When she saw that first star go out, it scared her in a way Daleks, gas mask zombies and armies of Cybermen had failed to. It was more than her life at stake this time, it was everything; her mum, Mickey, Tony. This meant that even the Doctor, universes away, was in danger. More terrifying still was that it came as a miracle.
The dimension cannon had taken months to build, and months again to get working. Even then, “working” was the loosest of terms. It had the capacity to propel her into any universe, but was useless in the face of the sealed walls between them. But now that reality was falling down around them, it would work; even the walls between universes were slowly disintegrating.
There were no flaws in the machine’s design, none that Rose and her team of technicians could see, anyway. In theory, with no barriers, she’d be home by now. When they’d started, she’d had the foresight to commission a machine that would lock her onto the TARDIS once she arrived, but now the key sat on her desk, mocking her. Just let this old box gather dust, he’d said; well, box or key, that’s exactly what she was doing.
Eventually the sky was almost empty of light and she was sleeping on her desk twice a week (if she was lucky), spending every moment poring over the plans, trying to discover where she’d gone wrong. She heard Pete on the phone to her mother, speaking as if he were consoling her, as if her daughter had gone mad.
“So?” she’d said, in another life when faced with the collapsing of this universe, and the only one she’d ever call home. She was joking, of course, but she thought about it, every day. Defender of the Universe, he’d called her, but she wasn’t much use; not in this one, at least.
The whole thing would fracture. Two universes would collapse. Well, they were doing that anyway, weren’t they? If she couldn’t get through properly, she’d find a way. Against all odds, she would get back. Even if she had to burn everything in her path.