Dr Weir and Dr Jackson looked up as Sheppard and his team led the Doctor and Rose into the Briefing Room. McKay, Zelenka and Beckett had also managed to invite themselves to the interrogation on some pretext or other.
'Sit down, please,' Weir said. 'My name is Dr Elizabeth Weir, this is Dr Daniel Jackson, Dr Radek Zelenka, Dr Rodney McKay and my Medical Chief, Dr Carson Beckett,' she said, introducing the others.
'Blimey, talk about doctor overload!' muttered Rose. They glared at her. 'Sorry.'
'Well, as I said to Captain Yates here...' the Doctor began.
'That's Lieutenant Colonel Sheppard to you,' remarked Sheppard. The Doctor grinned.
'Yes, of course, sorry, in my job you meet so many military types — brigadiers, captains, group captains, sergeants, you tend to lose track...' continued the Doctor. Rose sighed.
'He's the Doctor; he doesn't have another name. He won't tell me so he won't tell you. I'm Rose Tyler, I'm human, born in London 19 years ago. He's a Timelord born on Gallifrey nine hundred years ago. We travel around time and space in the Tardis, which is that blue box. We get into trouble, we get out of trouble and we move on. That's about it, really,' Rose explained. Elizabeth looked at them both.
'Where exactly is Gallifrey?' she asked. Rose glanced at the Doctor, his face crumpled. She glanced at Sheppard, her eyes imploring him not to ask anymore. Sheppard looked first at the Doctor and then at Rose. Her eyes were begging him not to ask what happened. The Doctor's face told him exactly what had happened — he'd seen that look on Ronan's face when he discovered Sateda had been destroyed.
'I don't think we need to go into that now,' he said. Rose smiled her thanks to him. Elizabeth glared at him — she hadn't expected him to jump in and cut her interrogation off like that.
'John, I'd just like to know,' she carried on.
Zelenka, who had also seen the looks between Rose and Sheppard, interrupted her.
'I want to know why they are speaking Czech,' he said. Sheppard looked at him as if he were mad.
'They're speakin' English,' he replied. Rose waved her hand dismissively and pointed over her shoulder.
'Oh, that's the Tardis. It gets inside your head and translates everything into your own language,' she said. Rodney perked up at this.
'Even alien languages?' he asked. The Doctor nodded.
'Yes and no. I can't tell you how it works; your little brain would overload trying to figure it out,' he replied. Rodney looked like he was about to have a heart attack. He wasn't used to having his superior intelligence questioned and certainly not by an eccentric Englishman.
'I can assure you, Doctor, I'm perfectly able to understand any technology you have. if I can work all the technology in Atlantis I can understand any you have,' he sneered. Seeing that this interrogation was going off-track, Daniel spoke up.
'So if you're space explorers like us, can you tell us about any of the places you've been to see and if we've been on the same planet?' he asked.
'I'd like to know how you got here?' said the Doctor. Daniel smiled and pointed to the Stargate.
'Through the Stargate. There's a whole network of these in this galaxy and ours — one was discovered in Egypt in the twenties. I helped get ours working about eleven years ago and we've been using them to explore the galaxy, making a few enemies on the way — but who doesn't? About two years ago we discovered the Ancients — ah, that's what we called the race who built the Stargate system — had hidden one of their cities and this city had weapons hidden that we could use to defend Earth against an attack by the Goa'uld.' Rose opened her mouth to ask a question, but Daniel carried on. 'The Goa'uld are a race of evil parasites who were bent on galactic domination. This particular one, Anubis, attacked Earth about two years ago and was defeated by a weapon the Ancients left behind in an outpost in Antarctica...' he continued.
'But I was on Earth two years ago. I don't remember any alien attack,' interrupted Rose.
'Do you remember a "meteor shower" hitting a group of US warships?' Rose nodded. 'Anubis,' Daniel remarked. Remembering how the Slitheen attack had been covered up by her own government, Rose didn't say anything. 'Anyway, about eighteen months ago we found the gate address to the Ancients' lost city, this one, which is Atlantis. We came through the gate and we've been here ever since, exploring, making friends and making enemies,' he finished. Rose and the Doctor looked at each other.
'Well, that explains what those stone rings were,' said Rose.
'The Timelords missed a hell of a lot,' remarked the Doctor. Rose laughed.
'And here's me thinking you were the galactic know-all.'
Elizabeth had been listening to everything with interest. She was still smarting over the way she'd been cut off by Sheppard and Zelenka, but she trusted John — he must have had a good reason. She also couldn't see them being a threat to the city, either; she could tell. Rodney and Zelenka were dying to have a look inside their ship and Daniel was desperate to talk about the planets that they'd visited. The word that had intrigued her was Timelord — did this strange man with the teenage companion have the ability to travel in time? She'd ask them later. At this moment, she wanted to split them up. Rodney and Radek wanted to get at the Doctor and ask questions about his ship. She wanted to get Rose alone and ask questions about the Doctor.
'Okay, I'd like Dr Beckett to check you over. It's strictly routine, just to make sure you haven't brought any contagions with you. Doctor if you'd go with Dr Beckett, I'd like to get to know Rose a little better,' Weir said. The Doctor grinned at Beckett.
'Okay Doc, lead the way,' he said.
After Beckett and the Doctor had left, Rose was left to face Sheppard, Weir, McKay and Zelenka. John didn't bother waiting for Weir: he asked the question that had been bothering him.
'Okay, why didn't you want us to ask about the Doctor's home planet?' he asked. Rose sighed.
'It doesn't exist anymore. It was destroyed in a war. The Doctor called it a Time War, against a bunch of evil machines called the Daleks. Everyone lost. The Doctor is the last of the Timelords. I didn't want you going on at him about it since he was the one that destroyed his home planet. It was the only way to make sure the Daleks were destroyed, only it didn't work; they're still out there. Thousands of years from now they'll try and destroy Earth again and I'll be there again sending the Bad Wolf messages and Jack will die again and my doctor will die again and it'll go on and on and on...' She breathed hard in an effort not to cry. 'You wouldn't understand!' She got up and strode out of the room, bumping into a tall, dreadlocked man on the way. 'Get out of my way!' she growled as she pushed past him. Ronan Dex watched the blond girl stomp off down the stairs and turned to his female companion.
'What's that all about?'
'I think it is best not to ask,' replied Teyla Emmagen.