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Saving Earth

Title: Saving Earth
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters Four, Sarah Jane
Word Count 2001
Summary The Doctor and Sarah race to find an alien entering Ellis Island
Author's Note I wrote this shortly after "Magnificent Folly" hoping to submit it to another anthology. I never did and this is the first time it's been posted online. It was sparked by a snippet from a commercial of immigrants arriving in New York Harbor.




The Doctor pushed his way through the throng of people in steerage. Sarah Jane followed as closely as she could, thankful for the Doctor's height as he towered above the majority of those around him.

"Hurry, Sarah!" he called over his shoulder.

"Doctor, there's no way we'll find him in time searching this way," she said as she caught up with him.

"We can't stop. Do you know the chaos that will follow should he succeed?"

"I'm not saying we stop altogether, just like this. We're going to be docking soon. We just need to position ourselves where we can see everyone getting off the ship."

The Doctor looked at her and beamed. "Brilliant! And they said I would never be a good influence."

"Can we go on deck now?" she asked, knowing it would be a waste of time to comment on the Doctor's remark.

"Certainly. You wouldn't want to miss your first glimpse. Of all the sites I've seen, I still find this one quite breathtaking."

"With everyone flying, I wonder if it still means as much."

"To a different degree, perhaps."

They arrived up on the deck and Sarah was grateful for her long wool coat. The Doctor found a spot near the rail at the port bow and Sarah had her first glimpse of New York Harbor, 1900. The Doctor was right. It was magnificent. There were some tall buildings in the city, not skyscrapers that it would become known for, but compared to what these people had seen, it would be like looking at mountains. Hearing the exclamations of her fellow passengers, Sarah turned to see the Statue of Liberty, her torch held aloft.

" 'Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.'" The Doctor spoke like an orator of old.

"Don't tell me you influenced the writing of that as well?"

"No, of course not." He sounded hurt. "I just recommended it be used."

"Perfect choice," she told him.

"I thought so. Poor Emma was a little unsure but I managed to convince her."

I don't think many could hold out against your persuasive charm. She wouldn't dare say so to his face or life in the TARDIS would be unbearable.

Then Ellis Island itself came into view. The brick and limestone building spoke volumes about this new country. As to what it said, that could be interpreted two ways. Either "WE want you so much, see, the lovely building that welcomes you" or "We're such a prosperous nation we can spend beaucoup bucks on this island".

"C'mon, Sarah. We'd better take up position so we can spot him."

"There is only one way off, right?"

"Yes. I suggest one of us watch from the rail and one from the dock. Which do you want?"

She was surprised he was giving her a choice. "Do you know what he'll look like? I don't want to make a mistake and cause some poor immigrant trouble."

"He could be anyone. His race has the ability to take on the appearance of anyone they chose."

"Like the Zygons?"

"Very similar, but Rutans actually change into the shape whereas the Zygons merely take on the appearance of something." He fumbled through his pockets and pulled out some little gadget. "They have a strong affinity for electricity. This should register any changes when you come in contact with him."

"Right." Sarah took the device and stood at the rail near where the passengers would disembark

The Doctor leapt nimbly to the dock as soon as the ship was close enough and found a spot from where he could see everyone getting off. The stream of immigrants here at Ellis Island was nearing its peak. Today, December 17, the first day with the new building, would see 2,251 people processed. And somewhere amidst all of them, was an alien he had to find first.

Sarah watched the parade of immigrants go past, wearing every bit of clothing they could, freeing their hands for the remnants of their lives from the old country. These people were brave, willing to leave everything behind to venture to a strange land where they knew no one, or even spoke the language. She studied their faces, each a blend of apprehension and anticipation as they shuffled along, some barely able to stand straight. One man caught her attention. He was taller than most and had the look of someone from Eastern Europe-Albania, Yugoslavia, Romania, or something like that. He seemed to be suffering from seasickness as he had a sheen of perspiration touched with green.

She went to look at the device the Doctor had given her but was distracted when a fight broke out between two men. It had to do with something about old race differences that had always been prevalent in that area of the world. Others of the same nationalities took sides and soon a riot was born. Security from the ship as well as Ellis Island converged on the dock and pulled the men apart and away from the others. Probably some sort of isolation if not deportation. With that disturbance cleared, she returned her attention to those remaining. The device remained quiet, no abnormal readings.

Sarah made her way to the Doctor. "Ah, there you are. Can you believe that? Coming here to start a new life and they bring old antagonisms with them." He shook his head. "I still can't understand why you humans place yourselves in such narrow categories--nationalities, religions, race-when all it boils down to is that we all need to co-exist peacefully in the universe."

"Oh, I'm sure the Daleks share that sentiment."

"Yes, well, I did say we need to, I didn't say we do. Now, about our friend...

Any sign of him?"

"No. I thought I had before the fight but then I lost him."

"Why didn't you tell me before? You do go on, don't you? He's probably almost through!" He took off down the walk. Sarah stuck out her tongue and his retreating back before following.

They ran into the building and up the steps past the waiting immigrants into the Great Hall. The Doctor flashed some sort of ID and the authorities let them through. The Great Hall lived up to its name as it was massive. She stared up at the high vaulted ceiling with its many tiles. She was returned to earth as she was jostled from behind. As her gaze returned to eye level, she saw a maze of metal and flesh as the immigrants were herded by rails into holding areas where it looked more like they were in prison than new arrivals.

The Doctor rushed along, peering in to each section, trying to find the elusive alien. Sarah caught up with him and handed him the meter. "I think he's moved on to the next stage," he told her.

"What's that?"

"A physical."

"How is he going to pass that?"

"The Rutan has taken on the appearance of a human from the inside out. He has all the internal organs in the right places-and the right number of them," he added before she could say anything. "Let's keep going."

So as not to waste time, Sarah brought her journalistic inquisitiveness into play. "Excuse me," she asked one of the officials, "but does everyone undergo a physical?"

"No, miss. The doctors give a cursory examination while they wait in line. If they think someone needs to be examined further, they mark the clothing with chalk. These people are then placed in separate waiting rooms."

"Could you tell me where they are? My friend and I are trying to locate
someone."

The man told her and Sarah returned to the Doctor. "Good. If he's in holding, we can move on to where they do the Q&A."

"Q&A?"

"Questions and Answers. You as a journalist should know these things."

"Well excuse me for not knowing these little abbreviations of yours."

The Doctor didn't hear her as he strode away to another section where tables were set up as desks. His eyes scanned those waiting, the meter in his hand. The Rutan had to be here. There was nowhere else. He couldn't have been fully processed already. There simply hadn't been enough time. He stood in the center of the room and aimed his gadget to all corners. Wait, there's a blip. He slowly turned back and looked up. Aha! There in the corner waiting nervously was a man with a decidedly green tinge, more than a little mal de mer would produce. He waved to Sarah Jane, beckoning her discreetly. When she arrived, he strode over to the man just as he approached his inquisitor.

"Ah, Damek!" he called. "I'm so glad we found you in time. "

"Damek" looked at the Doctor, stunned. "I...I..."

"You dropped these papers when you got off the boat. I knew they were important."

"Thank you," he answered in heavily accented English. He then passed the papers to the official.

The official looked the papers over, making the appropriate marks and notations. He looked up upon reading the country of origin. "You're from Rutan? Where exactly is that?"

The alien opened his mouth, but the Doctor answered for him. "It's in the Balkans, a small principality squeezed between Romania and Yugoslavia, I think."

"Ah." The inspector then began his litany of questions from which he learned that Damek Rutan, as he now called himself, was single with no dependents, had some industrial skills, and spoke some English. With a weary hand, the inspector stamped the Rutan's papers with a giant red "Approved".

The Doctor and Sarah walked with him outside to the fresh, though cold, air. They stood at the island's edge, facing the Manhattan skyline. "Thank you, Doctor, for your help. Only you could look beyond my species and see the individual."

"I don't understand why you wanted to help him," Sarah said. "If the Rutans are as bad as you say, surely it's mad to leave him here on Earth."

"That doesn't mean that all the Rutans are. That would be like saying all Germans during World War II were Nazis. No, old Damek here is a rare thing for a Rutan: an individual. Nice choice of name, by the way."

"As I thought," he smiled. "I know my life now will be hard but at least it will be mine to lead."

"Just keep your temper in control. I don't want to hear about your neighbors being electrocuted."

"I'll keep that in mind, Doctor. Thank you once again."

The Doctor and Sarah made their way back to the ship and boarded it unnoticed just before it pulled away. "You are going to keep an eye on him, aren't you?" Sarah asked as they headed down to the hold.

"I'm sure I will at some point. I'd better make a note of that once in the TARDIS."

They arrived in the forward hold and headed for the blue police box in the corner. The Doctor unlocked the door and motioned for Sarah to enter first. As he busied himself at the console in the center, Sarah removed her coat and hung it on the rack. "So, you think everything will be all right?"

"As right as it can be. After all, a war is approaching."

"How will he fare?"

"The identity he's chosen will be too 'old' by the time the war begins, so he won't need to serve. Beyond that, I can't say right now."

"Oh, and one more thing."

The Doctor looked up from the controls. "Yes?"

"What did you mean by that comment about his name?"

The Doctor smiled. "That was what made me realize that this was not an act. He truly meant to go through with this. Damek is 'Earth' in Slavic."

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