20.

The Brigadier leaned back against the battery-laden tea-cart that had been brought back to the Doctor's lab at HQ.

"…So, they'd meant to run their explosives into the House of Lords in November, on Guy Fawkes Day for the publicity of it, but after they got ahold of that car and conscripted the Doctor into it they had to move it up."

"I wonder if that was why old Gorringe was so crabby," Jo wondered. "Too bad about that boy, poor Higgs."

"Too bad? He knew what he was doing," the Doctor said without lifting his head from the microscope he was peering into. "You're too soft-hearted sometimes, Jo. Hand me that other slide, will you?"

"What's on these?" she asked as she passed it to him.

"I'm testing a new motor oil. It's an idea I had while we were waiting in that blamed freezer for the Sergeant to get around to releasing us."

"A motor oil?" The Brigadier made a snorting noise in his mustache.

"If I can analyze the mixture properly I could moderate the viscosity at much higher temperatures."

"And this force-field thing?" the Brigadier asked.

"What about it?"

"Don't you want to tell us how you reversed it?

"No. Go away. I'm trying to fix my car!"

--

Some time later he was poking a probe at some obscure customized part from the roadster and checking the resulting patterns on the lab oscilloscope when the phone rang beside him. He picked it up. "What?"

"Doctor," the Brigadier's voice said. "Glad you're there."

"Where the devil did you think I'd be?"

The Brigadier ignored the gibe. "Look, I need you to write out what you put in those fake bombs. The militia's teams are going to be asking, they're having to field the press. Just list it out and send it up to my office."

"Oh, all right," the Doctor said. He hung up the phone, still considering the car-part on the work table. Reaching into his pocket for a piece of paper, instead he pulled out the forgotten wad of cash. He looked at it blankly for a moment, then handed it over to his assistant.

"What's this?" Jo asked with surprise.

"Oh, remember? One of those fellows seemed determined to give me money. I've really no use for it, take it, would you? Go…oh, I don't know. Buy something with it." He found another piece of paper and patted his pocket for a pen.

She leafed through the notes. "Are you sure? Why, this is a lot, Doctor." She looked up at him, half-expecting it to be taken back. "This is easily enough for something, well, very nice."

"So go get something nice," he said absently, finally locating a pen among the scattered parts and scribbling on a piece of paper.

"Maybe I'll use just part of it? A new outfit? From Lady Chic's?" she said, still not quite believing it.

He waved his hand at her, "Certainly. Whatever. Just take the blamed stuff. Now go on. I have work to do."

--

"So, all of the parts were delivered with it? Nothing forgotten?" Yates asked vaguely from where he was signing off a report for the Prime Minister's staff.

"Have you seen her? I swear there wasn't a so much as a gasket or washer that they didn't get their grubby hands on. That deuced so-called mechanic of theirs even ripped out her trans-spatial vectric axiometer, and it took me weeks to get that to work right in the first place…he'd bent all the wires and was using it to hold pencils; pencils, can you believe it. On his workbench!"

The Brigadier sighed. He'd been listening to this ever since the Doctor had gotten back, yet again, from UNIT's mechanic's shed where the yellow car and boxes of its parts had been delivered earlier in the day.

"I'll have to replace some of her, and they cut a hole right through the bottom of her boot. Though I admit it does give me a chance to improve on her fuel usage it's still going to take me a good month to have her anything like her old self again…"

"Believe me, all of us want nothing more than to see that car properly up and running again," the Brigadier interrupted with feeling, trying to waylay yet another rant about the yellow roadster and the fate of its assorted pieces. "What can I do to help you with it?"

"I'll need your approval on the orders to the Custom Supply, of course."

"Of course. Whatever you want. I should think sparing the House of Lords should be worthy of a bonus, should accounting balk. Just write it up and I'll sign it, assuming you aren't going to be installing something Geneva would consider internationally incidental."

"Perhaps. What would be considered incidental, in that sense?"

The Brigadier blinked at him. "Perhaps? I'm talking things like radioactivity-producing nuclear technology."

"Oh, hm. No, I don't think so."

"You don't think so?" Yates looked at him, disbelieving.

The Doctor leaned over and picked up the Brigadier's phone, punching in the number for the lab. There was no answer.

He hung it back up impatiently. "Isn't Jo back yet?"

"Where did she go?" the Brigadier asked. "I'd expect you wouldn't want her wandering off alone after what just happened." Yates nodded and got to his feet, as if he would go find her.

The Doctor waved him back down. "There's no one looking to snatch her now," he pointed out.

"Still…"

There was a knock at the door. "Doctor? Just wanted to let you know I'm back," Jo's voice came.

"Come in, Miss Grant," the Brigadier said with relief.

She came in, dressed in a soft white and pink dotted top and a short grey-pink striped skirt with new matching boots. She twirled around in it before the bemused men and put her hands to her hips. "How do you like it?"

"New outfit?" the Brigadier observed after a moment; being a married man he had some idea what to say when this sort of thing unexpectedly happened.

"It's….very nice…" Yates said, sounding a bit strangled.

"The Doctor bought it for me," she grinned happily. "Isn't it just too mod? Thank you, Doctor!" She came up behind his chair and gave him a brief embrace about the shoulders before heading back to the door. "I'll be in the lab." She bounced out, closing it behind her.

There was a pause.

"Um, I'm on duty soon. I'll just be…going…," Yates said. He stood, gave the Brigadier a brief salute and left.

The Brigadier looked at the Doctor strangely. He was riffling through the telephone directory. "Doctor."

He paused at a page and ran his finger down it. "Yes?"

"You bought her clothing?"

He glanced up, surprised. "What? No, I gave her those notes those men pushed off on me and told her to use them up, which she apparently did. I say, Brigadier, look at this! Customized leather work, including restoration on vintage upholstery. How do you suppose Bessie might look with new leather seats?"

--