The Companion Connection
Chapter One: Xylok of Earth: UNIT on Campus
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who or any of the spinoff material and I gain no income off of this story, just the satisfaction of playing with the characters.
AN: Welcome to the third story in the Guardians of the Universe series. If you have not read The Blond Girl and Defender of the Earth I suggest that you start there. To all returning readers, thank you so much for all the awesome support you have given this series!
Rose Marion Tyler was eighteen years old and only in her second week of classes at King's College in Cambridge. Her new flat was a step up from the average student housing, but Rose had decided given the unexpected events that occupied part of her life a bit of privacy was probably a safer choice. Instead of a student flat through the university Rose had found a nice new flat building near the Cambridge University botanical gardens. It was a bit of a drive up to King's College, but she loved the view. She was paying more for it in a year than her mother used to make in that same span of time, but she didn't have to worry about roommates potentially seeing something alien which had, of course, become a fairly common occurrence in the last few years of her life.
On top of aliens, there was always a chance that the TARDIS might just materialise in her flat which she did not want to explain, although that was technically also alien. The Doctor just fell into another category. Of course, she hadn't seen him or heard from him since he left. Rose couldn't quite bring herself to call the TARDIS number he had left. After meeting the old man who went into the TARDIS Rose had realised that she really knew very little about him, he had mentioned a granddaughter after all. She was nervous at the idea of seeing him again but had accepted that she didn't want the strange alien that was in love with her to vanish from her life.
Her new home was a small one bedroom flat, but it was more space than Rose had ever had to herself before in her life with privacy and a nice view. The building was close enough to King's College and the rest of the university that is was mostly filled with professors and graduate students that like her wished to avoid university housing. Her next door neighbour was a well-meaning, but socially awkward doctoral candidate in biology. One of her classmates, a man a little older than her lived one floor down with his wife. The young post-doctoral down the hall was a chemist and the sound of small explosions from his flat inspired Rose to call Astra. They talked for over an hour before her friend mumbled something about her sister hitting a lever and said goodbye.
The University itself was unlike anything Rose had ever seen before. Growing up in London she had seen a few sights, but never really explored the city completely. The University centre of the town was unlike London in the sense that all the old towering buildings were grouped. There were modern buildings scattered in, but it was so centred and focused, unlike London where new buildings towered over historical sites. Rose loved the atmosphere and the people, she loved to go out for long walks in the area and watch everyone moving around. Her translator worked with every Earth language she had thus far encountered meaning that everything around her was an intense mix of ideas, all of which she could understand. However, Rose was careful not to draw too much attention to that. After all speaking every language fluently would attract a lot of attention and UNIT didn't know that the translator Alenica had given her had been upgraded.
Her favourite buildings were those that made up King's College, especially the chapel. It was such an iconic image and as a new student Rose still shivered in joy every time she walked to classes there. Eight years ago she never would have dreamed that she'd be a student here and one well thought of by her professors. Her A-Levels scores had been fantastic and she was ahead in all her classes, mostly due to dear Doctor Malcolm Taylor's discussions and informal lectures at their lunches. Having one of the great human geniuses of the age as a quirky uncle figure meant you learned a lot even if you didn't want to. Since she was working on degrees in both physics and computer science her workload was intense, but Rose found it interesting.
Fortunately her advisor Ian Chesterton was helpful in sorting out what courses Rose needed to take to complete her work and when to take them. It would take her four years instead of the standard three, but Rose was pleased with the plan Professor Chesterton had helped her formulate since many of her courses would be counted for both degrees. He was a highly intelligent man that Rose was very comfortable talking with.
Many students found the man and his wife Professor Barbara Chesterton strange. In the last two weeks, Rose had heard many rumours surrounding the two. Most of the rumours claimed that they had not aged since the 1960s which seemed a great exaggeration given the grey hairs in both their hair, but even Rose had noted that in theory, both professors should be near their seventies and barely looked to be in their fifties. Recently in Professor Chesterton's office, Rose had seen a photo of his son who was an electrical engineer and that man looked only a few years younger than his father. It was one of the secret mysteries of Cambridge that students whispered about and invented all kinds of explanations for.
Her third Tuesday morning at Cambridge found her washing her breakfast dishes quickly while her mobile phone alarm went off. Rose pulled on her boots, shrugged into her leather jacket and grabbed her school bag. She grabbed her wallet, keys and helmet as she rushed to the door. The sky outside was grey and dark, two conditions that made it hard for Rose Tyler to get up and moving for classes.
Taking the stairs, Rose reached the underground garage and walked over to her new motorcycle. She quickly packed her bag into the storage compartment and took out her riding gloves. Rose zipped up her leather jacket, it was a simple design that fastened at her neck and had racing stripes down the sleeves. Pulling on her gloves, Rose checked over the bike quickly before she pulled on her helmet and locked the storage case.
England was well into October now and on days like today, the weather was reminding everyone that winter was approaching. It was not cold yet, but Rose was certainly recognising that it wasn't August anymore. She manoeuvred her motorcycle gracefully through the streets until she arrived at the small parking lot tucked back away from the university. Calmly, Rose packed up her things and waved to those that walked past her. Smiling, she slung her bag over her shoulder and started walking toward her chemistry class taught by Professor Ian Chesterton.
If Professor Chesterton knew the odd variety of rumours surrounding him and his wife, he certainly didn't show any discomfort in front of his classes. He was a charismatic lecturer who never failed to keep his classes attentive no matter the subject material. The class was starting to work on the how and why molecules form question which Professor Chesterton promised would keep them busy for quite some time.
It was when she was leaving class that Rose spotted Mickey Smith standing outside on of the doorways. He was wearing blue jeans and a plain t-shirt, but Rose could just make out the microphone hidden under his shirt near his shoulder. Slipping into the shade of the chapel, Rose calmly observed Mickey for a moment. He posture was tense and straight, a position that she knew he and other UNIT personnel took when on duty. Sighing, Rose pulled out her phone and hit Mickey on the contact list. She watched him pull out his phone and smirked when he answered it.
"Why does UNIT have agents at my university?" Rose asked unable to hide her irritation and slight smugness.
"Rose stay out of this," Mickey said. Already he started looking around the area for her.
"By the chapel Mickey." Rose gave a small wave when his eyes found her. "I hate to tell you this, but you're not being subtle. I can see your microphone from here."
Sighing, Mickey shook his head and looked away from her, "I can't talk about it with you Rose. You do not actually have security clearance unless UNIT calls you in. Stay out it."
"Fine," Rose said with a huff. "Just tell me what alien posing as a student or professor I should avoid so I can stay out it."
His sigh was very loud over the phone and Mickey leaned back against the wall. "Professor Henry Gordon is a geologist researcher," Mickey said after a moment. "He returned from working at the site of the Krakatoa six months ago. Since then he has had several major breakthroughs."
"More than UNIT is comfortable with?"
"Yeah, he's a geologist Rose and yet two months ago he released designs for a new form of power conversion. High-level electrical stuff."
"So UNIT suspects that he's working with aliens."
"Look, his record indicates that he is intelligent, but the reports lately suggest that there might be something else." Mickey paused and groaned. "And I have already told you way too much."
"Okay Mickey," Rose said. "I won't push. So let me guess UNIT has you here studying geology."
"Me and a few others," Mickey answered. He was looking around a bit nervously. "Why couldn't this guy be an electrical engineer and teach classes I actually want to take."
"Sounds like he is," Rose teased. "Look though, Mickey, in all seriousness, I'm nearby if you need me."
"I know," Mickey said gently. "Thank you for that."
"We're friends," Rose answered with a small smile.
"Yeah… friends," Mickey sighed. "Rose…"
"No Mickey," Rose said firmly. "I love you, just not like that."
"Why won't you even give us a chance Rose?" Mickey asked. "You've been putting up buffers between us for years now. I know I didn't give you much warning before I asked you out-"
"Mickey I have someone," Rose said before she thought about it.
"Who?" Mickey asked. "I haven't heard from Shareen or Sharon that you're seeing someone."
"It is complicated right now," Rose sighed. "But I think that I…" Rose stopped; she didn't know how to finish that sentence.
"Okay," Mickey said gently recognising her discomfort. Rose felt an overwhelming rush of fondness for him as he tried to reassure her. "Okay, just let me know if that changes and I might get a shot."
"You shouldn't be a second choice Mickey, "Rose said gently. "Have more faith in yourself."
"Easy for you to say," Mickey said with a chuckle. "According to all reports UNIT's received on you Rose Tyler, you're excelling here."
"One I don't like UNIT spying on me and two I seem to learn best if it is a challenge."
"It's not spying Rose," Mickey insisted. "It's protecting you."
"Well tell your supervisors that I don't need that much protecting."
"Not my call," Mickey said. "I know you could take most of us down, Thorn." There was way too much amusement in his voice for Rose.
Rose shook her head and said, "Just keep yourself safe Mickey. I've got to get lunch before my next class."
"Have a good day."
Hanging up, Rose glanced down at the contact list and stared at the TARDIS number before she closed her phone. She put it out of her mind and started walking towards her favourite café near the college. It had excellent food and she could always find a classmate to join for the meal. Today she sat with Kelsey Higgins who was in chemistry with her and they discussed recently a created compounds that were awaiting its trial phase to end and be declared new elements. Yet, all through lunch Rose couldn't help but wonder about Professor Gordon and his recent discoveries. It kept her distracted all through her mathematics class. Rose found herself suffering her first embarrassing moment in years when called upon and she was unable to answer the equation.
At home, she quickly read the material from her mathematics class and tried to force the UNIT investigation from her mind. Rose polished off her homework, made herself stir fry for dinner and calmly watched some television until she couldn't take it anymore. Surrendering to her curiosity, Rose turned off of the telly and returned to her desk. It was simple to search for Henry Gordon online and within the Cambridge system.
Frowning, Rose noticed the reasons for UNIT's concerns right away as she browsed the articles about the man and the papers he had written. Since Professor Gordon had returned from the South Pacific he had producing work at an extreme rate. Not only had he published two papers with new theories and experimental results since then, but he had applied for seven patents. It wouldn't have stood out with a brilliant scientist, but Rose could only find a handful of distinguishing works before his departure three years ago.
Rose skimmed through the papers, most of it was pretty ordinary. There were papers on the calculation of continental drift, the rate of mountain increase and volcanism. Nothing jumped out as being very unusual until his latest paper that was proposing a machine that would allow humans to control the layers of rock and magma in order to control eruptions and geothermal features. Rose wasn't a geology student, but she had seen enough documentaries and specials to understand the ramifications of such a device, both good and bad. While it would allow scientists to prevent major earthquakes and produce metals in specific areas it could also be used to trigger volcanoes near major cities.
Rose was certain that it was this paper that caught UNIT's attention. Despite the paper only discussing theory, Rose could tell that an extreme level of technical expertise was behind the work. It provided a discussion on powering the machine, a power converter much like the one Mickey had referenced. The design called for an extreme level of technology that most people would not believe existed on Earth, but Rose knew better. Frankly, the paper was far too detailed in the description of the frequencies needed to affect changes to rock strata deep within the Earth for Rose's comfort. She saved the paper to her computer and after a moment of thought began to hack into the UNIT mainframe.
Malcolm's password had changed and the General had removed Rose's security status after she left UNIT after the Durmion Incident in the summer. However, Rose had familiarised herself with the layout of the UNIT system well enough to know where the weak points were. Hacking in through the installation protocols was a touch messy, but Rose was able to avoid triggering any alarms in the system. Even if it did take her three hours.
"Alright, Professor Gordon." Rose grinned as she accessed the file. "Let's see what else UNIT has found."
An hour and a half hours Rose carefully exited the UNIT system despite wanting to slam the laptop shut and yelling. UNIT had nothing on the man despite their suspicions. Nothing unusual had been reported at the geological survey of Krakatoa. Yet Toshiko's report of the strange designs had alerted UNIT to a possible problem. However, even Tosh's genius had failed to find any solid evidence. Rose considered calling the older woman, but a glance at the clock made her sigh. Even Tosh wouldn't still be up and she didn't want to make Malcolm worry. Instead, Rose shut down her system and turned the computer off. Leaning back in her chair she sighed loudly and looked up at the ceiling.
"Why are you looking for trouble Tyler?" Rose asked herself out loud. Groaning, Rose stood up and stretched before she answered her own question, "Because you love it."