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[personal profile] daylight_darknight
Damn my perfectionistic nitpicky attitude to writing. I'm actually doing what I said I'd do and editing last years NaNo which I hadn't looked at in over a year. It's fun in some ways because I can look at my word count and say look I already have over 50,000 words, but my editing seems to involve rewriting things over and over again including trying desperately to add more substance to my bare bones writing and changing lots of small unimportant things. Like I said, I'm nitpicky. So only chapter 1 is done and I managed to add about 800 words to it. I'm only posting it here for now in case I find a major plot hole down the line and have to come back and change something.

This fic is, to be specific, a Torchwood + Martha & Mickey/8th Doctor Audio Adventures crossover, but hopefully someone will enjoy it. Its alternate title is What to do When You Find a Time Lord in Your Deep Freezer.

Title:
What Lies in Wait
Characters: Jack, Ianto, Gwen, Martha, Mickey, 8th Doctor
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for swearing, violence, and scary stuff. Vague mentions of off screen torture.
Genre: Mystery, Angst
Word Count: 3500 (Chapter 1)
Spoilers: Takes place after the Doctor Who episode Journey's End and after the 8th Doctor audio To the Death.
Summary: When Martha agreed to help Jack do a little inventory she wasn't expecting to find a Time Lord frozen in his basement and she certainly wasn't expecting what happened when they woke him up.

Chapter 1

Torchwood's Hub hidden deep beneath Cardiff's Roald Dahl Plass would've made the ideal setting for a horror movie, thought Martha Jones as she gazed about her. The cavernous room she currently occupied being a perfect example: stone walls stained with grime and mildew, a high ceiling whose acoustics gave an eerie echo to every sound made, bare hanging lamps which left shadows in every corner, and most obviously, row upon row of small rust-stained doors each with its own tiny label, scribbled ink faded and paper yellowed with age. The fact that a body lay behind nearly every one of those doors would have come as a surprise to no one.

Martha shivered. The cold storage area was unsurprisingly, as its name suggested, cold, but it wasn't the chill air or the presence of the dead that shook her bones. Dr. Jones had been in a number of morgues in her life, but this one was different and it wasn’t just the horror movie decor. There was an odd smell behind the odours of musky mildew and ancient cement. There was a type of ozone, something that reminded her of places faraway from this city, this planet, this time.

“You don't have to do this, you know,” Jack said from beside her.

Martha pursed her lips. “I know,” she replied.

“It’s not too late to back out.”

She looked up at him. Captain Harkness gazed back with an earnest expression on his handsome face. She knew that if she were to change her mind he’d happily let her go about her business without another word, that she was free to leave, back out of her promise without any consequences, but she had no intention of doing that, not when he needed her.

“I want to do this,” she insisted. “Besides,” she added with a teasing smile, “however would you manage without me?”

Jack smiled back fondly. “Oh, I’d be lost without you, Miss Jones.”

“Ahem.”

Their attentions were drawn to the man quietly standing behind them, the third occupant of the room looking very dapper and out of place in his dark suit and striped blue tie.

“May I suggest we begin,” Ianto Jones said, a hint of impatience getting into his normally impassive tone.

“After you,” said Jack with a bow and an exaggerated sweep of his hand.

Giving no response other than a quiet sigh, the Welshman led the way across the room. Martha and Jack followed, their shoes making hollow sounds against the stone floor.

“Okay. Drawer number one,” Ianto declared once they’d reached their destination. His fingers tapped upon the electronic pad he held making text scroll across the screen. “According to the files, it contains an unknown alien captured in 1897 when it was discovered trying to steal the Eros statue from Piccadilly.”

Kneeling down to reach the bottom row of doors, Jack opened the one stencilled with the black number 001. Behind it was a large metal handle. He grabbed hold of the handle and pulled out the cryo-chamber. Steam rose bringing with it a gust of cold air which chilled Martha even further. Through the glass lid of the coffin-like stasis unit, they could see a humanoid figure with blue, feathery skin; small, red eyes; and two rows of very sharp teeth.

“An Aluwaith,” said Jack matter-of-factly as he examined the alien. “Must have wanted the statue for the aluminium. They love aluminium. Great dancers. Lousy kissers.”

Ianto made a note on his pad adding Jack’s commentary to the file.

It was Martha's turn next. She raised the Bekaran deep-tissue scanner, one of the many useful and fun extraterrestrial tools the Torchwood crew had scavenged, and ran it over the alien.  The device gave a few beeps and she checked the results displayed on the screen. The data showed the details of a foreign anatomy and biochemistry, but she was able to interpret it well enough to make out the stereotypical physiological systems and understand what had happened to the Aluwaith.

“He's definitely dead,” she said, “and it’s pretty obvious what killed him.” She pointed to the various bullet holes in the alien's clothing each surrounded by a dark blue stain of blood.

“Great,” Jack said with a satisfied nod. “So that's one Aluwaith, dead and frosty.” He pushed the cryo-chamber back into its compartment and shut the door. “Next,” he declared.

“That was easy,” said Martha. “One down already.”

“Only four hundred and ninety-nine more to go,” said Ianto gesturing with one hand to the numerous doors which covered each wall of the room.

Jack shook his head. “You just had to mention it. Thank goodness for the extra set of hands.”

Martha gave a wry smile. “And I might regret it by the end of the day but right now I’m glad to help. I know how short-handed you've been since Owen and Tosh...”

She let the sentence awkwardly trail off and silence filled the room as everyone carefully avoided each others’ eyes. It had only been a couple of months since the two former members of Torchwood had perished and it was obvious the wounds were still raw.

Clearing her throat, Martha decided to change the subject. “I have been wondering though why you didn’t do this years ago.”

Jack shrugged. “Been busy,” he said. He let his fingers trail along the cold metal of the cryo-chambers' doors. “I really should have done it the moment I took over the base, but I was busy setting up my new team. Then there was this Weevil infestation we had to take care of, then a giant alien sea monster in the bay, then a mysterious teapot which turned everyone who drank from it blue. One crisis after another.”

Martha nodded in understanding. “And doing inventory on all the dead bodies in your basement wasn’t a priority.”

“Exactly,” said Jack, “But after finding out that I myself was locked in one of these chambers for over a century, I thought it might be prudent to find out whatever else might be hiding in here.”

“Like another one of you,” put in Ianto with a tiny twitch of his lips.

“I hope not,” Jack replied grinning; then he grew thoughtful. “I don't know though. I can think of a lot of interesting things I could do if there were two of me.” His grin became somewhat more lecherous as he gazed at Ianto.

Martha slapped him on the arm. “Oy. Focus on the work. You can have your fun later.”

“I will,” he replied his grin growing wider.

Martha just rolled her eyes and moved over to the next drawer. “Alright. Let's see what's behind door number two.”

They moved through the cold storage area one cryo-chamber at a time encountering a large variety of bodies, both human and alien. Jack did his best to identify what aliens he could. Most had been unknown by the Torchwood members who had collected and stored them, but there were very few he didn’t know and some even Martha recognized including a Judoon and two Sontarans. The humans were mostly deceased members of Torchwood's staff, many of whom Jack had known though you wouldn’t have been able to tell from the stony expression he kept on his face whenever they encountered them.

There were also a few surprises. The controls had failed on one of the chambers leaving behind nothing but a skeleton and a couple of the drawers were empty when they shouldn't have been. One drawer, labelled Mildred Goodwin, 1913, contained a small, ring-tailed lemur, and another, labelled unknown alien from Alpha Centauri B, 1921, contained only a pineapple. Jack had scratched his head in confusion when he'd seen the pineapple unable to decide whether it was an alien in a very clever disguise or left over from a particularly drunk New Year's Eve party several decades ago. He decided to leave it for the time being. They could always dissect and/or eat it later.

Of course, some of the occupants of the chambers weren’t simply bodies. The alien cryogenic suspension system could keep someone alive indefinitely. The thought of leaving so many frozen forever made Martha uncomfortable, but waking a group of potentially dangerous and most likely angry aliens didn't seem like a good idea either. Those who’d found the aliens had had little choice. It wasn’t as if there was a regular shuttle service to get them off Earth. She still didn’t like it though and was forced to shove her conflicted conscience aside as she worked.

They went through the cryo-chambers more slowly than they'd hoped. Martha would scan each body and determine whether they were dead or alive and what had caused their death if applicable. If an alien, Jack would identify the species and anything he remembered about them. If human, he would try to recall who they were and the events surrounding their deaths. Meanwhile Ianto would check the information they had on file and make note of anything Jack or Martha was able to add. But though they quickly got the routine down, they were only on drawer number 87 by the time lunchtime arrived.

“Anyone else hungry?” Jack asked as he stared down at the partially gelatinous, partially transparent body of an alien he'd identified as an Oomff.

Martha made a face as she slid the drawer shut. “I was,” she said.

“Gwen and Mickey probably will be,” observed Ianto. “I could make a pizza call?”

“Good idea,” said Jack.

Ianto pulled out his mobile and walked a few paces away to make the call.   

“Don't want a hungry Mickey around,” Jack said as Ianto placed their order, “especially since he's busy riffling through all our computer files.” He looked thoughtful. “Maybe I should go and check up on him, make sure he's not getting into anything he shouldn't.”

“If you didn't want him getting into anything, you shouldn't have given him access in the first place,” Martha pointed out.

Mickey's face had shown more than a little enthusiasm when he’d found out he’d have the whole of Torchwood’s database at his fingertips. He was supposed to be helping Gwen do maintenance and upgrades on the computer system, the stuff Tosh used to do, but there was a good chance he was spending more time digging into all of Torchwood’s secrets. Three years living in a parallel world had not dampened his enthusiasm for such things.

“Well, you never know,” said Jack, “his familiarity with our systems might come in useful one day.”

Martha gave him a look. This wasn't the first hint the former time agent had unsubtly dropped since she and Mickey had arrived. “Don’t think I don't know what you're up to,” she said levelling a finger at Jack and prodding him in the chest.

Jack put on a look of mock hurt. “Martha Jones. What on Earth makes you think I'm up to something?”

She raised her eyebrows. “So you really did invite us down here just because you’re a little behind on the housework?”

“Would you believe I missed seeing your beautiful faces?” he said with a much too innocent grin.

“Right. And you haven't been flashing all your fancy computer systems and alien gizmos in our faces the whole time in hopes of recruiting us as the latest members of Torchwood.”

“Never,” Jack declared, and then leaned forward and said in a pseudo whisper, “Is it working?”
     
 Martha just smiled, her twinkling eyes giving nothing away.

“Pizza's on its way,” Ianto said as he rejoined them. “Should be here in about thirty minutes.”

“Great,” Jack said clapping his hands together. “Plenty of time to go check on Mickey.”

“Hold it,” said Martha grabbing Jack's arm to stop him rushing off. “I'm sure Gwen can keep an eye on Mickey. Shouldn't we try to get a few more of these done first?”

Jack pouted. “You're always ruining my fun. Alright, drawer number eighty-eight it is.” He opened the next door and pulled out the cryo-chamber.

Together they leaned over to get a look at the latest body. It appeared human though they all knew looks could be deceiving in their line of work. It was a man of average build in his mid-forties. His face was pale with deep lines and a few days’ worth of stubble, his hair short, brown, and slightly curly. He wore a pair of grey trousers and a dark, double-breasted, leather coat similar to what a sailor would have worn a century ago.

“He's handsome,” said Jack.

“I'd agree with you, Jack,” said Martha, “if you hadn't said the same thing about the alien with the purple tentacles and the four noses.”

“Those weren't noses,” Jack replied with a wink.

Martha raised a hand. “I don't want to know.”

“So what've we got on this guy?” Jack asked turning to Ianto. “I don't remember him ever working for us.”

Ianto frowned at the pad in his hands. He poked at it several times, shook it, and then poked at it some more.  “John Smith, 1927.”

“John Smith?” said Jack giving a snort. “That's original. What else does it say?”

“Nothing,” Ianto said and shook his head. “The file's completely blank.”

Jack took the pad and gazed at the empty screen. “I guess someone forgot to do their paperwork.”

“Well, you should have something to put in it in a second,” Martha said as she passed the scanner over the body. It beeped loudly. She looked at the readout. “Alien. A live one too.”

“So he wouldn't have been a member of Torchwood then,” Jack said dryly.

“Hang on,” Martha said. She scrolled through the physiological data the scanner was giving her searching for some clue as to what type of alien it was. When she got to the cardiovascular system, she stopped and stood there frozen staring at the screen, the horror-movie room suddenly seeming to grow even colder.

“What is it?” asked Jack.

“It’s nothing,” she said trying to shake the uneasiness that had suddenly gripped her, telling herself she was jumping to conclusions.

Jack put a hand on her shoulder gazing down at her in concern. “Martha?”

“It’s just…” Martha swallowed, and then gazed up at him her eyes wide. “It says he has two hearts.”

Jack snatched the device out of her hand.

“But that doesn't mean anything, does it?” Martha said quickly. “I mean my knowledge of alien anatomy is still on the rough side but there must be plenty of races out there who have two hearts.”

“It's not that common but there are a few,” replied Jack as he went over the results of the scan. “Cardozans, Mixles, Apalapucians...”

Ianto looked from Jack to Martha to Jack again. “I don't understand. Why does it matter that he has two hearts?”

Jack's face was grim. “Because another race that has two hearts is Gallifreyans also known as Time Lords.”

Ianto raised his eyebrows. “Like the Doctor?”

“Yes,” replied Martha. “Except the Doctor is supposed to be the only Time Lord left.”

“So does that mean...?” Ianto began but was interrupted by Jack.

“My god.”

The others' gazes fixed on him.

The look on Jack's face was one of shock and disbelief. He closed his eyes for a moment and drew a hand slowly across his face before staring at the man in the cryo-chamber once more.

“Jack?” said Martha.

The Captain took in a deep breath. “It's definitely a Time Lord. You don't get that crazy set of DNA sequences anywhere else.”

Silence fell as the revelation sunk it.

“But that’s good, isn't it?” said Martha, her exclamation breaking the silence. “It means the Doctor's not alone anymore.”

“It could mean that,” Jack said with much less enthusiasm. “It's possible some random Time Lord got stuck in Torchwood's cold storage and missed out on the whole Time War. But there is one other possibility.”

“What's that?” asked Ianto.

Jack placed his hand on top of the cryo-chamber. “This could be the Doctor, some past or future version we haven't met.”

Martha's face fell as the realization hit her. “John Smith.”

"Exactly,” Jack said with a nod.

“You've lost me again,” Ianto said in confusion.

“Whenever the Doctor was pressed for a name,” Martha explained, “he'd always go by John Smith.”

“Like I said it's hardly original,” said Jack.

"But how can it be the Doctor?” Martha demanded, “I thought the whole purpose of Torchwood was to get a hold of him. If they found him back in 1927, I doubt they'd just stuff him anonymously into cold storage.”

“Not unless they didn't know who he was,” Ianto pointed out.

“Is there any way to tell with the scanner if it's him?” Martha said grabbing the Bekaran scanner  and checking the readings again. “If there's some way we could know for sure...”

“It's not like I have a copy of his DNA on file,” Jack snapped back testily.

Martha glared at him. They stared at each other a moment, and then at the same time broke the gaze to stare down at the body in the cryo-chamber.

Martha studied the man searching for some indication that he was the man she knew. She knew the Doctor could look completely different from one regeneration to the next, there were photos of some of his old faces in UNIT’s files, but she’d always thought she’d be able to recognize him somehow even if he was wearing a different body. This man just seemed like a stranger to her.

Jack suddenly turned away and kicked the wall letting out a wordless cry.

“Jack?” Ianto said, concerned.

The Captain turned back to them, a look of anguish on his face. “I should have done this ages ago,” he said. “I knew I should have, but I kept putting it off. There were always other things that seemed more important.” He sighed and ran a hand through his short hair. “Doctor or not. I've let this Time Lord languish in cold storage for almost a century for no reason. Hell, I was working for Torchwood in 1927 and I didn't know anything about this.”

“But you weren't in charge back then,” Ianto said consolingly. “They could have easily hidden him from you.”

“Ianto’s right,” said Martha. “It’s not your fault. And look on the bright side. Maybe you've helped preserve another member of the Doctor’s race. Think how happy he'll be when you tell him.”

Jack gave a humourless chuckle. “As long as it doesn’t turn out like last time.”

Martha winced. The last thing they needed was a repeat of the devastation Harold Saxon had caused. “They can't all be raving psychopaths,” she said.

Wrapping his arms around himself, Jack stared back down at the unknown Time Lord.

“We should call him,” Martha said thinking of the mobile she'd left behind with the Doctor.

“I'm not sure that's such a good idea,” said Jack.

“But he might know who this Time Lord is,” Martha insisted. “And if we call and he answers, that means...”

“That would prove nothing. If you reach him and this is the Doctor from another part of his time line, then we could really screw things up, and he wouldn't want that.” Jack bit his lip pausing a moment in thought. “Okay,” he said switching into leadership mode. “Here's what we're going to do. Martha, you have access to the Doctor's file at UNIT, right?”

She nodded.

“Go through it,” Jack ordered. “See if you can match this guy's appearance to any of the Doctors they have on file. Any mention of the Doctor in 1927 would also help.”

“Okay.”

“Ianto,” Jack said turning to the Welshman next. “Go through our files. Get Mickey to help you with the computer ones. He can check to see if anything's been erased. Check the old hardcopy files too if you can find them. Look at everything that happened in 1927 and see if you can connect it to our John Smith here. Gwen can help too.”

“Yes, sir.”

“We’ll meet in an hour to compare notes. I want everything we can find on this man before we wake him up.”

Orders given, Jack began pushing the cryo-chamber back into its drawer, but before it disappeared, Martha took one last look at the frozen Time Lord. He laid there as he must have done for the past eighty-two years, silent and still, completely unaware of all the tumult his presence was causing.

 

Chapter 2

(no subject)

Date: 2013-11-13 05:25 pm (UTC)
argentum_ls: (Default)
From: [personal profile] argentum_ls
This is an excellent, excellent start! You've really done a great job setting the scene, establishing the characters, and introducing a problem, without bogging down on unnecessary introspection or backstory. I'm not a follower of the audio adventures, so I'm coming in with a knowledge gap, yet that's presenting any problem keeping up with the story at all. I hope you keep working on this story. Editing NaNo products can be daunting, yet this one will definitely be worth the effort.
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