Title: With Three You Get Jell-o Salad
Author: ALC Punk!
Warnings: Spoilers for the third season of Doctor Who, up through Utopia, with a bit of handwaviness for certain things because I haven't bothered watching the last two episodes. For Eureka, through, um, House Arrest.
Written For: natmerc
Prompt: The Doctor (any incarnation or companion) lands in town and aliens show up. Whoops.
Author's Notes: Here's the problem, folks. I totally and utterly forgot about this. Luckily, I got the best prompt ever for the current heat and my mental state. Natmerc? If this isn't what you wanted, I'll happily write something completely different off one of the other prompts.
If Jack Carter had known what his day would hold, there's a possibility he might have stayed in bed. At the least, he would have tried to. But then Zoe would have mocked him, and S.A.R.A.H. would have been concerned, so that might have been a bad thing. Given that the last time he'd tried to declare a sick day, S.A.R.A.H. had malfunctioned, and Henry had declared he was leaving because no one seemed to appreciate the work he did, Jack figured he might be able to live with whatever Eureka threw at him that day.
Of course, if he'd stayed in bed, he wouldn't been around for the invasion of the blobby things. Henry, who would have said something pithy about Jack's karma, had been killed in the opening attack along with Taggart, and half a dozen townspeople who'd been standing around, innocently chatting.
Innocently chatting was not what Jack's current companions were doing.
"This is your fault."
"It is not my fault," Captain Jack Harkness objected.
The Doctor, who was fiddling with something that he claimed no one would understand (Stark had given him a look of amusement, and suggested he find himself someone like Carter to test that claim on), stopped for just a moment to gesture with his sonic screwdriver at the Captain. "Yes it is. You wanted to come, take a visit on the other side, you said. You with that, that..." he trailed off, waved again, and went back to work.
"Is he normally like this?" Jack Carter asked the other strange person who'd arrived. He wasn't entirely sure he wanted to interrupt them. But then, he also wasn't sure he wanted to annoy Miss Martha Jones, either. She reminded him quite a bit of Allison Blake, actually. Right down to the look that said she knew you'd been an idiot and she would have to clean up the mess.
The young woman next to him sighed, and said, "Not exactly. Well, yes, but not always. Oi!" she shouted at the two men, "If you're done bickering, there's an alien invasion to stop?"
"We're working on it," both men replied together, before glaring at each other and continuing to bicker as they worked.
"Not what it looks like to me," she muttered.
Jack Carter liked to think that everything happened for a reason. Even being stuck in a room full of mad scientists (a condition he was beginning to find more and more plausible the longer he stayed in Eureka) should have a reason. Being stuck in his office was better than some room in Stark's office, or in the diner. But on the whole, having aliens invade his town and killing people was definitely a bad reason. So was the fact that conventional weapons--even Jo's favorite gun--had no effect on them.
Poor Jo had been very disappointed when her shot had done no damage to the creature shambling towards her and Zoe. Luckily, Captain Harkness had run in front of them, thrown a rock--or what Jack assumed was a rock, since this was Eureka, he wasn't entirely certain--which paused the walking bowl of jell-o (it was what they looked like) for long enough so the three could turn tail and run.
Jo was currently sitting in a corner, arguing with Zoe that she hadn't had her settings wrong. And probably sulking.
It wasn't like an alien invasion was the worst that had happened to Jack and his daughter. But this alien invasion had been precluded by the strange arrival of Martha Jones and her two companions. So far, the only name Sheriff Carter had been able to get out of the manic-looking man had been 'The Doctor'. Miss Jones had said something about him not really having a proper name, but most of her explanation had been lost in the need to run for their lives.
From giant walking bowls of jell-o. Marbled jell-o, the kind that had fruit in. Which, really, Jack was pretty sure should not be able to exist in his universe. Although the grapey-looking type was making him a little hungry for jell-o salad.
"Why don't you tell them that?" Stark suggested lazily.
Realizing he'd spoken aloud, Jack shrugged, "I would, if I didn't think they'd immediately turn around and zap me into nothingness. See, I'm not fond of nothingness."
"Transported," interjected the Doctor, waving a hand at them, "They're not dead, just moved elsewhere. It's a rather brilliant and streamlined--"
"Doctor!" Martha snapped, "Could you get on with it?"
"Right. Now, Jack, if you'd pass me that there, we'll be... done!" Smiling brightly at them, the man waved the gadget in his hand. "So, who's for tennis?"
"I don't see how a tennis racket is going to get rid of them." Jack Carter said, his tone a wee bit sarcastic, "Unless your serve knocks them back off the planet."
"Mm, well, something like that." The Doctor said, his tone shifting into the kind of tone that sounded as though he was going to spend the next ten minutes lecturing, "You see, Jack and I--"
"We can explain later, Doc," suggested the other Jack in the room, "Right now, we need to get those creatures off of Earth, and the people they've transported back."
"And how are we going to do that, anyway?" Jack looked between them.
"Too late!" Zoe called, having apparently left off annoying Jo in order to watch the door. Something Jack should have really had Jo doing, if he hadn't been a bit distracted.
They all turned to find the blobby creatures shambling their way into the room. They were making noise, but Carter had no idea what they were saying. "Zoe, get back! Jo, cover her!" Futile or not, she was his daughter, and he really didn't want to see her zapped away.
For creatures that shambled, these moved remarkably faster than they should. In some ways, it reminded Carter of physics, and how mass could sometimes equal energy, or maybe it was mass equaling ground--Carter didn't know, he'd always hated physics. Before Jo or Zoe could move, the creatures were surrounding them, jabbering angrily.
"Doctor!" Martha called, "Now would be a good time!"
"It's all right," he called back, looking smug and serene. "This is all part of the plan."
Before Jack could yell at him that he'd like to know how them getting captured was part of the plan, the blobby things raised their weapons and fired on the group.
White light surrounded them, and then everything went sideways, or possibly inside-out. It wasn't a sensation Jack Carter wanted to repeat, anytime soon. It was a bit like being blinded and having to put your shoes on, only to discover you'd put them on the wrong feet and forgotten your socks. And then your tie was crooked and didn't match your jacket. All because you'd dressed in the dark, or got transported by aliens to the middle of nowhere.
"Oh, I bet this is not covered by my pension," Jack muttered, eyeing the barren plain that seemed to stretch around them for miles.
"Fascinating," was Stark's only comment as he stared around, gaze avid. As though he were cataloging the experience for review later.
"Sheriff!" called a voice, and then Taggart and a group of people from Eureka came over one of the low hills. Henry was with them, writing frantically in his notebook.
Feeling relieved that people really were alive, Jack called, "Oh, good. Taggart, is this everyone who's been zapped over here?"
"I b'lieve so," the man said, eyeing the Doctor and his companions oddly. "We've all been appearing relative to the positions we were taken from, unless Henry or I've got m'calculations wrong." Taggart grinned at him, "Figured you'd turn up sooner or later, probably from your office. Seems I was right."
"Well, yes, in a manner of speaking," said the Doctor, before looking at their group. "If this is everyone, I think we're good."
"Should be," replied Harkness, "And if it isn't, we can always come back. A little side-jaunt, if you will."
"Now, you know--"
"We need to go!" Martha pointed out, "Because while this is all probably very fascinating, I've seen a lot of plains, and, funny, once you've seen one, you've seen 'em all. And those blobby things could come back."
Zoe yelped, "Hey! The jell-o salads are back!"
"Now would be the time to go, don't you think, Doctor?"
"Indeed I do, Captain."
The two men grinned at Martha and the Doctor held the racket out to her. "What, me?" She looked between them, clearly pleased they'd remembered her.
"Well, you do have a better arm than I do. Don't know 'bout Jack, of course," the Doctor replied.
"Hey, could you all just save us?" demanded Carter. He threw up his hands when they glanced at him, "What? Is it wrong to be worried that those things might actually kill us this time?"
"Martha," said the Doctor, stepping back and out of her range, "If you'd do the honors?"
"What, just swing?"
"Just swing," confirmed Captain Harkness, with a grin that said he might not actually be speaking of tennis. Disturbingly, Jack Carter thought he might know what the man was referring to, and, well, he didn't think he wanted to consider it.
"Right, then." Martha eyed the area around them, and then she swung.
At the same time, the jell-o molds opened fire.
The light was black this time, or maybe Jack's tie was black and his trousers were green. Stepping sideways, he gasped, sucking in a breath and staring around his office a little bit wildly. Everyone was there, looking as surprised as he was. Except for the Doctor, of course, who just looked pleased. "That's it?" Jack asked, suspicious.
"Well, yeah. I should think so." replied the Doctor, smiling happily. He looked round at everyone. "And might I say, what a pleasure it is to actually come to Eureka? All of you are just marvelous, marvelous people and the strides in science you'll make--!"
"How did you do that?" Henry interrupted him, coming up, pen poised to write, as he looked at the Doctor, his expression eager. "I'm guessing it was a dimension reversal of their transport beam, but the locus wasn't quite what I'd expected to see."
"Y'mean this?" Martha hefted her tennis racket, "Doctor, what about the blobby things?"
"Well, that last transport locked them securely in their own dimension. Shouldn't think they'd be able to get out for, oh, a good hundred years." The Doctor grinned at Henry, "I'd love to explain it to you, really. If you've got a good solid year to understand the physics behind it, of course."
"And by then, we won't be here." supplied Captain Harkness. He grinned at Henry, "Captain Jack Harkness. And you are?"
"Henry Deacon, and what do you mean you won't be here?" Henry seemed to be completely oblvious to Captain Harkness's smile.
"Sheriff." Someone tugged on Jack Carter's sleeve, but he ignored them.
"We've got places to go," said the Doctor.
Captain Harkness reached out for Henry's hand, shaking it, and smiling still. "Lovely to meet you, wish I could stay to find out more about you--"
"Hey, wait," Carter said, his brain catching up, and finally ignoring the interplay. "You're not just running off, I'd like--"
Before he could demand an explanation, the townspeople descended, talking over themselves and trying to get his attention. Usually by grabbing his arm and shouting: "Sheriff!"
It occurred to Jack Carter, that maybe he shouldn't have considered this new job. Before, he'd only had a few criminals to deal with, his teen-aged daughter, and maybe one or two annoying bosses. Here in Eureka, he had the townspeople, some--ok, all--of whom were very demanding, and very disturbed and wanted to know right this minute what had happened. Even Taggart got into the act, claiming that he'd only figured out they weren't dead, since he should be going to a heaven full of Valkyries. Henry, of course, wandered off to babble at his assistant about the physics that had gone into their transportation.
By the time he'd gotten a little order back, he discovered that Martha Jones, Captain Harkness, and the Doctor had vanished.
Which was, really, on par for his days in Eureka.
"We shouldn't've snuck out like that," Martha argued as the console rose and fell.
"The sheriff was busy," defended the Doctor, "We didn't exactly sneak. Besides, I'm not sure it would've been a good idea to stay."
"Eureka is run by the US government. They make the scientists we had at Torchwood look like children," Jack supplied from where he'd settled on a chair, feet propped up on the console. "They would have been very interested in us."
Martha smacked his boots, "And you would know that, how?" she asked as he obediently dropped his legs, while giving her a very flirtatious look. "Just checked into it, I suppose? In your travels on Earth?" Martha joined him on the chairs, then put her own feet up on the console.
Looking surprised, Jack gave her a look, and his boots joined hers as he stretched back even further in the chair. "They're in the Torchwood database."
"I'd like to get my hands on that," she muttered, certain it would help her to get ahead of the two once in a while. Not that she wasn't brilliant in her own right, but sometimes, they seemed to know bloody everything. Give her that database and five years, though, and she'd be better than they were.
"Could be arranged," noted the Doctor, his tone absent.
"Anyway, what were the blobby things?" Martha asked, recalling a question that had never been answered what with the saving the town and running for their lives thing.
"Some sort of energy creatures," the Doctor frowned, "I think I may have met them before..." Then he seemed to shake the thought off like so much water, and smiled brilliantly, "Still, that went rather well. Who's up for the black lakes of Adamsia Three?"
"Black lakes? What, do they have a chartreuse sky, then?"
"Grey, actually. The place is all very minimalistic and monochrome. Bit depressing, but worth a look."
Martha rolled her eyes, "Fine then. One more trip, and then I'm off home to visit my family."
"Yeah, sure. We can do that."
On the gray plain, a figure materialized, taking its time. As it emerged from the ether, its shape became rather familiar: the Doctor. Right down to his sneakers and the suit that never seemed to wrinkle despite what it was put through.
"Intriguing," said the man, wriggling as though getting used to his new form, "Very intriguing. I think I might like this."
A blobby thing wobbled up and burbled at him.
"Yes, I know. But the containment won't last forever. And I rather doubt he has any idea who he's dealing with." The sardonic smile which touched the man's lips was very unlike the Doctor. "I rather think he's forgotten me."
Wind swept over the plain, and the man disappeared back into nothingness.
But he had learnt well the patience that came with centuries, and the Doctor couldn't keep him trapped here forever.