After dinner, Isabelle and the Doctor retreated to the
study. She had informed the Doctor of the missing letters and her mission to
rewrite the letter that was stained with wine. He chalked the missing letters
as military espionage but understood her desire to rewrite the letter for the
General. He was using his sonic screwdriver around the room as she was sitting
at the writing table copying the letter.
"I've been trying to figure out why we came at this particular time of the war. I thought maybe there was some alien activity, but I haven't discovered anything through chin wagging. But now, I think I know one reason why we're here. It's you!" the Doctor surmised.
"Me? What do I have to do with the war? I'm only here for the party," she said with a smile as the quill scratched across the parchment.
"Look what you're doing," he pointed out.
"I'm rewriting this letter so Mary doesn't get into trouble."
"Henry was upset about that letter. He must not have another copy," the Doctor continued.
"Why would there be another copy? There are no copying machines."
"True. No. It means that Henry hasn't started copying the letters. He was known to keep meticulous records of all his battles and letters, writing them in duplicate, sometimes triplicate. He must have picked it up from you. Which means, any minute now, he should discover what you're doing."
"I'm almost finished," she informed him as she dipped the quill into the ink bottle. A few scratches later and she placed the quill in its holder. "There! All done!"
"What are you doing in the study, again?" the General asked. Isabelle immediately stood up. The Doctor quickly pocketed his sonic screwdriver.
"If you will pardon me, General, his Lordship only followed me here. I only wished to replicate General Howe's letter to keep Mary in your good graces," Isabelle explained. She held out the letter to him.
"You've done what?" he asked walking across the room as he reached for the letter.
"I have rewritten the letter for you, sir. Good as new," she expressed as he read through it.
"This is remarkable. Not a word is missed," he said looking up from the letter.
"The original is not fairing well. The words are fading fast. By the time it dries it will be unreadable. Please, let no harm come to Mary. It was me who accidently jostled her arm making her spill the wine," Isabelle lied.
"I would never harm a hair on Mary's head. She has been a blessing to this household," the General commented. Isabelle could see Mary standing in the doorway with a smile on her face.
"Yes, sir. She keeps a respectable home," Isabelle commended.
"She does, indeed," he said with a slight smile. "Tell me, how did you know that this was important enough to replicate it?"
"You said it so yourself. These letters contain vital information. I did not want it to be lost for fear you may need it in your endeavors," she justified. The General stared at her, thinking. She smiled slightly and continued. "I have a letter from my birth mother who abandoned me. In the years I have possessed it, it has become frail. I have rewritten it twice already so that I may still read the words she wrote to me. They are the only words of hers I'll ever know." Isabelle glanced at the Doctor. With a furrowed brow, the Doctor's eyes become transfixed on her. She lowered her head feeling his gaze bore into her.
"This has given me an idea. Your understanding of the importance of record keeping I find highly favorable. I have other letters and documents I wish to have replicated for fear that my only copies will accidently go up in flames, missing, or worse, find themselves in the wrong hands. Tomorrow, meet me here. I wish to have more documents duplicated. I will pay you handsomely for your trouble. I would do it myself, but there are so many. After the bulk has been duplicated, I think I can manage on my own. If that is adequate, your Lordship?"
"Yes, fine. She will be happy to assist with efforts of the war," the Doctor replied with a smirk.
"In the mean time, let's enjoy ourselves with dancing and conversation," the General said extending his hand towards the door. They all retreated downstairs.
Isabelle did not partake of the dancing until the Doctor insisted during a waltz. Up until then, he had danced with a number of ladies and was the life of the party. Isabelle rolled her eyes at his tomfoolery. When the music changed, his eyes immediately fell on her. He made his way over to her and held out his hand. She lightly shook her head.
"Come on, you know you can do this. Just remember, keep your eyes on me and forget about your feet," he insisted. Isabelle took a deep breath and placed her hand in his.
Once they found an opening on the dance floor, Isabelle locked her gaze onto the Doctor. He gracefully moved them around the floor to the three quarter time.
"Is that really your hair? Or is a wig like mine?" the Doctor asked as they wound their way around the room.
"It's mine. It's too long and thick to put up into a wig," she replied.
"I like how that lock of hair trails around your neck," he mentioned softly. "And you look wonderful in that dress," he said looking down at the sack back dress.
"I try to be as authentic as I can. There are so many interesting garments in history. I love dressing the part," she said with a smile.
"You do it very well," he said as he moved her around the dance floor. "You dance very well now too."
"I had a good teacher."
The Doctor chuckled.
"Is that a blush I see, Doctor?" His smile vanished in an instant.
"What? No," he said averting his eyes from her as a tinge of pink dotted his cheeks. Isabelle smiled again. He casually glanced at her. "Maybe."
The General came over presently and asked to have a dance with Isabelle. The Doctor gladly gave him her hand to break the awkward tension between them. This gave the Doctor time to further investigate his findings.
The sonic screwdriver had detected residual alien material in the study and practically all over the house. Now, he just had to pinpoint which guest was the originator of the material. Secretly, he went around the room scanning everyone but it turned up nothing. The Doctor's eyes snapped wide open and he dashed from the room towards the kitchens. Throwing caution out the window, he pulled his sonic screwdriver fully out of his pocket and started scanning everyone in the kitchen.
Some of the women gasped as this strange man held out an odd humming object near them. Hearing the buzzing sound, Thomas Baddeley glared at the Doctor. He had just come in from outside with an arm full of firewood when the Doctor came near him. The sonic pitch louder. The Doctor looked into Thomas's eyes. Thomas stared back. The Doctor took his eyes away for a second to look at the sonic screwdriver. Thomas dropped the firewood on the Doctor's foot. He then ran from the kitchen back outside.
"Argh! Stop right there!" the Doctor yelled, then half sprinted half limped after him.
When Isabelle heard the shouts coming from the kitchen area, she merely uttered under her breath, "Oh, no." The General had already stopped his dancing but insisted that everyone else continue as he saw to the matter of the disturbance. Isabelle went with him.
"What is all this nonsense, Mrs. Baddeley?" the General asked in a raised but not harsh tone.
"I don't know, General," she said generally perplexed. "The gentlemen that came with Lady Isabelle just ran after my husband."
The General looked at Isabelle, but she only shook her head as if she did not understand the Doctor's motives. The General hurried after them. Isabelle followed again.
Outside, in the snow, they saw the two struggling on the ground. The Doctor lay in the snow with Thomas straddling him. It looked like the Doctor was trying to rip Thomas's face off and Thomas was punching the Doctor in the ribs.
"Thomas!" Mary shrieked from behind Isabelle.
"Argh!" the Doctor yelled as he rolled Thomas onto his back.
"Oomph," Thomas expelled as his back hit the cold hard ground.
"Stop!" the General shouted as he approached. "Desist this instant, gentlemen!"
"He's not a gentlemen! Oomph! Ugh! He's an alien!" the Doctor shouted over Thomas's growls and punches. The Doctor took a swing and punched Thomas in the jaw.
"Oh, my," Isabelle said quietly.
"Pardon?" the General stated. "From another country? I daresay most of us are alien."
"NO!" the Doctor cried out. "From another planet! Errrrgh!" the Doctor managed to say as he pinned Thomas's arms down on the ground. "Isabelle, a little help, please!"
"Yes, Doctor," she said skirting her way over to him.
"There are a pressure points right behind his ears that will turn off the shimmer," he instructed.
Isabelle knelt in the snow near the top of Thomas's head and felt behind his ears. Her fingers searched for the switches as Thomas struggled against the Doctor's grasp. A few seconds later, the Doctor was no longer straddling Thomas Baddeley but straddling a one eyed mustard colored creature wearing a sort of metal headband that had created the shimmer.
"Dear Lord, what is that thing?" the General exclaimed as he put his hand over his mouth and took a step backwards.
"That thing is Regiwanknagos from the planet RV49LI," the Doctor said.
"What are we going to do with it, Doctor?" Isabelle asked staring him in the eye.
"Find out what it wants," the Doctor said breathing heavily yet returning her gaze angrily. He looked down at the monster. "What do you want?"
"The destruction of the great empire," the alien muttered.
"But why?" General Clinton asked. It did not answer.
"Why?" the Doctor demanded towards the Regiwanknagos, still pinning it to the ground.
"The prophecy," it answered.
"What prophecy?" the Doctor asked.
"The great planets in the Kitpivos Star System will succumb to extinction if the great empire on Earth of the Solar Star System is not destroyed," the alien recited.
"But that's impossible. Earth doesn't have the means to destroy planets yet," the Doctor said.
"It is a prophecy. It is yet to come. But it must be stopped now," the Regiwanknagos explained.
"There are other worlds, other creatures? I thought we were the only ones," the General stated. The Doctor looked up at General Clinton.
"Yeah, your narrow minded pudding brain would think that. Wait about two hundred years, you'll come round," the Doctor said. Then he looked back down at the Regiwanknagos. "What are you doing to stop them?"
"Letting the new empire win," the alien explained plainly.
"I don't understand?" the Doctor said.
"I think I do. You've been destroying important letters to the General to throw off his plans of attack on the colonists," Isabelle interjected.
"Yes," the alien answered.
"I found your thief, General," Isabelle said.
"Where is the human that you replicated?" the Doctor asked.
"Dead." Both the General and Mary gasped.
"He was a good man," the General stated.
"Are there any others of your kind here?" the Doctor asked coarsely.
"Yes, but not many. Such a primitive world, we didn't need to attack with multitudes," the Regiwanknagos said.
"Good, then I can kill you!" the Doctor shouted.
"No," General Clinton said. "I will. I want to send a clear message to the other creatures like this one, that our Earth will never stand down. Mary, fetch my pistol."
"Yes, sir." Mary hurried back into the house.
"General, you don't have to do this. The Doctor and I handle this sort of thing all the time," Isabelle pleaded.
"I knew you were different. I did not recognize your names. I figured you were invited by my wife. She knows the most eccentric people," he expressed. "No matter. You have done a good service to the King and country. You should be commended. Alas, I have no reward to give you."
"There is one thing you can do for us, General," Isabelle stated. The Doctor eyed her suspiciously. She looked at him with confidence and returned her gaze to the General. "Never write about this event. This never happened. The Doctor and I were never here."
"I trust there is some reasoning behind your words," he said glancing back and forth between Isabelle and the Doctor. "I will honour them and promise never to speak or record the events that procured here this evening other than a delightful soiree was had by all and a drunken fight," General Clinton vowed.
"Thank you," Isabelle spoke.
Mary returned with the pistol case. General Clinton loaded the weapon and held the pistol to the creatures head and uttered, "God save the King." Then he fired the weapon. The creature ceased its struggle against the Doctor who then stood up.
"Er, we might want to move," the Doctor suggested with urgency taking hold of Isabelle's hand.
"Why is that, Doctor?" General Clinton asked.
"Regiwanknagos are highly allergic to lead, even in death," he said. He glanced over at Isabelle with a knowing look. "Isabelle, you do the honors."
"General, Mary," she said looking at each. There was a great rumble from the body. "Run!"
They all ran back towards the house in just enough time before the Regiwanknagos exploded into a million pieces.
The Doctor and Isabelle retreated to the TARDIS after helping to stage the accidental murder of Mr. Baddeley after finding his body in a storage shed. General Clinton explained to his guests that a drunken fight ensued between a man and Mr. Baddeley when a gun accidently went off killing his helper. The man escaped before the General could pursue him.
The next day, true to her word, Isabelle assisted General Henry Clinton is duplicating his documents. Likewise, the General was true to his word and never made mention of the events that happened that Christmas Day.
After they returned to the TARDIS, the Doctor showed Isabelle a book that made mention of the lasting relationship Mary Baddeley had with the General even though he was married. It made her smile.
They set off again. The TARDIS landed. The Doctor looked serious as he walked towards the door. He was still dressed in his 18th century garb. Isabelle followed him as he opened the door. He stepped out and strode towards the house.
"Why are we here, again?" she asked taking a step out then stopping.
"I want you to show me the note your mother left you," he said as he continued walking.
"No," she stated.
The Doctor stopped and turned around. He stood in the noon sun. The sunlight made the golden thread in his suit sparkle. A fall breeze blew a few leaves down off the tree and around him in a small whirlwind.
"Why not?" he asked.
"Because it is my note and my note alone," she replied.
"And I don't want any secrets between us," he responded.
"Is that a promise?" she inquired. He stood for a moment thinking about her request.
"Yes," he answered her staunchly.
Isabelle regarded the Doctor briefly. Then she held up her skirts and moved towards the house. The Doctor followed her inside and up the stairs to her bedroom. From a drawer in her wardrobe, she took out a small wooden box. She sat on the bed and set the box down beside her. Looking up at the Doctor, who stood just inside the doorway, she patted the bed on the other side of the box. He shifted towards the bed and sat where she had indicated.
"Go on. Open it," she instructed.
The Doctor looked down at the box then lifted the lid on its hinge. A folded piece of paper laid inside. He removed it. Underneath the note was a round locket. He unfolded the paper and began to read.
I hope this note finds you well and happy. Your father and I
never meant for you to be unhappy. If you had remained with us
we feared you would be. We were going through difficult times when
we decided to give you away. If ever you wish to know who we are,
just open the locket. It will reveal everything.
The Doctor looked back into the box at the locket. He went to pick it up.
"Don't touch the locket," she said abruptly.
"Why not?" he asked quietly.
"I don't want to know who they are," she stated sternly. "Not yet at least. I'm not ready."
The Doctor nodded. He folded the note again and place it back into the box then closed the lid.
"She never mentions her name, nor your father's," he observed.
"No," Isabelle said, "I assume their names are inside the locket as well."
"Aren't you the least bit curious?" he questioned.
"Sometimes. Most times I forget it's there. I had parents, Doctor. Parents who loved me and wanted me in their lives. They're dead now. Those people didn't want me even in the most difficult of times. They didn't love me unconditionally as my parents had."
The Doctor placed his hand over hers that was set on her knee. Isabelle looked at him. Anger and sadness filled her eyes.
"They gave you a chance. One day, you should give them a chance," the Doctor said.
Isabelle let a small smile slip across her lips. She nodded. Picking up the box, she put it away, then turned around. The Doctor stood up.
"Back to the TARDIS?" he asked.
"Back to the TARDIS," she said.