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Biting Time (1/2)

Title: Biting Time
Fandom: Doctor Who
Series: Doctor Who/TOC Files
Characters: Nine, Rose, Jack, OC
Word Count: 10,310
Rating: G (I believe)
Notes: This is the fourth installment in my planned series to have Alan Kelly meet all of the Doctor's incarnations. Thanks to an earlier poll, I have a few ideas brewing for later stories. Thanks to Ray for being a great beta and attempting to organize my wayward plot strands

Disclaimer The Doctor, Rose, Jack and the TARDIS belong to the BBC. Alan and Ryan Kelly, Eric Rader and Shannon Flynn are mine.




Biting Time

Friendship should be more than biting
Time can sever.
T. S. Eliot, "Murder in the Cathedral


Alan knew everything had gone south the minute his mysterious contact pulled a gun on him. "C'mon," he said trying to talk the man out of it. "How is killing me going to help you any?"

"Who said anythin' about killin' ya?" The barrel of the gun relocated from his face to his leg.

He barely heard the shots as they were fired but he sure as hell felt them as they burned through the flesh of his knee and thigh. He tried to smother a scream as the pain overwhelmed him and he fell to the ground. He closed his eyes to muster up the strength to get up again but when he opened them, he was alone.

Concentrate. You need to send a message. A moment of dizziness passed. He couldn't move. Shock and loss of blood most probably. His friends would help him. He concentrated his thoughts and sent a brief SOS before passing out.

*************************************************

The TARDIS lurched and Rose gripped the console. "What's going on? What did you do?" she demanded.

"I didn't do a thing!" Jack yelled back.

The Doctor scrambled around the console and checked the displays. "It's the TARDIS. She's changed direction on her own. She's picked up a psychic distress signal."

"What? Why no flashing lights? There's always flashing lights!"

"Not with a psychic signal. It's outside the range of normal detection. Mind you, that lurch that just happened did give us a clue."

The TARDIS began running smoothly once more.

"There you go. Piece of cake."

"What did you do?"

The Doctor smiled. "Nothing."

"Nothing? And you're going to take credit for doing nothing?"

"Yes. Imagine if I had done something."

Rose thought about that for a moment. "Right." She patted his back. "Well, done then."

The Doctor smiled. "Thanks."

"All over time and space there must be hundreds of psychic signals," started Jack.

"Millions," agreed the Doctor.

"Why did the TARDIS latch on to this one?"

"She recognizes it." He studied the screen, trying to make sense of the information spilling across it. "Has to be pretty strong to reach out here."

"So who's traveled with you that has strong psi abilities?" asked Jack.

"What? You need a list? We'll soon find out anyway. We've arrived."

The central column slowly came to a halt and Rose wondered what they'd be getting into.

Finding trouble by accident was one thing, stepping into it on purpose was another. Jack certainly expected trouble. He drew his gun and checked the clip.
The Doctor was the first outside and Rose pushed her way past Jack to be second. The TARDIS had materialized in an alley that could have been anywhere, any time. The only light came from a streetlamp at the other end. There were piles of crates and boxes all over as well as some scattered dustbins. She wrinkled her nose as the smell of refuse assaulted her nostrils.

"You sure this is the place, Doctor? Jack lowered his weapon. "There's nothing here."

"I wasn't driving,"

"What's that?"

The light from Jack's blue wrist-torch revealed a dark mound of something further down that looked like a pile of rags until she saw the shoes.
Rose then noticed the big pool of blood by the man's right leg. After all she had witnessed with the Doctor, seeing this much blood from one person, possibly someone the Doctor knew, from his home away from home, made it much more personal. This could be her London. This man could easily be someone she knew: her mum, Mickey, Shareen, anyone. No, not Mickey. He wasn't psychic. He was nowhere near psychic.

The Doctor rushed over and immediately felt for a pulse. "He's alive! Rose, get to the infirmary! Fetch a stretcher."

"Right! I'm on it!"

Rose darted back to the ship and followed the twists and turns to the medical bay. She retrieved the stretcher as well as the Doctor's Gladstone bag and returned to the scene of the accident, crime? The Doctor would sort it out. She had faith in him.

Rose returned. As she unfurled the stretcher the Doctor opened his bag and pulled out a bandage.

"Jack, apply pressure to the wound. Rose, you're with me."

Rose and the Doctor gently lifted him to the stretcher's canopy.

"Is he gonna be all right?"

"Once we get him set up in the TARDIS he'll be fine. 'Course if he had gotten shot in the wrist or hand, we wouldn't be having this problem."

"How would that've been better?"

"They're fake, Rose."

"So you do know this guy, Doctor?"

"Oh, yeah." He nodded his head. "I know him."

*****************************************************************

Alan woke. Before he even opened his eyes, he could tell he was in a hospital bed. Again. Like the seven kinds of idiot he was, he let himself get shot. He tried to move his right leg. He could do so and without pain. It felt strange though, like little pins and needles trying to convince him that they weren't pins and needles. Whatever was healing him was still working its techno-magic. This indicated he was being treated with medicine superior to his own time. He opened his eyes. There was only the one bed and there were instruments monitoring him, but they were nothing like those he had seen before--and he had seen a lot of hospital rooms. That confirmed it. Alien. The room itself was of an irregular shape and the walls were luminescent green that was somehow comforting. The scent of roses was in the air instead of the sterile smell he associated with hospitals.

Not one to lie in bed, he stood slowly, gently putting weight on his injured leg until he was sure it would hold. He was ready to explore.

The corridor outside his room was of the same material as the sick bay and the lighting was a bit brighter. He headed right and kept walking, peeking his head inside open doors to see disused rooms with sheet-covered furniture. He didn't know why, but he didn't hesitate in his turns. Somehow, he knew where he was going.

He turned another corner and came upon what seemed to be a little nook complete with chair, side table, and lamp. But that's not what drew his attention. Set into the wall was a round indentation, what would have been called a porthole had this been a ship. "A roundel? Is it possible?" He laughed. "I'm inside the TARDIS!"

He continued on and about five minutes later he heard laughing and knew he had reached his destination. He stood in the doorway and gazed about. The room had that same green light emanating from the walls that reached up to a cathedral ceiling. The console was in the center on a raised platform with catwalks all around it. Two men were at the console and a girl with blonde hair was watching.

"I like what you've done with the place," he stated as he entered. All eyes looked his way. "Never thought you'd change it."

The man wearing a leather jacket turned and grinned and Alan knew this was the Doctor. "I knew you wouldn't stay still," he said in a northern accent. He bounded over and nearly hugged the stuffing out of him. "You know, you really should rest and let the catalysts do their work."

"I'll just pretend I know what you're talking about."

"That's what I do," said the blonde.

"Introductions?"

" 'Course." The Doctor released him. He placed his arm around the blonde woman. "Rose Tyler, London 2005."

She lit up the room with her smile and waved. The Doctor's tastes in knockout women hadn't changed, or maybe the women chose him. " 'Lo," said Rose. "How're you feeling?"

"A little weak but better, thanks."

The Doctor gestured to the other man.

"Captain Jack Harkness, 51st century by way of the Blitz, allow me to introduce Col. Alan Kelly of the Temporal Observer Corps, 23rd century."

"May I say it is an honor meeting you," said the captain with a grin. "You were an inspiration." He pumped Alan's hand.

"Watch what you say," the Doctor cautioned. "Can't let him know his future."

"Right, yeah."

"It's not like I don't know something of it," Alan said. "Remember our first meeting, the 40th century?"

The Doctor didn't say another word.

Rose helped him to a chair. "So, you've known the Doctor long?"

"It probably seems longer for him than me, but a few years I guess. Seems we always meet by accident." He looked back at the Doctor. "How did you find me this time?"

"Thank the TARDIS," The Doctor answered. "She picked up your telepathic signal."

"Wow." He patted the console. "I was just trying to call to my friends so they could help me. If you got the message, they probably did too. Are we still in the alley?"

********************************************************************

When Alan's message ended mid-sentence and they were unable to track him, Shannon had begun to panic. He had insisted on following up the lead alone. He assured them he could leave when things got bad or he could call them. That had been hours ago. They had homed in on his machine only to find it and the rest of his personal belongings tossed in a bag at the site of the meet.

Meeting Alan had changed her life. When he had moved into the flat above hers, she befriended him, showing him the best places in Dublin to shop and eat. When he told her he was from the future, she scoffed. Then she got whisked back to Jamaica in the 17th century and that obviously changed. She was now part of an elite team that traveled to different events in the past. Alan was a friend. She refused to believe he was dead.

They had expanded their search to encompass nearby streets and alleys hoping to find a link to Alan, some proof he was still alive.

"Guys, I found something," came Eric's voice from the latest alley. It wasn't a happy sound. She and Ryan, Alan's brother, joined him. "Looks like a lot of blood. I don't think..."

Eric's voice faded away as Shannon, looking pale, wandered to the opposite end of the alley. She raised her head. A feeling of elation swept over her. She laughed. "He's okay!"

"What makes you say that?" asked Ryan. There's nothing here to give that impression."

"Nothing except that." She pointed to where an incongruous tall blue box stood.

"Oh, Christ! Not him again. I so did not like him last time."

"Well, whatever he's like now, he's got Alan." She wondered what he would be like this time. What would he look like? The first time she had met him he had striking good looks and a wonderfully melodic voice. All in all, a stunning package. The second time, however, he was heavier with curly blond hair and very arrogant. He had explained that his race had the ability to regenerate, to completely change physically, at the point of death. Hopefully, they wouldn't be seeing that one again.

She knocked on the door. "Doctor! Open up!"

*****************************************************

Jack had seen quite a bit in his travels but nothing had prepared him for coming face-to-face with his boyhood hero. That was joining the Time Agency meant so much to him.

He watched as the colonel talked with Rose and the Doctor. The pictures and vids he had seen didn't do the man justice. His facial features were finely sculpted, his eyes a deep green, and his sandy brown hair fell a little longer than regulation. From what Jack could tell while carrying him to the TARDIS was that he had a decent physique too.

To stop from staring, he tried to look busy at the console. Movement on the monitor caught his eye. There were people in the alley. They stopped by where the colonel had been lying, possibly studying the blood. The woman noticed the TARDIS and smiled. It was then Jack realized this must be the rest of the TOC. He had hit the jackpot! He was about to tell the Doctor when a knocking sounded on the TARDIS door. "Doctor! Open up!"

"Doctor, we have company." he grinned.

*************************************************

Ryan was not looking forward to encountering the Doctor again. The last one was arrogant and loud--including his outfit. When they met the first time he was very personable and didn't pick on him for every wrong word that didn't fit in the Doctor's universe. I wonder if anything carries over from one incarnation to the next? Memories, obviously, but does he ever look back and say "What a complete ass I was then"?

The door opened to Shannon's knocks and a tall man looked out. He was wearing black jeans, a maroon v-neck pullover, and black leather jacket. His face was angular with a prominent nose and close-cropped brown hair. "I was wondering when you lot were gonna show up. C'mon in then." The accent wasn't quite what he expected but he already was an improvement over the last one.

He followed Shannon and Eric into the TARDIS where he was greeted by a control room that seemed more organic like it was grown as opposed to the uniform white walls he had seen before. The console was on a gantry with the inner workings below. On the opposite side from the entrance was a small sitting area and that's where Alan was, a pretty blonde at his side as usual. She looked to be around twenty or so. There was also a man around their age who looked ridiculously chiseled and cheesy.

Who said the Doctor couldn't have two companions? "Looks like you weren't the only one to have a makeover."

"Yeah, well, I needed to start over fresh so I reconfigured the TARDIS."

"Hey, Alan. You okay?"

"Been better. The Doctor found me and patched me up." The blonde coughed. "Oh, sorry. Rose Tyler, Jack Harkness, this is my brother Ryan, that's Eric Rader, and the mother hen here is Shannon Flynn."

Shannon was indignant. "You were missing for hours."

Alan looked to the Doctor for confirmation. "Yeah. The bullet hit an artery. In fact maybe you should get back to bed for a bit now."

Alan didn't argue which made Ryan think he must either really be in pain or he felt everything was under control. {You okay really?}

{I think the pain meds are wearing off plus I am a bit tired. They can fill you in on everything.}

"One of us will be here when you get up," he told his brother as Shannon walked with him out of the room. When they were gone, he turned to the TARDIS crew. "So, what happened?"

*************************************************

"You're starting early." The Doctor looked at Ryan.

"Starting what?"

"Demanding answers."

"I'm not demanding anything. Alan said you'd explain."

"Typical ape. Waiting for an explanation instead of trying to figure it out yourself. Don't know why I bother," he muttered as he strode back to the console.

He didn't have to wait long for the explosion he knew was coming.

"You arrogant, stuck-up, son of a bitch!" Ryan stormed over to him. "You come here with the belief you're better than everyone else when you're not! You shoot down anything that doesn't fit into your view of the universe! Yeah, you helped us out a couple times but from what I understand, Alan saved your butt too-don't know why. We may be descended from apes, but we evolved. You might want to try it yourself!"

The Doctor stood there, arms crossed, no expression on his face. "You done?"

"Yeah, I am."

"Feel better?"

"Actually, I do."

He smiled. "Good. Better to get it out now than later." He paused. "Was I really that much of a jerk last time?"

"Pretty much, yeah. If it didn't have a scientific explanation, you didn't want to hear anything else."

"Words like 'astral projection', 'possession', and 'voodoo' were no-no's," put in Eric.

"Alan told you we'd explain?" questioned Rose. "I didn't hear anything."

"Telepathy," Jack answered for him. "They're twins."

"How did you know that?" Eric asked. "Alan only said they were brothers."

"I'm from the future-your future. I know almost everything about you."

"Which he will be keeping to himself," the Doctor interjected. "We don't need to mess with the continuum." Again.

Knowing that would halt further conversation on that topic-albeit temporarily-the Doctor changed it to something more pertinent. "What was Alan doing in an alley?" he asked Eric knowing he was not one to elaborate.

Eric looked at Ryan who shrugged. "Some really weird things have been happening around Alan lately-not just to him. Most people would write it off as coincidence, but Alan's convinced he's been singled out for some reason."

"And what do you think?"

"At first, I thought it was coincidence, but when we looked into it further it was too bizarre. Items that were functioning normally would either go haywire when he came by or stop working altogether. Tightly secured items would crash to the ground just missing him. It got to the point where people would give him a wide berth not wanting to be caught in his wake."

"I'm sure you've run tests ruling out any abnormal energy signals?"

"After the first few instances, yes. It was the first thing we thought of."

"The fact that the TARDIS remains unaffected rules out that it is Alan himself." He pressed a few buttons on the console and flicked a couple switches before looking at the monitor. "All signs normal." He looked up at the two men. "That still doesn't explain what he was doing in the alley."

"My heroic, headstrong, idiot of a brother thought he could find the source by investigating on his own as there was never going to be an official investigation. He was so convinced he could get away without a problem, he went alone."

"Bungled the shot," put in Jack as he and Rose walked over. "Head and chest are definite kill shots."

"They didn't want to kill him." Shannon had returned.

***********************************************

After Shannon had finished fussing over him, she had laid into him for taking such stupid risks. "You could've been killed!"

" 'Who said anythin' about killin' ya?' " Alan had quoted as he settled back into the pillows.

"What?"

"He was pointing the gun at my face and I tried to talk him out of it. I think I said something like 'What good will killing me do?' That's when he said that before shooting me in the leg." He had stifled a yawn. "Don't know why people think doing something like that will put me off."

"I know. It's more likely to make you want to get to the bottom of it," Shannon had agreed. "Unless they want you to investigate."

"Mmm." He had said with his eyes closed.

"You get some sleep. We'll try to figure this out when you're feeling more the thing." She had dimmed the lights and left the room.

Once she had gone, he opened his eyes and lay there, trying to think if he had missed something, anything, that would help him figure out what the hell had happened to him. His brain didn't seem to want to work and he fell asleep.

*******************************************

Rose looked at the Doctor as he turned away from her. He stared at the threshold of the console room. Shannon stood there. He smiled her. She smiled back. Shannon crossed the console room. The Doctor enveloped her in a warm hug, which felt like a slap to Rose.

"Right, she gets a hug and we get hell," remarked Ryan.

The Doctor ended the hug. "Still hanging with these idiots I see."

"Yeah, they come with the job."

"How do you know they didn't want him dead?" Rose asked, ending the reminiscing before it got started.

"That's what Alan told me." When the woman faced her, Rose could see she was somewhere around thirty, ten years older than herself. "That's why he was shot in the leg."

"Well, that widens the possibilities," said the Doctor. "So, what are they?" he asked them.

"Alan can get in to see practically anyone," said the quiet one, Eric.

"His name does open doors," Ryan agreed. "They could be coercing him into doing something nasty like assassination."

"Far-fetched but plausible," said the Doctor. "What else?"

"What if the shooter wanted Alan to keep investigating?" asked Shannon. "For most, it would act as a warning, but for Alan, he'd want to get to the bottom of it."

"Could be. What else?"

"You guys can go to any place at any time," said Jack. "It could be that whoever's behind this wants Alan to do something that way."

"Good, good. What else?" He looked at Rose.

"What if," she started slowly, "they need to use his body like Gwyneth?"

"Turning him into a conduit, a portal. Yes, that could be it."

An alarm on the console started beeping and the Doctor turned to see what was causing it. "This is not good." Without a word of explanation, he tore out of the room and down the hallway.

Rose rushed after him and could hear the others following.

**********************************************************

Eric raced down the halls making sure to keep one of the TARDIS crew in sight at all times. He had no desire to get lost in the maze of corridors. There was a smell of electricity in the air and he could feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. He stopped behind Rose and Jack as they stood in the doorway to Alan's room. He sensed Shannon and Ryan's arrival soon after but didn't spare them a glance. His eyes were on Alan's sleeping form that seemed to be emitting a weird blue glow. The Doctor was moving about the room, taking readings from every corner, most likely to get a bearing on the energy.

He backed away to let Shannon and Ryan have a better look. "It's never been like this before," Shannon whispered. "Not that I've seen."

"Most likely only happens when he's asleep. Defenses are down and the body is more susceptible," the Doctor answered.

Eric heard a soft "hunh" and guessed the source to be Jack. The Doctor came to the door. "Did anything happen on any recent missions?"

"No, nothing." Ryan replied, his eyes still on his brother.

"There was that trip he took alone to Trelfalfax," Eric volunteered. "It was about a week or so before all this started."

"That might be it. We'll check it out." He strode back to the console room.

"You're just going to leave him like that?" Rose asked, following him. "Can't you do anything?"

"Placed a dampening field around him so it can't get any stronger. It'll give up soon."

Eric hung near the back of the group. "Jack?" he called.

The man turned with an easy smile. "Yeah?"

"When the Doctor said this only happened when Alan slept and Shannon hadn't seen it, you seemed a bit surprised. Why?"

"Just seemed an obvious match is all. Especially how she hovered around him when she first came in." His smile turned to a smirk. "Didn't want to be accused of poaching." He turned and caught up with the others.

Somehow, I don't think that would have stopped you.

**********************************************************

As Jack walked down the TARDIS corridors he realized he had to watch what he didn't say almost as much as what he did. The books and manuals he had studied made little or no mention of personal lives so he had had to depend on the movies-and his own dirty mind--introducing a romance where there was none. He thought he covered up nicely with that line about not wanting to poach. He chuckled. He was the Universe's Most Consummate Poacher. Knowing they weren't the couple he thought they were, he could turn on the charm. They were all fair game.

He arrived in the console room to see the Doctor at the controls setting a new destination. "Off to find out who's doing this?"

"I'm curious as to who has the power to do this," the Doctor responded. "Alan will need to stay in the TARDIS. We can't risk him getting exposed again. Someone will need to stay with him." He looked around waiting for volunteers.

Jack was looking for a little one-on-one time with his hero even though he was asleep and was just about to open his mouth when Eric spoke up.

"I'll stay."

That's one selection removed from the hot buffet.

"You sure?" asked Ryan.

"Yeah. I have a few things to think over while Alan's out."

The up-and-down of the inner workings of the TARDIS center column slowed and shuddered to a halt. "OK then." The Doctor rubbed his hands together. "Let's go see what we can see."

As he followed the others to the outer TARDIS door, Jack checked to see that his gun was still there. It wouldn't make a good impression if when being challenged by the enemy he pulled out a banana. Satisfied he was properly equipped, Jack stepped outside.

****************************************************************

Ryan followed the Doctor and Rose onto the bleak and stony landscape. He had to protect his eyes from the dust driven by the near gale-force winds. There had to be some sort of civilization here or why had Alan been sent?

"It looks like there's a village or something down there," said Shannon as she peered through squinted eyes.

"Where?" asked Rose as she tried to keep her hair from whipping into her eyes.

Shannon pointed. "It's a group of buildings, anyway."

Jack studied a device on his wrist. "I'm not getting any life-signs."

"Can you blame them?" Ryan asked no one in particular. "I'd jump at the chance to leave this place."

"No life-signs mean we can explore freely." The Doctor was already headed that way.

There was nothing to do but follow him. The slope was a mix of stone and dirt that made for slow going. Rose would have gone down if Ryan hadn't caught her by the arm. "You okay?"

"Yeah, thanks."

She looked at him as if she wanted to say more. "What?"

"It's just that I've never seen anyone go at the Doctor like that without him yelling back."

Ryan smiled. "He was letting me clear the air after last time."

"Was he really that bad?"

"I may have overstated it a bit. It's just that when facing a crisis, there's no need to bicker over words."

"Thing is, he never mentioned you. There's still so much he hasn't said."

"Well, there's probably so much in that head of his that some memories get pushed to the back until something familiar brings them forward. I'm sure you've had something similar happen. Chatting with friends, swapping stories and then you're like 'Wow, I totally forgot about that'."

They caught up with the Doctor, Shannon and Jack in the middle of what appeared to be a simple village that had seen better days.

"You two certainly took your time," commented the Doctor.

"Not all of us have the benefit of having two hearts," Rose answered.

"Yeah." The Doctor grinned. "I sometimes wonder how you humans get by with just the one."
They surveyed the road, trying to figure out the best place to start. "What about that big building?" Shannon asked pointing to a building that was easily twice the size of the others-which really wasn't saying much. "Better chance of hiding something in a larger building."

"Brains and beauty," declared Jack appreciatively. "Watch out, Rose. Looks like you've got competition."

Rose only glared while Shannon ignored him.

"All right. We take it easy. No rushing in. There could be traps waiting for us," advised the Doctor as he went first. Rose followed at his heels and Jack was third, weapon drawn. Rose heard the Doctor talking to Jack.

"Jack, watch the gun. Try not to shoot Rose, Shannon, or me."

"What about Ryan?"

"Nah. You can shoot, Ryan."

Rose grinned.

Ryan had his gun out as well. "You go, Shane. I'll cover the rear."

"No, I'll go last. If I follow Jack, he'll think I'm covering his rear."

Ryan tried to hold back a laugh but failed.

"It's not funny. Everything is innuendo with that guy. Didn't stop flirting the whole way down."

"Fine, I'll go," he said with a chuckle. "Can't have you feeling uncomfortable when a good-looking guy comes on to you," he whispered as he passed. Of course, you might feel differently if the Doctor was the guy.

{I heard that!}

*******************************************************

The Doctor entered the large community hall and was immediately aware of the sense of disuse. The must, spider webs and rodent nests supported this first impression. There was something else, something underneath it all that wasn't right. It all seemed like a set, as if it were designed.

"So this was the villain's lair," commented Rose as she walked about. "Bit of a let-down."

"Not very Bond, is it?" agreed Shannon. "Always hidden underneath a volcano or something with rows of equipment blinking away."

"This guy must not've read the manual," Jack commented, looking about.

"Underground, of course!" the Doctor exclaimed. "That would explain why this feels like a set dressing. Start looking for hidden doors."

Jack began to scan the room with his 'tricorder'. The Doctor rolled his eyes, wishing Jack would use his. As far as computers went, nothing beat the brain-even a human one.

"I'm getting something from over here," Jack informed them as he slowly walked towards the inner wall. The area in question flickered letting them know it was merely a projection. "Yep, this must be the place." He walked closer and on the last step, a click echoed through the room. Jack froze, barely breathing.

The Doctor fingered the sonic screwdriver in his pocket. However, in searching for the right frequency to disarm the device, he could very well blow Jack up. Before he could form any other ideas, Ryan rushed over, tackling Jack, pushing him out of the way of the blast.

In the milliseconds it took Ryan to tumble Jack, the Doctor swung over the table. The intense heat tore through his leather jacket as he grabbed Rose and threw her down. As the light faded and the god-awful crack subsided, he helped Rose to her feet. He took her head in his hands and stared deep into her otter brown eyes. He could feel his hearts beating faster. "You all right?"

She flashed him a gorgeous smile. "What?" she whispered. "Oh, yeah."

Remembering they weren't alone, he called to the others. "Shannon! Jack! Ryan!"
Then he heard a cough. "I'm here. I'm fine," Shannon responded as she slowly stood.
When the smoke cleared a little further, the Doctor saw the others.
Sprawled on his back, Jack was smiling up at Ryan whose face was mere inches away. "I was wondering how long it would take before you were all over me."

Ryan pushed himself up. "If I hadn't, you'd've been all over." He held out a hand to help the pilot stand.

"If you're quite done, gentlemen, we'd better go see what you've uncovered."

He took out the screwdriver and used its blue light to point the way. Shannon and Ryan contributed the beams from their torches. The narrow passage led to a set of stairs.

"Watch your footing. There might be something else waiting."

At the base of the stairs was a wide metal doorway. "The energy reading is behind there," said Jack somewhat unnecessarily.

There was a sensor beside the door and the Doctor ran his hand in front of it and the door slid open with a hiss. "Must've thought no one would get this far," commented Ryan.

Inside were rows of instruments and panels lined up against the walls. "Now this is more like it," said Rose. "Underground lair with blinking machinery."

"Except none of it's blinking," put in Shannon.

"It's kinda hard for them to blink when they're smashed to bits." Ryan prodded one of the dead machines with his gun.

"Whoever was behind all this didn't want anyone to find out exactly what he was up to so he destroyed what he couldn't carry. There's a chance I could reconstruct one of these and find out what's going on but it'll take time-something Alan doesn't have too much of."

"But you've got that dampening thing going," said Rose. "He should be fine."

"If the energy builds up enough, it can break through the field," answered Jack as he paced the room.

On his back, the Doctor poked his head inside one of the machines. There were wires everywhere. This was going to take some time. "They were thorough, I'll give 'em that."

Something was said outside but he couldn't discern the words. As they didn't repeat it or try to get his attention, he kept working. The wiring was a mess but it had once been a fantastic piece of work. Now, if he could just get a better look at those connections... There was a sudden jolt in his foot as if someone had kicked him. Probably Ryan. He slid out from inside the machine. "What? I'm in the midst of something here."

"Found the source of the energy reading," Ryan answered. "According to Jack, it's not a good thing."

The Doctor shook his head. Oh, to work without interruption. He stood and followed Ryan to another room where Jack was with Rose and Shannon. The room was smaller than the main room and the machines less damaged. "What is it?"

"I wanted you to see it to confirm my suspicions," the former Time Agent responded.

The Doctor looked where Jack was indicating and noticed a weak red gleam emanating from an innocuous piece of technology. In and of itself, it was nothing but its applications were highly dangerous and banned by the Alliance. This did not bode well for Alan at all. He loosened the connections and slowly lifted it out.

"What's the verdict?" asked Shannon.

"I've got good news and bad news," he answered as he wrapped the item in a cloth and slipped it into his pocket.

"Good news first," said Ryan.

"This now let's me know what's been done to Alan."

"What is it?"

"It's commonly known as a Psi Combuster and it's been banned from most civilizations throughout the universe."

"How does a Psychobuster--"

"Psi Combuster."

"How does it work?"

"Nastily." The Doctor looked down into Rose's otter brown eyes. "Telepathy isn't magic."

"Ugh. There he goes again," Ryan muttered.

"Hush," Shannon said.

"Telepathy functions through elementary particles. Bosons. You ever hear of the Higgs Boson?"

"Well, yeah, hasn't everybody?" Rose lied.

"The Higgs Boson as you know conveys mass to matter. Kellson's Boson conveys memory. It's what's being sent out by telepaths when they speak to each other."

"So telepaths're really like spray bottles? These bosons come out, and hit other telepaths."

"Kind of, yeah." The Doctor grinned, happy to see Rose use her quite phenomenal brain. He was actually impressed that she knew what Higgs Boson was. "Now this little monster? It sucks up random thoughts."

"Random bosons."

"Exactly. The bosons of untrained telepaths, who are constantly emitting. The Psi Combuster focuses them onto the big lens and sends them to the target. The wheel controls the egg, and the egg controls the speed, and the velocity of random thought can kill."

"You mean like Scanners?"

"Yeah. The brain can only handle so much information. Even the Daleks wouldn't use these things, for fear of the combusters being turned against 'em."

"I thought you said that was the good news," said Shannon.

"It is," the Doctor confirmed.

"So what's the bad?" asked Ryan.

"We have less time than I thought."

***************************************************************

Alan woke slowly from one of the best naps he could recently remember. He sat up and saw Eric in a chair off to the side flipping through a book. "I know Ryan said one of you would be here when I woke up but I didn't think he meant it literally."

Eric looked up from the book, guilty at being caught. "How're you doing?"

He was trying to sound light but his face showed a deeper concern that had Alan worried. "I'm fine. Why? What happened?"

"You were glowing, like there was energy coursing through you. The Doctor put a field around you to hold it back."

Alan stood. "If whatever's happening to me has the Doctor nervous, we're in trouble." He headed for the console room. "Where are the others?"

"While you were asleep, we had a little pow-wow trying to figure out what was going on with you as well as how and why."

"And?"

"Since you were the only one affected, it had to be somewhere you went alone. We're on Trelfalfax and they're exploring."

"I could have saved them the trip. There's nothing there but rocks, dust, and abandoned settlements. It was a total waste of time."

"Apparently not. They've been gone over two hours. Must have found something."

"I'm gonna check on them."

It took even less time to get to the console room. If he didn't know any better, he'd swear that some of the corridors had cut to simplify the journey.
When they reached the console room, Alan eased himself into the comfy chair he had occupied earlier and contacted Shannon and Ryan. {Hey guys! Having a fun field trip?}

{Oh, yeah. One of the lesser-known paradise vacation spots in the universe,} came Ryan's reply. {How're you feeling?} he added.

{Great, actually. I could've saved you guys a trip. That place is nothing but rocks, dust and abandoned settlements. It's a total waste of time.}

{The Doctor doesn't think so. We found something that can help you,} Shannon informed him.

That can't be! How can they have found something there? He had a momentary flash of memory: bright lights and muffled voices witnessed from a reclined position. Then it was gone.

{Alan, you okay?}

{Yeah, fine.}

{We can see the TARDIS now. The Doctor will explain when we get there.}

"Alan, everything all right? You looked really pale there for a moment." Eric was staring at him intently.

"Just felt a little dizzy, is all. They're almost here."

"Good. Then we can find out what's going on."

"Shannon said they found something, but how could they? There's nothing there but rocks, dust and abandoned settlements."

This contradicted everything he could remember about the planet. He had no idea why he had even been sent. He had done a quick recce and went home. Not nearly enough time for anything to have happened. "There's nothing there but rocks, dust and abandoned settlements," he muttered.

**************************************************************

Rose kept her head down as much as possible to keep the blowing dust from her eyes. It would be that they had to rush back uphill. She spared the Doctor and Jack a glance and saw they were in deep conversation complete with gestures. She felt a little left out but it gave her an opportunity to study Shannon who was walking alongside her.

She was definitely Irish, but unlike most of the Irish Rose knew, Shannon didn't talk much. Granted, with the wind blowing like it was, talking was not easy. As if knowing Rose was watching her, Shannon looked at her.

"So, um, how long have you been with Alan?" she asked lamely.

"About five years, I guess. It's hard to keep track."

"Yeah, I know."

" 'Course. Sorry. How did you meet the Doctor?"

"He saved my life. Window shop dummies trying to take over the world."

"Certainly sounds like him. Mannequins, huh? It would be hard to go back to your old life after that," Shannon agreed. "Researching history always excited me but it pales in comparison to actually living it."

"You're not from this time?"

"Oh no. I was born in 1965. Alan moved into the flat above mine and we became friends. When I accidentally sent us both back to Jamaica in the 1600s, I learned the truth."

She was born the same year as Mum! "But you live here now?"

"I was checked out and once they learned my life wasn't all that earth-shattering, I was allowed to stay."

"Don't you miss your family?"

"I go back and visit. I told them my new job has me traveling a lot so they can't always reach me."

Another gust of wind blew at them and Rose had to wait to continue. "That's not exactly a lie, is it?"

When she didn't get an answer, Rose looked up again to see Shannon staring straight ahead still walking forward. She looked back to Ryan only to see the same thing. She rushed up to the Doctor and Jack. "There's something wrong with them. They're just staring ahead."

"Nah. That's just telepathy."

"Hnh."

Rose turned to see Shannon and Ryan--acting perfectly normal-catch them up. "Alan's awake," Ryan told them, "but he sounded strange. He was convinced there was nothing here."

"He seemed shocked when I told him we found something." Shannon faced Rose. "I hope that didn't freak you out."

"No, I just thought you were playing Statues."

"Statues?"

Hurrying to get out of the wind. they crowded into the TARDIS. Alan was standing with Eric by the console. She couldn't help but notice how relaxed he looked. His smile was almost as infectious as Jack's when he was at his most charming. "You look much better," she told him as she shook the dust from her hair. "Ugh, I need a shampoo."

"I feel much better, thanks." He looked at the Doctor. "I am kinda hurt that you didn't wait for me to wake up before you went."
"Couldn't risk anything happening." The Doctor replied without looking up from the console where he had placed the Combuster.

"That's just it. I could've saved you the trip. There's nothing there but--"

"Rocks, dust and abandoned settlements," his teammates finished in unison.

That got the Doctor's attention. "He's used that phrase before?"

"When I told him where you'd gone," answered Eric.

"And when he spoke to us," added Ryan.

"Post-hypnotic suggestion.

"Not again!"

Somehow Rose knew there would be an interesting story behind that.

*********************************************************

The Doctor bopped the TARDIS console with a rubber mallet, and the central console began chewing the seconds. "We need a plan. There's no point going into a potentially dangerous situation without knowing what you're doing."

Shannon heard Rose scoff and tried very hard not to smile.

"I need to break Alan's conditioning and hopefully that will give us another clue. You stay here and put your minds together. You might just come up with something before me."

"Well, he's still smug," Ryan commented once they had gone.

"No, he'd be smug if he wasn't right," put in Shannon as she sat on what appeared to be a green swinging chair. "I definitely would like to beat him to the punch."

"Join the club. So, what do we know?" asked Jack as joined Ryan.

Shannon smiled at this, thankful at being spared the constant flirting. "Alan was singled out, that's a given," she responded sitting opposite them.

"What about enemies?" volunteered Rose, leaning against the railing.

Ryan laughed. "I don't think we have enough time to go through them."

"Why else would he be the only one used?"

"Alan is like Nelson or Wellington; everyone wants him at their functions." Jack looked like he was warming up to his explanation before stopping. "Better not say anything else."

"What if getting Alan isn't the main objective?" put in Eric. "What if he's just a bonus, icing on the cake?"

"Interesting theory," Shannon said, "but what would they want?"

"Right. Alan's basically a living bomb, yeah?"

"So?"

"With me mate Mickey, the Doctor used to wind him. One time he did it in Trafalgar Square, and even the pigeons were lookin' at him funny."

"Point, Rose?"

"It was in public."

"Oh, now that's good, but not the general public. Alan. Alan spends most of his time on base. What would happen if he, um, went off, using Rose's metaphor, while there?" asked Eric.

"It would take most if not all of the base with him," said Jack. "Then there are the secondary explosions from the ships. Ya gotta admit it's a brilliant plan."

"It would also explain why they shot him," said Eric. "Wounded, he would be forced to stay on the Base. No missions."

"This means that whoever sent Alan to Trelfalfax was in on it." Shannon felt a chill up her spine. "We know he only accepts missions from superior officers. As it wasn't a temporal mission, that leaves the Committee out of it."

"That would only leave the big brass, right?" Rose looked at them, the beginnings of a smile on her face. "There can't be that many on the base for that."

"It's not just from the Base," Ryan explained. "There are any number of generals and admirals in the Alliance that might have done it."

"So how do we find out who's responsible?" Rose asked.

"If we had time, I'd say we needed to go through the database to find out who had contact with him. Since we don't, we just have to see if the Doctor can help Alan remember."

The console started beeping and Jack pushed himself out of his seat and went to check. "The TARDIS has isolated the frequency that's being used on Alan. Now it should be easy to jam the signal until we can track the source and stop it."

"So let's tell 'em." Rose was heading for the inner door.

"We might disturb them at a sensitive moment," warned Ryan. "In regards to the hypnosis," he added quickly for Jack's benefit.

"What'll we do then?"

"Something a little more advanced than statues." Shannon grinned and closed her eyes focusing on Alan and the Doctor.

*****************************************************

The Doctor brought Alan to the rejuvenated cloisters where wind chimes and a small fountain added to the tranquility. He loved to come here in those rare moments when nothing was going on. Time in here helped him focus and recharge. Now he would use it to help Alan relax and concentrate. "Have a seat." He motioned to a bench.

"Don't recall seeing this before." Alan looked about. "Pillars and climbing ivy? I half expect to see Cadfael walking around."

"Well, I did model this after a little monastery in Shrewsbury. Now, I want you to close your eyes and breathe deep." Alan did so. "Exhale. Again."

He could see Alan relax. "Now, listen to my voice. Take yourself back a couple months. You're in the Base relaxing when a superior officer approaches you."

"I'm in the mess when Gen. Fletcher sits at my table. I don't like him much and we hardly talk so this surprises me. He wants me to do a reconnaissance to a planet he thinks is acting as a base for Relkor. Nobody believes him so he can't get anyone to check it out. He asks me because I can go look and be back without anyone knowing I was gone. I agree to go but I'm a little suspicious. Before I leave I write a note for Ryan explaining everything in case something happens.

"I get there and take a short walk to the abandoned buildings gathered in the lee of the dunes. I walk around, explore and come back. There is nothing there and that's what I tell him."

The Doctor could sense stronger blocks on this section of memories. If it weren't for the time constraint, he would wait and try later. He reached out and placed his fingertips on Alan's temples and delved into his mind. There were quite a number of memories for such a relatively short life. Ah, there it is: resistance. There were some cracks so it looked like Alan was already trying to break the conditioning on his own.

He probed a little deeper and was rewarded with the memory of being strapped down, bright lights and blurry figures. The floodgates once opened couldn't hold back the flow as the memories returned.

The Doctor withdrew and opened his eyes to look at Alan. The pilot's eyes were wide and the shock was evident in his face. "Take it slow," the Doctor advised. "Don't try to process them all now. They'll all fall into place when they're ready. Hopefully it'll be before we need 'em."

"Doctor, if Relkor's involved, I think it's more than just me getting blown up. I think we're gonna be attacked and I need to warn the Base."

"I'll set the coordinates but your team will need to do the warning. I can't let you out of the TARDIS until we stop that signal."

"Doctor." The voice was a whisper, almost ethereal. He turned his head ever so slightly to the left and saw Shannon-rather a projection of her. He glanced over at Alan to find he was also surprised. "You need to come to the console room," she continued. "The TARDIS has found the frequency." She disappeared.

"Wow."

"What?"

"First time that she's had sound." Alan stood slowly, a little unsteady on his feet. "Now that you've run the tests, do you think you can cure me, Doctor?"

"Of course. You gotta be out there saving the world. I might be busy. 'Sides, I really don't want somebody else underfoot."

***************************************************

Eric was facing the door and was the first to see Alan and the Doctor return. Alan looked more determined than before which led Eric to believe that had cleared the block, "You okay?"

"Now that my head's together, yeah. It was Fletcher."

"What?" Shannon exclaimed.

"Well, he always hated you," Ryan put in. "Not everyone thinks of you as the Darling of the Alliance."

"But how did he know that you're telepathic?" Eric questioned.

"I don't know. Maybe he heard us talking or something. Could be he was just acting on suspicion."

"Yes!"

Eric looked to the console to see the Doctor grinning as he stared at the monitor's read-out.

Alan covered the distance in a few short steps. "So, you think you can stop this?"

"'Course he can," Rose defended.

"Thanks. I don't know why you lot keep doubting me." He didn't take his eyes from the screen as his fingers clicked away at the keyboard.

"It's a relatively simple procedure," Jack explained. "We stop the signal and no more 'Boom'." He mimicked the sound of an explosion.

"If you can do that, you can trace it back to the source, can't you?" asked Shannon.

"Then we can give this guy some hell," declared Ryan.

"Working on that too. There. Now we wait to give it time to work before taking another scan."

"And once I'm clear, we head back to the Base. We need to warn them."

"I think we might need to divide into two teams-offense and defense." Jack looked to the Doctor. "What do you think?"

The Doctor nodded. "Good idea. For the defense of the Base, I'd say the best choice would be the pilots. The rest of us can find the source of the signal which, if Alan is right, is originating from the same place as the attack."

"Sounds good to me," said Alan.

"I don't have any trouble with it," Jack agreed with a big grin.

Eric knew Alan needed backup in convincing those at the Base of what was happening. Plus, as the Doctor said, they were the ones best able to help defend it. "Count me in."

"OK, let's see if we got it."

Eric had the feeling he wasn't the only one holding his breath. C'mon, please let this work.

The Doctor grinned widely. "All clear."

"Thank God!" Shannon hugged Alan.

He received an embrace from Jack too. "I was never one to pass up the opportunity."

Eric saw her pass a glance at the Doctor that could be translated He never gives up, does he?

"What am I? Chopped liver?"

Rose grinned at the Doctor from across the console. Eric could almost feel the charge of energy that surged between them. Wow.

Ryan walked over and gave the Doctor a manly hug about the shoulders. "Thank you, Doctor. Great job."

Satisfied, the Doctor set the coordinates for the Base.

"Fletcher will talk, tell me why and who." Alan smacked his fist against his open palm. "He's not gonna see it comin'."

"Jack and I had better be with you for that," Eric said putting a hand on his friend's shoulder. "You have the rep of going by the book so he's not going to take your threats seriously."

"Whereas he knows your past as a mercenary and literally doesn't know Jack."

The central column stopped. "We've arrived. Watch yourselves." The Doctor shook them by the hand as Rose pushed the lever that opened the doors.

"Don't do anything rash," Ryan told his brother. "Leave that to the professionals."

"You won't be there," Alan countered.

"We'll be in contact," Shannon told them.

"Stay safe!" Rose's voice followed them out of the TARDIS.

******************************************************

Jack was just over the moon. For once, his nether regions weren't behind the wheel. Here he was on his way to save the Earth from invasion with his heroes. He felt like a kid playing with his favorite toys. The TARDIS had taken them to Alan's quarters within the Base. "So now what?"

"We go to Fletcher." Alan went to a cabinet, removing a chain from his neck as he did so. Jack watched as he unlocked and opened the cabinet to reveal a number of weapons from a myriad of time periods and planets.

"That's some collection," Jack commented in appreciation.

"Yes, Alan likes his weapons," Eric replied.

After seemingly contemplating which weapon might prove the most threatening, Alan chose a scimitar. "OK, let's go."

They strode down the hall, Alan front and center, not even trying to hide the sword. If it had been anyone else, they probably would have been taken away by security. Instead, everyone they came across cleared a path, treating him almost like royalty. Jack half-expected some bowing and scraping. Oh, to have that kind of pull.

They stopped outside a door in another residential section. "You ready for this?" Jack asked him.

"Oh, yeah. I've been rehearsing since I remembered what he did to me."

"You go make your entrance. We'll follow in a little bit." Eric stood to the side of the door. "Let him think you're alone."

Alan ran his hand over the sensor at the side of the door and it slid open. He walked into the dimly lit room.

Jack heard Fletcher greet Alan cordially before the door closed again. "How long?"

"We give Alan time to get Fletcher nervous before we go in." He looked at his watch. "That should be long enough. Remember, this is all Alan so no wisecracks and look menacing." He opened the door and they stepped inside.

Alan was standing facing another man who was in uniform-Fletcher-sitting comfortably on a sofa acting as if he weren't intimidated at all. Jack, however, could see the sheen of perspiration on his forehead.

"Couldn't face me alone after all, Kelly?"

"It was pointed out to me that you might not take my threats seriously so I brought along a couple of friends to help with that."

Jack stood up straighter. I'm a friend of Alan Kelly's! He quelled the smile he felt at his lips and became aware of Fletcher's gaze. He put on his best cold stare, the one that used to make rookie agents quake in their boots.

Alan turned the blade over in his hands, not even threatening. "You know, I should have been more suspicious of your approaching me. Your hatred of how the TOC gets special treatment is no secret. Why then would you approach me on the sly? Because--" he whipped the sword up to Fletcher's chest-"you are in league with Relkor and used me as your Trojan Horse."

He is good Jack decided. Menacing and threatening without raising his voice. I should work on that.

Fletcher gulped visibly before trying to bluster out of it. "Whatever's happening must have addled your brain. What good would it do me to betray the Alliance? I haven't been wronged in any way to give me a reason. If it were the case, I probably would just desert."

Jack could sense Eric shift uneasily next to him. It was easy to forget he had done just that.

Fletcher was staring Alan in the eyes, doing his best to ignore the scimitar.

Alan leaned in closer. "Unfortunately for you, I'm thinking quite clearly now and I want answers before my explosive temper gets the better of me." He slowly moved the tip of the sword up from Fletcher's chest to his throat, slicing the uniform as he did so.

Instead of breaking like Jack expected, Fletcher let out a derisive laugh. "I don't think 'explosive' is the word I'd use for you."

"No? How about 'living time bomb' or perhaps 'walking wounded'?"

"Kelly, the blood loss must have caused you permanent damage."

"Blood loss?"

"Yes, when you were--"

"When I was what?"

"Nothing."

"When I was what, Fletcher!"

Gotcha! Jack relaxed his trigger finger, easing the tension that was building in his forearm. Ya finally tripped up, thinking yourself untouchable. He stepped closer to Alan and Fletcher as Eric did. He let a slow evil smile spread across his face, one that said 'I Have You Where I Want You'.

"I think we have enough to go to McGuire," Alan said looking at them, the sword still to Fletcher's throat.

***************************************************************

Ryan, Shannon, Rose and the Doctor were standing around the console trying to put together a general strategy. "If they are using this as their base for the attack, there will be a good bit of chaos which should make it easier for us to get in," Ryan said.

"Our main objective is to destroy whatever is sending the signal," Shannon said pointedly looking in his direction. "If we can get Relkor, it's a bonus, but we can't risk it."

"Spoilsport."

"But won't Relkor be on a battleship or something?" Rose questioned. "Won't he want to see it happen?"

"No generals go into battle anymore. They don't even need to be in the same sector. Technology takes them as close as the real fighting with multi-angle views to help plan." The Doctor peered at the monitor. "Appears we're headed for Apocrypha." Rose looked at him for explanation. "Latin. It means hidden, secret."

"Good choice. It's just outside Alliance territory so nothing can be done until he actually attacks."

"Even with proof?"

"The Alliance has no jurisdiction," Shannon explained. "We'd have to convince whoever's in charge of what's going on and hope they're sympathetic. You see, Apocrypha is a haven for smugglers, pirates, gunrunners and mercenaries and it profits because they gather a percentage from the transactions that take place there."

"Good thing for us I have a few connections here then, isn't it?" Ryan smiled at the happy coincidence.

"How's that? The connections I mean."

""Ryan was a notorious pirate," Shannon answered.

"You? A pirate?"

"Is that so hard to believe?"

"What? You being a bad boy?"

Rose snickered. She looked at the Doctor who grinned. They both burst out laughing and collapsed in each other's arms. Shannon felt a tiny pang. The Doctor was simply too weird for her. No matter how handsome the regeneration packages were, he could literally be another man the next morning. She doubted she could get used to that, but she still regretted that he had found somebody. It was completely selfish of her, she knew. Worse, she liked Rose, and she could see why he found her.

"It wasn't that funny."

"Oh, yeah. It was."

"I was a damn good pirate!"

"Fan-Tas-Tic!" cried Rose.

That started them off again, for some reason. A private joke, Shannon expected. Oh, Doctor, I guess I'm happy for you. You and Rose are a pair.

"I was going to ask you to help."

"Sorry. Sorry. Yeah. I'll help."

"But you'll have to change your outfit."

"What's wrong with it?" Rose looked down at her bright pink hoodie.

"Nothing if you want all eyes on you. This needs to be done under the radar."

"I don't want, Rose, anywhere near the radar."

"I'll be all right. I want to help."

"Of coure you do, but I want you safe."

"I'll be fine."

"C'mon, Rose," said Shannon. "I've been to a place similar to this. I think we can find something in the TARDIS wardrobe that'll work."

After the two women left, Ryan looked at the Doctor. "You've been pretty quiet. Don't think much of my plan?"

"Especially the Rose part."

"Nobody will touch her. So apart from Rose?"

"It's a good plan. I just don't hold much with plans to begin with. Too much can go wrong. And then there are contingencies. I just go from idea to idea and see where that takes me."

"You--You wing it," said Ryan, somewhat amazed. To his scheming, conniving, manipulating heart, winging it was near sacrilege. "How the hell have you managed to live so long?"

The Doctor let out a bark of laughter. "If I don't know what I'm doing until I do it, how will anyone else? Besides, most species use computers to make battle plans and any other major decisions. Most can think logically like computers, but computers can't think illogically. Already ahead of the game."

Ryan wanted to say something witty and scathing to wipe that smug look off the Doctor's face but everything he could come up with sounded juvenile. Instead he said nothing and walked away, somehow knowing the Doctor's smile was growing wider with every step.

On to Part Two

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