This is the longest one-shot I've published to date! I now feel very accomplished. So, please read, enjoy, and review! This could also potentially become a collection with enough encouragement. Hint hint
No place on Earth was safe. Every city, state, and country trembled under the Master's rule. Every place that is, except one. And even there couldn't actually be considered safe because no one was entirely sure if the place was real.
The stories of the place were elusive and uncertain. In comparison, the idea that the Doctor could magically revert to a reasonable age and save the world, seemed like a sure certainty. Some people said that the small patch of land was cursed; others said that it was protected by otherworldly forces; and still others insisted that it was merely guarded by a group of determined Americans.
Personally, Martha Jones didn't believe any of the stories, because she didn't believe that the place even existed. Now, even as she prepared to leave her homeland for the first time, on a mission set to her by an alien, she still couldn't bring herself to believe.
The transport that she was currently traveling in was dark, dirty, and smelled like fish. Of course, the smell was probably coming from the cases of packaged salmon that she was currently hiding behind. And calling the truck a transport was probably an extreme exaggeration, considering that it was currently making a delivery to the local pier. But none the less, it had been commandeered to carry some very valuable cargo.
It was hard to believe that it had only been a week since Saxon had taken power. A week since the Valiant had taken its place as the Master's palace. A week since the Doctor had been reduced to a fragile shell of his former self.
Now, in this cramped space, Martha Jones was huddled next to a complete stranger for the duration of her journey, a journey that could either save the world or doom it. She didn't know anything about the man sitting next to her besides his name, and she hadn't asked anything else. In these days, no one did, for fear that they might end up dead, or worse.
In these days, she had never imagined herself saying or thinking things like that. But then again, there were a lot of things that she had never been able to imagine before the Doctor.
The quiet man drew her attention, because there wasn't anything else in the small space to occupy her. He seemed fairly young, perhaps in his late 20s or early 30s, but he seemed pale and tense. Obviously he wasn't with UNIT, probably had never even seen combat before in his life. The air of academia covered his clothes and his manners.
That was another thing she learned from her travels with the Doctor. No matter how far away from Earth they were, certain things remained the same. Every planet seemed to have countless organizations bent on protecting their planet from aliens, with varying degrees of success. Even the UK seemed to posses a small handful of organizations and rogue individuals bent on working against each other to try and reach the same end—UNIT, Torchwood, etc.
Martha looked up as her train of thought was abruptly interrupted. American, definitely American, she determined.
"Sorry, what was that?"
"Hi, I just thought we might as well get to know a little about each other since we're going to be stuck here for awhile," he quipped, stretching out his hand, "Doctor Daniel Jackson."
For a moment, her heart stopped beating, smiling weakly Martha reached out to take his hand. A doctor, why hadn't somebody told her?
"Doctor Martha Jones, well Doctor-to-be really. So, what kind of medicine do you practice?"
The man laughed, a real laugh, the first one that she had heard in what felt like ages, "No, I'm not a medical doctor, I have my doctorate in archaeology."
Puzzled, Martha just stared at him. Why on earth, would an archaeologist of all people, be fighting the odds and the Toclafane just to return to America. Wasn't it safer to stay where he was?
"I need to get back home to my friends," the man continued as if reading her mind, "We have some work that we need to finish. So what about you? I'm guessing that you don't have family in America, so why are you traveling?"
"I guess you haven't heard the stories, then."
"Stories, what stories?" the confused man asked, "I've been out of contact since the attack."
"About the Doctor, the Doctor and his plan," Martha began, but the man's confusion only deepened, so she retold the story she had grown to know so well. She told bits of the time she had spent traveling with the Doctor, the Master's plan, and how she planned to travel the world telling her tale. The whole time, the man's eyes grew wider and wider; as she finished talking and fell silent for the first time in an hour, he took off his glasses and scrubbed at his face with his hands.
"You do realize that your story could be very difficult to accept?" he asked quietly as he replaced his glasses.
Martha could feel her anger rising. How could he not believe her? After everything that the world had seen, how could anyone doubt this?
"Look, you don't have to believe me, but I will go out there and tell people about the Doctor. I will make sure that everyone is ready in exactly one year. And I will not let anything stop me."
"Doctor Jones, Martha," the man amended, "I only said that your story could be difficult to accept, I never said that I didn't believe you."
Successfully set speechless, Martha reevaluated the man sitting in front of her. Doctor Daniel Jackson may have seemed like the usual dusty academic, but he was obviously anything but. Here was a man who should be more versed in ancient hieroglyphs than military signals, but she now she could vaguely remember him communicating with the driver in some form of code. All in all, he was a man who was more than he appeared to be, and that could be a very, very dangerous thing. Still, here he was, staring calmly back at her, waiting for her to come to a decision about him before continuing the conversation.
"So, what have you decided? I hope you realize that I'm not going to hurt you. I only want to help."
"Help? Help me? You can't even get a ride back to your own country. How in the world do you expect to help me?" Martha asked warily. This man could hold many tricks, both good and bad up his camouflaged sleeves.
"Like I said earlier, I need to get back to see my friends and I think that they might be able to help."
"Really, and who exactly are these friends?"
"Well, not Toclafane, if that's what you were thinking," the man chuckled before growing very serious, "We used to travel together."
"Right well I don't think that frequent fliers will be very useful to me right now, sorry."
"I don't mean on Earth," the man continue gravely.
"You have got to be joking," Martha laughed, "You're telling me that you have traveled in space. Somehow I find that a bit difficult to believe. You don't exactly fit the profile of NASA's most eligible astronaut."
"But yet, you are going to spend the next year of your life dodging death to tell the story of an alien, I find that a bit hypocritical."
Taken back, Martha looked at Doctor Daniel Jackson and realized what made him so different from everyone else she had seen in the past few days. He believed. His eyes didn't hold the same doubt as all the others. They didn't even have the same kind of fear. He truly believed.
"This man, the Master, thinks that all he has to do is huff and puff and that Earth will crumble like a house of straw. He may think that he is the big, bad wolf, but trust me, I've seen better villains on TV."
A small nagging tugging at her mind, as Martha stared. There was nothing else she could do. The Master controlled the most destructive force on the planet and here was this man insulting him like he was the local school bully.
"Well, I wouldn't know about that, but I do know that he is in charge of the world right now, and that I will do everything that I can to save the Doctor and stop him. Or die trying."
"You know, you remind me a lot of a friend of mine. He's a soldier, fought for years, black ops, tough as they come. He's saved my skin more time that I like to remember. We were part of the same team, and in the beginning, I thought that he was going to be another career military. You know one of those men who think that guns solve everything. But he wasn't. He cared. Actually cared, that's not something that you find much these days."
As Daniel fell silent, Martha realized what had been bothering her throughout the man's story. It was quiet, too quiet.
"Do you hear that?" she asked nervously as she rose to peer at the trailer's door around a nearby crate.
The Doctor, no Doctor Jackson, she reminded herself sharply came and stood beside her. Both jumped when the doors were suddenly flung open and sunlight flooded the cramped space.
A UNIT soldier poked his head into the compartment and silently motioned them out. Daniel Jackson helped Martha climb out of the truck clumsily, blinking in the bright sun. The soldier leaned in and spoke in little more than a whisper, "They're saying this way's been compromised. You two are going to split up and go it on foot. It's not that far. Doctor Jackson, Sergeant Jenkins will take care of you, and Martha Jones, you're with me." With that, he began to move off the road away from the truck.
"Goodbye Martha and good luck. And listen," Daniel pulled her aside and brought a small piece of paper out of his pocket, handing it to her, "if you're every in Colorado Springs, go to Cheyenne Mountain, tell the guard that you're a friend of Doctor Daniel Jackson and give him this symbol, alright?"
Nodding mutely, Martha examined the paper. It was blank except for a single upside down V with a black dot above it. She looked up to ask him about it, but Daniel Jackson was gone.
"This won't be the last time we meet Doctor Jackson! I'll be taking you up on that offer soon!" she screamed into the darkness.
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