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From the journal of Mrs Mina Harker
27th December 2000
We fled into the crowds of Chinatown and I barely registered the noise, the vivid colours and the pungent aromas that had assaulted my senses earlier. The boy, Chang Lee, led the way for us, forcing people out of our way and using the aid of his local knowledge to guide us away from our pursuers.
At first, I must confess that my flight was tempered by the knowledge that I had only heard second hand accounts of these spheres from both Master Jameson and Miss Eliot and the silver balls appeared more as children's toys than objects of evil. Encountering them myself, however, robbed me of my doubts. It was difficult to picture these things in the hands of a child. I find it difficult to describe what I felt, but there was an aura of menace about them. They were unclean and I longed to be as far away from them as possible. My attire was ill suited for flight, but the repulsion in my breast gave me the strength to keep pace with my companions.
The incessant whining produced by the spheres seemed to be echoing within my skull, informing me that our pursuers were still behind us though I dared not look back and confirm this with my eyes. Chang Lee led us around a corner, but stopped suddenly. I stumbled, careering into Miss Eliot, but we both managed to retain our footing. I peered over her shoulder and my eyes widened in horror as I saw another sphere rolling remorselessly towards us.
'This way,' Chang Lee shouted, spinning on his heel and retreated in the direction we previously came.
We ran without pause, ignoring both people and their motorised carriages in our search for safety. The pounding of my feet on the street echoed the pounding of my heart against my chest and the roar of the blood within my ears. And the whining of the spheres that were drawing ever closer.
My mouth was dry and my head spun. Slivers of pain shot through my legs.
'I can't keep going much farther,' I wheezed through gritted teeth.
Lee beckoned us round another corner and we all stopped short.
'It's a dead end,' Celaine Eliot observed unnecessarily.
I steeled myself for more running and turned back. Five spheres were blocking our escape.
'This way,' Lee shouted.
There was a pipe running up the side of one of the buildings and Chang Lee was rapidly scaling it, his boots scraping dust from the brickwork. In the distance I could hear roaring.
Celaine looked inquiringly at me.
'Go on,' I instructed. I doubted that I would be able to climb the wall myself.
The woman wrapped her arms around the pipe and began to climb, her toes planted firmly in the gaps between the bricks. I willed her onwards. I could hear the roaring getting closer. Celaine lost her footing and slipped. My heart caught in my throat, but she had managed to keep hold of the pipe with her hands. Tentatively she began searching for another foothold.
I heard a roaring in my ear and hot breath on my neck. A vast claw seized hold of me, lifting me from the ground.
'Hurry,' I shouted at Celaine as I saw her looking back, uncertain of what to do now. 'Keep going.'
Celaine shook off her indecision and started to climb once more, but it was too late. A second Yeti lumbered over to the wall and tore the pipe from its moorings. From the roof, Lee reached over to try and catch Celaine's outstretched hand, but she was already falling. I turned away as she hit the floor.
* * *
The car pulled up at the edge of the Presidio. Grace had expected a Jeep or a Landrover, something with more of a hint of military. What she had got was a dark blue Lexus. She leaped out onto the gravel park and stretched, trying to work the circulation back into her arms and legs having just been crushed between the Doctor and Captain Knight. The Doctor waited patiently for her pins and needles to subside, though Grace could tell by the way he was fidgeting that he was eager to be off again.
'Remind me again who these guys are,' Grace requested, stalling for more time.
'UNIT,' the Doctor replied. 'The United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. I worked with the British branch for several years a few bodies back.'
Grace frowned. She had not pictured the Doctor as someone who would work hand in glove with the establishment and especially not its military arm.
The Doctor seemed to recognise that look and added placatingly, 'It wasn't entirely by choice, I promise. Don't judge them too harshly, though. For all their trappings, UNIT does fulfil an important function. Do you remember the Cyberman invasion of 1969? The Autons? Axos? The Silurians? What about the Ice Warriors?' Grace shook her head, bewildered, and the Doctor laughed. 'That was UNIT, that was.'
Shoulders still rocking in silent laughter, the Doctor spun on his heel and set off across the park towards the trailers that formed UNIT's mobile HQ. A broad black woman was standing in the doorway and as soon as the Doctor saw her he broke into a run, grabbed her hand and began pumping it vigorously.
'Adrienne,' he cried, 'how wonderful to see you. How's George? Washington not ground him down yet? And what about the children? If I'd known you were going to be here I'd have brought some presents from the TARDIS. Let me think, let me think 2000AD. This is the year Adam graduates, isn't it?'
The woman called Adrienne just stared at him, her mouth opening and closing in shock. Grace smiled and went to the rescue.
'Uh, Doctor?' she began. 'How about you introduce us, hm?'
'What? Oh, yes, of course. Adrienne, this is Doctor Grace Holloway. She helped me overcome a very difficult regeneration this time last year. And Grace, this is Brigadier-General Adrienne Kramer, a valued friend who knew me back when I was so high.'
Kramer smirked, retrieved her hand from the Doctor's grasp and offered it to Grace. She had a firm and business-like handshake, but there was a warmth in her deep brown eyes.
'Why don't you come inside,' Kramer offered, leading them through the door. She turned to the Doctor. 'You said there was something you wanted to show me.
'Yes, yes, there was.' The Doctor made a show of rooting through his pockets before Grace handed him a plastic bag containing the bullet fragments.
'I thought you might be able to tell us whom these belonged to,' the Doctor continued.
Kramer barely glanced at the fragments. 'Yes,' she said. 'They're mine.'
* * *
Chang Lee slipped through the skylight and into the attic he called home. The house was due for demolition, which meant that, for the moment, Lee had the space to himself. He slumped down onto the floorboards, knees pressed up against his chin, drawing in breaths in ragged gasps. It seemed that he spent most of his life running. Ever since his parents had been shot dead.
Lee's brother, Ho, had introduced him to the world of the gangs and the triads, had given him a new family of sorts, but there was always someone out there bigger than you, a gang with more power, someone to run from. It was not much, but it was all he had, especially after Ho had his throat slit.
Then it was December 30th 1999. The day that changed his life. He had been trapped in a dark alley by a rival gang. His two companions Lee did not have friends had already been shot down and Lee was next. Before the gang could shoot, however, a big blue box interposed itself between Lee and his assailants. The owner of the box, a man who called himself the Doctor, had taken the bullets meant for Lee. Before he knew it, Lee was immersed in the Doctor's world and it opened his eyes. Sure, the Master was more evil than any gang lord Lee had ever encountered, but opposing him was the Doctor. The Doctor introduced Lee to courage and friendship and to a world where, if you looked hard enough, you might just find magic happening. Lee had resolved to turn his life around and start to live.
It had all seemed so easy beneath the fireworks on Millennium's Night.
Chang Lee pried open the loose floorboard and lifted out the hold-all that contained his life. Beneath that were two velvet bags. Tentatively, Lee loosened the drawstring on one bag and saw the glitter within. The gold dust had been the Doctor's parting gift. Lee had betrayed him to the Master, but still the Doctor had felt that he was worth something and had let him keep the bribe the Master had offered.
It had seemed like a life-line at the time, but then Lee realised the problem. He could not spend it. Lee had no idea how much the dust was worth, but he would have gladly traded it in for one tenth the value in cash. How could he trade it legally without explaining where he had got it? And he refused to betray the Doctor's trust by going to the gangs with it. So instead, he lived a hand-to-mouth existence, the gold dust kept as a memento, reminding him of his experience, waiting until he had a chance to prove himself worthy of the Doctor's generosity.
Lee refastened the pouch and stuffed it into his pocket. The Doctor was not here and it was up to him to rescue Mina. Somehow.
* * *
'I'm sorry, I'm not sure I'm following this,' the Doctor commented. 'You shot Anne Travers?'
'Who?' Kramer asked.
'The woman who ended up in hospital with you bullet in her chest,' the Doctor snapped. 'That was Anne Travers.'
'Interesting? She could have died and all you can say is "interesting"?'
'If it makes you feel any better, Doctor, I didn't authorise the hit,' Kramer explained, 'though it might have made all our lives a lot easier had she died.'
'What do you mean, had she died?' Grace asked. 'I was there. I performed the operation, I saw her expire right in front of me.'
Kramer shook her head. 'I'm sorry, Doctor Holloway, but I'm afraid that can't be the case. The woman's body wasn't stolen from your morgue. She walked out under her own power. If you'll both come this way, I'll explain.'
'About time too,' the Doctor muttered as the followed the Brigadier.
Kramer led them to the incident room, where a large monitor screen was displaying a map of San Francisco. Red dots peppered the map, clustered around Chinatown and the park. Three people were already seated at the table, but the Doctor ignored them as he slumped down in a chair, his feet resting on the desk.
'Well?' he prompted.
Grace slid into the seat next to the Doctor. Knight stood at the door. Kramer took her seat at the head of the table.
'I'll start with the basics, for the benefit of any civilians present,' Kramer began, looking at Grace. The picture on the monitor behind her began to shift. 'Difficult as it may be to believe, we are dealing with a suspected incursion by robots disguised as Yeti controlled by an alien energy form referred to as the Great Intelligence.'
'Don't you mean Yog-Sothoth?' Grace asked smugly.
The Doctor turned to her, his face hidden from the others. 'Don't antagonise them, Grace,' he said clearly, but Grace could see that he was laughing along with her.
Kramer was unperturbed. 'I assume that the Doctor has brought you up to speed. What you may not be aware of is that we have traced the Yeti's activities to '
'The Transamerica building,' the Doctor finished for her. 'Well, it's a bit obvious isn't it.' He turned back to Grace. 'The Intelligence has always had a preference for pyramids. Personally, I think they're a bit outdated, but how do you tell a creature that's older than the universe that it's behind the times?'
'I thought you said not to antagonise them,' Grace whispered.
'Sorry,' the Doctor said softly, grinning back. 'Couldn't resist.'
'If we've finished?' Kramer continued. 'The Intelligence's human agent is a woman called Charlotte Chapel. She's the managing director of an investments firm Doctor?'
The Doctor was staring at the photo on the screen open-mouthed.
'That's Anne,' he said.
Kramer turned to the bespectacled young man with the laptop. 'Jameson, run a search for Travers, Anne.'
Moments later Jameson began to read from his screen. 'Anne Travers. She's been connected to at least two previous Yeti events. Her father was killed by the Intelligence. And she died on January 1st 2000.'
'I know,' the Doctor commented, 'I was there. Chapel, hm? Nice irony.'
He rose from his seat and went to stand behind Jameson.
'So, she runs an investments firm, does she?' he said. 'Tell me, can you hack into her system and find out what she's been pouring money into recently?'
'Is that really relevant?' Captain Knight interrupted.
The Doctor looked up. 'You've not been with UNIT very long, have you, captain? Where the Intelligence is concerned, I think you'll find that everything is relevant.' He turned back to Jameson. 'Well, can you do it?'
The boy cracked his knuckles and started to type. 'Given enough time I could make this baby juggle llamas if you wanted,' he replied.
The Doctor clapped him on the shoulder. 'Good man.'
Grace held up her hand to ask a question.
'What I don't understand is how this Travers woman can have died at least twice that we know about and still be breathing. She's not a Time Lord, is she?'
'No,' the Doctor assured her, 'she's not a Time Lord. But I've got some very nasty suspicions as to what she is.'
'Care to share them, Doctor?' Knight asked.
'Not just yet, captain,' the Doctor replied, 'but I do have a question of my own. Why was Anne or whoever she is shot?'
'Captain Knight overstepped his authority,' Kramer said. 'Our brief here is to observe and collect evidence. Any offensive action is prohibited until we can prove that it is necessary.'
'With respect, sir,' Knight replied, 'we've been here for a week now and despite the fact that we know the Yeti are here we're no closer to convincing the powers that be than when we started. Sir.'
'I understand your frustrations, captain,' Kramer began.
'It's not my frustrations that are the issue, sir,' Knight countered. 'People are dying out there while we sit here doing nothing.'
'I understand your frustrations,' Kramer repeated, 'but that does not excuse gunning down a civilian under any circumstances.'
'I'm glad to hear it,' the Doctor interrupted. 'Now that we've got that off our collective chests perhaps it's about time we paid a visit to Ms Chapel.'
'I've got that list for you, sir,' Jameson piped up.
The Doctor bounded round the desk.
'Excellent,' he said, taking the mouse and scrolling down the list. 'This is interesting. See there? That one investment takes up more than half their capital. Can you expand it for me? Thank you. Hm, the THUNDER project at the University of California. Anyone know what that is, exactly?'
'It's to do with predicting and monitoring earthquakes, I think,' Grace supplied. 'It's got something top do with sonics and vibrational frequencies.'
'Really?' the Doctor asked. 'How did you find all that out?'
Grace grinned. 'I was on the board of trustees at ITAR, Doctor,' she explained. 'They still send me the odd newsletter. Sometimes I can even find time to read them.'
The Doctor drummed his fingers on the desk.
'Okay, change of plan,' he announced. 'Kramer, you'll have to visit Chapel without me. I have a friend at Berkeley who might be able to explain why she's so interested in this THUNDER project.'
'I'll go with you,' Grace suggested.
'No, I want you to stay with Kramer,' the Doctor instructed.
'But ' Grace protested before the Doctor cut her off.
'I know, I know,' he whispered. 'I don't like it very much either, but I want someone there I can trust not to shoot everybody.'
There was a commotion outside of the room and two figures burst through the door.
'I'm sorry, sir,' the soldier began. 'I found him outside and he insisted on seeing you.'
The Doctor's eyes locked on to the second figure.
'Lee?' he queried. 'Chang Lee. It is you, isn't it? I thought I told you to take a vacation.'
'There's no time for that now, Doctor,' Grace interrupted. She knelt down next to the boy who was using the doorframe to support himself while he got his breath back.
'Lee, what is it?' he asked. 'What's wrong.'
'Mina,' he began. 'The Yeti. They took her.'
* * *
'I really haven't the faintest idea what you're talking about,' Chapel said.
They were standing in the large entrance hall of the Transamerica building, Chapel having refused them access to her offices. Even in this space there were enough people that Grace felt cramped. In addition to Grace and Chang Lee, Kramer had insisted upon bringing Jameson, Captain Knight and two other UNIT soldiers. Chapel was accompanied only by her PA. Despite the numbers, Chapel was the one in charge here.
'Ms Chapel,' Kramer was saying, 'we have reason to believe that you are holding two people here against their will.'
Chapel laughed. 'And do you have any evidence to support such wild accusations? No, you haven't, have you.'
'Ms Chapel, we intend to search you offices and find these two women, with or without your consent.'
Chapel folded her arms across her chest. 'Intend all you want, Brigadier. I am very well aware of my rights and you will not be going any further without a warrant.'
'Ms Chapel '
'And you haven't been able to obtain a warrant, have you? Now I suggest you leave this building before I have my assistant call the police.'
'Doctor Holloway?' a voice whispered.
Grace turned and saw Chang Lee at her side.
'Call me Grace,' she offered.
'Grace, right,' Lee muttered. 'Listen, do you think you could provide a distraction. Just for a minute.'
'I'll try,' Grace replied sceptically, glancing around for an opportunity. Then she saw it and allowed a small smile to flicker across her face. 'Give me a moment.'
'Excuse me, Captain,' she said, easing her way past Captain Knight. 'I just need to use the bathroom.'
Trying not to glance at the security guards, she strode purposefully across the hallway. Just before she reached the door, however, she stumbled, tried to save herself and ended up collapsed against the wall. Exactly where she wanted to be.
She rammed her elbow through the glass of the fire alarm.
The blare of noise was even louder than she had anticipated and it certainly had the desired effect. People everywhere stopped what they were doing, staring round to see what was wrong. It took them a moment or two to realise that they were supposed to be heading for the exits. Grabbing coats and bags they hurried down stairs, getting in each other's way, struggling to force their way through the bottlenecks at the glass doors.
Picking herself up, Grace allowed herself to be carried outside by the tidal wave of bodies. She ended up in an undignified heap on the pavement outside with Kramer towering over her.
'What the hell did you do that for?' she shouted over the noise as she helped Grace to her feet.
Grace grinned. 'To liven things up,' she shouted back.
Kramer grunted. Then she glanced about.
'Hey, where's the kid?'
* * *
The Doctor had taken the bus across the bay to Berkeley. Even assuming that he could have piloted it that accurately, he doubted that Joyce would have appreciated the TARDIS materialising in his office.
Not that there would have been room for it amidst this clutter. The Doctor's cup of Darjeeling had to be balanced precariously on the arm of his chair as the only clear space in the room. Every time the Doctor shifted position he threatened to send the cup tumbling to the floor and he was squirming quite a bit.
Professor Daniel Joyce was, by contrast, the epitome of calm. He was leaning back in his armchair, fingers steepled beneath his neatly trimmed white beard regarding the Doctor with a vague air of contempt. He was not going to be the first to break the silence.
The Doctor sipped at his tea. He replaced the cup in the saucer and ran his hands through his hair, which sprang back up again as soon as he had released it.
'I don't suppose you have any biscuits, do you?' the Doctor asked.
'There's a tin on the filing cabinet behind you,' Joyce said. He had a gentle growl with a hint of a Scottish accent.
The Doctor turned. He had to shift a brass alarm clock, a 1978 calendar with pictures of British birds on it and a Tupperware box of what seemed to be fossils before he found the tin. It was decorated with a tartan pattern and had a picture of a seventeenth century galleon on the lid.
'That's the one, son,' Joyce said. 'Pass me a shortbread finger while you've got it, could you?'
The Doctor rescued a custard cream from somewhere near the bottom of the tin before replacing it on the cabinet.
'How's life been treating you,' the Doctor asked.
Joyce smiled a tight smile, deepening the creases around his eyes.
'Life leaves me well enough alone, if she knows what's good for her. I'm retired, remember.'
'Quite. And Anne?'
'Says I spend far too much time at the office and not nearly enough time spoiling her rotten. She wants me to take her and Karen to Milan in the spring. Milan!'
The Doctor placed his uneaten custard cream on his saucer.
'Milan can be quite nice,' he commented, 'depending on the year.'
'Take some advice from an old man, son,' Joyce replied. 'Don't try the 2001 vintage. Plays merry hell with the bank balance. Karen's been asking after you, by the way.'
The Doctor paused, cup halfway to his mouth.
'I could always visit.'
'I don't think that would be a good idea, do you? Now, you didn't come all this way to discuss my daughter, did you? So come on, out with it. I'm supposed to be taking Anne to the theatre so I haven't got all afternoon. What's the problem this time?'
'I need some information,' the Doctor explained. 'I want to know about the THUNDER project.'
'THUNDER, eh? You do realise that the details are classified, don't you?'
'Would you believe me if I told you that there were lives at stake?'
'Lives are always at stake,' Joyce countered. 'Think of the risks involved simply crossing the road or taking a plane. What about all the people who die each year from disease, from cancer, from AIDS? Or how about the millions caught up in earthquakes, floods and famine? Did it ever occur to you that your intellect might be put to better use coming up with ways to help them, hm?
'But you won't stay in one place long enough, will you? Instead you'll spend you time treating the symptoms rather than the disease. And you call yourself a doctor.'
A gust of wind swept through the open window, rattling the blinds. Joyce turned to a telephone on his desk, lifted the handset and dialled a number.
'Hello, Abigail? It's Daniel. Could you send someone over with the file on THUNDER No, I'm not trying to steal the project from you. I'd just like to know how you got all that funding Winning personality, eh? Listen, don't forget dinner next week, okay. Anne's got something special planned No, she won't tell me what. I'll see you around. Bye.'
He replaced the handset.
'So, care to tell me what you're interfering in this time, son?' he asked.
'Interfering?' the Doctor protested. 'I don't '
'Oh, rubbish. Did anyone ask for your help? No, I didn't think they did.'
'Would you prefer it if I just stood on the sidelines and let people get hurt?'
'Look, son, I'm not saying your hearts aren't in the right place, I just think your time and effort could be better applied. Did it ever occur to you that you might be as much a part of the problem as the solution?'
The Doctor's eyes widened.
'Look at yourself. You're like the living embodiment of Chaos Theory. Everywhere you go, every life you touch, you leave your mark. It's like chucking a ruddy great boulder in the river. At first you know how the ripples will spread, but then they rebound off the bank and the ripples interact with each other creating more ripples which interact again and before you know it you've got chaos. But by that time you're long gone, aren't you, and it's up to the rest of us to pick up the pieces. How much damage do you think you've done, hm? Was your interference really worth it.'
'I've saved lives.'
'And destroyed others. How many people do you think you've scarred, hm? Just because you couldn't leave well enough alone. Everywhere you go you leave a trail of destruction in your wake, but, then again, half the fun is putting it back together, isn't it?'
The Doctor winced and his pain reflected in Joyce's eyes.
'I'm sorry, that was uncalled for. It's just Look, why don't I see where that file's got to.'
He rose and left the office, leaving the Doctor staring at the papers on the desk. There were application forms, applications for a place in the university's seismology unit. Joyce had already started sorting them into two piles, one for those he would call for interview and one for those he would not. The Doctor glanced at the reject pile and recognised a name. His fingers twitched involuntarily. He should leave well alone. Joyce would tell him that the universe could look after itself without his help. Glancing furtively at the door, the Doctor moved Gareth Fitzpatrick back to the possibles. Interfering again.
The office door opened and the sudden noise made the Doctor sit bolt upright in his chair. A student was holding the door open for Professor Joyce, who was carrying a large file.
'Thank you, son,' he said. 'Now, why don't you run along back to Doctor Jeffries, hm? I'll return this when I'm done.'
He opened the file on the desk in front of the Doctor then retrieved a pair of reading glasses from the breast pocket of his tweed jacket.
'Now, what have we here, hm?'
'Looks like a sonic generator,' the Doctor commented.
'Puts your screwdriver to shame,' Joyce replied. 'It looks as if they're trying to generate shockwaves in the lab.'
'Testing earthquakes under experimental conditions,' the Doctor deduced. 'But look at the scale of this thing.'
'Improves the accuracy of any results they get.'
The Doctor looked grim.
'Daniel, are you thinking what I'm thinking?'
'It would need a lot more power than they've indicated here.'
'Trust me, I don't think power's going to be a problem. What's Chapel getting out of this? I assume she's not funding this out of the goodness of her heart.'
Joyce leafed through the contents of the file.
'Chapel gets ownership of the first prototype,' he said when he had found the paper he was looking for.
The Doctor was already on his feet.
'When's it due to be shipped out?' he asked.
Joyce showed him the date on the paper.
'It's already gone.'
'I've got to go,' the Doctor said. 'Time's running away from me.'
His hand was on the door knob when a voice stopped him.
Joyce proffered his hand and the Doctor took it gratefully.
'Take care, son.'
* * *
Chang Lee had hidden beneath the fire stairs while he waited for the confusion to die down. It had taken longer than he had expected for them to realise that it was a false alarm, but he guessed that they had wanted to get everyone out of the building before they started investigating and it was a very large building. Fortunately, he had made a not earlier of the floor on which Chapel's company was located.
He tried to look casual as he explored the thirty-sixth floor, but he was painfully aware of how out of place he looked in his baseball jacket and jeans. He considered searching the building for Mina and Celaine, but he would not have known where to start and in any case he had no guarantee that they were being held here at all. Instead, he decided to find Chapel. Hopefully, she would lead him to the others.
Of course, first he had to find her office, so he decided to take a gamble and ask. Crossing his fingers behind his back he introduced himself to the first person he met, claiming to be here for an interview. It was going to be his first job and he was really nervous about it so nervous, in fact, that he had gotten lost and wondered if anyone could show him where to find Ms Chapel.
He had to fight to hide his surprise as his dupe swallowed his story and happily gave him the directions he wanted. They must have assumed that since he had got this far he must have a right to be here after all. He decided not to push his luck, however, and with a hurried thank you, he scurried away.
Now he stood outside of the office, pressed against the wall, ears straining to hear the conversation within.
'We're going to have to move the timetable forward,' Chapel was saying. The THUNDER is already on the island and I'll be flying out there shortly. I'll be taking the hostages with me. The facilities there will be more appropriate. Oh, and I'd make yourself scarce, if I were you. I shall be taking the opportunity to deal with those interfering UNIT people once and for all.'
Lee heard the noise of a telephone receiver being replaced and wondered what he was going to do now. Kramer and UNIT were in danger and he should go back and warn them, but if he had understood Chapel correctly then Mina and Celaine were being held in this building. He had not seen any likely hiding places for the prisoners on his way to Chapel's office so they must be in another part of the building. He knew roughly where the elevator was so if he went back by a different route he could search for Mina and Celaine while on his way to warn UNIT. It was a plan, not much of one, perhaps, but a plan. He started walking.
His curiosity was piqued when he noticed how quiet it was. This part of the floor seemed to be deserted. Presumably Chapel owned the whole floor, thus preventing anyone else occupying it, but if so then why did she not develop it? Unless she was using it to store things she did not want people to find. Like prisoners.
He started opening every door he came to, but they all led to empty rooms. Until, that is, he came to a door that was locked. He hammered on it and could hear muffled sounds from beyond. He knelt down to examine the lock. It would be too strong for a paperclip and he did not have any other tools with him. Getting to his feet he took a run up and charged the door. It held, but he could hear the wood moaning in protest. He charged again, crying out at the pain in his shoulder, but he could feel the door giving. A third time and he could definitely hear splintering. On the fourth attempt the door cracked around the lock and burst inward.
Mina and Celaine were sitting on the floor of a store cupboard, wrists and ankles tied, lips sealed with masking tape. He tore the tape from Celaine's mouth and she cried out.
'Sorry,' he muttered as he started to untie her hands.
'Behind you,' Celaine shouted.
Lee looked up. The noise of his break in had attracted Chapel and she stood behind him, clutching a silver paperweight in her hands. Lee stood his ground. She was alone and he felt that he had a good chance of overpowering her, rescuing his friends and making his escape. Then he realised where he had seen the paperweight before and he ran.
Chapel sent the paperweight rolling after him as if it was a bowling ball. The silver sphere picked up speed, bleeping as it went. Lee headed for the main office, hoping that the crowd of people would hide him. The sphere turned the corner as sharply as he did.
When they saw the boy running full pelt through their building, many of the workers got to their feet. A few of them even tried to grab him, but Lee hurled them out of his way. He could hear the sphere gaining on him. One burly guy grabbed his jacket so Lee shrugged it off before vaulting a desk that was between him and the door. He landed awkwardly and fell to the ground, pain shooting from his ankle.
The big man was clambering over the desk in pursuit. His back was turned so that he could not see the sphere, but Lee could and he tried to shout out a warning. He was too late. The sphere leaped up and plunged deep into the man's back.
The bleeping ceased and was replaced by the sound of cracking bones. The man screamed as his features distorted. His shoulders hunched and he began to grow, coarse red hair being revealed beneath his torn clothing. Eyes like burning coals caught Lee as a rabbit might be caught in the headlights of a car.
The Yeti roared.
* * *
Grace was seated at the conference table in the incident room while Kramer paced back and forth in front of the monitor screen.
'Do you have to do that?' Grace finally asked. 'It's annoying.'
Kramer turned and gave her a look that would have stripped paint. But at least she had stopped pacing.
'Annoying,' she repeated. 'I'll tell you what's annoying. Having to stand there while a civilian laughs in my face and tells me how to do my job. Worse yet, a civilian I know to be guilty, but the law tells me I can't touch.'
'Doesn't say much for your organisation that you can bring all this might to bear for over a week now and still have nothing to show for it.'
Kramer scowled and Grace wished she had not spoken. Then the brigadier relaxed and took a seat opposite Grace.
'You know, we're normally much better at it than this,' she said.
'Even when you don't have the Doctor around to help?' Grace asked.
'Yeah, even when. More often when he's not around actually. I admit he has his uses, but life would be a lot simpler if he didn't keep dropping by.'
I'll drink to that,' Grace said, raising her coffee mug in a mock toast.
'If it makes you feel any better, I've managed to convince the US Army to lend us some of their hardware for the duration, just in case this does blow up in our faces.' Kramer was looking at the map on the screen. 'We've got this area pretty much covered,' she said. 'We should have found something, but every time we seem to be getting close, they just vanish into the fog. It almost as if someone's telling them what we're up to.'
'You don't think ' Grace suggested.
'I don't want to think,' Kramer countered.
'But it must be a possibility.'
'Not in UNIT. At least, not in my team.'
'Look, I'm not saying you're wrong, but just think about it for a minute,' Grace suggested. 'Let's suppose, just suppose, that there is somebody on the inside. They'd not only be telling Chapel where we're going, but also where we are. And now that she knows we're on to her, well '
'You're right,' Kramer admitted, 'we're too exposed here. I'll order the men to pack up and we'll move HQ elsewhere.' She rose to her feet and then paused. 'What's that noise.'
'It sounds like a helicopter,' Grace said.
'Quickly,' Kramer snapped. 'Outside. Now. I'll get the others.'
Grace did not need to be told twice. She could already hear the approaching whine as she bolted for the door and hurled herself out of the trailer and onto the gravel, grazing her arms. She rolled onto her back in time to see the missile streak from the sky and impact with the mobile HQ.
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