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From the journal of Mrs Mina Harker
27th December 2000
'I'm not sure what it is that you expect me to do,' I confessed. 'I am only a schoolmistress.'
The Brigadier smiled at me. It was probably meant to be reassuring, but I noticed that the smile failed to reach her eyes.
'In my experience,' she began, 'nobody who travels with the Doctor is "only" anything. Besides which, you've had first hand experience with one of these creatures, something my people have singularly failed to do.'
'With respect, sir,' Captain Knight protested.
Kramer silenced him. 'At ease, Captain,' she said. 'I'm sure your people are doing everything they can. Still, the fact remains that we've been here over a week now with barely a sighting of these things whereas Mrs Harker encountered one almost as soon as she had arrived.'
'An encounter I would prefer not to repeat,' I commented.
'No worries,' the Brigadier said. 'I'd prefer it if you left that to the professionals anyway. No, what I want from you are your impressions of these things. Any details. I'm hoping that you can give us some clue as to how to take them down.'
'I was not in a position to notice much,' I responded. 'I was too busy running for my life. What are these creatures, anyway?'
'Based on what evidence we've been able to establish so far,' Kramer replied, 'we have reason to believe that they're Yeti.'
* * *
'Doctor, what is it? What's wrong?'
'I don't know,' the Doctor replied.
'What? You must know,' Grace insisted.
'No, honestly I don't,' the Doctor protested. 'I should know. All the information's there, but I just can't remember it. Think, Doctor, think!'
'Last time you were here,' Grace began, 'you said something to that Chinese kid what was his name?'
'Chang Lee,' the Doctor supplied.
'Yes, that was it,' Grace agreed. 'We were saying goodbye and you said '
'"Next Christmas, take a vacation. Just don't be here."' The Doctor clapped his hands with delight. 'Yes, I remember!'
'You know what's going on?' Grace asked.
'No, not the foggiest,' the Doctor confessed with a crooked smile, 'but I do remember saying that.'
'But if you remember saying it, you must remember why you said it,' Grace insisted.
'It doesn't work like that, I'm afraid,' the Doctor replied, gesturing vaguely in front of him with his hands. 'It's well, it's difficult to explain.'
'It's all to do with the relationship I have with time,' the Doctor began, words tripping over themselves in their haste to get out. 'There's a theory on your planet that, although we perceive time as linear, that's not how we actually live. Let me put it another way. We think of time as a river and each of us exists at one point on that river travelling in one direction. Think of the river as your lifespan, if you like. Now imagine that, instead of just existing at one point on that river, you could stand at all points simultaneously. Your existence ceases to be a linear concept.
'Now consider a Time Lord. Of all living creatures we probably come closest to actually being able to perceive time this way. When I look at you I see not only you as you are now, I see all the other yous stretching out into your past and your future. Only past and future are pretty redundant concepts if you're viewing the universe this way.'
'So you can see the future?' Grace asked.
'Ah, well, not quite,' the Doctor admitted. 'I said that Time Lords come closest to viewing the universe this way, but even we aren't really that close. I'm not sure an organic brain could cope with that much information all at once. No, the best we can hope for is feelings, impressions, maybe a fleeting glimpse, and even that is open to interpretation. In that instant when I looked at Chang Lee I got an impression of his personal timestream and decided to act upon it.'
'But if you were looking at his future,' Grace began, 'then you knew there would be danger because he would be in danger. But if you convinced him not to be here, then you would have changed that future so how would you be able to see it in the first place? If you see what I mean.'
The Doctor looked a bit embarrassed. 'Tell me something, Grace,' he asked. 'If you drop a glass, do you try and catch it even though you know that you have got no chance of reaching it before it strikes the floor? You have to try. After all, one day you might get lucky. Anyway, none of this is getting us any closer to working out what's going on. You said a body had disappeared?'
'Yes, a Jane Doe,' Grace confirmed. 'Took a bullet through the heart. She was booked for an autopsy this morning.'
'Presumably you've got some preliminary test results. X-rays, photos, the bullet, that sort of thing,' the Doctor commented. 'Would you mind if I took a look?'
* * *
'Yeti? But surely they are just a myth.'
'I assure you, Mrs Harker, that they are very real. UNIT has an extensive file on the creatures,' Kramer explained. 'Jameson, if you will?'
A teenage boy with large spectacles started tapping on a keyboard and the image on the screen changed. It showed a Yeti on a mountainside.
'As far as we know,' Kramer continued, 'the Yeti first appeared Tibet in 1935. As a result of that encounter, one Professor Travers -' The image shifted to show a man with a bushy white beard and thick eyebrows. '- brought a deactivated Yeti to London.'
'Deactivated?' Mina asked.
'Yes, shut down,' Jameson confirmed. 'Switched off. The Yeti are really robots, you see?'
'I'm sorry,' Mina said, 'but I don't understand. Robots?'
'Where precisely are you from, Mrs Harker?' Kramer asked. 'Or perhaps I should be asking when are you from?'
'I met the Doctor in Whitby in the Year of our Lord 1900,' Mina replied.
'Oh just great,' Captain Knight commented. 'The girl that's supposed to give us our big break is a hundred years out of date. Can we get on with some real work now, sir?'
'That's enough, Captain,' Kramer snapped. 'Regardless of her background, anyone who travels with the Doctor has got more experience that the rest of you lot put together and we should be grateful with her help. We shall all just have to be a bit more patient when explaining the more technical aspects of our operations. Understood?'
Jameson did not need any further prompting.
'Robots are like mechanical men,' he explained enthusiastically, 'but most of them aren't that bright. They tend to follow orders given by someone else. The Yeti are interesting because they were designed not to look like robots.'
'Yeah, like Yeti are going to be any less conspicuous wandering round the London Underground,' Captain Knight drawled.
Jameson ignored him. 'Since they were originally designed for use in Tibet they were designed to look like Tibetan Yeti. Not that such things really exist, but you get the idea.'
'I think so,' Mina said. She was warming to the enthusiastic young man. He had been sitting quietly up until now, but given the chance to show off his area of expertise he had grasped it with both hands and was not about to let go.
'What makes the Yeti doubly interesting is that they are multi-part robots,' Jameson continued. 'You've got what is basically a metal skeleton covered with fur, but in the chest you'll also find a control sphere. That's the brains of the robot, if you like, the part that links him to the central intelligence. Take a sphere out of a Yeti and it's harmless. The sphere, on the other hand, is just as deadly. It can move on its on, you see, and if it touches you well, trust me on this, you don't want to know.'
* * *
The sphere leaped for Celaine and her hand searched for something to defend herself with. She grasped the handle of Andrew's cricket bat and swung upwards with all her might. She heard the crack as the sphere struck the wood, felt the shock transmitted up her arms and saw the sphere hurtle back towards the kitchen.
Celaine turned back to the door and slid the bolt loose. Then, grabbing her jacket, she hurled herself from her apartment and into her car. For a brief instant she panicked, thinking that she had left the keys inside, but then her hands chanced upon them in a pocket and she started the engine and pulled away from the building.
She let the road take her as far from home as possible. What was she going to do? She could go and stay with her parents. She could even go crawling back to Andrew if it came to it, but that would not solve the problem. Someone had sent that thing after her and she had a feeling that it would eventually find her wherever she went.
She could try the police, but how would they react. Yes officer, I want to report the fact that I was attacked by a silver sphere that someone sent to kill me because I'm a witch. What was the point? Then it dawned on her. She had decided that the sphere wanted her dead. She did not know how she knew, but she knew.
Running would not solve this and there was no one she could turn to for help. Her only alternative was to settle this alone. Her only lead was the sphere, a silver sphere like the one she had seen in Chapel's office. She remembered what Chapel had said.
'I have taken steps to remove the sensitives.'
Suddenly that had taken on a whole new meaning.
Reluctantly, Celaine turned the car and headed back towards the city. Chapel had some explaining to do.
* * *
'I know this face.'
The Doctor had the patient's file open in front of him, but had eschewed all the medical information in favour of one photograph of the corpse.
'I'm telling you, I know this woman.'
'I believe you,' Grace replied. 'So who is she?'
'Well, that's the question, isn't it?' the Doctor said. Whoever she is, I haven't met her for a couple of lifetimes, at least.'
'And you can't put a name to the face.'
'Can you remember everyone you've ever met?' the Doctor protested. 'There have been a lot of women in my lives.'
Grace harrumphed. 'Well, if the photo's not going to help, maybe there's something else we can use.'
The Doctor plucked up a small clear plastic bag.
'Are these the bullet fragments?' he asked before tearing the packet open and spreading the fragments over the photograph. 'Hmm, interesting. Grace, do you know what this is?'
'A bullet?' Grace commented wryly.
The Doctor grinned wildly, showing off his teeth. 'Very good. Actually, I meant what type of bullet? May I borrow that microscope?'
Grace helped him manhandle the heavy apparatus over to his side of the desk and the Doctor brushed some of the bullet fragments on to a slide.
'Yes, just as I thought, ' he muttered. 'Now, I'm no expert, but I would say that that's a Glazer.'
'A what?' Grace asked.
'Glazer,' the Doctor repeated. 'Special type of bullet. Designed to fragment on impact. Tears the victim apart from the inside. Nasty, but then I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at your species ability to develop new ways to kill and maim.'
'Hey, we're not all like that,' Grace said defensively.
The Doctor tapped her on the nose. 'I know,' he said. 'Now, the interesting thing about this bullet is it's not commercially available. Or should that be not readily commercially available?'
'Whatever,' Grace supplied.
'Hmm, yes, well, the point is that the Glazer is a favourite of the secret services, MI5, CIA, KGB, that sort of thing.'
'And is this getting us anywhere?' Grace inquired.
'Maybe,' the Doctor replied thoughtfully. 'Just maybe. May I use your phone? Thank you. It's just a thought, but I've got a couple of contacts who might be of use to us. Assuming they're still around of course. Yes, hello, could you put me in touch with UNIT? Which unit? No, the UNIT. The United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. Quickly man, it's an emergency Passwords? Oh very well. Codes NN and QQ. No, not M, N If you must, but can she call me back as soon as possible. Yes, the number is Grace, what's the number?'
She told him and he quoted it to the man on the other end of the line before hanging up.
'I don't know why I bother to help you people sometimes,' the Doctor muttered in the direction of the telephone. Then his eyes lit up. 'I've got it,' he whispered, then with more force, 'I've got it, I've got it, I've got it!'
'Got what, Doctor?' Grace asked.
'That face,' he replied. 'It's Anne Travers.'
* * *
'Travers and his daughter Anne assisted the British Army when the Yeti invaded London.'
Kramer had taken back control of the briefing.
'London was evacuated and the Yeti took over the underground until they were driven off with a little help from your friend the Doctor. It was that little escapade that led to the formation of UNIT.'
'And what is UNIT?' Mina asked.
'UNIT is an international organisation created to protect the world from primarily alien invasion, but the remit was expanded to include any paranormal activity. We've been called in here to deal with another suspected Yeti incursion.'
'But if these Yeti are so dangerous, why haven't you evacuated this city as they did with London?' Mina wanted to know.
'Because even after being here a week, it's still only a suspected incursion,' Kramer responded. 'We can't provide one shred of evidence to show that the Yeti are here and the powers that be refuse to order an evacuation without proof.'
'But surely people must have seen them?' Mina insisted.
'No one who would be believed,' Kramer answered.
'What about me?' Mina said. 'I'm a witness.'
'You also claim to be from the nineteenth century,' Captain Knight mocked.
'You see my dilemma,' Kramer commented. 'We all know that they're out there, but without proof there's very little we can do about it. And while we sit on our hands, who knows what the Great Intelligence is planning?'
* * *
Celaine had to park her car some distance from the Transamerica building and walk the rest of the way. She zipped her jacket up to the top because of the cold and stuffed her hands deep into the pockets. The fog was so thick that she could hardly see where he was going, but the walk was so familiar that she could have done it blindfold.
She finally reached the glass doors at the base of the pyramid, nodded to the two security-men on duty and headed for the elevator, punching the button for the thirty-sixth floor. What was she going to do, she wondered. What was she hoping to find out?
She emerged from the elevator and stalked across the floor towards Chapel's office.
'Hi, Celaine,' James called from across the office. Celaine did not hear him.
She stopped at the Chapel's door. It was closed. Taking a deep breath, she knocked three times.
Nobody answered so she knocked again.
Celaine found her hand on the door handle. Well, she had come this far, hadn't she? She pushed the door open.
'Hey, you can't come barging in here.' Suzi Edwards, Chapel's PA crossed the room to usher Celaine back out of the door. 'Ms Chapel will be unavailable for the rest of the afternoon,' Suzi was saying. 'Perhaps we could arrange an appointment for tomorrow.'
Celaine brushed past Suzi. 'I need to speak to Ms Chapel now,' she said.
Twenty-four hours ago she would not have even dreamed of demanding to see the Dragonlady. She would not have dared to jeopardise her career. Now she felt that she had nothing left to lose.
'Well, I'm not sure ' Suzi began.
'Why don't you go get yourself a coffee, Suzi,' Chapel said. 'Get me one while you're at it, but use the shop across the street. I can't stand the stuff in that machine.'
'But what about..?' Suzi asked.
'Oh, don't worry about Miss Eliot,' Chapel said. 'I'm sure she would prefer to say whatever she has to say to me in private.'
* * *
'Okay, now you've lost me,' Grace was saying. 'What's the Great Intelligence.'
The Doctor - who kept glancing across at the phone, waiting for his call - had been telling Grace who Anne Travers was and he had just mentioned how she had helped him to defeat the Great Intelligence in 1966.
'Ah, the Intelligence,' the Doctor mused. 'Otherwise known as Yog-Sothoth. I'm sorry, but we're about to start debating the nature of reality again. Now, our universe began with the Big Bang and will end, presumably, with the Big Crunch. But ours is not the only universe. There was a universe before this one and will be a universe after it as well. And before the first universe there was another universe and so on. Now, each universe has its own set of physical laws, but they each have similarities and in the universe before this one there was a race of beings not unlike the Time Lords. Now, these beings sensed the approaching death of their universe, but they refused to accept their end. Instead, they developed a way to preserve their essences so that they could survive the transition from one universe to the next.
'It was not an infallible scheme, by any means, and many of them died, but those few that survived the transition found that, no longer bound by the physical laws they were used to, they had near god-like abilities. Yog-Sothoth was the military strategist of these beings and when he awoke he decided to use his new powers to fight his military campaign in this new universe.'
'So he created the Yeti?' Grace prompted.
'Yes, that's right,' the Doctor said, 'but thanks to my meddling nothing came of it. So he tried again, this time in London.'
'Now hang on a moment, Doctor,' Grace interrupted. 'I can vaguely understand using Yeti in Tibet, but couldn't he have come up with something more suitable to invade Britain.'
'Of course he could,' the Doctor replied, 'and that has always been his downfall. You see, Yog-Sothoth doesn't take failure well and he's impatient to prove himself. So, rather than coming up with a new, more suitable scheme, he simply took advantage of what he already had to hand. If Yog-Sothoth actually stopped to apply himself then he would probably be unbeatable, but he won't. He wants it all now and, like the kid in the sweet shop, when he finds he can't have it he throws a tantrum.'
'And where is the Intelligence now, Doctor?' Grace asked.
'Oh, a long way from here,' the Doctor assured her. 'Poor Anne. The Intelligence killed her father and she became obsessed with destroying it. Unfortunately, her meddling only brought Yog-Sothoth back to Earth. In the end she sacrificed her life in order to banish it to the blue shift at the edge of the universe. It won't be coming back any time soon.'
'Doctor,' Grace began, 'I hate to bring this up, but if she's already dead, how did she turn up in my surgery last night.'
'Yes, that is curious,' the Doctor mused.
The telephone started to ring.
'That'll be for me,' the Doctor cried, bounding over the desk to answer it.
* * *
Captain Knight guided Mina, none too gently, into another room at the far side of UNIT's mobile headquarters. The briefing was over and Brigadier Kramer had instructed Knight to show Mina to some accommodations were she could wait until she was needed.
Mina had tried to protest, wanting to go and find the Doctor, but the Brigadier had insisted that she was needed here to help UNIT with their enquiries. So she had found herself forced in here by Captain Knight who then proceeded to close and lock the door behind her.
She began to hammer on the door for attention.
'I wouldn't bother,' a voice said. 'They'll just ignore you.'
Mina turned to see an Asian lad sitting on a bench on one side of the room. The room was done out in the same blue colour scheme as the rest and had two cushioned benches lining the walls. At the far side of the room was a window allowing daylight in. Mina suspected that it was also locked.
'Who are you?' she asked the boy.
'I'm Chang Lee,' he replied.
'Mina Harker,' Mina offered. 'What are you doing here?'
'Me? I'm an experiencer,' Lee said proudly. 'Ran into a Yeti a couple of nights back and lived to tell the tale. These guys picked me up soon after and they've kept me around ever since to "help with their enquiries". Still at least I've got a roof over my head.' He lay back on the bench and stared at the ceiling. 'What about you? What are you in for?'
'Much the same as you, I believe,' Mina responded. 'After the Doctor ran off '
Lee interrupted her. 'The Doctor. You do mean the Doctor, not just a doctor, right? Tall guy, long hair, strange taste in clothes?'
Mina thought for a moment. The height and hair were right, but the Doctor's clothes weren't that odd. Then she considered what Lee was wearing, what everyone she had seen had been wearing, and decided that maybe here the Doctor's outfit did qualify as "strange".
'Yes, that's him,' Mina replied.
'Cool,' Lee said, sitting up. 'Man, is he going to be pissed when he finds I'm still here.'
'He told me to take a vacation,' Lee replied, 'last time we met. He warned me not to be here and look what's happened.'
Lee began to empty his jacket pockets onto the bench beside him.
'What are you doing?' Mina asked.
'You want to get out of here, right?' Lee said. He plucked a paperclip from his pile of objects. 'Aha, just the thing.'
Rapidly returning the other items to his jacket, Lee crossed to the window, unfolded the paperclip and inserted it into the lock. He removed it, twisted the end a bit and then inserted it again. He turned to Mina.
'Window locks tend not to be as strong as door locks,' he said as the window popped open. He eased it open a fraction more, then ducked inside as a soldier walked past.
'We'll go next time he comes round,' Lee whispered.
The waited in silence for about ten minutes and then the soldier reappeared. When he had passed them Lee stuck his head out and watched the soldier's back until he disappeared around a corner. Then Lee opened the window, swung his legs out and dropped to the ground.
'Come on,' he called softly. 'It's not much of a drop and I'll catch you.'
With a sigh, Mina hitched up her skirt and followed the boy out of the window.
As they ran for the undergrowth, Mina whispered, 'You could have done that at any time, couldn't you, so why did you wait until now to escape?'
'Look lady,' Lee replied, 'I told you, free board and lodging's hard to come by in this city and these UNIT people seemed to be making me the best offer I had. Until you came along that is. Now the Doctor's on the scene things are going to start getting really interesting.'
* * *
Mina was bored. They had been standing at the end of the Golden Gate Bridge for almost an hour now and the Doctor still had not turned up.
Lee was perched on the edge of the bridge, his legs dangling over the side.
'You sure this was where you agreed to meet up?' he asked.
'Well, I don't know this city very well,' Mina admitted, 'but how many other Golden Gate Bridges can there be?'
'Point.' Lee laughed. 'He's not going to show is he.'
'Or he's been here already, but couldn't find me,' Mina suggested.
'Either way, there's not much point in staying here,' Lee replied. 'We'll have to go and find him.'
Mina considered this. 'I've only known the Doctor for a short time,' she said, 'but he does seem to head straight for the centre of any trouble.'
'Yeah, that sounds like him,' Lee agreed. 'So what say we start an investigation of our own? If we find the Yeti then we're sure to find him.'
Mina shrugged. She was stuck in the middle of an unknown city and doubted she could even find her way back to the TARDIS. At least with Lee she had a guide.
'All right then,' she said, 'where do we start?'
* * *
Chapel laughed at her.
'So you really believe that I'm trying to kill you because you practise witchcraft in your spare time. My dear young woman, I think the stress of work is starting to get to you. Maybe you're not really cut out for this kind of high pressure work.'
'So I was right,' Celaine said, 'you do want to get rid of me.'
'For being a Wiccan?' Chapel asked. 'Don't be absurd. That would be discrimination, which you could sue me for. As it is, I'm sure barging in here and making all sorts of slanderous accusations about me are adequate grounds for dismissal.'
'Only if you have witnesses,' Celaine countered.
Chapel pointed to the machine on her desk.
'I think you'll find I've recorded the whole thing,' Chapel said. 'Now, are you going to leave quietly or do we have to make a scene?'
'I'm not leaving until I get some answers,' Celaine snapped. 'Somebody is trying to kill me.'
'With an attitude like that I really can't imagine why,' Chapel remarked. She pressed the intercom. 'Send security to my office, would you. Thank you.'
'You know something, don't you,' Celaine persisted. She snatched the paperweight off of the desk. 'What is this thing anyway?'
Chapel snatched it back. 'It's just a paperweight.' She thrust it into Celaine's face. 'See, no bleeping. It's an inanimate object, not a killing machine.'
The office door was thrown open and two large security guards walked in.
'Ah, there you are,' Chapel said. 'Please remove this woman at once. She is no longer in my employ.'
Celaine started to struggle, but it was no good so she allowed herself to be led out of the office.
Once she had gone, Chapel perched on the corner of her desk, the sphere still in her hands.
'Oh yes, I quite agree,' she said. 'Miss Eliot needs to be eliminated at once.'
* * *
Chang Lee had brought Mina across the city to the border of Chinatown and the Financial District. They had caught the bus. Fortunately, the Doctor had remembered to supply Mina with some local currency. 'For emergencies,' he had said. Mina was sure this qualified.
'So this is where you saw the Yeti?' Mina asked.
'Yeah, just across the street there,' Lee replied.
'But all these people,' Mina began, 'you would have thought that someone else would have seen something.'
'In this fog?' Lee commented.
He had a point. The fog was so thick that Mina could barely see the buildings on the other side of the road.
'Is it always this bad?' she asked.
'This is the worst I've ever seen it,' Lee commented. 'San Francisco does get thick fog, but normally in summer, not over Christmas.'
Mina looked upwards. 'What's that?' She pointed at the pyramid rising up out of the fog.
'That's the Transamerica building,' Lee supplied. 'The tallest structure in the city. Come on, let's get a closer look.'
They crossed the street and stood in front of the double doors, staring up at the great glass pyramid.
'Impressive, isn't it?' Lee said. 'I used to stare at it from the window of my parents' house when I was a kid.'
'Where do you parents live?' Mina asked.
'My parents are dead,' Lee said. 'The triads killed them.'
'I'm sorry,' Mina began.
'Hey, watch it,' Lee shouted as a woman fell against him, nearly knocking him from his feet. Still upright, Mina could see the two security guards that had thrown the woman from the building.
She crouched down. 'Are you all right?' she asked.
Mina helped the woman to her feet.
'I'll live,' the woman in the leather jacket replied. 'Quite where I'll live now that I'm out of a job is still open for debate.'
'What happened?' Lee asked.
'Oh, you wouldn't believe me,' the woman said.
'You might be surprised,' Mina said. 'I'm Mina Harker, by the way, and this is Chang Lee.'
'Hi,' Lee said.
'Celaine,' Celaine replied. 'Look, can we get away from here.'
'Why,' Lee asked. 'What are you running from?'
'From that,' Celaine shouted, pointing to the silver sphere rolling along the street towards them.
'What the hell is it?' Lee demanded.
'It's a Yeti-sphere,' Mina recalled from her briefing. 'Don't let it touch you.'
'Like I needed telling,' Celaine remarked. 'Come on.'
The trio fled back into Chinatown, the sphere following behind.
'Left,' Lee shouted when they reached a junction. They turned, but soon found themselves retreating as another sphere started to roll towards them.
'Any more bright ideas?' Celaine quipped.
'This way,' Lee said, ignoring her sarcasm.
They continued running and Mina could feel her heart pounding against her ribs, the blood roaring in her ears.
'I can't keep going much farther,' she panted.
'Just a bit longer,' Lee promised. 'Down here.'
'It's a dead end,' Celaine cried.
Mina whirled and was confronted by five spheres blocking the exit and rolling inexorably towards them.
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