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...