, yes!” Jack hugged the Doctor ecstatically, and then hugged Lilith again. “But then how...?” he whispered.
“Spoilers,” she whispered back.
Martha looked down, dejected. “Good old Rose,” she muttered.
Lilith slung her arm around the other woman’s shoulder. “Don’t worry. Uncle Jack wasn’t into her like that. Dad made sure if it. You know how rule number one is ‘don’t wander off’? Rule number one for Jack was ‘hands off the blond’. Dad was very possessive back then.”
“Oi!” the Doctor protested.
“Besides, I’ve heard Jack’s not as great in bed as he boasts.”
“Says who?” Jack huffed, indignantly.
“Believe it or not,” Lilith said, “I happen to know the woman you sleep with in the future.”
Jack raised his eyebrows, interested. “And who might that be?”
“Spoilers!” she sing-songed.
The four of them started walking. Jack was telling a story of some kind, but Lilith was only half paying attention. Her thoughts were back a decade to when the TARDIS had given them a reluctant landing. The Doctor had just laughed it off and went barreling into the adventure. And where did that leave them? TARDIS-less on an impossible planet with Satan.
Now, the ship was clearly agitated and he had laughed it off again. Was history going to repeat itself?
“So there I was,” Jack was saying, “stranded in the year two hundred one hundred, ankle deep in Dalek dust, and he goes off without me. But I had this.” He held up his wrist. “I used to be a Time Agent. It's a vortex manipulator, like Lilith’s. He's not the only one who can time travel.”
“Oh, excuse me. That is not time travel!” the Doctor interrupted. “It's like, I've got a sports car and you've got a space hopper.”
“Oh ho. Boys and their toys.” Martha laughed.
“Seriously,” Lilith snickered.
“I thought 21st century, the best place to find the Doctor, except that I got it a little wrong. Arrived in 1869, this thing burnt out, so it was useless.”
“I had to live through the entire twentieth century waiting for a version of you that would coincide with me.”
“But that makes you more than one hundred years old,” Martha said.
Jack grinned. “And looking good, don't you think? So I went to the time rift, based myself there because I knew you'd come back to refuel. Until finally I get a signal on this detecting you and here we are.”
“But the thing is, how come you left him behind, Lilith?” Martha asked.
“We were a bit busy,” the Doctor said.
Martha scoffed. “Is that what happens, though, seriously? Do you two just get bored with us one day and disappear?”
“Not if you're blonde,” Jack muttered.
“Oh, she was blonde? Oh, what a surprise!”
“Look, Rose had just absorbed the vortex, Dad was about to die, and the TARDIS certainly wasn’t going to let Jack in. What was I supposed to do?” Lilith demanded.
“You three!” the Doctor snapped. “We're at the end of the universe, all right? Right at the edge of knowledge itself and you're busy… blogging! Come on.” He went off.
“Regeneration and Rose. Two bad topics,” Lilith said, remorsefully, following the Doctor.
They looked down over a cliff onto a high tech construction of some kind. “Is that a city?” Martha marveled.
“A city or a hive, or a nest, or a conglomeration. Like it was grown. But look, there.” The Doctor pointed. “That's like pathways, roads? Must have been some sort of life, long ago.”
“What killed it?” Martha wondered.
“Time.” Lilith shrugged. “Just time. It’s the end of the universe, everything's dying now. All the great civilizations are gone. It’s not dark because it’s night. All of the stars have burned up and faded away.”
Jack looked around. “They must have an atmospheric shell. We should be frozen to death.”
“Well, Martha, Lilith and I, maybe,” the Doctor agreed. “Not so sure about you, Jack.”
Lilith elbowed him in the side. Hard. ‘Rude, Dad.’
If Martha thought the comment odd, she didn’t say anything. “What about the people? Does no one survive?”
“I suppose we have to hope life will find a way,” the Doctor said.
“Well, he's not doing too bad.” Jack pointed to someone dashing through the city, pursued by a group of people.
The Doctor frowned. “Is it me, or does that look like a hunt? Come on!”
The Doctor, Lilith, Jack, and Martha ran to help. “Oh, I've missed this!” Jack laughed.
They met up with the running man. “They're coming! They're coming!” he cried.
Jack aimed a revolver at the group and Lilith pulled out her blaster.
“Lilith, Jack, don't you dare!” the Doctor shouted. Jack fired into the air, and the noise stopped the group in its tracks.
“What the hell are they?” Martha asked.
“There's more of them. We've got to keep going!” the man insisted.
“I've got a ship nearby. It's safe. It's not far; it's over there.” The Doctor pointed up the cliff where another group of people appeared.
“Or not,” Lilith muttered.
“We're close to the silo,” the man said. “If we get to the silo, then we're safe.”
The Doctor turned to his companions. “Silo?”
“Silo for me.”
“I’m good with the silo.”
The group seemed to snap out of whatever shock they were in from the gunfire just as the humans and two Gallifreyans started running again. Once the silo was in sight, the man yelled, “It's the Futurekind! Open the gate!”
“Show me your teeth!” a guard shouted. “Show me your teeth!”
“Show him your teeth!” the man told the four when they reached the gate. Everyone grimaced, displaying their teeth.
“Human! Let them in! Let them in!” The metal gates opened and they ran through. “Close! Close! Close!”
A guard fired his machine gun at the ground in front of the group as they got too close.
“Humans,” the leader growled. “Humani. Make feast.”
“Go back to where you came from. I said, go back. Back!” the guard ordered.
“Oh, don't tell him to put his gun down,” Jack rolled his eyes.
“He's not my responsibility,” the Doctor said.
Jack looked at him. “And I am? Ha, that makes a change.”
“Kind watch you. Kind hungry,” the leader of the Futurekind snarled. The group backed away and left.
“Thanks for that,” the Doctor said to the guard.
He nodded. “Right. Let's get you inside.”
“My name is Padra Toc Shafecane. Tell me. Just tell me, can you take me to Utopia?” the man asked the guard.
Utopia: a place or state of things in which everything is perfect. But for some reason, the word made Lilith’s stomach twist into knots. Something was wrong.
“It looks like a box, a big blue box,” the Doctor was saying to someone once they got inside. “I'm sorry, but I really need it back. It's stuck out there.”
“You know, if you let Jack and I kill any Futurekind we come across, we could just go get her,” Lilith muttered.
“I'm sorry, but my family were heading for the silo,” Padra said. “Did they get here? My mother is Kistane Shafecane. My brother's name is Beltone.”
“The computers are down but you can check the paperwork,” Atillo informed him. “Creet! Passenger needs help.” A young boy came over with a clipboard. Padra went to him. Atillo turned back to the Doctor. “A blue box, you said?”
“Big, tall, wooden. Says Police.”
“We're driving out for the last water collection. I'll see what I can do.”
“Thank you,” the Doctor said.
“Sorry, but how old are you?” Martha asked Creet.
“Old enough to work,” Creet answered. “This way.”
They followed him down a hallway. People had put pictures of their loved ones on the wall as they slept on the floor. Creet called out the names of Padra’s family.
“It's like a refugee camp,” Martha whispered.
“Stinking,” Jack declared. “Oh, sorry. No offence.”
The Doctor’s smile grew. “Don't you see that? The ripe old smell of humans. You survived. Oh, you might have spent a million years evolving into clouds of gas, and another million as downloads, but you always revert to the same basic shape. The fundamental humans.”
“Now here you are, at the end of the universe,” Lilith said.
“Indomitable! That's the word. Indomitable! Ha!” the Doctor laughed.
“Is there a Kistane Shafecane?” Creet asked the people that lined the hallway.
A woman stood up. “That's me.”
“Mother?” Padra asked.
“Oh, my God. Padra,” Kistane breathed.
A young man stood up; Jack shook his hand. “Captain Jack Harkness. And who are you?”
Lilith rolled her eyes.
“Stop it,” the Doctor warned. “Give us a hand with this. It's half deadlocked. I need you to overwrite the code. Let's find out where we are.”
Together, the Doctor and Jack opened the door which turned out to be part way up a giant rocket silo. The Doctor nearly fell in. Jack caught him. “Thanks.”
“Now that is what I call a rocket,” Martha said.
“They're not refugees, they're passengers,” Lilith realized.
“He said they were going to Utopia.”
“The perfect place. Hundred trillion years, it's the same old dream. You recognize those engines?” the Doctor asked Jack.
Jack shook his head. “Nope. Whatever it is, it's not rocket science. But it's hot, though.”
“Boiling,” the Doctor agreed. They shut the door again. “But if the universe is falling apart, what does Utopia mean?”
An old man approached them. “The Doctor?”
He raised his hand. “That's me.”
“Good! Good! Good. Good. Good. Good. Good. Good. Good. Good,” the man said repeatedly, dragging the Doctor away.
The Doctor looked back at Lilith, Martha, and Jack. “It's good apparently.”
The knots in Lilith’s gut tightened as they followed. Memories fought against the locks in her mind. Run! a voice in her head screamed at her. This is bad! That man is bad! Get to the TARDIS and run!
Lilith must have been projecting her distress because she immediately heard the Doctor mentally ask, ‘Are you alright?’
‘I don’t like this place,’ she told him. ‘Something feels wrong.’
Something was very wrong.