First Doctor Who Story Ever Told;Doctor Who;Jo Grant;Katy Manning;Third Doctor;Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart;Jon Pertwee;Jeri Massi
The First Doctor Who
Story Ever Told
Jo's transistor radio had definitely taken on a tinny sound by the time she reached the second floor west wing doors to check them. The doors were secured. She turned the transistor low for a moment to call in the all-safe.
"I'm going to the science lab to do some paper work," she said into the hand-held, two-way radio that she also carried. She received the all clear and returned the two way to its belt holster. Then she turned to the transistor and tried vainly to get the reception better. It was the last thing between her and despair.
Outside, cold and heavy winter rain slapped the windows. As though satisfied, the wind gave them a rattle and shake just to assure her that yes, she was trapped inside UNIT HQ on Christmas Eve as the unwilling duty officer.
At home now, the family would be sitting down at the long table to roast goose and home made bread pudding. The candles on the long table and sideboard would be lit, and the entire, enormous, wood paneled house would wear that sacred, hushed mantle of sights and scents that were distinctively reserved for Christmas.
She had never been away from home for Christmas, and she had not expected to miss it this year. But UNIT's own peculiar practices dictated that Christmas Eve and Christmas day rosters must go by lottery. And in spite of her indignant protests about being a civilian attache to the military organization, her name had gone in with everybody else's. And she had drawn duty.
Worse, nobody had been particularly sympathetic. Worried about Chin Lee, the Doctor had simply brushed off Jo's complaints and then simply disappeared on December first, much to the annoyance of the Brigadier. But Captain Chin Lee's arrest and imprisonment in China seemed almost a sure thing unless the Doctor intervened for her. He was determined to persuade the Chinese government that the Master--in the guise of Emil Keller--had exercised a secret technology on the poor woman to bend her to his will. But he had sneaked off without Jo. And there was no word on when he would be back.
Second, Mike Yates had actually burst out laughing when Jo had drawn the Duty Officer role for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Jo and Mike both came from decidedly wealthy families, but her own family's history of service to the crown and country so overshadowed his that he tended to view her, as he himself said, as a "poor little rich girl." He had left December 20th for a week in Scotland with distant cousins very keen on hunting and the outdoors.
Sgt. Benton had stunned everybody by announcing a week at Lake Tahoe, a trip for which he and Mavis had been saving for three years. They were keen to try skiing, and there was to be a grand ball room competition as part of the Christmas fete over there. He and his sister had left just that morning, vacating headquarters with nearly the entire staff. UNIT was down to a skeleton crew assigned simply to keep the place secure, with a backup team on call. No serious evil loomed on the horizon. There had been the Auton thing in the late summer, her initiation into UNIT and the Doctor, and then the battle at Stangmoor prison a couple months later. And now the Master was gone, presumably to galaxies unknown, where he could plunder and kill to his hearts' delight while the Doctor remained in exile on Earth.
But peace is a poor post script of war. She had been bored and restless in the quiet weeks since Stangmoor, and now she was bored and restless and lonely. She pushed open the lab door, shot a resentful glance at the TARDIS, and went to the workbench to find some batteries for the transistor radio, from which "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" was fading in and out.
She let out a great sigh, shot a glance at the dark and gloomy lab window, and pulled open a drawer to find batteries. But in spite of her efforts to be adult about spending Christmas alone and away from home, a stubborn tear splashed on the rim of the drawer. She knew she was younger than the rest of them, but she had shown her meddle in Stangmoor, and they could have treated her with more respect and consideration. Mike Yates did not have to laugh at her initial protests over staying, and the Doctor could at least have said goodbye instead of just leaving a note. And he might have called.
"Hello, Jo! What are you doing here?"
She almost jumped out of her skin at the light touch on her shoulder. She spun around.
"Doctor!" she exclaimed. He was in his familiar black jacket and white shirt, the tie knotted loosely at his throat.
"Why Jo!" and his smile of welcome and surprise faded in concern. "Are you crying?"
"No," she retorted, then bit her lip as two or three more tears rolled down her face. He pulled out his handkerchief and without thinking wiped her eyes. She sputtered in surprise and backed up. The echoes of insisting on being treated as an adult were still in her mind.
"It was I, wasn't it?" he asked her gravely. "I hurt your feelings."
"No you didn't," she insisted. "But how did you get back here?"
"I got in at Heatherow this morning," he told her. "Dreadfully long trip from China when the TARDIS isn't working, you know," he added. "Hours and hours on aeroplanes. Well, days and days, actually. Especially at Christmas time. Look, what are you doing here?" he asked. "Why aren't you with your family? Last you told me, you were going home for the hols and I wouldn't see you until after the New Year."
"Am I in your way here?" she asked defensively.
"Of course not. I'm delighted to see you," he said with warmth and gentleness. "I've missed you, Jo. It's so good to see you."
His voice was always persuasive, and when he wanted to be, the Doctor could be very warm and welcoming.
"I did hurt your feelings," he said quietly. "I'm sorry, Jo. I just could not take you, and I could not wait. Chin Lee's life was hanging in the balance. I had to go and go quickly before she went to a military trial."
"Did you save her?" Jo asked instantly.
He nodded, and his eyes flickered with a slight satisfaction that she recognized. It pleased him to see her attention to duty and honor. "I hypnotized the military tribunal's judge," he told her. "It proved to the military court that there are hypnosis techniques that no human training can break."
He scratched the back of his head. "It got a bit dicey, though, to be honest with you. I really had to put one over on them, so I hypnotized the judge to think he was a cat. I don't know what kind of cat he thought he was, but he suddenly took off running, and we couldn't catch him. Then he must have gone up into the trees, and we completely lost sight of him."
She had to smile in spite of herself. She had been working with him for only six months, but she already knew how little patience the Doctor had with pompous government officials. "I think you did it on purpose," she said.
"So did they," he told her emphatically. "I actually spent ten days sitting in a dark little prison cell in order to "clear my thoughts," as they say."
"Oh dear. You do look thin."
"Well, the food's not very good in prison," he agreed. "And there's not much of it, but I was holding the trump card, and they knew it. They finally caught their tribunal judge and absolutely could not restore his mind to him. So at last I had a go, and I got him back, and then I convinced them to release Chin Lee and reassign her back here. She's back at Stangmoor as an observer."
"Oh, well done," she said, pleased in spite of herself that he had rescued Chin Lee. He hesitated, then stepped closer and used the handkerchief to defetly take up the one remaining tear on her face.
"Will you forgive me, Jo?" he asked her.
"But why wouldn't you take me?" she asked at last. "I did well enough at Stangmoor, didn't I?"
"Of course you did," he told her. "But it was a Chinese military trial, Jo. I went in illegally. I couldn't risk it for you. Do you know how unpleasant Chinese prisons are, especially for people accused of spying? The East and West are very paranoid with each other right now."
He crossed from her to the TARDIS and fished in his pocket for the key. "You still haven't told me what you're doing here," he said.
"I'm on assignment," she told him. "It's not like you can go away when you like and I get the time off too. I'm still attached to UNIT, you know, and they must have their pound of flesh." With the key in the lock, he stopped and turned to her. He had never invited her into his TARDIS, and she already knew that if he got interested in anything inside, he might stay inside for days. But he looked eager to get in and get back to whatever it was he did in that cramped, narrow thing.
However, he hesitated. The cold rain slapped against the window, and she did her best to look not too obviously forlorn. But just forlorn enough.
"Look here," he said as though he had just thought of it. "I am a bit thin after ten days in a Chinese prison. Maybe we could find a bite to eat somewhere around here."Intro 1b
When Jo returned from the cafeteria with the borrowed plates and silverware, she beheld a marvelous sight. A series of disposable lab aprons had been overlaid with each other on the workbench to form a table cloth, and the bunsen burners were set out and lit on either end of the bench. Between them, was spread an imposing array of tinned and wrapped goods--some of them not indentifiable.
"Ah! Just in time!" he exclaimed. He picked up an open tin. "Have some reindeer balls."
"Some what?" she gasped.
"You know, Jo. Like Swedish meatballs but made with reindeer instead of pork or beef."
She set the plates and forks down. "Doctor, that's absolutely ghastly on Christmas Eve."
He looked regretfully at the open tin.
"Please go ahead," she said. "But I'll pass. Where did you get all this?"
"From the stores in the TARDIS, of course," he told her. "Would you like wine, my dear? Got this bottle from Henry VIII. Always wanted a chance to knock its head off."
In spite of some of the unidentifiable foods, there were plenty of good things that he had set out. Eager to make up for having left her for so many weeks, he was charming and convivial. When they had finished their impromptu meal and had drawn up lab stools over instant coffe, he refilled the bunsen burners, looked over at her in the flickering light, and said, "When I was a boy--and it was nothing like being a boy here on your world, Jo, I lived in a great big house, but it was nothing like what you would think of when you think of a house." He re-lit one of the burners and shook out the match.
"Was it pleasant?" she asked.
"No," he told her. "It was not even meant to be pleasant. For I was not brought into the world to enjoy it, but to serve it as my masters thought best, to rule it perhaps, certainly to observe it and record it. But the idea of taking pleasure in it was never suggested to me, and any inclination towards such ideas were pretty thoroughly squelched if I came up with them."
"And your parents let you live like that?" she asked.
"I had no real parents, Jo," he said softly. "I was not conceived as you think of conception. I was engineered. Actually, if you count my DNA types, I am the product of too many parents to count--all their DNA synethized into a unique matrix."
"That's horrible," she whispered before she thought to keep silent.
He took a sip of his coffee, pulled a horrible face, and after a moment's thought reached for the brandy and poured a generous slug into the mug. Then he said, "I would not wish it on any other creature. I was--and felt like--a motherless child. Most of my early life I spent adrift in my heart and mind. The Masters would call us failed experiments if we would not conform, and I was probably the worst of all of us."
"Why?" she asked.
"Because here and there along the way, Jo, I would see the things that my fellows were trained to miss--the splash of color on the flowers, the way a parented Gallifreyen mother looked down at her parented Gallifreyen child. And I honestly concluded very young that those things were much better than what I was being turned into." He set his empty cup aside and considered. "It's better without the coffee." And he reached for the brandy again.
"Was the Master raised that way?" she asked.
He let out a brief and humorless laugh. "Yes. He was a scholarly and unimaginative plodder, Jo. I don't know. He envied me in some ways. I think the same spark was in him, but buried a bit more deeply. But when the rest of the lads who were my peers would have nothing to do with me, he befriended me."
"He did?" she exclaimed, shocked. "The Master?"
"Well, he wasn't always the worst villain of the universe, you know. I mean, it took time for him to fall, Jo. And I can honestly say he came from the best of breeding. Quite literally."
She reached over for the brandy and sloshed some into her coffee. "Is this going to be a story, Doctor?"
"What's the matter? Don't you like my stories?"
"I love your stories. But I want you to tell it properly and in order," she insisted. "And don't leave anything out."