Doctor Who: Panic Moon Ch. 19byKurokami©
Author's Note: This is a sequel series to Amy, Captured. To get the full experience, please read through that one first.
Hey folks, here's the next chapter! Time for a change of venue! How exciting! Anyway, special thanks to mine wife, D, LogicalDreamer and Allyourbase, for their help and feedback on this chapter. If you yourself have any feedback, please don't hesitate to vote, comment or what have you. I love it when y'all do!
Ren stared up, eyes narrowed as the sun dipped low over the hulking mass before her. She stroked her chin, the toe of her boot tapping an absent rhythm on the concrete. When Sander sidled up beside her, she didn't so much as acknowledge his presence for quite a while, merely staring on in speculative silence for a time before she spoke up.
'Where did you get this ship?' She asked, a little suspiciously. Now her gaze moved, regarding Sander with the same deadpan apprehension she had been giving him ever since his mystery declaration that morning.
'I bought it,' He shrugged, smiling widely. 'Fourth generation Terran workmanship, designed and built by Hackett Industries. She's a real classic: the Gespenst.'
'I don't know many people who can afford an antique cruiser by themselves,' She replied.
'You don't know many people who were CEOs of their own company, and unrepentant about embezzling from the same, do you?' Sander lilted, tilting his head back to breathe deeply of the fresh and unspoiled air of Trismestigius. 'And the Gespenst is not an antique, she's a classic. These things were flying around New Earth as the very first convoy ships after the colonization effort had been completed. My grandfather designed this ship.'
'And now you're going to spirit us all offworld on this ship, but you won't tell us where we're going,' Ren said flatly.
'Pretty much,' He grinned, continuing on to the ship itself, dragging a floating pallet of supplies up the ramp to the cargo bay. They would only be on the ship for the day or so- or at least, the twenty-four hour cycle- they would be in transit at near lightspeed, but the group was rather large when one factored in Sally and Lorna, and as a result there was quite a bit of essential packing to be done. Mara was already working in the depths of the cargo bay, loading their luggage into the rows of polished metal compartments along the sides of the bay, and momentarily Ren ventured up the ramp to assist.
Tsugi and Kanaria sat leaning against the ship, in the shade its bulk provided, talking quietly together. The entire crew had been unwilling to give Kanaria much to do in preparation for their impromptu voyage, and she herself had been unwilling to part with Tsugi for very long; apparently he had taken up as her de facto caregiver while she was healing. Frankly, everyone knew what was really going on, leading to many a secretive grin when the pair had turned their backs.
Off to one side, grouped loosely together by the now inactive fuelling pump, four Command Collars gleamed in the sunlight, their respective wearers dressed properly for the first time in a while and watching the proceedings with varying degrees of interest. Christina sat practically alone, seemingly scanning the actions of the crew, probably for something she could later exploit. It hardly mattered, given that the new and improved Collars had functions she had no way of knowing about, set to stymie any escape attempt she cared to offer.
Of greater interest, at least to Sander, was the grouping of Amy, Lorna and Sally, conversing with each other in hushed tones in a rough huddle. Sander had no specific problem with allowing the girls to talk freely with each other, though he had to admit a certain level of interest in the content of the conversation itself; how exactly would someone in their positions begin to relate to the others?
Still, it made things interesting if the companions had some secrets amongst themselves. Perhaps such things could even be drawn out of them later, using some... inventive methods...
Amy's heart had skipped a beat when she had first laid eyes on the pair of women Sander had introduced as Lorna and Sally. She found herself immediately aching to meet them, with an intensity that had shocked her, until she considered it a little more closely; as comforting as it was to have Christina with her, to no longer be alone in her ordeal, the brunette wasn't exactly a forthcoming conversationalist. Whether it was the shock of being kidnapped or just her natural temperament, the few opportunities Amy had had to speak with her fellow captive, Christina had been remarkably unwilling. In fact, she had seemed so focused on enacting her own escape that Amy got the feeling that, if push came to shove, she herself would be nothing more than a tool for the noblewoman to use and discard, if it meant getting out of that Collar.
Not so with Lorna and Sally, and finally having someone to talk to as an equal had come as a tremendous relief to Amy's frayed mind. Their first opportunity to speak had been far too brief, under the watchful eyes of the entire crew during that morning's meal; little more than an introduction. But it was enough that they had volunteered their names; they weren't as clearly self-serving as Christina. Possible allies, at last.
Now, with the majority of the crew wrapped up in preparations for taking them all to some other place- an idea that, based on the last time it had happened, filled Amy with dread- the three of them were finally able to speak freely. The pair of newcomers, having apparently arrived together, stuck close to each other instinctively, each seeing the other as their only confirmable ally. Even with the presence of the Command Collar around her neck, Amy was received with suspicion, and the conversation was halting, at first.
'You've been here the longest, haven't you?' Sally asked eventually, once it had become clear that Amy wasn't a threat. 'What did you say your name was, again?'
'I'm Amy Pond... And should I be worried that you can tell that right away?' Before Amy had even finished talking, she noticed a pronounced reaction, almost like a flinch, from Lorna at the mention of her name. She was curious, but not enough to press the issue just yet.
'Oh, you just seem more, um, at ease with this whole situation than the other woman,' Sally's eyes travelled momentarily to Christina, then back to Amy, as though she didn't want the noblewoman noticing her staring. 'So, you must have some idea of what's going on, right? Why we're all here?'
'You've met Sander, I take it?' Amy said somberly. 'It's pretty much what he keeps talking about.'
'Him with the Doctor fascination?' Sally's voice cracked. 'Yes, we've met, and I refuse to believe that's all there is to it.'
The girl shuddered, seemingly without noticing, and Amy's expression immediately softened. She'd been through all this before, and with the kind of regularity the other girls hadn't; it was easy to forget that, with her own predicament being so completely overwhelming.
'Did he...?' She spoke hesitantly, unsure of how exactly one broached the topic of Sander's crew and their... unusual proclivities.
'And me,' Lorna added, a deep frown on her face. 'More than what you... what you saw, I mean. Him and the blonde woman.'
Instantly, and with infinite care, Amy placed her hands on each of the newcomer's shoulders, giving them both a reassuring squeeze. She didn't know what to tell them, as they sat in silent contemplation for a few moments, though she tried to arrange her features in such a way as to indicate that she understood completely what they were going through.
However, her own thoughts were going a mile a minute. A small, paranoid part of her ached to be terribly blunt, and to ask the questions that would assuage her mind; she wanted to ask, had they... gotten off? Had he made them enjoy it? Or... was it just her he could do that to?
Amy fought down that impulse, knowing that there was absolutely no right time to ask that, and besides, even if she did, she knew for a fact that she would never admit to it, so why would they? No, such things were between her and her mind, at least for now.
'Why does he do it?' Sally asked, looking away. 'Why is this happening to us?'
'Mostly, I think he does it because he... they like it,' Amy said softly. 'But his original reason is to hurt the Doctor. I don't know how well you know him, but... He's more likely to be hurt if someone else is hurt in his name. Sander, he's out for revenge, and he's had a lot of time to think about how to do it.'
'Because the first time Sander met the Doctor, the Doctor destroyed his life,' Amy shifted uncomfortably, a part of her, larger than she would have expected, adding silently: Like he did mine.
Fourteen years waiting, and now this... Where is he?
She almost shook her head: he would come. He always came back to her, in the end. And even if he didn't, Rory would. There was nothing Sander could do, that would stop her husband coming to get her.
Lorna eyed the redhead as she seemed lost in thought, gazing resolutely out over the landing pad, her brown eyes almost boring a hole into the hull of the cruiser at the other end. Frankly, she was at a loss; there were things she needed to know, if she wanted to try an escape attempt. The make, model and programming of the Command Collars they were all wearing would be an excellent start, and surely Amy had to know a little more than she herself right now. But...
But this was Amy Pond. The Amy Pond. Companion to the Doctor's eleventh regeneration. Time traveler, twenty-first century Earth girl, married to one Rory Williams... And right now, in Lorna's native present, sealed away in a secured vault at the heart of Demon's Run, unknowingly operating a Flesh duplicate of herself.
Kovarian had done her best to keep information leaks to a minimum, but every last Clergyman- and woman- on deployment to that evil little base had known what it was they were guarding, in addition to what they were waiting for. The little hybrid baby wasn't ready yet, so all they were doing was waiting with the mother, sitting out the clock until the Silence's sick little weapon was born, to cast Amy aside like the husk of some valued fruit.
Frankly, the idea had sickened Lorna to her core, gone against every principle she stood for, both as a follower of the Gamma Doctrine and a cleric of the Church. She had thought it enough to simply join one of the largest armies of the age and wait, knowing that the Doctor would cross her path eventually. She had only signed up for deployment to Demon's Run based on the old legend and the safe assumption that anything that old and ominous sounding had to refer to the Doctor. Had she known what was really going on there, would she have done things differently?
Oh, but she had tried to do things differently when she got there, hadn't she? Complained to her superiors, argued that the one moral thing the Church could do, given the awful things being done at Demon's Run and the even worse things yet to come, was to mount some sort of rescue. Irrespective of the Doctor, and whatever conclusions the Church had come to regarding the Time Lord, Amy Pond- and her unborn daughter- were entirely blameless. No religion, no moral person, could condone what was being done to her.
But the official response to her questioning had sparked an awful realization in Lorna. The Church knew full well what the Silence were up to at Demon's Run, even before agreeing to send troops to assist. In fact, that was why they had deployed reinforcements in the first place. Lorna had seen it, when she had been called up before her commanding officer and, shockingly, the Cardinals themselves: they were afraid. Whatever they knew, whatever they had seen, or been told, or experienced, it had been enough to instill in them a terrible fear of the Doctor. Bad enough that they would align with the Silence, a group that the Terran government and even the Church itself had in the past deemed a cult and a level six threat to the human empire. Bad enough that they would do whatever necessary, no matter how vile, to see the Doctor- a man still grudgingly recognized by UNISYC as an "ally of humanity,"- cut down.
And there she was, along for the ride. Until the bitter end.
In the end, it hadn't just been Lorna's desire to see the Doctor again that had kept her working at Demon's Run. No, she had stayed because, ultimately she knew that the Doctor would have expected her to stay, would have expected compassion. She stayed because Kovarian and the troops working with her considered anyone allied with the Doctor to be just as much an enemy as the Time Lord himself, and Lorna knew Amy was not. Lorna knew that Amy could use a friend on the inside.
And now here she was, Amy Pond herself, sitting beside her. Worse still, the situation had turned in a bitterly ironic way; Lorna Bucket was now in a very similar situation, with the only possible way out being Amy herself. It was such a dark reversal that Lorna began contemplating the possibility of a wry God, albeit one with a mean sense of humor.
What should she tell Amy? It was clear that this version of the girl hadn't gone through any of the events at Demon's Run yet, should she tell her anything at all? Would doing so just make an enemy out of Amy? Would the companion ever forgive Lorna, if she knew?
'What do you know about these Collars, Amy?' Lorna prodded hers disdainfully, opting for a less immediately controversial topic. 'What can they do? Can they be tricked?'
'I tricked mine the last time,' Amy said slowly, reaching back into her memory. 'By stopping myself from hearing the commands Sander gave me. But it won't work this time. Apparently he's given these things some upgrades.'
'Could be second generation... Like transmat fields, things like that?' Lorna's fingers drummed relentlessly on her thighs as her mind wheeled, trying desperately to dredge up every piece and half remembered fragment of information she had on Command Collar technology; the problem was that she was by no means a specialist. The Gamma Forests had been far removed from the reaches of space beyond the grasp of the Shadow Proclamation, where the Collars had originated and were still used today. All she had were news vids she could barely remember and historical records of their use in past conflicts. Not exactly perfect knowledge.
'"Last time?"' Sally's brow furrowed, turning solely to face Amy.
'It's not the first time I've been in this situation,' Amy sighed, shaking her head. 'Last time it was just Sander and Mara, so things are kind of... worse, this time. Not that I'm trying to frighten you, but be careful of Ren, okay? Don't... Don't make her mad.'
'But you got away,' Sally persisted. 'How did you do that?'
'The Doctor came for her, I'm sure,' Lorna answered for Amy. 'Any chance of that happening again?'
'I don't know,' Amy's answer was noncommittal, but she found herself shaking her head anyway. 'That machine Sander has, I don't really know what it does. He's not exactly keen to tell his captives about it. The only thing I can really tell you is that it does something to your timelines, whatever that means. I'm sure the Doctor will be able to explain it properly,' She added conscientiously, determined to keep the faith.
Sally nodded, entirely seriously at the sentiment, and Amy found herself liking the newcomer suddenly and intensely; something in the earnestness of her response, after days of her hope for rescue being made the object of fun, was completely endearing to Amy. It was somehow furtive, her secret little way of striking back at her captors. With trust established, the three of them began conversing in earnest.
Amy had no idea how long they talked, as their captors milled about beyond, but once she had begun, she found it hard to stop. Lorna and Sally had taken to her as a sort of guide to the strange situation they found themselves in, practically interrogating her about all aspects of life on Trismestigius, often with a distinct bent toward finding ways of escape. The discovery that Lorna was from a time period well ahead of Amy, Sally and Christina put a more serious bent on the conversation, as Amy wracked her brains for as much technical information as she had been able to glean, hoping the Gamma native's less-than-contemporaneous background would give her a unique insight into the situation.
Of course, it seemed that Sander and his crew were solid predictive thinkers, and every plan or idea the three of them could produce had some fatal flaw due to the layers of protections and restraints their jailers had employed. In the end, Amy had been reduced to simply sharing her prior experiences with the crew in hopes of preparing them for the worst on offer in this strange place. On multiple occasions, one of the three attempted to include Christina in the interaction, but she staunchly refused, preferring instead to peer furtively out at the crew, watching and waiting for the first sign of weakness.
Really, Amy wondered what the arch brunette's game plan was, in the end; even if she somehow slipped Sander's grasp here, she would still be trapped on this moon until they hunted her down. If she managed to escape after they had arrived at... wherever they were going, she would still be stuck millennia out of her own time, on whatever alien world Sander had seen fit to invite them all to. Perhaps Christina thought that escape at all was preferable to captivity?
Still, even without her the discussion continued, traveling through as many things as Amy could think of; profiles of the crew, the base and Jericho, even reminders of home, just to keep things in perspective. At one point Sally even told a joke, and Amy's light chuckle had quickly turned into torrents of full-on laughter; it had been so long since she'd had anything to laugh about. When the noise attracted Sander's attention, Amy continued without a care, causing the tall man- much to their surprise- to laugh it off himself and walk away, shaking his head. Moments later, Ren appeared, but Amy didn't think the two events were connected, not really.
'Alright girls,' The woman with the mismatched eyes called as she approached across the landing pad, flipping the hood of her jacket back over her neck. 'Time to pack you all onto the ship. It's time to go.'
'Are you going to tell us where, pray?' Christina said archly, hoisting herself off of the crate she had been sitting on and landing gracefully on the tips of her toes. She looked Ren full in the eye, something that none of the other girls was prepared to do; Amy had quickly impressed on them the importance of keeping on Ren's good side.
The Half stared back at Christina, grinned, then laughed, 'No. Even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you, Chrissie baby.'
The dark haired woman bristled at the name; over the years she had been called plenty of things, most of them synonyms for "thief," but the name that had become most deeply ingrained on her psyche was simply Lady Christina. In her heart she was still a noble, and her teeth ground together as her eyes flashed angrily at the simple affront of familiarity. Amy, Lorna and Sally watched from the sidelines, and Amy had to admit a certain respect for the way Christina pulled her anger off; she herself had always found it quite hard to feel comfortable enough to express herself properly in the clothes that had been provided for her, but Christina seemed to fill out the deep red, cleavage-baring shirt and dark skirt she had been given with remarkable aplomb. Then again, the Lady de Souza oozed confidence in a way that made Amy more or less certain she could make a potato sack seem noble.