Killer Bees Episode Two;Always the Third Doctor!;Welcome to Jeri's Dr. Who fiction Page!;Doctor Who;UNIT;TARDIS;Third Doctor;Katy Manning;Jo Grant;The Master;Roger Delgado
Episode 2 revised 02/11/98
Jo opened her eyes to feel a curious numbness around her right eye, her nose, and her right cheekbone. She realized that she had likely broken some of the bones in her face. She had been flung into the heavy and hard door full force. Adventure. Injury. It felt so good, because it was so true. It was nothing like life with a bunch of environmentalists who watched your marriage slowly break up. Get hurt in an adventure, and there it was all over you. No hiding it behind a brave and false front.
But she was in darkness--dry darkness. No rain, no coldness, no street, no passing cars. She lifted her hand to touch her face gingerly, but another hand suddenly caught her wrist and stopped her. In the next instant, she realized that the reason the injured parts of her face were not painful was not shock--as she had first expected--but medication. With one hand restraining her wrist, another expert hand smoothed a wet cloth strip across her cheek from the side of her nose to the top of her ear, traveling the broken contours of her face under her right eye. A strong, medicine smell rolled over her. It sent a wave of warmth and dreamy weariness through her, and she let her head rest against whatever surface she was lying on. The hand that had taken her wrist firmly lowered her arm back to her side.
The darkness in the room seemed uneven. She could see her own hand as it was lowered to its resting place, but the hand that had stopped it was shadowy and hard to see. It was as though some hazy curtain had been dropped down between her and whoever was attending her.
But whoever was working on her knew what he was doing, and the hands moved with an expert gentleness that somehow soothed her more than anything had done since her return to English soil. She tried to follow them, but for several moments under the influence of the numbing medication, she was too drowsy to track the sequence of actions as the hands took up unidentifiable instruments, applied them painlessly to the side of her face, and set them down again. But as pain from her injury filtered through the numbing agent that had been placed on her face, she began to wake up more. Her attendant expertly fit his hands over the contours of her face, then shifted slightly, and she knew that he was examining a new section of her injuries. She also realized that her nose had been broken. Just as she wondered if she could ever have it repaired correctly, the knowledgeable hands moved with a quick and painless snap. Her nose went back into joint painlessly. But the noise made her jump. She struggled to regain better control of her senses and thoughts.
The two long hands held her face in place, the index fingers pressed carefully on either side of her nose. But the pressure gently prevented her from lifting her head or rising. After a moment she relaxed and submitted to the care, and her attendant resumed his examination of her face. As the one hand encountered the cracked cheekbone, she took in her breath, expecting pain. Instead, the pressure from the hand increased until she could hardly stand it, and just as she nearly cried out, the pressure began to recede. As it did, she realized that the broken bone was intact again.
It should have been glorious and mystical. But suddenly she was afraid. She remembered Mike. She remembered the attack. She tried again to get up, but the knowledgeable hands on her face effectively pressed her down in place. She could not seem to find her own hands to use them.
The medication that had numbed her was wearing off, and she was able to feel afraid again. A sob of fear got out of her, and just as it did, the hands suddenly released her, and she sat up. She was trembling. In the gauzy twilight room, she saw a figure turned away from her. She nearly said something, then lifted her hand and touched her face. It was intact and unbruised.
"Where are we?" she asked. But the figure did not turn to answer her. She was sure it was a man--a man with his back to her. He was moving at the elbows--the gesture of a man who is in the act of either washing his hands or wiping them dry. A sense of longing and loneliness suddenly pierced her. She meant to ask him who he was, or where this place was, but what came out of her mouth was a plea: "Oh, if you've seen the Doctor, won't you take me to him? Tell him I need him!"
Any motion in the figure abruptly ceased, as though it had been turned to stone. She moved her feet, swung them over what she realized was the edge of a bed, and stood up. Still, the figure did not move. She reached out and touched it, and her fingers came into contact with something inanimate--cloth over an unyielding surface: a coat, in fact, hung on a coat stand. She was in a dark room where somebody had strewn clothing around. She cautiously made her way back to the bed, felt it, and climbed back onto it on her knees. She felt her way across it, and suddenly her hands encountered a body--a warm and breathing body that must have been lying alongside her during her examination and treatment.
Without thinking, Jo screamed in surprise, and the body erupted into action. A long and rough hand got her by the throat and pushed her back. She rolled off the bed backwards with a crash, and the body slithered after her, came down on top of her as she tried to get away, then abruptly rolled off. The lights clicked on. She and Mike found themselves staring at each other across what was obviously a motel room. His motel room. He had his hand on the light switch.
"What are you doing here?" they asked each other at the exact same time.
Mike was entirely astonished to see her, and she realized that it certainly had not been he who had healed her face. She answered him first.
"I was thrown into the pub door," she said. "And then--I could feel somebody examining me--my face I mean. I'm not sure what happened. I found myself in here, but I didn't know where it was. I was taking a look around when I startled you." She glanced at him warily. "What about you?"
"Jo, that attack on us was two days ago!" he exclaimed. "I've been frantic about you. Where have you been?"
"Two days?" she asked.
"They piled me into that car and told me they would shoot me if I offered to stir," he told her. "But I risked it. I thought they most likely needed me alive." He slid down to the floor in a sitting position, his long legs drawn up so that his knees came to his chin. In spite of the wearing years--and the years had been hard on Mike's once handsome features--he suddenly looked boyish. But he continued, "I bashed a hole in the side window with my foot while I was fighting. Next thing I knew, we'd hit a pole or something right at the train station platform. I was sort of lengthwise across the back, struggling with three of them. So it knocked me right over the top of the front seat and down under the dash board and steering wheel."
"You're lucky you didn't go through the windscreen," she said.
"Don't I know it," he agreed. "Still, getting a clutch, accelerator, and footbrake rammed into your spine is no fun. But I'm all right."
"What did the men in the car do?" she asked.
"Legged it," he said briefly. People on the platform were screaming, but a few of them pulled me out, and as soon as I could walk I tried to get back to you, but you were gone." He shrugged and held up his hands in a gesture of helplessness. "I collected your luggage, came back here, and really started a hard search for those men and for you, but nothing was turning up for me. I just fell into bed about one a.m., an hour or so ago," he added, checking his watch, "and next thing I know, you're here by me, waking me up."
For a moment they looked at each other in blank silence, neither sure of what was going on with the other.
"Look, can you tell me what this case is about?" she asked. "I mean, who are you really working for?"
"Intelligence," he told her. "You know that. And as for the case, I really do wish you would join me. Officially join me. I can make a few phone calls and get you reactivated right away, Jo. Then I could tell you everything."
"I don't feel ready for that," she said. "I think I'd like a bit of quiet," she added.
"You'll mope if it gets too quiet," he warned her slyly.
"I just want to know where you've been for two days," he said. "And how you got into this locked room. I heard that fellow throw you into the door," he added. "Yet you aren't bruised." He automatically leaned forward and touched her face without thinking, amazed that her fine features were unmarred.
"No, there's not a trace of any injury," he observed. She was also amazed at being uninjured, and she needed another person to verify it, to agree that she should have been hurt but was not. But he let his fingertips rest on her cheek for just a fraction of a second too long, and she turned away. He still loved her, and she knew it, but she couldn't face it.
"I'll give you the bed," he said.
"Nonsense," she began.
"Ah now, Miss Grant, I do still outrank you," he said. "And frankly, Jo," he added, "I'm so glad to see you safe that I could sleep on nails and not mind." He leaned back against the wall and grinned at her, and his face once again took on a momentary boyishness. "You luggage is here, and the bathroom is through that door if you want to get into your jammies."
She smiled at his word choice, relaxed, and nodded. Mike had always followed the rules of chivalry. He would unhesitatingly see to her comfort and would not impose his feelings on her. Yet he would give her the best of his friendship: the good natured teasing and generosity that she liked.
"I'll make up a cot on the floor," he said, standing up to divide out the sheets and covers. "Come morning we can get you a decent room of your own," he added.
"Come morning I'll be going to Ostenbury," she reminded him, as she went into the bathroom with her overnight case.
But when she came out again in a few minutes, she saw that he had tidied up the room, and made up his pallet between the bed and the door in a protective move that was purely gallant Mike Yates. He had turned off the lights except for the small lamp by the bed, so that the room was dim except for a glow on the nightstand. And he had turned down the covers for her.
He truly was exhausted from the last couple days, and he said goodnight and then fell almost immediately asleep, turned with his face toward the door.
She slid under the covers and felt the warmth in the bed left from his body. It felt strange to slide cautiously under the covers, see him lying not so far away, smell the faint smell of a man that clung to the sheets. She felt oddly protected and cared for as she had not felt in many days, and yet she also felt like a stranger and an alien, and she desperately had to get away. She turned off the lamp, and sank down on the pillows he had left for her. The warmth from him and the smell of him were more pervasive when she lay down. But slowly the unease left her.
The sense of plain and ordinary companionship slowly came back to her, almost unrecognizable at first. And then she remembered what it had been simply to work side by side with Mike Yates and Sgt. Benton. In the late night hour and her exhaustion, she forgot that the two former friends were now estranged. The sense of the Doctor, of their team work, now softly stole over her without grief and regret, for she was too tired to recall her grief. She simply welcomed back to herself the long lost friend of friendship, and then she fell asleep.
* * * *
She woke up at peace with herself and content. A bright English sun at last was shining, sending blocks of winter light into the room. Mike, already awake and dressed, was busy with something, working with his head slightly bent as he sat in a straight backed chair. She realized that he was cleaning a gun, working quickly and efficiently, and she recalled how often she had seen him at UNIT involved in the same task. Guns were familiar items to Jo: she had learned to take them apart and put them together, to clean and maintain them, to fire them with accuracy. The contented familiarity she felt at sight of him cleaning an automatic was another surprise.
She had spent three years with people who had abhorred guns, who had abhorred war for whatever reason, who subjected each other to long discussions on the evils of any violence at all. Yet that sunny morning, she sensed a rightness in the sight of Mike Yates cleaning his gun. Perhaps it was because the people she had worked with had never managed to stop violence by preaching non-violence; they had simply ignored it, avoided it, removed themselves from it. The head man on the river was dead, unavenged, unspoken for, quickly forgotten because none of them could bear to address what had been done.
She knew in that moment that if Mike had been there on that river, he would have let the expedition go on without him rather than leave that crime unresolved. She then realized that she ought to have done the same thing. Or at least, protested more than what she had protested. But no, she had continued downriver with the team, and they had hated her every time she tried to talk about what had happened, even to grieve about it. It had been the first and greatest wedge that had driven her and Cliff apart. He had talked to her about how useless revenge was, but it had not been revenge that she wanted: simply justice.
"You're awake," Mike said gently, glancing over at her. "Are you all right this morning, Jo?"
"Yes, just watching you and thinking of the old days," she said quietly. She felt she ought to get up, but she almost hated to disrupt the peace of the sunny stillness in the room.
"I'll just run down and see to coffee while you get ready for the day," he said. He put the gun back together and stowed it in his briefcase, then locked the briefcase. "See you in about twenty minutes."
She argued with herself while she showered and while she dried her hair and while she rummaged in her bags to find something only semi-wrinkled that she could wear. This was not a good time to get involved with anybody. And she had learned that a life of high adventure was a hard thing to come down from. It left you unfit for ordinary people. How desperately she wished to be ordinary!
At last she let her mind and heart turn to the real sadness behind everything, the real termination point to her adventures. *He* was dead to her. A mystery was staring her in the face: where had she been for the last two days? The images that she had been able to recall last night were now more muddled than ever. When she tried to recall everything she could remember since being thrown into the pub door, the details scattered and ran away from her, and their very disunity reminded her that there was no Doctor, no real shelter in UNIT, nothing left intact from her old life. A mystery now was the worst possible thing; for there was nothing left to protect her.
The telephone rang and without thinking she picked it up, then realized she had blundered terribly. Mike was on a case, and she was an uncleared person in his room at 8:00 a.m. Still, it would be worse to drop the phone.
"Hello?" she asked.
There was a puzzled and angry pause, and then a voice said, "I'm trying to get a message through."
"I can take a message," she said coolly.
"For Mike Yates."
"He just went down to get coffee. He should be back any moment."
"Well who are you?" the voice demanded.
"An old friend," she said pointedly. Let the bugger think what he liked.
Just then Mike entered with a tray loaded with a coffee carafe and two cups. He looked at Jo in alarm, and she shrugged helplessly. They traded the loaded tray and phone, and he spoke quickly into the receiver: "Yates here."
There was a long pause as she poured out coffee, and at last he said, "Well, she is an old friend. Dropped in last night at about one with no place to go. All right, steady on, no harm done, is there?" Another pause. "Where?" She passed him a cup, and he took it but forgot to drink from it. "Nothing's been touched inside?" he asked. "Same--" he glanced at her warily, and she realized that he would use code. "Same layout as before?" he asked cryptically. "Two of them? Families notified? Right then, I'll be right there."
He hung up and set down the coffee cup. "I've got a lead," he said.
"A sign of the children you're looking for?" she asked.
"A lead," he said evasively.
"Look," she began. "Why is an intelligence officer like you working on a missing child case? Doesn't quite fit. That's for the police, isn't it?"
"Depends on the children," he told her. "These two are the son and daughter of a pretty prestigious scientist--a Doctor Crowther. We think they may have been taken hostage."
"And how did you get into British Intelligence?" she asked him. "I mean, wouldn't your record stand against you?"
He shook his head. "My record with the UN is clean," he told her frankly. "A lot of individuals know that I advocated Operation Golden Age, but the Brigadier managed to keep my name out of the official report except to note that I had cracked under the strain of too many assignments in too short a time span. He blamed the UN human resources administration, but no real questions were asked about what I had done. I simply resigned and after my recuperation I was accepted almost at once by British Intelligence." He stooped down and picked up her bags. "I'm afraid this will have to be a fast trip, Jo," he said apologetically. "I've got to go check this lead, but I can drop you off at the station."
She held his coffee cup for him in the car while he drove, and at last she ventured the question, "Look, Mike, what did cause your breakdown? Was it one thing, or many?"
"The experts called it battle fatigue," he told her, affording her a glance to let her know he did not mind the question. They were on fragile ground, for his breakdown had occurred right after her marriage. "But they felt that there actually was some physical impairment--a result of the trauma to nerve endings in my brain after that machine got hold of me."
"Machine?" she asked.
"You know, Jo, the chemical company in Wales," he reminded her. "They connected me to that machine they called BOSS. That's how they got me to pull a gun on the Doctor."
"I had nearly forgotten," she said.
He shrugged. "The trauma of that, even the blue crystal that the Doctor used to clear my mind: well, it was a lot of shifting back and forth of electrical signals," he told her. "It is remarkable how the human brain can recover, but it would have been best if I had been taken off duty for the next year rather than for a mere fortnight."
"Do you ever have flashbacks?" she asked. "Anything unpleasant like that?"
He shook his head. "Just sudden stark moments sometimes," he said. "That's what I call them. It suddenly comes back to me what I almost did. Here we are. I'll get your bags."
He pulled up in an illegal spot before the train station and got out of the car. He would have opened her door for her, but she got out herself, and so he opened the trunk and pulled out her bags.
"I'm afraid there will be some wait before your train comes," he apologized.
"It's all right," she said. "I'll get the luggage checked in and roam about for a bit."
She looked up at him: decent, sensitive, brave Mike Yates. "What did you mean by stark moments?" she asked.
"I told you," he replied softly. "It comes back to me what I almost did, and then the guilt is heavy like a weight. Everything will be all right, and then suddenly it hits me again, that I nearly destroyed everything--annihilated all the people who were ever good or kind. Sometimes it seems I can't bear it when the stark moments come."
"Does it pass?" she asked.
"Yes," he told her, his face almost expressionless. "I have a long term strategy to battle it: I confess what I did freely; I try to look at people like individuals. I pray a lot: I ask God to forgive me."
She suddenly found her hand over his. "Will you stay in contact with me, Mike?" she asked.
"You know I will," he told her. "I wish you would reconsider."
"I do want to see you again," she said. "Just not the rest. I don't think I can face it."
He took her hand in both of his. "I am sorry about the Doctor, Jo," he added. "Sometimes when we were younger I was nearly jealous of him: he had such a hold on you. But now I see that he really was worthy of you, and you of him. I wish you could have come back to him and been welcomed by him."
She nearly thanked him for the comfort of his words, but his face was close to hers, and before she even realized it, she kissed him softly on the lips.
Then she looked up at him, unsure of the wisdom of what she had just done.
"Please stay," he whispered. "You're the only friend I have left." He framed her face in his hands. "You're the best friend anybody could ever have, Jo," he whispered. "I can't stand to lose you." His eyes showed her what she had never seen in Cliff's eyes. Mike knew that he needed her strength and her resolve just as much as he needed her gentleness and sweetness. She very nearly said yes.
"Come after me when you can," she told him instead. "Come," she pleaded.
He hesitated. The clock was ticking: she knew he had to be about his business. "I will come," he said. "I'll put this behind me if that's what it takes. I won't let you go twice. Not if I can help it." He kissed her cheek and hurried back to the car, not looking back at her with that abrupt resolve that men adopt when they are too close to tears for their own comfort.
"Take your bags, Miss?" a porter asked, walking up to her. It was just one of those things done just at the right moment. The porter attracted Jo's attention as Mike was getting into the car. And when she looked at the porter, she saw, over his shoulder, a dark figure down the street--at least a block and a half away, sliding into an expensive foreign car at the curb. The distance was great, but the figure was unmistakable as it slid behind the wheel with grace and speed. The expensive car pulled out from the curb and slid into the traffic lane.
"Mike!" she screamed. But Mike had already pulled out and was in the stream of traffic, negotiating his way around the train station commuters as they were dropped off for the morning rush.
"Mike!" she called after him. The expensive car pulled past her in the traffic lane, and it was only then, as the driver shot her a sharp glance to catalogue her face, that he recognized her, and her worst fears were verified. It was the Master. For a moment his eyes locked on her face, and his own face registered surprise and recognition, but there was nothing he could do, not even time or a means to pull a weapon and destroy her. The traffic forced him on.
"Get me a cab!" Jo exclaimed. "I've got to get to UNIT."