A/N: What? An update less than a year apart?! This can't be! Well, it is. Despite all the writer's block I've had on this chapter. I hope you guys enjoy it! Also, there is an obscure book reference I have made in this chapter. I'm wondering if anyone will pick it up. Let me know if you do!
Words to the reviewers:
mikafan17: Thanks for the compliments as well as the commiseration on finishing things! I have every plan on finishing this story up, so don't worry. It just may take time. :)
BooklvrAnnie (sorry ff won't let me put the period in your name) and badkidoh- Thanks for taking the time to review. I'm glad you both are enjoying it!
88mouse88- I agree. Donna is sorely misrepresented in this section of fanfic, especially since I think she would fit in well with the Firefly group.
Shara Raizel- Yes, it's an update! Sheesh, lay off my back woman! hahahaha Well, I find Drash and Kaylee's relationship interesting, but I've never been good at writing romance, so I tend to shy away from it in big chunks. Last chapter was my biggest foray ever and it seemed to go ok. And c'mon, you know how well Mal's plans tend to work. And The Doctor's. (This is where you cue the evil laugh)
darck ben- Thanks for the compliment. And ok. I'll update.
Guest- Yo! Thanks for reviewing. :)
"Your mother tells me you are planning to cut ties with me." Drash groaned quietly. He had a feeling his father would be showing up soon. Leave it The Doctor to come into his study during his first quiet hour in the last week. Sighing, he put the book in his hands down and calmly looked up at The Doctor's angry face. It was hard to take him seriously in that ridiculous coat he was wearing.
"It's the only way I can move forward in the Council. You should have seen this coming. It's not my fault you dragged us in the dirt by stealing that Type 40 and breaking almost every rule we stand for. And thanks for showing up 15 years after I told her. Shows how important I am to you." Drash stood up, walked over to the door behind The Doctor, and shut it. He didn't want this conversation overheard.
"You do whatever they say, don't you Drash? This is the problem with the Council. We come up with technology that can make a difference and all you want to do is sit back and watch while bad things happen to good people. Some things need to be stopped! If I'm the only one who can see that, so be it!" The Doctor ran a hand through his blonde curls as he paced back and forth.
"Why don't you just stop for a while? If they see you've settled down, we might be able to redeem your status and this conversation will be unnecessary."
"I'm not going to stop traveling just to make them happy. You should go out there, Drash. It's beautiful out in the universe. There are so many good people and exciting things to see. Being cooped up on this planet does nobody any good, especially you. They've forgotten to see the wonders of the universe while they've been cooped up in their little Citadel and I would hate to see you become like them."
"This is why I don't want to be connected to you anymore. You've become so focused on what is wrong with the Council but offer no solutions. Instead, you run away from it. It's bad enough you let Hana walk away from her gift, but now you have to continue this renegade lifestyle? Wasn't the exile enough to show you that you need to grow up?"
"Susan got it. Maybe it skipped a generation."
"Look where it got her; abandoned on a lonely planet without a way to contact her family. You can't even give me the coordinates to bring her home! You're a terrible grandfather as well as a father."
"I don't have to take this. You want to denounce me as your father? Fine. Denounce me."
Drash startled awake and blearily looked around the room. He hadn't been in here in a long time, but thanks to the TARDIS it didn't take them very long to find it. Kaylee celebrated that fact by pouncing on him the second they crossed the threshold. After thoroughly exhausting themselves, they collapsed on the bed and fell asleep. Drash extricated himself carefully from Kaylee's arms and made his way to the kitchen. He was a little shaken from that memory resurfacing. Cutting his father out of his life wasn't his proudest moment. The Doctor had tried to get in touch around the start of the Time War, but Drash was too busy with the Council and trying to find Susan to bring her home. There was also the fact that he didn't really want to get back in touch.
The lights were on in the kitchen when Drash got there. The Doctor was pouring two mugs of tea when he walked in. He handed one to Drash and they both sat at the table. They sat in a companionable silence while steeping their tea.
"I'm sorry I snapped at you earlier today. I'm not sure why I was so on edge, but it was uncalled for." Drash looked at his hands wrapped around the mug as he spoke.
"I do." He looked up to see The Doctor giving him a sad smile.
"It's the silence. It drives you a little crazy."
"My head has been killing me all day. I'm so used to hearing everyone. Even being in here, it's still ringing in my head. I never knew silence could be so loud."
"You'll get used to it." The Doctor took a long sip of his tea before smiling at Drash. "You can get used to a lot of new things."
"Ah, so you noticed." Drash smirked and leaned back in his seat. He folded his hands on the table.
"Contrary to what people used to say, I'm not blind, Son."
"Do you object, then?" Drash asked. The Doctor frowned.
"Of course not. I want you to be happy. If Kaylee makes you feel happy and loved, then I'm happy. " The Doctor placed his hand on Drash's hand. Drash leaned forward.
"I've never felt this way before. It's terrifying, but I don't want to give it up." The Doctor grinned and patted his hand.
"I'll never ask you to. You deserve love in your life. You need to hold onto it for as long as you can. As terrifying as it can be, it's completely worth it."
"Mother never would have approved. She would be horrified right now."
"Well your mother was unhappy. She wanted you to have a better life than her own. I would hope that she would be happy for you."
"Unhappy? She never seemed unhappy." Drash frowned.
"Well, let me put it this way. Would you want to be paired with someone you didn't like, knowing he was forcibly removed from his partner and that you were his punishment? And to top it off, you had to live with their child and see her everyday."
"I suppose not. Do you regret being paired with her?" Drash asked. The Doctor's eyes widened and he sat back and regarded his son.
"I regret walking away. I was threatened and pressured, but I should have stood up for my family. I regret letting Hana get away with so many things," they both laughed at that, "I regret the way I treated your mother." Drash started at that.
"I resented her for years over what wasn't her fault. She didn't exactly want me, either. At least I had someone respectable. I should have treated her with more respect. Despite all that, I can't regret it all. There wouldn't be you without all of it. You took the best things from both of us. You're adaptable and compassionate like me, but you have that levelheadedness that I never had. You get that from her."
"I'm no Hana."
"Good. One of her is more than enough!"
"Really? You were always closer to her. You kept your distance from me most of my life."
"Well, she was my first child and I was young when we had her. She needed so much more attention with her gift. Plus, she got my impatience. Coupled with that temper she most certainly did not get from me, she was quite the handful. If you were more like her, the two of you might have destroyed everything!" They both laughed.
"I'm not going to oppose what you have. I just want you to make sure that the feelings you have for her are your own and not just the residual feelings from your human side. If they are not your true feelings, it's not fair to her to stay together." The Doctor grabbed Drash's hand and smiled when he didn't recoil. Drash studied their hands and than asked quietly:
"How will I know?"
"You'll know. I used the chameleon arch to escape for a while. My human side fell in love with a human woman." The Doctor's face turned sad.
"I asked her to come with me. She refused. I was sad about that for a while, but I realized later on that what I was feeling was more guilt and affection than actual love. I wanted to love her, but I didn't."
"Oh." The two of them sat in silence for a moment, commiserating.
"This plan to save Hana. Do you think it will work?" Drash asked.
"I hope so."
"The Academy cut into her brain. What effects will that have on her once we open the watch?"
"I don't know. I hope that when she changes back, there will be no lasting damage."
"And if there is?" The Doctor rubbed his face before answering.
"There's no way to know or plan ahead like you want. Worst-case scenario, she will be unable to function. Best case scenario will be a headache."
"So we force regeneration on her?"
"Yes. Even if they've damaged her brain, she should still be capable of regenerating." Drash sighed.
"I really don't want to cheat her out of this body. She already lost most of her last one from the Time War."
"I agree. Regeneration will be our last resort." The Doctor stood up and brought their cups to the sink. Drash followed him.
"I have just one more question for you." The Doctor turned around.
"Your companion, Martha? Is she 'The' Martha Jones?" Drash asked. The Doctor smiled.
"She is indeed."
"Hana's going to freak out."
The next morning, River landed the TARDIS in a blackout zone on the planet Osiris. Everybody gathered in the kitchen. Ignoring the Doctor's fawei look of disapproval, Mal and Jayne were gearing up. Jayne pointedly packed a few grenades. Zoe was picking through her things, deciding on her Winchester. It always worked in a pinch. The Doctor was discussing places on the TARDIS that Inara and River could stay. They opted against staying on Serenity in case The Doctor couldn't locate Hana's TARDIS on foot. River would instinctively know where it was once she walked outside, but that was only in case of an emergency. Donna and Kaylee were discussing their plan of attack. Martha was going through her bag and taking out what might be too old fashioned for a doctor of the time in case somebody looked. Drash was nowhere to be seen.
"Now, everyone clear on the plan? In and out, plain and simple-like. This don't need to be a suicide mission." Mal stated.
"No matter how much it sounds like one," Jayne muttered.
"Where's that son of yours, Doctor?"
"I'm right here." Drash stalked into the kitchen with two clipboards. Each had some paperwork and a plastic card of some sort. He handed one to Martha and one to The Doctor. The Doctor put on his brainy specs and looked it over with a nostalgic smile. Martha scanned the papers quickly and held them up to Drash's face.
"Where did you get these?"
"What are they?" Donna asked.
"It's an official Alliance inspection form. The third floor of the Intelligence Agency is research. A health exam may not work on that floor, so I think being health and safety inspectors is going to work better for you both. There are some modern health regulations for you, Martha. And there is an ID for you both. I also sent a holograph message so that they will be expecting you at the right time."
"How did you do that?" Donna asked. The Doctor started fidgeting. Martha looked at him suspiciously. Drash didn't notice.
"The TARDIS, of course. I used her mainframe to… why are you staring?" Martha and Donna were alternating between gaping at Drash and The Doctor.
"The TARDIS can do that?" Martha asked. Donna just kept gaping at The Doctor.
"She's the best ship in the universe. Of course she can!" The Doctor said automatically before realizing he should have just shut his mouth.
"Best ship in the universe. Were Hana here, she would disagree."
"Well I'm here and I disagree!" Mal added. He smirked as he saw Donna punch The Doctor in the shoulder.
"You idiot! You can waltz in anywhere and actually Belong there?! Why don't you do that?" The Doctor cringed.
"Well, I don't go to specific events to change them. Plus, where would the fun be with all that planning?" The Doctor grinned at them.
"I'd rather have a plan when it comes to rescuing family." Drash said as he crossed his arms. The Doctor's grin faded and he nodded. Then he clapped his hands.
"Right! Let's get onto the TARDIS!" He led the group out. Only Mal and Zoe were left.
"Zoe, the ship is yours." Mal smiled at her and turned to follow the group out.
"She'll be here when you get back, Sir." Mal stopped in his tracks.
"Are you gonna ask him?"
"I'm going to consider it, Sir." Mal nodded and continued onto the TARDIS.
Zoe remained in the kitchen until she heard the TARDIS' engine as they left. Then she slowly made her way to the bridge. For the first time, she walked in alone. She sat in the pilot's chair, looking around and glanced at the dinosaurs. She bit her lip to hold her tears back. She rubbed her stomach as she did a quick scan for anything around Serenity. Seeing that there were no people around to witness (or break into the ship), she finally let the tears out that she had been holding for weeks. They weren't just tears for Wash. They were also tears for the child they created.
Break Break Break
"Ok, this is where Martha and I get off." The Doctor stated. "Are you ready?"
"Yes. Let me know when you know where it is and a place we can materialize." Drash went over to the monitor to confirm that nobody's suspicions were aroused by their appearance. It seemed all was quiet, so he nodded to The Doctor and Martha. They grabbed their clipboards and cheerfully walked out the door, arm in arm.
"So, now what?" Mal asked. Drash looked up from where he was watching The Doctor and Martha approach the headquarters to see Mal fidgeting with his gun.
"We are going to wait for them to contact us. Martha is going to send a message to that cellular phone regarding the best place for us to land the TARDIS. I'm waiting to make sure that they get through ok, which they now have. So, you two can stand down until we have to leave. I'm going to go check in on Inara and River and make sure she's ok being in here again." With that, Drash left the console room. Everyone's attention went to Donna, who was holding The Doctor's cell phone in her hand.
"What? It's not going to ring just because you stare at it."
"Ring? What does that mean?" Jayne asked. Donna stared.
"What does ring mean? It will make a beeping noise to alert us that Martha has contacted us. Were you raised by wolves?"
"Yup. Big nasty ones."
Drash headed to the library. The Doctor thought River might be more at ease there and had suggested that Inara take her there first. He also pointed out Hana's room in case River wandered in, the kitchen, the pool, and the Zero Room in case she couldn't handle the TARDIS anymore. When he walked in, he saw Inara sitting at a table, reading. River was lying on a couch in front of a fire blazing in the fireplace. They both looked up when he came in.
"Just wanted to see how things are going in here." He walked over to River and knelt down next to the couch.
"How are you doing, Mei Mei?" River closed her book and closed her eyes.
"I'm ok. She's keeping her distance to keep my head from the clouds. It's soothing."
"Have The Doctor and Martha left?" Inara asked. Drash nodded. River's eyes snapped open.
"Yes. I saw them go in. Mal and Jayne are a little antsy. I suspect we will have an hour or two before they find us a good place to land. Hopefully the ship will reach out to my father when he gets close enough and he can maneuver over towards it."
Break Break Break
Ministry of Intelligence Headquarters, Londinium
Michael Tibbs was not happy. He had been assigned to supervise a special research project at the Ministry of Intelligence headquarters. He thought this was a promotion. However, six months later, this gorram shed has done nothing. Absolutely nothing. Even his superior had no idea what the shee-niou shed was supposed to be doing. In three weeks, the five-year deadline on this shed was up and the funding will be gone. After that, who knows where he will be stationed? To top it off, the high ups want to do an inspection on his floor sometime in the next week and he would have to tell them about this wúyòng de gŭdŏng. He had to find a way to make it seem that the Alliance was not wasting money. This week, he ran every test he could think of on that shed to try and find something worth all the money being spent.
He scrambled around his desk and located the results thus far. They did a sample of the outside materials of the shed. The lab work indicated that every part of the outside could be found on Londinium. Perfect. Except that it was the opposite of perfect.
"If that's so, why can't we open it?" he grumbled. They tried everything to open that door. He filed the lab work into his folder for the inspection to prove that they were doing something at least. It was hard enough to even look at that shed most days. It gave him a headache. He went on to the next, only to be interrupted.
"Mr. Tibbs?" Ginny, his personal assistant knocked politely on his door before entering.
"Yes?" He asked.
"The inspectors are here." Michael cringed. He had a feeling about today. He stood up and followed Ginny as she led him to them.
"Inspectors? Don't we usually have only one?" They must really be second-guessing the validity of his research if they were sending multiples. He understood why his predecessor wanted off the project. It was giving him an ulcer.
"I asked them that, Sir. It seems one is new, so he is being trained by the other."
"That's great. Why get told we are incompetent by one inspector when we can have a brand new one get trained how to tell us we are incompetent?" He asked exasperatedly. Ginny sighed and they walked the rest of the way to the lobby in silence. She knew better than to deal with him in this mood.
She led him to a skinny brown-haired man in a suit and a dark skinned woman in some khaki trousers and a blouse. The man had a giant smile on his face as he shook Michael's hand. It was off-putting.
"Hello there! John Smith, Health and Safety. This here is Doctor Martha Jones. She's Health and I'm Safety." Dr. Jones smiled briefly before also shaking his hand.
"Michael Tibbs. I'm the supervisor of Project Tāo Tiè, which is located on our third floor. I'm the first one scheduled to take you through."
"Ah, and Project Tāo Tiè is?" Mr. Smith asked. Michael looked at him curiously. Weren't they briefed? He saw Dr. Jones elbow him. She came forward.
"We haven't been told what we are inspecting. The Alliance wanted John to go in blind and see what he finds. I'm going to be evaluating him based on what I see." Michael's eyes narrowed.
"Really? I've never heard of anybody else being trained that way."
"It's experimental. The last few inspectors haven't been doing very well. Have you met Pearson? Or Yang? Complete rubbish, they are. Honestly, they are giving us a bad name. I brought the idea to Dr. Jones that they test us blind and have us each complete a sight visit and compare. She brought it to her superior who decided to let us try it out. So, to make a long story short, here we are. Trying out new ideas to make us better. Isn't that what the Alliance is for?" Mr. Smith rambled. Michael gaped at him. Martha shook her head.
"Making a long story short is not a skill you possess, John."
"Well…ok then. If you both will follow me, I'll tell you about it as we make our way." He led them to the elevator and pressed 3.
"Project Tāo Tiè is a research project in its fifth year. We've made significant discoveries in the six months since I've taken the lead position, but it hasn't given us any positive results thus far."
"So, after five years this project has shown no progress at all." Mr. Smith said as he jotted notes on his clipboard. Michael straightened subtly.
"I wouldn't go that far. We've learned quite a lot about the subject. Just not what we have originally been looking for." The elevator doors opened and they walked through a narrow hallway. Michael led them through to his office, which was located right next to the lab. As he beckoned them in, he noticed Mr. Smith raise his head suddenly and look at the southeast corner of his office. There was nothing significant about that corner, but he smiled and turned his head again to look at Dr. Jones. Dr. Jones gave him a questioning look before nudging Mr. Smith back towards Michael. What a strange pair they were.
"Tell us about the subject." Mr. Smith said as he and Dr. Jones took their seats. Michael sat down at his desk and gave them a curious look.
"Nobody told you? Seriously?" He asked. They both shook their heads. Michael grabbed his folder and then laughed at the absurdness of it all. Why did he have to tell these people about his dead end project? It was bad enough to talk about it around people who knew. He opened his folder and grabbed the holographic photograph. He pushed it over to them.
"It's a shed." The inspectors glanced at the photograph and then looked back at him.
"A shed? You're doing research on some citizen's shed? Oh, sorry John. I'm supposed to let you take the lead here." Dr. Jones exclaimed. Mr. Smith just kept looking at the shed. Michael pushed over his entire folder. Mr. Smith grabbed it and started flipping through. He stopped for a moment to grab a pair of spectacles out of his suit and then continued.
"It's a shed that just appeared out of nowhere and nobody can open it. Every test we've run has shown that it's just a shed. What we can't figure out is why we can't get in it and all we have to go on is some lunatic's testimony." Mr. Smith looked up at this.
"What's the testimony?"
"He swore that he saw the inside. That it was 'alien stuff.' He told the authorities that there were two aliens building something in the shed to destroy us all. When asked why he thought they were aliens, his response was that they were speaking in tongues and one was talking in his mind. That was when we realized that he was crazy. They took the shed just in case. Nobody seemed to care that we took it. We wanted to talk to the so-called aliens but the man was never able to give us a description."
"Well, that's something you don't hear everyday, hey?" Mr. Smith gave Michael a strained smile. He quickly looked through the rest of the paperwork.
"This all appears in order. Can we see the shed?" He asked.
"Of course. My laboratory is room 355, which is next door." They made their way out of his office and smiled at Ginny as they left.
"What will happen if this project is shut down?" Mr. Smith asked.
"Since nobody has claimed the shed, it cannot be returned to its owner. It's quite small, but we cannot prove that it is not dangerous. It will most likely be destroyed off-world." Michael stated. They stopped in front of the door marked 355-Authorized Personnel Only. Michael put his hand on the scanner and unlocked the door.
"After you." He let them enter first. It was quite a large lab. The shed was sitting in the center of the room with many sensors and other equipment around it. Otherwise, it was empty. The staff had been sent home for the day. Mr. Smith seemed to be in awe of his setup. He walked around the shed and touched one of the walls. He didn't go near the door. Dr. Jones went down the hall after being given directions to the restroom. Michael went over to one of the computers in the room and drew up the files needed for the inspection.
"The lab work stated that it's made from materials found here?" Mr. Smith asked. Michael nodded absentmindedly.
"Well, that's brilliant! I mean, not for you lot trying to figure out what it is, but it's genius!"
"Were my job not on the line, I would agree with you." Michael stated. Having pulled up all of the necessary files, he got out of the chair and beckoned the inspector over. Mr. Smith kept staring at the shed with a smile on his face. Michael frowned.
"Wouldn't you like to continue your inspection of our facilities?"
"Inspection? Right! Yes, of course. Sorry, it's just that I can't stop looking at it." Mr. Smith came over to the computer. He looked over a few of the files while looking around the room suspiciously. Nothing seemed to come of it, though. Dr. Jones came back and winked at Mr. Smith.
"How does everything look, John?" Dr. Jones asked. Mr. Smith had a big grin. Michael felt a little like an outsider. It's a feeling he's never had in his own lab before. It was almost like they had an inside joke about his project. He didn't blame them, but a little decorum would have been appreciated. Mr. Smith dragged back his chair and practically leapt out of it.
"Everything here looks to be in order. How about we move on?" He turned and asked Michael. Michael's frown deepened. That was very quick for an inspection. Almost too quick.
"If that's what you want," he forced out. They were going to shut down his research early. He knew it.
He led them out of the lab without a word. He had to get them to sign a few forms in his office while it was still his office. Then he could send them on to the medical ward so they could give them all the money they were saving by shutting him down. When they got back to his office, Ginny waved him over to her desk anxiously.
"Sir! There was an important call for you. I took the message." She handed him a slip of paper. Michael read it and frowned. Even more bad news.
"Is something the matter?" Mr. Smith asked. He and Dr. Jones shared a look. Michael forced a smile on his face. As hard as he tried, it looked more like a grimace than a smile.
"Oh, it's nothing to concern yourselves about. It seems one of our sponsors, the Blue Sun Corporation, is sending someone to inspect our floor as well. They should be here…soon." He checked his watch.
"Is this the right time, Ginny? That's in less than an hour." He asked. Ginny nodded.
"Is that common? To have two inspections in one day?" Dr. Jones asked.
"Not really, but this project is getting close to its deadline. I'm sure it's just a formality for Blue Sun to have someone see each project they fund. They haven't had a sight visit here yet. So, why don't you come inside and we will get you both on your way?" He beckoned them into the office. He was going to miss this office. Before walking inside, something stopped him. He heard a strange noise. It was some kind of grinding noise and it was coming from his lab. Then, there were some buzzing noises coming from the sensors. Something was happening! He bounded towards the lab. Dr. Jones and Mr. Smith seemed to have heard it too, as they were right behind him.
When they got into the lab, there was another building next to the shed. A blue…police box? He scratched his head and contemplated insanity before noticing that the two inspectors who came in with him were approaching the box. A man came out wearing a red shirt and a brown coat. He had a look of danger to him. Before he could utter a word, the man pulled out his gun and pistol-whipped him, lending him unconscious.