Martha slammed the TARDIS doors shut and collapsed against them, exhausted.
I swear I will never get used to this as long as I live. She said.
Hey, least you got a bit more practice. Ive only been traveling with him for nine months. Donna said to her.
Trust me, it doesnt get any easier. Martha replied.
Excuse me, but do my ears detect bickering? the Doctor said as he stood at the console. Come on, the Sontarans werent as bad as all that. Weve faced much worse than them. Now get away from the door and come and have a sit down while I figure out our next destination.
The two women glanced at each other and walked over to the captains chair.
Thats better. The Doctor said smiling at them. Now, where do you wanna go next?
Martha and Donna looked at each other.
How bout we go somewhere where we wont have to worry about getting shot, stabbed, burned, beaten or buried alive? Donna said.
The Doctor frowned at that.
Then, how would we have fun? he asked her.
Donna stared at him.
You know, its times like that I regretted rethinking my decision to travel with ya. She said. I knew you were unstable but I didnt realize you were this much of a blinkin basket case.
Donna, Im hurt. I thought you enjoyed our adventures so far. I thought you wanted to get out and walk in the dust.
Walk in the dust, not be buried under it!
The Doctor chuckled.
Alright, well go somewhere nice and take a break. Youre right, weve earned it. He said.
Thank you. Donna said, sighing.
So, where to? the Doctor asked turning and leaning against the console. We have all of time and space to choose from.
Donna and Martha looked at each other.
Whatd you think? Donna asked her.
Hmmm, not sure. Vegas sounds lovely. Maybe do a bit of gambling? Martha mused.
Paris. Never been to Paris before. Donna added.
Martha smiled at her.
Could go to Rome. She said, nudging her.
Oh no, had quite enough of Rome for one lifetime, thank you. Donna said as Martha laughed.
They glanced up at the Doctor who was staring at them impatiently.
Im waiting. He said to them.
Well, what do you recommend? Martha said.
Oh hell, dont ask him, next thing ya know well be marching up the side of a volcano so we can be sacrificed to some tribes god. Donna said.
Nah, we wont do anything like that. Ill save something like that for a special occasion. The Doctor said.
Donna stared at him trying to figure out if he was serious or not.
Dont even try. Martha said guessing what she was doing. I cant tell and Ive been around him a lot longer than you have. You just have to hope that he is pulling your leg.
They looked over at the Doctor who was punching coordinates into the computer.
What are you doing? Martha asked.
Choosing a destination.
And it is
Cocoleus Droxeminus. The Doctor said.
And that is
A pleasure planet. The Doctor replied. The whole planet is one big resort with spas, restaurants, theaters, carnivals. Basically, all the good things in life are on it. I figure we can go there and we can all pick and choose how we want to relax.
Sounds good to me. Donna said.
Me too. It sounds lovely.
Oh it is. One of the most beautiful planets in the universe as well as one of the most luxurious. Ive been to it a couple of times with Rose and--
He trailed off into silence. Martha and Donna glanced at each other. It wasnt the first time the Doctor had caught himself after he started to mention Rose. Both women knew that even though it had been a couple of years since they were separated, the longing for Rose was still there and the pain of their separation was just as fresh as it had been the day it had happened. Donna had only gotten bits and pieces of her when she first met the Doctor, but she would never forget the heartbreaking look on his face when he had finally told her Roses name. Since then, Martha had filled her in on what she had learned when she last traveled with the Doctor. Both women were careful never to talk about her when they knew the Doctor was in earshot.
As for Martha, the break from her travels with him had helped her to get over the obsessive crush she had and she now considered him a very dear friend. She knew that Rose would always be first place in his hearts and she accepted that. She had told the Doctor after defeating the Daleks that there was someone for everyone and she believed that. It just turned out that her someone wasnt the Doctor. That was okay. All she cared about was her friends happiness.
They watched as the Doctor cleared his throat and composed himself.
Anyway, he said smiling. Its a wonderful place. Youll like it.
Both women nodded and waited until the Doctor was turned back to the console before they gave each other a knowing look.
(Meanwhile, a universe away
Rose sat at her desk sorting through the mound of paperwork. There had been another reported UFO sighting and she was looking at the reports from agents trying to determine what it might be. With two years of traveling with the Doctor under her belt and seeing all the things she had seen, she had proven indispensable when it came to identifying different alien species. Her knowledge of alien civilizations had allowed her to go from being a field agent to being a supervisor in just under a year. With the promotion came a hefty paycheck and she had been able to move into a modest little apartment several miles from Jackie and Petes mansion. Her home wasnt as lavish as their house, but it was hers and she loved it. She was finally able to lie in her bedroom at night and not have to hear Jackie and Pete having sex across the hall. She could come and go as she pleased and she could have friends over whenever she wanted.
She sighed. She would give anything though to be back in the TARDIS with the Doctor. She missed him so much she physically ached sometimes. It had been almost two years now and she still hadnt gotten over him. She doubted if she ever would. He was a big part of her life and the first person she had given her heart completely to. Mickey had tried to reconnect with her, but she was no longer interested in him. After being with the Doctor, what other man could compare? For the moment, she was single and she preferred it that way.
Rose put her head in her hand as she read over a report. She kept hoping against hope that there was a Doctor in this reality and she checked each report with that thought in her mind, but so far nothing matched the description of him or the TARDIS. Still, she wouldnt give up. Somehow, someday she would be with him again either in the other reality or in this one. She remembered the Doctor telling her never say never ever and she kept repeating those words over and over in her head until now they played through her mind constantly like a skipping record.
She finished up the reports and picked up the telephone. She dialed a two-digit number.
Zack Smith, please. He said to her bosss receptionist.
She waited a moment and then heard him pick up his phone.
Hey, Zack, its Rose. She said. I got the reports and Im still trying to figure out what they are. So far, nothing matches anything I know about. I just wanted to let you know what was going on since its almost quitting time.
Yeah, Ill let you know first thing tomorrow morning if Ive come up with anything. Yeah, you have a good night too. Bye.
She hung up the phone, put the reports back in their manila file and prepared to go home for the night.
See ya later, Terrance! Rose said waving as she walked out of the building into the parking lot.
As she walked towards her car, she fumbled through her purse and finally found her keys. She pulled them out and pressed the car alarm button, deactivating it. She reached her car and put the key in the lock. Suddenly, a blinding, bright light surrounded her. Rose gasped and shielded her eyes from it. As she tried to get away from the light, she suddenly felt her feet leave the ground. She let out a terrified scream as she felt herself being pulled away from the ground and hurtled up into the air towards the waiting UFO above.