17 : The Sound of Drums (Part 2)
Violet taps away on the computer in front of her as Jack sits beside her, alert as he can possibly be with what is going on. The Doctor is somewhere behind them, doing whatever it is that the strange alien does. Well, that’s Violet’s take anyway. She looks up from her screen as Martha returns with a bag of takeaway food.
“How was it?” Jack asks, swivelling around and facing the dark-skinned woman.
“I don’t think anyone saw me,” Martha says, placing the bag on a table. “Anything new?”
“We’ve got this tuned to government wavelengths so we can follow what Saxon’s doing,” Violet explains with a small yawn, thanking Jack as he hands her another cup of steaming British coffee. She screws her face up at the taste before continuing to drink it.
“Yeah, I meant about my family.”
“It still says the Jones family taken in for questioning,” the Doctor replies. “Tell you what, though. No mention of Leo.”
“He’s not as daft as he looks. I’m talking about my brother on the run. How did this happen?”
“Nice chips,” Jack says with a mouthful of the potato goodies.
“Actually, they’re not bad,” the Doctor compliments.
“So, Doctor, who is he? How come the ancient society of Time Lords created a psychopath?”
“And what is he to you? Like a colleague or…?” Martha trails off.
“A friend, at first,” the Time Lord says with a faraway look in his old eyes.
“I thought you were going to say he was your secret brother or something.”
“You’ve been watching too much TV.”
“But all the legends of Gallifrey made it sound so perfect,” Jack says with disbelief, Violet nodding in agreement as she shuffles closer to the man in an attempt to warm up.
“Well, perfect to look at, maybe,” the Doctor says with a smile. “And it was. It was beautiful. They used to call it the Shining World of the Seven Systems, and on the Continent of Wild Endeavour, in the Mountains of Solace and Solitude, there stood the Citadel of the Time Lords, the oldest and most mighty race in the universe, looking down on the galaxies below. Sworn never to interfere, only to watch. Children of Gallifrey, taken from their families age of eight to enter the Academy, and some say that’s when it all began - when he was a child. That’s when the Master saw eternity. As a novice, he was taken for initiation. He stood in front of the Untempered Schism. It’s a gap in the fabric of reality through which could be seen the whole of the vortex. You stand there, eight years old, staring at the raw power of time and space, just a child. Some would be inspired, some would run away, and some would go mad. Brr. I don’t know.”
“What about you?” Martha asks.
“Oh, the ones that ran away,” the man says with a laugh. “I never stopped.”
Jack’s Vortex Manipulator beeps. “Encrypted channel with files attached. Don’t recognise it.”
“Patch it through to the laptop.”
“Since we’re telling stories, there’s something I haven’t told you.”
“Or me,” Violet says with a small smile. “I hid most of it from you when you went into my head.”
The Torchwood logo appears on the laptop with the miraculous battery life.
“You work for Torchwood,” the Time Lord says, and it’s almost a jab.
“I swear to you, it’s different. It’s changed,” Jack says. “There’s only half a dozen of us now.”
“Everything Torchwood did, and you’re part of it?”
“The old regime was destroyed at Canary Wharf. I rebuilt it, I changed it, and when I did that, I did it for you in your honour.”
The Doctor hits play without saying anything in return to the immortal man, or even looking at the anxious and fearful half Time Lord sitting beside the 51st Century man.
A woman appears on the screen, and Violet recognises her as Vivien Rook, a reporter for ‘Sunday Mirror’. “If I haven’t returned to my desk by twenty two hundred, this file will be emailed to Torchwood. Which means if you’re watching this, then I’m… Anyway, the Saxon files are attached, but take a look at the Archangel document. That’s when it all started - when Harry Saxon became Minister in charge of launching the Archangel Network.”
“What’s the Archangel Network?” the Doctor asks.
“I’ve got Archangel,” Martha informs. “Everyone’s got it.”
“It’s a mobile phone network,” Jack explains. “Because look, it’s gone worldwide. They’ve got fifteen satellites in orbit. Even the other networks, they’re all carried by Archangel.”
“It’s in the phones!” the Doctor exclaims. “Oh, I said he was a hypnotist. Wait, wait, wait. Hold on.”
The Doctor taps Martha’s phone against the table, and it starts beeping the same drum beat that fills the Master’s head. Violet shudders as the cries in her mind grow louder at the drum beats despite the medication still flooding her system.
“There it is. That rhythm, it’s everywhere, ticking away in the subconscious.”
“What is it, mind control?” Martha asks, suddenly fearful.
“No, no, no, no, no. It’s subtler than that. Any stronger and people would question it. But contained in that rhythm, in layers of code: “vote Saxon,” “believe in me.” Whispering to the world. Oh, yes! That’s how he hid himself from me, because I should have sensed there was another Time Lord on Earth. I should have known way back. The signal cancelled him out.”
“Any way you can stop it?” Jack asks.
Violet shakes her head. “Not from down here, but now we know how he’s doing it. No, even I didn’t know how he was doing it, so stop giving me that look, old man.”
“And we can fight back,” Martha declares with enthusiasm.
“Oh, yes!” The Doctor takes parts of the phone and the laptop, and welds them sonically to their TARDIS keys. “Four TARDIS keys. Four pieces of the TARDIS, all with low level perception properties because the TARDIS is designed to blend in. Well, sort of. But now, the Archangel Network’s got a second low level signal. Weld the key to the network and Martha, look at me. You can see me, yes?”
“Yes,” Martha says.
“What about now?” He puts the string with his key on it around his neck, and Martha finds it difficult to look straight at him. “No, I’m here. Look at me.”
“It’s like I know you’re there, but I don’t want to know.”
“And back again. See? It just shifts your perception a tiny little bit. Doesn’t make us invisible, just unnoticed. Oh, I know what it’s like. It’s like, it’s like when you fancy someone and they don’t even know you exist. That’s what it’s like. Come on.”
The man rushes out, leaving Martha and the other time travellers behind. She has a wounded, painful expression on her face, and it’s one that both Violet and Jack know all too well - Jack with Ianto, and what used to be Violet with Jack but is now Violet with the Doctor sometimes.
“You too, huh?” the alien asks, a tight-lipped smile on his face.
Martha gives him a brief smile before following the older male out, Jack glancing over to Violet and giving her a warm smile as he stands and takes his hand in hers. She allows him to pull her up from her comfortable seat and lead her from the room, but she still jumps when he drops his large trench coat over her, encasing her in warmth as the four Time Travellers walk down the street.
“Don’t run, don’t shout. Just keep your voice down,” the Doctor coaches, making Violet roll her eyes. “Draw attention to yourself and the spell is broken. Just keep to the shadows.”
“Like ghosts,” Jack supplies.
“Yeah, that’s what we are. Ghosts.”
With the keys around their necks, they have to step aside to prevent people from walking into them, and it takes longer than what they desire to reach the airport where the Master is. They stand off to the side and watch what is going on, Violet almost hopping from one foot to another, unable to stay still for an extended period of time. However, she’s not the problem child when Martha’s parents are pulled from a car.
The Master grins. “Ha ha ha! Hi, guys!”
“You can’t just do this,” Clive, Martha’s father, exclaims.
“All will be revealed.”
“Oh my God,” Martha says, starting to move forward.
The Doctor takes her hand and holds her in place. “Don’t move.”
Clive and Francine are pushed into a Range Rover Vogue, and Martha glares at the scene. “I’m going to kill him.”
“What say I use this perception filter to walk up behind him and break his neck?” Jack muses.
“I’m with you there,” Violet agrees, flashes of her war-filled past appearing in her mind. “Stop him before the fucker goes too far - again.”
“Now that sounds like Torchwood,” the Doctor says, glancing down at Violet.
“Still a good plan,” Jack says matter-of-factly.
Violet nods, eyes stormy and more grey than blue.
“He’s a Time Lord, which makes him my responsibility,” the Doctor declares. “I’m not here to kill him. I’m here to save him.”
“I may not be a full Time Lord, but I’m still half one. He’s not just yours, Doctor.”
“Aircraft carrier Valiant,” Jack informs. “It’s a UNIT ship at 58.02 North, 10.02 East.”
“How do we get on board?” Martha asks
“Does that thing work as a teleport?” the Doctor asks, referring to the Vortex Manipulator.
“Since Violet revamped it, yeah,” Jack replies, inputting the coordinates. “Coordinates set.”
Violet takes hold of Jack’s hand as the Doctor and Martha do the same with the Vortex Manipulator. Seconds later the four of them are hurtling through space until they come to land inside the Valiant, thousands upon thousands of kilometres up in the air. The Valiant is effectively a Cloudbase, with three landing strips and a helipad, and, while it’s larger than most give it credit for, it’s not as big as or as cool as the helicarrier from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Violet’s opinion.
“Oh, that thing is rough,” Martha complains, backing away from Jack.
“I’ve has worse nights,” Jack says, winking down at Violet and making her laugh. “Welcome to the Valiant.”
“It’s dawn? Hold on, I thought this was a ship. Where’s the sea?”
“A ship for the 21st Century,” Violet says in a bored, stewardess voice, making Jack grin. “Protecting the skies of planet Earth.”