On the observation balcony, the Doctor was watching people milling about. Daniel Jackson wandered up and joined him.
'I guess we haven't got off to a very good start in your eyes,' he said.
'Enjoy it while you can — it gets a lot worse. If you think the Goa'uld were trouble, you wait until the Daleks arrive,' replied the Doctor. 'Of course, things could be different now that you've already started exploring space. Someone else could get there first. I've seen Earth invaded and destroyed so many times you tend to forget who does what, when.'
'And every time it's someone different?'
'Daleks, Cybermen, Autons, Sycorax, plus many others over the millenia.'
'Not to mention Replicators, Goa'uld and now the Wraith,' said Daniel. The Doctor frowned.
'Wraith?' he asked.
'Oh, they're the biggest threat in this galaxy. They're sort of like space vampires: they feed on the life force of humanoids and they see Earth as a new feeding ground,' he replied.
'Mind you, somewhere out there Earth does die of natural causes. Me and Rose watched the sun expand and swallow it up five billion years from now,' said the Doctor, smiling. 'You have taken the first step in preserving humanity by being here.' Daniel smiled back.
'At least we're doing something right,' he replied. The Doctor grinned.
'Any tea on this spaceship?' he asked.
'Follow me,' said Daniel, 'and we'll swap stories.'
Rodney was watching Daniel and the Doctor. Typical: trust Daniel Jackson to get to the alien first. If anyone was with the Doctor, it would be him. Wasn't he the smartest, brainiest, most intelligent one in Atlantis, the one who was most capable of figuring out how to fly the Doctor's ship? He'd make the Doctor eat his words — little brain indeed! He'd show him — he, Rodney McKay, would learn the secrets of the Doctor's time travel ship and he would make one of his own. The Ancients managed to do it, so how hard could it be? Hah, that would wipe the smile off Zelenka's face. Yes, he would make it work, then he'd get the recognition he deserved. Rodney started to gather up a few things he'd need to get a good idea of what the Doctor's ship was all about. He was just heading out of the door when he noticed something. 'Where's Radek?' he asked.
Zelenka led Rose to the East Pier, where the Tardis was being guarded. Rose fumbled in her pocket and pulled out the key and began to unlock the door.
'You're kidding! You lock your ship with a door key?' Radek asked in amazement as he waved the guard away. Rose chuckled.
'I know. I couldn't quite believe it when the Doctor first gave it to me,' she replied. 'Now, I've got to warn you, the inside of the Tardis takes a little getting used to.' Zelenka looked at the Tardis.
'It must get a little cramped in there. Good thing I'm not claustrophobic,' he said. Rose grinned at him, opened the door and went in. Radek followed her and his mouth dropped open.
'Oh my God, how is this possible?' he said, looking around him. 'It's... it's...'
'Bigger on the inside than the outside,' finished Rose, 'that's exactly what I said.'
'How does it work?' Zelenka asked.
'It's a dimensional control unit. Its posh name is a time vector generator. From what the Doctor says, the inside of the Tardis occupies a different dimension in space than the outside. That's why it's bigger,' explained Rose. Radek was wandering around looking at everything.
'Yes, yes, I can see that happening, it's how that's the facinating part. I could spend years trying to figure out how this works,' he said in wonder.
'Let me change and I'll explain what I can. I'm no brainiac, but I'll do my best,' said Rose, and she ran off.
In her room, she changed into her jeans and trainers. She wished that Radek would join them. He was such a nice guy, in a big-brother way, but she doubted he'd leave this place. He'd never replace Jack — no-one could — but he'd come close. She ran off back to the main control room and found Zelenka looking at the console.
'I don't suppose we could take it out for a spin?' he asked. Rose shook her head.
'It was built for the Doctor. Only he can fly it. I know you'll think it weird, but the Tardis is alive; it has a heart. Last Christmas, the Doctor was dying and so was the Tardis; it wouldn't work properly' — she gave a forced laugh — 'less than usual, I mean. I did fly it once, kind of. I cracked the console open and looked into the Heart of the Tardis and suddenly I knew everything, briefly, but I can't remember much of it now, only bits and pieces,' she explained. 'I think the Tardis has a lot to do with the trouble we get ourselves into. I think it says to itself, "I know we'll go here because trouble's brewing". I can't understand half of what goes on in here.' Radek smiled.
'If I spent the rest of my life in here I'd never get bored trying to understand how it worked,' he said.
'It's weird, but when I was at school I hated science and history, but being part of it, it's not so boring. Before I met the Doctor the closest I got to history was my mum letting me stay up and watch the news the day they opened up Checkpoint Charlie, and all those people climbed on to the Berlin Wall and started pulling it down with their bare hands. 'You're watching history being made, Rose,' she said to me. I was only a kid then.'
Zelenka smiled wistfully. 'I was part of history, too. I was on the streets of Prague in '89 during the Velvet Revolution. I was at University and I wanted freedom. We'd seen it in Hungary and Poland, the people of East Germany were travelling through Czechoslovakia to get to the West and we wanted it too. I'd done my military service when I was 17 and the Party expected me to work in the Russian space programme or in their nuclear facilities, I would have done anything to get away. So I joined in the revolution just like my parents did in '68 and my grandparents during the Nazi occupation,' he explained. Rose hugged him.
'I guess seeing history secondhand is no substitute for being there at the time,' she said.
Dr Rodney McKay was hurrying down the corridor towards the Tardis, muttering. According to Rodney, life did not treat him fairly. Not only had Zelenka made a fool of him in front of Sheppard, but now it appeared he was in the Doctor's ship with his companion. Rodney had met Major Lorne on the way to the blue box and he'd told him where Radek was.
'Hey, Doc, you off to look at that ship, then?' Lorne had asked him. McKay sighed.
'Of course,' he'd replied.
'I spoke to Sergeant Tyler, who's been guarding it. Earlier and he told me that Doc Zelenka and the English girl have been in there for quite a while — who'd have thought it of Doc Zelenka, eh? Some girls go for the geek type, so you may be in luck,' Lorne had said, grinning mischievously.
Rodney reached the Tardis and barged through the doors like he owned it. He spotted Rose with her arms around Zelenka.
'Well, Radek, nice work if you can get it. Fast work, too — she's only been here a couple of hours,' he said with a twinge of jealousy. Radek let go of Rose.
'Proboha MacKayi, musíš pořád myslet jen na to jedno?1' he grumbled in Czech. Rose gasped and laughed.
'I do not,' said McKay indignantly. Zelenka looked startled.
'The Tardis translates,' Rose reminded him. Rodney finally began to take in his surroundings.
'Wow, how do you do that?' he asked.
'Apparently, it occupies a different dimension of space to the outside,' put in Zelenka smugly.
'How big is this thing?' Rodney asked Rose.
'I don't know, I've seen about half of it. The swimming pool's nice and so are the gardens. There's about a dozen bedrooms — some Australian girl called Tegan had my room before me — and there's a walled cloister that the Doctor sort of meditates in sometimes,' replied Rose. Rodney looked aghast.
'A pool, you have a pool in this ship?' he said. He looked at Radek. 'I don't suppose she's told you how it travels in time.' Radek shook his head as Rose glared at Rodney.
'She's gonna smack you in the face in a minute,' she said angrily. A picture of a ship flickered onto the screen on the console.
'What's that?' asked McKay.
'I don't know, I've never seen it before,' Rose replied. Then the doors of the Tardis slammed shut and the central column started to move up and down. Both McKay and Zelenka turned to look at Rose.
'What did you do?' yelled Rodney.
'Nothing!' yelled back Rose. 'As I told him, the Tardis is alive. It's doing this by itself!' She grabbed the console. 'Hang on to something. It's going to get a little bumpy.' The two scientists braced themselves and the Tardis lurched as it took off. 'You wanted to see it in action. Now's your chance!'