In my life I’ve faced many monsters. The Silence, Cybermen even a Dalek or two. None of them made me as nervous as the woman who looked straight at me through the video feed. Her hands had stopped behind her head in apparent surrender, but I knew better.
“Who is she?” Nardole asked with a slight crack in his voice. He had detected how nervous I was. “She doesn’t look dangerous.”
“Come now, Captain,” I said. “Haven’t you been at Stormcage long enough to know that even the most innocent looking person could be the deadliest of killers? This woman,” I said pointing to his data pad, “has the capacity for war that exceeds anyone behind bars here today.”
“Sensors confirm she’s unarmed,” the voice of Warden Tarsus boomed. “Ensnare her!” Two of the guards on the landing pad swung their rifles around onto their backs and pulled out their snares. The snares created a stasis field around an inmate, immobilizing them completely for any kind of transport. Very effective when you are dealing with prisoners who tend to adhere to their natural tendency to kill rather than cooperate with the authorities.
As the guards approached her, the woman’s hands eased down the back of her neck. “Here we go,” I whispered. I won’t lie, I was a little exhilarated to see what would happen next. Prison life can get very dull, so even the prospect of a warrior assassin coming to kill me at the very least made for an interesting day. Don’t worry. I was still working on my escape plans.
“What are you talking ab…” Nardole began to ask but stopped as he watched the women pull a massive machine gun from behind her back and lower it towards the guards. “Now where did she get that?” In one smooth motion, the woman gripped the weapon and began firing at the guards. She took out the two guards with the snares and four more behind them before they could even get a single shot off. The rest of the guards scattered for cover. The woman tapped her belt buckle and began firing off to the side of the camera view.
“Kill her!” Tarsus bellowed.
The guards began to fire back, but their laser beams bounced away just before they hit her. “Oh, very clever,” I said. “A personal force field embedded in her clothing for energy weapons and then the armor for everything else.”
“We’ve got more than that if we need it,” Nardole scoffed.
“Tell that to those guards out there.” I continued to watch laser beams bounce harmlessly away from her as the woman tracked down each guard and shot them. After a few moments, the ammunition on her machine gun ran out. She knelt down and lifted the machine gun back over head, and it vanished behind her neck. Then she pulled a smaller machine gun out in the same hand and continued to fire. Barely a second had passed. She was just as good as I’d believed she’d be, maybe even better than me.
“What the devil?” Nardole spat. “Where did that gun go?”
A few more seconds of rapid firing and the battle was over. The woman stood alone in the center of the landing pad. All of the guards lay still on the ground in front of her. The woman knelt down, deposited the second gun behind her neck and re-tied the laces on one of her boots with both hands. That’s when I noticed the thin pack laying flat on her back. “Now where did she get her hands on that?” I muttered.
“What is it?”
“It must be Time Lord technology. A backpack that’s bigger on the inside. Who knows what else she has stored in there. She could have an entire arsenal and carry it with her as easily as a purse.”
“Time Lords?” Nardole spat. “I thought you killed the last of them.”
“Well, technically I did.” I smirked on the inside. “And technically she’s not a Time Lord, but she was created by one of them.”
“That doesn’t make any sense at all.”
“All available guards,” Tarsus’ voice sounded over the speakers, “suit up in full riot gear and report to the inner spacedock immediately. All cells in lock down starting now.”
My cell door started to close. “Nardole, you have to let me out.”
“Are you insane? Why should I do that?”
“Because,” I said just as the door closed and locked in front of my face, “you’re going to need my help to defeat her. Not to mention, she’s here to kill me. You have to believe that she has researched this facility, its defensive capabilities and, if she is here for me, then she will know …”
“Where you are imprisoned,” Nardole finished my sentence. He always was a very smart man. I guess now we’d see just how smart he is. “But why does she want to kill you?”
“It’s simple. The Time Lord that created her was the one that I killed. She’s here to take revenge for her father, the Doctor.”
Of course, the Doctor had told me about her when I had pressed him to learn more about his family. No small feat, I assure you. I learned about his granddaughter Susan and how he still missed her. I learned about his family who doubted he would ever become a Time Lord. I heard about his childhood friendship with the Master. And I learned about the young warrior woman who was created from his genetic material and later died in his arms. I watched as the same young woman in the video feed searched through the pockets of the guards she’d killed.
Nardole’s jaw dropped. “But I had thought the Doctor had no family.”
“Rule number one, the Doctor lies. He would never tell anyone about her out of shame, but mostly because he didn’t want anyone to know he had a daughter.”
“Shame? Why would he be ashamed of his own daughter?”
“It’s a long story, and one I would be happy to tell you, once you let me out of this cell.”
“No, no, no, Miss Pond,” Nardole said taking a few steps away from the door. “That would be improper. Besides, we’ll have her in custody in no time.”
“I hope you’re right,” I said knowing full well the lie that it was.
Nardole tapped his pad. “Warden Tarsus, this is Nardole.”
“What the hell do you want?” Tarsus bellowed. His blue, reptilian face filled the viewscreen.
“I have reason to believe the intruder is here specifically for Melody Pond.”
“POND?” Tarsus barked. “In God’s name, why?”
“She said so, sir. She has identified the pilot as the daughter of the Doctor.”
“That’s impossible,” Tarsus said. “Records indicated the Doctor had no next of kin.”
“Agreed, sir. But Miss Pond insists that the woman is the Doctor’s daughter and has come here to take her revenge for killing him.”
“It does not matter,” Tarsus continued. “We’ll have her in custody shortly. Keep Pond in her cell and stay with her. I don’t want her getting involved in this.”
“Yes, sir,” Nardole answered as Tarsus shut down the communications link.
“Your mistake,” I said as I sat down on the edge of my cot, considering my options at this point. While the Doctor could whisk me away from my cell every night, without him Indid not know any way out of my cell. Stormcage was the most secure prison in the Universe for a reason, after all.
“Damn it,” Nardole spat.
“She took out the cameras on the landing pad.”
“The landing pad is less than five minutes walk from this cell. I’d say you have six minutes to decide what to do when she gets here.”
“How do you know where the bloody landing pad is?”
“Spoilers,” I said with a smirk that quickly vanished.
A squeal erupted from the hall speakers followed by a few deep thuds of someone tapping a microphone. “Attention guards of Stormcage,” a woman’s voice sounded. “I have no wish to kill you. After all, a true warrior knows we always have a choice whether or not to kill. Your guards live, for now. There is one imprisoned here, one who chose to kill, one whose trial and judgment were not appropriate to her crime. I am here to see her judged properly, and if so decreed carry out the judgment upon her. I will do this, with or without your consent. So I ask you, Warden Tarsus, will you allow me to try the murderer Melody Pond?”
Nardole looked at me with a strange, puzzled look on his face. In truth, I felt very much the same. Everything she said confirmed the suspicions I had the moment I saw her face, but there was more going on here than she had revealed. I could only imagine what kind of judgment she planned to impose upon me. “So, she is here for you after all,” Nardole said. “She’s telling the truth about the guards too. I can still register their life signs.”
“She could be faking that for all you know. She’s already hacked into the speakers. You have to assume she can hack into every system in this prison. Don’t trust anything she or that data pad tell you, only what you see in front of you.”
“And you expect me to trust you?” Nardole’s cold, emotionless face was back in full force.
I took a deep breath and stood back up. “Yes, Captain. That is exactly what I’m asking. If you don’t, I’m as good as dead.”
“Request denied,” Warden Tarsus announced over the speakers. “The criminal Melody Pond has already been tried and convinced according to the tenants of the Shadow Proclamation. A retrial is unnecessary. You will board your ship and leave immediately, or I shall arrest you for the attempted murder of my guards.”
“Please, Captain,” I whispered. Never let them see you fear, the Doctor had told me, but I could see what was going to happen next as clearly as anything I had ever seen.
“Give me one reason why I should trust you.”
“Jenny,” I said.
“The woman’s name. Her name is Jenny. I’ll tell you everything I know about her if you let me out of here and take me anywhere else, another cell, solitary, I don’t care. But trust me when I say that she is more than a match for the Warden and all of you.”
“Very well,” Jenny answered. “Then it will be war between us until the criminal Melody Pond is brought to justice.” With a soft click, the audio was disconnected.
“Now the war begins,” I whispered, and then I heard the explosion.