Shadow of the Daleks;Doctor Who;Liz Shaw;Caroline John;Third Doctor;Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart;Jon Pertwee;Jeri Massi
Shadow of the Daleks
Written by Jeri Massi
The telephone shrilled at Professor Liz Shaw's ear as she lay sleeping at five a.m. For a brief moment, as she sensed the chill in the room and saw that darkness had not yet given way to day, she cherished a morsel of hope that it was a wrong number. But it shrilled again, with a particular insistence that prompted a warm flicker of resentment in her. She sighed heavily. Heedless, it shrilled a third time.
"Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart, this had better be important," she muttered. She slid her slim hand out from under the covers, fumbled for a moment, and then at last got the receiver to her ear. She had to lift herself, and she realized that the room was more than chilly: it was cold.
"Yes?" she asked ungraciously.
The Brigadier's voice was abrupt. "Miss Shaw, I'm sending a car for your protection. Don't waste any time."
And then he hung up. The abrupt termination cut short any sarcastic rejoinders or necessary questions she might have had.
Thoroughly awakened by the unusual order, she rolled onto her back and gathered the covers to her chest. Normally on cold winter mornings she liked to rush to the thermostat, turn up the heat, and then run back to her bed. Sleeping under warm covers in a cold room gave her a great sense of comfort, but it made quick starts difficult in the morning. However, she could not afford a leisurely 15 minutes to let the flat warm up. The UNIT staff car would arrive within thirty minutes, and UNIT soldiers took the Brigadier's orders quite literally. Her driver might just come into the flat to get her if the current situation was urgent enough.
Strategically, the least uncomfortable line of attack would be to drop her clothes for the day on the heating vent, turn up the thermostat full blast, and then jump into the shower. Then from there to the kitchen.
She made the decision and leaped into action. She scooped up her waiting clothes, dropped them on the vent, then darted for the thermostat and pushed up the tiny lever into the red zone. As the heat clicked on, she rushed to the shower and turned on the taps. Steam filled the narrow room in rising clouds, and she stripped off her night gown, then leaped into the stinging spray. Her shower head fired spears of water at her with the speed of tiny bullets, but she was accustomed to the hard spray. It was invigorating, forcing her to wake up. And she knew she would need to be fresh and alert.
As annoyed as she could be with the Brigadier's high handed methods, she also knew that only an emergency would prompt him to send a car for her before dawn. But she forced it from her mind. As she had already learned, there would be days and days ahead of never escaping whatever problem she and the Doctor would have to solve. So there was no point in anticipating it. This hot shower and the morning coffee might be her last pleasant moment for a long time. With that in mind, she did a second lather.
She quickly finished, dried off, and donned her underclothes. By then her garments for the day were warmed through: plaid slacks, a camisole, and a heavy sweater. Liz preferred more professional and stylish attire, but whenever the Brig mentioned safety right off the bat, it was wiser to wear adaptable clothes rather than anything fragile or too feminine. She had spent a generous amount of her time at UNIT spelunking, exploring old factories, climbing ladders up to catwalks, and hiking over rough terrain. Besides, there was no time to press anything.
She swiftly brushed back her auburn hair, fastened it into place, and by then the flat was warm. Liz always prepared her breakfast things the night before. So the coffee pot was filled and ready to be plugged in. While it perked, she fished out slices of bread and made toast. The minutes were ticking down. While the coffee continued to perk she munched the first piece of toast and assembled her purse for the day, taking special care to keep her UNIT pass on top. With a frown of annoyance, she saw that the Doctor had once again thrust his own pass down into her purse so that she would look after it for him. He huffed and puffed and roared about passes; but as the Brigadier was never put off by these theatrics, the Doctor had at last been forced into having one made. Only now he refused to keep track of it. He was always passing it on to others, and Liz got it most of the time.
Now she ruefully surveyed his ridiculously beaming face as it stared back at her from the laminated card. Then she thrust the pass back into place and went to retrieve her coffee and finish the toast and jam. At least with a driver she could finish the coffee in the car, she thought.
She made a precautionary trip to the loo before getting her coat and scarf. There was a chance that this car trip would take her far afield from UNIT, and she didn't want to ask for a special stop. As she came into the hall again, she had an inspiration and quickly pulled down her vanity case from a top shelf in the closet. She opened it and threw in extra under garments and a pair of silk leggings and matching silk top. These last two items had been special ordered from an outdoor outfitters up north, on the advice of Jimmy Munro. Tough soldiers didn't like to call them "silk underwear," but the thermal undergarments offered a protection against severe cold that man made fibers had not yet equaled. The young captain's advice was a sign of unexpected camaraderie between them. Liz was not sure she could reciprocate. She still distrusted soldiers and the military mindset. But Munro was professional and courteous. He made a good 2IC to the Brigadier.
She struggled into her heaviest coat, pulled on a woolen tam, and wrapped her scarf. The gloves came last. She opened her seldom-used front door and saw that the black, unmarked staff car had arrived. Exhaust, burnished red from the tail lights, rose in clouds around the car, a sign of the extreme cold, and even from her doorway above, she could see that vestiges of heavy frost rimmed the car roof and rear window. The white glare of headlights, pointed away from her, cut through the pre-dawn darkness. She gathered up her case and purse in one hand and coffee cup in the other. With some difficulty she closed and locked the door, and then she hurried down the steps.
Sgt. Benton, identifiable by his huge frame, quickly exited the front passenger seat of the car as she approached. He was bundled into a heavy army coat, and he pulled on his hat as he exited. She felt some surprise at having both a driver and a second person in the "shotgun" seat come for her. And there was something different about Benton, but she couldn't quite place it. Then she realized that his hat was wrong. It was not the usual UN style beret.
He opened the door for her and smiled as she approached.
"May I take your case, Professor Shaw?" he asked courteously.
"No, I'm fine, thank you," she said. She stopped before entering. "Why are you dressed like Regular Army?"
"Brigadier's orders, Miss," he said. The bland smile told her that nothing else would be forthcoming. It was far too cold to stand and discuss anything. She handed him her coffee so that she could stow her bags, then she slid inside the warm interior. He leaned down, smiled, and passed her coffee to her. Then he closed the door, got in on the passenger side in the front, and the car smoothly pulled away from the curb.
Liz already knew that if she started carping and complaining about the early call and the dramatic arrival of a staff car that Sgt. Benton would become more bland and courteous but much less informative. So she quickly adapted to the moment.
"Well, I do appreciate your coming to get me on such a wretchedly cold morning," she said. "I'm sorry, I don't know your name, Driver."
The young man at the wheel offered her a quick smile in the rear view mirror. "Corporal Boyd, Mum." His eyes met hers, and for just a moment he looked at her with a happy familiarity. It startled her. But he swiftly turned his attention to the road ahead.
Liz spoke to Benton. "Sergeant, do you know what prompted the early morning call?"
"Disturbance at the gates, Miss," Benton said.
She was surprised that the answer came so easily. She was also surprised at the answer itself. "Disturbance at the gates? What sort of disturbance?"
Unasked, Boyd spoke up: "Some kind of demonstration. We don't know what it's about. But a couple rocks were flying, so the Brig thought we better make sure outside people got in safely."
Benton threw a swift and concerned glance back at her. "As we get in sight of the gates you'll likely want to get down on the floor, Miss Shaw. In a crouch, face down. The car's glass is shatter proof, but we don't want to test it."
"Nothing to be afraid of, of course," Boyd added quickly, quite at home with including himself in the conversation. "Plenty of time to finish your coffee. But when we say so, you'll need to get down, and stay down until we say it's all right. We may be stopped by the crowd. We don't want anybody to be hurt, so we're not going to try to rush the gate. We've got to let the chaps inside UNIT open the gates for us without letting the demonstrators make a determined rush."
She was amazed at this revelation. UNIT was a badly kept secret in London in terms of having a presence. Everybody knew about the HQ. But the fact that nobody took it seriously was cover enough, and the front gates were usually as peaceful as a nursery school playground. "How many demonstrators are we talking about?" she asked.
"Two dozen as we drove out, but the radio dispatcher says there are more coming. I think their number has doubled," Benton told her. "And more are arriving."
She was incredulous, and she realized that this situation, at least, had merited the Brigadier's concern. "But what could they want?" she asked. "Why would they be protesting UNIT? And throwing rocks?" She collected her thoughts. "So there's been no message in?"
"Not that we've been told," Benton said. "But the morning conference has been moved up."
And then Boyd spoke again, completely at ease with passing on a direct order. "The Brig says you're to report directly."
"Yes, all right." She made her voice curt.
The darkness was not yet thinning. Dawn, she thought, was at least an hour away. She sipped the coffee and still tried not to be troubled over this strange turn of events. She had learned in the last year that trouble was trouble enough. When it came, it took complete control of her life, and she gave herself to it willingly, ready to work through the problems that had to be faced.
The result of her complete commitment was unending frustration when the Brigadier decided to assign her to answering phones or else overrode her opinions before hearing them out. Soon enough, she knew, she would be forced to be completely dependent on the Doctor to side with her, once again always playing the game of politics to gain credibility with her commanding officer. Yet it was her credibility that had prompted Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart to take her from Cambridge and bring her onto his staff.
She forced her list of complaints from her mind. There was just no point in anticipating the weight of worries to come.
The cup was empty. She turned her gaze to the dark windows. Most of London still slept. The car now raced towards the outskirts of the city. Neither Benton nor Boyd spoke, but the radio crackled with the fifteen minute report that was the norm. At the half hour mark, all radio carriers checked in. The car was nearing the gates now. She gazed ahead to see as much as possible before having to hide.
"Best get down now, Miss," Cpl. Boyd said, and she obeyed, but not before observing that there was a milling crowd of heavily coated and scarved people blocking the UNIT gates. For a moment, Liz felt a genuine stab of fear as she crouched down on the floor of the back seat. It didn't seem likely that this one car was going to try to pass through them. "Turn on the bright lights. I'll get the spotlight," Benton said.
"There must be a hundred by now--"
"All right." And Benton's voice was uncharacteristically curt. Liz knew that he didn't want Boyd to alarm her. "You stay ready to inch forward. I've got the handset. Greyhound to track. We've got the rabbit. Can you get us in?"
The voice that crackled back at them was almost undecipherable to Liz, but Benton spoke again. "Yes, we can hold. But it looks like a few of them are gathering up rocks."
Now the reply from the radio was more distinct. "We'll attempt a sortie. Drag the leaders back in with us."
Something clacked on the sturdy roof of the car, and a chunk of concrete skipped off the back side window. It left a jagged scratch, but the window held.
"Better hurry," Benton said. "They don't want us inside."
The voice on the radio was terse and insistent, and she recognized Jimmy Munro. "Right lads: Open the gates! Alpha and Bravo out on the flanks! Charlie front and center with me!"
"Here they come," Benton said. Brilliant white flood lights suddenly washed the entire car with blinding glare. The floor under Liz's eyes became distinct, and she easily saw fragments of litter under the front seat alongside her. The car was as bright as day.
"We need riot gear," Boyd added, his voice tense. "It's guns or nothing. That's no way to handle this."
"We never thought we would have to. Go!" Benton suddenly shouted. "Go!"
But Boyd needed no urging. The car had surged forward before Benton even gave the order. Liz heard tremendous yelling and outraged, shrill screaming as some of the demonstrators were seized and dragged back into the gates by the soldiers who had rushed out. Shadows of rocks flying crossed the brilliant glare over the car.
For one instant there were angry faces at the back windows, and she saw several of them catch sight of her. Quite clearly, she heard a man's voice yell, "Is that your whore, Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart?" And somebody else called, "They're taking a woman in!" Their gloved, angry fists pounded on the windows to get at her. "Whore!" Another voice shouted. "UNIT whore!"
Benton swore and spoke into the radio. "Can you get that one in the black pea coat? Drag him in if you can."
"No!" Liz exclaimed. It was over just as quickly. They were inside the gates now, and she came up onto the back seat. "We're not here to fight with British citizenry, Sgt. Benton."
"Never mind," Benton said into the mic. "Don't risk it." He turned rueful eyes to her. "I'm sorry, Professor Shaw."
The gates behind them clanged shut, and over the radio, Munro's voice said, "We've got four of the ring leaders. The crowd's pulled back. I think we frightened them a bit. Somebody get the bull horn down here. We'll try to keep them calm if we can't disperse them."
Lethbridge Stewart's voice now spoke. "The bull horn's been sent down. But it's no good. We'll have to have the police in. They've been alerted."
Bringing in the police to bail out UNIT, Liz knew, was tremendously humiliating for the Brigadier. Though he was often willing to work with local or national officials when they needed help, he placed UNIT's autonomy on British soil as a high priority. Having to be rescued showed up the chinks in his UN armor.
She turned and looked out the back window. The high gates were closed, the white bars turned into black silhouettes by the conflicting rays of light that threw shadows onto them from the walls and hedges. UNIT soldiers, dressed as regular British Army, stood at the bars in a smart line, rifles held at attention position. The message was clear: enter and you'll be shot. She understood the device of using British uniforms---a last ditch attempt to make UNIT appear as some sort of British military HQ. But it was clearly useless. One of the demonstrators had shouted out the Brig's name. Whoever these people were, they knew a lot about UNIT.
* * * *
Liz had often marveled at the complete egocentricity of the Doctor. He continually felt sorry for himself over what he called his exile, and he often groused and complained about everything that went wrong for him---from rainy days to cold tea to the color of the paint on the walls. He could be charming, but often the appearance of kindness in him was a warning that he wanted something.
But that morning he was waiting right at the doorways when Benton escorted her inside. "There you are!" the tall, white-haired timelord said as they entered, and Liz saw that he had been genuinely worried. The grey eyes in his lined face scanned her face quickly, then swiftly turned to her escort. "And I could have gone with you!" he snapped at Benton.
"The Brigadier told me to leave without you, Doctor," Benton said. "I do apologize. It was an order."
"Yes, and then he had Bessy locked up in the machine shop. All to keep me here."
Liz made her voice coaxing and conciliatory. "Doctor, there's not much protection in an open car like Bessie. The sergeant and the corporal were quite capable."
"I'm capable too!" he insisted. "You're my friend and colleague, and I had a perfect right to go!" There was something about his complaining that was touching. He had wanted to go in order to protect her, and they had deliberately left without him.
Liz rarely played the frightened female, but at this moment she thought it necessary. "Well I was quite shaken up by the crowd." She slipped her hand into the Doctor's hand. "I feel better knowing you're here now, anyway. They said some awful things." And Benton actually blushed. He looked away.
The Doctor noticed this and instantly quieted down. Then he became gentle and gallant. "They did, did they? Well it's all nonsense, of course. We'll get it sorted out, Liz. You and me both. Provided we can keep the Brigadier out from underfoot!" Then he smiled and pulled her hand around his arm. "Come on to the conference. Let's see if we can get a decent explanation!" He led her down the hall.
It was the first time, Liz noticed, that he had called her his friend.
* * * *
Morning conference always included tea and perhaps biscuits if the canteen had been directed to provide for a Level One Emergency. The Brigadier and Jimmy Munro usually presided, but attendance was by department on a rotation basis. However, that morning all available department heads were present at the long table, and Munro was still down at the gates. Liz, as always, was the only woman, and the only person not in uniform, apart from the Doctor. But that morning all the men, including Alastair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart, wore the green and tan of British army instead of the regulation UNIT uniforms.
Liz noticed that there were, indeed, biscuits on the table. "We are at Security level three," the Brig announced as the meeting began. The Doctor translated: "A desperate attempt to fit in with the local landscape. Yes, perhaps now that the horse is out, we might start closing a few barn doors."
"There will be television cameras arriving soon enough, Doctor," the Brigadier said. "If we cannot deter these fanatics at the front gates from shouting our mission from the rooftops of London, we may be able to set up some sort of contradiction to their claims."
"What, exactly, are they shouting?" Liz asked.
Munro was not there to report, but Cpl. Adams, who had been duty officer until the day watch started, spoke up: "They're charging us---UNIT specifically---with supporting fascism. They say we've been part of a cover up, that we've destroyed incriminating evidence against a group of scientists who are running a research group north of here."
Everybody was puzzled on that report.
"What research group?" the Doctor asked. "Not that underground nuclear site? UNIT closed them down months ago."
"And there was nothing fascist about them. It was pure research," Liz added. "It cannot be they."
"Not----TSRG?" the Brigadier asked, for once caught off guard. He spoke with the tone of a man trying to see where a link might exist but finding it unlikely.
The Doctor's voice sharpened. "What's TSRG?"
On quick inspiration, Liz supplied the definition: "Top Secret Research Group." Then she laughed in delight at her own wit.
"That will do," Lethbridge Stewart said. "We'll let TSRG stand for whatever you like, Miss Shaw. They are top secret. We will not discuss them if it can be avoided."
"Well what's UNIT got to do with them?" the Doctor asked. "Why would anybody even associate UNIT with them? We're independent of British research groups."
"TSRG is with NATO," the Brigadier said. "We have a dotted line relationship with them."
"And how does a relationship acquire the status of a dotted line, Brigadier?" Liz asked. There was a hint of mockery in her voice.
Adams spoke up again: "I didn't get any specific name," he said. "That's all that we could pick up. They say UNIT's been part of a cover up for a fascist group that's committed some sort of crime or atrocities."
The Brigadier sat down, his brows knit. All eyes turned to him, and now the room became silent. Something in Adams' report had hit home unexpectedly.
"Spit it out man!" the Doctor at last barked. "Has UNIT been giving assistance to some sort of abuse of power? If so, let's admit it and get things set right!"
"We have certainly not been assisting in any type of fascist policy!" the Brigadier snapped. "We've got an extensive charter to keep us from just such abuses, Doctor! UNIT preserves the security of the world."
"Yes I've heard that before." And the Doctor's voice was acidic. Lethbridge Stewart knew he would get no sympathy from the timelord. He turned to the assembly of ten men at the table. "You are all dismissed. Back to your stations. We will maintain Emergency status, Security level three."
"At least that gives us biscuits," Liz said as she and the Doctor stood up.
"Not you two, Miss Shaw," he said. "We shall continue. I have an assignment for you."
They both plumped down again. The Doctor pulled the plate of biscuits in front of himself. Liz pulled it over towards herself so that they could share. He glared at her, and she frowned at him---both of them joking. It was a little show of solidarity in front of their commanding officer.
"Yes, if you're quite ready," the Brigadier said.
"All right, what is it?" the Doctor asked. "Oho Liz, those ones have nuts." He glanced up at the Brigadier.
"We may have to handle this with the utmost discretion and sensitivity."
Liz slid the plate towards him. "Nuts," she announced.
"So this TSRG has been up to something?" the Doctor asked.
"Look---" Lethbridge Stewart leaned back in his chair. "They do weapons research for NATO."
The Doctor read the look on his face. "Illegal weapons research?"
"Legally speaking, Doctor, weapons research cannot be declared illegal unless it involves a material that has been banned by the NATO treaties or if it is directed at making a type of weapon that has been banned."
"I see," Liz said. "So if it's open ended research---"
"Or research in a brand new category of weapon," the Doctor added. "It cannot be declared illegal until some sort of blueprint or---better yet---a prototype has been developed."
"Precisely," the Brigadier said. "Not that the forces of the Communist Bloc or the Third World Dictatorships would view the legality of their research in the same light. Technically, everything they do is legal. Put under a microscope of scrutiny, their work may raise serious objections."
"Enough to destabilize certain peace treaties?" the Doctor asked.
Liz was still puzzled. "But what does this have to do with UNIT?"
"TSRG's security department was charged with heavy handed tactics several months ago." Lethbridge Stewart paused, looking for words. "Some of their researchers and directors are----devotedly anti-Communist----"
"Fascist," the Doctor said.
"Well, pretty close. They have erred consistently on the side of maintaining their security. That doesn't sit well with British yeomanry. I get the idea that the British government assumed that if TSRG were plopped out into the countryside in an old munitions plant from the War, they would eventually blend in with the locals. It requires a certain confidence that the locals will want to know all the small business of the place without being all that interested in its higher purposes."
The Doctor nodded. "I see. You can keep the information private by feeding the rumor mill at the pubs and greens. Tell enough silly stories, buy enough beer for everybody, and they'll settle on the idea that you're a bunch of harmless and amiable machine engineers."
"Yes, but TSRG was pretty ham-fisted about it. They detained trespassers from the start---poachers and the like, and put up about three times as much fencing as was needed. Then there were stories of them chasing out squatters who camped too close and actually using riot batons once or twice when men showed up to argue about what was going on."
Liz rolled her eyes and the Doctor let out his breath.
The Brigadier continued: "UNIT was called in to investigate and advise. We offered them a few clinics on a hands-off method of security. They agreed to everything. Our investigation did show minor abuses of power, and we were promised that these were rectified."
"Obviously!" the Doctor exclaimed. "The easiest way to get rid of UNIT was to agree with everything."
But the Brig shook his head. "We must investigate, of course," he said. "Munro has detained four of the ring leaders from the protest outside. I'll talk to them."
"Well you'd better make sure that they're treated well!" the Doctor snapped.
"Both of you get some medical supplies together and come with me," he said. "We'll visit them together."
* * * *
Liz knew, of course, that she was the main attraction in this visit. There were few things more comforting to a captured man than the sight of a beautiful and concerned woman attending his scratches.
And she played her part. She didn't like Emergency Ones because they meant that she had to stay on-site until the emergency was cleared. Rather than undergo endless days sleeping on a UNIT cot and taking bird baths from the sinks in the women's bathrooms, she would tend to the wounded enemy, express reassurance and concern, and get the information and agreements necessary to end the crisis.
Following procedure, Jimmy Munro had allowed the unsophisticated detainees to exchange whispers and notes with each other when they thought nobody was looking. The result was that he had deduced that a man by the name of Hawthorne was clearly directing the others detained with him.
So the young 2IC led the way to Hawthorne's small detention cell. The Brigadier, followed by Liz and then the Doctor, entered. Surprised, the detained man looked up. He was between thirty and forty, Liz thought, with skin slightly leathered by habitual tobacco use. He had dark hair, dark eyebrows, and craggy features. And a cough.
"This is Professor Shaw from Cambridge University," the Brigadier told Hawthorne. "She has a medical degree, and we have asked her to certify that you've not been abused here."
"Likely story," he grunted. "Part of this fascist group and part of this fascist cover up!"
"I am a Cambridge researcher, Mr. Hawthorne," Liz told him with her most courteous classroom lecturer voice. "I have no interest in protest groups, nor am I especially political. I am a scientist. But I also despise fascism. We British suffered quite enough from it once. If you oppose a genuine fascist enemy, my sympathies are with you. If you are merely an agitator who throws rocks, I think you are a fool."
She leaned closer to look at his face, her eyes professional and detached. "But either way, will you allow me to examine you for injuries?"
Her words seemed to have some effect on him. "Yes, all right." And he coughed. She opened her bag and withdrew her stethoscope. "How long have you had that cough?"
"It's the end of a bout of pneumonia." But at sight of the stethoscope he unbuttoned his shirt and let her apply the sensor to his chest. The heart was excellent. A strong lub-dub, lub-dub. "Cough, please," she said. He did. "Again." And he did. She removed the sensor and slid it down his back. "One more time." He complied.
"Your heart is in very good shape, even for a habitual smoker." He looked up in surprise at her acumen. "But there is residual fluid in your lungs," she added.
"I told you it's the end of a bout of pneumonia."
"Your ribs were not struck as your were brought in? No blows to your chest?" She made her eyes more clearly concerned and she leaned down to look him in the face. Not at all to her surprise, he replied with honesty. "No. They got me 'round the throat with a night stick thing and dragged me backwards. I got a bash on my knee though. That knee." And he pointed to his left knee.
"All right. Throat first." She used the stethoscope to trace the sound of his breathing and swallowing. All normal, but she could see the redness on his throat from something that had brushed harshly against the skin. She traced the main arteries by gently pressing with her fingertips. There was a slight edema, but it seemed to be along the path of blood circulation and not the windpipe. To make sure, she pressed into the line of the artery, and his eyes flickered but he did not flinch. "No sensation in the air passage?" she asked.
"No, it's my knee."
He was wearing loose wool pants, and he slid up the pant leg with ease to show her. The knee overall was red and swollen, the skin turning white where it was stretched against accumulating fluid. Liz carefully felt along the joint. "The knee cap is intact," she told him. "But there is a fluid build up." She looked up at Munro. "Why was he kneecapped?"
"Because he had a massive chunk of rock in his hands," Munro said. "One of my men kicked across his knee to save himself from being brained, and another got him in a night stick choke and dragged him in."
"That's what they say," Hawthorne retorted. Liz took up his hard, calloused hands. There were fresh nicks and tiny spots of blood on them. "You were picking up rocks," she said. "Holding them quite tightly, too."
"Yeah, all right. We were provoked. This place is covering up outright murder." His eyes stabbed into hers. "A woman's murder, too. What d'you think of that?"
"Whose murder?" the Brigadier asked.
To everybody's surprise, Hawthorne answered clearly: "Chris Lanier, Johnny Jewell, and Alf Brandy. All of them deader'n hammers. Found just off the grounds of that place. That old aeroplane factory or whatever it used to be. And the last was our Joannie Lorrick. A woman younger'n you!"
"Dead how?" the Brigadier said.
"'lectrocuted, as though you didn't know. Those jack booted guards at that place beat 'em and threw 'em on the electrified fence. And got off scot-free because they lied like blazes for each other and said they were all someplace else. And they killed that squatter that used to come around the pub and beg. We never even knew his name."
The Brigadier spoke as politely as he could. "It hardly seems likely that they would treat a woman as any type of threat."
"Killing Joannie was their warning to the rest of us!"
"We will investigate your claims," the Brigadier said.
"Like fun. You're a UN group, and you're hand in glove with them." He was angry, and he was sincere. And the new information about four people found slain near the grounds of TSRG raised all sorts of unpleasant possibilities. He glared at Liz again. "Why is Joannie dead and you're alive? What law in Britain says that Cambridge doctors have got more protection than ordinary people?"
"See here, this woman---" Doctor began, but Liz turned her eyes on him so swiftly that he stopped.
"The law doesn't say that anybody's death is less important or more important than anybody else's," she told him.
"Those words came out of your mouth!" he snapped.
She wasn't sure what he meant. "Resorting to violent protest hasn't gotten you anywhere," Liz pointed out. "Wouldn't it have been better to go through newspapers and the legal system?"
"I'll show you violence!' He still had his hands open in front of her, and he swiftly clapped them together on either side of her face. Liz leaped back from the sudden pain, and he came up right after her.
"Stop!" the Brigadier shouted.
Amazingly, with three men there to protect her, Hawthorne slammed her back into the wall with his body. Something exploded into Liz's midsection, and nausea rushed up from her midsection as blackness and loss of breathing seemed to rush down her. She heard herself gag as she struggled to breathe, and there were tremendous yells. And then, just as quickly, she was scooped up in strong arms, and the Doctor roared, "Open the door man!" And another voice, Hawthorne's voice, screamed at them, "We'll kill her like you killed our Joannie. We'll kill your blasted lady professor!"
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I appreciate comments from readers. Please tell me what worked for you in the story and what did not work. Did any part move too slowly? Was the story hard to get into? Were any of the characters not true to the television series? I appreciate all input.