A note before we begin.

First, the Doctor, the TARDIS, the Cybermen, the Master and UNIT are all the property of the BBc and thier respective creators, I'm just borrowing them for some weird plotting.

Secondly - someone wrote a review complaining about my use of the modern series' UNIT definition - UNified Intelligence Taskforce - as opposed to the classic United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, and though I would have replied to that review individually, I can't because it was anon. So, I'm adding this to my first chapter.

This fan fic is meant to represent the time of the modern series, with a classic Doctor thrown in the mix, and as such, some things (such as UNified) will have to work. I provide an explanation for the discrepancy in this story, but apart from that, I stick to the series definition because I want to keep this as close to canon as possible. So, I'm sorry if you're offended, but that is why, and I don't see why people should take offence at that.

Thank you for choosing to read this story.

--

A gold mine, in the mountains.

That was where Donald McHogue worked, and he was proud of the fact. For twenty years, he had worked there, and in that time, he had risen from simple miner to site manager, and he was still on the rise. At the rate he was going, he believed that he would become overall manager of Thomson Mining Corps within a year or two.

There had been hard times, pitfalls and setbacks – and disasters. But always, he had led his men to survive it. And he would do so again.

"Where're Jimbo and Bob?!" he asked his deputy manage, Tom Wilkins, a youngish man with some dirt always on his face. One day, Donald would have to ask why.

"They went down into the mine about an hour ago – we've not seen head nor tale of them since. Why d'ya ask Don?"

Donald looked down at the mine entrance.

"Well," he replied, "they seem to be there now, so I can talk to them about it."

At the entrance, a lift had come up. There were two figures inside it.

"Hey guys!" yelled Tom. "Guys!"

"They're taller than I remember..." mumbled Donald.

That was the last thing he said before the entire managerial building exploded under concentrated fire from the two figures. Tom's last thought was that he would never know what Donald wanted to talk to Jimbo and Bob for. Donald's last thought was... unrepeatable.

One of them stepped forward, and looked around.

"The area is clear?" it asked.

"Affirmative," it's comrade replied. "Report in to command."

"Affirmative," the first figure said. It reported in to it's commander, and then both of the figures slowly faded away...

--

The Doctor prodded the button, and poked it.

"Well," he said at last, "I didn't put it there."

"If you didn't, then who did?" asked Jo. "It's not like the TARDIS just grew it there itself..."

The Doctor gave her a look that plainly said 'that's just what the TARDIS did do, my dear.'

Jo ploughed on. "I mean, no matter how many times you sday it, I will never believe that a machine can be alive..."

Living machines are quite common," the Doctor said, standing up and walking over to the flight controls. "The Cybermen, for example... human once, they are now almost entirely robotic, apart from their highly modified human brains. Yet they're still alive."

Jo shuddered. She'd heard the stories about the metal men, and hoped never to meet them.

"They sound horrible," she said.

"They are," the Doctor said. "I've been fortunate in this incarnation never to meet them, and perhaps I shall never meet them again."

He looked wistfully into the imaginary distance. Maybe he never would see them again. Then again, he probably would. They would always survive, it was all they existed to do – continue existing. Living because they were afraid of dying, not because they wanted to do something with their lives.

The Doctor sighed. He was already seven hundred years old, and knew that near eternal life could be a pain in various delicate areas.

He shook himself back to the present, and pressed the new button.

Immediately, the TARDIS materialisation noise shook the room. The rotor slowed in its rise and fall, and finally clunked to a halt.

The Doctor raised his eyebrows.

"Well, that was unexpected," he said.

"Yeah," Jo replied, freaked out by this turn of events. "What do we do?"

"I'm not sure..." the Doctor said. "Still, when in doubt, look about, as the wandering time lord handbook says."

"There's a wandering time lord handbook?" Jo asked, bemused.

"Yes, there is," the Doctor said, walking out of the door. As he left, he shot back over his shoulder:

"I wrote it."

--

Harold Saxon sat down at the MOD, and sighed. Another boring day of reading boring dossiers and writing boring speeches to boring people...

Duh duh duh duh.

He banged his fist against the table. The drumming was the last thing he wanted. He could not stand them any more, they were getting louder and louder...

Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh

"Argh!" he yelled, turning over the table.

Wait a minute...

Dum, didda dum dum didda dum dum, didda dum dum didda dum dum didda dum dum didda dum dum, didda dum dum didda dum dum.

That was the drumming as it had been years ago... when he'd faced the Doctor in that annoying third incarnation, with that irritating Jo Grant...

What could these drums returning possibly mean...?

Oh...

"Oh no you don't!" the Master yelled, immediately picking up his phone and placing a call...

--

"Well Doctor..." Jo said, shaking her head slowly, "somehow, I get the feeling that we're in trouble."

They were surrounded by armed men, all in urban camouflage scheme, all grim faced, all aiming big futuristic looking weapons at them.

"Somehow I think you're right, Jo," the Doctor said. "Still, that chap looks like he's in charge. Should all be resolved soon, especially if he's with UNIT."

Another man walked forward. He was tall, with silver hair and a grey beard.

"I'm John Cooper. Welcome to Torchwood Four."