A/N: I can't, in good conscience, call this a sequel when it's not even a real story of its own right, but it is a little follow up of the events of Distorted, written by request and detailing a bit of Lucas's search for answers. Standard disclaimers apply.
Lucas watched the Easter egg on the DVD again, frowning. It hadn't taken much to find it; it had taken far longer for Ben to requisition him a player for the disk in the first place. But even though he'd met the man in the hidden feature, even though he knew that this was what he was meant to find, he didn't think he had enough of the pieces yet.
The Doctor had told him to search for the answers on his own, to uncover the traces he'd left behind. Lucas had done a bit of that even before he'd found the clue the Doctor had left for him. He'd hacked into UNIT again and read through some old files. He'd found names of past associates with the Doctor, people who had known him back about fifty years ago. Back when he'd been a different man, quite literally.
It had taken a bit of searching, but Lucas had uncovered a couple of pictures.
He was fairly certain his grandfather had had better dress sense than that, but at least the Doctor hadn't been around to hear him burst into laughter when he found the pictures in the first place.
Lucas smirked at the memory, then paused the DVD, freezing the frame when it featured the Doctor and a woman called Martha. He was fairly certain he knew who she was. He'd found a Dr. Martha Jones in the UNIT database when he'd searched for associations with the Doctor. Her profile picture matched the woman in the Easter egg. He hadn't found much about her. She'd married someone named Mickey Smith but still used her maiden name in business, it seemed. He'd found quite a few references to missions completed by Smith and Jones but hadn't tried breaking into any of them yet. His efforts had been focussed on trying to compose a contact list.
That was proving to be harder than hacking into UNIT in the first place. He'd found names, yes. Martha Jones and Mickey Smith were just the more recent ones, even though recent meant about ten years ago. Lucas wasn't convinced, personally, that Martha and Mickey hadn't left UNIT to do something on their own. He'd found a few references with them and a certain Captain Jack Harkness, but every time he tried following that connection, he would run into more blocks, and these ones—put up by some place called Torchwood—had been harder to get through. He'd gotten a few things from the first time he'd managed it, but he must've tripped something somewhere along the line because he'd been thrown out and his computer had been blocked every time since. He knew that if he spent enough time at it, he could get around it, but he had a lot of leads to follow, so he figured he might as well track the easy ones first.
Besides, when he'd tried looking up that Captain Harkness in the military records, he'd gotten multiple hits. There were accounts dating before World War I, for heaven's sake, with consistent hits on the name since the mid 1800s, and the grainy WWI picture of the man Lucas had found looked suspiciously similar to the one he'd seen in the Torchwood database before he'd been blocked from that. Granted, seeing as he'd found two pictures of the so-called Captain Jack Harkness who had signed on in World War II, with the one man looking like the same one in all the other pictures, Lucas had little doubt that this man had been in contact with the Doctor, too.
Unfortunately, he clearly wasn't in contact with many other people, because he didn't have an address that Lucas could find anywhere. Just like Martha and Mickey, this guy had managed to get well and truly lost. He, like the other two, was dutifully listed in the global database, but the listed address didn't lead him to anything more than an empty lot, this time somewhere in Cardiff instead of London.
Lucas had the distinct feeling that the only reason no one had noticed is because these people were very good at what they did, not to mention their obvious skill with the manipulation of people and technology.
Perhaps the Doctor had thought he'd been handing him an easy clue to follow, but evidently the Doctor didn't keep track of his past companions as closely as he thought if he figured Lucas wouldn't have a hard time getting in touch with some of them.
Lucas started the video again, watching the rest of the one-sided conversation. He'd seen the grainy video many times now, but he kept hoping he'd notice something he'd missed before, something small, something that would give him a clue. There had to be something, after all, something more than just a name. Surely there was a way to find someone else besides this Martha if she couldn't be found. After all, the Doctor was talking to someone. Lucas just didn't know who.
"I've got a copy of the finished transcript," the Doctor on the video declared. "It's on my autocue."
Of course, that might be one way to find out. It was an old DVD—the fact that it was a DVD in the first place made it old—but surely there would be something on the Internex about this particular Easter egg, and if the Doctor only had a copy of the finished transcript, someone else had the original.
Whether or not said someone would actually make any mention of it online was another matter, but Lucas figured he might get lucky. If nothing else, he might be able to contact someone who might know something. Even if he couldn't find a copy of the transcript himself, there was probably enough discussion about this particular Easter egg on the Internex to keep him busy looking for clues to prove that someone on there actually knew something and wasn't just speculating. Besides, it hadn't been that hard for him to find, and if he'd found it and hadn't met the Doctor, he'd probably be doing some speculating of his own, so he had no doubt that someone else had done the same. Probably not recently, but at some point, surely, there had to be something.
He spent the next hour or so screening through various forums. It hadn't taken him long to find out some things—such as the fact that this particular Easter egg featuring the Doctor appeared on seventeen seemingly unrelated DVDs, or the fact that the manufacturers claimed they had no idea he was even on there in the first place—but he was having a bit more trouble coming up with anything that he was certain was solid evidence. There was speculation, as he'd expected, ranging from political statements hidden in the Doctor's words to how the Easter egg had appeared on the DVDs to begin with, but nothing that gave him any good leads.
A knock at the cabin door finally penetrated his thoughts, and Lucas looked up as Ben Krieg stuck his head in the door. "Having any luck?" the supply officer asked.
"Not yet," Lucas admitted. "This isn't turning out to be as much of a clue as I'd hoped."
"Maybe you're looking too hard," Krieg said. "You could take a break, you know."
Lucas made a face. "And, what, admit to the captain that I'm free to crawl into the access tunnels to dust? I don't want to find myself volunteered for that again."
"At least Bridger's letting you use this as an excuse," Krieg pointed out. "None of us are as lucky."
"No, but none of you spent as long as I did in the first week crawling through every nook and cranny in seaQuest," Lucas returned. They had, on the Doctor's orders, cleaned up everything they could, but Dr. Westphalen had suggested that they keep checking some of the more unpleasant places in case they'd missed anything the first time around. After their last experience, she'd said, it was better to be safe than sorry. They would have noticed if they'd missed anything that was out in the open, but they could have easily missed something that was in dim, cramped quarters, and they had to get everything they could. She'd promised, and Lucas knew as well as anyone that Kristin Westphalen kept her promises.
"True enough," Krieg agreed, though he'd done his fair share of cleaning himself. The captain hadn't been too impressed to hear about his illicit trip into the past, though Krieg had been relieved when he'd realized that, if Bridger had learned the details from the Doctor, he hadn't disclosed them. Even so, he'd found himself with a heavier cleaning schedule than he might have expected otherwise, and he'd taken his unspoken punishment without complaint. Well, without complaint to the captain, at least. Lucas had heard his fair share of good natured complaining.
Krieg leaned over to get a better look at the computer screen, skimming through the various forum entries on his own. Lucas left him to it, figuring he might as well take the brief break Krieg had come to insist he take. After a few moments, Krieg asked, "Is there any mention in that DVD extra of the Doctor as the Doctor?"
Lucas frowned. "No. Why?"
Krieg pointed to one entry. "This one mentions 'the Doctor'."
Lucas came to get a closer look at it, reading the entry over a few times. Sure enough, it was a speculation about the Doctor—which meant, quite likely, that it wasn't a speculation at all. In less than a minute, Lucas began tracking the post, and within five minutes, he had a name. "Lawrence Nightingale," he said, grinning. He was finally getting somewhere. Checking over the responses to Lawrence's post, he spotted another one that appeared to be posted by someone who knew more than everyone else, and, very quickly, he found another name to search: Luke Smith.
"Any relation to that Mickey and Martha, do you think?" Krieg asked. Lucas had been filling him in on all his leads.
"Hard to say. Smith isn't exactly an uncommon name," Lucas said. "There was even another one, a Sarah Jane Smith, that was mentioned in the UNIT files. She was one of the ones who witnessed the giant robot fiasco the Doctor mentioned." He couldn't help but smile; things finally looked like they were coming together.
"See?" Krieg said, smiling himself. "If you take a break and go back to it, sometimes things start to work out. I'll check on you later, Lucas. Remember to eat sometime, all right?"
"Yeah, sure. Thanks." But food, of course, wasn't at the top of Lucas's list at the moment. He was so close, now, to at least one good lead, and another possible one. He couldn't stop when he was this close. He'd have plenty of time to eat later.
After a bit of searching, he found a way to send a message to both Luke Smith and Lawrence Nightingale. He'd ended up using email, so he wouldn't get an instant response, but it had been the best he could find. He had a good feeling about this. He was sure he'd get some sort of response. It would mean that all his searching had paid off. He hadn't run into a wall like he had looking up Martha Jones or any of the other names he'd gotten through UNIT. This time, he had a very good chance of getting a response, and a positive at that. He was sure that, this time, he had the right pieces.
"Sally," Larry called, "have you been looking up information on the Doctor?"
Sally Nightingale, née Sparrow, looked up from the papers in front of her and shook her head. "Heavens, no," she said. "That was ten years ago. I would think things are finished by now, wouldn't you?"
It had been twelve years ago, actually, that Larry had met Sally. It had been twelve years ago when his sister, Kathy, had been taken by the mysterious Weeping Angels. It had been twelve years ago that Sally had told him that Kathy had had to go away for bit, and that she loved him, and twelve years ago that Sally had taken him to his sister's grave. His sister, who had nearly died before she'd been born.
But it had only been eleven years since they'd last seen the Doctor, since Sally had finally agreed to set the entire thing aside. It had been eleven years since Sally had given the Doctor the transcript of the conversation they'd had the year before, thirty-eight years apart. It had been eleven years since the whole mess of the Weeping Angels had been over as surely as it would ever be over for them.
He'd only gone on the egg forums a couple times since Sally had had her conversation with the Doctor, twelve years ago. He had never had the heart to put up the entire transcript, not after he'd faced the Weeping Angels themselves. Besides, Sally had asked him not to. She hadn't wanted him to do anything with the transcript until she'd figured out how the Doctor had gotten it in the first place. Still, he may not remember now what he'd posted, but he did remember getting a few responses to it, but that had been over ten years ago. That someone had tracked one of his posts down and was asking about it made him wonder. DVDs weren't as popular as they used to be. He and Sally ought to know that better than anyone; they were still running an antiquarian books and rare DVDs store together.
"That's what I'd thought," Larry said, reading over the message. His eye caught on the name at the bottom of the page. Lucas Wolenczak. Wolenczak. There was some famous scientist that was a Wolenczak, wasn't there? One of the ones who was working on an underwater power plant or something? Larry put the question to Sally.
"God, Larry, don't you ever read the news?" Sally asked. "Dr. Lawrence Wolenczak. He's head of the World Power plant, remember?"
He didn't remember, but then again, Sally always had had a more level head than he. He'd always been quite happy doing what he was doing right now; Sally was the one who, with his sister, had had joking aspirations of being a detective. She needed all her wits about her to deal with that sort of thing. That's not to say that sometimes she didn't lose her head—the entire incident with the Doctor had really begun to worry him, and he had been quite glad when they'd run into him so that she could finally move on—but usually she had her head screwed on more tightly than he did.
"Why ask, anyway? What are you on about?" Sally got up from her desk and walked over to see what he was looking at.
"I got an email from a Lucas Wolenczak. I thought he might be some sort of relation. But, Sally, he was asking about the Doctor."
"What?" Sally leaned over to read the message, frowning. "He found the Easter egg. But how'd he know to contact us?"
"Apparently, I'd mentioned the Doctor on one of the forums," Larry admitted. "This Lucas bloke met him recently. He must have been looking for clues or something." He glanced up at Sally. "Like you were."
"Yes, well, he seems to have had a bit more luck than I did," Sally commented. She read the message again, then said, "Tell him."
"Tell him what?" Larry asked.
"Our story," Sally replied. "Tell him the other half of the conversation. We've still got a copy ourselves, the photocopy I'd made in case something happened to the original. He's asking what we know about the Doctor, isn't he? Well, tell him. I know how frustrating it is to search for answers and not find them."
"Sally, we don't even know who he is."
"He told you who he is. Lucas Wolenczak. He's just someone else like us, Larry, someone else who got caught up in something he doesn't fully understand. If he's trying to understand it and is searching this hard for answers, we shouldn't ignore him. Not when he found us, not when he's right. If we tell him our story, it might not help him find answers, but it might help him accept it all. It might help him find some of the pieces that are already in front of him." Sally put a hand on Larry's shoulder. "You know how hard it was for me, but I got lucky. I got the piece that I was missing. I don't know if this Lucas has. It's harder to move on when you don't know the answers."
"I don't even know how he found the Easter egg in the first place," Larry muttered, though he did agree with Sally. He'd been willing to accept not getting answers, but she hadn't. She'd been told she'd understand one day, and she was bound and determined to make sure that day came, and come it did, thirty-nine years after everything started….
"Then ask him," Sally said. "Tell him our story, and ask his in return. It's only fair, and frankly I wouldn't mind knowing what someone else went through."
She wanted to know, Larry realized, whether things had turned out better for Lucas than they had for them. He'd lost his sister, and Sally had lost her best friend, and she'd also lost a new friend on the very same day she'd met him. They'd been stolen away by the Weeping Angels, and time had taken its toll, and they had died.
They had died, and Sally and Larry had only been able to grieve together. No one else understood. No one else knew how close they'd come to the same fate themselves. For all they knew, no one else, save the Doctor and his friend Martha, even knew about the Weeping Angels, the Lonely Assassins, the quantum-locked creatures from another world who could kill you in a blink of an eye. No one else knew the truth behind the mystery of Wester Drumlins, which was once again just a lonely old house, abandoned and left to the ravages of time. No one else knew the danger of the statues that stood in the basement, locked in stone by the sight of their own gazes. No one else knew why the disappearances, which had been consistent over so many years, had finally stopped.
No one else had understood, either, why Sally had once had aspirations of buying the house. It had been, she'd thought, the best way to monitor it, to make sure everyone else was safe. Larry had reminded her that that wouldn't have done much good anyway, unless they'd planned on living there, because people like her would still ignore the signs warning people away and break in anyway. They were better off just checking on it and making sure no one tried anything as foolish as moving the statues of the angels that stood in the basement, frozen in time.
Besides, he didn't want to live in Scooby Doo's house.
Larry hit the reply button, and then he started to type out a response to Lucas's message, telling him their story and asking about his.
"I'll get the transcript," Sally said. Though she'd given the Doctor the original transcript and all the pictures and letters and everything else she'd collected, she'd kept copies for herself. Memories, she'd said when Larry had asked. She wasn't ready to let go of the memories.
After she'd met the Doctor and had given him the folder she'd made, her collection of all she knew, she'd been able to move on, but she'd refused to forget.
People had died. They wouldn't ever forget that. They couldn't.
But, it didn't mean they had to be the only ones to remember, either. Anyone who had met the Doctor would surely believe their story. They didn't have to keep it to themselves. They had no reason to. Sally was right. Lucas Wolenczak had asked them what they knew about the Doctor and what they knew about the Easter egg. Well, they would tell him, and then he, too, would know, and he, too, could remember. He wouldn't remember their story as well as they did, of course, but he'd remember his own better, and he'd know the value of both their stories, and he'd know the truth.
And the truth, however horrifying it might be, could very well save his life, if the Weeping Angels were ever moved, for whatever reason, and were freed. If something happened to him and Sally, someone else would know. Someone else would understand the true message of the Easter egg, and they would know the value of not blinking.
Larry could only hope this Lucas would never have to face the same terror he had, but maybe with the knowledge of their story, he wouldn't need to. If he was related to that scientist who was working on harnessing the power of Earth's oceans, he might have enough connections to pull enough strings to protect people from the secrets Wester Drumlins held. This Lucas Wolenczak might be able to do what he and Sally couldn't. He might be able to make sure those Weeping Angels stayed exactly where they were, forever.
It was worth asking. Nothing was ever lost by asking. Lucas had taken a chance, and he'd asked. It had paid off for him. It might just pay off for them, give them an added feeling of comfort, take the edge off the worry that lurked in the back of their minds, the worry that history might repeat itself and that what had happened to them could happen to someone else.
"Here you are," Sally said, returning with the transcript. She put it on the desk beside him. "Tell me when you get a response from him. I want to know his story."
"You and me both," Larry agreed, and then he started typing out the transcript.