Torchwood Five by Danny_B
Chapter 1: Facts and Fictions
Chapter 2: Playing the Pawn
Chapter 3: Getaway
Chapter 4: The M Bit
Chapter 5: A Different Sort of Victory
Author's Notes: A couple of lines of dialog in this chapter come from the closing scene of Tomorrow Never Dies. It's just to set up the crossover. There's also a very light sprinkling of femslash. Also contains spoilers for Utopia/Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords
Act 1: Marseille
Part 1: Facts and Fictions
A blank screen. The James Bond theme starts playing, and a spotlight crosses the screen, going left to right. Once it has gone, a circle surrounded by spirals resembling the rifling of a gunbarrel comes on from the right side. Walking across in the centre of the circle is the Tenth Doctor. Halfway across the screen he flicks the sonic screwdriver out and turns, activating it directly out of the screen. Blue begins to run down the screen, and the gunbarrel circle wavers, then disappears into the bottom right corner and opens up on the console room of the TARDIS. The Doctor is standing at the console...
The Doctor was standing at the console of the TARDIS, lost in thought as the timeship left the RMS Titanic. Astrid should be alright, he'd made sure of it. He paused as memories came back to him. That must have been his fourth or fifth visit to the ship, and not once had he run into any of his other selves. Well, it was a big ship. The Doctor tapped the sonic screwdriver against the console thoughtfully as he considered where to go next. He could always swing by and see how Martha was going, he supposed. She and her family had been through a lot.
A sudden bleeping caught the Doctor's attention and he turned, activating the scanner. The image was an overhead shot of Marseille in southern France, on March 7 2008. As the Doctor watched, a point of red appeared in the middle of the city. It was a graphical representation of energy buildup, and a glance at the edge of the monitor told the Doctor it was psychic energy. The buildup continued to increase, then abruptly vanished. The Doctor frowned.
There would have had to be an explosion or some sort of other energy release. It must have gone somewhere, it couldn't have just vanished. As the Doctor began to set course, he remembered that one of his former companions had moved to Marseille. A young Australian woman by the name of Karla Hamilton. Maybe she'd know something about it...
The South China Sea
Sometime during 1997
(Immediately after 'Tomorrow Never Dies')
The searchlight of the Royal Navy destroyer played out over the waves, picking up on the debris left behind after the explosion of Elliot Carver's stealth ship. For a moment it passed over the faces of two figures floating atop a piece of the wreckage then continued on, scanning the ocean.
"Commander Bond? Colonel Lin? This is the HMS Bedford. Are you there?"
The English-accented voice boomed out, amplified by the ship's loudhailer. One of the figures, an attractive, athletic Chinese woman by the name of Wai Lin, turned to her companion and leant up towards him.
"They're looking for us, James."
The other figure considered it for a second.
"Let's stay undercover," replied James Bond, before leaning down and kissing Wai Lin. They gently fell apart a few minutes later, and lay side by side on the flotsam. Bond knew it wouldn't last. The British and Chinese fleets were still in the area, and it was just a matter of time before they were picked up. But right now, he could have a few moments of peace. He could already feel the fatigue creeping up on him, as the adrenaline began to wear off. The battle to stop Elliot Carver and his henchman Stamper had been one of the most intense of Bond's career.
He felt Wai Lin reach up and touch him gently on the face.
"James, you're bleeding."
He could feel the pain of cuts and bruises he'd picked up during the battle, no longer blocked by the adrenalin. He must have been more tired than he thought, he could feel himself beginning to drift off. His vision was beginning to blur, and he blinked twice to clear his eyes.
"James? Is something wrong?"
He wanted to say no, but that would have been lying. His vision was blurring further, and he could feel something pulling at him.
"James? Listen to me, James! Stay with me!"
There was a hint of panic in Wai Lin's voice, then Bond was falling. Tumbling through blackness. Falling through reality itself. He just caught a glimpse of time stretched out before him before everything went black...
Bond slowly opened his eyes and looked around. He was lying on a bed, and the first thing he realised was that he was wearing a suit and tie. He wasn't tied up or anything, either, and a glance at the door showed it to be slightly ajar. There was a newspaper on the bedside table and he picked it up. Le Monde, dated March 7, 2008. He read the date three times before putting the paper down. It couldn't be correct. The last thing he could remember was floating in the South China Sea with Wai Lin, and the year had been 1997.
The sound of a footstep caught his attention and he turned, instinctively reaching for his gun. It had been taken from him, of course. The door slowly opened and a woman stepped through. She had long, wavy, red hair dropping just below her shoulders, and didn't appear to be any older than twenty-nine or thirty. She was wearing a dark grey jacket over a black silk blouse, and a pair of black denim jeans completed the outfit. She was quite striking, Bond admitted to himself. She smiled slightly as she noticed Bond was on his feet, and he noticed it didn't reach her eyes. He waited for her to speak.
"How do you feel, Mr Bond?" she asked. She had an American accent. Bond shrugged.
"I've had worse. I'm afraid I haven't had the pleasure...?"
"My name is Atheroma Wollys. I'm with the CIA."
Bond raised his eyebrows, not buying a word of it.
"Really? So what brings me here?"
Atheroma stepped forward and reached into her pocket. Bond stepped back, keeping his distance. Atheroma pulled a small, leather wallet out of her pocket and held it out to him, and Bond could see that it contained a CIA ID card. It was genuine, too, all the telltale signs were there. But there was still something wrong. All of Bond's instincts were telling him that he was missing something vital.
"What year is it?" he asked slowly. Atheroma sighed and nodded towards the bed.
"You'd better sit down, Mr Bond."
"Call me James."
He sat on the edge of the bed and looked at her. There was something...different about her, he realised. Something that seemed to be inhuman. Bond dismissed the notion a second later. She had to be human. Atheroma cleared her throat.
"It's 2008, James. You've been missing in action for eleven years."
Surprise blossomed across his face.
Atheroma nodded gently.
"You were reported missing after that little stoush with Elliot Carver. All intelligence agencies have been keeping an eye out for you since then."
Bond closed his eyes and reached back, trying to remember the last eleven years. He came up blank, with nothing after Carver. Suddenly, he realised his hands were shaking.
"I can't remember anything. Where am I?"
"Marseille. Now pay attention, 007, and I'll explain everything..."
March 7, 2008
1832 hours local time
Soelle Bellisse was getting worried. She was a young Frenchwoman, just approaching her 29th birthday. She had long, wavy dark brown hair, dropping below her shoulders. Her eyes were dark brown, and at the moment were devoid of the spark of happiness that usually twinkled within them. Her partner was running late, and it wasn't like her at all. Especially not on a night like this. It was the 10th anniversary of the day they'd fallen in love. Karla knew how much it meant to both of them, and she'd even promised to leave work early so as to be home by 6 PM.
Soelle checked the clock again, for the fiftieth time. Still no sign of Karla. A knock at the door startled Soelle and her heart started racing. Karla wouldn't have knocked, this was her apartment. Which meant it was someone else, and it could only be bad news. The person knocked again and Soelle approached the door with some trepidation. As she reached out and turned the handle, she noticed that her hand was shaking. She slowly swung the door open, and recognised the figure beyond.
"Bonjour, Doctor," she said, relieved. The Tenth Doctor shot her a wide, welcoming smile.
"Soelle Bellisse, bonjour!"
Soelle and Karla had met this Doctor in Las Vegas, on their world tour ten years ago. They'd previously met the Ninth Doctor, Rose and Jack Harkness in New Zealand. Soelle stepped back to let the Doctor in. He stepped into the apartment and looked around. There was one bedroom, and the main area was divided into a kitchen/dining area and a living room. There were a few wall hangings, and the coffee table between the TV and the sofa had a couple of framed photographs of Karla and Soelle on top of it. It felt like a home. A slight smile crossed the Doctor's face at how his former companion had managed to find a place to call her own, with someone she loved. It was something he'd never be able to do.
Soelle peered out into the corridor before closing the door behind the Time Lord.
"Is Martha not with you?" she asked politely. The Doctor shook his head.
"She's finishing her studies. Needed a break from all the running around and villainy. Next time I see her, she'll be Dr Jones. Two Doctors aboard the TARDIS."
The Doctor grinned at her again and swung his arm out, indicating the apartment.
"Nice apartment you've got here. Got that warm, cozy feel to it."
He nodded approvingly, then fixed Soelle with an inquiring look.
"Is Karla home, by any chance?"
Soelle had known that was why he had come. Karla had traveled around with the Fifth Doctor for a bit, then had met the Seventh before meeting Soelle. Then Soelle's father had been murdered, and the Sixth Doctor had solved that mystery. That had been when they'd fallen in love, when Karla had helped Soelle come to terms with the murder. A few nights later, Karla had told Soelle everything she knew about the Doctor. Soelle had never expected the Doctor to see her as anything more than a friend of a friend. She didn't mind.
"She is not here, Doctor. She was supposed to be home from work half an hour ago."
The Doctor frowned.
"Not home? But...hold on, this is the 7th of March, isn't it?"
"Then it's your anniversary. Happy anniversary!"
The Doctor glanced over at the door, as if expecting Karla to appear any second. A second later he realised something and turned back to Soelle.
"Work? I thought both of you inherited fortunes from your fathers?"
Soelle shook her head.
"She does not do it for the money, Doctor. She does it to help the planet."
The Doctor nodded towards the kitchen.
"Mind if I grab a drink?"
"Of course not."
The Doctor turned and strode over to the kitchen.
"Right, so what's she do, then?"
"Some sort of special operations, she told me. Something called 'Torchwood'."
The Doctor froze with a glass in his hand.
"Torchwood? Did you just say Torchwood?"
Any traces of joviality were gone from his voice, and he slowly turned to face Soelle. She nodded slowly.
The Doctor carefully put the glass down on the kitchen bench and took Soelle by the hand, leading her over to the sofa in the living room.
"What is it, Doctor?" Soelle asked nervously.
"Torchwood's in my line of work. Defending humanity, and helping them prepare for the future."
The Doctor paused for a second before continuing.
"The TARDIS detected a release of psychic energy in this area at approximately three o'clock this afternoon. Now someone who works for Torchwood hasn't come home. I'd be surprised if the two weren't connected."
He suddenly realised a tear was rolling down Soelle's face. He reached out and took her gently by the chin, tilting her head so she was looking into his eyes. He spoke gently and reassuringly.
"She'll be alright, Soelle. Never assume the worst without proof."
Soelle took little comfort in his words.
"But if something's happened to her..."
"Remind me to tell you about a chap called the Master, sometime. The number of times I thought he was dead..."
That didn't work. She was still crying. The Doctor put his hand on Soelle's shoulder.
"Listen to me, Soelle Bellisse."
She stopped sobbing and met his gaze, anxiety and grief written across her face.
"I give you my word that we'll find Karla. She's my friend, too, and I won't stand for anything that's been done to her. Do you trust me?"
Soelle paused for a second, considering, then nodded. She was remembering the time a previous Doctor had made a similar promise.
"Oui, Doctor. It is not the first time."
The Doctor smiled grimly.
"Fantastic. Now, we've got to start with Torchwood. Do you know where the office is?"
"I sold them my father's house. It was too big for the two of us."
"What? They bought that big manor?"
"Jack Harkness came over to arrange the deal and set it up."
The Doctor nodded.
"Well, we'll have to start with him. Can I use your phone?"
Soelle nodded. The Doctor picked up the handset and dialed.
The call went through, and was answered after a couple of rings. It was a woman's voice, with a strong Welsh accent.
"Hello, Gwen speaking."
"Ah, hello Gwen. Is Jack Harkness there by any chance?"
"I'm afraid he's out at the moment. Can I take a message?"
"I'm calling about your Torchwood office in Marseille."
There was a sharp intake of breath at the end of the line, then Gwen spoke again.
"Who is this?" she asked suspiciously.
"Terribly sorry, I was being rude, wasn't I? I'm the Doctor."
"Just the Doctor. As in Time Lord."
"Oh my God!"
"I'm not a deity," the Doctor replied firmly. That brought a chuckle from Gwen.
"I'm sorry, it's just...I've heard a bit about you, Doctor."
"I'll bet you have. Now, your Marseille office..."
"Torchwood Five. Have they been responding at all today?"
"Hold on, I'll just check."
There was a the sound of a hand being placed over the mouthpiece, then Gwen's voice, indistinct, asking a question. Another woman's voice replied, and Gwen came back on the line a second later.
"Tosh says they haven't replied since about four o'clock."
"Thanks, that's what I needed to know. Oh, and how many people are in that office?"
"Three, I think."
He was about to hang up the phone when Gwen spoke again.
"Yes, what is it?"
"Is this something...big?"
"It could be, I don't know for sure. I'll call you back when I know more."
The Doctor hung up and turned to Soelle. He clapped his hands together eagerly.
"Right, Torchwood Five! Allons-y!"
He turned and strode out of the apartment, leaving Soelle to quickly follow in his wake.
Twenty minutes later, a dark green Citroen C3 pulled up in the driveway of the 18th-century manor house that had become Torchwood Five. From his previous visit, the Doctor remembered that the land behind the house was taken up by a garden, which ended on a hilltop lookout overlooking the Mediterranean Ocean. It was a few kilometers out of the city. There were three cars parked in the driveway, and the Doctor recognised Karla's yellow-and-black two door Smart parked at the end. Soelle parked behind the Smart and they climbed out, looking around carefully.
"The cars are still here," the Doctor noted. Soelle nodded and followed the Doctor. The only sound was their footsteps crunching over the gravel of the driveway. As they stepped around a silver BMW Z4 convertible parked at the head of the line of cars, something stirred in Soelle's memory. Something Karla had told her recently. Soelle tried to remember, but to no avail. It probably wasn't important.
They reached the front door and the Doctor tried the handle. Locked. The sonic screwdriver took care of it and the Doctor opened the door. It swung inwards silently, revealing an empty, wood-paneled corridor beyond. The Doctor indicated that Soelle should stay behind him and stepped into the corridor.
"Karla? Karla Hamilton?" he called out.
Silence. They reached the first door on the left and peered in. Nothing. The living room was empty, and a quick glance through the door on the right revealed that the kitchen was also unoccupied. The Doctor continued down the corridor. He still had the sonic screwdriver in his hands and he set it to passively scan for psychic energy, adjusting it for the signature the TARDIS had picked up earlier. It immediately began to crackle, indicating traces of the energy he was after. That much energy couldn't have just disappeared, it must have gone somewhere. Maybe it had been used to create something. Suddenly the Doctor realised Soelle wasn't with him. He turned, seeing nothing behind him but an empty corridor.
A reply drifted down the corridor, in a voice choked with emotion.
He found her in the kitchen, leaning against the bench. There were tears running down her face and she was staring at something in her hand.
"Did you find something?" the Doctor asked gently. Soelle nodded sadly and held her hand out. In it was a silver bracelet, hanging open. The Doctor reached out and took it, examining it closely. In the middle of the bracelet chain was a small, rectangular plate curved slightly to sit comfortably on a wrist. There was a picture of an angel engraved on the plate, and next to it were the words 'Je t'aime, mon ange'.
"Is it Karla's?"
"I gave it to her for our first anniversary. She would never take it off."
"Might have come off in a struggle," the Doctor replied thoughtfully. He bought up the sonic screwdriver and scanned the bracelet. The screwdriver crackled intensely, and the Doctor handed the bracelet back to Soelle.
"What is it?" she asked, curiousity overcoming anxiety for the moment.
"That psychic energy I mentioned was used to create something."
The Doctor nodded towards the bracelet in Soelle's hand, and Soelle guessed what he was about to say.
"It was here," she said softly.
The Doctor was prevented from replying by a sound upstairs. The two of them looked up, listening intently. The sound came again. Footsteps. They exchanged a glance. There was someone upstairs.
"Could it be Karla?" Soelle asked softly. The Doctor shrugged.
"One way to find out."
They moved out into the corridor, the Doctor taking the lead. As they softly climbed the stairs, making every effort to remain quiet, the Doctor held the sonic screwdriver out, ready to defend himself if needed. It was possible that one of the Torchwood Five members was hiding upstairs, but it was more than likely that they were walking straight into a trap...
Back to index
Act 1: Marseille
Part 2: Playing the Pawn
They moved out into the corridor, the Doctor taking the lead. As they softly climbed the stairs, making every effort to remain quiet, the Doctor held the sonic screwdriver out, ready to defend himself if needed. It was possible that one of the Torchwood Five members was hiding upstairs, but it was more than likely that they were walking straight into a trap.
They reached the top of the stairs and the crackling from the sonic screwdriver became more intense. The Doctor turned to Soelle.
"I want you to go downstairs."
She shook her head defiantly.
"Listen to me, Soelle. Whatever was created is up here. I don't know what it is and I don't want you at risk."
His tone was the most commanding she'd heard from this Doctor, and the look he gave her backed it up. But she stood her ground.
"What would Karla say if I got you killed?" the Doctor asked. That stopped Soelle in her tracks. She loved Karla, and would never do anything to hurt her. Reluctantly, Soelle nodded her head.
"Shall I wait in the car?"
The Doctor nodded.
"If I'm not out in ten minutes, get back to your apartment. Use the redial on your phone, it'll put you through to Torchwood Three. Talk to Jack Harkness. Tell him what's happened."
Soelle nodded and quietly moved down the staircase.
The Doctor waited until he heard the front door close before moving. He slowly strode down the corridor, the crackling of the sonic screwdriver growing stronger by the second. It reached a peak as he passed the second door on the right, then began to drop off again. The Doctor stepped back and deactivated the sonic screwdriver. He kept it in his hand, ready to use. The door was labelled 'Storeroom B' in French, and it was unlocked. The sight that greeted the Doctor's eyes inside the room was one of organised chaos. He was reminded of the sorting room of Henry Van Stratten's lab in Utah, where that idiot Adam had worked. Several shelves of the bare metal type sold at hardware stores were set up in four rows, with a gap in the middle wide enough for one and a half people to fit through. Each shelf was full of assorted alien paraphernalia. A large window, about two thirds the height of the wall, looked out onto the driveway between the final two shelves. The Doctor recognised one of the devices on the shelf to the left and grabbed it, holding it up in his other hand, ready to use. He then stepped forward cautiously and stopped between the first two shelves, looking for any signs of life.
"I know you're in here," he said. A figure stepped out from the last row of shelves, and the Doctor flicked the sonic screwdriver on. A steady tone confirmed this was what he was looking for, and he quickly deactivated the sonic screwdriver. He then looked closely at the figure.
He was human, which surprised the Doctor slightly. Appeared to be in his mid-thirties, with black hair and blue eyes. He was about the same height as the Doctor, and was wearing a black tuxedo over a white shirt with a red bow tie. The Doctor suddenly realised that this man was a dead-ringer for a certain Irish-born actor. The next thing he noticed was that the other man was holding a gun. The Doctor met the other man's gaze and recognised the coldness of a man who has killed.
"You're not what I was expecting," the Doctor said slowly.
"What were you expecting?" the man replied evenly.
"Something else. Oh, and who are you, by the way?"
"The name's Bond. James Bond. You?"
The Doctor wasn't completely surprised. He didn't know the details, but he knew it was possible. He'd found where the psychic energy had gone. But who had done it, and why?
"I'm the Doctor," he replied. Bond immediately brought up the gun and flicked off the safety catch. The Doctor slowly put his hands up.
"What? I haven't done anything," he protested. Bond shook his head slightly.
"According to the CIA, you were at the assassination of two world leaders, and are known to be working with terrorists."
The Doctor frowned, confused. He must have been referring to the Saxon business. The Doctor had been there, yes, but as a witness.
"What? Torchwood aren't terrorists, Mr Bond. Someone's been giving you bad information."
Bond's expression remained unchanged.
"Do you expect me to believe that?"
"Did you expect M to believe you about Electra King?" the Doctor countered. Bond frowned.
It was the moment the Doctor needed.
He whipped up his left hand and activated the device he'd grabbed off the shelf, a Delanian personal forcefield. A green-gold wall of energy appeared between the two men. Bond instinctively let off two shots. They both bounced off the forcefield. He lowered the gun and the Doctor dropped the forcefield, then lunged forward with the sonic screwdriver, going for the gun. Bond brought the gun up again, but it clicked, jammed. He quickly shifted his grip on the weapon, so that he was holding it by the barrel, then swung it at the Doctor. The Doctor ducked into the nearest row of shelves and turned, searching for something he could use to render Bond unconscious. After a couple of seconds, he realised Bond wasn't attacking him. And he could hear a high-pitched whining sound...almost like a laser cutter.
He peeked around the edge of the shelf in time to see Bond finish cutting the glass out of the window with the laser cutter built into his watch. Bond quickly put his watch back on and whipped off his belt, holding it by the buckle. He glanced back and threw the Doctor a slightly victorious smile. The Doctor lunged forward but Bond was already moving. He kicked the window and it fell forward, shattering across the roof of the car below, then he fired his belt buckle. A small grappling hook latched onto the stone at the top of the window. The Doctor dived forward as Bond jumped through, using the cable attached to the hook to swing himself into the driver's seat of the BMW Z4 parked outside.
"No no no!" the Doctor exclaimed. He turned and bolting from the room.
The Doctor took the steps two at a time on the way down. Bond was their only lead to the Torchwood Five crew, they couldn't let him get away. The sound of a car engine starting reached his ears, followed a few seconds later by another. He recognised the second one as that of Soelle's car. The Doctor jumped off the bottom of the staircase and sprinted down the corridor. He burst through the front door in time to see the silver BMW Z4 disappearing down the driveway. There was a screech of brakes and Soelle's Citroen C3 skidded to a halt in front of the door. The Doctor wasted no time getting in and Soelle floored the accelerator. The Doctor was thrown back into the passenger seat as the car took off. The chase was on.
Bond glanced in the rear-view mirror, hoping he hadn't lost them. Once they'd completed the initial raid, his mission had been simple. Get the Doctor interested, and lure him in. Bond skidded the BMW out of the driveway onto the street, narrowly missing a cyclist. Bond shifted up a gear and hesitated a little longer on the clutch than necessary. This wasn't a Q branch car, it didn't have the array of gadgets he was used to. It was just him, the road, and the Doctor. Another glance in the mirror showed the Citroen skid out onto the road behind him, an unfamiliar woman at the wheel. Bond returned his gaze to the road ahead and accelerated. But as he sped along the road, Bond couldn't help shake the feeling he was missing something. That name the Doctor had mentioned, Electra King. He'd never heard of her, but the Doctor had expected him to know the name. Bond pushed it aside. He could deal with it later. Right now, he had a job to do.
Soelle's face was a mask of concentration as she followed the BMW.
"Who are we chasing, Doctor?" she asked.
"One of the best killers known in fact or fiction."
She glanced over sharply.
"What?" she asked sharply, horrified. The Doctor nodded forwards.
A van was pulling out from the side of the road ahead of them, and the driver obviously hadn't seen them coming. Soelle slammed on the brakes and spun the steering wheel. Horror filled her as she realised it was already too late. There was a flurry of movement and suddenly the Doctor was in the driver's seat. His feet flew between the pedals and the steering wheel. Soelle was thrown against the passenger door as the Citroen skidded around the van, and suddenly they were past it.
"You don't mind if I drive?" the Doctor asked calmly. Soelle shook her head.
The road curved sharply ahead and the Doctor braked into the curve, taking the little Citroen around it as fast as was safely possible. The road now ran parallel with the ocean, with an embankment carrying a railway line separating the two. The shape of the BMW was visible ahead and the Doctor quickly came up behind it, settling a couple of car lengths back.
"Who is that, Doctor?" Soelle asked. The Doctor glanced over at her for a second, then turned his attention back to the word.
"This may sound hard to believe, but hear me out."
"We're chasing James Bond."
"Don't ask me how, but that psychic energy was used to draw him into reality."
They sped past some houses on the right, between the road and the railway.
The road joined another up ahead, and the BMW took the turn hard, the rear wheels skidding across the road before gripping. It shot off towards Marseille and the Doctor watched it, thoughtfully. He began to slow down as they approached the intersection, and even turned on the indicator. There was a cry of protest from Soelle.
"Doctor? What are you doing?"
The Doctor steered the Citroen around the corner at a leisurely pace, scanning the road ahead. The BMW was up ahead, just within sight, but it had slowed down. The Doctor nodded, his suspicion confirmed.
"We're driving into a trap."
Soelle looked from the BMW to the Doctor and realisation dawned.
"So someone brought James Bond to life to trap you, oui?"
"Something like that, yes."
"Who would go to such effort? It is a big effort, oui?"
The Doctor nodded.
"That's a good question," he replied. They were rapidly approaching the BMW, and Bond accelerated again as they drew near.
"I've got lots of enemies, Soelle. And most of them are a bit more obvious than this."
Soelle considered the Doctor's words carefully.
"You must have someone in mind."
"Yes, but I saw him die months ag-"
The Doctor broke off, as if suddenly remembering something. The colour seemed to drain from his face for a second, then his look became one of pure determination.
"Doctor?" Soelle asked, uncertainly.
"I know who we're facing."
The Doctor turned to her.
"Soelle, I understand that you're devoted to Karla. But if I'm right, we're heading into a trap masterminded by one of the most dangerous minds in the universe and sprung by a trained killer. Do you want me to pull over and let you out?"
Soelle shook her head firmly.
She spoke again, in a slightly gentler tone.
"We promised to be together until death do us part, Doctor."
They drove on.
Bond kept up the pretence of trying to escape and they cruised along, approaching the city of Marseille. A couple of cars slipped in between the BMW and the Citroen, but the Doctor kept on Bond's tail. After a couple of minutes, they passed a marina on the right, then came up on a roundabout. The BMW screeched around in a hairpin turn and the Doctor quickly followed, swinging the Citroen around in pursuit. They were heading down an industrial driveway and Bond swung left almost immediately after the curve, down the driveway leading to a dockside warehouse. The Doctor continued straight ahead and swung the Citroen into the nearby staff parking lot, steering it into a spare space. The Doctor and Soelle climbed out and the Doctor locked the car. He tossed the keys to Soelle.
A few minutes later, they'd skirted another of the warehouses and reached the edge of the driveway Bond had taken. On the other side was a series of four warehouses side-by-side, each built out of corrugated steel. There were three or four forklifts parked around, and about a dozen shipping containers stacked outside. The furthest two warehouses were on a peninsula which jutted out into the water, with a bit of land around them. The Doctor noticed a boat tied up at the end of the peninsula, and was slightly surprised to see it was a medium-sized luxury yacht. The BMW was parked outside the third warehouse, turned outwards as if to make a quick getaway. The Doctor glanced over at Soelle, who was taking in the scene.
"Point of no return, Soelle."
"How many times will I have to say it, Doctor?"
The Doctor raised his hands defensively.
"Alright, just making sure."
The Doctor pulled the sonic screwdriver out of his pocket and aimed it at the third warehouse. It crackled softly, confirming Bond's presence within.
He kept the sonic screwdriver in his hand as they approached the warehouse, Soelle staying close behind him. They kept to the walls and slowly, quietly approached the entrance. The Doctor peeked in, then turned back to Soelle.
"No signs of movement. Stay close to me."
Soelle nodded, and they stepped into the warehouse.
The inside of the warehouse was full of wooden packing crates, arranged in various sized piles around the warehouse. They'd been deliberately placed that way, the Doctor knew. It was keeping in with what he knew of the mastermind behind this little operation. The Doctor kept his ears open, for any sound of movement. He led Soelle forward, keeping behind the crates where possible and quickly dashing across the open spaces in between. He didn't know how many others were in the warehouse besides Bond, but the Doctor knew the odds were against him. The Doctor was concentrating on locating any possible enemies. So intent was his focus that he didn't notice when a thug stepped out from behind them and grabbed Soelle, clapping his hand firmly over her mouth and dragging her away. It was only a few minutes later, after the Doctor had moved between another couple of stacks, that he turned to speak to Soelle. He blinked and looked around, searching for her. He was alone. The Doctor groaned, annoyed at himself. The same thing had happened with Donna, too, back during that encounter with the Racnoss. Well, the ball was in Bond's court now. He went over what he knew of the man, all the movies he'd seen over the years. There was one scene in particular that stood out, from The Living Daylights. Bond only killed professionals. And it was obvious that Soelle was a civilian. He wouldn't harm her. The Doctor stayed hidden, listening. Waiting to make his move.
The thug grabbed Soelle around the waist as she tried to get away. She tried to twist out of his grip, and the thug's other hand closed around her throat. He began to squeeze and Soelle's struggles became more frantic.
"Let her go. There's no need for that."
Bond's voice was soft, but there was no mistaking the steel in it. He was covering Soelle with his gun, and the thug released her. She slowly put her hands up, and Bond shot her a smile that didn't reach his eyes.
"Do as I tell you and you won't get hurt..."
He shot a meaningful glance at the thug.
"...or mistreated. Is that clear?"
Soelle nodded, but she had a feeling that the question was directed at both of them. She nodded.
"Oui, Monsieur Bond."
"I'm glad we understand each other," Bond replied. He gestured forward with the gun and the thug took the lead. Bond then indicated that Soelle should follow next and she did so, falling into step behind the thug.
They led her out into the middle of the warehouse, into a five metre square amidst the crates. Bond stepped up beside Soelle, keeping his gun in her back. He turned and spoke to the thug.
"Get the microphone."
The thug nodded and ran off, returning a few seconds later with a radio microphone. Bond flicked it on and spoke into it, his voice echoing through the warehouse's PA system. His instructions had been to capture the Doctor alive, and Atheroma had told him the Doctor's weakness.
"Doctor, this is James Bond, agent 007 of her majesty's secret service. We have your associate. You have until the count of ten. Come into the middle of the warehouse with your hands on your head."
Bond wasn't really going to shoot her. He may have had a licence to kill, but as he'd said before, he only killed professionals. And it was obvious that this girl was just a civilian.
The three of them turned, to see the Doctor emerge from behind a nearby crate. He had his hands on his head and he approached them slowly, stopping a couple of metres away. Bond adjusted his aim so he was covering the Doctor. The Doctor shot a confident smile at Soelle before speaking.
"Just one question, Mr Bond."
"By 'CIA', you meant the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America, right?"
Bond nodded, but it was another voice that replied. A female voice.
"The Celestial Intervention Agency went up with Gallifrey, Doctor. You of all people should know that."
The Doctor glanced back, to see a woman standing behind him, holding a gun.
The body had once belonged to Grace Holloway, but the entity within was well known to the Doctor.
"What name are you using now?" he asked.
"Atheroma Wollys," she replied. She indicated with her gun that for the Doctor to stand next to Bond and he did so. He then looked over at Soelle.
"Soelle, allow me to introduce one of my best enemies. She likes to be known as 'the Master'."
The Doctor then turned to Bond.
"You realise you're being manipulated by one of the most devious minds in the universe, 007? You're not even supposed to exist."
Bond wasn't convinced.
"I'm afraid you'll have to do better than that, Doctor."
The Master cleared her throat.
"Actually, James, the Doctor's telling the truth. Every word of it."
She adjusted her aim slightly, so she was now covering Bond.
"I'm afraid you've outlived your usefulness. Goodbye, Mr Bond."
Back to index
Author's Notes: This chapter borrows some dialog from one of the trailers for Tomorrow Never Dies
Act 1: Marseille
Part 3: Getaway
The Master cleared her throat.
"Actually, James, the Doctor's telling the truth. Every word of it."
She adjusted her aim slightly, so she was now covering Bond.
"I'm afraid you've outlived your usefulness. Goodbye, Mr Bond."
The Doctor dived at Bond, knocking him down as the Master fired. Her bullet passed through the space where he'd been standing. Bond turned his fall into a roll and came up firing. His first shot took out the thug next to Soelle, the next two narrowly missed the Master. He could hear movement behind him as the Doctor and Soelle scrambled for cover. Bond dived out of the way as the Master fired again, and snapped off a couple of shots before diving behind another crate. He peeked over the top, in time to see the Master turn and run. He didn’t know who she was, but it was obvious he'd been working for the wrong side. They needed the Doctor, and that meant he needed him too.
"I'm alright, so's Soelle."
There was a slight pause, then the Doctor spoke again.
"I take it you'll help us?"
"What gave it away?" Bond deadpanned. He heard movement behind him and spun around, then quickly lowered his gun as he realised it was the Doctor and the girl. Soelle, the Doctor had called her. Bond met the Doctor's gaze.
"I believe I owe you an apology, Doctor."
The Doctor waved his hands dismissively.
"Later, later. How many others?"
"Four more, but they're guarding the prisoners."
The Doctor nodded forward.
"We can't let the Master get away. Come on!"
The Doctor went to move but Bond forestalled him.
"She went this way. Probably heading for the hostages."
He'd been used by terrorists, and it hurt. Determination filled Bond and he rose to his feet, scanning around before nodding that it was safe.
He led them through the maze of crates, to the door leading into the fourth warehouse, the one closest to the ocean. He held up a hand, signaling for them to stop.
"I'll go left and draw their fire. You go right and don't stop until you get cover. Soelle, it might be best if you wait here."
The Doctor nodded in agreement.
"Karla won't mind if you stay safe."
Soelle was about to protest, but the Doctor shook his head.
"Trust me, Soelle."
She considered it for a few second, then nodded reluctantly.
Bond threw open the door and burst through, immediately diving to the left. The Doctor followed a second later, bolting to the right and diving behind a crate of tractor parts. There was nothing but silence for a few seconds, then the Doctor poked his head above the crate and looked around. No sign of any opposition.
Bond was crouched down behind a crate on the other side of the door, his gun still at the ready. He looked over at the Doctor.
"You know the Master better than I do. What would she do?"
"Try to escape with the hostages. There's a yacht moored outside..."
Bond nodded in confirmation.
"She told me it was CIA owned."
"Probably her TARDIS," the Doctor mused. He turned and called back through the door.
"Soelle! Wait for us by the Citroen! We'll be there in ten minutes."
He and Bond rose from their hiding positions, and the Doctor nodded towards the warehouse’s main door.
"You or me?"
"I'll go first."
They then turned and ran.
They burst out of the warehouse, the Doctor barely feet behind Bond. A glance around revealed the four thugs escorting three prisoners at gunpoint towards the yacht tied up at the end of the peninsula. They were nearly there. The Doctor and Bond burst into a run, as the Master disappeared below deck on the yacht. The Doctor scanned the hostages, and recognised the auburn-haired figure of Karla Hamilton at the end.
The thugs had the first of the hostages aboard the yacht by the time Bond and the Doctor reached them, and they didn't waste any time. Bond went for the two on the right. He fired at close-range, taking out one of them. He couldn't have fired earlier, he'd have risked hitting the hostages. The other thug reached out and knocked the pistol out of Bond's hand. Bond immediately threw a punch and dodged the return attack. The Doctor grabbed Karla and pulled her forward, putting himself between her and the thugs.
"Hello Karla. Good to see you again."
He had the sonic screwdriver out and used it to disable the gun of the nearest thug. He dived, pushing Karla out of the way as the other thug fired. The two thugs used the opportunity to throw the second hostage aboard the yacht, where another henchman escorted him below. The Doctor glanced around to see Bond locked in a hand-to-hand struggle with one of the thugs. The Doctor froze as he felt the cold metal of a gunbarrel in his back, then there was a thud followed by a groan as someone had the air knocked out of him. The Doctor turned just in time to catch Karla as she staggered into him, reeling from the impact of the headbutt she’d just delivered. She had her hands cuffed behind her back, he noticed.
"I had to stop him, Doctor."
A movement behind Karla caught the Doctor's eye and he lowered her slightly.
He quickly lowered her to the ground, out of the way, and stepped to the side as the thug whose gun he'd disabled earlier lunged for him. The Doctor delivered a karate chop to the back of the thug's neck as he sailed past, right on the pressure point. The thug's eyes rolled up and he stumbled to the ground, unconscious. The Doctor didn't waste any time. He quickly stepped over to the thug struggling with Bond and reached for the back of the man’s neck, pinching the pressure point. The thug immediately dropped, catching Bond by surprise. Bond rubbed his neck where the thug had been trying to throttle him.
"No problem, Mr Bond."
The Doctor reached down and helped Karla to her feet. She looked at him, a mixture of relief and anxiety on her face.
"Doctor, thanks, but...I've got to get to Soelle."
The Doctor shot her a reassuring grin.
"She should be waiting at the car. Quite a devoted young woman."
Relief flooded through Karla.
The Doctor nodded.
"Flat out refused to leave until we'd found you. Had to order her back to the car, didn't we, 007?"
Bond was prevented from replying as a wind blew up. A smooth whooshing sound began to emanate from the yacht and they turned. It was beginning to fade and Bond made to jump aboard. The Doctor reached out and stopped him with a hand on his shoulder.
"Don't. It's entering the vortex, you'll get yourself killed. Come on."
He turned and went to head for the car, when Karla cleared her throat.
"Doctor, aren't you forgetting something?"
She rattled her handcuffs. The Doctor went to use the sonic screwdriver, but Bond got there first.
He took his watch off and held it so that the adjustment knob was pointing at the cuffs.
"Hold still unless you want your hand sliced off," he warned. The Doctor winced, remembering such an incident. Bond waited until Karla had nodded, then activated the watch. The laser cutter took about thirty seconds to cut through the left cuff, and another thirty for the one on the right. Karla flexed her arms and looked up at Bond.
"Thanks. Now, you called yourself James Bond back at Torchwood Five. What’s your real name?"
The Doctor cleared his throat.
"Ah, Karla, he is actually James Bond. Soelle’s got the full story, she can explain it to you later."
The Doctor glanced back at where the Master’s TARDIS had disappeared.
"We should get going."
Bond nodded towards the BMW parked nearby.
"We can take my car."
Bond pulled out a remote keyring and pressed the unlocking button. The BMW’s horn beeped twice and the indicators flashed.
As they approached the BMW, a ticking sound reached the Doctor’s ears. A horrifying thought struck him.
"James, where did you get that car?"
"The Master provided-"
Bond broke off as he realised what the Doctor was getting at.
They threw themselves to the ground just as the timer reached zero. The sound of the explosion boomed out, rattling windows. A wave of flame and heat passed over them, and Karla could feel the ends of her hair becoming singed. Bits of BMW went flying. The Doctor was the first to get up, helping Karla and Bond to their feet. Bond looked thoughtfully at the blazing remains of the BMW.
"You did warn me she was devious, Doctor," he said. The Doctor nodded.
"I think I know why she wants you dead, Mr Bond. Now’s not the time."
The Doctor turned and headed towards the carpark where he and Soelle had left the Citroen C3, with Karla and Bond following.
Soelle’s heart was racing like it never had before. She’d heard the explosion, and she was gripped by a fear she'd never admit. She leant against the side of her car, weak at the knees. She both wanted and didn’t want to know. She looked up, hopeful, as the sound of running footsteps reached her ears. A grin crossed Soelle’s face as she recognised the woman running towards her.
Karla reached her and the two of them embraced warmly, holding each other tight. Soelle brushed Karla’s hair away from her ear and whispered softly.
"Mon ange, I thought I had lost you."
"I’d never do that to you."
They stood there, hugging, enjoying each other’s touch. After what seemed like too short a time they broke apart. Karla reached out and gently ran her hand through Soelle’s hair.
"Happy anniversary, darling."
Soelle blinked. With everything that had been going on, she’d forgotten that. She reached into her pocket and pulled out the bracelet she’d found at Torchwood Five.
"I found this."
"One of those heavies took it off and left it behind. Bait, I think."
Karla put it on, then they leant forward and hugged again.
About ten metres away, Bond shot an inquiring look at the Doctor. The Time Lord nodded slightly, answering Bond’s unasked question.
"They’ve been together for ten years," the Doctor added. Bond nodded understandingly.
"So where do we go next?" he asked. The Doctor paused for a second before replying.
"We’re going after the Master, 007. I have just the equipment to trace her."
They reached Karla and Soelle by this point, and the two women turned as they approached. The Doctor shot them an apologetic smile.
"Sorry to break up the reunion, but we need to get after the Master. And by we, I mean myself and Mr Bond here. I believe you two have an occasion to celebrate."
Karla and Soelle exchanged a look, and the Doctor spoke again.
"I, ah, don’t suppose we could get a lift to the TARDIS?"
"No worries, Doctor."
They climbed into the Citroen, and Bond leant forward, to speak to Karla and Soelle.
"Ladies, I believe I owe you an apology."
"Apology accepted, Mr Bond," Soelle replied. Bond leant back and the Doctor took his place.
"So, Karla, how long have you been working for Torchwood?" he asked. His voice was casual, but Karla realised where he was coming from.
"Since 1998, Doctor. I’m one of the original members of Torchwood Five."
"Jack Harkness set it up. I’m aware that Torchwood was originally against you, Doctor, but Jack told me you’d need friends within Torchwood. Then after the battle of Canary Wharf, a new Standing Order Number One was issued."
"And what was that?"
"Help the Doctor if he asks for it."
This seemed to satisfy the Doctor, and he leant back in his seat.
"Karla, if we’re going to rescue your colleagues, we’ll need to know who they are."
Karla nodded and began to brief the Doctor and Bond, as Soelle steered the Citroen through the city.
Ten minutes later, Soelle brought the Citroen to a halt in front of a patisserie near their apartment. The Doctor and Bond climbed out, then the Doctor waved to Soelle and they drove off. Bond looked around, curious.
"Where’s this equipment of yours?"
The Doctor pointed towards the alleyway beside the patisserie.
He led Bond down the alleyway, towards the familiar blue box shape of the TARDIS. Bond watched, surprised, as the Doctor unlocked the door and stepped in. The Doctor poked his head out a second later.
The Doctor grinned reassuringly.
"It’s not as small as it seems, really."
The Doctor went back inside. Bond considered it for a second. It didn’t seem possible. But it wouldn’t be the first impossible thing he’d seen today. That yacht, the Doctor had called it the Master’s TARDIS. It had just vanished into thin air. And the Doctor had said this was a TARDIS, too. And then there’d been what the Doctor had said to him earlier, about how he wasn’t supposed to exist. The answers lay with the Doctor, and Bond was determined to get them.
Bond took a deep breath then stepped into the TARDIS. The first thing that struck him wasn't the size, but the shape of the console room. Round, with pillars at regular intervals just in from the edges. No corners to get trapped in, then. He quickly scanned the room, noting the exit points and defining features. Only one other door, on the other side of the room he'd entered by. The main feature of the room appeared to be some sort of control console in the middle of the room, with a translucent column in the middle. Bond glanced back, and noted that he could see the rear of the police box lettering above the door.
"Some sort of trans-dimensional engineering?" he asked. The Doctor looked up from the console, surprised.
"You're familiar with the theory?"
"You can pick up a lot hanging around Q branch. I like to keep abreast of things."
"I didn't think this sort of thing was within the realms of human technology."
The Doctor met Bond's gaze. For the first time, Bond noticed something timeless, something that spoke of centuries of knowledge and pain.
"You're not human, are you, Doctor?"
A slight smile crossed the Doctor's face.
"Very perceptive of you, Mr Bond. I'm a Time Lord."
He paused for a second, then there was a note of sadness in his voice.
"The last of the Time Lords."
Bond indicated the console room.
"And this is your...TARDIS was it?"
The Doctor nodded.
"That's right. Stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space."
"So it's a time machine?"
The Doctor grinned.
"Oh, yes. She can go anywhere in the Universe, anywhen."
Bond nodded. He wasn't interested in travelling, he was interested in getting answers.
He stepped up next to the console.
"That explains you, Doctor, but what about me?"
The Doctor held up a hand.
"Just a sec."
He finished adjusting the controls and reached for the dematerialisation lever.
"I'm just taking us into the time vortex for the moment. Sort of a holding pattern. You'll need a debriefing and a briefing."
He'd used terms Bond would understand. Bond looked around.
"Looking for something?"
"Don't we need to strap in for blast-off."
The Doctor shook his head.
"The TARDIS doesn't fly like that. Just dematerialises one place, materialises somewhere else. Just like the Master's yacht."
"If the Master has a TARDIS..."
The Doctor met Bond's eyes.
"She used to be a Time Lord, yes."
"Used to be?"
"Long story, 007."
The Doctor pulled the dematerialisation lever and the familiar wheezing, groaning sound of the engines began to emanate from deep within the timeship. The Doctor then spun on his heels.
"You're going to need a drink, Mr Bond. I think I have a bar on board. This way."
He strode through the door leading into the rest of the TARDIS, Bond quickly following in his wake.
The Doctor led Bond down the main corridor, with bedrooms on both sides. After about eight doors or so, the Doctor turned left down a side corridor. Bond glanced back as they headed down the corridor.
"How big is it in here?"
"Oh, it's infinite."
The corridor opened out onto what appeared to be a railway platform, with a short section of track next to it. Bond looked around slightly surprised, but the Doctor continued along as if this sort of thing was normal. There was a train on the tracks, one that Bond recognised.
"Was that...?" he asked as they stepped into the corridor at the other end of the platform.
"Stevenson's Rocket, yes. The original."
The Doctor stopped and flung open a door on the right. They stepped through into a village square, which wouldn't have looked out of place in a small Cornish fishing village. The square was mainly dominated by a pub and they crossed to it, the Doctor opening the door and leading Bond in. Bond looked around, taking in the wooden chairs and tables, the beer posters on the wall. There was a screen set into the wall at the far end, currently displaying a hexagonal symbol with circles inside it. The room had all the atmosphere of an English country pub, aside from the customers. He and the Doctor were the only two there.
"Not bad," Bond commented.
"Haven't really used it since that night a couple of my companions got drunk."
"Bit of a hangover?"
"You could say that," the Doctor replied, thinking of the morning Adric and Tegan had woken up in bed together.
Bond took a seat at the bar and the Doctor stepped around behind it.
"What'll you have?" he asked, already knowing the answer.
"Vodka martini. Shaken, not stirred."
The Doctor already had the ingredients out, and he had them in the shaker in a flash. He then placed the shaker on the bar and pulled out the sonic screwdriver, pointed it at the shaker and activated it for five seconds. He then poured the martini into a glass and handed it to Bond.
"Here you go."
The Doctor then mixed himself a sonic screwdriver - with lime instead of orange juice - and joined Bond at the other side of the bar. Bond sipped his martini appreciatively and looked closely at the Doctor.
"Now I want some answers, Doctor. Why did you say I wasn't supposed to exist, and why did your friend think I was using an alias? And just how do you know so much about me?"
The Doctor sipped his drink before replying.
"They're very good questions, James. You don't mind if I call you that?"
"Not at all. Go ahead."
"You see, it might be easier if I show you. But I need to know something. What's the last thing you can remember before arriving in Marseille?"
Bond paused, reaching back into his memories.
"I was in the South China sea with Wai Lin. We'd just defeated Elliot Carver. Then there was a strange pulling sensation..."
He was tumbling, falling, being pulled in two directions. Possibilities stretched out before him, into infinity in all directions. The tug-of-war was getting stronger, then something snapped. Reality rushed up to greet him-
"...and I found myself here," Bond finished. He had no idea what that strange memory meant, or if it had even been real or something imagined in a coma. The Doctor pointed the sonic screwdriver at the screen, using it to call up a video. The United Artists logo flicked up on screen for a second, followed by a montage of shots of a Royal Navy ship coming under attack. Bond sipped his martini and raised an eyebrow in surprise as M came up on the screen, facing down the Admiral who'd caused so much trouble for MI6 during that operation on the Russian border, just before Bond had been assigned to the Carver case.
"The world has only one chance for peace," the voice-over said, "and just one man for the job."
Then the 'one man' came on screen and Bond recoiled in surprise. It was him. The main character of this movie was James Bond 007. He watched, martini forgotten in his hands, as the trailer played. The briefing from M, the Q branch BMW, Wai Lin, everything was as he remembered it. Even the flippant one-liners were the same, word-for-word. He barely noticed the movie's title. It couldn't be true. But at the same time, something deep within Bond told him this was the truth. It explained everything, including that strange vision he'd just remembered. Something had pulled him from fiction to reality.
The Doctor didn't say anything, just waited for Bond to come to grips with it in his own time. After about five or six minutes, Bond slowly put his martini glass on the bar and turned to the Doctor. His voice was weak.
"It's not real..."
The Doctor scratched the back of his head.
"Well, that depends on how you look at it. They're real for you."
"Can you get me back."
"I don't know."
The Doctor paused for a second.
"The Master would."
It wasn't the most subtle of suggestions, but Bond took it anyway.
"What are we waiting for?"
They finished their drinks, then the Doctor led Bond back to the console room. They were going after the Master.
Back to index
Act 2: The Master
Part 1: The M Bit
It wasn't the most subtle of suggestions, but Bond took it anyway.
"What are we waiting for?"
They finished their drinks, then the Doctor led Bond back to the console room. They were going after the Master.
The Doctor began setting the coordinates as soon as he reached the console.
"Don't we need to find her?" Bond asked. The Doctor nodded.
"We will, yes. But we don't know how many men she's got."
The Doctor tilted his head.
"This is a Torchwood matter, James. I think they'd be willing to help."
He finished setting the coordinates and pulled the dematerialisation lever.
March 7, 2008
1943 hours local time
Gwen Cooper had refused to leave the Hub after the call from the Doctor just over an hour ago. She'd already phoned Rhys and explained that something had come up at work. Jack hadn't approved, but she had insisted on staying in case anything happened with the Torchwood Five crisis. Tosh had gone home, but only after making Jack promise to call her if anything came up.
Right now, Gwen was sitting on the couch near the arch that led into the medical bay, reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She cast a worried glance towards Jack's office. He was inside, busy with paperwork. She was curious about where he'd been. They all were. Owen's current theory was that he'd been involved in that Saxon business, and the news footage of the event had seemed to confirm this. But Jack had remained quiet about it. Gwen reached up to turn the page, and a sudden wind sprung up and blew it out of her hand. She looked up, alarmed, as the wind grew stronger, blowing papers all around the Hub. A strong sense of deja vu gripped her. She'd experienced the same thing just before Jack had disappeared, and she'd glimpsed a flashing light of some sort on that occasion.
She rose to her feet as the shape began to appear in the Hub, just to the right of the circular door leading into the main area, beneath the staircase leading up to the conference room. Gwen moved around so she could see it clearly, without anything obstructing her view. It was half-transparent and growing solid, and she instantly recognised it as a police box. The history of law enforcement had been one of her hobbies. The light on top was flashing in time with the rhythm of the wheezing, groaning sound echoing throughout the Hub. Gwen felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up, to see Jack smiling reassuringly.
"Don't worry, it's just the right kind of Doctor."
Gwen remembered the phone call she'd taken earlier.
"Yeah. Never expected to see him again. I got my answers last time."
A sudden thought occurred to Jack.
"This would be the Doctor you spoke to earlier, right?"
"I'd assume so."
"Was it a man or a woman?"
The question caught Gwen by surprise. She'd been briefed on the Doctor when she'd first joined Torchwood. Formerly an enemy and now an ally. There'd been complete dossiers on ten different incarnations of him, and Jack had explained about regeneration.
"He becomes a woman?"
Jack paused for a second.
"You've met my friend Jane Townsend, right?"
"You mean she's..."
"Eleventh incarnation. This one's the Tenth. Best if you don't mention her."
The TARDIS thumped into solidity, and Jack gently squeezed Gwen's shoulder.
"Brace yourself. This one can be a little...enthusiastic."
The TARDIS doors opened, and out stepped the man Gwen remembered seeing in the file on the Doctor. The Tenth Doctor, in a tan overcoat and dark grey pinstriped suit. He shot Gwen a welcoming smile.
"Hello, you must be Gwen. I think we spoke on the phone earlier."
He stepped forward and grabbed her hand, shaking it enthusiastically. He then turned to Jack.
"Doctor. What brings you here?"
"Your colleagues in Marseille."
Hope crossed Jack's face.
"You rescued them?"
The Doctor rubbed the back of his neck and tilted his head to the side slightly.
"Well, one of them. Karla Hamilton. Andre Ressin and Jerome LeMonte are still being held."
It was at this point that a movement by the TARDIS caught Gwen's attention, and she looked up in time to see another man step out of the TARDIS.
"You've got to be kidding!"
The words burst out of her before she could stop herself, and Jack glanced over the Doctor's shoulder to see what had caught Gwen's attention. He turned back to the Doctor, incredulous.
"You brought Pierce Brosnan with you?"
"Actually, his name's Bond. James Bond."
The Doctor indicated the assorted computers and paraphernalia.
"You've got plenty of scanning equipment here and you didn't pick up that blast of psychic energy in Marseille?"
Gwen and Jack exchanged a look. Jack knew that psychic energy could do a lot in the right hands. He'd seen it rejuvenate the Doctor when he'd been aged by 900 years.
"Tosh didn't mention anything," Gwen said. The Doctor nodded thoughtfully.
Bond cleared his throat.
"Doctor, shouldn't we get onto the Master?"
Jack's hand was still on Gwen's shoulder, and it suddenly gripped hard.
His grip loosened. But there was still an element of shock in his voice.
"The Master? But I saw him die. Right there in your-"
Jack broke off as he saw pain enter the Doctor's eyes. The Doctor glanced back at Bond.
"Now pay attention, 007. You'll need to know this too."
The Doctor turned back and began his explanation.
"Now, as you know, the Master was a Time Lord. The last time I saw him before the Time War was in San Francisco. That was when I met Grace, too. You remember Grace, don't you, Jack?"
Jack had met Grace Holloway twice. The first time had been during his conman days, when he'd been posing as a director of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. He'd had a brief but passionate affair with her. The second time had been when he'd been traveling with the Ninth Doctor and Rose. Grace had nearly slapped him silly for running out on her, before the Ninth Doctor had convinced her to help them defeat Omega, who'd somehow shown up in San Francisco.
Jack nodded, and the Doctor continued his briefing.
"Anyway, during that encounter, the Black Guardian appeared to the Master and they made a deal."
"The Black Guardian?" Gwen asked.
"Protector of evil in the Universe," Jack explained.
"Right," the Doctor continued, "so the Black Guardian split the Master's timeline. The first one went into the TARDIS and got sucked into the Eye of Harmony. He was later resurrected by the Time Lords and went on to become Harold Saxon."
"And the other?" asked Bond.
"Embedded his presence in a temple on Lionus Major, waiting for the right person to come along."
They could see where this story was going, and Gwen was the first to say it.
"Don't tell me, the right person came along."
Long-buried guilt stirred within the Doctor, and it was all he could do to look Jack in the eye.
"There was one person in the Universe, and I took her there."
"Did you know beforehand?" Gwen asked gently. The Doctor shook his head.
"I should have seen it. She started acting strangely the second she saw the temple."
Gwen reached out and took the Doctor's hand, stroking it reassuringly. He seemed surprised by the gesture.
"Doctor, you weren't to know. Don't let it eat you."
He looked closely at her then, as if seeing her for the first time. He didn't comment, though, just continued with his explanation.
"The Master escaped. She was responsible for the disappearance of Torchwood Four, by the way."
Jack and Gwen both looked up sharply.
"You know what happened?"
"There were three of me there, and two of the Master. You'll never be able to find it. The Master's plan backfired and blasted it into a state of dimensional flux."
"You mean it's between worlds?" Bond asked. He'd seen enough science-fiction to be familiar with some of the concepts.
"Think of it as diagonally parked in a parallel Universe," Jack replied. The Doctor grinned.
"I'll have to remember that one."
Jack turned to retrieve some weapons from the Hub's armoury, then turned back as he realised he'd missed something important.
"Wait a second, this other Master's a woman?"
"Whose body did she take over, anyway?"
The Doctor glanced down at his sneakers before replying.
"During that encounter with Omega in San Francisco, I was there in this incarnation."
"I didn't see you."
"I didn't want you to. Timelines and all that. Already crossed my own timeline enough times by accident. Anyway, that time, after you and my other self had left, I asked Grace again if she wanted to come with me. She was dying, Jack, terminal cancer."
Memories of that encounter came back to Jack. Surrounded by Omega's antimatter monsters, he'd drawn his revolver and told Rose and Grace to leave. Grace had tried to take the revolver from Jack, and had told him she was already dead anyway.
"So that's what she meant," Jack said softly. His eyes narrowed as a terrible thought occurred to him. Jack dismissed it. That couldn't be what happened.
"Grace changed her mind and said yes."
Shock and horror gripped Jack. He'd gotten it right.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," the Doctor said gently.
Gwen had followed the story as well as she could, and she turned to Jack, worried.
"I'm fine, Gwen. Shaken but not stirred," he added with a brief glance at Bond. Jack felt a strong sense of determination flow through him. One Master had kept him chained up for a year, like some sort of pet dog, and the other had stolen the body of a woman he'd romanced. As he'd said, he was shaken, but not stirred into acting irrationally. He spun on his heels, all business.
"Right, we'll need weapons. I take it you're covered, Mr Bond?"
"Yes, thank you."
"Right. Gwen, with me."
He glanced back at the Doctor.
"Be back in a minute."
"Make sure it has a stun setting," the Doctor instructed the Torchwood operatives as they strode out of the room. He then turned back to Bond.
"What do you have with you?"
"The belt, the watch and the mobile phone Q issued me with in Tomorrow Never Dies. And the Walther P99 pistol, of course."
The Doctor grinned, amused.
"Talk about breaking the fourth wall."
Bond smiled slightly.
Jack and Gwen returned about a minute later, and they followed the Doctor and Bond into the TARDIS. The four of them stopped just inside the door as they saw another figure standing at the console. It was a woman, and obviously a ghost or projection or ghost of some sort. The shape of the console was just visible behind her. Outwardly, she appeared to be a young woman in her mid-thirties, with wavy red hair dropping below her shoulders. She was wearing an elegant, dark-blue dress, with a white sash running around her waist. Several points of light twinkled within the fabric. And her eyes were deep, softly burning with the gold-white glow of the vortex. Jack recognised her immediately and reached for his revolver, but the Doctor stopped him.
"Did I mention the TARDIS rescued Grace during the takeover?"
Jack didn't take his eyes off the phantom.
"No, you left out that little detail."
The Doctor turned to his other two passengers.
"Gwen... I'm sorry, I don't know your last name?"
"Gwen Cooper, James Bond, allow me to introduce Grace Holloway."
"Nice to meet you," Bond said. Grace smiled at the compliment, then looked at Jack.
"Captain, could I have a private word with you?"
Jack was slightly surprised, but he agreed. She led him through the doors into the depths of the TARDIS, and the Doctor immediately started manipulating the controls, tracking the vortex trace left behind by the Master's TARDIS.
The Doctor looked up, meeting Gwen's inquiring gaze.
"Was that a ghost?"
"Well, sort of."
He pointed to one of the controls halfway around the console.
"Flip that, would you?"
Gwen stepped around the console.
"Yeah. To answer your question, that was Grace Holloway. She lives within the TARDIS."
"Do you mean the TARDIS is alive, too?" Bond asked. The TARDIS had that sort of atmosphere.
"In a sense. She needed someone to talk to. Grace sometimes acts as the TARDIS's spokesperson, when the old girl needs to tell me something directly."
The console bleeped and the Doctor dashed over to the nearest screen. He was aware of Bond and Gwen joining him. The image on the screen was an overhead view of London, centered on one particular building.
"Is that...?" Gwen asked.
"Torchwood One," the Doctor replied. He reached out and pulled the dematerialisation lever.
March 7, 2008
1957 hours local time
The TARDIS materialised on the street, directly across from the main entrance of the building that had once housed Torchwood One. One Canada Square, at the top of a shopping mall. Reconstruction work was well underway, and the outside of the lower five levels were covered in scaffolding. The Doctor, Jack, Gwen and Bond stepped up side-by-side and looked across, each formulating a plan. The Doctor drew his sonic screwdriver, Bond pulled out his pistol, Jack and Gwen pulled out two small, pistol-sized weapons from the Torchwood Three armoury, Delanian Gencorp Mk 5 Stasers. The Doctor nodded across the street.
"Right, we'll split up. Two teams, one rescues the hostages-"
"I'll do it," Jack and Bond said simultaneously.
"-and Ms Cooper and I will take care of the Master," the Doctor finished. Jack nodded.
"There's a back entrance."
He indicated down the shopping mall.
"There's a phone box just outside the Indian restaurant. Dial 8699 and you'll get in."
The Doctor and Gwen turned and began to head down to the phone box, as Jack led Bond across the road.
The Doctor and Gwen reached the phone box and the Doctor paused, his hand on the door.
"Before we go in, Gwen...I can call you Gwen?"
Gwen nodded and the Doctor continued.
"I'm very certain that we're walking into a trap. The same trap the Master tried to spring on me in Marseille."
Gwen considered it carefully before replying. Working for Torchwood wasn't the safest of jobs, but neither was police work. And this was the Doctor she was with. A legend spread throughout history, with a track record of saving the planet.
"You'll need someone by your side," she replied. The Doctor opened the door of the phone box and stepped in, closing it behind him. He then lifted the handset and dialed the number Jack had given him, then hung up. The walls of the phone box glowed orange for a second, then turned grey. Some sort of projective polymer, the Doctor guessed, covering up what was inside. Torchwood was good at that sort of thing. The bottom of the phone box slowly began to lower.
After about a minute or so, the elevator came to a halt and a door slid up in front of the Doctor. He stepped forward, and the door immediately slid shut behind him. Two minutes later it opened again and Gwen stepped through. They were in a long corridor with a staircase at the end.
"Knowing the Master, she'd be right up on the top level."
"That's a lot of stairs."
The Doctor shot her a reassuring grin. If Jackie Tyler could do it, anyone could. They began to head down the corridor.
Jack and Bond stopped in the lobby of Torchwood One, scanning for any signs of opposition. Nothing. Jack lowered his weapon and activated his wrist computer, running a scan of the entire building.
"We have fifteen humans on level three, the Doctor and Gwen are coming up the stairs, and there's one lifesign on top. That'd be the Master."
"Is that all?" Bond asked. It seemed wrong, somehow. He couldn't exactly put his finger on it, but years of experience were telling him that the whole setup was wrong. He turned and followed Jack as the Torchwood commander headed for the elevator.
The elevator doors slid open, revealing an empty corridor. Jack ran another scan.
"All fifteen are concentrated about halfway down. There's a conference room down there, that'd be it."
Bond nodded and flipped the safety catch off on his pistol.
"What's the plan?" he asked.
"I'll go first, draw their fire. Try not to hit the hostages."
A short, quiet walk down the corridor brought them to the conference room and Jack discreetly peered in through the window. The wall on the outside of the building was taken up entirely by a one-way window, looking out onto the street below. The scaffolding surrounding the building was clearly visible, running past the window. There was a long oak table running for most of the length of the room, with plush office chairs along both sides. He could see the remaining two Torchwood hostages, the middle-aged Andre Ressin and the younger Jerome LeMonte. They were sitting with their hands on the table, and he could tell they were making every effort not to do anything that could be considered a false move. They had a reason for that, too. Standing around the edges of the room were twelve gunmen, each armed with what appeared to be AK-47 assault rifles.
"Looks like the Master stopped by Thugs'R'Us," Jack commented softly. The edges of Bond's mouth twitched upwards in a slight smile.
"After you, Captain Harkness."
Jack held up his fingers then lowered them one at a time, a second apart. As soon as the last one went down he flung open the door and opened fire.
His first target went down, stunned, and eleven guns turned to the door.
"Ressin, LeMonte, get down!" Jack bellowed in French, then he burst through the door. Eleven guns opened up, the thugs carefully timing their fire to avoid hitting each other. There was the sound of office chairs rolling as the two men from Torchwood Five scrambled under the table. Jack dived to the left and kept moving, firing and taking out another one of the thugs.
That was when Bond made his entrance. He immediately went to the right, swinging his pistol into the face of the nearest thug and knocking the man back into the man beside him. He flipped his pistol over and fired, taking out a third thug. He dived as some of the thugs started to fire in his direction.
Jack had taken out another two thugs when the bullets found their mark. He could feel them, tearing into his body. His last thought before everything went black was that Bond was on his own.
Bond rolled and came up firing, quickly letting off three shots at three different targets. He rolled over the table. The remaining three thugs were against the window and Bond lunged into the nearest one. He pushed the thug's gun down with one hand and jabbed his pistol into the man's stomach with the other. The thug doubled up in pain and Bond quickly delivered a karate chop to the back of the man's neck, rendering him unconscious.
Bond turned to deal with the remaining two thugs. He only saw one. A second later his arms were grabbed from behind and held tight. So that was where the other one had gone. He saw the other thug step back, ready to deliver a kick. Then there were two high-pitched shots, the sounds of Jack's staser. Bond felt the pressure on his arms disappear as the two thugs slumped to the floor, unconscious.
Jack lowered the staser, then stepped around and helped Ressin out from beneath the table.
"Thought you were dead," Bond commented.
"You only live twice," Jack replied dryly. Ressin and LeMonte exchanged a confused look.
"It's alright, he's on our side now."
"What about Karla?" Ressin asked.
"She's already been rescued."
The two Torchwood Five men looked relieved. Jack nodded out the door.
He led them out of the room, heading for the TARDIS. As they exited through the main doors, Jack suddenly realised Bond wasn't with them.
The Doctor and Gwen reached the top of the stairs and emerged into the corridor. There was no sign of movement. The Doctor nodded down the corridor.
"The director's office is just behind that door at the end."
So was the room where he'd lost Rose. He tried not to think about it as they walked up the corridor. The memories threatened to overwhelm him. It was with a great deal of effort that he managed to push them aside and set a mental block on them. He could remove it later.
"Something wrong, Doctor?"
The Doctor shook his head dismissively.
He looked at her then.
"You're a very perceptive woman, Gwen Cooper."
"Comes from being a policewoman, I suppose."
"Is that how Jack recruited you?"
"I stumbled into one of their investigations. Jack must have liked what he saw."
They reached the door at the end of the corridor. The Doctor opened it and strode through without missing a step. It was exactly as he remembered it. The plain white wall dominating one end of the room, and the two levers that controlled the 'ghost shift'. The Doctor turned right, looking through the glass windows into the director's office. No sign of the Master.
The sound of the door closing behind them caught their attention. They turned around, and Gwen recognised the woman standing between them and the door. She looked exactly like the phantom in the TARDIS, only she was solid and wearing a dark grey jacket over a black silk blouse, with a pair of black denim jeans completing the outfit. And she was holding a gun on them. The Doctor stepped in front of Gwen. She immediately stepped to the side and brought her staser up. The Doctor reached out and pushed it down.
The Master was standing between them and the door, a pistol in her hand.
"Thank you, Doctor. I didn't want to have to shoot her yet."
Gwen noticed that she spoke with an American accent, but not the same as Jack's.
The Doctor frowned. He hadn't seen any evidence of what the Master was up to. She couldn't open the void between dimensions, that had been closed off permanently. In fact, everything she'd done seemed to have one purpose.
"You brought James Bond to life..."
The Master nodded, and the Doctor continued.
"...and hid the psychic discharge from Torchwood. But I detected it."
He paused, for effect.
"Which means you wanted me here. But why go to so much effort?"
The door into the room opened quietly, and the figure of James Bond stepped through. He held his finger up to his lips, then slowly began creeping up behind the Master. The Doctor knew he had to keep her talking.
"Where did you get that much psychic energy, anyway? I mean, you couldn't really convince the entire planet to think the same thing or anything, could you?"
Not again, anyway. The Master chuckled.
"A couple of billion people reading the same book at the same time would do it, Doctor. Thanks to J.K. Rowling."
"Have you read it?" Gwen asked, surprising both the Doctor and the Master.
"Yes, actually," the Master replied.
A second later, she felt the cold metal of a gunbarrel against the back of her neck. She knew it was Bond. Everything was going exactly as she'd predicted.
"Drop the gun," Bond ordered coldly. The Master did so, then kicked it across the floor to Gwen without being asked.
"Good girl," Bond said. He glanced over at the Doctor.
"Where do you want her?"
The Doctor looked over at Gwen.
"Does that thing have a stun setting?"
"Jack told me it did."
The Doctor took the staser from her and quickly ran his eyes over the controls. It was already set to stun and he slowly brought it up, aiming it at the Master.
"I'm sorry," he said apologetically. Then he fired. The Master's body was enveloped in a blue light for a fraction of a second, then she slumped to the floor, unconscious.
Half an hour later, the Doctor had dropped Ressin and LeMonte at Torchwood Five, and the TARDIS was en route to Torchwood Three. Jack, Gwen, Bond and the Master were aboard. The Doctor was at the console, and the others were covering the Master with their weapons. Gwen was holding two, the staser Jack had given her and the pistol the Master had dropped.
The Master had been leant against one of the pillars rising into the roof of the console room, the one furthest from the main doors. She groaned and the three guards immediately focused on her, watching for any sign of trickery. She blinked a couple of times then opened her eyes, looking around curiously.
"You've redecorated, Doctor."
She fixed him with her gaze.
"What are you going to do with me?"
"That depends," the Doctor replied.
"I have one request. A last request, if you like."
"I'll hear it, but first I think Mr Bond here has a question for you."
The Master shifted her attention to Bond.
"If it's about putting you back, Mr Bond, I'm afraid the answer is no. Even if I had the psychic energy, the process is one-way. Why do you think I tried so hard to kill you?"
"That's what I was afraid of," Bond replied evenly. But his attention didn't wander for a second, and the hand that held the pistol stayed steady.
The Master turned back to the Doctor.
"Alright," the Doctor asked, "what's your 'last request'?"
A victorious glint came into the Master's eyes and realisation struck the Doctor. The way she'd been captured, with Bond sneaking up behind her, had been too easy. The Master hadn't resisted or tried to escape at all. But that could only mean she wanted to be captured. And he was playing right into the Master's hands...
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Author's Notes: The flashback in this chapter comes from my fic 'Torchwood Four'
Act 2: The Master
Part 2: A Different Sort of Victory
The Master turned back to the Doctor.
"Alright," the Doctor asked, "what's your 'last request'?"
A victorious glint came into the Master's eyes and realisation struck the Doctor. The way she'd been captured, with Bond sneaking up behind her, had been too easy. The Master hadn't resisted or tried to escape at all. But that could only mean she wanted to be captured. And he was playing right into the Master's hands. The Doctor knew he had to do something. He quickly reached down and tapped out a four beat rhythm on the console.
The Master froze.
"So you know, Doctor."
"The sound of drums."
"I used to hear it all the time when I was younger."
The Doctor raised an eyebrow.
"When did it stop?"
"When the Black Guardian split my timeline."
"It chose him over you," the Doctor said softly, thinking of the Master who'd called himself Saxon.
The Master's voice softened, remembering what it had felt like to be free.
"I found myself thinking clearly, for the first time since I was eight. It was wonderful, Doctor."
"Yet you still interfered at Torchwood Four."
There had been two Masters there. The First Master, who had given the Third Doctor and UNIT so much trouble, and this one.
"I was trying to save myself, Doctor. If my younger self had not lost his regenerations, he may have found a cure."
There was a hint of sadness in her voice, pain at how that attempt had failed. She'd seen her younger self go through all twelve regenerations in minutes.
"What about Grace? You can't deny that was the act of a madman."
The Master didn't reply. Instead she spoke upwards, addressing the TARDIS.
"I'd like to speak to Grace Holloway."
The Doctor frowned. This wasn't what he was expecting at all.
Suddenly Grace was there, the phantom image appearing between Bond and Jack.
"What do you want?" she asked rudely.
The Master nodded downwards, at her body.
"Dr Holloway, I believe I have something that belongs to you."
"There's no need to rub it in."
The Master paused for a second.
"Actually, I thought you might like it back."
The exclamation burst from Grace, Jack and the Doctor like a bullet. The Master glanced up at the Doctor.
"You know why, Doctor."
The Doctor cast his memories back, to his last encounter with this Master, at Torchwood Four. It had been just after leaving Donna, but a few months before meeting Martha...
Before the Master could react, the Tenth Doctor took her by the chin, leant in and kissed her. Not just a peck on the cheek, but full-on, French style. It was like nothing the Master had ever experienced. Emotions she'd long thought lost came to the fore, overwhelming her. She had no choice but to surrender.
A few minutes later, the Doctor broke the kiss and stepped back. The female Master blinked a couple of times, slowly.
"What was that?" she asked breathlessly, the tissue compression eliminators forgotten in her hands. There was a slight smile of satisfaction on the Tenth Doctor's face.
"Young humans call it 'making out'."
And Rose had taught him very well. The Doctor glanced over as his younger incarnations bolted past. He shot the Master a cold smile. His tone was laced with sarcasm.
"Awfully sorry to cut and run."
The Doctor suited action to word, turning and bolting after his former selves. It took the Master a second to react.
The Tenth Doctor paused at the doorway.
"Bit rich, coming from you," he replied, before turning and bolting after his younger selves.
In the aftermath of the explosion, the female Master reached her own TARDIS as the dimensional flux began to fade. She reached for the coordinate panel and paused, uncertain of where to go. The Doctor had kissed her, and she knew that he'd done it purely as a diversionary measure. Just to distract her while his younger selves dealt with the reality bubble. And she knew it had been done with a bit of spite, the Doctor's parting words had told her that much. But all the same, for the first time in her lives, the Master needed some time alone. She'd been given something to think about. Reminded of something she'd long forgotten.
The Doctor brought his mind back to the present.
He trailed off, unsure of what to say.
"It reminded me of what I'd lost, Doctor. Emotions I'd missed for centuries. The most powerful forces in the Universe."
A tear rolled down the Master's cheek.
"I realised what I'd done, Doctor. I decided to make things right."
"What about the traps? All that cloak and dagger business?" Bond demanded.
"Those were the only methods I knew, Mr Bond."
"Sorry, I don't buy it," Jack said coldly.
"I don't need you to, Captain Harkness. All I need is the Doctor to believe me."
The central column came to a halt as the TARDIS landed.
The Doctor looked closely at the Master. The eyes are the window on the soul, and there was something in the Master's eyes he'd never seen there before. Something that spoke of guilt, and hope, and fear, and love.
"I do," he said softly. A smile crossed the Master's face.
"To lose is to win..."
"...and he who wins shall lose," the Doctor finished. That was when he understood fully. The Master was going for a different sort of victory. A victory over her past. He nodded decisively.
"When you're ready."
Bond, Gwen and Jack stepped back, still keeping their weapons on the Master. The Master then stepped forward, into the space occupied by Grace's phantom image.
A blinding white light erupted from the Master's body. Bond, Jack, Gwen and the Doctor had to look away and shield their eyes, and the brightness lit up the interior of the TARDIS as though it were an overexposed photograph. Then the light was gone as suddenly as it had appeared, and the four of them blinked a couple of times. Grace's body was floating in mid-air, with a white glow around it. The glow suddenly faded and Jack caught her as she dropped. She was unconscious. Jack immediately checked for a pulse.
"But who is she?" Gwen asked, looking around for any signs of the phantom of Grace. She found nothing.
"We'll have to wait until she wakes up."
March 7, 2008
2153 hours local time
Jack had offered the Hub's medical bay for the Doctor to keep an eye on Grace, and the Doctor had accepted. So now, two hours after the TARDIS had landed, the Doctor was sitting in an office chair next to the bed. Grace - if it was Grace - was still unconscious. The Doctor looked up as he heard someone coming down the stairs. Gwen reached the bottom of the stairs and walked over to the Doctor, handing him one of the two cups of coffee she was carrying.
"I wasn't sure if..."
"Oh, I can have pretty much anything humans eat."
"Right. I wasn't sure how you took it."
The Doctor shook his head.
"Don't worry about it. This is fine."
He nodded towards the arch leading into the main part of the Hub.
"How's 007 getting on?"
A smile of disbelief crossed Gwen's face.
"He and Jack are watching one of the James Bond movies. Jack said it might help him come to terms with it."
The Doctor sipped his coffee appreciatively before replying.
"The one with that boat chase in the Thames at the beginning."
The Doctor raised an eyebrow.
"The World is Not Enough. Interesting. You see, this instance of James Bond was drawn from the end of the previous film. As far as he's concerned, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day never happened."
"What about that new one with Daniel Craig?"
"Casino Royale? Have you seen it?"
"My boyfriend has it on DVD."
"Then you'll know it's a reboot of the series. Think of it as Bond 2.0."
Gwen glanced back through the arch.
"He seems to be taking it well. It's still a bit hard to believe. I mean, I've been working for Torchwood for over a year, but still..."
"You can imagine how hard it must be for him."
Gwen looked closely at the Doctor. She could tell he was worried. She was good at reading people, it was part of her police training. She guessed, correctly, that his concern was directed at the woman lying unconscious on the table in front of them. But he was a Time Lord, a man who stepped through history like walking down the street. For him, tomorrow could be a million years in the future, and she, Tosh, Owen and Ianto could have been dead for millennia. Jack she wasn't too sure about. Or the Doctor could go to the past, when Gwen and her colleagues were still years away from being born. And there'd been what Jack had said earlier. That the Eleventh Doctor had been helping them out for the past year or so, under an alias. The Doctor could have gone, left them with Grace Holloway and James Bond and flown off into the wild blue yonder. Yet here he was, maintaining a long nighttime vigil.
"Doctor, may I ask you something?"
He jumped slightly, as though Gwen's words had snapped him out of his thoughts.
"Why do you care so much?"
The Doctor blew the hair off his forehead.
"Responsibility, Ms Cooper. I'm the last of the Time Lords. That brings a lot with it."
"And why Earth?"
The Doctor chuckled.
"You humans are the most fascinating species I've met. Your capacity for courage, love, hope, determination, it's just...incredible. And you, Gwen Cooper, are one of the most human."
There was a slightly awkward silence as Gwen wondered how to take what the Doctor just said.
"It was a compliment," the Doctor added quickly.
Gwen was prevented from replying as a groan sounded from the woman on the table. The Doctor rose to his feet as the person in Grace Holloway's body slowly sat up. He reached forward and helped her into a sitting position. She blinked her eyes and looked around.
"Where am I?"
It was Gwen who answered the question.
"You're in Torchwood Three, Cardiff."
"Who are you?" the Doctor asked.
"Doctor, it's me. Grace."
"I was playing Puccini in the operating theatre when your Seventh self died."
The Doctor grinned, and his eyes twinkled.
"Welcome back, Grace."
Grace looked down. Her hands flew to her face, and she felt it closely. Her expression was one of pure disbelief.
She sprung to her feet and embraced the Doctor, holding him tightly. Words couldn't express her gratitude. The Doctor returned the hug then they broke apart. Grace staggered slightly. The Doctor reached out and held her by the shoulder.
"Hungry as hell."
"There's a pizzeria across the square. What topping do you want?" Gwen asked.
"Anything's good," Grace replied. Gwen turned and left, leaving the two of them alone.
Grace sat down on the edge of the bed and the Doctor sat next to her.
"How do you feel?" he asked gently.
"Like I've been born again, Doctor. Everything's fresh, like I'm seeing it for the first time."
"How much do you remember?"
Grace closed her eyes, casting her mind back into memories.
"Everything, Doctor. Lionus Major, living within the TARDIS, the drops of Jupiter in my hair. Everything."
She couldn't begin to describe what she'd seen within the TARDIS. The Universe in all its glory, linked and held together by the time vortex. She'd also seen the Doctor as never before, as part of the ship that had been his constant companion from the moment he'd left Gallifrey. Perhaps she'd seen too much.
She cleared her throat apologetically.
"I won't be coming with you, Doctor."
It was what the Doctor had been expecting, after all she'd been through.
"Well, I can give you a lift back to San Francisco," he offered. Grace shook her head decisively.
"No. I can't go back there. The last my colleagues and friends know, I disappeared while suffering a case of terminal cancer. They'll have thought suicide and come to terms with it."
Her voice was filled with sadness, and a tear rolled down her cheek.
"If it's any consolation," the Doctor said, "you don't look a day over thirty. The Master aged your body back during the takeover."
Grace did manage to take some comfort in that. It proved her decision was correct.
"I'll have to find something here. Get a job, find an apartment, settle down."
"I could help you with that," Jack said. Grace and the Doctor turned, to see Jack leaning over the railing running along the edge of the walkway around the medical bay. He winked at Grace.
"Great to see you again."
"Jack..." the Doctor said warningly.
"I was just saying hello!" Jack protested. Grace chuckled.
"I don't mind, Doctor."
She stood up and climbed the stairs to the walkway. Jack turned to face her, and she reached forward and hugged him. He grinned as he returned the hug.
"Really enjoying having your body back, aren't you?"
They broke apart and Jack looked her up and down.
"You're looking a lot better than the last time I saw you."
"Thank you. You said you could help me?"
"Torchwood Five's been looking for a medical officer for the last three months. The job's yours if you want it."
"I'll take it."
She glanced back down at the Doctor, and he smiled approvingly. Jack turned to the Doctor.
"By the way, Doctor, I've taken the liberty of making a similar arrangement with Mr Bond. Hope you don't mind my shouldering the responsibility?"
The Doctor's eyes narrowed slightly.
"What do you have in mind?"
"Like I said, I made an arrangement with 007. Don't worry about the details."
There was an electronic whine, the sound of the main door into the Hub opening. Jack glanced over.
"Gwen's back with the pizzas. Come on."
He turned and strode into the main area of the Hub, Grace and the Doctor behind him.
A couple of hours later, the Doctor closed the TARDIS doors behind him and strode over to the console. They'd watched Die Another Day over pizza and soft drink. A night in with friends, something he'd never really done before. He'd enjoyed it. But he hadn't been able to discover the nature of the arrangement Jack had made with Bond. Neither of them had given him any clues. It wasn't really his business, anyway. He didn't mind what Torchwood was doing, defending the Earth, but their methods sometimes left a bit to be desired. But Jack had proved that the rebuilt Torchwood was in the Doctor's image, and that had reassured the Doctor.
The Doctor finished setting the coordinates and froze as he felt another presence in the console room. He slowly turned, to see another phantom standing in front of him. It was the Master as the Doctor had first known him, back when they had been friends. Before the sound of drums had fully taken him. Physically, he appeared to be a younger version of the first Master, who had caused so much trouble for the Third Doctor and UNIT. The goatee was gone, as was the manic glint in his eyes. He was wearing a plain grey suit over a white shirt, and the tie was the colour of the Pydronian chapter of the Academy on Gallifrey.
"Master," the Doctor greeted him. The figure shook his head.
"Not anymore, Doctor."
"What brings you here, Koschei?"
"I'm here to say goodbye, Doctor. This is the last you'll see of me."
A pang of sadness went through the Doctor. He'd finally saved his old friend, only to lose him again. Koschei - as the Master had originally been named - spoke again.
"Before I go, Doctor, there's one more thing you should know."
"You're not as alone as you think."
The Doctor groaned.
"Don't tell me there's another insane version of you out there."
"Not at all, Doctor. Time will tell, and I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised."
"Rest in peace, Koschei."
The phantom faded, and the Doctor was alone once more.
Back at the Hub, Jack, Gwen, Bond and Grace turned away from the spot where the Tenth Doctor's TARDIS had dematerialised. Grace yawned, suddenly feeling the tiredness of her body. The transfer had taken a lot out of her.
"There are some bedrooms downstairs," Jack offered, "Gwen can show you where they are. Right, Gwen?"
Gwen nodded and led Grace into the depths of the Hub, leaving Bond and Jack alone.
"Are you sure this is what you want?" Jack asked. Bond nodded firmly, his mind made up.
"I'm too well-known here, Captain. There's no place for me on this Earth."
A wind began to blow up and the two men turned, as the familiar shape of the TARDIS began to appear in the same spot it had recently disappeared from.
"There's something I forgot to mention," Jack managed to say over the din.
"What was that?"
"The Eleventh Doctor, she looks a hell of a lot like your Moneypenny."
The TARDIS thumped into solidity and the doors opened. A young woman stepped through. She didn't appear to be any older than thirty-four or thirty-five, and she had short, dark-reddish hair, neatly cut. She was wearing a dark green nylon tracksuit top and pants, with a black sports top underneath the tracksuit. Bond nearly gasped. Her resemblance to Moneypenny was startling. The most recent Moneypenny, that was, the one played by Samantha Bond. But her eyes were a striking, deep green colour, unlike anyone else he'd seen. He met her gaze and saw something within that spoke of centuries of experience and wisdom.
That was when Bond knew.
The Eleventh Doctor smiled.
She nodded to Jack.
"Jack, good to see you again."
The Doctor turned back to Bond.
"Jack told me you were looking for a traveling companion," Bond said.
"He told me you were interested," the Doctor replied. Jack cleared his throat.
"I'll leave you two to it, shall I?"
"Thanks, Jack," the Doctor said. Jack nodded and turned, heading over to his office. The Doctor turned back to Bond.
"Did he tell you what it involves?"
"Danger, excitement and fighting evil. Nothing I haven't done before."
The Doctor stepped back into the TARDIS and Bond followed her in, closing the door behind him. The only difference between this TARDIS and the Tenth Doctor's was that the floor of the console room was carpeted.
The Doctor finished setting the coordinates and pulled the dematerialisation lever. She then turned and shot a welcoming grin at Bond.
"Welcome aboard, James."
"A pleasure, Doctor."
The Doctor indicated for Bond to follow her, and she led him over to the door leading into the depths of the TARDIS.
"We'll start with a tour, I think."
As Bond followed the Doctor through the TARDIS, a question came to his mind. Something that had been bouncing around at the back of his mind for a while.
"Doctor, do you think there's a Universe where you exist as fiction?"
The Doctor paused, as if the idea was new to her.
"It's possible, James."
There had been another question Bond could have asked, about something he'd noticed while climbing the stairs at Torchwood One. But it hadn't done him any harm and so probably wasn't important. He could ask the Doctor about it later. For all he knew, it might be normal in this Universe to have two hearts...
The Eleventh Doctor and James Bond will return...
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