On Holiday ((Doctor, River, and Jenny))
“Belle,” River echoed. The little orange alien grumbled and squeaked, but River ran her fingers down Belle’s skin. A corner of her mouth turned up and she grinned at the Doctor as she said, “He’s flirting with you, dear. It means ‘beautiful’.” Belle chirped again but this time it was a much happier sound.
River’s humor faded once more as she heared Jenny and the Doctor speak. As much as she tried, it always faded in situations like this. She knew it was essential for her to keep herself distracted with jokes and flirting. Otherwise she was bound to end up lost in her memories, scared and paralyzed. River nodded to the Piscean, glad to see he nodded back. She followed the Doctor to the control panel, glad his sonic could do most anything. While he brought up a display, River looked around for exits. There was the door they had come in and another door farther down the row of cells. If there were any other entrances or exits, she couldn’t see them.
Her concern at the Doctor’s statement was only magnified at the flashing light. “I’m guessing that’s not a good thing.” Belle contracted on her wrist and shrieked. River spun to see guards swarming in, moving through the walls. She bared her teeth and eyed the electric gloves. Hopefully Jenny could use the smaller shock device they had found on the guards, and River clenched her hand around the solid weight of the map she had. The first guard within her reach got it slammed in their face, the screen cracking. The guard fell away, clutching their face and moaning. “Keep working, Sweetie!”
River jumped at another guard, kicking the one already injured in the gut. As long as she and Jenny could keep them far enough away from the Doctor, he might be able to get them something to help them. River slapped the computerized map into this one’s chest, hearing the cracking of the screen. Bits of mechanisms flew off. It was useless now, but only as a map. The guards kept pouring through the walls, and River knew they were running out of options. Belle suddenly yanked on her arm and flew through the air, attacking another guard. Belle filled the guards’ mouth and nose, chocking him. River was doing all she could to avoid getting hit with an electric glove, and could only hope that Jenny was doing better.
Jenny could tell that her father was upset and growing more so as the alien spoke. She didn’t blame him. Her story was terrible and she hope they could stop that from being anyone else’s future. Soon, it would be just a bad patch for her, Jenny hoped. She smiled when River comforted the little one. Belle was a pretty thing.
She watched him straighten his tie and walk off to the control panels. She wasn’t sure that the gesture was supposed to be menacing, because it wasn’t, but it seemed to help him feel in charge, so she said nothing.
Jenny followed the pair over to the control panel and she was ready to pull out her own sonic to help them when the lights started to go off. Before she could ask what they met, more guards appeared. How many of them did they have to beat up before they could leave? She hefted the pipe and put on the shocking glove that she’d taken from the last guards and went to fight beside River. She saw Belle join the fight and she smiled a bit. If they just had to keep them back, they could manage this until her father had worked his magic.
She hit one in the gut with pipe and then knocked him in the face, taking him out of combat. She turned to another one and dodged his grab before she countered with her own shocking glove. She watched him go down, but not out. She would have finished him with a swift kick, but River seemed to be in trouble. She turned and smacked the guard with the glove in the side, sent a kick to his face and then knocked him out with the pipe. “Are you alright?” she asked River before she backed up to avoid a guard with a weapon of their own.
The Doctor gave River one of his looks that meant he really didn’t mean to do that. He could see guards coming in. Even if he were in his peak physical condition, he wasn’t any kind of fighter in this regeneration. There were a few others that were pretty good at it, but not this one. Good thing for him that River and Jenny were more than capable. He used his sonic to get the front plate off one of the control panels. ”I wasn’t flirting with her!” he yelled at River. He glanced at her in time to see her hit the guard in the face with a heavy map. ”That looked like it hurt.”
He went back to the internals of the panel. If he rewired them correctly he could bypass the security on the panels to easily access what he needed. He began working. ”Not that you aren’t lovely, Belle,” he said keeping up a steady stream of talk as his fingers worked. ”Quite the opposite.” He whistled in Belle’s language explaining his relationship with River. ”So, you see.” He glanced at the fight seeing the three ladies were quite busy. ”Well, yeah.”
He put the last connection in place and used his sonic on the panel. Maps flashed over the screen faster than any other species could have possibly read. In a couple of seconds, he had the entire layout of the place they were on memorized. He knew where the ships were and where the Vraksiis were hold up. The list of auctions turned his stomach. They weren’t particular about species and chopping them up. He had no doubt that the monster that held River at least made her watch a few dissections. He wouldn’t be surprised if she’d been made to perform a few. He took a deep breath to keep his anger down. That wouldn’t help. He disabled the security on the paths they would need to take and programmed a hidden unlock code on their best ship. River would know the words to use.
"Okay, think I’ve got it," he said. He moved just in time to avoid a guard slamming an electric glove down on his back. He backed toward Jenny and River. "Um…," he said pointing.
On Holiday ((Doctor, River, and Jenny))
River grinned. “Second fastest ship in the universe, then. It’ll be a slightly slower less cheeky ride.”
River felt one corner of her mouth turning up when Jenny and the Doctor hugged each other. She didn’t know what had gone on between them. It wasn’t hard to guess there had been tension there, perhaps between Jenny and another regeneration of him, but whatever it was didn’t seem to matter anymore. River felt a slight relief. She knew neither of them would purposefully bring up past tensions in a situation like this, that was absurd, but seeing that they were a strong family in the face of being kidnapped and tortured certainly was a good sign.
The orange alien murmured and gave a garbled chirp. River gently ran one finger down the skin of the alien, conveying comfort and warmth. “Does she have a name we can call her?” The little alien made a string of sounds and squeezed River’s wrist. She wrinkled her nose and ruffled the side of his head softly with her right hand. “When we’re home we can get you back to your home, little girl,” she cooed to the little alien.
River had to swallow hard to shut out the overwhelming sense of terror and confusion. She felt the little alien grow cold and shrunken. There was a steady flow of low, miserable sounds; cracked gurgles interspersed with angry chatters. River lifted her wrist to listen better. She had no idea what the alien was saying specifically, but she felt a guess growing in the back of her head. “You escaped from this part only to get stuck over there, didn’t you?” The alien gave a sad purr in conformation. River offered a confident smile to the Piscean and spoke directly to him. “We’ll be back as soon as we can. Hold on.” She turned back to the Doctor, looking high and low for a control panel or a clue for where they could get out.
Jenny smiled as her dad talked to the little orange alien. “Her?” He asked. “How can you tell?” She quickly turned to the alien and held up her hands apologetically, “No offence meant.”
She watched the Piscean when her father told them that they would free them. She put her hand on his shoulder and squeezed it lightly. They had to stop this. Wasn’t that what they’d wanted to do from the beginning? Rescue people and defeat monsters? This seemed like the best place to start.
She watched the orange alien as it seemed to grow more uncomfortable with their surroundings. As much as she wanted to walk to each cell and tell everyone inside that everything would be alright, she wanted to get to that point sooner rather than later. “Perhaps we should press on,” she said softly. “We’ve a lot to figure out before we can save anyone,” she hated admitting that, but it was true.
The Doctor nodded. “I’ll let you fly then, I’m not really sure how to deal with a ship that isn’t talking back to me.”
The Doctor smiled at Jenny. “Because she’s orange that’s how you know.” He listened to the name the alien gave. “Well, that’s a bit of a mouthful. If I have to warn you about something by the time I say that the danger would have already gotten to us. I’ll call you Belle.” The alien gave an indignant squeak. “Is that or Bob.” The alien squeaked again. “Whatever you say, Belle.” The alien gave a squeak and he got the distinct impression of a verbal glare.
He heard Belle recite her story and he felt his chest tighten a bit. The beings here were evil in a way that bothered him the most. Some people were cruel because they enjoyed it, these aliens were because it was efficient, it made them money, and they didn’t seem to even notice the suffering they cause. “You’re right, Jenny,” he said softly. Then he adjusted his bow tie and used his sonic to locate the control panels. He found a panel on on the wall. He used the sonic to bring up a display. He ran his fingers through his hair. “Breaking into their system and getting a map from this thing is going to be impossible.” Then mauve lights began flashing on the panel. “Oops.”
On Holiday ((Doctor, River, and Jenny))
River chuckled to herself as she watched Jenny take a pipe to the decontamination chambers. Such horrid machines. Timelords can’t be the only aliens massively hurt by them. River grimaced. With all the knowledge the Vraksiis had accumulated what with kidnapping and selling all the beings they had they should have been able to tell who would survive a decontamination chamber. A thought occurred to her that made her skin prickle. If Apalapucians had two hearts but no symbiotic microbes, the Vraksiis would suspect, if they didn’t already know, something was very different about them. River focused on getting out.
She had to roll her eyes just a little bit when the Doctor pulled his sonic and dramatically opened it. “I love it when he gets like this,” River teased, winking at Jenny. The barrier dropped with a slight ‘pop’ and River squared her shoulders. She turned her head to her husband’s hand and covered his with her own. River gave his hand a squeeze, completely trusting in him. “I know. I know you’ll make this right.” With a slightly cheeky grin she tapped his nose. “Don’t you worry about the ship. I’ll steal us the fastest ship to get us home.”
The orange alien at her left wrist tightened slightly at hearing the Doctor’s words. “You’ve made a friend,” River said, holding up her companion. “I don’t know the species or the language, but this little thing was in my cell.” Figuring out what her friend was certainly wasn’t top priority, it might be able to help them. River nodded to the Doctor and Jenny and stepped through the doorway. More and more cells lined her vision, all containing aliens of every shape and size. River paid a hand on the first cell, watching in sadness as the Piscean inside cowered in fear. “It’s alright,” she whispered. “We’re here to help.”
Jenny watched as her father pulled out his sonic screwdriver and… well she was sure he didn’t just wave it about aimlessly, but it was certainly what it looked like to her. She looked to River and smiled faintly. Clearly, she knew what was going on, but Jenny had no idea. She didn’t question him, at least out loud, as she watched him move. When he turned and hit a button, removing the gate, she smiled to River and then her father. “Brilliant!” she said proudly.
When the Doctor stopped her and explained his plans, she considered him for several long moments in silence. He was different, as he had said. He was so very different and yet very much the same. FInally, she replied by putting her arms around his neck and hugging him tightly. “I understand,” she told him honestly. She felt very much the same way. “Let’s go,” she said, drawing back. “Let’s see what they chose.”
Jenny looked to the creature around River’s wrist. “You’re a cutie,” she told it. She walked with the pair through the doorways and the smile fell from her face when she saw more creatures in cells. They were terrified. She stood beside River and watched the creature she didn’t recognise. It cowered from them. What was done to it to cause such fear? She turned back to her father and she straightened herself. No more of this.
"Let’s stop them."
The Doctor’s grin was only a bit dopey when he heard River say she loved when he was clever. He nodded at her. Then winked. “Not the fastest ship in the Universe cause she’s home.”
He closed his eyes for a moment when Jenny hugged him. He was hugging his daughter again, seeing different planets, saving people, and there would be running just like he said they would. He nodded at her and smiled.
His eyes brightened when he saw the small orange alien. “You are beautiful,” he said with a slight edge of awe in his voice. “I haven’t seen one of you in ages.” He paused for second. “It’s my hair,” he said reaching up and combing his fingers through his hair. “I can’t remember the species. Head’s too full of stuff, but I speak her language.”
The Doctor took in the scene of the cells. He was almost choked by the fear and pain that swirled around the room. He could feel it through his feet. His eyes were kind and sad as he looked around. He could hear steal in Jenny’s voice. She was too much his daughter for her own good. He nodded once in agreement. He stepped over to the cell and crouched down to get on the Piscean’s level. “We are going to get you out of here, I promise.” He was slightly aware that he probably looked a bit ridiculous in his swimsuit saying that. “I have to leave you here right now, but I’m coming back.”
On Holiday ((Doctor, River, and Jenny))
River cheered as Jenny knocked them out. “Good form,” she grinned. Jenny grabbed the keys immediately. As she unlocked the door to the Doctor’s cell, River rolled her eyes but giggled despite herself. “You would have stuff in your pockets, dear.” The orange alien wrapped around her wrist and lower arm. It was warm and buzzing now, as if it shared her relief and joy at finally being free. The second the Doctor unlocked her door she cupped his cheek with her alien-free hand and pecked his nose. “I’ll forgive you this one time, Sweetie.”
“Jenny, you’re alright?” River looked her over, squeezing her shoulders to make sure Jenny was whole and unhurt. She exhaled heavily, glad to be done with this. A glance over her shoulder at the two unconscious guards made a smile ghost across her face. “Excellent form,” she grinned to Jenny. With that, River searched their pockets and found a few more items, including a hand held computerized map of the compound. She tossed the electroshock device to Jenny and began jogging down the hallway, following the map. “There should be an exit from the prison section along the next hallway.”
As they made their way away from the horrid cells, River made sure to smash the controls for the decontamination chambers. She left plenty for the Doctor and Jenny to destroy. River smiled widely. The seeping cold of the cells was warming and the dismal grey dampness was lessening with every step they took. River felt her hearts lifting as they turned a corner and a reinforced door loomed at the end. “Home free,” she called, rushing to it.
She nearly fell on her back at the invisible barrier about two feet in front of the door. River curled in her arms to avoid bashing her family in the chest and face and growled at it. “This security is getting ridiculous.” She turned to Jenny and the Doctor, looking for a control panel or an identification patch for them to cross-circuit. There were some unmarked buttons on the wall, but the symbols were foreign to her. If there was a passcode, she hadn’t found it on the guards. “Alright, brilliant ones, any ideas?”
Jenny relaxed when the Doctor hugged her in response. He wasn’t upset, at least for now. She hugged him in return and when he held her back to inspect her, she did the same to him. He was injured, but healing just as surely as she was. Good. She would have never forgiven herself for being too late.
She let him go and let him go to River. She was glad to hear that she was alright, but she was even more relieved to see for herself that she was healing well. She didn’t look as hurt as her father and she was grateful. She returned River’s embrace and smiled at her compliment. She was glad to hear that River wasn’t upset with her for the bit of clobbering she did. That didn’t mean she wanted to do more than was necessary, but she was glad that it wouldn’t been view negatively all the time.
She let go of River and followed her down the halls. When they passed the decontamination cells again, Jenny had no hesitation in picking up a metal pipe and smashing a couple of the control panels. She didn’t want them to be able to use such a thing on another creature ever again.
She made sure to keep up with them as the made their way back to the entrance. She wanted to get out of this dreadful place before anything else went wrong. However, she stopped short when River hit the barrier. She gave a frustrated sigh and shook her head. She had no idea what to do. At River’s comment, she turned to her father. “Your turn,” she told him, her tone hopeful.
The Doctor got only blushed a little when River kissed his nose. He couldn’t help the grin that spread over his face watching River and Jenny interact together. ”Pockets are useful. Everything needs more pockets.” He watched River pick through the guard’s pockets. He looked around a bit and saw his dropped sonic screwdriver. He smiled as he picked it up and stuffed it in his pocket.
The Doctor leaned against the wall while Jenny and River took care of the decontamination chambers. His skin was still healing and he wasn’t completely back to full strength. Before being gassed he’d taken a hit to his nerve cluster and getting everything back in order would take a little bit.
When they were stopped by the invisible barrier he grinned at them. ”Let’s see what is in my pockets,” he said. He pulled out his sonic screwdriver and scanned the area. With a flick of his wrist the claws open and he looked at it to figure out what to do. He walked over and pressed a button on the wall. The barrier dropped. He pointed the screwdriver at the door and the lock released.
He put a hand on River’s shoulder. ”We’re going to stop them. I’m not sure how yet, I haven’t even begun to start talking. We’re going to need a ship when we’re done to get back to the TARDIS.”
The Doctor turned to Jenny. ”I know the last time we met I got a bit testy with you about hurting people. It’s still not something I like to do, but I do know that sometimes it has to be done. There are people in these cages being hurt and the things these aliens do to others is sickening. I have to put a stop to that.” He took a deep breath and hoped that his differences wouldn’t cause her problems. ”If I can stop it with my fun tricks and change them for the better, I will be happy to do that. If I can’t, I will stop them the other way.”
On Holiday ((Doctor, River, and Jenny))
River was breathing hard, pressing hard on the door. It was creaking under her weight but it was far from budging. “Dammit,” she cursed. “Doctor, Jenny!” River yelled their names, pounding on her walls until her knuckle began to bleed. The orange alien reappeared, wrapping itself around her wrists. It was cold and slightly slimy, but it made River stop. In the second pause other sounds came to her ears.
She grinned, hearing Jenny taunt the guards. “Get them, Jenny,” she chorused. The guards began to close in on her and River redoubled her efforts on the door. Her fingers found the high window bars and wrapped around them, yanking and pulling. Although perhaps it was time to stop and think. From the sounds of things outside, the guards were fighting with each other, not Jenny.
“My dad had nothing to do with my posting!” scoffed one, shoving the other.
The offending guard stumbled and threw a punch back. “Yes he is, you got promoted because he knows our boss, you ass!” River smirked when they jumped at each other, slapping and punching. If this kept up, they might forget about Jenny and let her go free. They could be out of her in almost no time.
“Doctor, what did you do?” she whispered urgently across their wall. By now the guards had abandoned their guns and were nearly on the floor, scrambling like children. River gave one more rattle at the bars, hoping to get out and help their inevitable unconsciousness hurry up and happen.
Jenny was in her fighting stance, ready to take on whichever guard approached first. She waited, trying to see who would start towards her first until the little gas cloud appeared and apparently wiped her from their minds. She watched as they went from angry guards to angry children. She was so confused by the sudden change that she was still in her stance when they went to the floor, wrestling one another like small children.
One had the other in a very poor headlock. “He had everything to do with it! You’ve got everything better than the rest of us!”
"Is this still about my stupid bunk?" the one asked, struggling and kicking.
"No!" the one said angrily, "but now that you mention it, yes, that too!"
The one in the headlock bit the other ones arm and Jenny almost put her head in her hands just so she didn’t have to watch this display of combat expertise any longer. They continued to wrestle each other at her feel as she sighed. She looked to her father’s cell. “Sorry,” she told him. She went up to the guards and smacked their heads together hard enough to knock them unconscious, but not kill them.
She grabbed the keys from one of their belt loops and ran over to her father’s cell and unlocked the door. “Are you alright?” she asked as she opened the door.
The Doctor listened to the guards start fighting each other and then listen as the fight devolved into childish squabbling. He heard River’s whispered question and smiled. “I had stuff in my pockets. It’s been awhile so it’s old stuff. I call that a blame thrower pellet. I know the three of us are immune to it.”
He pulled himself and looked through the bars in time to watch Jenny drop the guards in an unconscious heap. He heard her apology. He looked down at the door in his cell. He’d been a different man when she’d last seen him. The man he’d been might have been angry with her for what she’d done, the man he was could only hope she’d understand what he’d have to do here. He heard putting a key in his cell door and grinned.
As soon as she opened the door, he rushed to hug her. “I’m okay,” he said. He put his hands on her shoulders and held her at arms length to look at her. He looked at her carefully and could tell her lungs were healing well. Her skin was also healing as was his. He smiled and gently took the keys from her. He found the key for River’s cell and unlocked it. “Sorry about the accommodations, dear, I will absolutely not be booking this particular hotel again,” he said as he opened the door.
This made me cry…
On Holiday ((Doctor, River, and Jenny))
River felt more than heard another guard enter Jenny’s cell. She couldn’t help feel proud that Jenny was following along, keeping her silence. It had to be confusing for her. River could guess Jenny was questioning why they weren’t simply telling the Vraksiis what they were, but they couldn’t. As painful as staying quiet was, revealing the truth would destroy them, body and soul.
She huffed, barely catching her breath before the guard swung around from her kick and swiped at her knees. River turned enough so his finger just scratched at her skin. Somehow she slipped by him, rolling to the side. Over the crashing in her ears she could hear the Doctor’s fury surging in the next room. It spurred her on to make another run at the door. River scratched at the guard’s eyes and thrust her knee at her throat in her mad dash. It was unbelievable, she was making it.
River shot out the door, turning to try to find the Doctor and Jenny. She opened her mouth to call out to them when a sharp tug yanked her head back her hair. River snarled, kicking and struggling. If only she had her blaster! The guard grunted when she hit him, her elbows and hips smacking him hard enough to leave a bruise. They both froze when the Doctor yelled.
River’s hearts were racing, her neck straining with the guard’s hand still wrapped around her hair. The Doctor’s guard backed out of his cell, fear etched in his face. River elbowed her guard one more time in triumph, but he simply growled and dragged her back, choking her to subdue her struggling. River scrambled to the door as it closed, pounding on the wall between her cell and the Doctor’s. “Doctor,” she breathed.
"Well, this one is about to give you plenty more," Jenny told her guard. She could hear River fighting and she heard her father’s shout. She wasn’t going to take this laying down anymore. She was a soldier. That meant a lot of things to her and right now, it meant being brave and standing when she just wanted to curl up and sleep. They needed her. If nothing else, they needed her to be something more than dead weight.
She gave him a thin smile as he swung at her again. The move was wide and telegraphed. It would have been strong had he connected, but Jenny deflected the blow and used his momentum from it to throw him off balance. She slipped passed him and caught a glance of River before she was pulled back into her cell. “River! Da-Doctor!” she shouted. It felt odd to call him such a thing, but she worried that telling their familial relation would be too much even. Better safe than sorry.
Speaking of, the guard grabbed her by her hair and pulled her back and off balance, once again knocking her to the floor of her cell. She kicked out and he faltered at her blow, quickly joining her on the floor. Another guard called to him from the door and tossed him a club. “We can start with this one,” they decided.
Jenny did a quick kip-up and took a fighting stance. “Only two of you? This hardly seems fair. Shall I wait until more arrive?” she asked.
The Doctor didn’t want to hear what the Vraksiis were doing to River and Jenny, but he didn’t want to block it out either. He heard the door to River’s cell slam closed and whatever they’d done to her, she could still move and talk. He crawled over to the wall and pressed his hand against it. ”River, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” he said.
He could hear sounds of more fighting in Jenny’s cell. He smiled in spite of the situation at the sound of her baiting the guards. Too much like her old dad, he thought. He used the wall to lever himself into a standing position. It hurt a bit, but they were making him angry. He needed them to stop before he did something he wasn’t prepared for his daughter to see. He put a steadying hand against the cell door and managed to look out through the barred window in the door. He could just see the backs of the guards standing in Jenny’s cell. He pulled out his slingshot. His suit shouldn’t have had pockets, but he put them in because he loved pockets. He felt around for the small hard tin of slingshot ammo. He pulled out the pellet he was looking for. He wasn’t sure how good his aim would be in this state, but if he got the pellet out into the hallway that would be enough.
He took a deep breath and put the pellet in the pouch and pulled back the slingshot. He released and the pellet smashed against the wall beside the door of Jenny’s cell. A poof of gas exploded and the guards were caught in the cloud. Jenny would be immune to it as would River.
"Would you just back up and give me some room? You’re always crowding me," one guard said as The Doctor sagged against the door.
"You’re the problem here, always have been. You’re only here cause your dad has connections," another said.
The guards would start fighting each other. He called it a blame thrower pellet. He shoved the slingshot back in his pocket and waited.
Care for a jelly baby?
"But I just walk through
The story of forgotten fields I ran with you” [x]