Time and the Trickster
Chapter Twenty-Six: World War III: Aliens in London
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.
Lent term at Cambridge was done with Easter term a month away giving Rose Tyler some much needed time off from her studies, probably not from aliens, but at least from her studies. The window in her brightly decorated room on Bannerman Road in London was thrown open to let some of the afternoon fresh air in. The March breeze wasn't warm by any stretch of the imagination, but the crisp freshness was a welcome change from the stale warm air that filled most of the house.
Rose looked down at the small suitcase on her bed with consideration. She and the girls were scheduled were scheduled to meet Astra in Barcelona in three days to start a month-long exploration of Spain. They'd all agreed to take as little as possible to make train hopping and hosteling as easy as possible, but Rose couldn't shake the feeling she was missing something critical in the already full bag.
"Jeans, shirts, socks, knickers, bras, hoodie, shorts, dancing dress just in case…." Rose mumbled to herself as she inspected the contents. "Swimsuit, toiletries, hair stuff, camera and laptop are in the other bag." Rose sighed and shook her head, "You'd think a planned trip would be easier than TARDIS travel." She shook her head amused and walked over to her desk where a short checklist was sitting, but everything was already marked off.
The sudden ringing of her mobile distracted Rose from her contemplation of what she was missing and she fished it out of her pocket automatically. A quick glance at the caller id told her that Shareen was calling.
"Hi Shareen," Rose greeted cheerfully.
"Rose turn on the telly," Shareen said in a serious voice. "Right now."
"What's going on?" Rose asked with a confused frown.
"A spaceship crashed into the Thames after hitting Big Ben," Shareen answered the phone with an excited trill in her voice.
"Come on be serious," Rose chuckled. "That's the script of a science fiction movie."
"It's no joke," Shareen insisted. "Turn on the telly. Any channel you like."
Rose turned and headed for the door of her bedroom and headed for the stairs as she snapped the phone shut. Downstairs she found her mum and Gita both teary eyed in front of the telly with a plate of cookies and a box of tissues on the table in front of them. Raising an eyebrow, Rose examined the screen and then shook her head at the romance that was playing.
"Hi Gita," Rose greeted. "I've got to check something really quick." She snatched the remote and turned off of the DVD, switching to the news.
"Rose!" Jackie protested, "Don't be rude young lady."
Rose ignored her mother in favour of listening to the news reader. "Big Ben destroyed as a UFO crash lands in Central London. Police reinforcements are drafted in from across the country to control widespread panic, looting and civil disturbance. A state of national emergency has been declared. Tom Hitchinson is at the scene."
"What?" Gita gasped. "Aliens in London?!"
Rose looked at the banner across the bottom of the screen. "Apparently it crashed only fifteen minutes ago," she told Gita and Jackie before the screen changed to a reporter standing near the Thames. He was too far away for Rose to see much of the ship.
"The police urge the public not to panic. There's a helpline number on screen right now if you're worried about friends or family," Tom Hitchinson announced into his microphone. Rose raised an eyebrow, apparently they weren't releasing much information yet.
The ringing of her phone again pulled her away from the television and she briefly noted Jackie and Gita speaking in excited voices. To avoid the noise Rose walked into the kitchen and pulled out the mobile. She smiled softly as the UNIT number flashed on the screen.
"This is Tyler," Rose said as she answered the phone.
"Colonel Mace," the stern colonel greeted shortly. "Brigadier General Benton wants you on the secure video line immediately."
"Uh, okay," Rose agreed before the call ended suddenly. "Nice to talk to you too Mace," Rose muttered as she slipped out of the kitchen and upstairs to her laptop.
Behind her, she heard Gita say, "Jackie we should have a party! This is huge! History in the making!"
Rose glanced around her bedroom quickly and closed up her suitcase before she went to the laptop. She waited impatiently while it booted up, wondering why she wasn't just being called to the Tower. Once the laptop was working Rose quickly logged into the secure system that UNIT used for video conferences. It only took a moment to connect to Benton's office. She frowned in confusion as the call was then transferred to a different machine using Benton's ID number.
A moment later the call connected and Brigadier General Benton appeared onscreen in an unfamiliar office. He looked tense with some extra lines around his eyes that Rose could guess the source of.
"Good afternoon Brigadier Benton," she greeted politely.
"Hello Thorn," Benton greeted with a nod, easing slightly. "I take if you know about the ship crashing in London just a quarter of an hour ago."
"Yes sir," Rose agreed with a nod. "I just became aware of it."
"I need you to come in. We're facing a very public crash in the middle of a major city."
"I suppose that I should be glad that the aliens crashed into London before I left on my spring holiday," Rose observed as she crossed her arms and frowned. "But honestly hitting Big Ben seems more like a crash from a bad science fiction show. They had enough control to hit the water and yet couldn't aim for a field outside of a major population zone."
Brigadier Benton sighed and rubbed his forehead as he looked at her through the webcam system. "Well, Tyler with me in Geneva and Doctor Taylor in the North Sea I'm afraid you're going to have to make UNIT UK proud as the conference."
"Conference?" Rose asked, blinking in mild alarm. "What conference?"
Benton now smirked as he explained, "Representatives from the UNIT divisions and other agencies from around the world are gathering to discuss this crash, it was very public after all and I'm sending you for UNIT UK. Play nice with the other children."
Rose gave Benton an unamused look and sighed. "What about Kate?"
"She went with Doctor Taylor to investigate some kind of signal that we picked up there." Benton paused and frowned slightly, "And Toshiko does not currently have the status to serve as the representative."
"Who else will be going?" Rose questioned as she straightened her soldiers.
"Colonel Mace is overseeing troops in my absence so the third-in-command of UNIT UK will be joining you there. Her name is Lt. Colonel Elizabeth Frost, but I don't think you've ever met."
"I know the name, but no we haven't met," Rose agreed with a nod.
"Doctor Taylor also suggested sending Doctor Kapoor for the science division. You remember him I trust."
"Yes sir," Rose confirmed with a nod. She didn't work much with Nasser, but they'd made a good team when she and Tosh had worked with them on the UNIT teleport system. "What about Torchwood?"
Benton sighed and rubbed his forehead as if holding back a headache. Rose felt a twitch of guilt for bringing them up. "Hartman isn't speaking with anyone right now and the Queen gave UNIT control of this crash. Torchwood has been invited to the conference, but we don't know yet who Hartman will send."
"You don't think she'll come herself?" Rose asked.
"I believe she'd consider it beneath her," Benton grumbled before straightening up again. "Most of those present will be UNIT personnel or from similar agencies." Benton gave her a small smile. "You shouldn't have any trouble. A car will pick you up in half an hour and take you to Albian Hospital."
"A hospital? Have any survivors been found?" Rose asked in surprise.
"Not survivors," Benton answered shaking his head. "But a body has been found. They aren't going to move it until everything is in place, but we'd like you at the hospital to take a look at it."
"I'm not a medical doctor," Rose reminded him pointedly.
"No, but the conference doesn't start until later when the other representatives arrive and I need one of my people to take a look."
"Understood," Rose conceded with a nod. "One more question."
"Yes?" Benton asked sounding torn between amusement and annoyance.
"Why did Malcolm and Kate go to the North Sea?"
"Three days ago a satellite picked up some strange radiation out there. They were ahead of schedule this morning, but are too far out to make it back tonight."
"Interesting," Rose murmured softly before she nodded. "I'll be ready for the car when it arrives, but please have it pick me up around the corner and not my house."
"I'll arrange for that and remember I said to play nice," Benton added before ending the call.
Rose frowned at the screen for a moment and then glanced out the window at the clear blue sky. Her eyes dropped to the houses across the street. "Spock," she muttered to herself.
Pulling on her leather jacket, Rose checked that she had her wallet, sonic pen and mobile. She stopped for a moment and considered her closet before she grabbed an oversized jacket with a hood and pair of large sunglasses before heading downstairs. Gita and Jackie were both on their phones and ignoring the television screen.
"I know it is so exciting isn't it?" Gita said cheerfully. "We're going to have a little party, come on over to Jackie's."
Jackie hung up and looked over to see Rose heading for the door. "Where are you off to?" Jackie asked.
"I'm going to head into town to meet up with Shareen and Sharon."
"Rose half of the streets are blocked," Gita protested.
"That's why I'm taking my bike," Rose replied with a grin.
Jackie huffed in protest and shook her head. "Just try to be back for the party," she told Rose.
"We'll see how bad the traffic is," Rose answered noncommittedly. "I'll be fine."
Rose rushed out of the house before Jackie could protest and went to her motorcycle. She sighed as she started it up, she hadn't had much time for riding it lately with winter and school and today would be no different. Rose drove away from the house but headed to the right and not to the left going further down Bannerman Road. Sarah Jane's house loomed over its small garden and Rose parked the bike far up in the drive so it would be out of sight. She didn't bother to retrieve the spare key that Sarah Jane had given her and just used the sonic pen to unlock the front door.
Silence greeted Rose in the Chesterton-Smith house, but she could see signs that Rani and Clyde had been by to water the plants. Sarah Jane and Johnny had decided to take a holiday with Luke and already been gone two days. Deciding to keep her jacket on, Rose darted up the staircase towards the attic.
"Mistress Rose," K-9 greeted when she opened the door. "It is pleasant to see you."
"Good to see you too K-9," Rose replied with a smile as she walked over to the robot dog and patted him on the head. She then turned towards the wall that hid Spock. "I need you, Spock."
The wall broke apart slowly with mechanical hisses as the controls of the Xylok unfolded into view. Rose watched the transformation with a strange little smile on her face.
"Hello Rose," Spock greeted. "I expect that you are here about the recent crash."
"Yeah," Rose said taking a step closer to Spock. "Your sensors track objects entering the solar system so how did you miss this?"
"I am running a diagnostic on my sensors as we speak," Spock informed her.
"Do you recognise the ship?" Rose asked.
"It matches nothing in my records exactly," Spock answered quickly. "From the technology I have identified it is combination of different parts with nothing specific enough to offer a planet origin."
"Were there any distress calls or odd bursts of energy?" Rose questioned.
"Only a small burst of energy in the North Sea three days ago which I informed Sarah Jane of as well as the fact that UNIT has sent a team to investigate."
"Alright," Rose said with a sigh. "I've gotta go, but finish running diagnostics with K-9."
"I do not require the dog's help," Spock replied sounding displeased.
"Monitoring solar system entries is your task Spock-" K-9 started to say, but Rose cut him off.
"Enough!" Rose snapped as she looked between the two. "You two can go back to your snark contests once I'm comfortable that Earth is safe. Finish the diagnostics to verify that you either did or didn't miss it." Rose took a breath and calmed herself. "If it didn't come from outside the solar system then we have a completely new issue. I need to know if I'm dealing with an accident or something else immediately so no more fighting. May I clear?"
"Yes Rose," Spock replied in an even tone. "We will complete the diagnostics of my system and run an energy trace check in the inner solar system to answer your question of origin."
"Understood Mistress Rose," K-9 said in his dutiful tone. "We will contact you as soon as data is available."
"Better," Rose announced as she released a breath. "Much better."
Rose pulled off her leather jacket and tossed it on the sofa that sat in the centre of the attic. Then she pulled on the heavier coat with the hood. She tied her hair up in a messy bun to keep it hidden under the hood and readied the sunglasses.
"New fashion Rose?" Spock asked tentatively.
"Whole world is watching," Rose explained with a shrug. "It may not be a brilliant disguise, but hopefully it will protect me from public exposure as an alien expert." She waved to the Xylok and robot and headed down the stairs and out onto the street after locking the house up. The car was waiting and one of her escorts was just stepping out.
"Miss Tyler," a private she didn't know greeted with a nod.
"Hi," Rose greeted as she opened the back passenger door herself. "Nice to meet you," she added more politely before sliding into the back seat. Once they started moving Rose pulled out her phone and called Shareen. "Hey Shareen," Rose said not waiting for the other girl to greet her. "UNIT called me in as soon as I got off the phone with you."
"Any ideas on what's up?" Shareen asked.
"A couple of stray thoughts," Rose answered as she looked out the window. "But nothing concrete yet. Look I need you to cover for me. Mum thinks I came to London to see you and Sharon so if she calls-"
"You're here, but not available," Shareen finished for Rose. "Got it, just be careful."
"I will be," Rose replied affectionately. "I promise."
The further they drove into central London the clearer the chaos became. Police were everywhere with crowds packed in the streets, some trying to get away from the area and others trying to get closer. Rose could see some police cars with the names of nearby towns and cities nearby and wondered just how many police they'd be bringing in. Any moment now Cambridge police might start arriving. Another two turns put them near the Thames were media vehicles were crammed together behind police lines.
The driver manoeuvred them around a barricade and Rose was grateful for the tinted windows in the car as the press took photos. She shrunk into her hood and slipped the sunglasses on, grateful to feel the awkward weight that covered up almost a third of her face. Another turn and they were in front of an old hospital building with guards opening a heavy metal gate for them. The car pulled up in front of the building and Rose slide across to the door directly in front of the hospital entrance. She waited for a UNIT soldier to open the hospital door before she jumped up and climbed the stairs. Despite the questions being shouted by the press Rose didn't turn around and entered the hospital.
The place was dark, but clean reflecting its disuse. Rose calmly followed a UNIT soldier down a long corridor to a morgue. She's never been in a morgue before personally, but she had no doubt that the room was one. Metal doors or drawers lined one wall and a metal operating table was set up in the middle complete with a water sprayer. There was currently nothing on the table and a pair of men in lab coats stood quietly talking. Rose recognised one of them as Doctor Higgins from the UNIT medical department, but the other man was younger, probably mid-forties, and taller with short brown hair and slight Scottish accent. The soldier escorting her stopped and cleared his throat to draw their attention.
"Oh goodness," Doctor Higgins gasped. "You startled me." His eyes landed on Rose and he smiled gently. "Ah Miss Tyler, good to see you. I trust Private Smith is still doing well since he was transferred from my care."
"He is Doctor Higgins," Rose answered as she walked into the room. "He's still on medical leave, but moving and eating with no problems."
"I'm glad to hear it." Higgins then remembered the other doctor. "Miss Tyler this is Doctor McDonald from Torchwood. Hartman selected him personally."
Doctor McDonald and Rose studied each other for a moment before McDonald extended his hand. Rose nodded and accepted it giving his hand a quick shake. She noticed that he wore a polo shirt under his lab coat with a stylised T on the breast pocket.
"When is the body expected?" Rose asked as she stepped back from McDonald.
"Our last message said half an hour," Higgins answered before looking at his watch. "Probably any minute now."
"Are you qualified to assist in the autopsy?" McDonald questioned with a raised eyebrow.
"No," Rose answered calmly. "I'm here to take note of anything I recognise."
McDonald nodded thoughtfully as he studied Rose which she tried not to react to. Suddenly her phone rang and she fished it out to check the caller. It was Spock.
"Please excuse me," Rose said quickly before she walked past the guard and into a quite side room. "What have you got?" she asked Spock.
"Diagnostics have shown no problem with my sensors," Spock informed her. "I ran internal diagnostics and K-9 ran his own diagnostics."
"So it came from Earth," Rose concluded with a sigh. "Was it a crash from someone trying to leave in a damaged ship?"
"In my records, I found a similar energy reading in the solar system that was too weak to track over three months ago. Doing a similar scan K-9 and I have found that the crash was controlled after the ship was slingshotted around the Earth."
"So the crash was for show," Rose deduced with a deepening frown. "And the aliens have been here three months. Good work boys," Rose told them. "Spock run checks on government defence systems and make sure that nothing has been tampered with. K-9 I want you to work on whatever that energy coming from the North Sea is. Report to me when you have something."
"Affirmative," K-9 replied.
"Be careful Rose," Spock cautioned before hanging up the phone.
Rose peeked out of the side room she'd hidden in to see more troops moving around. Stepping out into the hall Rose backtracked to the morgue and gasped softly as she stepped into the room. There lying on the autopsy table was what looked like a pig in a space suit. The only thought Rose managed at that moment was to question how aliens with hoofs could construct a spaceship. But then again, the universe took all sorts.