Killer Bees Episode Four;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 4 11/08/97
The rocking and swaying inside Jo's head gradually gave way to the nauseating rocking and swaying of a boat. For one horrible moment she thought she was back on the Amazon; then she remembered that she had been captured by the Master. It was not much comfort.
The cabin where she had been thrown--her hands handcuffed behind her back--was cold, damp, and empty. Her coat had been stripped from her, and the room was unheated. Chill night air penetrated through the walls. It pressed into her from all sides and contributed to the waves of nausea that swept over her. Shivering did nothing to warm her against the cold air. Instinctively, she rolled back and forth to clear her head and escape the nausea, but she could not get up.
Heavy footsteps clattered down the steps from the deck above. The two men who had taken her from the train lumbered into the room, wrapped in their coats. They pulled her to her feet, and--to her surprise--freed her hands.
She did not resist as they dragged her up on deck. The day had been windy, and the night was windy and clear. A gust of frigid air cleared her head. On either side of the river, she saw the lights of English humanity. The darkness made it seem late, but she realized that once the sun set, the river would be as dark as midnight. There was no way to know the time.
The Master was waiting for her on deck, also wrapped in a black wool coat. "What brought you to Captain Yates?" he asked her, not turning to her.
"It was a chance meeting," she told him. "We bumped into each other at the train station three days ago."
"And spent the night together?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. "You must think me very naive, Miss Grant." He had been half turned away at her approach, surveying the river, but now he turned to fully face her. "The method by which death takes you hangs upon your cooperation at this point." He looked her up and down, his dark eyes in the dark shadowed face keenly making her aware of how vulnerable she was. "It is your decision."
"We did not spend the night together," she retorted, and to her own surprise, in all her fear and nausea and cold, a blush went up her cheeks. "Was it your thugs who tried that clumsy kidnapping three days ago?"she demanded. "If they had waited ten minutes more, I would have been out of London on the north bound train." She hesitated. "Mike took care of me after I was thrown into the door."
He suddenly grasped her chin in one hand, lifted her face, and looked down at her. After a moment he offered a slightly puzzled smile. "It is the truth--or mostly," he pronounced. "What do you know of his business here?"
"Nothing," she said.
Just as abruptly, he let her go. He weighed her story in his mind, measuring it against the evidence he had already seen; no doubt his men had told them of the quarrel on the train station platform.
"It is a pity about Mike Yates," he said at last. "Him and his unrequited love for you, Miss Grant. But cheer up. He shall not be in pain long." He took a few paces away, made a decision, and turned back to her. "Can you swim?" he asked her.
"No," she lied.
He burst into a laugh. "Come now, you are a very athletic girl. I'm sure you can. Do you think you can swim the Thames?" he asked her.
"With my hands free?" she asked back. She glanced around as she looked at him, trying to take in her surroundings, to see if there was any chance of escape. But aside from the two men who flanked her, and the Master before her, another man stood in the shadows towards the stern of the boat. She was well guarded.
"Certainly," he said. "You may swim with your hands free. There is no ice formed. The way is clear."
She knew it was ridiculous. In less than two minutes the coldness of the water would paralyze her and steal her senses away. She would drown in sight of land on either side, simply unable to move.
He read her thoughts. "Come now, my dear," he said cheerfully. "While there's life, there's hope. People do swim in cold water and survive. If they're trained for it." He stepped closer and to her surprise he took her face between his hands, and her eyes went to his, as though commanded. "He left you; he died," the Master said, not loudly, but with a cold frankness. "In all the universe that you were so determined to save, he did not matter, and you do not matter." He released her and stepped back. Then he jerked his head towards the inky black water. "Throw her in," he said.
"No," Jo told him.
He didn't even have to nod at his accomplices. She found herself grabbed around the waist and hoisted off her feet. She went over the rail and suddenly slipped out of her captor's arms.
Her hands raked the side of the boat as she fell, a desperate instinct compelling her to grab for something solid. She hit the breathlessly cold water and went under, came up; heard gunshots from above, and then--inexplicably--a splash. She looked around for an instant before the swell from the boat sent her back under the water. She came up and clawed at the side of the boat and then kicked out with her feet as her mind cleared. It would be madness to stay by the boat. It was turning. It would run right over her.
Suddenly the coldness took her. It came through her clothes and weighed her down. She tried to kick her way out of her jeans, but she could not. She went under and was startled when she did. She had thought that she was treading water. It was difficult to get back to the surface.
As soon as she surfaced, she heard the Master's laughter from somewhere above her and realized that she had been screaming ever since she'd been thrown in. She was pulled back under the water. This time she could not come up. It felt to her as though the water itself had its own arms, arms like iron that would not let her surface, arms that did not even let her sink gracefully, but that pulled her in a straight line into death.
* * * *
Jo knew enough when her senses came back to her to know that she was no longer in the water. But her senses were slow to become coherent with each other. At one moment she could hear but not see; at another see only very blurred images and hear nothing; and at another she was keenly aware only that she could not move her hands at all. There was something binding her arms stiffly to her sides, and her hands throbbed with pain. The pain was becoming more insistent.
Her hearing solidified first and began to work consistently. A conversation was going on above her, though at first she was not able to make it sensible. The coldness and numbness of the river had somehow frozen her ability to connect meaning to sound. But gradually the words thawed and became meaningful. A haughty, cultured voice said, very distinctly, "You're of no use whatsoever right now. I'll see to the young man. And remember about her heart, now. She's--"
"I think I know a good bit more about human hearts than you do!" a severe voice replied. It was a voice that sent an electric spark though her, a voice that made her open her blurred eyes, but she could not place whose voice it was.
"You've done it now. She's coming around," the haughty voice snapped back. "Try to be a bit more discrete! I'll be back later. That young man's in a fine state!" Footsteps strode away, then stopped. "You're all right for now?" the voice asked.
"Get out!" the severe voice said, though not as angrily as the words would imply. "I'm fine for now. See to him before he does himself a mischief."
The footsteps resumed and suddenly stopped as a door closed. She heard the person who remained walk across the room in the other direction, and she tried again to focus her eyes. Blurry light at one end of the room--which was dim--finally resolved itself into the cheerful form of a fire in an old grate. A man was crouching before it, laying sticks on the blaze. His clothes were a mass of castoffs. He stood up, and she recognized the tall, slightly stooped figure of the man at the train station, the shoe shine man. He had a towel flung around his neck, and he raised it over his head and scrubbed his hair with it.
The sight of him brought her around instantly. He had looked on when she and Mike had been attacked, and he had been signalling to somebody on the train platform right before her capture. She tried to get up to escape, but something soft and clinging but relentlessly tight bound her together. She struggled against her bindings and tried to kick her way out of them. Agonizing pains like burns shot up her hands. The man turned at the sound of her gasp of fear and surprise. But he draped the towel over his head, as it had been in the rain. He crossed to her quickly.
"No, no," he said, and the severe voice was much kinder. "We'll resolve this in a moment. Let me see how you're doing, my dear."
She jumped to get away from him and tried to roll herself off of the bed. He caught her firmly to stop her from falling but did not try to force her back. Except for the glimmer of one of his eyes and a small thatch of his damp gray hair, his face was veiled by the draped towel. As she tried to turn to get better leverage to struggle, he pressed his hand across her forehead, touched her throat, then reached into his pocket and produced an electronic thermometer that he set down on the bed. She renewed her thrashing to get away from him.
"Please don't be afraid," he said gently. Holding her to prevent her from falling, he undid the covers that she was wrapped in, loosening them quickly from head to foot for her with quick jerks of his hands. The sudden release of the pressure from the tightly wrapped blankets stopped her for a moment as blood rushed to her extremities. The sudden tingling in her muscles was like the tingle of having her foot wake up after falling asleep. As it spread to all her limbs, it forced her to pause. He spoke quickly, soothingly. "You were almost dead from the cold. I kept you in the water for nearly half an hour before I could get you safely out. So it was imperative that we restrict your circulation until your extremities were warm enough--to ease the shock on your heart."
She nearly heeded him as his voice and a new wave of warmth calmed her, but suddenly the presence of danger was too much. She pulled her hands free of the covers, ready to put up an earnest struggle to get away, and the sudden sight of her freed hands, raw and gashed, with the nails ripped away, stopped her. He took advantage of the moment to press the thermometer to her leg behind the knee and then to the inner side of her upper arm.
"Close enough," he said, taking the reading.
She made another sound of fear, puzzled and confused, and again tried to get up and get away. She succeeded about halfway, and then her coordination and strength failed her. She very nearly fainted.
"It's all right," he said. "It's all right." He caught her and eased her back to the mattress. "Nobody's going to hurt you here."
Her vision cleared. With a reflexive, instinctive, but clumsy gesture, she twitched the towel away from his head and came face to face with him.
It was the Doctor.
"It's all right." he said again. "Watch your hands, Jo. I haven't had a chance to see to them yet."
All the strength went out of her then. The blackness in her vision swept over her again, and her raw lungs and her shock sent her into a fit of deep coughing that racked her. He lifted her to a better position for her lungs to work, and he gathered the covers snugly around her. She gasped and was racked by the coughing again; then she dry retched--not once but several times. The spasm gradually passed, leaving her weak and trembling. All that she could do was breathe for a moment after that--panting, while he steadied her and looked down at her with a tenderness and a certain gray sadness that she did not notice at first.
"Don't talk yet, Jo," he told her. "This was probably too great a shock so soon after we pulled you out of the Thames, but I knew you would be afraid otherwise. You should know that it is me; I'm real enough, and I won't disappear on you." As though to confirm his words, he slowly and gently folded his arms around her so that she was leaning propped up against him and in his arms.
"How--" she began and nearly went into another spasm of coughing.
"No, don't talk," he urged her. "I'll tell you everything as you're able. It's enough right now, isn't it, that I found you in time?" She saw that his hair was still damp from his swim in the river. And then she noticed that he did not look his usual self--not as she remembered. There was a new thinness to his face, though his eyes were just as keen as ever. After a moment, she nodded at his question. And then suddenly she pushed her face into him and closed her eyes, a quick communication of her relief and happiness to have been found by him. He tightened his arms.
"Let me give your lungs a chance to drain a little," he told her. "And then I'll see to your hands. But don't worry. Don't be afraid. I'll stay with you for as long as I can."
At last she looked up and managed to speak, one sentence: "They told me you were dead." She had to push to get the words out, but they were barely audible. And they nearly sent her back into the coughing.
He bent his head over her. "I am dead, Jo," he said. "It couldn't be changed. I'm dead in your time stream." He drew her head closer, under his chin, and as she closed her eyes again, he also closed his eyes but in a grimace of both pain and sorrow. "Don't let's speak of it for the moment. I have some time left. Our reunion should be happy. I'm so glad I found you in time." And then to her surprise he kissed her forehead. He carefully lowered her back to the pillows, watching to see if the coughing fit would take her, but she nodded at him to tell him she was all right.
"I'm going to take care of your lungs, first," he told her. "Then your hands." He stood up and crossed the small and cluttered room. She glanced around. It was obviously a temporary HQ he had set up for himself. Equipment from the TARDIS lay about in a clutter, and she noticed a small array of syringes scattered on a metal tray near the fireplace. She didn't like the look of them, and she wondered what he meant to do with them.
"Those are for me," he told her as he saw her glance at them. He drew up a small machine and sat down by her. "This is nothing more sophisticated than a frequency generator," he told her. "I've been using it myself for the last couple days, but I don't mind sharing." And he offered her a smile as he uncoiled several fine wires. "This won't be painful, Jo. In fact, it should feel rather soothing." He fished in his pocket and produced several small packets, each containing a rubberized connector pad of the type used to connect people to EKG or EEG machines. He snapped them into place on the leads. She let him work without questioning him. For the moment, it really was enough just to look at him, just to watch him. He turned to her.
"These are going to feel cold," he apologized. He leaned over her and pressed two into place on either side of her throat right at the larynx and two on either side of her sternum, one over each lung. It was then that she saw how extremely haggard his face was, that behind the keen eyes there was an expression of weariness. He saw her watching his face and smiled at her as he finished. He leaned back toward the frequency generator.
"Done!" he said. "Now this won't hurt," he assured her. "We can use certain high frequencies to reduce the inflammation in your lungs." He switched it on, quickly calibrated it, and set the frequencies. "It's got a computerized tuner," he told her. "I'll set it for a couple different frequencies. We can try to make sure that pneumonia doesn't set in." She felt only the very faintest humming through the patches as he activated the machine. Once again he readjusted the blankets to keep her securely covered. Then he took her wrist and kept his fingers on her pulse and waited. Jo smiled in recognition: the Doctor took a human pulse in the Chinese fashion, using his first three fingers on the pulse line, pressed in very firmly for several minutes. Then he would release one finger and wait, then the second finger and wait, then press all in again briefly. Then he would repeat the entire process on the other wrist. The Brigadier had once acidly commented that a patient could die before the Doctor concluded that anything was wrong.
"You're smiling," he said. "What are you laughing at, young lady? Do you still refuse to believe in Eastern medicine?" He pinched her nose and then switched to her other wrist to check the pulse.
"The pulse to the lungs is like piano wire," he said. "But everything else seems all right. You're in good health."
By this time the effects of the frequencies were kicking in. Her lungs were not as tight, and the cold rawness at the base of her throat subsided enough to permit her to breathe more easily. He stood up, brought a blanket from the fire, and exchanged it for the top blanket that was draped over her.
The warmth as he draped the new blanket over her induced her to close her eyes. She dozed. He took the other blanket to the fire screen, arranged it to warm, then settled down and began to work on her left hand. In the quiet happiness of a successful rescue and their reunion, he sang one of the many Venusian love songs he had translated. He sang it softly, but the happiness in his voice lent a gladness to it and to the atmosphere in the room that quieted her fears and worries:
My heart, my heart, you've stolen
For I have loved you best.
But could you please return it, dear,
And sew it in my chest?
Your eyes, your hair, each nostril
Your features are so rare
But mostly your incisors,
And all that body hair!
* * * *
UNIT had a couple detention cells downstairs, specially built--once upon a time--to house the Master and any accomplices until long term accomodations could be secured.
Mike Yates was given the less intimidating cell. One wall, at least, had a barred door in it that faced the guard area. Other than that, the 8 foot by 8 foot room was entirely enclosed by concrete walls. He sat on the bare shelf that served as a cot, his head down, his hands clenched together.
"Feelin' low, Cap?" his guard asked him, eying him up and down. The soldier had been standing at guard ready, his face fixed in a sneer at Mike Yates.
Yates did not bother to answer. Benton and this soldier had actually saved him from the tough heavyweight who had intercepted him in his rescue attempt. The thug had been armed with every weapon imaginable, and the three of them had wrestled him to the ground--temporary allies before a common foe. They'd gotten the automatic from him, the revolver, the two single-shot knuckle dusters, (one up each sleeve) the switchblade, the scarf that he used as a garrote, and the chain. Just when it had seemed that there could be nothing left, and he was giving up, he had pressed a button in his heavy coat, and the four of them had been engulfed in tear gas. By the time Mike's vision had cleared, their quarry had escaped, and Benton was taking him into custody. In handcuffs. It was the most terrible moment of his life.
"I'm all right," he said.
"Did you fancy coming in to the old home place?" the guard asked. "I hope you saw the memorial plaque in the front hall to our Johnny and young Nate. They were killed in the dinosaur invasion, you know."
"I'm sorry," Mike said. "What I did was wrong."
"Well, you're back among friends now, Yates," he replied with a grin. "I always dreamed I'd see you behind bars, and here you are, right where I can look at you as long as I like."
Mike did not answer.
"Johnny, now, he were killed by one of them plant eatin' creatures," the soldier continued. "Appeared right behind him, back to back as I recall, and simply trod him down. His screams panicked it--"
"Please!" Mike exclaimed. Then stopped.
"Don't worry about it Cap; you weren't responsible. The Brig said so."
Yates buried his face in his hands. "What about Jo--Miss Grant?" he asked.
* * * *
Jo woke up again as the Doctor set down tea and a bowl of food by the frequency generator. Now that she was more alert, she tried to interpret her surroundings. Her makeshift bed had been pulled together by laying a mattress over an impromptu assembly of wooden crates and pallets. The fireplace was man made, of brick and stone. The walls were dark, blackened by time and perhaps smoke. She saw thick and heavy rafters overhead. It was a little like being in a cave, a little like being in a parking garage, and a little like being in a cottage. She sat up.
"How long has it been since you've eaten?" the Doctor asked. He held out a chunk of unidentifiable food towards her.
She was famished, but she looked at it with misgivings. The whole scene was taking on a touch of unreality: him, first of all, alive and reassuring and yet unexplained; and this room that defied being placed in a setting; and now this unfamiliar food. But as he held it up to her, she took it, put in her mouth and looked at him, her dark eyes questioning.
"It's a little known dish from folk culture," he explained. "Very good after shock--"
She swallowed it. "It's Velveeta over fried bread," she said.
"Protein, fat, and carbohydrate," he added, offering her another piece. "The very things you need after a long fast."
Her hands were too clumsy in their bandages to be of much use, so it took some time to eat enough to satisfy her hunger. She let him hand her the bread a piece at a time until she had eaten enough to ask him questions.
"Here it comes," he mumbled as she shook her head at another piece and leaned back on the pile of pillows and blankets. He reached for the tea and poured her a cup. She was able to manage the mug, and she cradled it carefully in her bandaged hands.
"You were at the train station when I got off," she began.
"I was on the train itself," he told her.
"Why didn't you tell me?" she asked.
He met her eyes with his. "I wanted to," he said. "But there were other considerations. I knew I would make myself known to you, Jo, and so I was willing to wait until other things were in place."
"But where have you come from?" she asked.
"From Metabilius," he said. He changed the subject. "Do you know, Jo, you have friends in very high places," he told her.
She looked at him blankly and then said, "I do?"
"Exceedingly high," he replied. "You've never really thought much about it, but you assisted me when the council of Timelords sent me to that planet to find and dismantle the Doomsday Weapon," he reminded her. "And you defied the Daemon with human ethic over rationalism and undid his experiment--saved my life in the bargain," he added. "And then there was the time ram. You did that," he said. "Freed Kronos from the Master and restored harmony to time and space."
"But what's that got to do with all of this?" she asked.
"The timelords are paying a debt to you. You called for me," he told her. "And they've sent me to you."
"They?" she asked. "All of them?"
"Some of them," he added hurriedly. He leaned back in the chair. "They feel that they owe you something for all your labors, and it was determined that this was the proper place and time to make a return on your good deeds." He looked at her thoughtfully.
"But I thought--I thought that once you regenerated, you would forget me," she told him. "And Benton said you look different."
"He's right, but I haven't regenerated yet," he told her.
"But you said--"
"That I'm dead in your time stream?" he asked. "I am, normally. It was two years ago in earth's linear history that--apparently--I returned from Metabilius and died in the lab at UNIT. I don't know much about it."
"You don't remember?" she asked.
"It hasn't happened to me yet," he told her. "In my subjective time stream, it has not yet occurred. I'm not even sure what transpires. I know that I am dying. And I've been told that K'Anpo will help me regenerate if there's any difficulty from my visit here."
"You're dying--dying now?" she asked.
He nodded. "I told you, Jo. I've just come from Metabilius," he said. "It was just four days ago that I managed to get out of those tunnels and stagger back into the TARDIS. That was where one of the time lords met me. He told me what was wanted of me and offered me his assistance. I couldn't have made it this far without him. He's keeping me alive." The Doctor wouldn't meet her eye as he said the rest, but he put his hand over hers, on the back of her hand where the flesh was unharmed. "This isn't going to be very pleasant for you. As the effects of the radiation change me, I mean," he said. "But the only way is through now. All the way through to the end."
"You've always found a way out before," she said softly.
"I was never dying before," he reminded her. "I want you to accept it, Jo. Mike's in danger, and the world is in danger, and you are in danger. I must help you all, and there can be no time spared for fruitless plans on escaping my own destiny." His words were grim, but the pressure of his hand on hers tightened, and she knew that he was asking her to stand by him through his illness. He met her eye. "There won't be any very noticeable changes for a week or so," he assured her.
* * * *
The soldier's running monologue of the deaths of Johnny and Nate was suddenly punctuated by a quick tapping in the air conditioning filter--a very small screen placed high on the wall. Yates turned to look up at it. He could just see it from his narrow cell. Out int heguard station, the heavy reinforced door that led to the corridor opened, and Sgt. Benton entered. The soldier cut himself off as he saw the big seargent.
"What are you saying to the prisoner?" Benton asked with disgust. He stepped into view of Mike's cell but did not look at Mike. He had a tray of mugs and sandwhiches. "Maintain professionalism while at your duties, Corporal!" he ordered. "Do you understand me?"
"Yes sir!" the soldier exclaimed.
Mike got to his feet. The tapping at the filter was louder and more rapid.
Benton glanced at him. "I brought you tea," he said.
"You have no grounds to arrest me!" Mike Yates told him. "You have no charges against me! And what about Jo? Why aren't you out looking for her?"
Benton's protest was cut off by the twang of snapped synthetic fibers. Three small black objects like bees darted through the filter.
"Get out of here!" Yates exclaimed suddenly. "Or get out! Quick!"
"I'm to take you upstairs to interview to the Brigadier, Sir," Benton told him, unlocking the cell.
"Benton get out!" Mike shouted.
As Mike raised his voice, the corporal stepped forward from the wall. There was a brilliant flash, and he disappeared without a sound.
Benton turned, startled at the flash. Mike Yates grabbed him and pulled him into the cell. "Get down, I said! They're setting up a field!" He yelled. He had always been expert with judo, and he quickly slipped Benton's foot out from under him and brought him to the floor on his face, then fell alongside of him.
"They've been sent in here on purpose!" Yates exclaimed. "They've come to kill!"