On Atlantis, Elizabeth Weir and Col Caldwell looked at the Doctor for an explanation.
'Who are the Cybermen?' Caldwell asked.
'Cybernetic creatures that were once human — well, as close to human as you can get.' He sighed. 'Once upon a time there were ten planets in your solar system. Earth had a twin planet called Mondas, but it broke orbit and drifted away. The planet's inhabitants devised a way to transplant cybernetic parts onto their bodies when the living tissue wore out, until only the brain was left — they wanted to live forever. They removed all signs of weakness and all emotions until all that was left was an empty metal shell,' the Doctor said bitterly.
'Why would the Wraith make an alliance with these Cybermen?' asked Weir 'They've never needed allies before.'
'Maybe they need help putting down the rebellions that have started because of us,' remarked Sheppard.
Weir tapped her earpiece. 'Teyla, can you and Ronan join us on the balcony?' she asked.
'We will be there shortly,' came Teyla's reply.
'You said the Wraith feed on the life-force of humans,' said the Doctor. 'How exactly do they do it?'
'They drain your life-force through a device on their palm until there's nothing left but a husk,' said Sheppard with a shudder, as he remembered witnessing the death of Colonel Sumner.
Teyla and Ronan appeared on the balcony. 'How can we help?' asked Teyla.
'Have either of you ever heard of the Wraith needing allies?' asked Elizabeth. Teyla shook her head.
'Never,' she replied. 'They have never needed them, nor have I known them trade. They take what they need and go.'
'No-one in their right mind would invite the Wraith to be their allies. Everyone knows that would mean death to their world. A few have tried, but their destruction was inevitable,' said Ronan.
'I don't think the Wraith made the first move, I think it was the Cybermen. Think about it: they have nothing to fear from the Wraith. They can't be used for food; they're ninety percent metal. The question is, what do the Wraith have that the Cybermen want so desperately?' said the Doctor.
On the Tardis, Rose, McKay and Zelenka were waiting.
'What are they doing down there?' moaned Rodney. 'Why haven't they sent the Daedalus to rescue us?'
Rose sighed. 'And I thought Mickey could whinge! Is he always like this?' she asked Zelenka.
'Pretty much,' replied Radek. Rodney glared at them
'I need to be down there on Atlantis. God knows what Kusanagi and Kavanaugh are doing without me to guide them,' he remarked.
'Probably doing a lot better without him,' whispered Radek to Rose, who burst out laughing. Rodney rolled his eyes and tapped his earpiece.
'Hey, what's going on down there, when are you coming to rescue me?' he said.
'Easy Rodney, the Doctor says you're safe as long as you're in the Tardis,' said Elizabeth. Rodney sighed.
'That does not inspire me with confidence,' he grouched. 'Okay, Rose, the Doctor says pick up the phone.' Rose went over and picked it up.
'What's up?' she asked.
'What's the Tardis doing?' he said. Rose stretched to look at the screen.
'At a guess, it's scanning the ships. That strange writing is still on the screen — oh hang on, no, it's stopped. It's just sitting here doing nothing now,' she said.
'Probably doesn't want to draw attention to itself by entering the vortex. Don't worry, we're coming to get you. They have some kind of cloaked ship that's big enough to transport the Tardis back to neutral ground,' said the Doctor. 'According to the people here, we'll be with you in a couple of hours. You're quite a way out and they need a bigger ship to transport the cloaked one.'
Rose sighed. 'Okay,' she replied and put the phone down. 'Your friends are coming to the rescue. They'll be here in a couple of hours,' she said to the others.
'Thank God for that!' said Rodney as he sank down onto the seat. 'It's never a good idea to be this close to a Hive ship.'
'I don't know why you're worried. The Tardis is the safest place to be. The Daleks couldn't get in and neither could a crowd of Inter Milan fans and they were scarier. I could have killed Mickey that night,' she said. 'I suppose I could show you a bit of the Tardis while we're waiting.'
This is the final episode of 'There's a Doctor at the Gate' that will be published in The Post. Further updates by Reefgirl can be found here.