The Companion Connection

By Lumendea

Chapter Sixty-Five: Gateway of the Sun: UNIT Personnel

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.

Rose was in one of the UNIT research rooms, fiddling with the sonic modulator in silence. Piles of tools, printouts and mechanical odds and ends covered roughly half of the table in front of her. Across the table sat Toshiko who was making notes on one of her blueprints with a pencil, her glasses perched on the tip of her nose.

"Tea time," Doctor Malcolm Taylor said as he walked into the lab with a tray, startling both Rose and Tosh.

Tosh gave a small squeak and almost knocked over her chair. Rose nearly dropped a piece of the modulator, but caught it quickly and set it down on the table with a sigh of relief.

"Sorry ladies," Malcolm apologised with a blush. He stepped forward and set the tray on a clear space. He looked at them both and said, "Maybe no sugar in your tea today."

Rose chuckled and accepted a cup of tea from Malcolm a moment later. He pulled up a chair and joined them after giving Tosh her own tea. Picking up the blueprints that Tosh had been working on Malcolm grinned as he examined the note. Then he looked over at Rose and examined the new attachment she'd made for the sonic modulator.

"Lovely work," Malcolm complemented them with a smile.

"Thank you," Tosh replied with a smile.

"Yeah, thanks," Rose said as she brushed a strand of hair out of her face and back into the messy bun she had her hair twisted up in.

"Not as interesting as aliens in New York and South America I know," Malcolm teased. "But you do need lab experience for school."

"I know," Rose said with a sigh. "At least I didn't get stuck in a lab all summer like most students."

"True," Malcolm said. "But it would probably be better if you didn't mention what you really did do."

Rose raised an eyebrow and smirked. "I figured that out when I was eleven." Rose chuckled. "Mind you, I do sometimes wonder what kind of expressions people would make if I ever did tell them the truth."

"Like you mother?" Malcolm asked with a tilt of his head.

"Nope," Rose said with a shake of her head. "I can never figure out how she'd react to it." Rose set down her tea cup and picked the sonic modulator. She handed it across the table to Tosh who took it gently. "I think we've almost got it."

A voice from the lab door said, "That's good to hear."

Rose turned to see Colonel- no Brigadier General Benton- she reminded herself standing in the doorway. It was going to take some time to get used to him being the Brigadier now that Lethbridge-Stewart had retired again.

"Hello Brigadier," Rose greeted with a smile.

"That's going to take some getting used to," Benton said with a smile. "I doubt I'll ever get used to it."

"I'm sure you will," Malcolm said with a smile. "It is certainly deserved."

"That's appreciated Doctor Taylor," Benton said as he stepped into the room. "But not necessary for you to say."

"Perhaps," Malcolm said. "What can we do for you today sir?"

"Your new staff member is here," Benton said.

Malcolm stood up and smiled widely. "An excellent is she in the main room."

Benton nodded before turning and stepping out of the lab. Malcolm turned to Tosh and Rose. "Come on, time to meet the new girl. I'm sure you'll like her."

Rose stood up and followed Tosh and Malcolm out to the main room. A woman in her early thirties with blond hair tied up in a neat bun and wearing a simple white shirt with slacks. She was speaking in a low voice with Benton who was smiling gently at her when they joined the pair. The woman's eyes instantly shifted to Rose with interest before she turned her attention to Malcolm.

"Doctor Taylor this is Doctor Kate Stewart who will be joining the Scientific Research team here at HQ."

"Ah of course," Malcolm said as he shook Kate's hand. "I'm so glad that you accepted the offer to join us here."

"Thank you for selecting me," Kate replied.

"Well, your paper on-" Malcolm started to say.

"Doctor Stewart," Benton interrupted. "This is Toshiko Sato, she is one of the researchers you will be working with."

"Toshiko is highly skilled in reserve engineering," Malcolm bragged with a smile at Tosh.

"Nice to meet you," Kate said shaking Tosh's hand. "I've actually read the file on the transmit system you got working."

"Oh that was only partially me," Tosh said quickly. "We're working on creating a new system for use on Earth, but there is still a ways to go."

"And this is Rose Tyler," Benton said with a smirk as he gestured to Rose. "I'm sure you've heard a few stories about her already."

"Only about half are true," Rose said as she shook Kate's hand with a smile. "Welcome to the fun part of UNIT. We get to do all the interesting stuff here and use the fun toys."

"Tyler," Benton scolded.

"We're about to test the sonic modulator," Rose defended. "Tell me I'm wrong."

"Well maybe you have the most fun," Benton said. "But you also travel the world fighting aliens."

"I did not travel the world to fight aliens," Rose countered. "I travelled and found aliens that needing fighting, there is a difference."

Kate Stewart laughed and looked back at Rose. "I'm almost afraid to ask."

"I swear that it sounds worse that it actually is," Rose said only to have Benton and Malcolm snort while Tosh shook her head. Rose sighed and shook her head. "I'm now glad I go back to school next week."

"You'll miss us," Malcolm said.

"And our teasing," Benton added with a smile. He nodded to them and smiled at Kate. "Well, I'll leave you to them." Looking back to Malcolm he added, "And I'll want the report of the modulator test first thing."

"Yes sir," Malcolm said before the new brigadier general walked off. He turned to Kate and smiled. "Are you familiar with the theory of the sonic modulator?"

"Yes Doctor Taylor," Kate replied with a nod. "UNIT provided me with information to get me up to speed when I accepted the job two weeks ago."

"Excellent," Malcolm said. "Then please do join us."

Rose stepped to the side to allow Malcolm to led Kate into the lab they'd been working in. Tosh smiled and her fingers reached up to snatch the sonic pen from Rose's hand. Quickly, Rose caught Tosh's hand and pulled the sonic pen free.

"Good try," Rose said as she slipped the pen into her pocket. "But not good enough."

"Someday," Tosh said. "Someday."

"You'll probably finish that prototype sonic probe before you get the pen."

"The probe is three times the size of the pen," Tosh said a sigh. "And only has three settings."

"My heart bleeds," Rose teased as she walked into the lab. "But the answer is still no."

"Oh did Tosh try to take the sonic pen again?" Malcolm asked, looking over at them.

"Yes," Rose replied as she went to her spot at the table. She stuck her tongue out at Tosh who returned the gesture.

Malcolm shook his head and looked at Kate who was watching Tosh and Rose with amusement. "You'll get used to it," Malcolm said. "And things are much calmer when Rose is at school."

"You'll miss me," Rose said. "You know you will."

"Not nearly as much as you think," Malcolm said.

"Liar," Rose returned with a smile before Malcolm handed her a printout.

Malcolm himself picked up the sonic modulator and gestured for Tosh to gather up a few of the other printouts and tools. "Come along children," he said. "We've got a modulator to test."

Rose nodded and followed Malcolm and Tosh out of the room. Kate Stewart watched the trio for a moment before she shook her head and followed. Father apparently had not been exaggerating. Rose glanced over her shoulder and smiled when she saw Kate following them to the testing room. Calmly, she helped Malcolm set up the testing mechanism. After a small fire during the last test, they had switched to remote control testing of the sonic modulator in the small bunker, just in case. No one had forgotten that the thing had nearly killed Tosh and her mother in the first version.

"So which school do you attend?" Kate asked Rose as they sealed the test bunker.

"Cambridge," Rose answered with a smile. "I'm going into my second year," she added as she put on her eye protection.

"I hope you have a good year," Kate said as she slipped her own goggles on.

"Oh I will," Rose said with a smile as they went to join Malcolm and Tosh. "I suspect it will be even better than this year."

"Ear protection too ladies," Malcolm said handing it to each of them. "Tosh wait for my signal."

Rose turned her attention back to the sonic modulator in the small test containment. They could see it through the clear siding as it was pointed at a small lock mechanism. Malcolm gave the signal and Tosh flicked the switch, activating it remotely. There was a small spark and then the lock fell open. Malcolm cheered, Tosh clapped and Rose smiled, tightening her fingers around the sonic pen. If one thing was certain, her second year of school wasn't going to be dull.