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Biting Time (2/2)

Title: Biting Time
Fandom: Doctor Who
Series: Doctor Who/TOC Files
Characters: Nine, Rose, Jack, OC
Word Count: 10,263
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.
Disclaimer The Doctor, Rose, Jack and the TARDIS belong to the BBC. Alan and Ryan Kelly, Eric Rader and Shannon Flynn are mine.

Part One

"Ryan sounds like he knows what he's talking about," said Rose, making conversation as she and Shannon made their way to the wardrobe room.

"Well, as he used to be one of them, he can figure out what they'd do in certain situations. That's why I think we work so well as a team-we each bring something different."

"OK, Ryan was an evil genius. What about the rest of you?"

"Both Alan and Eric have Military training but Alan also can handle just about any weapon he puts his hands on. Eric was once a mercenary so he knows how that 'society' works."

"And you?"

"Historic research and a 20th century perspective." She stopped and looked around. "OK, it's official: I'm lost."

Rose chuckled. "This way. It's easy to get lost in here. It still happens to me."

"I've never been to the wardrobe before plus the remodeling has really thrown me off."

Again, Rose was reminded that Shannon had known the Doctor when he was a different person, before the Time War. "You've been in the TARDIS before?"

"A couple of times. Nothing extensive, not as much traveling as you, that's for sure." Shannon looked at her. "Do you enjoy this life, Rose?"

"I love it. I've seen stuff no one's had the chance to see before. And the Doctor's shown me a new way to live. Besides," she added with a smile, "he takes me back periodically to see my mum and Mickey."

"Mickey, he your boyfriend?"

"He was." She didn't know how to categorize him now. "I know he was hurt when I chose to keep traveling with the Doctor. Thought I'd get it out of my system and come home."

"But that's not going to happen. When I go back to my family, I wonder how I was ever content."

"I don't know what I'd do if I ever stopped traveling with the Doctor."

Shannon looked at her appraisingly. "I've a feeling you'll take whatever you've learned and apply it to your new life."

Rose thought on that. She would definitely have knowledge and experience no one else would. She knew there were organizations that needed alien experts especially after what the Slitheen did. So if that ever happened-and that was a very big if-she would have something to fall back on. What was that organization the Doctor used to belong to? UNIT. That was it. Maybe she could join UNIT, but that's just not gonna happen. She's going to be with the Doctor forever.

She opened the door to the TARDIS wardrobe and let Shannon enter first. "Voila."

"My God! It's like a giant jumble sale!"

The room was circular with a large spiral staircase in the middle to reach all the levels each of which was lined with racks of clothes. "How many levels?" she asked.

"I don't know. I've never had a chance to fully explore." Rose started down the stairs. "I think what we're looking for might be around here."

When they reached the next level, Rose headed towards the right and they found a likely spot to start. Shannon found something wrong with everything Rose picked out. "Tell me what I'm looking for," she demanded.

"You want something sultry and sexy yet dangerous like you have no qualms over killing someone. Think Emma Peel but without the catsuit."

Emma Peel? Oh, right, The Avengers. Thank Mum's love of 60s telly.

With that picture in her head, Rose renewed her search through the racks. She stayed away from leather and anything that resembled spandex. She spotted a pair of hip-hugging denims with narrow legs. Perfect! Now for the right top.

After about ten minutes, she found the top she wanted. It was a blue pinstripe vest from a man's suit. Since it was a little large and bulged in the wrong places, she found a white tank top for underneath. Outfit chosen, Rose went in search of her shopping buddy. "Shannon, where are you?" she called.

"Over here!" A hand waved back and forth a number of racks away.

Rose jogged over. "Whaddya think?" she asked as she twirled.

"That's great. You'll fit in perfectly. No one will know..."

Rose turned back to face her. "What is it?"

Shannon had pulled out an emerald gown that looked like something from an old pirate movie. "That is so gorgeous!" Rose reached out to touch it herself. "Why would he hide it over here? You'd think it'd be with the other dresses." She lifted the hanger from the rack. "Go on, see if it fits."

Shannon looked Rose in the eyes. "It's my gown, Rose. I wore it the first time I met him."

Rose hadn't expected that. Did he harbor feelings towards Shannon? Why else would he not only keep the dress but hide it? "Why does he have it?"

"I don't honestly know. It was a gala and we danced--"

"You danced?"

"I dragged him into some country dance-nothing slow like a waltz-and we talked. As far as I knew, that was all there was to it. I also danced with Alan and Ryan. I have a hard time keeping still when there's music," she said trying to lighten the tone.

Rose felt like she had been punched in the stomach. Shannon had danced with the Doctor-more than once, it sounded like-and he cared enough to keep her gown. Would the Doctor ever hold onto anything she wore? "Well, I'm sure the Doctor wouldn't mind you taking the gown back. Since it is yours."


Alan felt somewhat vindicated as he stood with Eric and Jack while Fletcher ranted about insubordination and threatening a superior officer. He stood at attention, eyes front, resisting the urge to laugh at the accusations.

Out of the corner of his eye he could see Jack was following his lead. Standing like that, one could see he was Military. So he does know how to hold his tongue.

"Are you done, Fletcher?" Gen. Maguire asked in an annoyed voice.

"Yes, sir." He stood back, a satisfied smile on his face.

McGuire sat back in his chair. "Fletcher, I have known Col. Kelly all his life. He is not one to make idle threats. And there were witnesses."

"This is blatant favoritism! Col. Kelly can do no wrong!"

That's it! "Oh, I've done wrong. I believed you, didn't I?" He turned to Maguire. "Is this enough evidence to warrant an investigation?"

"Yes, I believe it is. Some would dismiss it as coincidence, but I don't think that word can apply to you."

"This just proves my point!" Fletcher was not going to give up. "The TOC always gets special treatment!"

Maguire rubbed his forehead, sign of an oncoming headache. "Fletcher," he warned.

Recognizing the tone, Fletcher stopped, but glowered.

Maguire faced Alan. "Colonel, tell me again why you believe Gen. Fletcher is involved."

Alan gladly outlined his suspicions listing each occurrence and Fletcher's connection.

When he was done, Maguire looked at Fletcher. "You're lucky he only threatened you." He pressed a button on his desk and the office door slid open and two guards entered. "You are to escort Gen. Fletcher to his quarters where he will be held under house arrest pending an investigation."

"How dare you? You can't put me under house arrest!"

"You know, you're right. Take him to the brig instead."

Fletcher was taken from the room, arguing and shouting the whole time

Once the doors had closed, Jack spoke. "Are you going to put out the alert, sir?"

McGuire studied him. "Do I know you?"

"No, sir, I'm here as a friend of the colonel's."

"And you agree with the colonel?"

"Yes, sir."

Alan wondered where McGuire was going with this line of questioning. Perhaps with Jack as an outside party, he might get an unbiased report.

"Why are you here?"

"I'm a pilot, sir."

"And you want a chance to fly, eh?" He turned to Alan. "He's with you, Colonel. I'll have the Rangers scramble to the hangar and you can address them."

"Thank you, sir." He saluted. With a nod of his head, he directed the others out the door.

"I was expecting more of an argument," Jack said as he followed.

"McGuire is Alan's godfather," Eric explained. "He knows him better than anyone."

"I thought I knew the name."

"Ah, Alan, the hangar's in the other direction," Eric informed him.

"I know. I just don't think it's a good idea to show up with the scimitar. Alot of them are afraid to come near me as it is."


Ryan was in the console room swapping stories with the Doctor when Shannon contacted him. {What is it?}

{Rose found out about Jamaica, that I danced with the Doctor..}

{So they are together! The old dog! She's only about twenty!}

{I think it's unfair to ask the Doctor to date in his age-range, Ryan. He'd be dating mummies. Besides, I don't think he has reached that conclusion, so don't go blowing out a hole in the fabric of space and time.}

{Thanks for the warning, Shane. I'll keep mum. It's nice to see there are limits to his knowledge.}

{Just warn the Doctor that Rose won't want to talk to him when she gets there.}

{Are you going to fill me in on the details?}

{No, I want to talk with the Doctor first.}

{I'll be waiting.}

Ryan blinked a few times before looking at the Doctor. "Shannon just informed me that Rose will be angry with you when she gets here, sparked by a bit of jealousy towards Shannon."

"They were getting along great."

"Yeah, well anything can happen when women go shopping for clothes." Ryan was not going to be the one to tell the Doctor the cause.

Rose chose that moment to enter and Ryan's eyes nearly bugged. The London teen had been replaced by a femme fatale. Her smoldering anger merely added to the whole package.

"Fan-tas-tic outfit. No one'll even bother looking at me."

She ignored the Doctor completely. "Are we almost there?"

"We landed a little while ago. We were just waiting on you." Ryan looked at her critically. "There's something missing." He removed his holster and handed it to her.

She took it hesitantly. "I've never handled a gun before," she said as she buckled it around her waist.

"You should know that an outfit isn't complete without the right accessories. I don't think you'll need to use it anyway, just look like you know how."

Ryan looked over at the Doctor who was doing his best to look busy. "We'll be in contact. There shouldn't be any trouble but we'll get out at the slightest sign."

"You'd better. I wouldn't want to have to explain things to your brother." The Doctor stopped what he was doing as they walked towards the door. "Be careful."

"I'll be all right," Rose said over her shoulder. "I've got Ryan to watch out for me."

Ryan winced at Rose's cold dismissal of the Doctor's concern. She must really hurt to have turned so quickly. He let Rose get out first before looking at the Doctor. "I will watch out for her."

"I know you will. Thank you."

Ryan stepped out to where Rose was waiting. It was a small service room with odd bits of machinery resting on any available surface space. "Let me just get my bearings and we'll get going."

He cracked the door open and listened. Nothing. He opened it fully and strode out, Rose following. As they walked away, they heard the sound of the TARDIS dematerializing.

He spared a glance at Rose who was moving her head, taking in everything around her like some nervous bird. "You can't show nerves," he told her. "They'll eat you alive. Channel that anger and use it."

"I am not angry!"

"Yeah, right. That's why you gave the Doctor the cold shoulder and flirted with me. You were hurt. What happened?"

"I don't want to talk about it." She put on a little speed.

Ryan caught up with her easily. "C'mon, you can tell me. If it concerns what I think it does, I might be able to clear things up."

Rose ignored him and kept going.

Ryan rushed ahead and stopped in front of the lift forcing Rose to stop as well. "I'll get you to tell me eventually," he said as he pressed the call button. "I can get people to talk to me without them realizing."

"I am not going to tell you so stop trying to make me."

The door slid open and he pressed the button to the top floor. "It's a long ride." Ryan leaned back against the wall and waited for Rose to break and tell him what he wanted.


When Eric, Alan and Jack arrived at the hangar, there were already a large number of pilots waiting. They made their way to the front and Alan clambered onto his ship's wing to wait. Eric and Jack simply leaned against the body itself.

"I can't believe I'm leaning against a 301," Jack said in awe. "What a lady!"

"No, a 302," Eric answered. "Modifications and upgrades. It definitely handles a lot smoother." By this point the hanger was near overflowing. "I think it's time," he said to Alan.

"OK." Alan stood on the wing and held out a hand to show he was ready to speak. The hush spread towards the back and soon he had everyone's attention.

Eric wasn't sure if it was due to his reputation as a pilot or his stint as a pariah.

"We've gotten some reliable intel that Relkor is about to launch an attack and we need to meet it in the air to prevent anything from getting through. Gen. McGuire has notified all the other Bases and the commanders of all cruisers and battleships available. He left it to me to pass the word to you."

One of the pilots raised a hand. "I don't want to be the one to say it, sir, but I know we're all thinking it: should you be going up too?"

"Ah. I was wondering if anyone was going to say something. A temporary solution has been found for my condition and as we speak, there are those trying to make it permanent."

Eric watched as Alan tried to read his audience. Would they still want to fly with him?

"Capt. Harkness will be flying with me as a precaution."

Well, that was unexpected. I thought McGuire just meant that Jack would fly with the squadron.

After the strategy session, Eric caught up with Alan. "Are you sure about this?"

"You mean Jack? I don't know how he'd do on his own in one of these, plus we all know how the others fly. He's an unknown entity. Besides, the Doctor would have my hide if anything happened."


The Doctor sensed Shannon enter the room before he heard her. "I take it they got off okay," she said coming up beside him.

"From what I could see. That costume you picked out for her made quite an impression."

"She put it together herself once I outlined the look needed."

"Was there nothing for yourself?"

"We found the gown, Doctor."

He closed his eyes and sighed. Damn. It wasn't Shane's fault. It was his fault. When he opened them she was looking at him, confusion in her eyes. How could he answer her when he wasn't even sure why he kept the dress? The majority of items in the wardrobe were acquired from the various times and planets he and his companions had visited as disguises, the need to blend in. This is the first time he could recall going out of his way to obtain something.

"I don't know why I took it," he answered finally. "I'd never done it before."

"Nice to know that I'm a first, but it doesn't really answer the question."

"I think perhaps I was a bit sentimental in my last regeneration. I guess I took it as a memento."

"A memento is a glove, a rose, a dance-card, not the gown." She toned down the sarcasm. "You just might want to come up with a better answer for Rose. She needs to know she's special."

"She knows how I feel towards her. I was willing to risk losing the Earth because I didn't want to lose her." He could vividly remember that moment in the Cabinet Room and Number 10. "I only like the earth. A lot."
Ah. It's not that you're an idiot or stunted. You've been hurt, and badly. Was it the TIme War, or does it go deeper than that? You can't say the words. Why not?

"That is special but you need to tell her. Just the fact that she travels with you makes her one of a select few."

"Very few as far as she knows. Just her and Jack, and he wasn't even my idea. Okay. I wouldn't have let him go and explode, but he just kind of latched on after that. Who am I to deny Rose a pet?"

Shannon laughed at his embarrassment. "No wonder she stared daggers at me. She believes she's the first. I'm sorry, but it is kinda funny. You probably never told her about regeneration either."

"No. It slips my mind. I've never told any of my companions about regeneration. Just let them find out should the need arise. In my defense. It would be like you saying to me, oh, and by the way sometimes I ovulate."

"Well, I don't thanks to the wonders of modern science, but I see your point."

"Shannon." He closed his eyes and lowered his head. He was building to something momentous. "About the gown. I was a different man then."

She wasn't about to let him get away with that. He needed to face these feelings, and she needed to move away from him. "You're not that different Doctor, ever. Even curly clown was easy to recognize."

The Doctor grinned. "Once the initial shock wore off, I'd bet. My hamfisted attempt to embrace the alien within."

"Kind of like a mid-life crisis."

"Sort of. Yeah." He chuckled.

Carefully now, Shane.

"What about this one."

"It's me."

"Oscar Wilde?"

"He was me too."

"And our dance?"

"That was me."

"But now, there's Rose."


"Had I left TOC?"

"Then it would have been you."

"I feel like kissing you."

"That wouldn't be a good idea."

"No. I doubt it would. It's tempting though, isn't it?"

"Yeah. It is. I'm an idiot. I've been so happy to see you, I haven't paid Rose nearly enough attention."

"Hah. You wish. You haven't taken your eyes off of her."

"Hadn't noticed."

"You wouldn't."

The central column chose that moment to stop and the Doctor was pleased that he could leave this talk of feelings and emotions behind and face something he could better understand. "All right, let's go track down the energy source and stop it." He grabbed his jacket as he headed down the ramp to the door.

"And if someone tries to stop us?"

"We'll worry about that when it happens."


By the time the lift doors opened, Rose wasn't angry anymore or as hurt. She couldn't stand feeling Ryan's stare so she broke down and told him how she felt, the hurt at knowing the Doctor kept a dress from another woman.

Ryan explained the situation as he saw it. "You really need to ask the Doctor about it. Don't confront him with it, demanding answers. Get him to talk by asking about past adventures. Maybe he'll let something slip."

Now she strode alongside Ryan, her new persona taking over. It was true that clothes affected how you felt, how you walked. She was starting to believe the character they had created.

She spared Ryan a sideways glance still finding it weird to see him wearing a different face. He had told her that the time machine they wore on their wrists also projected holograms to help them blend in. Kinda like the TARDIS.

He must have sensed her watching because he winked. "Here we go." He stood in the wide entryway to make sure enough people noticed his entrance before winding through the tables.

Rose cast her eyes about taking it all in but trying not to gawk. She told herself she was looking for exits, studying her surroundings. The room looked to be a cross between a bar and a restaurant. There were some scraggly potted plants staggered about the room and hideous patterned drapes hanging here and there with no actual purpose. All in all, very tacky.

Ryan sat at the table, his back to the wall and Rose slid in next to him. A world-weary waitress wandered over. "Whaddya want?"

Ryan raised an eyebrow as if to say Don't You Know Who I Am as he fiddled with a large ring on his right hand. Her mood changed completely. "I'm sorry, sir. I had no idea it was you. How may I serve you?"

"We would like two pints of your finest to start. We'll think on the meal."

"Yes, sir." The waitress backed away.

"Neat trick," commented Rose. "How did you do that?"

"When I last used this persona on a regular basis, I made sure there was no good description available. The one thing I made sure that got around was this unique ring. The rest was easy. Create a figure of authority and power and people would either fear or respect him."

"Like the Doctor," Rose said with a smile.


"When he talks, people either want to do what he says or kill him."

"Too true."

The waitress returned with the beers. "Is there anything else I can get for you?" She was practically bowing and scraping.

"Not at the moment, thank you."

The waitress left after a small bobbed curtsey.

Rose took a tentative sip of her drink. It was dark like Guinness but nowhere near as heavy. It was actually quite good. "So, we're just gonna sit here and drink? I thought we had an invasion to stop."

"Our waitress has already spread the word I'm here. Just be patient."

"No more than ten minutes passed before they had their first "visitor". His jacket was well frayed and stained in a number of places. Rose didn't even want to contemplate the origin of them. His face was pocked and dirty, a thin scar running along his chin. His blue eyes were a little glassy from too much drink but he was coherent when he spoke.

"You ain't been 'round in ages...sir. Thought you was gone f'r good."

"I had to lay low for a while. What do you have for me?"

The man looked at Rose questioningly but she stared right back. He broke away and relayed information about some president who was having an affair with a rival planet's leader's wife. Some things never change.

"That could be useful in the future." Ryan pushed some coins across the table.

The man snatched the coins. "Thanks." He backed away and left them.

After that they heard quite a number of stories ranging from disturbing to ridiculous. Ryan listened to them all and paid accordingly while Rose went through the various stages of boredom. Since most of her travels with the Doctor involved some sort of peril, she was a little unused to being stationary.

After a couple hours she stood and stretched. "How much longer?"

Ryan nodded to a man who was approaching. "I think this might be what we've been waiting for."

She wasn't sure why, but this man put her on edge. She remained standing.

The man slid into the sit with ease, showing none of the nervousness displayed by the others. "How would you like to know what's happening to the west of the city?" he asked without preamble.

"How reliable is your source?"

The man pointed to his eyes. "These are pretty damned reliable."

"Been there yourself, then. What can you tell me?"

The man leaned forward. "I know my way around this planet better than most and I can take you there. You can get the information you need and no one'll know."

This screamed set-up to Rose. But if they went into it knowing it was a set-up, was it still really one? The whole point was for them to get to Relkor's headquarters. Did it really matter how they got there?

Ryan spared her a glance before returning his gaze to the man. "I think we can do that."


Jack leaned back in his chair and looked about as the other pilots relaxed in various ways. Some read, some composed letters to family, some even played catch. He hadn't been around this many good-looking active guys in a long time. The RAF boys in 1941 were slim pickings. Well, they were good-looking, he just couldn't sway them. This group was cream of the crop in more ways then one.

"Harkness, are you in this hand or what?"

Jack looked down at his hand: straight flush in hearts. There were only two possible hands that could beat him. He looked over at Alan who was the only player left this round. The man has one of the best poker faces I've seen. No tells at all. The bet was to him. "I'll see you." He pushed his money into the pot. "Show us what ya got."

Alan spread out a straight flush-to the nine of spades. There were a number of oohs from their audience.

"Pretty good," commented Jack. "Unfortunately, not quite good enough." He laid down his straight flush. "Appropriately, mine goes to the Jack." He grinned as he raked in his winnings. "Thank you, gents."

At that moment the klaxon sounded. The enemy had been sighted.

"C'mon, Jack. Leave it!" Alan pulled him from the table. "You can get it later. I'm sure you know the amount down to the penny."

Jack left the kitty and followed Alan into the 302.

"Might be a little cramped back there," Alan informed him as he put on his helmet.

"It was a bit tight, but Jack didn't care. He was in a 302 with Alan Kelly. He put on his own helmet. "I've been in worse."

"I'll let you handle the weapons," Alan told him as they taxied out. "Hope you don't mind. That way I can concentrate strictly on the flying."

"Not a problem. You know the ins-and-outs of this better than me."

They took to the air, flying in formation, their ship front and center. In the distance, they could see a large ship like a destroyer or cruiser with smaller ships swarming about it.

"Looks like this is it. No heroics, that's my job," Alan joked. "Just shoot down as many as you can without getting hit yourself. Can't ask for more than that."


Shannon followed the Doctor through the maintenance corridors. "Please tell me you know where we're going." No answer. "Okay, let me rephrase that: Where are we headed?"

"To send the signal to Earth takes a lot of power."

"So, cut the power, cut the signal."

"Unless he has a secondary source."

"Well, even if that is the case, cutting the primary will still wreak havoc and hopefully put a crimp in their attack plans." If they haven't started yet.

They came to an intersection and the Doctor slowed, peering down the other corridor. "Something's not right."

"Lost your bearings?"

"There's no one here. These are maintenance tunnels. There should be people here...maintaining."

"Maybe it's automatic," she said hopefully.

He chose the right corridor and continued on. "There would still be people checking on it."

"I guess this means their attention is elsewhere. We didn't stop the attack."

The hum of generators became stronger as they strode down the hall, which ended in a pair of large metal double doors. Shannon pushed herself ahead of the Doctor and opened one of them cautiously, gun at the ready. The room was cavernous with generators, turbines, pipes and wires covering a vast majority of the area. When no one yelled at them, she went in further. She turned back to give the Doctor the all-clear but he was already walking past her.

"This is going to take some time." He walked around the closest generator. "I was expecting a couple in a basement, not a whole plant."

"How will you know when you've found the right one?"

"We'll be in the dark." He took a small torch from his pocket and tossed it to her. "You might need it."

She caught it and put it in her own pocket. "I guess I'll look around and see what I can find."

He only gave her a distracted muffled response as he was already at work, the sonic screwdriver in his mouth.

Shannon started her reconnaissance, checking each machine for some sign or label stating its actual purpose. She then realized that there must be a master diagram stating what areas each machine powered. She then began to look for an innocuous little metal box either along the walls or on its own stand in the room.

After nearly thirty minutes she found it on the wall. Surprised it wasn't locked, she opened it. When she saw the words MASTER SWITCH in bright red, she smiled.


Ryan let Myar their guide lead the way onto the compound avoiding the sentries. This was definitely the place. There was one large main building with outer buildings for housing and to the north a large cleared area ideal for launching a large number of ships.

Myar paused at the corner and watched the side door as the guards passed. Once it was clear, he signaled for them to continue. Inside they crept along quietly, keeping to shadows. Hearing footsteps, Myar hurried them into a room to hide.

"You could house an army here," Rose whispered.

"Or an invasion force," Ryan added.

"How right you are, Mr. Russell."

The lights were turned on and Ryan turned to see an imposing man of just a little over 6-feet tall. Had he been alone, Ryan would have thought about rushing him, but the five men with guns held him back.

"Relkor, I presume." He raised his hands and saw Rose do the same.

Myar walked over to Relkor. "Here you are, sir, as requested."

"Very good, Captain. There was no one else?"

"No, sir. Just them."

"Search them and take their weapons." Myar did as he was told, taking a little extra time on Rose. Weapons collected, he stood back.

Relkor motioned they could put their hands down. "I was surprised to hear you were back-and with company. I thought you always worked alone."

"I'm not a monk." He gave a wicked grin and hoped Rose would play along.

"I couldn't resist," Rose said in a sultry voice. "All that power..."

"The nature of your arrival has me somewhat concerned. You not only arrive with a 'partner', but you have ventured out to get information for yourself, two things you have never done before. Add to that the timing of your visit to coincide with a large undertaking I have launched..."

"Are you saying I'm an imposter?" Ryan was indignant.

"Oh, no, not at all. You know information only Mike Russell does. No, I just believe your motives have changed. You're no longer out for your own benefit. You're here because of your brother, aren't you, Mr. Kelly?"

Ryan shrugged, no need to deny it. "How did you know?"

"I saw you once, got a good look at you and made the connection when Cameron James was on trial."

"Then when I admitted I was him, you knew." He reached for his wrist. "Do you mind?" Relkor nodded and the men relaxed their hold on their weapons. Ryan switched off the projector since there was no longer any need for it. "So, nice setup you have here. Almost didn't spot it."

"I will admit I was surprised you located me at all."

Ryan chuckled. "Actually, we were just here for information. If Myar hadn't brought us, we would have remained unaware."

"It's your own fault," Rose added for good measure.

"However way it happened, you're still too late to stop the attack, let alone save your brother." He looked to his men. "Lock them up." He turned back and held out his hand to Ryan. "I'll be taking that now. Can't have you disappearing on me, can I?"

Then the lights went out.


Alan gripped the controls with both hands, struggling to keep the ship from crashing-fatally anyway. The ship had attacked from his blind side after one of his mates had killed the scanners. "How ya doin', Jack?" he called back.

"Well as can be expected! Almost all systems are down! Life support is minimal!"

"Hold on!"

The panels exploded and sparks landed on Alan's artificial hand. He shut off the neural transmitters effectively making it impervious to pain. Now was not the time for distractions.

He looked quickly through the windscreen to get his bearings and was not too happy with what he saw. The ground was approaching more quickly than what he would have liked. "Jack, gimme a hand! We need to pull up!"

"Aye, aye!"

The controls responded a bit better with two and the ship pulled out of its dive. Now that just needed a safe place to land and that required open space. Unfortunately, all he could see was woods. If he only knew where they were.

"Alan, head towards 10:00. There should be a valley big enough."

"OK." He changed their heading and kept an eye out for the open land. "Your wrist computer?"

"Yeah. There shouldn't be that many people either. It's a national park."

"All right. I see it now. Brace yourself, we're goin' in!"

The ship tore a path through the trees until it came to ground with a shuddering jolt. It then traveled across the valley floor jostling Alan against his restraints. The moment it came to a halt, he undid his harness and released the hatch. He clambered out onto the wing and reached out his hand to help the slightly dazed Jack.

"C'mon, Harkness! The panels have been shooting off sparks the whole way down. It could go up any second."

After a slight hesitation, Jack grabbed his proffered hand. They jumped to the ground and ran a safe distance before collapsing onto the ground, completely wiped out. Having cheated Death once again, Alan could only lie back and look up at the cerulean sky, feeling the adrenaline drain away. It all faded to black.

He came to with the smell of burning metal and oil tickling his nose. "Aw, man..." He sat up to see his ship-well, the remains of it-burning uncontrolled.

"You know, now I can tell people I've slept with you," came Jack's lazy drawl.

"Do you always have to resort to innuendo?"

"No. Sometimes it's not even necessary." He grinned that mischievous grin of his.

"So, people actually fall for that?"

"Just the ones with taste."

"You're a cheeky bugger, aren't you?"

"In more ways than one."

Alan decided to ignore that. "You okay? No gaping wounds? That bump's gonna give you a nasty headache later."

"Just a few bruises. You? Your left hand looks a little...off."

Alan looked down at his artificial hand and noticed that the skin had melted away revealing the circuits and wires underneath. "Right now, not feeling a thing. The doctors will apply the new skin and check it out to make sure it's not damaged."

"I can do that. I'm not in the Doctor's league when it comes to tinkering, but I can fix a primitive prosthetic like this with a paperclip."

"Primitive?" Alan smiled.

"Oh, and by the way. Now, I can tell people that Alan Kelley gave me his hand."

"How does the Doctor put up with you?"

"You kidding? I am so out of my depth when he's around. The Doctor trumps me in everything. Poker, chess, time travel. Rose. I--I'm no threat to him."
Jack looked up at Alan and grinned. "You have no idea how refreshing that feels."

"Actually, I do. I dueled against him."

"No way!"


"Oh, you've got to tell me how badly he beat you. Fixed."

"You are good."

"I'm so glad you said that."

"Because now you can tell everybody that Alan Kelly said how good you were."

Jack laughed.

"Do me a favor? Start these rumors after I'm dead, buried and rotting."

"Can do. So, swords?"

"Yeah. I thought the Doctor was a middling swordsmen. I was going easy on him. Then, he got better. So I decided I was going to end it, and--"

"Teach him a lesson." Jack nodded his head.

"That's when the bastard switched hands."


"Yeah. He was right-handed and he'd been fighting against me lefty all along."

"That's soooo him!"

He stood. We'd better head back. They're probably wondering where we are."

"I doubt it," Jack said looking back the way they came.

A long scar ran across the valley leading to the fireball of his ship. Beyond that, the line continued back through the woods. "Yeah, guess so." He programmed the machine. "Let's let them know we're ok then."


The Doctor was aware of the darkness immediately. That didn't take nearly as long as I thought. He slid out and waited for Shannon to make her way back. Not long after he spotted the light from her torch. "Shannon!" he called.

She hurried over, smiling. "That was easy."

He took a good look at her face in the little light they had and knew she was teasing. "You found the master switch."

"Yeah. Sorry."

He took out his sonic screwdriver and adjusted the frequency so it would let him know if there was a secondary power source. He slowly turned in a circle. Ah, there it is. Didn't think he's trust something like that to an easily shut primary. Using the blue light to guide him, he walked to the back of the room until he came to a stone wall. "Clever," he muttered, "but not as clever as me," he added for Shannon. He checked the wall for a seam. "We found the door now we simply need the lock." He worked on the settings for the screwdriver and the wall slip open noiselessly.

"This guy has a thing for secret doors and passageways, doesn't he?"

"Must have been an Edgar Wallace reader."

The room on the other side of the door was more of a glorified cupboard than a room. In the middle sat a shiny, well cared for generator. "This is beautiful. Don't see workmanship like this anymore." He studied it from all angles before opening the bottom panel. "This is amazing. They've reworked the relays, nearly tripling its output. I almost hate to destroy it."

The Doctor directed the sonic screw driver at a panel. The beam hit the screws, and they magically unwound. The panel fell off, and then the Doctor took to the wires. Sparks flew.

"OK, time to go." He grabbed Shannon's hand, pulling her along with him. She held the torch out with her other hand, preventing them from running into anything. Once in the corridor, he released her hand knowing that she was easily keeping pace with him.

"I can't help saying this, but you are really brilliant."

"I never tire of hearing that." The Doctor grinned.
At the first intersection they heard running footsteps and heavy breathing and soon Rose came into view. "Rose!" He grabbed her in a quick hug. "You okay?"

"They're not too far behind," she said between breaths. "Ryan's trying to delay them, I think."

At that moment a wolf came tearing down the hall barking a warning.

"This way." The Doctor guided Rose gently along the corridor back to the TARDIS leaving Shannon and Ryan to cover their backs.

They stopped to catch their breath and Rose watched open-mouthed as Ryan transformed back. "Rose, you all right?" Ryan asked her. "Only you're looking at me like I'm the Big Bad Wolf."

"As far as I'm concerned, you are! You told me, Rose, would be safe!"

"She was. She came out of it without a--"

"Next time you leave Rose to be threatened I'll have your ears, big bad, pirate, wolf-boy!"

"Now wait a minute! She's in danger with you all the time!"

"That's different! I can count on me!"

"Oh, that makes sense!"

"Yeah. It does. Because she can count on me! Always! I'll never let her down!"

Shannon smiled. She felt bad for Ryan because he really didn't deserve this, but Rose was watching the Doctor's hysterics, and judging by the way her cheeks burned bright red and the way her smile had spread across her face, she was feeling absolutely groovy, and all was going to be forgiven. Hells teeth, she might just swoon. Rose wasn't even defending Ryan, the minx. Just letting him take the full blast of Doctor. Cruel, but Rose needed this. She needed to feel important, like she was the only one in the Doctor's life ever. Shannon understood this completely. She was getting a little hot from the Doctor's mercury too, and this wasn't the Doctor performing. No, this wasn's some macho play-acting to get Rose back. This was pure honesty. This was the Doctor. Full of rage against somebody who dared to threaten Rose.

"Damn it! I knew you were still an ass!"

"Ah, Doctor." Shannon interrupted. "What exactly will happen to the base?"

"Oh, right. The floor fly will right from under our feet. The walls will go next, then the ceiling and the machinery will just blast apart."

"So, we should be going."

"Ah. Yes. TARDIS." He eyed Ryan. "Sorry. You did your best. You can't help it if you're human."


{Ryan, shut up, and accept his apology.}

{That's an apology?}

{Think about how he feels about Rose. Put yourself in his boots.}


{Good, big bad, pirate, wolf-boy.}

{Oh, hardy-har-har.}

"It's okay, Doctor. I get it."

"Right. Everybody into the TARDIS."

"We can't go yet."

The Doctor stopped and looked back to see Shannon hadn't moved.

"We have the opportunity to bring in Relkor and we should take it."

Why do they have to get all noble at the wrong times? "He might die in the blast."

"He might not."

"He already knows we're on to him," put in Ryan. "He could be preparing to bolt right now."

The Doctor gave a long-suffering sigh. "Fine. You two get him and Rose and I will home in on you from the TARDIS."

"Right." Shannon fine-tuned her time machine and Ryan took her arm. "See you soon."

Once they were gone, the Doctor hurried Rose along the corridor back to the TARDIS.


Eric continued the fight in the air wondering, hoping that Alan and Jack were okay. That would be the first thing he'd check on once he got back. If he got back. None of that. You have to keep going. We need every pilot. "Whoa!" He banked as an enemy fighter came at him from 2 o'clock. Keep your mind on the fight. Worry about Alan and Jack later.

He wasn't sure how the overall battle was going, only his little corner of it and it seemed that Relkor had more fighters than they had anticipated. It wasn't going to be as quick and easy as they thought.

Two enemy fighters converged on him and Eric wondered if it was because they knew who he was or because he was just having a good day. He fired straight at them, causing them to separate and he flew right between them. He then looped back and fired at them again. Both exploded.

The fuel indicator lit up and he headed back to the Dreadnought to refuel. Once he docked on the landing bay, he jumped out of the ship and ran for the nearest comms unit and put in a call to the bridge. "Any word on Alan?"

"Nothing as of yet, Major," answered Adm. Kotsovitch. "There was word of a ship going down in the French Alps but no confirmation on who it was."

"You'll let me know the moment you hear something?"

"Of course." There was a slight pause on the other end. "How is it out there, Eric?"

Eric noted the use of his first name making this an unofficial conversation. "We're doing pretty well, sir. Relkor has more fighters than we thought." He looked and saw the mechanic waving to him. "I need to go back out. Ship's been refueled."

"I don't think that's necessary."


"Come to the bridge."

Seconds later Eric appeared on the bridge to the left of the command chair. "I don't think I'll ever get used to that," commented Kotsovitch.

Eric gave him a quick grin. "What was it you wanted me to see, sir?"

"That." Kotsovitch pointed out the front viewscreen. The enemy ships were leaving.

"Looks to me like they're retreating."

"I can see that. My question is why?"

"My guess is that Relkor is out of the picture. Without a leader, the invasion is over." He couldn't help but smile.

"You know something about that?"

"A bit."

"Sir?" asked the communications officer. "The pilots are asking if they should follow."

"They can chase a few stragglers then return. We'll need to be refreshed-just in case."

"Yes, sir."

"Since things are in hand for the moment, sir, I'd like to return to the Base to see if they've heard anything."

"Fine. Oh, and Eric, let me know as soon as you do."

"Thank you, sir." Eric saluted and returned to his quarters on the Base.


Jack blinked as they reappeared in Alan's quarters. "Default setting?"

"I know it'll always be clear. C'mon, we'd better tell McGuire we're back."

He followed Alan through the corridors of the Base, which were quieter than he expected. He could hear the distant sounds of a battle but it seemed that nothing had gotten through to the Base yet.

They arrived at a set of double doors that slid open only after taking Alan's retinal scan. After pausing a moment in the doorway, Alan strode purposefully across the room, unaware of the quiet that spread. It put Jack more in awe of him than before.

"I see you both made it in one piece," said McGuire. "Barely," he added, noting Alan's hand. "And how are you, Captain? That's a nasty bump on your head."

Jack self-consciously touched his head. "A few scrapes and bruises. Nothing that needs any major attention."

"Still, I want you both to go to the infirmary and get checked out."

"Sir, there's still fighting going on!" Alan protested. "I can--"

"I know
you can fly with one hand, you've done it before-against orders, I believe."


"That was also not a battle situation. My decision stands. You and Capt. Harkness will go to the infirmary."

Alan made to argue his point, but Jack put a hand on both shoulders and pulled him away. "He's not going to relent. I know you want to get back up there and fight-hell, I do, too-but you're probably exhausted and that won't help them any."

He felt Alan relax. "You're right. If he won't let me up in the air, maybe I can help down here somehow."

When they entered the infirmary, they were immediately led away from the door by the medical staff before they could back out. "McGuire must've mentioned we were coming," Alan said over his shoulder as he was ushered away.

"Where are they taking Alan?" Jack asked as two lovely nurses led him to an examination room.

"Col. Kelly needs special treatment for his hand," the curvaceous blonde answered.

"And I thought I was the one getting special treatment from you," he said with a crooked smile.

"I'd like to think all our patients receive special treatment," commented the trim brunette as she shined a light in his eyes. "No concussion. Lucky you. We would have needed to keep you overnight had that been the case."

"Maybe I should, just in case," he said hopefully.

"I don't think we'll have a spare bed for you with all the fighting going on," said the blonde.

"I'm willing to share."

"I'm sure you are." She taped a bandage to a gash on his arm that he hadn't realized was there. "All right. You're good to go."

"Do I need to schedule a follow-up? I might need your number."

"C'mon, Casanova. We need to go."

Jack looked up to see Alan in the doorway, arm in a sling. "That didn't take long."

"Just the prelim. I asked to wait until this was over before the final stages. I can't use the hand for a couple days afterwards."

"Ah." Jack turned to his nurses. "Sorry, ladies. Duty calls." He kissed each of them gently on the lips before walking away.

"Leave 'em wanting more?" asked Alan.

"Every time."


Ryan and Shannon appeared in Relkor's office only to find it dark and empty. "He's not here."

"I can see that!" Ryan snapped. "We can't have missed him." He found a light switch on the wall and turned it on. The room showed signs of a hurried departure: open drawers, papers and folders scattered on the desk, and books fallen from shelves to the floor. "All right. He must have amassed some wealth through all of this. No way would he leave without taking as much of it as he could."

"If so, he wouldn't have it where his followers could get at it." Shannon looked around. "We know he has a thing for secret rooms."

"He does, doesn't he?" He went to the bookshelf where one lone book was standing. "I know this is clichéd but..." He reached out his hand. "Of course, since you have the gun, you'll need to go first."

"Just do it." She smiled.

He pulled on the book and the section of wall to the left of the shelf slid open and Shannon pointed her gun into the room. Relkor was looking at them, his hands reaching for a priceless piece of statuary. Ryan rushed him before he had a chance to bolt for the back door that Ryan knew must exist.

Relkor turned and headed for the opposite wall but Ryan tackled him before he got far. Relkor wriggled one leg free and kicked him in the chest.

With the air knocked from his lungs he lost his grip on Relkor completely and could only watch as he scrambled away. Shannon holding a gun in his face stopped him. He put up his hands in surrender.

Ryan stood, still trying to get his breath back. "I'll be OK," he answered to Shannon's look of concern. "I just need to straighten something out." He landed a right on Relkor's jaw felling the other man. "All right, now I'm OK."

Shannon put her gun away and looked around for something to bind his arms. "We have to hurry. The Doctor should be showing up soon."

Ryan just took his legs and dragged him to the office. "Enough room?"

"We'll know soon."

A wind picked up, blowing the papers across the room and a familiar groaning of machinery was heard. However, instead of seeing the TARDIS appear in the room, Ryan saw the control room begin to appear around them. He looked over toward the console and saw Rose and the Doctor.

"Nice move, Doctor. Must come in handy."


Rose followed the Doctor into the TARDIS. "You're going to let them go after that man alone?"

"They're armed, Rose. They can look after themselves." He rushed around the console flicking switches. He grabbed her hand and placed it on a lever. "Hold that."

"But he has an armed guard. Four men at least."

"He sent them after you and Ryan when the lights went out. They can get to him before his men get back."

"What happens then?"

"Let me show you."

With a slight shudder, the TARDIS dematerialized and mere seconds later Rose saw three ghostly figures appear by the main doors. As they solidified, she saw they were Ryan, Shannon and an unconscious Relkor. The Doctor had materialized the TARDIS around them. By the looks on their faces, they were just as stunned.

"Nice move, Doctor," commented Ryan. "Must come in handy."

"It has a few times."

"Do you have somewhere we can put him?" Shannon asked.

"We can all keep an eye on him from over there." He motioned to the seating area. "Shouldn't be too long. Rose, what are you doing, holding that lever?"

"You told me too!"

"Well, you can let go now."

Rose removed her hand and watched as Shannon and Ryan practically dragged Relkor to the opposite end of the room. "Don't you have anywhere more secure?"

"No need, Rose. We won't be that long." He flipped a switch and the TARDIS slowly started before grinding to a halt.

"What's wrong?"

"I think she needs to re-charge. We've been using her rather hard lately." He ran a hand along a spot on one of the panels before balling his hand into a fist and pounding that same spot. The ship started up again. "There we are."

There was a groan from the seats and Rose watched from the rail as Relkor slowly came to.

"Hello, Sunshine," said Ryan, smiling into his face.

Relkor sat up straight. "Where the hell am I?" He looked about the control room. "We were just in my office."

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," answered Shannon.

Relkor ran a hand along his face, pulling his fingers away as if it were tender. "You punched me!" he accused.

"Only after you kicked me in the ribs," Ryan retorted.

"I had already surrendered! There was no need for it!"

"You're right. There was no need. But it felt great."

The TARDIS stopped with a little shake. "You two had best go first with your 'friend'," the Doctor said. "I think we've landed outside the Command Center so they'll need to see a familiar face."

Ryan and Shannon escorted Relkor across the room to the doorway. Rose then looked to the Doctor and saw him casually reach for his jacket. "I'm surprised you're letting someone else go first."

"Recently it seems that whenever I land the TARDIS in a secure area, I end up with guns pointed at me the second I step outside. This way I avoid all that."

She smiled. "Knew there had to be a reason."


Alan could feel the medical patches doing their thing, healing his burns and scratches. It was his hand that would keep him out of action for something like a week, which would leave only a few avenues open to him. He could either go on medical leave, be stuck at a desk catching up on paperwork or go out on some diplomatic or PR jaunt. He knew which he'd prefer.

His thoughts then turned to the Rangers and the rest of the TOC wondering how they were doing since he couldn't be with them. Argh! Already I'm going mad! I don't know how I'll be able to last a week of inactivity.

"They'll be fine," came Jack's voice.

Alan looked at him, somewhat surprised that the other man knew what he was thinking. "Who?"

"Shannon and Ryan are with the Doctor so that's nothing to worry about. As for those pilots up there," he pointed to the ceiling, "you trained 'em so you know they're good."

"Yeah, and who's the one who got shot down?"

"You had me babbling on and on for a distraction," he answered quickly.

"I'll accept that." He noticed something different in the feel of the Base. He stopped to listen. Ah, that's what it is. "C'mon, Jack. Time to pick up the pace." He ran to the Command Center, thankful his arm was tightly strapped to his torso.

Once inside, he saw Eric talking to McGuire. "Eric! What's going on? Why are you here?"

Eric beamed when he saw them. "Good to see you're both OK."

"Same for you." Alan patted him on the shoulder. "What's happening?"

"I was just telling the general that they just retreated. I came down to check on you two. Kotsovitch has everyone on stand-by just in case."

"I don't think that'll be a problem," smiled Alan. "There's not much they can do without a leader."

"And when were you planning on filling me in on this escapade?" McGuire asked him.

"After the fact?"

"You sent Shannon and Ryan after Relkor themselves?"

"I didn't send them and they're not alone. They're friends of Jack's. One of whom is a man who has saved my life a few times and I trust him implicitly."

He could see McGuire mulling it over. There were very few people outside his family and the TOC that he trusted without a doubt. He actually surprised himself, voicing it out loud like that.

"When do I get to meet this paragon?" asked McGuire.

As soon as he spoke, Alan heard the sound of the TARDIS arriving. "No time like the present, sir," he responded as he headed for the door after Jack.

The TARDIS was sitting in the corridor just outside. Security was already there, guns aimed at the blue box. "Lower your weapons," Alan ordered. "They're friendly."

The door opened and out stepped Shannon. "Quite a reception."

"All for you," Alan smiled.

"And I thought it was for our guest."

She moved aside and Relkor was shoved out by Ryan. Alan stared at the man who had turned him into a walking bomb. Half of him wanted to see him brought to justice and the other half wanted to beat the living daylights out of him. Looks like Ryan beat me to it. He walked closer, ignoring the hands reaching out to hold him back. He stopped when his face was inches away from Relkor and stared unblinking into his eyes. After what he thought a sufficient about of time, he leaned even closer and simply whispered, "Boom" before backing away.


The Doctor waited just inside the TARDIS with Rose at his side. She wanted to follow Ryan but the Doctor motioned for her to stay behind. Alan needed a chance to confront the man who wanted him dead. He was half expecting Alan to lash out at Relkor like his brother. Instead, he took the classy way, letting his enemy know his plan failed with one simple syllable.

After Relkor was taken away by the security forces, the Doctor stepped out. Jack grabbed him in a bone-crushing hug. "Good to see you too, Jack."

Jack set him down then picked up Rose and twirled her about. "Love the new look, by the way. Nice vest," he commented as he put her down.

"Is he always this demonstrative?" asked the older man, a general judging by his uniform.

"This is pretty calm for him," the Doctor responded.

"Allow me to make the introductions," said Alan. "Gen. Cieran McGuire, this is Rose Tyler and the Doctor. Doctor, Rose, the is Gen. McGuire, commander of this Base."

The Doctor looked at the general, sizing him up and knew the other man was doing the same. At least his eyes weren't bugged out and he wasn't asking the inevitable. The Doctor decided to test him. "Aren't you wondering how we all fit in there?"

"I will admit I'm curious about that as well as how you even got into the Base but I've learned to be more open-minded, especially where Alan is concerned."

"An open-minded, high-ranking military officer. Sir, you are a novelty. You wouldn't happen to be a Lethbridge-Stewart?"

His mouth dropped open as it suddenly dawned on him who this Doctor really was.

"As a matter of fact..."

Rose was looking at Alan's gloved hand in the sling. "Is that your fake hand?" she asked.

Alan looked at him questioningly. "I might have mentioned it," the Doctor shrugged.

She inched forward. "C'n I see it?"

"Rose, I don't think now is really the time," said Jack.

"We have to get going anyway," the Doctor stated. "All's right with the world and we can move on."

"C'mon, Doctor," put in Eric. "You've averted disaster, so why not stay and relax a bit, celebrate?"

"Yeah, you're always running off," added Ryan.

"It's not like it would be domestic." Rose peeped. "It's just some mates getting together for a few drinks."

"Yeah. You're right, Rose. No need to be a gloomy gus. Let's party!"

Rose grinned as the Doctor put his arm around her. The others went ahead. The Doctor pulled her closer. Rose was surprised at first, then hopeful, until she realized, he just wanted to whisper something to her, probably a joke or a comment about not getting involved with a descendent.

"Did I ever tell you about the parties on Gallifrey."


"There was a time, Rose. I was young. A boy really, even though you wouldn't think that. I was lying in the grass with my father. My mother. We were all together. A picnic. Happy times. The sky was dancing with lights. Green. Yellow. Red..."

>Side Trip to Torchwood
>Next in Series


SPN Dean Writing

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