Stealing Silver

by nostalgia [Reviews - 3]

  • All Ages
  • None
  • Action/Adventure, General

Malcolm Taylor woke up at 2.16am to a find shadowy figure standing at the foot of his bed. Hurriedly, he switched the light on and reached for his glasses.

“Oh my God,” he said, staring at the Doctor. “It's you!” He paused and then said “Doctor, when I said that I loved you, I didn't mean... that is... I'm flattered, obviously, but -”

“I'm not here for that,” said the Doctor, amused.

“Oh. Well, that's alright then. Why are you here?”

“I need your help.”

“You need my help? You? Need my help? You need my help?”

“I'm afraid so, Malcolm.”

“Couldn't it have waited until morning? I'm only in my pyjamas!” He pulled the sheets up to cover himself.

“It's a delicate matter, I don't want UNIT knowing what I'm up to.” He looked at Malcolm carefully. “Are you willing to betray the people you work for?”

Malcolm considered. “Yes. For you, I would do anything. Except, you know. That thing that you're not here for.”

“Good. How are you with Daleks?”

“Never met one, I'm very glad to say. I did translate the data-core from one of the 1963 specimens, though, and I've got a nice collection of dissection slides if you'd like to see them.”

“I'm good, thanks.” The Doctor nodded. “Right, consider yourself recruited. We'll pick up the others and then I'll explain everything.” He waited. “Aren't you coming?”

“Can I put some clothes on first?”

Malcolm touched the door of the TARDIS reverently, feeling the slight vibration under his fingertips. “It's her! Oh, you can't count the police boxes I've broken into hoping they were the one.”

The Doctor opened the door and ushered him in.

“It really is bigger on the inside! I mean, I knew that it was, but seeing it's something entirely different.” He looked around, awestruck. “I've got so many theories about how you get the inside into the outside.”

“Your guess is as good as mine,” said the Doctor, leaving his coat by the door and following him to the control column.

“It's the up-and-downy-thing! Some people call it a time-rotor, but actually-”

The Doctor was beginning to reconsider bringing Malcolm along. Yes, he was a genius (at least by human standards) but he was also... Malcolm. “Right,” he said, setting the coordinates for their next destination, “just a quick hop and then -”

“But I haven't taken my travel-sickness pills.”

“Malcolm,” said the Doctor, “nobody gets TARDIS-sick. Nobody. It doesn't happen.”

“Are you sure?”


“Well, alright then. You are a doctor, after all.” He sat down on the crash-seat and braced himself. “I'm ready when you are.”

Malcolm ran out of the TARDIS, hand over his mouth. The Doctor followed him out into the bright Cardiff sunshine. He tried not to listen as the contents of Malcolm's stomach hit the pavement.

“Sorry,” said Malcolm, kneeling on the concrete.

The Doctor rubbed his back. “Don't worry about it. Just don't do it on the TARDIS.”

Malcolm looked round. “This is Wales. We're in Wales!” He stood up. “I travelled through eleven-dimensional space-time and now it's mid-afternoon in Wales!”

The Doctor looked around. “Oh, so it is.”

“Who are we picking up?”

“This one's a what. A vortex manipulator.” The Doctor led Malcolm to the Tourist Office and rang the bell beside the door. He waved up at the security camera, smiling.

The door opened and a man with perfect skin stepped out into the daylight. “Doctor.”


“Nice of you to visit,” said Jack, failing to seem entirely casual. “Who's your friend?”

“This is Malcolm, he's a fan. And UNIT's Scientific Advisor.”

“Nice to meet you,” said Jack, flirtatiously.

“Stop it,” warned the Doctor.

Jack shrugged. “Sorry, force of habit.”

“Have you still got that vortex manipulator?”

“The one that you broke?”

The Doctor had the grace to look contrite. “Yeah, that one. Can I borrow it?”

Jack looked at him carefully. Then he said “No.”

The Doctor was surprised by this. “No? What do you mean no?”

“The opposite of yes. You're not borrowing it unless I'm with you.” Jack crossed his arms and held his ground.

“But I need it! I'm on a mission!”

“Dangerous mission?” asked Jack.

“Very,” said the Doctor.

“I'll get my coat.”

Malcolm sat holding a paper bag as Jack helped the Doctor fly the TARDIS. Occasionally he looked at Jack and thought dark thoughts about Torchwood and how they compared to UNIT.

“Where are we going now?” asked Jack. He'd relinquished the vortex manipulator, but the Doctor felt honour-bound to bring him along anyway.

“To pick up our expert in the art of theft. Or is it the science of theft? It seems like it would be more of an art.”

They landed with a thud and the Doctor went to the doors. “You two stay here. Won't take a minute.”

Christina de Souza stood outside the TARDIS holding a hammer and a glass-cutter. “Why, Doctor, you're the last person I expected to see breaking into a museum.”

“Crime doesn't pay,” he said lightly, taking the hammer from her hand.

“Other than financially,” she said.

“I need you.”

“Well, of course you do. This isn't really a good time for me, but if you feel like a quickie when I'm done...”

“Your skills,” he clarified. “I need your skills. And you, since they're your skills.”

“Planning a break-in?”

He nodded. “Of a sort, yes.”

She raised a perfectly-sculpted eyebrow. “What's in it for me?”

“You get to save the world, and the galaxy, and possibly the universe.”

“Yes,” she said, “but what's in it for me?”

The Doctor sighed. “What do you want?”

“Let me think. Hmm. A share of the ill-gotten gains.”

He shook his head. “Not possible, what else?”

“I'll give you three guesses,” she said with a wicked smile.

“If you agree to come along you get a trip in the TARDIS.” He paused. “And I'll give you some psychic paper, help you when you need false identification.”

“Hmm. Alright.” She picked up her backpack and walked past him into the blue box.

The Doctor introduced everyone, stopped Jack and Christina flirting with each other, and put the TARDIS in flight. “Just one more recruit.”

“Who?” asked Jack.

“Demolition expert.”

The offices of A Charitable Earth were light and spacious. The Doctor read a leaflet about animal rights as he waited for the receptionist to finish her call.


“Hello,” he said, leaning over the counter, “I need to speak to your head of operations.”

“I'm afraid she's very busy at the moment. It could take months before you can get an appointment.”

“She'll want to see me, I'm an old friend.”

The receptionist, whose badge said her name was Janine, looked doubtful. “As I said, she's very busy, Mr...?”


“Doctor who?” she asked, picking up the phone and dialling an extension number.

“Just tell her it's the Doctor.” He smiled and took a seat next to the Fair Trade coffee machine. He only had to wait a few minutes before a dark-haired woman appeared in the foyer. She was older than he remembered, nearing forty now, but he still recognised the girl he'd known so long ago.

He smiled at her. “Ace.”

She looked him up and down. “Professor?” She grinned and pulled him into a hug. “I heard you'd regenerated, but I wasn't expecting you to be so... well, young.”

“And look at you, all grown up!” He held her at arms-length, studied her. “Do you still make nitro-nine?”

Ace glanced round the foyer. “This is a charity, Professor, not a front organisation for radial direct action.”

“Of course not,” he said, loudly, “I'd never suggest otherwise.” Then, more quietly, he said, “I'll take that as a yes.”

“Right,” said the Doctor. “Now that we've all been introduced it's time I told you why I've brought you all together.”

“Yes, what are we stealing?” asked Christina.

The Doctor pressed a button on the console and a hologram of a rocky sphere appeared near the outer doors.

“A moon?” asked Jack.

“That's no moon,” said Malcolm.

“This,” said the Doctor, “is the main Dalek archive, right in the middle of Dalek space and surrounded by a fleet of cloaked battleships.” He pressed another button and the fleet shimmered into view. “Absolutely impossible to break into. Nothing gets in unless the Dalek Emperor gives special permission, nothing gets out unless it's gone through a memory-wipe.”

“I take it we don't have permission,” said Jack.

“Can't you just nip in and out in your little blue box?” asked Christina.

The Doctor shook his head. “There's a temporal inhibitor around the central core, where they keep the most important artefacts. It's almost like they're trying to keep me out.”

“What's the target?” asked Ace.

The hologram changed to a picture of a glowing silver sculpture. “Ace, you remember the Nemesis statue?”

“I thought she got blown up with the Cyberfleet?”

“No,” said the Doctor, “it just looked that way. It disappeared in the Time War, everyone thought it had been destroyed in one of the final attacks on the Dalek homeworld.”

“Time War?” asked Ace.

“I'll explain later,” said the Doctor easily. “I got a message on the psychic paper a few hours ago. From the statue.”

“What did it say?” asked Jack.

“'Help me.'” The Doctor looked at his team. “I traced the signal back, she's in the core, the Daleks are probably trying to take her apart.”

Malcolm cut in. “But the Nemesis statue is Time Lord technology. We can't let the Daleks get their hands on that.”

The Doctor nodded. “Imagine Daleks with impenetrable casings, able to shift into any form, utterly unstoppable. So,” he said, “I assembled the Coal Hill Mob.”

The other four stared at him, Finally Christina said, “We don't need a name.”

“I think we should be called The A-Team,” said Malcolm.

“Absolutely not,” said Christina.

“Names aside,” said the Doctor, “I think we're a crack team. We use the TARDIS to get past the fleet, Jack gets us into the archive with the vortex manipulator, Malcolm and Christina get us through any doors, and Ace makes sure we don't get killed.”

“So we're on a rescue mission,” said Malcolm. “I don't usually get to go on missions.”

“We stick a teleport relay on the statue, beam everyone back to the TARDIS, and then we run like hell.”

“Sounds good,” said Jack.

“I reckon there's about a ten percent chance that we can pull this off without all of us getting killed,” said the Doctor.

“Oh,” said Malcolm.

The Doctor looked at him. “If you want to back out, now's your chance,” he offered.

Malcolm shook his head. “No. I said I'd help you and I will.”

“Right. Any questions?”

“Just one,” said Christina. “What's a Dalek?”

The TARDIS materialised above the archive, a bright blue spot in the sky until the Doctor managed to make her go invisible.

“Someone remember where we parked,” he said, taking the vortex manipulator from Jack. He waved the sonic screwdriver over it, unlocking the system and expanding the transport field. “Grab a hold of each other,” he told them, “and prepare for a bumpy ride.”

They popped back into real space in a large metal chamber with squiggly red writing on the walls. “Level Eight,” said the Doctor, reading it. “We're close.”

Malcolm vomited.

“Christina, there should be an air vent somewhere round here. I need you to get through to the other side and open the door.”

“Not a problem,” she said, locating the vent and with Jack's help removing the covering grill.

“Malcolm,” said the Doctor taking care not to stand in sick, “you disable the automatic defences in sector. Try to make it look like a temporary fault.”

“Will do,” said Malcolm, hurrying to a computer console by the wall.

The door slid open and Malcolm gave a quick thumbs-up.

“I'll check for Daleks, Ace, you take the rear.” He handed her a portable scanner and led the way.

They moved quickly through a maze of identical corridors, the Doctor scanning ahead with the sonic screwdriver. He stopped and slid open a door that nobody else had noticed sitting flush against the wall. “We'll take the lift.”

They approached the core cautiously.

“This is way too easy,” said Jack, worried.

“I told the computer system that we're a vermin infestation,” said Malcolm. “I thought that might confuse it a bit, if nothing else.”

“This one,” said the Doctor, stopping at a heavy metal door. He looked through the viewing-port, but he couldn't see anything. “Lights,” he said.

Christina found the switch and they crowded round to look inside.

“That's her,” said Ace.

“It's beautiful,” said Malcolm.

“Right, we need to get this door open.” He tried the lock. “Ace, time for the direct approach.”

“They'll hear the blast,” she said.

“We're almost there, we can take the risk.”

Ace pulled a canister of nitro-nine from her backpack, waved the others away, and set the timer.

They hid from the explosion round the corner, then made their way though the hole in the wall. Ace waited in the corridor, looking at her scanner.

Jack reached towards the statue. The Doctor caught his wrist. “Safer not to.”

Malcolm stuck the teleport relay to the base of the statue and the Doctor set the coordinates. The Nemesis shifted out of the room. When the statue was gone the alarms started ringing.

“Professor!” called Ace. “We've got company!”

The Doctor pulled her into the room. “And we're leaving.” He touched the vortex manipulator.

Nothing happened.

“When did you charge this power-cell, Jack?” demanded the Doctor.

“I didn't, it hasn't worked since you did your mojo on it.”

“Does anyone have a spare battery on them?” asked the Doctor, hopefully.

“There's a Dalek about to enter this corridor,” said Ace.

“Oh for...” Malcolm grabbed the scanner and the vortex manipulator. “These are compatible.” He took the sonic screwdriver from the Doctor. “Just set up a power flow between them.”

A Dalek glided around the corner. Malcolm hit the button on the vortex manipulator.

They landed in a heap on the floor of the TARDIS. The Doctor jumped to his feet and rushed to the console. “Jack, help me get us out of here.”

Malcolm stared up at the statue in the middle of the room. “Do you need this?” he asked, thinking of his job and the fact that he'd quite like to keep it.

“You're not having it,” said the Doctor.

Ace touched Malcolm's arm. “You don't want her. She's dangerous.”

Jack spoke up. “Maybe too dangerous for UNIT, but Torchwood -”

“No,” said the Doctor, as he pulled the TARDIS into the vortex. He went over to the statue. He cleared his throat. “Are you listening?”

The Nemesis looked at him. “I am always listening.”

“Did the Daleks find out anything about how you work?” he asked.

“I kept my secrets.” She held out a metal hand. “What am I to be this time, Doctor?”

“Stardust,” he said. “This time it's over. I'm going to jettison you into a supernova.”

“You can't kill her!” cried Malcolm. “That's a living thing!”

“A very dangerous living thing,” said the Doctor.

“She said, last time, that you made her,” said Ace. “Can't you make her something... safe?”

Malcolm looked up at the Doctor with pleading eyes. “Please?”

“I can't,” said the Doctor. “She reflects the person that gave her her form. I'm dangerous, and so is she.”

“I'm not dangerous,” said Christina.

“But you're hardly innocent. You're a thief.”

“Everyone's stolen something!” she protested.

“I haven't,” said Malcolm, rather proudly. “I've never even returned a library book late.”

“You didn't have a misspent youth?” asked Christina sceptically.

“None of you are innocent enough,” said the Doctor firmly. “I'm sorry, I have to destroy the statue.”

“There is one thing we could do...” said Malcolm, thoughtfully.

“He turned it into building blocks? For children?”

The Doctor shrugged. “Well, it seemed worth a try. Children can be horrible, but they don't usually want to take over the universe.”

River stared at him. “That's insane.” She shook her head. “Now I know you're lying to me. I believed you about breaking into the Dalek archive, but -”

“It's all true!” he protested.

“It can't be! You lie too much,” she scolded him, “I can never tell when you're making up a story to seem interesting.”

“I have witnesses!”

“All of whom would probably say anything you asked them to.”

“Christina wouldn't.”

“Assuming she really exists.”

The Doctor stared at the woman who might be his future wife. How could she doubt him? He waved a hand. “It doesn't matter whether you believe it, it still happened.”

“If you say so, Sweetie.”

Well, maybe he'd embellished a few details here and there, but most of what he'd told her was true. Ninety percent at least. Well, maybe eighty percent...