Terrified, the two Gallifreyans pushed into the TARDIS followed by their companion. The interior was lit by a red light and the cloister bell was ringing. “Doctor, Lilith, what is it?” Donna asked. “What’s Bad Wolf?”
The Doctor’s reply was filled with fear. “It’s the end of the universe.”
They materialized on Earth and the Doctor burst through the doors. Everything was calm. “It’s fine… Everything’s fine,” the Doctor breathed. “Nothing’s wrong, all fine. Excuse me! What day is it?” he shouted to a passing milkman.
“Saturday!” the milkman told him.
“Saturday. Good. Good, I like Saturdays.”
Out of nowhere, Lilith’s head started pounding. It was a mix of the pain she had felt on Krop Tor, and the sensation on there being something she needed to know like when they had gone to the end of the universe.
“So I just met Rose Tyler?” Donna asked.
“But she’s locked away in a parallel world.”
Lilith snorted. “Clearly, she got out.”
“If she can cross from her parallel world to your parallel world, then that means that the walls of the universe are breaking down,” the Doctor said. “Which puts everything in danger. Everything. But how?” He dashed back into the TARDIS, followed by Lilith and Donna.
The Doctor started fiddling with the controls, setting up scans of the universal walls. Donna walked up to him. “Thing is, Doctor. No matter what’s happening, and I’m sure it’s bad, I get that, but Rose is coming back. Isn’t that good?”
He looked up at her, a smile stretching across his face. “Yeah.”
But the smile lasted only a moment. There was a loud bang and the TARDIS shook violently.
“What the hell was that?”
Lilith frowned. “It came from outside.”
The two Gallifreyans ran to the door and looked out. They were in space with nothing but several asteroids around. Donna joined them and they all stared out into the empty space, confused. “But we’re in space.”
The Doctor dashed back to the console. “Dad, what’s going on?” Lilith asked.
He looked at the monitor. “We haven’t moved, we’re fixed. Can’t have! No!” In disbelief, he ran back to the door. “The TARDIS is still in the same place, but the Earth has gone. The entire planet, it’s gone.”
Donna gazed at him in shock. “But if the Earth’s been moved, they’ve lost the sun! What about my mum? And Grandad? They’re dead, aren’t they? Are they dead?”
Lilith grunted in pain and held her head. The Doctor returned to the monitor, but the human check to see if she was okay. “Are you alright?”
“They’re alive,” Lilith hissed. “They’re being kept alive. But the other’s are screeching, screaming, shouting. One word.”
“There’s no readings.” The Doctor gaped at the screen. “Nothing. Not a trace. Not even a whisper. That is fearsome technology!”
“So what do we do?” Donna questioned.
“We’ve got to get help.”
“The only place we can go. I’m taking you to the Shadow Proclamation.”
The TARDIS shook while she flew through the space, heading towards the people who’s name the Doctor used as a threat, but constantly avoided. “So go on then, what is the Shadow Proclamation, anyway?”
“Fancy name for the police,” Lilith said as the pain in her head ebbed away. “The outer space police.”
The TARDIS materialized inside a building. As the trio stepped out, several Judoon pointing guns at them greeted them. Lilith reached for her blaster, but the Doctor stopped her.
“Sco bo tro no flo jo ko fo. To to!” the lead Judoon said.
“No bo ho sho ko ro to so,” the Doctor replied. “Bo-ko-do-zo-go-bo-fo-po-jo!” The Judoon lowered their guns. “Mo ho.”
The space rhinos led them to a pale woman with red eyes. The Shadow Architect. “And who are you?”
“I’m the Doctor, a Time Lord, and this is my daughter, the Collector.”
“Time Lords are the stuff of legend. They belong in the myths and whispers of the higher species. You two cannot possibly exist.”
“Yeah, more to the point, we’ve got a missing planet!”
“Then you’re not as wise as the stories would say,” the Shadow Architect said. “The picture is far bigger than you can imagine. The whole universe is in outrage, Doctor. Twenty four worlds have been taken from the sky.”
“How many? Which ones? Show me!” the Doctor demanded.
The Shadow Architect brought them to a computer. “Location range far and wide, but all disappeared at the exact same moment, leaving no trace.”
The Doctor browsed through the files on the lost planets, Lilith reading over his shoulder. “Callufrax Minor, Jahoo, Shallacatop, Woman Wept…”
“Clom?” Lilith interrupted. “Like Raxacoricofallapatorius’ sister planet? Home of the Abzorbaloff? Who’d want Clom?”
“All different sizes, some populated, some not, but all unconnected.”
“What about Pyrovillia?”
The Shadow Architect looked at Donna. “Who is the other female?” she asked condescendingly.
“Donna! I’m a human being,” Donna snapped. “Maybe not the stuff of legend, but every bit as important as Time Lords, thank you. Way back when we were in Pompeii, Lucius said Pyrovillia had gone missing.”
“Pyrovillia is cold case. Not relevant,” a Judoon declared.
“How do you mean, cold case?”
“The planet Pyrovillia cannot be part of this,” the Shadow Architect claimed. “It disappeared over two thousand years ago.”
Lilith shook her head. “It could be related. There’s the breeding planet, Adipose III, too. Matron Cofelia said that it was lost. That must’ve happened a while ago.”
“That’s it!” the Doctor exclaimed. “Planets are being taken out of time as well as space. Let’s put this into 3D.” He fiddled with the computer and a hologram of the lost planets appeared in the air. “Now, if we add Pyrolillia and Adipose III.” Two more spheres were added to the hologram. “Something’s missing. Where else, where else? Lost, lost, lost… Oh! The Lost Moon of Poosh!” As he added the last one, the hologram suddenly moved and rearranged the planets.
“What did you do?” the Shadow Architect asked.
“Nothing. The planets rearranged themselves into the optimum pattern. Look at that! Twenty seven planets in perfect balance. That is gorgeous!”
“Oi, don’t get all spaceman,” Donna admonished. “What does it mean?”
“All those worlds fit together like pieces of an engine,” Lilith answered. “It’s like a powerhouse. But what for?”
“Who could design such a thing?” the Shadow Architect wondered.
“Someone tried to move the Earth once before. Long time ago… can’t be,” the Doctor murmured.
‘Who?’ Lilith asked.
‘What did you say earlier? The other’s are screaming one word?’ But that was all the Doctor offered as he and the Shadow Architect continued to study the computer and go over options. Lilith started pacing back and forth, going over all of the stories her father had told her. But she didn’t remember anything about the Earth being stolen before.
“Donna, come on. Think,” the Doctor said. “There must’ve been some sort of warning. Was there anything happening back in your day? Like electrical storms, freak weather, patterns in the sky?”
Donna thought about it. “There were the bees disappearing.”
“The bees disappearing,” the Doctor repeated, unimpressed. Donna shrugged. “The bees disappearing.” Something dawned on him. “The bees disappearing!” He ran back to the computer.
“How is that significant?” the Shadow Architect asked.
“On Earth we have these insects,” Donna told her. “Some people said it was pollution or mobile phone signals.”
“Or they were going back home,” muttered the Doctor. “The planet Melissa Majoria.”
“Are you saying bees are aliens?” Donna demanded.
Lilith raised an eyebrow. “Did we not run into a giant freaking wasp just a couple months ago?”
“Don’t be so daft. Not all of them. But if the migrant bees felt someone coming, some sort of danger, and escaped… Tandocca!”
The young Time Lady’s eyes widened in realization. “The Tandocca Scale!”
“Tandocca Scale is the series of wavelengths used as a carrier signal by migrant bees,” the Doctor explained. “Infinitely small, no wonder we didn’t see it! Like looking for a speck of cinnamon in the Sahara! But look! There it is, the Tandocca trail. The transmat that moved the planets was using the same wavelength, we can follow the path!”
“And find the Earth!” Lilith finished, dragging Donna back to the TARDIS.
The Doctor started a scan on the monitor. A dot started blinking on the screen. “I’ve got a blip!” he announced to the Shadow Architect. “It’s just a blip, but it's definitely a blip!”
“Then according to the Strictures of the Shadow Proclamation, I will have to seize your transport and your technology,” she said.
Lilith joined the Doctor in the doorway. “Excuse me?”
“The planets were stolen with hostile intent. We are declaring war, Doctor, right across the universe. And you will lead us into battle!”
“Right, yes, ‘course I will. I’ll just go and get you the key.” The two of them ran back to the console. The Doctor grinned at Donna as Lilith pulled the dematerialization lever.
The time rotor rose and fell, making the customary grinding noise, as the TARDIS was in flight. Then it stopped suddenly. The Doctor frowned. “It’s stopped.”
“What do you mean?” Donna asked. “Is that good or bad? Where are we?”
He checked the monitor. “The Medusa Cascade. I came here when I was just a kid, ninety years old. It was the center of a rift in time and space.”
“So where are the twenty seven planets?”
“Nowhere. The Tandocca trail stops dead.” He paused. “End of the line.”
“What do we do? Doctor? What do we do?”
The Doctor just stared ahead, defeated. Lilith reached out to him. “Dad?”
“Now don’t do this to us. No, don’t. Not now. Tell me what are we going to do? You never give up, please.”
But they got no response. Out of nowhere, Lilith felt a sharp stab of pain. She shouted and gripped her head. “Gah!”
“Hate,” she said through gritted teeth, “nothing but hate. They’re calling. The other’s are screeching, screaming, shouting. One word. Exterminate! They’re calling. They’re calling.”
As if on cue, Martha cell phone started to ring, snapping the Doctor out of lethargy. “Phone!” he exclaimed and grabbed the cell, answering it. “Martha, is that you?” The response was a constant beeping. “It’s a signal!”
“Can we follow it?”
“Just watch me!” The Doctor danced around the console flipping switches and twisting knobs. “Got it! Locking on!” He pulled a lever and the TARDIS shook violently. The room was lit but red lights, the cloister bell was deafening, and bits of the console were sparking and burning.
“We’re traveling through time! One second in the future!” the Doctor shouted. “The phone call’s pulling us through! Three! Two! One!”
One by one, the lost planets appeared on the scanner. “Twenty seven planets! And there’s Earth! Why couldn’t we see them?” asked Donna.
“The entire Medusa Cascade is a second out of synch with the rest of the universe,” Lilith said. “It’s the perfect hiding place, a pocket of time.”
The monitor beeped. “Oh, what’s that? Hold on, some sort of subwave network…” the Doctor messed with the controls and the monitor split into four sections. One showed the three of them; one showed Jack, Gwen, and Ianto; one showed Sarah Jane and Luke; and the last showed Martha and her mother.
Jack, Sarah Jane, and Martha all started talking at once.
“Were the hell have you been? Doctor, it’s the Daleks!”
“It’s the Daleks. They’re taking people to their space ship.”
“It’s not just Dalek Caan!”
The Doctor took inventory of who was on the screen. “Sarah Jane! Who’s that boy? That must be Torchwood. Aren’t they brilliant? Look at you all, you clever people!”
“That’s Martha. And who’s he?” Donna pointed at Jack.
“Captain Jack. Don’t, just don’t.”
‘Everyone except Rose…' Lilith thought.
The screen turned to white noise. “We’ve lost them.”
The Doctor frantically worked on the controls. “No, there’s another signal coming though, there’s someone else out there.” He whacked the top of the monitor. “Hello? Can you hear me? Rose?”
“Your voice is different. And yet, its arrogance is unchanged.” The Doctor froze, recognizing the voice. An image of the creepiest looking man appeared on the screen. “Welcome to my new Empire, Doctor. It is only fitting that you should bear witness to the resurrection, and the triumph, of Davros. Lord and creator of the Dalek Race!”
Lilith swore in Gallifreyan.
“Have you nothing to say?”
“Doctor, it’s all right,” Donna said, reassuringly. “We’re in the TARDIS. We’re safe.”
“But you were destroyed,” the Doctor protested, “in the very first year of the Time War at the Gate of Elysium. I saw your command ship fly into the jaws of the Nightmare Child. I tried to save you.”
“But it took one stranger than you. Dalek Caan himself.”
“I flew into the wild and fire, I danced and died a thousand times,” a Dalek sing-songed. It sat in its casing, the top of the armor open.
“Emergency Temporal Shift took him back into the Time War itself,” Davros said.
The Doctor shook his head. “But that’s impossible! The entire War is timelocked!”
“And yet, he succeeded. Oh, it cost him his mind. But imagine; a single, simple Dalek succeeded where Emperors and Time Lords have failed. A testament, don’t you think, to my remarkable creations?”
“And you made a new race of Daleks?”
“I have myself to them, quite literally. Each one grown from a cell of my own body.” Davros opened his tunic to reveal that his flesh had been ripped off. His ribs and heart were visible.
Lilith gagged. “It is the most freaking disgusting thing I have ever seen.”
“New Daleks. True Daleks. I have my children, Doctor. What do you have?”
“After all this time, everything we saw, everything we lost, I only have one thing to say to you.” The Doctor switched to his deflecting cheery tone. “Bye!” The screen went blank. He pulled a lever and the TARDIS flew off towards the Earth.
They materialized on a deserted street full of abandoned cars, broken bikes, and scattered garbage. “Like a ghost town,” Donna breathed.
Lilith looked around. “Or the world under the Master’s rule.”
“Sarah Jane said they were taking the people,” the Doctor said. “What for? Think, girls, when you met Rose in that parallel world, what did she say?”
“Just ‘the darkness is coming’.” Donna looked away, thinking. Lilith spotted something behind the Doctor. She covered her mouth. Donna smiled. “Why don’t you ask her yourself?”
The Doctor turned around. There was Rose at the other end of the street, looking at him with a bright smile. He stared at her for a moment, not quite believing what he was seeing. Then Rose started to run towards him and so did the Doctor. Neither noticed the threat until it was too late.
The Dalek shot at the Doctor. The death ray only skimmed his chest, but it was enough to make him fall. Lilith raced forward. Jack appeared and blasted the Dalek while Rose and Donna ran to the Doctor. Rose and Lilith got there first. They knelt beside him, Lilith gripping his arm and Rose taking his head in her arms.
“I’ve got you,” the blonde said. “I missed you. Look, it’s me.”
The Doctor was barely conscious, but still smiling. “Rose…”
“Long time no see.”
“Yeah. Been busy, you know?” she chuckled weakly. The Doctor shouted in pain. “Don’t die, oh god, don’t die. Oh my god, don’t die.”
Donna and Jack reached them. “Get him into the TARDIS, quick. Move!” The three girls supported the Doctor and brought him back to the TARDIS while Jack picked up Rose’s gun and covered the way.
They laid the Doctor on the grating. Rose and Lilith clutched him desperately. “What do we do?” Donna panicked. “There must be some medicine or something.”
“Just step back,” Jack ordered. “Rose! Lilith! Do as I say and get back! He’s dying and you know what happens next.”
Lilith could feel time shifting and her memories changing. “No!” she shouted. “This isn’t supposed to happen! It’s too early!”
“What do you mean?” Donna asked.
“I came all this way,” Rose sobbed.
“What do you mean?” Donna repeated. “What happens next?”
The Doctor lifted up his hand and Lilith saw that it was starting to glow. “It’s starting…” he managed.
Jack pulled a protesting Rose and a screaming Lilith away from the Doctor. “Here we go. Good luck Doctor!”
“Will someone tell me what’s going on?” demanded Donna.
Rose sniffed. “When he’s dying, his… his body… it repairs itself. It changes. But you can’t!” she said, desperately.
The Doctor struggled to his feet. “I’m sorry, it’s too late. I’m regenerating.”
“Dad!” Lilith cried.
Energy burst out from his skin through the sleeves and neck of his suit. Jack put his arms around the three girls and Lilith hung on tightly to the blonde as they hid their faces from the blinding light.