Disclaimer: Nope, not mine. Not Doctor Who and not Torchwood.
For scarlettgirl as part of the Minor Characters Ficathon on LJ.
Assignment: "Request 2: Goddard (Dalek). How she got the job working for Van Statten. If you can manage her being a Torchwood plant I'd probably have your babies."
Anna grabbed her mug off the desk, took a sloppy-wet gulp of cooling tea from it, and checked her make-up and hair in the reflective glass before running over to the lift. She almost knocked over a bio-scientist, just making it through the doors. If she didn't get to the thirtieth floor in forty three seconds, she'd be officially late for her meeting and lateness wasn't an option if she wanted this assignment. And Anna really wanted this assignment.
Not that she knew what it was, of course. But she was getting restless sitting in the bullpen on the seventh floor, checking up on the conspiracy theorists (making sure they weren't getting too close) and organising the public press releases for the Institute. As Anna watched the numbers on the lift stop at 'twenty six' for the doors to open and let out a computer programmer, she mused idly that although Torchwood received a more honest overhaul back in 2007, it still wasn't completely out in the open. The world still wasn't totally ready for the stars and the combined efforts of Torchwood, the UN and the American Home-World Security Agency were the only things really keeping the billions of people on Earth being faced with things they just couldn't handle yet. Torchwood was known as an investigative agency for space, aliens and all associated phenomena. People didn't need to know about the scavenging, the weapons, the so-called First Contacts and the history of Earth's interaction with other species.
Anna herself had only been with the Torchwood Institute for three years, and she was only thirty three, but she was tech-savvy and had all of the mandatory field and undercover training for a field mission. Her last assignment had been a suspected Silurian uprising at a Eastern European nuclear plant. The UN had approached Torchwood for a sensitive approach, and Anna was sent in with a more experienced team as the rookie to help assess the situation. She'd obviously impressed someone, because she was enrolled in further training when she came back. That had been eight months ago, and now she was finally getting another field assignment.
The doors finally opened on level thirty – she was the only person in the lift now - and Anna flashed her ID badge at a large, armed guard outside the Director's door. He gave her a quick nod and waved her through, and within seconds she was sitting in an unusually comfortable chair in the presence of Captain Jack Harkness himself.
Captain Harkness was the well-known, well-respected Director of the Torchwood Institute. He'd almost single-handedly rebuilt the institute into a more reputable organisation after the Battle of Canary Wharf, starting on the Rift in Cardiff but eventually reconstructing Torchwood One in London. That had been four years ago, and there wasn't a single person in this building who didn't look up to the Captain with awe and respect. Rumour had it he'd even travelled with the Doctor for a short time, but Anna wasn't sure. The files showed that the Doctor was followed by Death, and his companions rarely left him unscathed. Even Rose Tyler, the woman who had been banished with the Doctor when Torchwood had been imagined by Queen Victoria, had disappeared without a trace to be replaced by Martha Jones. The Doctor lead a dangerous life, and Anna couldn't be sure that the Captain would have escaped that life without dying.
Anna clasped her hands on her lap, and waited quietly for the Captain to finish typing whatever it was he was typing on his laptop. She was surprised to see no-one else in the office – it was just her and the Captain. For some reason, she'd automatically assumed that she'd be going into the field as part of a team again. It was only her second assignment after all.
"I'll be two more seconds, Anna," the Captain said with a grin. "This document just needs to be sent to the records department and they've been on my back for it for a few days now. No rest for the wicked, eh?"
Anna gave a cautious smile. She'd never spoken to the Captain before – not even at interview. How strange that he should take the time to know her name, to use it. And how strange that the records department would be hounding him for documents – doesn't he run the place? Then again, Anna mused, Torchwood wasn't your average company.
Anna heard the laptop click shut, and she looked up to see the Captain still grinning at her. "So, we have a rather sensitive assignment for you, Miss. Jordan."
On to the official business then, Anna thought.
"We do realise that this would be only your second assignment, but you have had glowing recommendations and have undergone all of the necessary training," the Captain continued, "and since you studied in America, you'll fit in better than any Brit new to the place."
"I'll brush up on my American accent, then," Anna joked nervously. She hadn't been in America for at least five years, and even then it was only a year's advanced study in psychology at one of the state universities – nothing spectacular, just something to boost her assets as a diplomat. She'd only been advised to take it to help her get a job with the UN.
The Captain rewarded her with a grin, and took a file from the top drawer of his desk to hand to Anna. "It's an undercover assignment, in the fortress that is Henry Van Statten's underground base."
Anna's eyebrows climbed her forehead. "The internet billionaire?"
"That's the one," the Captain was grave. "We've been trying to get someone on the inside for a while, but we've heard from one of our people on his fringe and he's looking for a new PA."
Anna dreaded to think what happened to the old one. Everyone knew of Van Statten, CEO of Geocomtex and the rumoured creator of the Internet. And everyone knew of his great interest in aliens and technology.
"So you want me to pose as his PA?"
"You are as sharp as they say," the Captain pushed his chair up, and stood to walk over the large windows. He began simply staring out of them over London as he spoke. "He's been pissing the UN and the Home-World SA off for a while now – getting to crash sites before they can get the army in, outbidding the authorities on auction pieces – or just stopping pieces getting as far as auction. Those tend to be harmless artefacts as far as we can tell, but we can't be sure. And we know that a lot of his patented technology isn't coming from Earth. At least," he turned to Anna, "not originally."
"What is it you want me to do, exactly?"
"Torchwood will ensure that you get this job," Anna knew that entailed doctoring the records of anyone else attempting to get the job, "and you will be given a full cover background. You'll stay with Van Statten as long as it takes to get some solid information on his dealings – enough to move in on him and curb his activity. You will report to us within the first week through secure channels to tell us what you've seen and heard – anything useful – and as often as you feel is necessary after that. If anything big goes down when you're there, don't break cover until it's safe. And watch yourself, because we know he has a tendency of retcon-ing anyone who leaves his service no matter how voluntarily."
All Anna could really do was nod.
"Take a day to read the file and familiarise yourself with your cover-story, and you'll be on a plane to Salt Lake City by Saturday," the Captain informed her. He then went back to his seat and leaned forward. "Are you okay?" he asked.
Anna nodded again, but tried to find her voice. "It's just such a big assignment, I wasn't really expecting anything like this. I don't know what I was expecting really, but it wasn't an inside job with the richest man on Earth."
"We could pass it on, if you don't feel ready for something this big," the Captain offered, and Anna was suddenly struck by an immense feeling of gratitude and self-satisfaction. What a great job she had, and such a nice boss too.
"I'll keep it," she decided. "Thanks, Captain."
The Captain grinned at her. "Congratulations, Miss. Jordan, on your first solo assignment. Good luck."
Van Statten interviewed Anna personally, and informed her she'd been hired before handing her over to one of his researchers and rushing off to an auction. "I usually send someone else, Miss. Goddard," Van Statten had said, "but I hear there's a rather interesting piece coming up today and I want it. I'll bring you up to speed myself on the systems and layouts of my Vault when I return."
"I'm Adam," the researcher stretched out his hand to her, and she was surprised to find that he was British. "Mr. Van Statten asked me to give you a tour, so we should start in the smaller museum."
"The smaller museum?"
Adam laughed. "Mr. Van Statten is quite the collector of alien artefacts. He has all-sorts, but the smaller pieces he's put on display on one of the upper levels. I'm personally not sure why, as it's not like he lets just anyone walk through, but…" the boy trailed off, and pushed a button for the lift, the doors opening almost immediately. "That's just the way he is."
"And he's going off to auctions all of the time?"
"Like he said, he usually sends someone else – me, or one of the other researchers – but if it's something he's desperate for or really interested in then he'll go himself. Sometimes he'll try and persuade the dealers out of their artefacts before they reach auction if it's that important to him."
"What is it today, then?" Anna asked.
They arrived on the floor of the 'smaller museum' and Anna found the room to be as large as your standard warehouse. She immediately recognised some of the pieces, but couldn't comment as Diana Goddard was not familiar with aliens and their technology.
"Some pepper-pot, I heard. Nothing that interesting from my point of view, but if it's alien, Mr. Van Statten will have it."
It sounded too much like the Torchwood motto of old for Anna's comfort.
Adam started to point out some of the 'artefacts' in glass cases. "This is a mileometer, from the Roswell crash. Mr. Van Statten got this about seven years ago, I think, in an auction. The way he tells it, they were just selling it for scrap. And this is a stuffed arm," Anna faked a grimace even as she leaned forward to examining the long, green appendage. "He got it when Downing Street blew up back in 2006; one of his employees found it in the rubble. He's been trying to sequence it's DNA – I say him," Adam scoffed, "but I mean one of his researchers."
Anna was surprised by the boy's strange mix of respect and mockery of Van Statten.
Adam was talking about another piece, and when Anna finally stopped musing about the boy's personality, she paid some attention and it took her sometime to clock what it was she was looking at.
The head of a Cyberman.
"…back in 2007 when they came though as ghosts, if you remember. I was only fifteen. Of course, this isn't the same model, and we aren't sure how they came to be different. We can only assume that they upgrade themselves, as well as others, into more efficient bodies. This one must have been rather less aesthetically pleasing than those we saw in 2007, with the bars looking rather more angular and the faces more two dimensional…"
Van Statten returned from his auction exceptionally pleased – almost giddy, Anna noticed – and immediately asked for Anna's help co-ordinating a delivery to the Vault, and the construction of a secure bunker that he ominously called "The Cage". He wasn't any more forthcoming on his acquisition than that, and Anna began to feel worried.
She expressed this to the head field officer when she reported back in to Torchwood, but he saw nothing to warrant moving in on Van Statten just yet. So Anna got back to work on co-ordinating the delivery of the mystery artefact.
It arrived two days later, but Anna was talking to the press about the latest developments by Geocomtex, and wasn't there to see the new arrival unpacked. She knew she was the distraction to keep the press from seeing the delivery at the other end of the complex above the Vault, but she was Diana Goddard, Henry Van Statten's personal assistant and she would do as she was directed.
When the press conference had ended – they were easier when all you had to do was deliver a set statement from the office of Henry Van Statten, though, admittedly, she'd been the one to take the statement down – she'd headed straight down to Van Statten's office, finding him sat behind his desk in front of his hideous portrait.
"Wonderful press conference, Diana, you held yourself very well," he complimented, eyes glued to the live feed from the Cage.
"Thank you, Mr. Van Statten." Anna was desperate to walk around the desk to see the feed for herself.
"Would you like to come down to the Cage and see the new arrival? I've christened it 'the Metaltron'. It has a ring to it, wouldn't you say?"
"Certainly," Anna replied, inwardly screaming that it was a stupid name and this man was obviously lacking a decent imagination. "I'd love to see it."
Van Statten jumped up from his seat, and walked Anna to the lift. "It's my only living specimen – it fell to Earth fifty years ago on Ascension Island. It burned in the crater for three days before it was cool enough for anyone to get close and it supposedly screamed the entire time. It's been silent for years, it's previous owner said, and he needed the money to settle his gambling debts. The fool let it go for a couple of million dollars! Can you believe it? We're going to try and get it to talk."
After only a few days, Anna was familiar enough with Van Statten to know that he meant to torture this 'Metaltron' into giving up it's secrets, and Anna was swept with sympathy. What a poor creature, to crash to Earth and to be kept as a collectors piece. Three days, alone and in pain – it must have gone mad.
She and Van Statten exited the lift in the bowels of the Vault, and she approached the Cage with confident steps. Van Statten entered the code, and gestured for her to enter before him, the lights snapping on within the Cage as they were supposed to.
A Cyberman's head and a Dalek in one week, a calmer voice in the back of her head supplied.
Anna couldn't think, faced with the metal pepper-pot.
She couldn't speak, and her first instinct was to run.
But Van Statten saw her speechlessness as a positive thing. "Awesome isn't it? It just seems to sit there, that blue light on the top stalk – the eye, I think - just shining. We don't know what the other stalks are for, but we're determined to find out." He nodded towards the door, and Anna followed his line of sight to a man – Simmons, she thought he was called – who was dressed head to foot in a protective rubber suit.
Van Statten walked out to head for the safety of his office to watch the first torture session on his display, and Anna had no choice but to follow him.
The torture sessions continued almost every waking hour of the day. Anna thought she could hear the Dalek screaming as she ordered Van Statten's private armed force to up the security around the Cage, even though the Cage was soundproof and the only feeds were to the Van Statten's office and the security offices.
She reported the situation back to Torchwood at her first opportunity, but they decided that there still wasn't a good enough reason to move in. Van Statten obviously had the Dalek under control, and was only trying to get it to speak. Should it speak, Anna was told to get back to them, but other than that, she was to stay put and keep cover.
The Dalek had been in it's Cage for two weeks when the Doctor appeared.
Anna had never been so relieved.
She managed to keep her cover through the whole affair, observing the Doctor in a way few in Torchwood were able to. Not very many people survived the Battle of Canary Wharf, but those who did spoke of a tall, thin man in a pinstripe suit with a blonde charv from London called Rose, whom he lost.
This Doctor had a Rose, and she was a bit too blonde and a bit too heavily made-up. And while he seemed almost as cut up by thinking he'd lost Rose as Torchwood veterans say he was when the Battle ended, he didn't have the thin frame or pinstriped suit. That must mean, Anna realised, that this Doctor came before the pinstriped-man and may not know of Torchwood. It was a blessing and a curse: as she ordered the Vault to be emptied and filled with concrete, and Van Statten himself to be retcon-ed, she couldn't tell this Time Lord that all of the technology would go to a good cause, bettering Earth's defences. And she couldn't dampen the man's enthusiasm at having gotten rid of the "last dalek".
Torchwood moved in a few hours after the ordeal came to an end, and they began to clear up the bodies and remove Van Statten's collection. The Captain himself came to Anna and asked for her version events – his eyes suspiciously bright when she talked of the Doctor and Rose Tyler, and the bravery and compassion the young girl showed to a dalek of all things! The Captain congratulated Anna on a job well done, and offered her a permanent transfer to the field team.
After seeing all of that death, she turned it down. Press releases may be boring, but you couldn't kill anyone with them.
Since she was Van Statten's PA, the press were expecting to hear from her about the deaths and the mysterious disappearance of her billionaire employer. As Diana Goddard, she told the world that Van Statten had suffered a mental breakdown, and his companies were to be bought out by international conglomerations. She also gave out the Torchwood-prepared cover-story for the many deaths. "Mr. Van Statten has gone into seclusion," she announced to shocked journalists, "and specialists have been called in to assess his mental health. In the mean-time, we are sorry to report an outbreak of a deadly virus within our labs as a result of research into an HIV vaccine. It spread quickly, and killed many before we could seal off the air systems and stop the progression of the virus. So far, seventy six people are recorded as dead. The immediate families of these dedicated scientists, lawyers and security technicians will be compensated amply, though we recognise that no amount can replace a child, a father, a mother, or a partner…"
Anna made it back to Britain within a few more days. She hadn't been in America for a month, and she was already home, sitting on her sofa in front of the six o'clock news in her flat. It was surreal, and Anna wasn't sure she wanted to go out and face her work at all, now that she was safe and comfortable. She wasn't sure she could spring back from facing all of that death, all due to one dalek. She wasn't sure she could accept that she could have stopped it if she'd only pushed harder with the head of the field office.
She wasn't sure she could handle that if the Doctor and, more importantly, Rose hadn't been there to cause the dalek to hesitate, she would have died too, another victim of a mystery virus when she hadn't even had time to tell her parents that she was living back in London and had been for five years.
Anna Jordan stared blankly at the television for a few hours, the word 'if' swirling around her head like a shit rollercoaster. Eventually, she made herself a cup of tea and dialled her parents' phone number, determined to build bridges while she could.