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Archive for June 2016

But if you can still dream – 26

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Chapter 13: Yeah, reel me in, my precious girl

Yeah, reel me in, my precious girl,

Come on, take me home.

‘Cause my body’s tired of travelling

And my heart don’t wish to roam.

Yeah, walk with me, my love, my love,

Walk tall, walk proud, walk far,

For you know my love, you are, you are,

You are my shining star.

“Love Don’t Roam”, Murray Gold

Rose, Doctor, Jack

Norway apparently had no proper procedures for dealing with citizens of United Kingdom randomly found on an isolated beach between fjords. She was lucky they had a boat patrol out there at all, and that the boat patrol noticed her moving. And that they spoke English. All right, the last one wasn’t that improbable – most of Norway spoke English anyway. The boat patrol – who picked her up, rolled her in a blanket and stuffed her full of meatpies and tea, the shore office worker, who was very puzzled as to how an English girl managed to find herself alone on a Norwegian beach and the police, who, for lack of better solution, fingerprinted her, gave her a change of clothes and put her in a cell. There was not much of an alternative in Bergen.

At least she was there alone, she had a place to sleep, a pillow and a reasonable chance that someone would feed her. She agreed to stay in the holding of the police station simply because she had no money on herself, could not claim to remember any phone number that would help her and did not even have a scrap of paper that would resemble a document.

For the time being her status was “UK citizen, probable shipwreck” and the authorities were searching for the possible ship that she might have been on.

Wish you luck, my friends, but this will be one long search.

The young uniformed policewoman approached her cell with a breakfast tray. At least, unlike the ‘violents’ from next door, she could have a proper meal with proper cutlery. She did manage to convince the officer on duty that she was quite non-violent, very helpful and answering any question they asked.

“So. Kapitan Linde asks, are you sure you were in a ship?”

The girl put the tray next to Rose on the bed and pulled a stool for herself.

Rose sighed. She could play ‘you’re not speaking good English’ game, but Anja was rather nice and anyway, her English was good enough and clear enough for this not to work.

“Not sure” Rose picked up the fork and prodded the scrambled eggs. They wobbled. “I don’t remember some things. I was in a water, and my things were floating just next to me. And then I was on the beach. I dried my clothes and stayed there, as I was too tired to move.”

Anja nodded and then shook her head.

“There was no ship in this area in the last three weeks” she said. “If you just fell off the side, you must have swum a long, long way.”

Rose shrugged.

“I don’t remember swimming. I remember being in water and then waves throwing me on the sand.”

“And before? Where were you?”

Rose swallowed a piece of egg and some tea.

“I was talking to my parents. In the hospital. We were going somewhere. Maybe to Norway” she sighed. “I don’t remember that very well. I’m trying to, but I just don’t…”

Anja patted her arm comfortingly.

“A psychologist will come, soon. She will help you to work this out. And we’ve sent a message to the British Embassy, so someone from there will be coming this week. Do you need anything? Medicines, cosmetics? I could buy you something, if you want?”

Rose shook her head.

“Thank you, Anja. It is all good. I will wait for that person from Embassy to come and maybe I’ll be able to get them to do shopping for me…” she smirked. “I bet they have better budget than your station.”

Anja snorted.

“I’m sure they have. OK, Rose. You eat, and once done, shout down the corridor, someone will pick this up.”

The eggs were gone, the bread was just a satisfying memory, and Rose lingered over her cup of tea.

She had no idea what to do when the Embassy representative would come. She had been gone for such a long time, and her Mum too, maybe they were ruled dead back home? And what if the person from the Embassy decided she was a smuggler, or an illegal – although how she could have been illegal on a beach and smuggling stuff in just her pants and hoodie, she had no idea, but knowing officials – someone would think along these lines.

She shivered and swallowed the rest of her tea.

We’ll deal with this when it comes.

For the time being she was focusing very hard on not dying.

She fell asleep on the plain bed and came to due to some voices drifting down the corridor.

“My cousin” a male voice explained in slightly Scottish accent. “She got lost. Someone said you have a girl here that matches her description.”

“I believe we may, but can you please confirm her information? Where were you when she ‘got lost’?”

“Ah, very sorry, I wasn’t there. Her parents let me know that she got somehow separated from her friends during a trip and asked me to check here” a slight pause and… A giggle?

“That was very smart of you, sir” the desk officer said in a slightly higher voice. “But please provide all the details you can about your cousin and I will check if that’s the same person.”

Rose was awake by now and standing ramrod straight, holding the cell’s doorframe for support.

The blood pounding in her ears threatened to deafen her, so she made an active effort to calm her breathing and heartbeat.

Then she could only watch the desk officer walking down the corridor, and the mass of the billowing cloak, the uniform cap and the row of decorations behind her.

“Jack!” she squeaked when the door opened and she jumped into his arms. “I couldn’t remember any phone numbers, and I lost my phone, and my documents, and my money, and I was waiting here for the man from the Embassy to come and…”

“Now, now. You didn’t lose your documents, you just left them behind in the hotel” he patted her back. “See, here” he handed her a navy blue folded wallet, full of blank pieces of paper. “Your driving licence is here, the passport I actually left in the car, but this should be enough to confirm it’s her?”

Rose picked one of the blank pieces and handed it to the desk officer, who stared at it for a moment and nodded with a smile.

“You can go now. But please stay in Bergen and contact us tomorrow, as the Embassy representative will be in at 10 AM.”

“Sure will” Jack made a salute-ish wave and deftly steered Rose out of the station. “Now, hurry, before she calls this in in the Embassy and finds out we’re both dead, ok?” he fell back to his normal, American accent. “Also, we need to get you into TARDIS and into Vortex, before something more goes wrong” he added in a nervous manner.

“More than what?”

“Than you jumping through not asleep and Doctor being out for the last three days?”

“Bugger.”

“Yep.”

The TARDIS looked almost the same. The console was slightly rearranged from what she remembered, but the most important part, the comforting hum of the living engine, was the same.

“Finally!” Jack tore off his coat and uniform jacket, throwing them into the coat rack. “Bloody warm in this stuff. Come on, he’s in the medbay.”

Doctor looked sick. Almost as sick as freshly regenerated, with the same pallor and slight thinness to his cheeks.

“What happened to him?”

“He was like this when I found him. Fell asleep on the chair, and I couldn’t wake him. Sometimes he opens his eyes, but like he doesn’t see me. His hands move, too. But not much. I put him on an IV for fluids and sugars, so he’s stable, but I’m not betting this will work in a long run. So. What do you think?” he looked at her hopefully.

Her heart sank.

Oh, my. He’s counting on me. He…

She took the limp hand in her own and squeezed.

Even after an hour of her sitting there Doctor didn’t seem any better, but fortunately, he didn’t seem any worse either. Jack was fretting anyway, and Rose couldn’t look at him tinkering with the console – it didn’t calm his nerves and it was grating on hers.

“Can you put us in the Vortex, Jack? Without dancing around this for the next hour?”

He grinned crookedly.

“That’s one of the things he managed to teach me. Into the Vortex, out of the Vortex, zero in on Earth, track your lifesigns. Also, she’s been really nice to me lately, so she seems to be helping. Most of the time, mind you, not always.”

TARDIS made a noise and something displayed on one of the screens.

“Very funny. You know I can’t read the bloody things. English, or help us to wake him.”

“Pull the blue lever” Rose said absentmindedly. “To the second notch.”

He gazed at her for a moment in surprise, then pulled said lever down to the appointed place.

TARDIS hummed a bit more loudly and then gave a slight shudder.

Rose’s ears popped painfully and suddenly she heard the additional voice in the background.

‘-very nice, finally, the Earth field is way too strong for me to talk properly, now, dear, you go back to medbay and I’ll guide you through it all. don’t just stand around, looking pretty, go there and get him out of it. you knocked him out, you bring him back-‘

“What the hell…” Rose turned in a circle, staring wildly at the walls.

‘-love, if you could just go and help him, all of us could land on some nice, well-energized beach and have a bit of a rest, right? so pick up your pretty tush and go there, I’ll tell you everything-‘

“Jack?”

He blinked, hands still on the controls.

“Yes?”

“Are you playing some joke on me?”

His attention back to her, he shook his head.

“Nothing at the moment, why?”

“I hear a voice.”

He blinked quickly.

“One?”

“Yes. Female. Also, she sounds like a cross between my Mum and Sarah Jane and she’s calling me ‘love’, and that feels a tiny bit personal. Who the hell is on board with us?”

Jack’s left eyebrow rose by itself.

“A voice that’s a cross between your Mum and miss Smith? You sure you’re not sleep deprived?”

“Jack, I’ve been mostly sleeping for the last month or so. No. There is someone speaking and I…”

‘-really, darling. the poor boy doesn’t hear me now – he has to be asleep for me to get through to him. could you please just go to the medbay and follow the instructions?-‘

“You don’t hear her?”

“No…” he trailed off. “Ah. Lady” he made a face at the console. “Can’t it wait?”

“Jack…”

“It’s the TARDIS. At least, I’m guessing it’s her. Nobody else on board but us three. What is she saying?”

“She’s ordering me about.”

‘-I’m not!-‘

“And she’s arguing. Mostly she wants me to go to medbay, but as I have no idea what to do to help him…”

‘-I’ll tell you everything, just get there. you need to be in physical contact with him. the more the better-‘

“Really.”

‘-darling, I’m assuring you, this is the fastest way. unless you want to starve him into another regeneration?-‘

“So, what am I supposed to do?” Rose crossed her arms in front of her chest. “I can’t wake him up just like this. I held his hand for like an hour and it didn’t change anything.”

‘-we’re in the Vortex now. also, you had time to get in sync with the rest of the energy here, so, point one, you’re no longer dying, no thanks necessary, I stabilised the overflow of the regeneration energy for you and, point two, it will help you to reach him now-‘

“No longer… Energy… What do you mean I knocked him out?” Rose started back towards the medbay. “I didn’t do anything, wasn’t even in the… here!”

‘-your getting through in Norway sent back a rather strong impulse that affected him. now that I’m looking back, I see that every time you crossed over, it was when he was asleep or at least very distracted. the wards set on the universes did not work as effectively then. and now you’ve just snuck through and he got hit with a backlash-‘

“Oh, come on! You’re saying that my getting through with the tank hurt him?”

Jack cringed at the pain in Rose’s voice.

‘-you’re still getting a chance to undo it, though-‘ the TARDIS assured her cheerfully.

“Really. I wonder what I can do now.”

‘-reach for him and bring him back-‘

In medbay the lights were down and the monitoring was reduced to only tiny pings and beeps in the background. He still looked the same. A tiny shadow of a five o’clock beard showed – she had never noticed it before – and he was as still as a wax figure.

“Do you think we can move him?”

‘-I suppose so. where to?-‘

Rose pondered the question.

“The TV room. The couch there is a pull out one and there should be enough space for us to fit there. This chair is atrocious, I lose the feeling in my butt after ten minutes sitting on it.”

Jack wheeled the medbay bed, Rose trailing behind with the IV stand.

“He should get that one that is attached to the bed. Saw it on medical shows. You don’t need the second person then. Good in corridors.”

The TV room was dark and sounded big and hollow. They extended the couch forward and deposited him on the left side, to make it easier to manage the IV. She pulled a blanket over him and sat on the edge.

“Now what?”

‘-take his hand and reach inside him. like this-‘

Rose’s brain suddenly itched and the feeling of reaching became obvious to her.

‘-you’ll have to reach far – he was hurt and I’m afraid he might have gone too far. I can’t reach him myself, but I can help you get there -‘

“And then what?”

‘-you take him home. you have to do it before he’s too tired to actually get back here safely-‘

Rose focused. She recalled the way TARDIS reached into her and sent a reaching inside him.

The moment she closed her eyes, she was lost.

The vortex was spinning around her, sending all kinds of sounds and images her way. She could feel him far, far ahead of her. He felt so small and lost and she reachedeven stronger. She didn’t have the feeling of her physical body being there with her, but she saw her surroundings getting gradually brightereven though that wasn’t the exact description, as there was no dark or light, just the chaos of void particles and mixed signals from all over the time-space continuum.

She could feel her way downand upthe whole thing. Upwas where the TARDIS was, upwas for safety, and reality and Jack. Downwas for more and more entropy and now she knew what the TARDIS meant – if the Doctor went downfar enough, they’d never get him back again.

She reached, moving lower, but still trying to keep high enough for a safe route back to herself. Still, he slipped a but further down, away from her, as if not hearing her scream – she noticed she was crying out, new wordless shout with every reaching– and she stretched, and stretched and for a moment, a tiny moment she had him. Almost had him.

And he was just at the end of her mental fingertips, she felt him, saw him, knew him to be there, the face screwed up in fear and pain, whole body tense, but unable to stop his gradual descent.

She let go of herself and reached for him.

And he saw/felt/knew her, and turned up, swimming against the current/gravity of the place, his eyes/mind intent on her and reaching out towards her.

She threw a hand down towards him, stretching until he caught it and pulled in and up. Towing him, she started back upwards, towards themselves and reality, but froze in place, noticing she couldn’t move. Or rather, she wasn’t sure anymore which way is actually up.

He held on to her and she reached, but not up. She reached towards Jack. And, in a complicated maneuver that she could never explain to them later, she pulled herself to Jack, and not Jack to them. And Jack was there, already reaching for her and she safely fell back on the pillow, Doctor’s head nested in her neck, both of them breathing deeply, gulping the air.

He made a small noise and curled himself into her and she hugged his wiry frame.

Jack moved away from where he was sitting behind her.

She looked at him over her shoulder and touched his sleeve.

“Stay.”

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Written by Srebrna

2016/06/28 at 22:30

But if you can still dream – 25

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Chapter 12: If a man could pass through Paradise

If a man could pass through Paradise in a dream, and have a flower presented to him as a pledge that his soul had really been there, and if he found that flower in his hand when he awake – Aye, what then?

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Doctor: Sleep paralysis

Jack was inconsolable.

Jack was tearing about the TARDIS, furious at himself, the Doctor, TARDIS and the universe.

Jack was half-dead, judging by how he was constantly walking into walls, furniture and pillars. And tripping over his own feet.

Doctor sat in his chair, staring at the readouts in front of him, somewhat unable to even pick himself up and react to Jack’s plainly destructive actions.

“Doctor” the Captain’s voice rasped with effort.

“Yes.”

“I think there may be something wrong with this.”

Jack handed him a perfect, sky-blue glass marble and promptly fell on his face, just in front of the console.

Doctor regarded the tiny sphere for a moment, but finally pocketed it and shrugged. Then he crouched next to Jack’s snoring form and pushed his hands under his friend’s side, slowly turning Jack over. Then he hooked his arms into Jack’s and dragged him down the steps – feet bumping loudly on every step – and to Jack’s room. He managed to get the prone body on the bed, eased his boots off and left, turning towards the medbay.

He really had no plan this time. They had her, she was there, and then, suddenly, she was gone. Again. He rested his forehead against the cold door of medbay. He had to think, but ideas in his head were jumping around like frightened rabbits. There was nothing concrete, nothing coming.

Argh.

He lowered himself slowly into the chair by the bed. Spreading his fingers wide, he touched the bed’s surface, hunting for the body heat long gone from the plastic coating. She had been there. They had a proof. TARDIS managed to make a quick scan and was now processing the data collected.

They already knew the basics.

Rose was mutating towards something far enough from basic human that her body was not coping with it at all. The drugs that the other side dosed her with had slowed the process down slightly, giving her more time, but at the same time altering her body chemistry so much that the changes might have gone wrong. They would have been able to guess how wrong, had they had any idea what the final form was supposed to be.

Still, it seemed Rose would be better off on TARDIS then in Torchwood, seeing as Torchwood probably had no idea what was going on and how to help her. They had to get her back and preferably fast.

He laid his cheek on the smooth plastic and looked at the room from that angle. He really had no hope, he could see no way to break through. Each time it was her coming to them, not the other way round. And it was obviously something so outside TARDIS’ knowledge that the ship had no suggestions (or even helpful hints) for their next steps.

One of the printers by the far wall started spitting out a long ribbon of some kind of graph. He looked as it gathered on the top of the low table next to it, but had no strength to move – in fact, he could not even lift a finger. He could only blink slowly as the printout ended with a cutting noise and the folds of paper rested quietly on the flat surface. Another machine dinged quietly and something started revolving on the screen, but he could not lift his head, feeling more and more stuck in the position he was sitting there, leaning over the bed.

He blinked, even slower this time.

Machines around were coming to life and he started having problems breathing, feeling as if something was pressing on his back, blocking him from inhaling, and he felt the dizziness coming – which he normally never experienced, due to the respiratory bypass system – and in the corner of his eye he saw another machine opening some images on a big screen, images of Rose looking sullenly at the camera, of Rose lying prone on the bed, of Rose on an operating table, her insides being poked by surgeons, of Rose’s photo with a big stamp “ALIEN, POST MORTEM ANALYSIS” over it…

He squeezed his eyes shut and tried breathing slowly, if shallowly, but the feeling of intense pressure was still there, squeezing air out of his lungs and pushing him into the bed. He heard the blood pounding in his ears and his double-hearted pulse pick up in tempo.

Then he felt himself slip down and he was floating, loose in the Vortex, the waves of space-time-reality contracting and stretching around him, his mouth opened in silent scream.

Written by Srebrna

2016/06/28 at 22:29

But if you can still dream – 24

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Chapter 12: If a man could pass through Paradise

If a man could pass through Paradise in a dream, and have a flower presented to him as a pledge that his soul had really been there, and if he found that flower in his hand when he awake – Aye, what then?

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Rose: Sensory deprivation

They rounded the corner at the top of their middleaged speed and barely avoided crashing into some of the staff, milling in front of Rose’s room. There seemed to be a large volume of equipment crashed into the wall oposite her door, and a trail of plastic debris marked the corridor.

“What happened?” Pete managed to bellow over the noise. “Where is my daughter?!”

“Sir, please calm down. I’ll be with you in a moment” a senior nurse barred them from entering. “Doctor Anderson is trying to ascertain what is the current state of Miss Tyler.”

“Where is doctor Jones? She was assigned to our…” Jackie trailed off as the nurse shot a look further into the corridor. Martha Jones was sitting there with a large dressing covering the side of her face and her hand secured with a cast.

Jackie was at her side in a blink.

“Martha? Doctor Jones, what happened?”

The medic blinked slowly and looked at her, first with her left eye, then with her right one.

“Mrs Tyler” she slurred. “Very sorry. Couldn’t stop it. I was hit by the… Leash. No. Backlash. Huge boooom. I hit the cabby. No, the cabinet. And I think I broke something” she raised her hand, trying to touch the dressing. “I think I broke my hand.”

“Pete, check on Rose and get someone here to have doctor Jones checked out. She should not be here in this state!”

“She what?”

“She disappeared from her bed and then showed up half a corridor away, in the doctors’ lounge. There was a huge gust of air and things got thrown about a bit… And doctor Jones, too.”

Rose was sitting on her bed, legs crossed, blanket over her shoulders, and she was inhaling a pudding.

“Dad” she forced out at the sight of Pete “tell them to listen to me. We don’t have a minute to spare.”

After he threw out most of the staff – leaving only doctor Andrews – a Torchwood employee – and a nurse – the same – and managed to organise someone to take care of Martha, he could finally look at Rose. The sight wasn’t pretty, just like he was afraid it would be.

“I need…” she said between spoonfulls “…a set of soft clothes. Everything chafes. And I need sugar, pudding is ok, but I’d rather have chocolate. And a box of Horlicks, or whatever is available. And a lot of cookies. My body is burning through sugar and fat so quick I can’t replenish it normally. Shortbread, or cookie chips. And milk. I’m serious. I need… Ah. Oxygen mask. High saturation” she coughed and spat out some blood. “Drats. Probably something breaking down.”

“Rose!” Jackie squealed, looking at her gray-skinned, shaky daughter. Gray-skinned and shaky, but definitely alive and awake, which was a lot of improvement over only the day before.

“Mum” she smiled shortly. “I know what is going on and I’m working on a solution” she swallowed and breathed shallowly for a moment, her face contorted with pain. “They will never work it out in time.”

Doctor Andrews chose that moment to approach Rose with the blood pressure cuff. Rose raised her arm obediently and smiled.

“It won’t give you anything more reasonable than the last time. It’s still going to be in the range ‘human’s can’t survive’.”

“Rose…” Jackie sat next to her and hugged her. “What are you talking about?”

Rose exhaled heavily.

“I’m almost sure I won’t survive the next one. Even now, my brain – part of it – knows where I am, and when, but my body is still feeling the effect of being thrown about the two universes like a pingpong ball. It’s trying to decide which timestream I’m in and it’s like a carsickness – the eyes see something, the body feels something else and the balance tells it a completely different story. My body tells me I’m in the vortex, my balance tells me I’m sitting down in a chair and my brain shows me I’m in a hospital. Unless they agree, I’ll be soon having hallucinations, possibly with aural effects and then one of the three will give up. I wouldn’t want for my brain to just shut down” she swallowed and slurped another mouthfull of pudding. “This gives them the energy to work the problem out before I collapse” she explained. “Now, I know what the problem is, I just need to decide which will be the least painful way of resolving it. My brain is, in fact, connected to the TARDIS itself. That’s why I was having hallucinations before. I’m stretched between the locations. The conscious part, the one I’m thinking with, like right now, is not affected. But my long-term memory is somehow hooked to the TARDIS and so it activated whenever I was asleep or unconscious, like a normal dream.”

The nurse finally arrived with a tray of food and Rose started stuffing her face with sweets as quickly as possible.

“Dad” she managed between bites. “I need you to find me a sensory deprivation tank. Also, I’ll need an IV with a feeding solution for full adult with deficiencies. Full daily dose, preferably every six hours” she threw her head back and sat like that, motionless and shivering, for a few seconds. “Sorry” she finally uttered. “Nervous system having a glitch. Not enough processing power. I need that tank to get to the other side. I can’t sustain the move if my body, brain and balance are not in accord as to what is happening to me. So I need to cut off all external input. I saw this in a movie – no, a show – a girl was skipping ‘verses when she was cut off from all contact, in a tank. I’m not sure I’ll be able to manage this if I stay connected.”

Jackie’s face was covered with tears flowing freerly down her cheeks.

“You have to go?”

Rose nodded shakily.

“My brain is connected to TARDIS and I can’t sever that link. And I can’t stay like this much longer. As the time passes, each jump will be more risky and painful. I need to finally get there, possibly today. My heart – it’s an effort to keep it calm – if I fall asleep once more, it may give in. And I’m not very happy with the state of my body in general. I bruise, I have fine motor skills like a toddler and I don’t think my liver is doing its job. I wouldn’t want to add jaundice to the whole set.”

“But, Rose…” Jackie’s lip trembled.

“Mum. Seriously. I can’t live like this. I don’t want to leave you, but you have Pete, and I must get myself in order. And I can’t wait around for my knights in their blue chariot arrive and save me, I have to do something about myself. Can’t just sit and look like a damsel in time-space distress” she smirked. “I have to rescue myself.”

Once the tank was found and obtained, Rose made another request, driving all of the attending staff into a foaming anger.

“Yes, Norway. I need to do it in Norway.”

Pete rolled his eyes and ordered the tank to be loaded into the dirigible.

Doctor Andrews run to the chief for orders to stop Rose from leaving the hospital.

Martha Jones was visited, hugged and thanked, to which she nodded amiably and fell back asleep.

Rose was twitchy. Jackie could barely stand looking at her, as random impulses made her face and hands move in unexpected ways. She also could not take her eyes off her daughter, so she wept quietly as they strapped down for the flight.

“It will be ok, mum” Rose said as she shook out her left hand. “It will pass soon. I’m keeping it mostly contained” she smiled briefly. “At least it’s only shakes, not falling into coma again.”

“How…” Pete couldn’t finish the sentence.

“When I slipped over to them, Jack caught me and took me to medbay. That meant passing me through diagnostic scanner, and it was just the right type of an energy jolt to push my brain into the right state. I can control my body, at least partially, and I managed to dampen the brain processing that was waking me up to that dangerous state. Ugh” she straightened her left leg and flexed it. “Worst case of cramps I’ve ever had. Now, my whole body was trying to compensate for the issue with the brain and it was going haywire. So, now that I know what is happening to it, I can manage it. Mostly.”

Pete slid into his seat next to Rose and checked her IV.

“You good with this amount?”

Rose nodded and flexed her right hand carefully, trying not to dislodge the IV.

“I hope it will last. I must say I’m not exactly sure I can manage everything that’s going on. I just…” she breathed deeply and squeezed her eyes shut. “I need to get there. The barrier is the thinnest there. Cardiff would be good, too, but the rift there could get me into the 1200’s or in some other random time, so I’d rather not.”

Jackie covered her knees with a thick blanket and patted her shoulder. She could find no words.

The tank was filled with warm salty water and Rose was shivering on the beach, stripped to her knickers and a bra. Her clothes were rolled in a waterproof foil and a tether to the package was affixed to her wrist with a soft loop of frotte.

“So, basically, I go in, I get out of contact, I get over there. Don’t open the tank for the next three hours. I should be ok for that long.”

“And what then?” Pete helped her up to the tank hatch.

“Open it and if I’m there, hook me up to the IV and cover warm. If I’m not…” she half-smiled tremoulously. “Then I hope I can find them there.”

The water was warm and smelled a bit funny, but she stuffed soft plugs into her nose and slowly relaxed into the supportive softness of the liquid. The hatch clanked shut. The light was gone and there was only water, all around her, warm and calm. She stretched and waited, counting slowly to ease her own breathing.

She felt the water cooling down slightly and managed to regret for a fleeting second that there was no way to heat it up when a wave of icy, salty water full of debris buffeted her from the right and send her sprawling over the gritty sand of an empty beach.

No Mum. No Pete. No dirigible and no tank. Also, nobody else for miles and miles.

And the universe was just nasty enough to leave her with her clothes but without the foil bag that had been keeping them dry.

Written by Srebrna

2016/06/05 at 00:47