“Hame?” the Doctor questioned completely taken aback at the circumstances. He scratched his chin, eyes wide and unable to conceal the confusion he was in.
“It’s a cat.” Georgie stammered as she tried to stop staring at the feline and collect her muddled thoughts. “It can talk?”
“Of course we can, sweetheart,” Hame responded gently, her tail swishing from side to side. Like the other cat that had strode by the door, Hame was dressed in a blue nurse’s uniform, a habit and cap resting on her head. Without fear she waltzed up to them, taking the Doctor’s hand in her furry, orange paws. Lifting his eyes to the feline he searched them intently, struggling to make sense. She didn’t understand why he was so confused by seeing the cat. Georgie knew she was the one who should be confused, but couldn’t figure out why /he/ was. He obviously knew her and were somewhat like friends, but why was he acting so strangely. Yes, he was a very, very strange man, but the past fifteen minutes had made as much sense as any murder mystery. None. None at all. And yet she still found herself relatively calm, though unable to comprehend anything at hand. This man did seem logical and incredibly intelligent but just so hard to follow.
“What? Why are you here, Hame? The last time I saw you was when…” The Doctor couldn’t bring himself to say it.
But the cat understood, purring in recognition. “Yes, Doctor, we have shared that moment. We are both in the same time stream going forward. We’ve met that sorrow-filled day already. Said goodbye to a beloved friend.”
“Oh, come now, Hame. It wasn’t all bad. Millions of people were saved because of him. But that’s what I don’t understand. How are you here? The last time we met was in New, New York. Your people are scavengers from another world parallel to ours so it is not unusual to see your species wandering around.”
“It isn’t?” Georgie interjected wondering if the last time she held a cat it was actually a human baby slash cat thing.
Hame swatted her tail in amusement, eyeing Georgie curiously. “How’s Kitty back home?” she mewed in playfully, her purring sounding like laughter.
The girl’s doe eyes opened and her jaw slackened as she tried to make sense of what was just said to her. The way the cat seemed to smile gave her the sense she was merely teasing her. “You’re joking, right? My cat is not a um…”
“Felinetta,” The Doctor whispered into her, aiding her explanation.
“Yeah, that. Kitty isn’t-“
The Doctor eyed her humorously. “You named your cat Kitty?”
“It wasn’t my idea,” she snapped jokingly, “Mum came up with it. And she’s definitely not going to like it when she find out Kitty can talk.”
“Our species is smart enough not to reveal themselves to humans. They resort to their primitive instincts so they’re not found out. It is completely degrading to our evolution but it is necessary for survival.”
Georgie folded her hands in front of her, bit her lip uncertainly, and looked away. “Sorry, I never meant any disrespect.”
The Felinetta purred warmly, “It’s not your fault, dear. Our species does everything in our power to stay alive. If that means becoming a Cat and never learning to speak so be it. At least our genes our passed on and we are very well loved by your people. Much thanks.”
Slowly Georgie felt slightly more comfortable with Hame. She could see that she was friendly and wasn’t going to hurt them. She was warm and kind. She was a nurse. Her green eyes were open with curiosity and interest, yet beneath the surface was something more. Something like a deep sadness, an undeniable sadness. You had to really look to see it.
Hame recognized the change in her in almost the same instant the girl did and motioned her towards the neatly cot. Nodding in thanks Georgie moved over to the bed and sat down, the coils sinking beneath her weight. The Doctor paced forward and came up to Hame, reading her face. The cat leveled her gaze as he spoke. “As scavengers you travel to places good to live in. Our friend gave you and your people a life. A home. Why did you leave? Sure, the planet needed some redecorating and new paint and well a new civilization entirely, but why leave? You had possibilities there. What are you doing here?”
“Surviving. We were forced to relocate after New, New York was taken under the control of the Silence.”
“What is the Silence?” he questioned her, his eyes darting back and forth as he tried to read the subtlest of subtexts in her eyes.
“We don’t know.” A simple answer, one that he hadn’t been looking forward to.
“What did the Silence do to the planet?”
“Contaminated it. It destroyed everything we knew there. We were lucky to escape.”
“So you escaped to the Ward to get work, right?” the question had come from Georgie who had been sitting and listening intently to the conversation at hand. Her head had been bouncing back and forth between them like a ping-pong ball. Both of their heads turned toward her. She flinched under their gazes. “I mean your species are nurses, obviously trained in the medical field and highly intelligent.”
“It was the closest planet to run away to. We had no choice.”
“One more thing, the cats upstairs are they Felinetta too?” in her mind she pictured the fangs of the beasts above and shivered.
Hame moved closer to her and tilted her head to the side, crouching lower so that her knees were hovering over the ground. Her tail flicked idly from side to side. “Not quite. They’re a sub-species. Less intelligent and evolved, but a part of our family. But why do you ask, child?”
Light footsteps echoed around the room as the Doctor paced, his fingers to his lips in thought. “We were chased by a group of them upstairs.”
“You make it sound like it was no big deal,” Georgie piped in feistily, her head flying to look at him, her blue eyes sarcastic. “We were almost eaten. It had terrible breath and I was literally staring down its throat.”
“Your eyes were closed,” corrected the Doctor, continuing his pacing and not looking at her, though there was the slightest hint of amusement in his voice.
“It’s a metaphor, Doctor,” the girl sighed, running her fingers through her red hair and blowing strands out of her eyes.
He stopped pacing and glanced at her, a wide grin plastered on his face. He looked like he was five years old. “You said my name! You actually addressed me properly! Good girl. I like you!”
Georgie couldn’t help but chuckle, biting her lip and rubbing her temples. “I try,”
The cat watched the two of them with curiosity, her orange tail flicking from side to side like a cat watching a bird. She seemed merely interested in the pair’s interactions but something else troubled her deeply. “The cats don’t usually attack. Only when a client is being unreliable and can’t be eaten in fear they might expose the Ward’s secret do they attack a patient.”
“So patients of the Ward get eaten by the cats?”
“Not by cats,” the Doctor answered before Hame could even open her mouth to respond. “By the Wardens, the people of the Ward of the Hospital. Your species came here because you made a compromise with them. They were dying and they promised to let you live if you helped them. And what do you do? You gather people from all over the earth to enter unknowingly into a hospital towards their demise and never return. You are in debt to the Wardens otherwise they’ll kill you. That’s why you bring people here. Every entrance to a hospital is a death sentence. And I want you to do is stop.” He was angry. Properly angry. The man had stopped his pacing and had stormed up to Hame, sizing her up. The cat, startled, had stumbled backwards and against the window, causing the shutters the flutter wildly. Georgie pulled her legs up onto the bed and watched the confrontation. This angry, angry man. This man she had just met was rightly bipolar. Bouncing and happy one minute and then a raging inferno the next. His greens eyes were wild, darting back and forth with a burning fire. His brown hair flopped over onto his temple; his lips jutted out as he spoke, breathing heavily, and his forehead inclined forward to give him shadows under his eyes and across his features. The shadows aged him by years. “You’ve caused millions of peoples’ deaths and that is something I cannot forgive you, Hame. I forgave you once when we first met and then the Face of Boe gave you another. This is your last chance. I’m giving you an option, Hame, leave this place and give millions of people the opportunity to live or stay and let me find a way to stop you. It won’t ever make up for all the people you killed but maybe it will save your race. Maybe it’ll save your life once more. If I were you I would basically run.”
Mewing in fright the cat tried to calm him, but when she couldn’t Georgie got to her feet. “Doctor!” She cried, baffled by his distorted nature as she precariously positioned herself between he and Hame. “That’s quite enough.”
“Did I forget to mention the number one rule to you when we first met?” the Doctor snapped, turning on her, briefly distracted by her so he couldn’t yell at Hame.
“Possibly,” she swallowed, standing up to him, “I mean we were busy running for our lives.”
He wasn’t amused by her antics at the moment. “Enough of that. You never, ever stand in my way when I’m making a life or death choice. I am infallible. I am always right.”
This was unbelievable. How could anyone say something like that? If she knew anything humans were always wrong. It was their major flaw. “Well maybe there was never anyone to stop you. You need someone to hold you back. You’re just so angry.” Biting her lip she crossed her arms over her chest to appear more intimidating to him. She didn’t want to seem weak to him, but instead someone he could rely on. But what she was really doing was seeing something in him that not even he could see. “If I were in Hame’s place I would be doing the exact same thing to save my race.”
“You would kill human beings?” he demanded hotly, pacing up to her, arms over his chest.
“No! Of course not. Maybe sacrifice some other unfortunate civilization.” She muttered letting her arms fall limply to her side in defeat, realizing how selfish her premature plan sounded.
“Because my home was threatened, Doctor. If my home was threatened and my family and friends were stuck there, there would be no way for me to sit back and watch them die. I would do anything I could to save them even at the cost of another’s. And I’m betting everything I have that you would do exactly the same to save your people.”
In her peripheral vision Georgie noticed that Hame’s tail bristled and that there was a flicker of angst in her feline eyes. The Doctor groaned, running his fingers through his hair in frustration. He turned around on a heel. “Remember how I told you I liked you? Yeah, I changed my mind. The moment we land back on earth I’m sending you home.”
“That’s totally fine with me because I don’t want to be with someone who says they aren’t flawed. Because we’re all flawed. Even you and you won’t admit it.” She retorted coldly.
He stopped in his pacing to glance back at her and for an instant their eyes locked. Neither of them blinked. “Why do you humans have to be so…”
‘Flawed?” she offered, being of little help.
“Hard to help what you are,”
There was a moment of awkward silence that enveloped them. Gratefully it was broken by Hame who tried, as painlessly as possible, to interject. “Doctor, can I just say that you can argue about this later. There are more pressing matters at hand like the fact the cats went after your friend.”
“We are not friends,” they spat as one.
Hame narrowed her eyes, letting them dilate before she continued. “As I was saying the cats hardly ever, in fact, they’ve never attacked before. The Wardens feel threatened. They’re afraid they’ll be exposed and if that happened-“
“They’d be run out of the universe, subdued to nothing for genocide of the human race and you’d be left without a planet to scavenge.” The Doctor finished, arms strewn across his chest and the other cupped by the elbow so his hand rested on his cheek as he thought.
“Yes. Everyone in the Ward is afraid. They were afraid of the truth. Of her.” At this the man looked over at the girl he had saved. Her back was to him, her arms wrapped around her torso, her face towards the corner, eyes targeted at the floor. She didn’t say a word. “They were afraid of her and what she would do their survival. They needed her out of the equation. The Ward is a vulnerable planet, Doctor. Silence will come, but I want this to end. I don’t want to help them kill anyone anymore, but I can’t escape. I can’t escape the Wardens. No one ever has. The Ward is a never-ending maze with no way out. Everywhere you turn there is another check-up room where they’ll find you and kill you. It’s all a dead-end. We’re trapped here. We will be trapped here until the Silence comes. ”
Straightening his bowtie the Doctor shrugged his jacket over his shoulders and looked at her a small smile threatening to appear. “Before I say anything of use I need to apologize. I was out of line. I’m sorry. To both of you.” This garnered the girl to peer over her shoulder from behind her straggle of hair.
“Apology accepted, as usual.”
“Thank you. Anywho, now onto the big picture. First off I’m starving. Anyone have fish fingers and custard? Secondly, who or what is the Silence? And thirdly, you say we’ll be trapped but they’ve apparently never met me. I can escape anything. Trust me. I’m the Doctor.”
Even through her anger Georgie couldn’t understand why she felt she could trust this mad man.