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Authors: Simon Guerrier

Pirate Loop, The

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The Pirate Loop

 

Also
available in
the Doctor Who
series:

 

STING OF THE ZYGONS
Stephen Cole

 

THE LAST DODO
Jacqueline Rayner

 

WOODEN HEART
Martin Day

 

FOREVER AUTUMN
Mark Morris

 

SICK BUILDING
Paul Magrs

 

WETWORLD
Mark Michalowski

 

WISHING WELL
Trevor Baxendale

 

PEACEMAKER
James Swallow

 

 
The
Pirate
Loop

SIMON GUERRIER

 

 

This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

 

ISBN 9781407026190

 

Version 1.0

 

www.randomhouse.co.uk

 

2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3

 

Published in 2007 by BBC Books, an imprint of Ebury Publishing. Ebury Publishing is a division of the Random House Group Ltd.

 

© Simon Guerrier, 2007

 

Simon Guerrier has asserted his right to be identified as the author of this Work in accordance with the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988.

 

Doctor Who is a BBC Wales production for BBC One Executive Producers: Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner Series Producer: Phil Collinson

 

Original series broadcast on BBC Television. Format © BBC 1963. 'Doctor Who', 'TARDIS' and the Doctor Who logo are trademarks of the British Broadcasting Corporation and are used under licence.

 

This electronic book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

 

The Random House Group Ltd Reg. No. 954009.
Addresses for companies within the Random House Group can be found
at
www.randomhouse.co.uk.

 

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

 

ISBN: 9781407026190

 

Version 1.0

 

Series Consultant: Justin Richards
Project Editor: Steve Tribe
Cover design by Lee Binding © BBC 2007

 

For the dread pirates Luke and Joseph

 

Six thousand robots danced through the streets of Milky-Pink City. They had never been programmed with dance lessons but what they lacked in style they made up for with their enthusiasm. All around, metal limbs twisted with abandon. Tall robots did something that looked like a rumba, lifting robots did the Mashed Potato. And weaving in and out between them raced the Doctor and Martha Jones.

 

Martha and the Doctor had been in Milky-Pink City for no more than four hours and it had not gone brilliantly well. The city and all its robots had been built years ago to serve and pamper thousands of human holidaymakers, but the humans had never arrived. Intergalactic tourism, the Doctor had explained, was an unforgiving business. So the robots had been delighted to see Martha and the Doctor, even if they hadn't booked ahead. They had fallen over themselves to oblige their every whim. They squabbled about who got to fetch Martha a drink and came to blows over who took the Doctor's coat. It had quickly turned into a war between different factions of keen-to-please robots, all with exquisite manners. And then an hour later they'd turned on the Doctor and Martha as the source of all the problems.

 

This, thought Martha now as she ran to keep up with the Doctor, her hand held tightly in his, was what happened when you tried to force people to have a good time. She remembered a particularly miserable family holiday at some activity camp outside London, her big sister Tish falling for one of the creepy blokes that worked there. She shuddered. Even being sentenced to death by a city of daft robots wasn't quite as terrifying as that place. For one thing, you couldn't defeat creepy blokes by playing them songs from your iPod.

 

'It's funny,' she said to the Doctor as they ducked and weaved between the dancing robots. 'My brother hates this song.'

 

'What?' said the Doctor, stopping in his tracks. He spun on the heel of his trainer, his long coat and silvery tie whirling around him, and swept a hand through his spiked and scruffy hair. 'But this is a
classic.
Humans doing what you do, daring to be brown and blue and violet sky!' He laughed. 'I don't even know what that means! See?
Brilliant'

 

Martha raised an eyebrow. With the robots still dancing around them, it didn't seem the best time to indulge him.

 

'Yeah, well,' he said chastened, taking her hand and leading her on through the strange and metal street party, 'you know I once saw Mika live in Denmark—'

 

'Yeah,' said Martha wearily. 'I was there too.'

 

He turned his wild, inquisitive eyes on her like he'd only just noticed her there. 'That's a coincidence!' he said. 'Funny how these things work out, innit?' But his wide grin and enthusiasm were infectious; Martha found herself grinning back.

 

They turned a corner and Martha felt her heart leap. At the end of the alleyway, beyond yet more cavorting robots, stood the TARDIS. They made their way through the last of the dancing robots. While the Doctor rummaged through deep pockets to find the TARDIS key, Martha looked back one last time on the city. Two small robots the size and shape of kitchen bins were dancing together, the same keen but clumsy routine she remembered from old school discos. She felt a sudden pang of sorrow for the silly machines.

 

'But won't they get bored with this song one day?' she asked the Doctor.

 

'A-ha!' he said brightly, producing a yo-yo from his pocket. 'No, hang on, sorry.' He handed the yo-yo to her and had another go. Almost. Don't worry, I've done this before.' And he produced the innocuous-looking key. 'Yes they'll get bored,' he said as he unlocked the door to his spaceship. 'But they were programmed as holiday reps, weren't they? Every one of them's a born entertainer. They've got hooks and beats in their chips.'

 

Martha gaped at him. 'They'll make their own music, won't they?' she laughed. 'They'll entertain themselves.'

 

'Right on, sister,' grinned the Doctor. 'A bit of culture to liberate the workers. Come on, let's leave them to it.'

 

A moment later, with a gruff rasping, grating sound that tore through the fabric of time and space itself, the police box was gone from the alleyway. Six thousand robots lived happily ever after.

 

'So where next?' said the Doctor, fussing with the TARDIS controls. His long, skinny fingers danced across the strange array of instruments and dials, his face lit by the eerie pale glow from the central column.

 

'What about that spaceship?' said Martha.

 

'That spaceship,' agreed the Doctor. He began to set the coordinates, then stopped to look back up at her. 'Which spaceship?'

 

'That spaceship you were telling me about. When we were waiting to be executed.' She sighed and rolled her eyes. 'Just a minute ago!'

 

The Doctor's eyes narrowed to slits as he struggled to remember. 'Oh!
That
spaceship,' he said after a moment.

 

'Come on' she said, 'you said it was brilliant.'

 

'Well it was. Literally. The Starship
Brilliant.
Luxury passenger thing. In space. But I only told you about it to take your mind off, well, you know...' He drew a finger quickly across his neck.

 

'Yeah, but come on,' said Martha, leaning towards him across the console. 'You said nobody knew what happened to it. Not even you.'

 

'Well no,' he said, scratching at the back of his head. 'Not exactly. I mean, there are theories.' He began to step lightly around the control console, flicking switches, careful not to meet her gaze. 'It could have fallen into a black hole, or crashed into a giant space squid. You know it vanished just before a huge galactic war?'

 

'No,' said Martha.

 

'Well. That could mean something couldn't it?'

 

'Oh come on,' said Martha, 'you know you want to. It's a mystery!'

 

'Yeah, well.' The Doctor thrust a hand into the trouser pocket of his skinny, pinstriped suit; his way of looking casual. 'Exploring a spaceship that you know is going to vanish forever... Probably be a bit dangerous. Dangerous and reckless. Dangerous and reckless and irresponsible.'

 

'What?' she laughed. 'And never know what happened to it? Ever? That's not like you at all.'

 

The Doctor gazed at her, deep brown eyes open wide. Martha felt the smile on her own face falter, her insides turning over. She had come to accept that the Doctor didn't share her feelings for him, but sometimes the way he looked at her...

 

'So we're going?' she said quickly.

 

'It'll bother me if we don't,' he said, busy now with coordinates and the helmic regulator. He stopped to look back up at her. 'But there are some rules. Important ones.'

 

'Whatever you say'

 

'Yes,
whatever I say.'
Martha did her best to look serious. 'One,' the Doctor continued. 'We can't get involved with anyone we meet. Two, we absolutely cannot change anything. Not a bean. Nuffink. Nada. Nana nee-nee noo-noo.'

 

'Right.'

 

'And three...' He turned from the controls to look at her and his eyes sparkled as he grinned. 'Oh, what's the use?' he said, and plunged the lever to send them hurtling back in time.

 

'Honestly, it'll be fine—' began Martha.

 

But the huge explosion cut her sentence short. She was thrown off her feet, hurled head over heels across the TARDIS console to crash hard into the metal mesh floor.

 

Typical, she thought, as everything faded to black.

 
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