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Title: The Noble Girl – The End of the World
Rating: T

Author: tkel_paris
Summary: Jenny Noble and Mickey Smith's first TARDIS adventure? The Earth's Death. Time to see just how alien the universe is. Written for cassikat's birthday. But posted for Christmas.
Disclaimer: Hugely AU. So no, I own nothing.
Dedication: cassikat, of course. Happy birthday, my friend! :D And tardis_mole and bas_math_girl, for beta-reading.
Author's Note: This idea was floating around in my head because I thought that a certain character looked more like another character than the one who was her (sole) parent in canon. And I know cassikat wanted a Nine story without Rose. So we both get our wish here! :D

Everyone has had the idea of taking a character and putting them into a different family situation. So, take one character from Who, transform the circumstances of her birth into something normal (or as normal as one can get in DW), and give her a different family. What do you get? Possibly this story. If you eliminate one other character...

And please remember: please try to review (at least in part) as though this IS New Who and you're watching an episode for the first time. :D

Chapter One

CHAPTER TWO: Aliens! Real Aliens!

The Doctor stared at Jenny's accusing eyes. He hadn't expected this reaction. Mickey's, yes. Hers, no. “I like to open my companions' minds to possibilities.”

Jenny snorted. “And showing me exactly how my planet will die is one of them? You're a laugh and a half!”

He groaned, and walked down a corridor. He suspected these two wouldn't let themselves be left alone for long. Well, most companions wouldn't be. These two had as much tenacity as any he could recall. He could only imagine the force of nature that must be her mother.

Oi!” Jenny snapped, jogging after him with red in her eyes. Mickey, as dazed as he was, was right on her heels. “You think that's an answer?!”

The Doctor was temporarily saved from explaining by a female computer voice. “Attention.”

Unbeknownst to them, outside two spacecraft were approaching the structure. “Shuttles 5 and 6 now docking. Guests are reminded that Platform 1 forbids the use of weapons, teleportation and religion. Earth Death is scheduled for 15:39, followed by drinks in the Manchester Suite.”

Mickey shuddered as they walked along, ignoring the golden urns on display along the walls. “Scheduled?! And who forbids religion?!”

Jenny exhaled sharply. “Just so you know, Doctor – I don't like it when I don't get a real answer!”

He sighed. “Then ask me something about what's about to happen. We'll go from there.”

Mickey decided to interrupt, to try to head off a rant. “So, when it says 'guests' does that mean people?

The Doctor gaze him a measured look. “Depends what you mean by people.”

I mean... people.” Mickey blinked at him. “What do you mean?”


Jenny's anger faded considerably. “Wait, aliens?! Other than you? Well, what are they doing on board this... is it a spaceship? What's it all for?” Although she wondered why there was a green glowing wall panel back at their last turn.

The Doctor pulled his sonic screwdriver back out. “It's not really a spaceship. More like an observation deck.” He used it to open the door in front of them. “The great and the good are gathering to watch the planet burn.”

Mickey frowned. “Why?”

The Doctor flashed them an odd, grim smile as he led them inside. “Fun.”

The room was actually a large observation gallery, with another view of the Earth. Jenny and Mickey's eyes took in the room. It was huge, with glass windows on the ceiling showing part of Platform One. They could see a circular dome section, with some bright lights highlighting little areas nearby and windows shining along the section. The room itself was a few stories tall, with as much pale marble as dark wood. Or was it dark marble that looked like wood? In any case, the same type of longish wall lights they'd seen before lit the walls every so often.

Mind you,” the Doctor added as they approached the windows with the Earth view, “when I said the great and the good, what I mean is, the rich.”

Jenny groaned. “Why doesn't that surprise me?”

Mickey shook his head. “Hold on, they did this once on 'Newsround Extra' - the sun expanding in the future.”

That show's too simple for you,” Jenny muttered.

Yeah, well, I was watching Jackie's kids, and they like it. But that takes thousands of years, right?”

Millions,” the Doctor corrected. “But the planet's now property of the National Trust. They've been keeping it preserved. See down there?” He led them to the window and pointed at a slew of what looked like tiny glints of light orbiting the Earth. “Gravity satellites. That's holding back the sun.”

Jenny blinked in disbelief. “Hang on! The planet looks like it does in our time! What about tectonic drift?!”

The Doctor smiled at Jenny's use of the technical term. “That continued. The Trust shifted them back. That's a classic Earth. But now the money's run out, nature takes over!”

Mickey looked at him. “How long has it got?”

The Doctor looked at his watch. “About half an hour. And the planet gets roasted.”

So why are we here?” asked Mickey tightly. “I mean, is that what you do? Jump in at the last minute and save the Earth?” Even as he said it, he felt grim. “Or not?”

I'm not saving it,” the Doctor answered. “Time's up. Everything must die,” he added with a sadness that couldn't be held back completely.

Jenny heard the sadness, and caught a glimpse of something profound within his eyes. “Has everyone got off the Earth, then?”

He nodded. “It's empty! They're all gone. All left.”

She looked back at the Earth. “Then, what's become of humanity?”

Who the hell are you?”

The trio turned, and the two Earthlings froze. A man walked toward them from a side entrance to another room, He had a name-tag that proclaimed him the Steward, but neither human was sure the word man could apply to him. Because he was blue. And his eyes were more crocodillian than human. And his golden dress and tunic – which looked more like an open suit jacket to Jenny's eyes – hung right down to very wide feet that looked more at home on a goose than a man. Clearly not human. At least not as they knew it. The shortness of his temper could've been human, though. But the shining gem-like object on his forehead reminded her of stories about the third eye from yoga traditions. A golden helmet graced his head, but it was clearly ceremonial and not for combat – it didn't cover his ears or protect his face.

The Doctor was unfazed. “Oh! That's nice, thanks.”

Jenny looked away from the object of their study to stare a moment at him.

Mickey leaned in to whisper in Jenny's ear. “How the hell does he intend to explain this away?!”

The man shook his head. “But how did you get in? This is a maximum hospitality zone. The guests have disembarked! They're on their way any second now!”

The Doctor remained calm. “That's me, I'm a guest, look!” He had pulled a small leather wallet out while the Steward spoke. “I've got an invitation!” He opened it to the Steward's eyes, ignoring his companions trying to get looks at it. “Look, there you see? It's fine, see? The Doctor plus two. I'm the Doctor, this is Jenny Noble and Mickey Smith. They're my plus two. That all right?”

Jenny frowned. An invitation?! How did he get it?! And how did it fit on that wallet?!

Mickey just blinked in shock. Could that seriously work? It looked blank from where he was standing.

The Steward's manner did a complete 180. “Well... obviously.”

The Doctor grinned at the change. His companions' jaws dropped.

Apologies, et cetera. If you're on-board, we'd better start. Enjoy.” He looked utterly apologetic. Like a man who had been slapped for speaking out of turn and expecting to be whipped at the very least.

The Doctor nodded at him, as if it happened all the time. When the Steward walked off, the Doctor showed Jenny and Mickey the wallet, now utterly blank. Neither of them could believe it.

The paper's slightly psychic,” the Doctor explained. “Shows them whatever I want them to see. Saves a lot of time.”

Jenny managed a hallow laugh as she folded her arms and narrowed her eyes. “I can imagine. Especially how that could be misused.”

The Doctor flinched.

Mickey shook his head numbly. “He looks like he's a sort of... cousin of the Blue Man Group that Jenny's mum saw in Las Vegas.”

The Doctor shrugged. “You haven't seen anything yet.”

The Steward's voice came over a microphone suddenly. “We have in attendance, the Doctor, Jenny Noble and Mickey Smith. Thank you! All staff to their positions.”

He had moved off to a rostrum off to one side of the room and raised his hands and clapped them three times. At once a small flotilla of shorter persons filed in from the corridor, in pairs, uniformed and with masks obscuring their eyes and heads, but it was clear that they were also blue.

Mickey frowned. Not the least because the Doctor waved at the Steward and still smiled inanely. “They like they're either children of the Steward, or children of his species, on day trip as guests or as students writing essays.”

But it was quickly apparent that they were to work, serving guests with food and drink.

Jenny cringed. “Not sure I like people fussing over me,” she whispered as at least a dozen of other little blue people scurried around her. “I don't like it much from my own family.”

Mickey sucked in a breath. “Oh my god,” he breathed. “They're not workers. They're slaves.”

Jenny gasped. She instinctively took his hand, hoping to provide a little comfort.

The Doctor nodded grimly. “I'm afraid so,” he whispered back, saddened at the sight. He wondered what it was like for Mickey, descendant of former slaves from generations past, to see it happening before him. If his family had only recently gained their freedom, he might've thought twice about bringing them here. Still, he'd noticed that humans of any era liked to assume they knew what things were like, no matter how far removed they were from the event. He supposed the topic would come up again later.

Hurry now! Thank you, as quick as we can! Come along, come along!” The Steward waited for his staff to get things that neither 21st Century Earthling could keep track of. “And now, might I introduce the next honoured guest, representing the Forest of Cheem, we have Trees. Namely, Jabe, Lute and Coffa.”

Three beings came through the doors. Jenny and Mickey's jaws dropped. They looked like trees that were the height of taller humans, and had faces. And walked! The two on the ends looked male based on their dark metal uniforms' shapes. The one in the center, wearing a dress of red and shining gold with threading shaped like leaves and vines on the red parts, looked like it had breasts. Its skin was darker than the others, though the pointed things that would otherwise be called hair was almost as light as the others'.

There will be an exchange of gifts representing peace. If you can keep the room circulating, thank-you.” The Steward continued, him and the tree oblivious to their shock. “Next, from the solicitors Jolco and Jolco, the Moxx of Balhoon.”

The Moxx of Balhoon was a chubby light blue alien that looked to Jenny like a smaller version of Jabba the Hut in body. His forehead was an elongated version of the sorts of heads that the 'little green men' of many conspiracy theories suggested. His face seemed to be angry, which Jenny supposed you might be if your body was so big that you needed mechanical assistance to move around. His hands, which may or may not have had five fingers, seemed to use golden knobs to move metalic golden wheelchair – which had no discernible wheels. To top it off, the Moxx's feet rested in front of him, and he appeared to be unclothed.

The Doctor smiled cheerily, seeing races he hadn't seen in a long time – if ever. Mickey looked on bewildered. Jenny marveled over the assortment of forms and vibrant colours that were beyond any imagined invention of Earth. They had always had aliens as twig-like with oversized almond eyes, with nasal slits and a tiny mouth. Sometimes they would be snow white or made of light or even green with antenna sticking out of their foreheads. If they only knew. And she didn't even want to start on the Doctor and what her mum would call his box of weird. And being able to hear the box's emotions?!

And next,” the Steward carried on, “from Financial Family Seven, we have the Adherents of the Repeated Meme.” A group of five aliens appeared, but no one could see their faces through their black masks. Long dark cloaks covered their bodies, and their hands were hidden within the folds. The only bit of colour were a single gold necklace that each wore, with matching square shapes surrounding a circle.

The Doctor chuckled at the look on his companions' faces. Ah, if they only knew what these ones really are.

Repeated Meme?” Jenny repeated under her breath. “It became a science at last?”

The inventors of hyposlip travel systems, the brothers Hop Pyleen. Thank you!” The Steward's voice preceded the newest aliens.

They looked something like an advanced version of a therapod, what they might have look like if they hadn’t died out millions - or in the case of today, billions - of years ago. They wore coats or cloaks with a great deal of fur on them – the one on the left had darker with spots, and the other paler that looked like it came off a creature that was aging. The one on the left also carried a device of some sort.

Jenny glanced at Mickey and he was as blown away by it as she was. He had a collection of dinosaurs on his bedroom shelf which he still played with, despite his denials. And these brothers looked like them, without the tail. Under the layers of fur they had/were wearing, it was hard to tell which, it was next to impossible to tell if they had a tail.

The Steward continued as soon as the brothers moved out of the way. “Cal 'Spark Plug'.”

Despite naming only one name, two creatures appeared. Oversized bonnets and masks and cloaks covered the two. One was goldish with flecks of something darker, and the other more brownish with even darker flecks. The masks looked slightly like distorted versions of the Storm Troopers'.

The Doctor was highly amused by Jenny and Mickey's silent but moving mouths. He could tell they were trying to figure out how the being breathed.

The introductions kept coming. “Mr. and Mrs. Pakoo.”

The newest aliens were birds. Very big birds wearing dark clothing that appeared to have light buttons down the front, and dark feathers at the shoulders – not quite matching the ones on their heads – of their cloaks.

Jenny couldn’t help staring at the two vultures with some disgust. She couldn’t help it, but suppressed it, analysing it as perhaps a cultural revulsion rather than any disrespect for them or their species. It was just so overwhelming. She'd always wondered why certain animals gained the associations they held, and why they were different from culture to culture, but she supposed she couldn't be blamed for cringing over creatures that looked like animals that ate directly off dead carcases. Not in her society, at least. And a brief glance at Mickey confirmed he was just as disgusted.

The Ambassadors from the City State of Binding Light.” As the Steward announced, the two creatures entered the room, with their large mouths, tiny ears and four nostrils without a nose. Their faces were crinkled slightly, and the expressions they seemed to have pasted on looked like they'd just smelled something appalling. One wore a deep red garment that looked like it might've been used for some religious offical in the Catholic Church once in its history. Same for the one carrying what looked like some parcel that might have had tiny feathers on the objects that appeared to show on top. His – or her – clothing was more dark orange with dark buttons running a little down the front.

The three Tree People approached the Doctor, led by the one who looked female. On either side of her, her companions suddenly held plant trays with little shoots in them. Their faces were much rougher than hers, which raised interesting questions about their development. Jenny wondered what the advantage was.

She wanted to speak, but she wasn't sure of the protocol. Her mum taught her to learn the expected behaviours of the place she was going to, so she hoped Mickey would know to keep silent and follow the Doctor's lead. They just had to hope he knew what he was doing.

The Gift of Peace,” the female tree spoke, taking a cutting from one of the trays and handing it to the Doctor with a small smile. “I bring you a cutting of my Grandfather.”

Jenny's jaw dropped as she looked at Mickey – whose face was equally startled. Wasn't that an awfully personal gift?

The Doctor was awed. It was a considerable gift, knowing their culture. “Thank you!” he breathed. The Doctor carefully gave it to Jenny, who took it with blinking eyes. Mickey's eyes flickered between the cutting and the trees. Meanwhile, the Doctor grimaced. He had to find something to show honoured he was by being trusted with something so personal “Yes, gifts... erm...” He cleared his throat and felt his jacket pockets for something he could offer. Finding nothing, he settled on an alternative. “I give you in return, air from my lungs.” Without stepped forward, he blew gently onto the female's face, who closed her eyes briefly.

The female tree suddenly looked as a woman would look after sex; contented and fulfilled. And slightly surprised and amused as her eyes darted all over him.How... intimate.”

The Doctor grinned flirtatiously. “There's more where that came from.”

I bet there is...” she hinted, almost looking bashful before she and her companions walked off to mix with the others.

Jenny and Mickey thought their jaws would unhinge. Had they just witnessed the Doctor flirting with a tree?! Humanoid it looked, but weren't they totally different species?! And... what did those males make of it?

Sponsor of the main event,” the Steward continued, “please welcome the Face of Boe.”

The two human's eyes grew as a huge head in an even larger jar wheeled itself through the doors. The head seemed distorted, like aging had been extremely unkind, and they couldn't see anything that looked like a body. There were knobs that seemed attached to the head with some skin, and his lips seemed downturned. The Face's eyes took in the room with an awareness that spoke of considerable intelligence.

Nutrient fluids?” Jenny wondered in a soft voice. “How is that... person breathing?”

The Doctor didn't answer. Another alien came forward. Fortunately, he knew exactly who it was. “The Moxx of Balhoon,” he greeted affably, slightly opening his jacket through his hands in its pockets. He also bent slightly so the the alien wouldn't have to look up so much.

The alien stopped, showing its longish teeth. “My felicitations on this historical happenstance,” he said in a high-pitched voice. The Doctor nodded with a slight smile. “I give you the gift of bodily saliva.” He then spat accurately into Mickey's left eye.

Laughing, the Doctor said, “Thank you very much.” He frowned when Jenny swat him on the arm, glaring at him before she checked on Mickey, who rubbed the spit out of his eye, irritated. He cleared his throat. “Pardon my companions. Their area isn't familiar with the custom. Their culture works a bit differently.”

Jenny was glad the alien nodded. “I hope we can understand each other better, then.” And moved off.

She waited for him to be far enough away that she could whisper in a growl. “How little do you know about humans of my country from my era, Doctor?!”

He cleared his throat, stunned that his fun was interrupted by a girl slowly becoming a young woman. “Ah!” He seized on the next aliens' approach as a distraction. He hoped it would work on the girl and her boyfriend. “The Adherents of the Repeated Meme. I bring you air from my lungs.” He breathed heavily over them all, which took several seconds.

Jenny and Mickey cringed. More flirting?

But Jenny felt another reason for cringing. Something about these... Adherents... made her blood feel a bit cold. That was never a good sign.

One Adherent answered for them all. “A gift of peace in all good faith,” a male-sounding mechanical voice said. He held out in his metal hands with long, sharp fingers a large silver egg. The Doctor took it with a grin, threw up into the air and caught it. He handed it to Mickey as the Adherents moved away.

Mickey looked at Jenny, sharing disbelief. But any talk was interrupted by the Steward, and also by them noticing one group whose introduction they missed. Several beings with copper masks showing only a single horizontal strip for eyes walked by, wearing dirty white cloaks.

The Steward's voice took on a bit of a somber note. “And last but not least, our very special guest. Ladies and Gentlemen, and Trees and Multiforms. Consider the Earth below. In memory of this dying world, we call forth The Last Human.”

The Doctor looked at Jenny and Mickey to see their reaction. They'd handled the rest pretty well. What would they make of this?

The sliding doors opened and the young couple were stunned into utter silence. What looked like a vertical trampoline made of human skin wheeled itself through accompanied by two male attendants in white body suits, masked and carrying cases with what looked like short spray hoses. It was the most alien-looking creature so far, even more so than the Face of Boe. It had eyes and a mouth, and wore what looked like lipstick. On its wheeled platform rested a vessel filled with blue liquid, and what looked like something moving inside it.

The Steward announced, “The Lady Cassandra O’Brien Dot Delta Seventeen.”

Oh, now, don't stare,” said Lady Cassandra. “I know, I know it's shocking, isn't it? I've had my chin completely taken away and look at the difference! Look how thin I am.”

The Doctor laughed silently but heartily and looked again at his companions. They were suitably shocked and staring.

Thin and dainty!” continued Lady Cassandra. “I don't look a day over two thousand. Moisturize me, moisturize me.” One of the two men accompanying her produced a canister, which he sprayed onto Cassandra. Truly, I am The Last Human.”

Jenny moved slowly, a bit closer, for a better look, intent on walking all around her. Lady Cassandra provoked that cold blood feeling, too. Albeit more intensely. So she warranted investigation. Mickey, numb as he was, followed – just as curious.

My father was a Texan. My mother was from the Arctic Desert. They were born on the Earth and were the last to be buried in the soil.”

As Lady Cassandra spoke, the young humans discovered that she was completely flat. They could even see her mouth moving through the other side. Unable to comprehend what his eyes saw, Mickey tried to tug Jenny back to the Doctor's side. She didn't move though, silently signaling that she was struggling to grasp what her eyes told her.

I have come to honour them and...” Lady Cassandra sniffed. “...say goodbye. Oh, no tears.” An instant later, the other attendant gently wiped her tears. Behind them, the door opened. “No tears. I'm sorry. But behold! I bring gifts. From Earth itself - the last remaining ostrich egg.”

Jenny and Mickey looked in awe as the member of the staff – whose eye mask came in and displayed the egg to the room. He thought to his memories of the nature books he'd read to his adopted siblings, and frowned. “That looks twice the size it should be,” he whispered.

If any of the ostriches at Regent Park's Zoo or Wispnade laid that, the vet would've been immediately called,” she muttered.

Neither noticed the Doctor narrowing his eyes slightly.

Legend says it had a wingspan of 50 feet and blew fire from its nostrils.”

Mickey frowned. Jenny scowled.

Cassandra seemed to frown. “Or was that my third husband?”

The young people exchanged a look. One only shared by teenagers who couldn't get what their elders were up to. The Doctor laughed silently, folding his arms in front of him again.

If the skin woman could've shrugged, she surely would've. “Who knows! Oh don't laugh. I'll get laughter lines!” She laughed and mumbled to herself for a few seconds. Jenny couldn't hear, and she was closest.

Behind Lady Cassandra, a large jukebox is wheeled into the room. Jenny and Mickey had to step aside for it. And here, another rarity. According to the archives, this was called an iPod. It stores classical music from humanity's greatest composers.”

Jenny scowled and looked at Mickey. She mouthed, It's a bloody jukebox!

Play on!” Lady Cassandra commanded.

One of the staff pressed a button and a record fell into place. The speakers blasted the opening notes of an electronic song. Jenny and Mickey recognized it at once as one of the record’s Donna had in her 80’s collection, and her Gran had the original in hers. Mickey leaned in to whisper, “Is that Tainted Love by Soft Cell?”

Jenny would've cringed. She hated to admit that she'd developed a fondness for 80s music at her mother's knee, even if the song had a more modern cover. Mickey had caught them dancing to this song while cleaning once. But any retort she had was silenced by the sight of the Doctor's head bopping around appreciatively to the tune, his body slightly following suit.

He's been on Earth a few times, then,” Mickey observed.

Refreshments will now be served,” the Steward announced. “Earth Death in 30 minutes.”

As the music played on, the singer telling of how love had become painful (in a rather dirty undertone, Jenny had realized when puberty hit), Jenny and Mickey looked around. All around them, aliens. The only one who looked human was the Doctor – and he wasn't one. The aliens mingled, but any speech was jumbled to their ears.

They stood stock still except for their heads for several long moments. Feeling alone, Jenny tugged Mickey's hand to lead him back out of the gallery. “I need some air.”

Me, too.” It meant getting away from the Doctor, just for a moment, which sort of appealed to him.

The Doctor watched their departure in concern. He'd thought they'd handled it extraordinarily well. He started to follow her, but was stopped by the female tree. Jabe, he believed her name was.

Doctor?” She snapped a photo of him using a laser when he paused to look at her. “Thank you.”

Frowning, the Doctor proceeded on. He wondered how powerful that computer was. He sensed Jabe walking in the opposite direction. Which suited him – he had to check on his companions.

And remind them to not go wandering off like that, no matter if they had gone to find a toilet – he'd heard that kids of Jenny's era tended to go in posses. Or was that just the females? In any case, even if it was a lot to take in, they should stay with him! Who knew what could happen?!

Across the room, the Adherents of the Repeated Meme offered the Steward a silver egg. “A gift of peace in all good faith,” the first one said.

No, you're very kind, but I'm just the Steward.”

The Adherent of the Repeated Meme offering held the egg out more persistently. “A gift of peace in all good faith,” they all said.

Oh, yes. Thank you. Of course.” He reluctantly accepted the egg.

Meanwhile, Jabe was trying to get her computer to work. The Doctor's picture remained steady on the screen, rotating while the DNA showed in the other screen. “Identify species. Please identify species.”

The computer made a small whistling noise.

Jabe frowned. “Now, stop it. Identify his race. Where's he from?” After a moment, it gave her an answer that made her stare in disbelief. Hushed, she muttered, “It's impossible.” She looked around to see if anyone was watching, and moved on, putting away the computer.

In a nearby glass cabinet, a metal robotic spider suddenly broke out of one of the metal eggs that the Adherents of the Repeated Meme had been handing out. Unnoticed by everyone in the room.

Jenny and Mickey found another small room with a narrow window. This one aimed at the raging, red giant sun with the planet in the foreground. They entered through some dark curtains, and ignored how the circulating air made them continue to move.

Mickey looked at the egg, and carefully put it down. He turned to face Jenny, whose eyes were fixed on the tree cutting. “You feeling as overwhelmed as I am?”

She shrugged. “I don't know. I always knew that aliens wouldn't look like us, but...” She shivered. “Never thought about what it would really be like to be confronted with that in person. Even when I talked with Great-Grandy.”

He wrapped an arm around her. “I know we always said we'd travel one day,” he recalled. “I didn't have this in mind.”

She laughed lightly, managing a smile. “I wish Mum and Great-Grandy were here. They might have an idea what to do. They can handle themselves anywhere. Wish I had half that talent.”

A person approached. The jumped, and saw a female staff member enter and blink at them. This one's face was exposed, but her hat also covered her ears. She was slender, and had moved with the precision of someone on a mission.

Jenny cleared her throat. “Sorry, are we allowed to be in here?”

The woman looked around uneasily. Then she looked expectantly at them. “You have to give us permission to talk.” Her voice sounded gentle, as if she was afraid of being slapped for illegal actions.

Jenny frowned. “Mum would've never gone for such a job,” she muttered under her breath. Mickey managed a smile, which was all she could hope for given what they now knew about these blue people. “You have our permission, of course!”

Thank you!” beamed the woman. “And, no. You're not in the way. Guests are allowed anywhere.”

Mickey nodded. “'Kay.” He watched as the woman went to a panel in the wall and entered a code.

Jenny took a deep breath, and prayed her manners would be useful here. She did have a lot of questions, and she didn't want to offend. “What's your name?”

The woman looked at them with a smile. “Raffalo.

Raffalo?” Jenny was relieved she got the sounds right, given the nod and smile she got for repeating it. Thank you, Mum, for teaching me all the languages you learned! You knew they'd benefit me one day, and you were right!

Yes, Miss, Sir. I won't be long, I've just got to carry out some maintenance.” She knelt before an air vent. “There's a tiny little glitch in the Face of Boe suite. There must be something blocking the system – he's not getting any hot water.”

Mickey's eyes softened at the normality of the discussion. “So, you're a plumber?”

That's right, Sir.” She seemed very proud of that.

He smiled at Jenny. “They still have plumbers!”

I hope so! Else I'm out of a job!”

The humans laughed. Jenny approached, as friendly as could be. “Pardon me for asking - we've lived a bit of a sheltered life. Where are you from?”

Mickey had to smile. Jenny was always quick on her feet.

Crespallion.” She vaguely heard some metallic sounds coming from inside, but made sure to pay attention to the two guests.

Is that your planet?” She hoped she didn't sound daft.

Fortunately, the blue woman smiled and stood. “No, Crespallion's part of the Jaggit Brocade, affiliated to the Scarlet Junction, Convex 56. And where are you from, Miss?” She blinked, as if remembering her place on the Platform. “If you don't mind me asking,” she amended.

Mickey couldn't stop his cringe. Oh, how to explain this one? Did they even know about time travel?

Oh! No! Not at all.” Jenny thought for a moment. “We're from a long way away. We've just started travelling with the Doctor. He saved our lives, I saved his, and he offered us a chance to see the stars.” She thought a moment about how most would consider the risk she'd taken, going with a complete stranger. “I suppose it was a risk, but I've got these instincts about people. Haven't failed me once, so I think he's going to be a good friend.”

Raffalo looked slightly confused. Mickey wasn't sure Jenny should've said that much – she did tend to be a bit open and direct sometimes. More so than her own family could be.

Jenny cleared her throat. She suddenly wanted to find the TARDIS. “Anyway, don't let us keep you. Good luck with it!” She grabbed Mickey's hand and turned to walk away.

Thank you, Miss. And--” She paused as Jenny and Mickey turned. “Thank you for the permission. Not many people are that considerate.”

Mickey frowned. “No one deserves inconsiderate behaviour. Certainly not people who make comfortable life possible.”

Jenny nodded. “I agree. Maybe we'll see you later.”

Raffalo nodded and smiled.

Jenny stopped to grab the egg Mickey put down. “Let's not misplace these...gifts, okay, love?”

Mickey nodded, sighing as he followed her. “At least you're here. I'd be freaked if you weren't.”

They laughed, the first genuine big laugh since they'd seen their Earth from orbit.

Such nice guests! None of them ever treated her like a person before. What a wonderful feeling! Shame she couldn't have it more often. When the two guests left, Raffalo took the cover off the air vent. “Now then.” She peered into the vent and then spoke into a small microphone attached to her collar. “Control - I'm at Junction 19 and I think the problem's coming from in here. I'll go inside and have a look.”

Before she could, there was a small tapping inside the vent. “What's that? Is there something in there?” She was startled to see a metal spider appear at the end of the shaft. “Oh! Who are you, then?”

The spider scurried away as if frightened. “Hold on!” She crawled in slightly, and groaned silently. “I... if you're an upgrade I just need to register you, that's all. Oh, come back!” A red beam of light fell on her face as the spider came back. “Ah, there you are. Now, I just need to register your ident.” Then another spider joined the first. “Oh, there's two of you! Got yourself a little mate!” She gigged. “I think I'd better report this to control. How many of you are there?”

Then a third spider appeared, and then a fourth. That made her blink. “What are you?” Then she saw a horrible sight. “Oh, no. No. Nooooo!”

Her screams went unnoticed as she was dragged completely into the air vent.

Chapter Three: Culture Shock


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 3rd, 2013 05:14 pm (UTC)
The present that keeps on giving! Birthday, Christmas...be my birthday again soon before you know it :D Wonderful chapter, yay!

Loving the Jenny and Mickey dynamic, by the way. :)
Jul. 3rd, 2013 05:19 pm (UTC)
I know. :D

And now I'm very curious to know how you feel it compares with the original episode. All the chapters. :DDDD
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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