A/N: And here we have the last chapter! Hopefully by Monday I'll have the first chapter of Dream a Little Dream (of me) posted! Enjoy!
It seemed to take Pete forever to get to the meeting room where Tosh and Martha sat, metaphorically glued to their screens.
"What is it?" he gasped, slightly out of breath.
Tosh motioned to the screens in front of them. "Rose just pulled her gun on the Doctor."
"She did what?"
"She pulled her gun on him and accused him of not being the Doctor," Martha replied.
"Let me see." Obediently they moved back. Pete frowned. "It looks like him. Even sounds like him."
"And from what Rose has said he remembers events from their time together." Martha kept her voice as neutral as possible.
"She's adamant that he's not the Doctor?" The two women nodded. "Send in Dominic."
"I am Commander Tyler of the Torchwood Institute, and you will address me as such." She struggled to keep her voice even and quiet. Briefly she thought of Florizel Street and the Wire. Was the Doctor like this when it took her face? Was he like this when she couldn't hold on to the lever at the other Torchwood? Did he feel the same icy combination of rage and terror as he stared at the thing responsible for her pain as she did staring at a facsimile of him? When she found him, she promised herself, he was in for the slap of his life, just as soon as she stopped kissing him. All the times he told her not to wander off, and then he goes and does exactly that, and gets captured to boot!
The not-Doctor kept his hands raised as he leaned forward. Her gun 'clicked' softly as she slid the safety off. "The first thing I said to you, the very first thing, was 'run.'"
"You've got his memories. Not a Slitheen, then. Too skinny for one anyway. What are you?" Rose continued.
"I'm the Doctor." Frustration crept into his tone, or was it fear?
"No you're not, you're really not."
Dominic knocked on the door before he entered. Rose kept her eyes and her gun trained on the not-Doctor as the other agent moved cautiously into the room, his hands loosely at his sides. He was trying to reassure her, she realized, to demonstrate that maybe, just maybe, he didn't think she'd gone 'round the bend.
"Rose, what's going on?" he asked softly.
She jutted her chin at the not-Doctor. "He's an imposter."
He studied the other man. "Are you sure?" She nodded.
"Dominic!" the not-Doctor protested. "It's me, really me. The aliens must have gotten to Rose."
"I was visible at all times," she pointed out. "You disappeared for almost half-an-hour. That's more than enough time to activate a psychograft." Her voice hardened. "Those are banned on sentient planets. Too much time with someone else in their head will kill the host—compress them to death. Is that what you've done? Pulled a 'Cassandra' and shoved yourself in his mind?" He opened his mouth to respond but she cut him off. "No, you've got access to his memories, and he's clever enough and telepathic enough to wall them off from an intruder."
"Why do you think he's an imposter?" Dominic asked.
Rose glared at the other man. "He ate a pear."
"So I like pears!" the not-Doctor said, rolling his eyes.
"The Doctor hates pears. He won't touch 'em, won't even kiss me after I've eaten a pear until I've brushed my teeth, and that was after the meta-crisis, so Donna's got nothing to do with it," Rose snapped. "I know him, Dominic, almost better than I know myself."
"All of your evidence is circumstantial," the not-Doctor pointed out. "How can you be sure I'm not who I say I am? Why does no one believe me?" His expression and tone projected injured innocence, but there seemed to be a hint of desperation buried beneath.
Rose paused, and then a slow smile spread across her face. "In my purse," she said to Dominic, "there's a thing that looks like a flip phone. Pull it out, and scan him."
He did so. The black box lit up and the smaller picture on Rose's screen began flashing a string of numbers. Tosh whistled. "It's the energy signature we were tracking," she explained. "He's practically dripping with it."
Pete frowned. "So he's been exposed."
Tosh nodded. "Definitely. But it's more than that. He's generating the energy." She highlighted a string of number. "This is the origin location—coordinates that reflect its source, and they correspond with his current location." She paused and glanced up at Pete. "Rose was right. He's not the Doctor."
Dominic pocketed the device and trained his own weapon on the not-Doctor. "What are you?"
The other man, if he was a man, refused to answer. Rose stepped closer. She let her arms fall to her sides, the gun still clasped in her right hand. "Where is the Doctor?"
The imposter regarded her coldly. "Why should I answer you? As soon as you find him you'll kill me."
Her eyes wandered up and down his form, measuring, weighing. "Why would we do that?"
He laughed. It was a harsh sound, without the humor and the seemingly boundless energy that was characteristic of the Doctor. "If you break the link, which you have to in order to get him back, you'll kill me. This is the only life I get, and I'd like to keep it, thanks very much."
She thought of Cassandra, desperately clinging to life, even life as a skin trampoline. She thought of the Doctor's words: Everything dies. "It isn't yours to live," she replied softly. The anger was gone from her voice, replaced by resignation and what sounded like pity, and possibly hope. "But the Doctor, he's clever. He could figure something out, if you let him. He's helped people, thousands of people, maybe millions. He could help you."
"He can't fix everything," the not-Doctor responded shortly. "He can't fix this. If you want him back, you'll have to kill me." He watched her as if he was appraising her. "Could you do it, Rose Tyler? Really? I look like him. I sound like him. I remember everything he does."
"Then you'll remember this." The steel was back in her voice. "It doesn't mean much in this universe, but it means something to the Doctor. I am the Bad Wolf." She leaned in close to him. "And if you've hurt him, then I will be the last thing you ever see."
He grinned at her. It was out of place on the face he wore—there was nothing happy or joyous about it. "That makes you my executioner."
She met his eyes and held them with her own. "I didn't bring you here. I didn't tell you to take this form. If you want to blame someone, blame the people who did. Now." She brought the gun up so it was level with his chest. "We are going to wait for my team to arrive, and then you are going to take me to him."
Martha and Tosh exchanged worried looks. Rose was firm, and frankly scary, when she was angry, according to Pete she got that from her mother, but the cold fury she aimed at the imposter was shocking. It went against what they knew of her. Fundamentally, she was a warm person. She took interest in the lives of her teammates beyond work. She asked after their families and knew most of them by name, if not sight. It made her an excellent leader. Her people trusted her implicitly because they knew she saw them as human beings.
They had never seen her so angry before.
"Tosh, I'll call Alexis in. She'll be monitoring the situation from here. Jake, and the rest of his people, are on their way here." Pete kept his eyes on the screens. "You and Martha head over to Rose and Dominic."
"Is that wise sir?" Tosh asked. "I'm more familiar with this technology than Alexis."
Pete shook his head. "They'll need you more in the field. Whatever technology they're using, if the Doctor's out then you're our best shot at understanding it." She nodded. "And Martha, he may be injured."
"I know," she acknowledged, and they left.
Rose was never very good at waiting, and the knowledge that the Doctor could very well be in danger did not make the situation any easier. She paced the room. Dominic stood by the imposter, who was tied to a chair, with his gun at the ready. The not-Doctor made no move the escape, nor did he appear concerned at all. He watched Rose move around the room, his face an unreadable mask.
"Is it always like this," he asked, "waiting to die, I mean."
Dominic frowned. Rose stopped pacing and turned to face him. "I know what memory you're using." Her voice was even and detached. "It won't work."
"It worked for her," the not-Doctor pointed out. "He couldn't see beyond his own guilt, couldn't work out her plan. She had the TARDIS open before he had any idea how dangerous she was."
"I'm not him, this isn't Cardiff, and you're not a Slitheen bent on destroying the world to catch a lift."
"But he believes in you." Rose stiffened slightly. "Said it himself: if he had to pick one thing, just one thing to put his faith in, he'd pick you." The imposter tilted his head to one side. "Wonder what he'd think now. He put you on a pedestal, and here you are down in the dirt, gun and all." Rose laughed. It wasn't the reaction her prisoner was looking for. He frowned. "What's so funny?"
"He already knows. Look at the rest of the memory. While he was in the pit on that impossible planet facing the thing that called itself the Devil, I was on a rocket. He faced the body, I faced the mind. And I killed a man, because he was possessed, because the beast warped him into a vessel, but he was still a person, a boy, only a few years older than me. I killed him, because it was that or let him loose on the universe." She sighed. "I'm sorry, I really am, but the people or aliens who made you are messing with the Earth and they need to learn a very important lesson."
She nodded. "It is defended."
Martha was silent on the drive to the spa. The handgun at her side seemed incredibly heavy in its holster. Although she had completed the requisite field training, including learning how to use several different kinds of firearms, she was still uncomfortable with the thought of turning her gun on a living being. She was a doctor, and her job was to heal, not kill. She was also a Torchwood agent, with all that the title entailed. She frowned as she struggled with the thoughts. She hadn't really considered the duality of her job when she accepted the position. Of course, life is never simple. In the driver's seat, Tosh's lips were a thin line on her face and Martha noticed that she was gripping the steering wheel tighter than strictly necessary.
It was a relief when they finally reached the spa. Normally Martha would have paused to take in the surroundings, but the situation was too volatile to allow curiosity to delay them. Rose buzzed them through the doors and they walked nonchalantly through the halls. Martha itched to pick up the pace, but she knew that would alert their adversaries and possibly put the other patrons in danger.
It seemed like ages before they reached Rose and the Doctor's rooms. They tapped out the code knock and entered. Rose and Dominic greeted them with terse nods. The not-Doctor regarded them coolly. "Are you going to kill me now?" Tosh said nothing, but Martha blanched.
"Leave them alone," Rose said wearily. "If you're going to throw vitriol, toss it at me. I'm their commander."
"What next?" Dominic asked before the not-Doctor could continue his taunts.
She leaned against the wall and regarded her team with a gleam of mischief in her eyes. "I was thinking we pull an Adler."
Tosh and Dominic nodded, but Martha looked confused. "Sorry, what?"
"We pull the fire alarm," Dominic explained. "Rose calls it an 'Adler' because she reads too much."
"Oi!" their leader protested. "Sherlock Holmes is a classic!"
Martha was still confused. "But what does pulling the fire alarm have to do with Sherlock Holmes?"
"Have you read the books?"
She shook her head. Rose sighed. "Philistines, you lot. Of course, the Doctor got me into them as he identifies with the brilliant detective." She snorted. "He would. Anyway, there's a story about a woman named Irene Adler. She's got this picture of her with the King of Bohemia, and it's just a bit compromising. Sherlock's tryin' to get it back for the King, and he figures out where she's keepin' it by making her think her house is on fire. People go for what's most important when their world's disappearing around them. And in this case, I'm willing to bet that the other imposters—or whatever they are—will head straight for their operation if the alarm goes off."
"Conveniently bringing them all together and making it much easier to capture them and getting the civilians out of our way," Dominic continued.
Rose pushed herself upright off the wall. "Right. We should get there first." She strode over to the chair and pulled out a small, sharp knife. "I'm going to release you," she addressed the not-Doctor, "but any funny business and you'll find out how much living hurts."
"Promises, promises," the thing replied. "Still don't think you'd do it." He stood when she was finished and stretched. Rose held out her hand. He raised an eyebrow.
"Hand over the sonic screwdriver."
She glared at him. "It's in your coat pocket on the left side—my left, your right." He sighed and procured the strange metal cylinder along with a yoyo, a pack of gum, three screws, and a sugar packet. She examined the device closely before she pocketed it. "Lead on."
The walk to the service elevator was tense, mostly because they had to pretend it wasn't. The others looked perfectly relaxed, but Martha felt like she had a huge sign over her head saying something along the lines of 'SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR.' They encountered a few patrons and workers, but no one gave them a second glance as they wandered apparently aimlessly through the corridors. Rose held the not-Doctor's hand, possibly out of habit, more probably because she wanted to be close enough to restrain him if necessary.
She fiddled with the sonic screwdriver—whatever that was—for a few moments before she found the proper setting once they were in the elevator. They were silent as the lift descended. The doors opened on a hallway. Dominic went first, his gun ready. He gestured for the others to follow. It was empty. A single door was set into the opposite end. It looked like a normal door, except for the elaborate locking mechanism next to the handle. Rose crouched next to it and fiddled with the sonic screwdriver again. The mechanism sparked, and then released.
"That is dead handy," Dominic commented. Tosh nodded.
"Wouldn't mind having one of those the next time we need to break in somewhere."
"That happens a lot?" Martha enquired.
Tosh snorted. "You wouldn't believe how often."
Dominic nudged the not-Doctor forward. "Let's go."
Whatever she had expected, Martha realized, it wasn't what they found beyond the doors. The room was long and narrow, with a white tile floor and a low white ceiling. Rows of beds took up most of the space and against the far wall a computer tower and monitor sat on a shabby desk. It looked like a hospital ward. About half of the beds were occupied. As Martha drew nearer to them she noticed that the devices were not at all like ordinary hospital beds. They looked more like slated operating tables—cold and uncomfortable. A band of metal ran around each person's forehead. Wires and tubes connected the metal band to some sort of apparatus at the head of each bed.
"Dominic, tie him down. Martha, Tosh, sweep the room. I'll find the Doctor." They went about their respective tasks silently and efficiently.
"The room is clear," Tosh called. "No explosives."
"Our 'friend' is secure," Dominic noted. Rose nodded an acknowledgement to both of them as she methodically worked her way through the patients.
She held up her hand and beckoned Martha and Tosh to one of the beds. "It's him."
The Doctor, like the rest of the people in the beds, was wearing something that looked like a hospital gown. Tosh began examining the equipment while Martha checked his pulse. She pulled back an eyelid and shone her small flashlight on him. The pupil contracted.
"His heart is fine and there's no sign of a stroke or concussion." She let the eyelid fall. Beneath his lids his eyes twitched. "He appears to be asleep, I'd say in the REM part of his sleep cycle."
"We need to break the connection in order to get him back," Rose supplied. "That's what he said." She turned to Tosh. "Any ideas?"
Tosh chewed on her bottom lip. "This appears to be the power source. The machine doesn't seem to be functioning as life support in any way—he isn't injured and his unconscious state is being manufactured, correct?" Martha nodded. "Then," the other woman continued, "we should be able to disconnect the device from its power supply without risking physical or neural damage."
"So, basically you're going to pull the plug." Tosh nodded. "Do it. And Dominic, get ready to pull the fire alarm." He nodded.
Tosh reached behind the device and toggled a switch. The pulsing purple light that had been shining through the clear plastic tubes attached to the metal band around the Doctor's temples flickered out. The not-Doctor groaned as the Doctor's eyes fluttered open. Tosh and Martha stepped back, allowing him and Rose what little privacy could be had in the open room. He blinked and tried to sit up, but the wires prevented him. With a noise of irritation he yanked the metal band off and swung his feet over the edge of the strange bed.
"Well now, that took you long enough!" He sounded rather put-out.
Rose raised an eyebrow. "If you didn't wander off and get caught by the alien-clone thingies we wouldn't have had to rescue you!"
He coughed. "Yes, right. Well."
Rose hugged him fiercely. "Don't you do that again," she murmured into his shirt. He rested his head on top of hers and wrapped his arms around her.
"I'll try not to."
She snorted. "Right. Now, Dominic, time for the fun to start!"
The other man grinned, and yanked one of the fire alarms. An ear-splitting siren filled the air. The Doctor blinked. "How is that helpful?"
"We'll catch all of the imposters that are here, and the civilians will be safely out of the building." Tosh explained. "Torchwood will keep the signal from actually summoning the fire department or police. Really, that's the last thing we need—more people who think they're in control."
"Sensible," he conceded, and then the computer caught his eye. "Hello there! What's this then?"
"Martha, Tosh, Dominic, keep an eye out for more imposters," Rose directed before she joined the Doctor by the computer. "No idea, we haven't had a chance to check it out yet."
The Doctor patted the gown, and then realized he wasn't wearing his suit. "Rose—" She put the sonic in his hand. He grinned. "Just like old times."
"Just like old times."
They caught three more imposters; each one corresponded to a body in a bed. Dominic tied them down while the Doctor worked on hacking into the computer.
"Seems silly to use a computer when they have access to much more advanced technology," Martha commented.
"Ah, but there's the catch," the Doctor replied. "If they used something too advanced there's a chance it would be recognized, and you can bet they don't want that. Computers are sophisticated enough for rudimentary communication and they blend in." He fiddled with the sonic and was rewarded with a series of windows opening on the screen. "Now, these four are workers. They're useful and very efficient, but not for the planning. They're best at infiltration. The look, sound, and act almost just like the person they're copying, and they have access to necessary memories." He frowned. "The Sontarans used this technology when they tried to take over the Earth and turn it into a clone breeding ground, but they only needed one. There's what, two dozen here?"
"Some of them, like the four we caught, are just regular people," Rose noted, "but most of them are important—Members of the Party, business leaders, even a judge."
"Aha!" The Doctor exclaimed, his frown replaced with a grin. "Found it!" The monitor flickered and the desktop background was replaced by an image of three reptilian looking beings. Their mouths moved, but the computer was silent. "Speakers, does this thing have speakers?" Tosh pointed to a black box with a dial on the front. The Doctor turned it up and a sibilant hissing filled the room. He listened intently.
Martha, Tosh, and Dominic looked to Rose, who shrugged. "I'm not familiar with this language."
"Don't give me that!" the Doctor snapped, interrupting them. "This isn't about facilitating trade! This is an invasion, from the top down I'll grant you, but an invasion none-the-less."
"Can they understand you, Doctor?" Tosh was confused.
He pointed to a small metallic box attached at the base of each alien's throat. "Universal translator. They can understand what we're saying, but it doesn't work for us. Has to be wired into the brain." Martha shuddered. It sounded barbaric.
The hissing continued. When the aliens ceased talking, the Doctor drew himself to his full height. The easy smile and manic demeanor were wiped away in an instant. The weight of his years seemed to radiate from him. "I am the Doctor," he addressed the aliens. "And the people around me are part of Torchwood. If you want to deal with the Republic of Great Britain, you go through them. If you want to trade with the rest of the world, you will work with the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. And if you decide that you'd rather invade again," he crossed his arms and his voice was frigid, "then you will deal with me. This is your one chance. I advise you take it."
The screen flickered again, and then went black. A series of red symbols flashed on the monitor. The Doctor examined them briefly, and then jumped back. "All right, everybody out! Martha, take the sonic and disconnect the rest of the people. Dominic, Tosh, you help her get them up and out of the building!"
"Doctor!" Rose snapped. "What's going on?"
"They're covering their tracks," he explained, "destroying the evidence. All of this tech is about to go 'boom.'"
Her eyes widened. "How long?"
He consulted the monitor again. "Ten minutes."
"Are the lifts working? The stairs don't reach this far!"
"Fire alarm!" Dominic reminded them from across the room.
"Sonic can fix that!" the Doctor called back. "And I can attempt to hack into the countdown, buy us some more time."
Rose nodded. "Do it." She helped the others herd the small crowd of people to the lift as the Doctor's fingers flew across the keyboard. Unfortunately they had to make several trips, wasting precious time. Rose sent the others up with the last of the victims and dashed back into the large room. "Doctor! Time to go!"
He glanced up at the monitor, which had remained impervious to his tampering. "Four minutes left!"
"You know what that means," she said as they stepped out of the lift.
She grabbed his hand. "Run!"