Meeting Jack's Doctor
A/N: I know, Tosh was acting out of character because at the time of 'Aliens of London', she didn't have so much as a TV show, let alone a fully developed character. Still, RTD was the one who squeezed in an explanation as to why she was there – mere minutes before her death, no less. So, it's up to fanfiction to fill in such holes, right?
"Have you seen Owen?"
Toshiko Sato, absorbed in her computer, only heard the question once Jack repeated it. "Oh, sorry," she apologized quickly. "No, he hasn't come in yet."
Both apology and answer were spoken absentmindedly. Owen Harper had only been working with them at Torchwood for a week and a half; so far he'd been late three days out of four. Toshiko wasn't sure why Jack put up with it – he said it was because Owen was getting over the death of his fiancee and would snap out of it eventually.
Today, however, she wasn't thinking about the tardy doctor at all. She was more interested in the blip that had appeared on her screen. "Jack?" she called after scanning it a few times. "You might want to come and take a look at this."
"What is it?" he asked, coming over.
"I'm not exactly sure," she replied slowly. "Something entered the atmosphere about a minute ago. I'm not getting any signals from it, so I'd say it was a meteor – except that a meteor would be burning up and this isn't."
"Something with a heat shield, then," Jack mused. "A spaceship – cloaked so you wouldn't pick it up?"
Toshiko pursed her lips, typing furiously. "It's in free fall. If this is a spaceship, this it's on a crash collision course with..." She took a few seconds to calculate the trajectory. "London. No..." She stared at the screen in disbelief as the course was plotted more closely. "Big Ben. It's going to hit Big Ben."
She heard Jack mutter something under his breath – something that sounded suspiciously like 'of course'. Glancing at him, she asked. "Did you know this was coming?"
As a matter of fact, he had. He'd been waiting for this. Rose had told him once, of one of her earlier adventures with the Doctor – they'd come back to visit her mother and ended up witnessing a spaceship crash through Big Ben. Not by accident, if he remembered correctly. But that meant they were here! Well, in London, anyway.
He realized Toshiko was still waiting for a response. "What? How would I know about it?"
She didn't have an answer to that. "Call Owen," He ordered after a moment of silence. "We're gonna need him."
Nodding, Toshiko made the call, as the same time bringing up the news on one computer screen. The ship – assuming it really was a ship – was due to hit in less than a minute, and it was sure to be on TV almost as soon.
"Big Ben," Toshiko murmured as Owen's phone rang. "Big Ben, really?"
"What are the odds of a random crashing ship heading right for such a well-known building?" Jack agreed. Toshiko nearly began figuring out the exact answer to his question, but then Owen's answerphone picked up.
"Owen, listen. There's a spaceship about to hit Big Ben. You've got to come in, right now. This might be First Contact."
"Might be?" Jack raised his eyebrows as she hung up.
"If there's one thing working for you has taught me, it's to never assume anything. It's not even on the news yet," she pointed out, gesturing to the screen. Even as she did so, the newscaster started talking about the crash. Jack grinned at her and she rolled her eyes.
"Ok, call Owen again – it he doesn't pick up this time, then the job passes to you."
"What job is that?" she asked warily as she dialed once more.
"The medical examination of whatever was in that ship."
Had Toshiko been holding the phone, rather than using an earpiece, she would've dropped it. "Come on, Owen, answer the phone," she whispered nervously as it rang. She didn't have medical experience – she wouldn't know the first thing about examining an alien. That was what Owen was for. "Pick up, pick up, pick up - "
No such luck. It went to answerphone again and Toshiko disconnected the call without leaving another message. There wasn't a point, this time.
"He's not answering, Jack," she said, crossing the room to where he was at another monitor. "What are you doing?"
"Trying to get access to UNIT's comms...there we go!" The computer began broadcasting radio chatter from the other major extraterrestrial combating organization in Britain. Of course they were already at the scene. "So, Owen's not coming – are you ready?"
"If UNIT's already working on this, why are we getting involved at all?" Toshiko asked, hoping for a way out of this mission. Fighting aliens, tracking aliens, negotiating with aliens – she was fine with all of that. But examining aliens was another matter entirely. "Surely they have it under control?"
"Since when can UNIT be trusted to keep anything under control?" Jack said, slightly derisively. "Anyway, I didn't like the look of that crash. It was too coincidental. I definitely don't trust them to figure out something so obvious like that."
"You could be right," Toshiko admitted grudgingly. "But they're still UNIT. They're probably not going to want me to - "
"We're wasting time," Jack interrupted. "And London isn't getting any closer."
The UNIT soldier standing guard at the hospital looked over the unfamiliar woman in front of him. "And you are?" he demanded.
"Toshiko Sato, medic," she answered, giving him her identification card and several official papers. "General Asquith sent me to do a preliminary examination of the...creature?"
When he verified her information, he found everything to be in order and let her in. Toshiko nearly sighed at how easy that had been; while UNIT might be hard to infiltrate for most people, all their security meant little when it came to Torchwood technology, mixed with her own hacking skills. One day – perhaps once she was no longer on the UNIT list of terrorists – she might send them plans for better security.
Setting up her new identity and blocking any access to her real one had taken less than half the train ride to London. The rest had been spent trying to figure out Jack's real reason for wanting to send someone; she still thought UNIT probably had the situation well in hand. However, Jack refused to give her any other reason and she soon gave up asking.
She'd decided to play 'Tosh the medic' as introverted, slightly inexperienced – and a little bit incompetent to cover for any medical mistakes she was sure to make.
Toshiko had reached the Albion Hospital only minutes after it was decided, over UNIT's radio communications, to send the alien body there and the alien itself arrived shortly thereafter. Once she instructed the men bringing it in where to put it, they left her alone. She breathed a sigh of relief at the solitude and got to work immediately, wasting no time in pulling back the sheet that covered the body.
It was a pig.
Or, she chastised herself quickly of thinking something so absolutely, or else, it was an alien that looked like a pig. It had been founded in that spaceship. A scan should reveal all.
Toshiko hurriedly glanced at the door to make sure she wouldn't be interrupted, then pulled her most prized piece of technology from her computer bag. It was called, according to Jack, a Hyperspectral Scanner and it had come through the Rift the day she'd started at Torchwood – and she was sure if fate existed, this was it. The device could do nearly anything and she rarely went on a mission without it.
"It's a pig..." she muttered to Jack as she took the readings. "Not an alien, just a pig. But there's technology in it's brain that's definitely not from Earth; much too advanced.
"Only proves that that wasn't a real crash," Jack told her and she nodded, though of course he couldn't see that. An ordinary, Earthling pig could not have abducted and messed with by aliens only to be found on a crashed spaceship – after hitting Big Ben, no less – all of that couldn't happen by accident. The odds against it were astronomical.
The question remained as to why these aliens would mess with a pig at all. Toshiko ground her teeth at being locked – literally, in fact – in this hospital while such questions were unanswered. She could be doing so much more back at the Torchwood Hub. "Is Owen in yet?" she asked, knowing well that it didn't matter. He couldn't come take over for her even if he was there.
"No," Jack answered. "I don't know where he is." Toshiko sighed heavily and ended the conversation.
She'd gotten all the information from the pig that she was going to, so she covered the whole thing up with the sheet again. Then she settled down to do what she could with the results of the scan. Being at the Hub might have been helpful to analyze them, but there was plenty she could do right here. Hopefully, figuring out what the aliens had been trying to do to the poor animal would give clues as to who they were and what they wanted.
About an hour later, a guy from UNIT came in to the operating room. "Have you heard? They're saying that the Prime Minister's gone missing. Tell me that's not suspicious."
"Very suspicious, yes," Toshiko murmured.
"Anyway, General Asquith will be here in a few minutes. He'll want to know what you've learned from the alien."
Toshiko nodded and the man left. After putting all her Torchwood technology safely in her bag, she picked up a clipboard, hoping it would make her look more...medical.
But when the General arrived, he barely seemed to notice her. He had eyes only for the 'alien'.
"I've x-rayed the skull," she lied when he asked whether is was real. "It's wired up inside like nothing I've ever seen before," she glanced at him, hoping he knew as little about medical procedures as she did. Would x-rays even show whether there were wires in the brain? But he seemed to be accepting her words. "No on could make this up." No one on Earth, anyway, and she was sure he understood that.
General Asquith ordered her to get the pig out of sight until experts arrived – alien experts, she stopped herself from laughing at that – and she was glad that a couple other UNIT members came to take it away. It allowed her to run after him and do a little harmless questioning. "Is it true what they're saying? About the Prime Minister?"
It didn't get her anywhere, but at least she'd tried.
The next few hours were quiet and her concentration on figuring out the wiring was broken only by her own worries – first and foremost, where were the experts that were supposed to be coming in? Surely it didn't take this long for them to get here?
It just proved Jack's point, she supposed, that UNIT couldn't be trusted to get anything done. After the fourth or fifth time thinking this, she decided to take a break from the calculations and tell him so. Fixing her earpiece back on her head, said said quietly, "Jack?"
She was slightly taken aback. The voice that answered was not Jack's. "Owen? Finally decided to come to work, have you?"
"Uh, yeah. I wasn't feeling well."
"Were you hungover?" He didn't reply, so a few seconds later, she pressed. "You were hungover, weren't you?"
"...Yes," he admitted after a pause. "Didn't know it was gonna be bloody First Contact today, did I?"
"You can't assume things like that, not in this job," she admonished gently. "Anything could come up, at any point – and you've got to be ready for it."
"I know. I'm sorry."
Knowing this was probably as much of an apology was she was going to get from him, she decided to accept it. "It's all right. Everything's under control here. Although...can you x-ray the brain? Is that proper medical procedure?"
"Well, you can," he said. "Bit archaic though. Why?"
"It's what I told them I'd done. The guy seemed to buy it, though, so archaic or not, it's ok."
"Oh, those UNIT blokes, what do they know?" Owen told her mock-seriously.
Toshiko couldn't help laughing, though she quickly stifled it in case someone was listening. "You've been talking to Jack."
"Yeah, I have," he agreed. "Speaking of Jack, he wants your report on what the aliens that took that pig were trying to do with it."
"Nothing, as far as I can tell," she answered, picking up her notes. "It's a complete mess, like a little kid building with toys. A little kid building with extremely sophisticated toys, inside a porcine brain. There was no rhyme or reason, no discernible end goal at all."
"I don't know. I need to get back to work, to figure that out."
Not long after the conversation with Owen, Toshiko heard a thud. Initially, she dismissed it as the UNIT soldiers down the hall and went back to work. Then it happened again. And again.
She could tell by now that the noise was coming from the closet where they'd put the pig. Hestitantly, she approached the door, uncertain why he was so nervous. This was a lot closer to her normal job than being a doctor had been, after all.
Perhaps it was because she was in the wrong city and working alone. Or because she had come unarmed. Or maybe – this was the one she found most likely – it was because her most trusty gadget had told her that this creature which was trying so hard to get out...the Hyperspectral Scanner had told her the pig was dead.
She was at the door by this point and cautiously reached for the latch.
The door burst open, catching her in the forehead painfully, She'd seen aliens of all types in her two years working at Torchwood, but for some reason, seeing a pig – an ordinary pig, just a pig – in a spacesuit, fully conscious and tottering on two legs was more scary than any of them. Before she could herself, she let out an earsplitting shriek.
The pig hurtled past her and out of sight, but she heard voices yelling. Of course, someone would've heard her scream. Thinking quickly, Toshiko realized that the UNIT boys wouldn't expect her to try and fight the 'alien' – or indeed, even to keep her head in a crisis. That wasn't her job, after all.
She quickly backed into the nearest corner and slide to the floor. It was all to easy to fake hysteria and wield a bedpan as though she thought it might be some use as a weapon.
The soldiers appeared seconds later, led by a man who wasn't in any sort of uniform. She began her role as terrified medic. "It's alive!" she whispered. That was the part that was most upsetting to her at the moment, so it wasn't hard to make the words shaky.
The man in the leather jacket gave orders to the others – something about a lockdown – then came over to her. "Oh, God, it's still alive," she repeated to him. "I swear it was dead!"
"Coma, shock, hibernation, anything," he gave various explanations quickly. He assumed she'd only used Earth technology to examine the pig; none of those would fool her Scanner. She could think of a few things that would though. It could be sending out a false signal, or blocking the life signs, or... "What does it look like?" The man was going on without pause.
She was saved from answering – it looks like a pig, it is a pig – by the pig itself, making a clatter. She stayed in her corner as the man went to investigate. She stayed, even, when the pig panicked and ran into the hallway, only to be killed almost immediately.
She only stood stood as they brought the body back into the operating room and put it on the table once more. Then she approached the man cautiously. He seemed to be muttering to himself angrily about 'stupid apes'. "Excuse me," she interrupted. "Who are you?"
"I'm the Doctor," he answered darkly. "And I'm supposed to stop you people from killing innocent creatures like that."
Toshiko gaped as he began scanning the body with what she vaguely recognized as some sort of sonic device. The Doctor. Not just any doctor, she was sure – she could hear it in his voice that it was a name, not a title. The Doctor. Perhaps...Jack's Doctor?
Jack hadn't mentioned the Doctor much in her time working with him, but often enough. And Toshiko, despite normally missing small nuances of tone, could tell by the way he said the word that this 'Doctor' was important to him.
Toshiko forced herself to focus on what the Doctor was saying. " - dress up a pig, terrify it, kill it. This is barbaric." He stepped back, looking disgusted.
"I thought that was just what aliens looked like," Toshiko said, deciding to keep up the ignorant medic act, just in case this wasn't Jack's Doctor. "But you're saying it's an ordinary pig, from Earth."
The Doctor nodded and went on to explain how the pig and what had been done to it could be compared to a mermaid. "They've taken this animal and turned it into a joke," he concluded, voice dangerously soft.
Toshiko pretended to be figuring out what she'd already known. "So, it's a fake, a pretend like the mermaid. But the technology augmenting its brain – it's like nothing on Earth. It's alien. Aliens are faking aliens. Why would they do that?" She turned to the Doctor, but he had gone.
"Doctor?" she called, running into the hall. "Doctor?"
The only response she got was an odd grinding noise.
"Did you know he was going to be there?" Toshiko was back at the Hub, all the excitement from the crash over. She'd just finished telling Jack of her encounter with the Doctor. "Is that why you sent me?"
After a long pause, Jack answered. "Yes."
Relieved to have gotten a response, Toshiko smiled. Then confusion creased her brow again. "But if you know him, then why didn't you go yourself?"
There was another stretch of silence, longer than the last, but just as she was about to give up on him speaking at all, he finally said, "I know him, but he doesn't know me. Yet."
Wit that, Jack walked away, leaving Toshiko extremely bewildered.
A/N: If you thought Jack's thing against UNIT was a little weird, yeah, so did I. It's just that...to tell the truth, I couldn't think of a legitimate reason that Torchwood - especially Torchwood Cardiff - would get involved in this. Anyway, I hope it was good despite any such shortcomings.