Benton and Yates in a Daring Escape from Aliens by Sproid
Summary: After being captured by aliens, Benton and Yates aren't just going to sit around and wait to be rescued. An escape involving bravery, injuries and emotions.
Categories: Third Doctor
Characters: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Jo Grant, Mike Yates, Sergeant Benton, The Doctor (3rd), UNIT
Genres: Action/Adventure, Fluff, Hurt/Comfort, Romance, Slash
Benton and Yates in a Daring Escape from Aliens by Sproid
Chapter 1: Chapter 1Author's Notes:
It lands in the middle of Hampshire’s countryside, a giant spacecraft that drives long spikes into the ground to anchor itself and then releases its reptilian strike force without warning. Their numbers are few, but when the enemy is eight feet tall and possesses such stunningly lethal weapons as these, there really isn't a need for many of them. UNIT's best is good but not enough, and the Brigadier orders the troops to withdraw within five minutes.
On the front lines, covering the retreat, Benton and Yates never stand a chance.
-- -- -- -- --
It's a surprise when they don't end up dead. Less surprising is that they're captured, their radios and rifles wrenched away before they’re seized and marched inside to be thrown forcefully into a cell. While they’re groaning on the floor, the leader tells them, “We shall return,” and leaves with his compatriots in tow, scaled tails sweeping along the corridor as they stride away.
Shaking his head as he pushes himself to his feet, Yates extends a hand down to Benton and remarks, “That could have gone better.”
“You're telling me,” Benton agrees.
Gratefully he accepts the hand up, and they stand side-by-side as they brush themselves down and survey the cell. It’s not particularly promising in terms of escape. Solid wall comprises one side of the large square, the other three consisting of heavy bars that run from the ceiling to the floor. Theirs appears to be one of ten or so cells in a row, the empty corridor running outside the door, which has no visible locking mechanism and yet remains firmly shut when they shake it.
“Well that's it then,” Benton sighs. “We're stuck.”
“Quite,” Yates agrees. “Still, on the bright side, at least the camouflage seems to be doing its job for once.”
“How's that, sir?” Benton asks doubtfully. Granted it's a nice big cell, warm and clean, but they're still very definitely inside it rather than outside it.
Yates flashes him a quick grin and pats his hands against his trousers. “They don't seem to have noticed that we've got pockets, Benton.”
-- -- -- -- --
“Doctor, these aliens have landed with no warning, no communication of any kind, anchored their spaceship in the middle of nowhere - and in an exceedingly defensible position, I might add - and taken two of my men hostage.” The Brigadier paces around the village hall that he’s commandeered for a base of operations, while the Jo and the Doctor examine the few photographs they’d managed to take of the ship. “If that’s not hostile, I don’t know what is.”
“On this occasion, Brigadier, you are perfectly correct,” the Doctor says.
“Yes, thank you, Doctor. I was rather aware of that. What I want to know is what they are, why they’re here, and how we can get rid of them!”
Seating himself on the table where the one alien weapon that they managed to acquire lies, the Doctor replies, “Well, as to the latter of your questions, I’m honestly not sure. I’m familiar with the species - they’re known as the Trilactians - but I’ve never seem them use weapons quite like these before. It could take me a a little while to work out an effective way to disarm them.”
“Do you know what they want?” Jo asks.
“Earth’s minerals and metals, if I’m not mistaken. Their home planet was deficient in the heavier elements when it formed; it’s a miracle that life developed there at all, but against all odds it did. Their civilisation reached the end of its accessible resources, oh, two hundred or so years ago. Since then they’ve been searching the galaxy for planets whose resources they can transport home, without much care for anything that happens to be living on that planet already. I must admit, I’m surprised they’ve made it out this far. They must be getting desperate.”
“Your surprise notwithstanding, Doctor, the fact remains that they are here,” the Brigadier points out. “Now what are we going to do about it?”
-- -- -- -- --
Benton and Yates don’t get long to examine the combined contents of their pockets — of which the knives, lighters and energy bars look to be the most useful of the lot, not that that’s saying much - before the sound of footsteps alerts them to the promised return of two of their lizard-like friends. After a scramble to shove everything out of sight again, they stand side-by-side in the middle of the cell and watch as a hand pressed to something outside the door makes it swing inwards.
That they have to tilt their heads backwards to keep eye contact with the one that enters is not particularly promising for any hopes of overpowering them, really.
Raising his voice, Yates steps forward and says, “I would say good afternoon, but given that you've taken us prisoner and locked us in a cell, I wouldn't really mean it. Would you mind telling us why you've -”
“Quiet,” the thing instructs, and knocks Yates backwards with a quick — and apparently effortless — nudge from its clawed hand.
“Steady on!” Benton says, catching Yates as he stumbles backwards. He glares at the creature before turning to Yates. “Are you alright, sir?”
“Fine,” Yates coughs, rubbing at his chest. “Just got the wind knocked out of me, that's all.”
Carefully Benton lets him go, relieved when Yates appears to be steady enough on his feet. “You be careful, sir,” he cautions. “No point us getting ourselves knocked around for no reason.”
Ruefully, Yates nods, and then their captor demands their attention again.
“You two are the first of the human subjects we require for experimentation before we conquer this world,” it tells them. Benton and Yates exchange worried looks. “We must establish the compatibility of the human system with our minds and biology for conversion into our army. Our biological laboratory is currently being assembled and will be ready in a day. The xeno-neurologist has their equipment ready for use now, and will begin testing on one of you immediately.”
It gestures to the lizard outside the cell, which comes in with a long, low hiss that sets the hairs on the back of Yates' neck on end. Green eyes darting between them, it spares only a moment for Yates before fixing on Benton, nostrils flaring and a distinctly unpleasant look on its face. “This one will be perfect. It will come to my laboratory now.”
“Not a chance,” Yates says, and their heads arch aggressively towards him. “If you need someone to experiment on, you'll take me.” A tail flicks out towards his face, pulling back mere inches from his eye, and Yates blinks but holds firm.
“It's all right,” Benton says, stepping forwards. “There’s no need to get violent, I'll go with you.”
“Sergeant Benton,” Yates snaps, catching him by the arm.
“Sir, I don't think it's going to change its mind,” Benton says, turning to face him. He lowers his voice and adds, “Anyway, one of us needs to have a functioning brain if we're going to get out of here, and you are the Captain for a reason. I'd rather have my head scrambled than yours.”
As determined as he sounds, there's an understandable hint of trepidation on his face, which makes it all the harder for Yates to grudgingly nod and let him go. Keeping his voice down to match Benton's, he says, “Alright, but be careful. I'll need your help, too, you know.”
“Right you are, sir,” Benton says, and leaves with head held high and back straight, tall and strong even between two aliens with two feet and a good few stone at least on him.
“I'd better get on with it then,” Yates says to himself, and slides his hat off his head before he sets about looking for a way out.
-- -- -- -- --
Two hours later, Benton still isn't back and Yates still hasn't worked out how they're going to escape. The cell is obviously made to accommodate prisoners of the lizards’ size and strength; the bars won't bend or break, and although they're spaced farther apart than would be found on Earth, they're still a couple of inches too close together to slip through. Yates tries it a few times just in case, but gets firmly wedged at the shoulder each time.
The door is equally as impenetrable; the mechanism on the outside is easy enough to find and reach, but gives Yates nothing but a short sharp shock when he tries to activate it. A smooth hard floor means they can't go down, and the ceiling — a good fifteen foot above the ground — looks to be made the same stuff.
Frustrated, he kicks one of the bars, the toe of his boot impacting with a satisfying 'thud' that doesn't improve his spirits much. Benton's out there, undergoing god knows what so that Yates can get them out, and it looks very much as if it will be for nothing. For all Benton's faith in him, Yates has no idea how they're going to get out of this one short of being rescued, and they both know how likely that is when -
Blinking, Yates shakes his head and takes another look at the bars in front of him. Tapping his foot against them again, he reflects that one would expect metal to go ‘clang’ rather than ‘thud’, which rather implies that as silver and shiny as these things are, they're not metal at all. It's a slim advantage, but hopefully one that a couple of resourceful army personnel can make the most of, if he can just work out how.
-- -- -- -- --
When Benton returns, he's half slumped over and barely stumbling along, dragged between the same two who had taken him earlier. They don't so much shove him into the cell as just let go of him, whereupon he falls to his knees and tilts forwards before Yates manages to get in front of him and stop him hitting the floor face-first. While Benton groans against his shoulder, Yates gives the aliens a hard look, and holds his tongue only because he's already experienced the consequences of not doing so.
Placing a tray of food and water on the floor, the leader informs him, “No lasting damage has been done to it. Nourishment is provided so that it will recover before the next trial.”
“That's very reassuring,” Yates mutters as they leave. “Benton?” He takes Benton by the shoulders and eases him away, slightly alarmed at the way his head rolls back and he seems unable to focus on Yates. “Come on, Benton. Stay with me.” There's a groan in response, followed by an obvious effort which thankfully yields a result, and Benton looks groggily but somewhat more alertly at Yates.
Letting out a relieved breath, Yates nods. “Got it in one. How are you feeling?”
Carefully, Benton raises one not-entirely steady hand, and lays his palm against his forehead. “I've got a banging headache, but otherwise I'm fine. At least, I think I am.”
“Glad to hear it. Can you move? The wall isn't likely to be all that comfortable, but at least you can lean on it.”
Tiredly, Benton nods. Yates makes sure he's steady against the wall before he retrieves the tray, and crouches down in front of Benton while he investigates the 'nourishment', which appears to be water and something not unlike their own energy bars. “Drink this,” he says, pressing a cup into Benton's hand. “And stay still while I check you over.”
“I'm alright, really,” Benton protests, but he does as he's told. In truth, while he is feeling better, it might not be a bad idea to have Yates make sure of it.
Benton's forehead is hot to the touch, and there are red indents at his temples which make him wince when Yates brushes his fingers over them, but his eyes track Yates' finger and he's not slurring his words or falling asleep. As to his mental state, Yates can only hope.
“You'll be just fine,” he tells Benton. “Other than the loss of your hat, which I can't do anything about,” he adds.
Benton manages a weak laugh, and a smile as Yates ruffles his hair gently. “Sorry about that, sir. They didn't seem to want to give it back once they'd got if off me.”
“I’ll forgive the offence on this occasion,” Yates tells him. He presses a careful hand to the side of his head and lets it rest there a moment, a brief soothing touch that has Benton looking up at him curiously. They've been very carefully skirting around this for weeks now, neither naming or acknowledging it but quietly moving towards something nonetheless. Touching though, that’s new, and Benton can’t help but think that now is an odd time to bring it up.
Leaning back when he notices Benton’s look, Yates shrugs. “I was worried about you.”
As casual as his tone is, Benton catches the lingering concern anyway. “I promise you I'm all right,” Benton tells him. Yates nods, and there's a quiet moment before Benton carefully tips his head back to rest against the wall, and asks, “How long was I gone?”
“Three hours.” Cautiously, in case Benton doesn’t want to remember, Yates asks, “What did they do to you?”
With a grimace, Benton replies, “I'm not really sure. They put some sort of strange-looking crown on me and a similar one on the scientist chap, and hooked them up with wires. I think the idea was to test some kind of mind-control on me, but it didn't work very well. It just sort of hurt, really.” Actually, 'sort of hurt' is an understatement, but that isn't particularly relevant.
Given that Benton had barely been conscious when they brought him back, Yates is well aware that he's understating the facts of the matter, but doesn’t mention it. Instead he says, “I didn't think you'd make it easy for them.” Benton looks quietly pleased, which was the intention. Yates adds, “Probably that thick skull of yours. It's got to be useful for something.”
“Hey now,” Benton objects. “This thick skull has done a lot today. I'm not so sure about other people's.”
“If you feel up to moving, I'll show you what I've been up to.”
“Well I can't sit around here all day,” Benton sighs, and gets to his feet without wobbling too much. “Show away, sir.”
Leading him to the edge of the cell, half-an eye on him to make sure he’s not going to fall over, Yates points at the bars. “What would you say these are made of?”
“You mean they're not metal?” Benton taps one, and frowns. “So they're not. It's almost feels like... like some kind of plastic?”
Yates nods. “That’s what I thought.”
“How does that help us, though?” Benton asks. “I mean, it's pretty hard stuff, isn't it?”
“Tougher than our knives?”
“Well, no, but it's probably a close match.”
“Speaking of matches... what does plastic do when exposed to naked flame, Benton?”
“You want to use the lighters to melt it?” Benton asks, comprehension dawning.
“Well, soften it up, at least. The knives can do the rest.”
Doubtfully, Benton looks at the bars again. “I don't know, sir. It'd take a lot of cutting to get through these. Although...” He takes a step back and sizes up the gaps. “We'd only need to remove one bar to be able to fit through, right?”
“That's the idea,” Yates says. “Think it'll work?”
“It might just,” Benton says slowly. Yates claps him on the back, and then has to grab him by the arm as he sways on his feet. “It's certainly better than waiting around,” Benton adds with a chagrined smile.
-- -- -- -- --
They take a chance that no-one will check up on them until morning, given that there's such a small crew and that Yates was left alone while Benton was gone, and start straight away. As for surveillance equipment, just because they can't see any doesn't mean there is none, but nothing comes rushing to stop them when the blades and flames appear.
It's slow work, hard-going and foul-smelling, burned plastic letting off fumes that make their eyes water and throats itch and doubtless do their lungs no good at all. Holding lighter flames close to melting plastic is a dangerous business at best, more so when there are knives in the same vicinity. There are more than a few muffled curses let loose when fingers become the victims of either fire or steel. Gloves, unfortunately, make them too clumsy to be efficient so they have to do without.
Half an hour in, they have to stop when Benton's head starts swimming, the noxious gas compounding the headache that hasn’t really faded from earlier. Flame licks a sharp streak along his thumb before he drops the lighter and braces himself against the floor with shaking arms. “Just a bit dizzy,” he mumbles as Yates drops down and slips an arm around his back.
“You and me, both,” Yates says, wiping his arm across his forehead. Looking at their progress, he decides, “We might as well take a break for five minutes.”
They share some of Yates' chocolate, which is sweet and dark and expensive, the good stuff that he brings to work and doesn't share easily. “You're an exception,” he tells Benton, nudging his leg with his boot. “Don't tell anyone.”
“And lose my share to them? Not a chance.”
Before they get back to it, they dampen their scarves and wrap them around their noses and mouths, which hopefully will stop the fumes going to their heads. If nothing else, it cuts down on the smell. Even with the precaution, when they get back to it Yates keeps half an eye on Benton just to make sure he's not suffering too many ill-effects.
“Sir, what are we going to do when we get out of here?” Benton asks as they work.
“You're going to lead us off this ship, Benton. You were paying attention earlier when they took you, weren't you?”
“Well, yes. That part should be fairly easy; there aren’t many guards around and it’s a big ship, so we should be able to get past them alright.” Yates gives him a 'Now you've done it' look above his scarf, which makes Benton smile beneath his own. “What I mean is, when we get out of the ship, where do we go? They landed this thing in the middle of nowhere, and we don't have any way to let the Brigadier know where we are.”
“Ah, but we know where he is,” Yates points out. “He’ll have set up in that village we passed on the way here. We head for whichever road is nearest, and follow it there. Once we get away from here a bit, we might even be able to hitch a lift the rest of the way. If not, it'll be a bit of a trek but we'll make it in less than a day, I should think.”
“So we just have to hope that they don't follow us, and if they do they don't walk faster than us?”
“Cross your fingers,” Yates says. “We'll need the luck.”
-- -- -- -- --
In the end it takes them two hours to get through the bar, with two more breaks to give cramped fingers and sore eyes a rest. They save the rest of Yates' chocolate for an emergency, but swallow an energy bar each - their own, not the dubious-looking alien ones — and the rest of the water that was left for them. Then they move out into the corridor, holding their breaths in case they're tripped some alarm, and only relaxing when seconds tick past and the place remains deathly silent.
“Which way?” Yates says.
“Along and down,” Benton replies. “We're three floors above the lab I was in earlier, and that was only one or two above the main entrance, I think. I didn't exactly get much of a chance to look out of the window while I was there.”
“I've escaped on less information,” Yates assures him with a reassuring confidence. “Let's go.”
Their footsteps echo around corridors that are scaled up as the rest of the ship, large enough to make them both feel uncomfortably exposed even when nothing comes to investigate them as they creep past closed doors and down staircases.
“What do you suppose they've got in these rooms?” Yates murmurs.
“Equipment for that army they were on about making?” Benton guesses.
They look back at the extent of the corridor.
“I don’t fancy our chances if we can’t stop them before they get that far,” Yates remarks.
On the level below they creep past the few half-open doors to currently unoccupied living quarters, whose inhabitants they find in the room at the end of the corridor which is obviously the centre of operations. Safely around the corner and out of sight, Yates signals a stop and they listen as the voice of the leader drifts out to them.
“...compatibility has been established, we shall raid the small dwellings to the south and west. The fully-grown ones will be taken to the conversion chambers, and the juveniles can be set to work maintaining the machinery. Tegu, will you be ready to begin the biological tests tomorrow?”
“The samples will be ready for implantation by the morning, Leader.”
“Excellent. Igan, what progress have you made with the configuration of the mind-control unit?”
“Modifications have been made following today’s experiments, but I will need to test it on the subject again tomorrow. It’s mind was more resilient than I had anticipated. It is a most... interesting example of these homo-sapiens.”
“If you are successful in making it obey our commands, and giving us the information we require about this planet’s military organisations, you may have it as a pet afterwards.”
The hiss of satisfaction that follows that statement makes them both shudder. “I knew I didn’t like the way it looked at you,” Yates mutters to Benton beneath his breath. “Come on, I think it’s time to get out of here. I don’t much care for what they’ve got planned for us, and we need to let the Brigadier know what they’re planning.”
Three floors down they come to their final staircase, from which they can feel fresh air drifting up.
“The entrance must be just down there,” Yates says quietly.
“Looks like I didn't jinx us after -”
They flatten themselves to the wall and hold still as the guard walks past the bottom of the stairs.
“-all,” Benton finishes glumly as its footsteps fade. “Reckon we can get past it?”
Yates keeps an eye on his watch, and counts the seconds until it reappears. “One loop every fifty seconds. We'll make it if the door isn't too far away.”
On the next pass, they get down the stairs as quickly and quietly as possible, and wait for the guard to round the corner before they follow and peek around to see where it’s going. They grin at each other as they watch it march along the corridor towards the exit which lies half-way down it, no more than one good sprint to the outside world.
“There it is,” Benton whispers. “But what if there’s a guard outside?”
Yates shakes his head. “Watch our fellow. It's stopping to look outside; it is the guard. Once we're past it, we're home free.” They wait another few second until it's turned the next corner, and then Yates claps Benton on the shoulder and says, “Run for it.”
Boots pounding loud on the floor, they run full-pelt for the door, abandoning caution in favour of covering the yards as quickly as possible. Benton's longer legs let him pull slightly ahead but Yates is right behind him, and they're almost there, a mere few strides away when a door opens to their left and Yates barrels straight into the creature that emerges from it. Skidding to a halt, Benton turns around in time to see it swing its arm towards Yates, sending him flying across the width of the corridor and only just managing to get his hands out in front of him before he hits the ground.
“Sir!” Benton shouts as Yates' wrist very obviously gives way and he collapses, while the lizard strides over to tower above him. Then there's an alarm going off, and when Benton looks behind him he sees that their guard has reappeared at the end of the corridor, looking none-too-pleased to find that they've tried to escape on his watch.
“Benton, get out of here,” Yates croaks, cradling one arm to his chest and waving Benton towards the door with the other one.
“You will remain still,” the lizard instructs, swinging its weapon around to point at Benton.
Benton looks at the door, still open with nothing between him and it, and then back at Yates where he lies unprotected and in pain on the floor. Even if he could reach the exit without getting shot, he can’t leave Yates to face the aliens’ wrath on his own. It’s just not right.
Slowly, Benton raises his hands.
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