It was a rather unspectacular day at UNIT’s Scientific Research Division. After the novelty that it was situated in the Tower of London wore off, it just became like any other workplace.
Osgood was sat at her desk in the command center of the SRD typing away at her computer. She had a report to finish, based on the recent findings from the Miracle event a few months back. It wasn’t really much, and she was almost certain it would get filed away somewhere and ‘accidentally’ get lost. Still, that wouldn’t deter her, not one jot.
Around her were numerous other operatives, all working away on one thing or another. She didn’t know most of them, but then again, she hadn’t found much time. This new job had been a whirlwind so far, and it was showing no signs of letting up.
Her new boss, Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, was currently in a meeting with the higher ups, trying to gain funding for new equipment. The current set-up had been installed years ago, and had been showing signs of wear and tear for many years. Quite simply it wasn’t up to scratch. And Kate was having none of it, she wanted to cut her way through all the red tape.
Suddenly, midway through Osgood’s last paragraph, the scanner alert started to go off, and everyone started rushing around. Dropping her work, she looked up at the central screen, which seemed to have triangulated the activity to Bannerman Road.
Before she could react, Kate marched into the room, wanting to ascertain the problem. At that precise moment, all the lights and computers exploded.
It looked like the day was about to become very chaotic.
A few years ago, Martha Jones would have never thought of herself as a mother.
Now she had to contend with the likes of her two year old daughter Rita, who refused to button up her coat. She was a tornado, this one. A tornado of emotions and inquisitiveness. She was as wild as her frizzy hair.
“Mummy?” Rita called out in a voice that was the direct antithesis of timidity. Martha had prided herself in making her daughter feel proud of everything she did and always made sure she was comfortable.
“Yes, Rita?” Martha asked as she buttoned up her daughter’s coat. She had won this battle, but not the war.
“Why is daddy sleeping in the car?” Rita asked curiously.
“Daddy’s what?” Martha’s head snapped up in the direction of the open door of their house, where she could see, quite clearly, Mickey Smith leaning against the steering wheel of the car with his eyes closed and was, she imagined, snoring gregariously.
Martha was not amused. She put her hands on her hips and glared at the prone form, expecting him to wake up. When he didn’t, she sighed as a mischievous glint lit up in her eyes. She looked down at her daughter, who was tilting her head the way she usually did when she was confused.
“Tell you what, Rita,” she started, her words oozing with glee. “Why don’t we walk up to the car and you yell at daddy to wake up?”
Rita nodded in delight. Martha clapped her hands together before taking her daughter’s hand and leading her out of the door. The car was directly in front of the house, but as UNIT agents and former freelance hunters, they had to be on their guard at all times. Their car had been specially modified to withstand alien attacks. Mickey most likely relaxed a little too much.
With the stealth and wit of a former time traveller, Martha slowly eased the door open, moving back as Rita clambered into the car seat (with a little help from Martha) and took in a deep breath.
Martha doubled over in laughter when Mickey’s head shot up and collided directly with the dashboard. Her laughter only increased at the dumbfounded expression on Mickey’s face as he slowly processed what happened and moved his head to look at Rita.
“Oi, that’s not funny,” Mickey protested as Martha continued her howlish laughter.
“You should’ve seen your face,” Martha proclaimed as her laughter devolved into a slight chuckle.
“I’ll get you back for this,” Mickey vowed half-heartedly.
“I’d like to see you try,” Martha challenged, a smirk gracing her lips. “But for now, Mr Smith, you have a little girl to get to school in time for her trip.”
“Of course, Mrs Smith,” Mickey nodded nobly before turning and giving his daughter a kiss on the forehead. “Put on your seatbelt, Rita.”
“Can I sit here with you, daddy?” Rita asked as she gave Martha an expectant look. Martha in turn rolled her eyes and buckled the seatbelt.
“Yeah, ‘course,” Mickey replied as he chuckled at their antics.
“Rita Francine Smith, one day you are going to do something all by yourself and I’ll be there to watch,” Martha grumbled as she moved back. Rita simply nodded by default as she swung her legs back and forth. She was going on a trip with the local nursery to a farm and the offer had been extended to the Smiths. Mickey and Martha had both agreed, and Mickey decided to tag along on the trip to be close to Rita.
The car pulled out of the drive and left. Martha smiled and waved as Mickey comedically honked on the car horn and Rita waved at her. She hadn’t imagined this is where her life would turn, but she was happy.
A ringing noise from her pocket caught Martha’s attention. She fished about in her pocket until she located and retrieved her mobile phone. She looked at the caller ID, pressed the button and held it to her ear.
“Kate?” Martha asked in confirmation as she moved back into the house.
“Martha,” Kate sighed in relief. Whatever was happening on her end, it was a frenzy. Shouts and screams filtered through and Martha was left wondering what the hell was going on.
“Thank goodness you picked up. We need you at the Tower of London right away.”
“What happened?” Martha asked whilst heading down to the basement instinctively, before pulling away a section of wood panelling to reveal a handprint and retina scanner.
“We don’t know. There was a sudden surge of activity, and then everything here went haywire. I’ve held off from dispatching other agents to investigate, thought you could stretch your legs. And bring your specialist equipment!”
While Kate was explaining what had happened, Martha placed her hand on the scanner and looked into the retina device. Within seconds part of the wall came away, revealing it to actually be a door.
“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Martha responded calmly as she finished the call and pulled the door open fully.
Stepping inside, she hurriedly switched the light on, revealing the secret room in full. On the walls there was an assortment of weaponry. Pistols, Machine guns, Assault Rifles, a shotgun, a Flamethrower, some alien looking devices, and a stack of ammo boxes. There were also a couple of bullet-proof vests, you could never be too careful. Reaching down, Martha picked up her medical bag, and placed it on the side, ensuring that she had everything.
She quickly took one of the pistols, making sure it was loaded before placing it in her concealed holster. With that, she grabbed the bag, and was off, shutting the basement door behind her.
“Oink, oink, that’s what piglets say, daddy!” Rita stated pridefully, scrunching her nose up like a pig.
“Okay, okay, just stop squirming!” Mickey chuckled as Rita bounced up and down in the seat she had picked in the school bus. It was in the middle, because ‘smelly teachers were at the front, and mean boys sat at the back.’
A rumbling caught Mickey’s attention. He tensed as he surveyed their surroundings, placing his hand near his concealed pistol. But, before he could respond, green roots shot out of the ground and tipped the bus over. The sounds of screaming children, Rita included, haunted Mickey as all went dark.
The first thing Mickey did when he drifted back into consciousness was curse under his breath. His head pounded and his body ached. He managed to bite back a groan, a feat that others in the now overturned bus had not managed to achieve. It was filled with the pained moans and stifled tears of children and teachers alike as they struggled with damage control.
As soon as he could form a coherent thought, one of the most important things in Mickey’s life floated in his head and caused alarm bells to ring. Ignoring what was most likely broken bones scattered throughout his body, Mickey quickly twisted his head to the left and fought back the wave of nausea that filled him.
“Rita,” Mickey whispered, reaching to scoop her up but found that he couldn’t move his right arm. Great, that was his gun arm gone. “Rita, sweetheart, wake up.”
Rita stirred in her slumber and Mickey sighed a breath of relief.
“Daddy?” she mumbled. She winced and started to whimper. “It hurts.”
“It’s okay, Rita,” Mickey assured her, looking around. The bus was encased in the thick green roots, daylight fading rapidly, drenching the bus in near darkness. They were trapped and going to starve of oxygen deprivation if it kept up. “It’s going to be okay.”
If Martha was able to run around a hospital lacking in oxygen with a maniacal Time Lord, he could surely do the same in a noticeably smaller environment.
Martha had managed to make her way to UNIT’s Scientific Research Division, with her medical equipment in tow. What she found was the entirety of the Tower of London being consumed by foul green roots, which were growing at a rapid rate. Kate had managed to evacuate the base before it had been covered in the dense vegetation, though they hadn’t been able to get all the equipment out.
“Is the building going to collapse?” A man named McGillop inquired curiously, pointing towards the base.
“It shouldn’t do, the automatic force fields will have activated now,” replied Osgood, looking somewhat flustered.
Evidently accepting this, McGillop went over to check on all the equipment they had managed to get out. Martha, meanwhile, strode towards the anxious looking Osgood, and asked, “Will the force fields hold?”
“I don’t actually know,” she replied. “They’re designed to hold back most things, but these roots are incredibly strong. The power lines could get affected, and then we’re relying on emergency back up.”
“Ah, Martha, there you are. The power lines seem to be unnaffected at the minute, so the force fields should remain active. But we’re still no closer to working out what actually caused all this,” said Kate, as she turned to face Osgood. “How much equipment did we manage to salvage in time?”
“Basic surveillance and scanning tech, ma’am,” replied Osgood.
“Meanwhile, I managed to retrieve this. Our satellite link up!” McGillop interjected, producing a small portable handheld. “This should speed everything up.”
“You and Osgood get on that, we need to know what's happening,” Kate said.
“Right away, ma’am,” McGillop responded, fiddling with the handheld device. Osgood was already spouting technical information, clearly searching for any possible theories or connections.
While they were doing that, Kate explained what little they knew to Martha. Around them was the hubbub of scientists, technicians, and soldiers. The whole area had been cordoned off, with members of the public staring at the strange occurrence. Immediately their phones were out, filming the situation, which they clearly believed to be some kind of stunt. And, of course, journalists galore had shown up, many broadcasting live from the scene. The Scientific Research Division would be facing scrutiny from the higher ups, keen to avoid any bad press.
“Ma’am, you might want to look at this,” interrupted Osgood.
Kate squinted at the screen, frowning in puzzlement. “These energy readings are off the charts. I don’t suppose you’ve located the source?"
“We have,” McGillop confirmed. “It seems to be converging on Bannerman Road.”
Martha perked up. “Bannerman Road? That's where-”
“Yes, it is,” Kate interjected before turning toward Osgood and McGillop. “We need to find a safe route to navigate us to Bannerman Road.”
“I’m on it, ma’am,” Osgood nodded resolutely, pressing the button on her inhaler and taking a deep breath before running off with McGillop, debating which route was the safest and quickest and estimating how long each potential route would take, leaving Kate and Martha alone.
“Is there a chance she’s involved?” Asked Martha.
“Possibly. Probably. We’ll have a better idea when we get there,” replied Kate, sighing deeply, dropping her facade.
“Long day?” Martha guessed, offering a small smile.
“It’s about to get even longer,” Kate replied, pinching the bridge of her nose. “I just had to deal with the higher ups and persuade them to cut through some red tape when this happens! I’ll never hear the end of it. Meanwhile, Josh and Sam are out of the country working on another case, so they can’t be of any help if the planes are grounded.”
“What about Malcolm, can he offer any help?”
“Afraid not, he’s in Washington D.C. at the minute.”
“We’ll find a way to deal with this, Kate.” Martha assured her, a niggling sensation at the back of her head. Eventually, she couldn’t squash the dread and her hand drifted towards her pocket. “Can I…?”
“Of course. Do that straight away,” Kate nodded firmly before gesturing towards McGillop with a nod, who was engrossed in a phone conversation while Osgood worked rapidly. “I’m going to see if Osgood needs any help, I’ll gather the crows as well.”
Martha gave the retreating Kate an appreciative smile before producing her mobile and dialling Mickey’s number. She wasn’t quite sure why Kate wasn’t checking up on her son, then again, she supposed that she had set contingency plans for such events.
Mickey didn’t picked up, so Martha dialled again. And again. And again.
She kept trying until Kate and Osgood had mapped out a route and they had all piled into a jeep. Once settled and on the move, Martha tried again.
There was still no answer...
Now encased in near total darkness, the bus was filled with the sounds of pained and panicked children. One of the teachers was going round treating those who had been injured, of which there were quite a few. Mickey, meanwhile, had found the first aid kit Martha insisted on putting in his bag, and right now he was thankful for it. Once he had managed to reassure Rita, he bandaged up her lower arm which she’d cut, and gave her something for the pain.
He quickly downed some painkillers himself, before hastily strapping up his almost-certainly broken arm. Having dealt with himself, he handed the medi-kit to one of the other teachers, at least they could comfort the children. He pulled Rita close to him, as much to comfort her as himself.
“Someone help me with this, we might be able to get out through here,” said a gruff looking parent, fiddling with the emergency exit panel at the back of the bus.
“Here, let me,” said Mickey, scrambling to the back of the bus. “There should be a release lever somewhere. Oh...”
The lever for the emergency exit had come off in his hands, and the hatch remained firmly closed. He tried kicking it open a few times, but merely dented it. The other man tried to help, to no avail. It wouldn’t budge.
“Try using this,” said one of the female teaching assistants, passing Mickey a fire extinguisher.
“That could work,” replied Mickey, slamming the extinguisher against the hatch. He repeated this a fews times and, thankfully, the hatch came away, daylight flooding in.
Now they just needed to get everyone out to safety.
“I’m getting reports from across the country,” stated McGillop, poring over his screen. “Military bases, communication towers, population centres, all being targeted. This isn’t just random.”
“So this is an attack then,” said Kate, gravely. “Osgood any joy working out what is going on here?”
“I think so ma’am. This seems very similar to numerous other attacks throughout history. A being known as the Trickster. Sarah Jane Smith has had dealings with him before I believe.”
“Yes, yes she has. Let's hope she can help us then,” Kate responded, before turning to face Martha. “Still no answer?”
“No, still nothing,” replied Martha, by now looking pretty worried.
“You can-” Kate started, when her phone started ringing. “Excuse me a second. Hello, this is Kate Lethbridge-Stewart. Yes, okay. We’re on our way to the scene now, so we’ll rendezvous with you there. Over and out.”
“Problem, Kate?” Martha asked, trying to focus on something else.
“It shouldn’t be, but the higher ups have insisted on sending Colonel Erisa Magambo to deal with the situation. This always seems to be their first response, send in the military, guns blazing. Still, right now, we need all the help we can get.”
Everyone had managed to get out of the bus, with many being treated by the few ambulances that had managed to get through. The thick black clouds were spreading, engulfing the sky above them. And, what little daylight was left, was being drowned out by them.
The paramedics had tried to see to Mickey, but he told them to see to everyone else first, after all what could they do with a broken arm. Rita had been seen to fairly quickly, only being treated for minor cuts and bruises, putting Mickey’s mind at ease somewhat. His thoughts turned to Martha, who would assuredly be out there.
“Can we go home now Daddy?” Asked Rita, “I want to see Mummy.”
“I tell you what, why don’t you and me go and find her, eh?” Mickey asked her. “Just wait here for a second, okay?”
“Don’t be long Daddy.”
He went over to one of the paramedics who was deep in conversation with one of the teachers. “Mickey Smith, I’m with UNIT. There’s one of our safe houses near here, it's not much but it will do. There’s no way we can get to a hospital with these root thingys everywhere.”
“Well, I am being advised to stay away from the hospital now. They’re evacuating it as we speak. So, if everyone is going there, I may as well join you. Pool resources and all that.”
“Thank you Mr Smith,” said the teacher stood next to him. “It's such a good thing you tagged along with us. You lead the way.”
UNIT vehicles screeched to a halt outside 13 Bannerman Road, and agents streamed out. Their first priority was the civilians, and ensuring they got to safety.
Kate, meanwhile, stepped out of her jeep, parked across the road from Sarah Jane Smith’s house. She was swiftly greeted by a dark-skinned woman, decked out in military attire topped off with a red beret. “Miss Lethbridge-Stewart,” she said, extending her hand.
“Colonel Magambo,” Kate responded, shaking the Colonel’s hand firmly.
“Any closer to working out what's going on here?” She asked.
“Kate, please. And no, I’m afraid we’re not,” she lied, trying to keep Magambo from going all guns blazing.
“Well we’ll focus on getting everyone out for now. But I’m afraid I can’t give you and your team long, this needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.”
“Thank you Colonel. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an old friend to catch up with.”
“Of course,” she said, before turning to her men. “Let’s get to work. Focus on getting the civilians to safety.”
While Kate went over the road, Martha had exited the car, assisting with getting everyone out. She viewed the scene around her, glancing up at the looming tower capped with thick black clouds and lightning. It was eerily similar to the year that never happened, especially with all the devastation. And, as with then, she had a job to do.
The safe house wasn’t that far, and there appeared to be a lot of people in need of medical attention. She’d have to set up a rudimentary hospital in one of the house's many rooms to deal with all these people. Still, that came with the job, and by now she didn’t let it phase her.
Having managed to get the despondent Sarah Jane into the car, they’d set off to the nearby safehouse. Osgood, meanwhile, had managed to get a sample of the putrid green roots, and was hurriedly trying to analyse it.
“Any joy?” Kate inquired.
“These readings are strange. The cells are multiplying at a phenomenal rate. If it carries on like this - oh,” she paused to take a puff on her inhaler. “It will spread across the globe in less than twenty-four hours.”
“Dear god!” Exclaimed Kate, “We don’t have much time then.”
“Well, if I can find a way of counteracting it- but that will take some time.”
“Get started on it then,” responded Kate, aware of what little time they had before Erisa Magambo took over. She turned to Sarah Jane, who was staring out the window absentmindedly. “Sarah Jane. Listen to me, we need you. I know the Trickster has taken Sky, but you can’t let this defeat you.”
“He’s beaten me Kate. The Trickster has finally won.”
“No, he hasn’t. Not if we don’t let him. You’ve had dealings with him before. And, right now we’re blind, the Doctor is nowhere to be seen. You’re the only one who can help us.”
“We have a fabled Lethbridge-Stewart in this very car, don’t we?” Sarah Jane pointed out bitterly, “Why do I have to help?
“You know his weaknesses, his blind spots.”
“Do I really?” Sarah Jane chuckled derisively. She turned her gaze out the window, absorbing the chaos quietly. “What happened to Luke?”
Kate sighed. Sarah Jane was diverting attention from herself, she knew this would happen, “Oxford’s been transformed into a shelter. He’s safe.”
“Are you going to-”
”No,” said Sarah Jane, before lapsing into silence once more.
Kate decided not to broach the subject any further, turning her attention back to Osgood’s readings. Not long later, the car came to a stop outside a rather large and unassuming townhouse. It might have looked nice in normal circumstances, but the life seemed to be drained from everything. And, if they didn’t work something out soon, then the whole world would become like this.
“Let's get inside. Come on Sarah Jane,” said Kate, concerned for her friend. She guided her into the house, followed by Osgood, McGillop and a few other agents
“What?” Sarah Jane asked absentmindedly, before registering Kate’s words, “Yes, yes...of course.”
“Would you mind taking Miss Smith upstairs, and get her a room?” She asked one of the soldiers already inside, “We’ll be down here if you need anything.”
“Thanks Kate. I’m sorry,” murmured Sarah Jane, heading up the stairs.
“Let's set up in here shall we?” Kate suggested, signalling towards the kitchen, “McGillop, get in touch with UNIT command in Geneva. Tell them we’re dealing with this.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said scuttling off to a corner of the knocked through kitchen-diner.
“Osgood, continue with your analysis. We desperately need more information.”
“I’m on it now, Kate. I mean, ma’am,” Osgood replied, taking a puff on her inhaler.
Kate sat herself down at the table, opposite Osgood and her large expanse of scientific equipment. She merely sighed. Her friend, the one person who could help them, couldn’t or wouldn’t. Sarah Jane had always been stubborn, and was unapologetic with her opinion of UNIT and their guns. But this, this was something else. She had given up.
“Ma’am?” Osgood said questioningly, snapping Kate away from her thoughts.
“Yes Osgood. What have you found?”
“Its- erm,” she started nervously, taking yet another puff of her inhaler. “Its worse than we thought, much worse...”
Martha had arrived at the safehouse before Kate and the others arrived. While there was only one safe house on this street, the other houses had been commandeered by UNIT to cope with the number of people. She had set up in the large double garage, the only space that was big enough. A number of ambulances had arrived, so the paramedics were assisting her in any way they could.
“Now, just lay back. There’s not really a lot I can do for a broken leg here, so you’ll just have to stay put for now,” Martha said firmly, before pointing at the drip. “This is for the pain, okay?”
“Thank you. I honestly thought I was a goner when that root grabbed me.”
“You’re a lucky man then. But seriously, get some rest. That's the best I can do I’m afraid.”
She walked back over to the table at the far end, checking her phone once again, but there was still nothing. If she didn’t get a reply soon, she’d have to go out looking. No sooner had she thought this, the door into the garage opened, with what sounded like several people in need of treatment. “More patients for you ma’am,” said one of the soldiers.
“Thank you. Now, how may I-” She started, before spotting two familiar people, “Mickey! Rita!”
She ran towards them, pulling them both into a hug. “I’m so glad to see you, I’ve been worried sick.”
“We missed you!” Shouted Rita.
Martha scooped her up in her arms, before noticing the plasters and bandaged arm. “What happened to you?” She asked, spotting Mickey’s strapped up arm, “What happened to both of you?”
“It's a long story. But we’re here now,” replied Mickey, a grin plastered across his face.
“Whats with the smile?”
“Well, it's either the drugs, or the sight of you again,” he replied, chuckling to himself.
“Daddy is funny,” Rita giggled.
“Now, you’ll have to sit tight. I’ve got lots patients to deal with,” said Martha, putting Rita back down, before passing her phone. “You can play with Mummy’s phone.”
With those words, Rita was sated. Martha hugged her husband once again, and then got straight back to work. There were even more patients to deal with now, and the medical supplies were starting to run low.
“This is greyhound five to greyhound twelve, do you read me?” A soldier said into his radio.
“Loud and clear Captain,” the man on the other end said.
“Any sign of more civilians?” Asked the Captain.
“Negative,” he replied. “We’re doing our final sweep now.”
“Excellent. Over and out.”
He approached the mobile Military Control Centre, ready to inform Colonel Magambo that the area had been cleared. Just as he was about to knock, she strode out. “Ah, Captain. Is the area clear of civilians?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said proudly, walking with Magambo towards the corner of Bannerman Road. “The troops are doing one last sweep now.”
“Good. And remind me to promote that Sergeant of yours.”
“Of course. Any word from the SDR?”
“Not as yet I’m afraid. We’ll make our way to the safehouse when the troops return.”
They were stood opposite to Thirteen Bannerman Road, staring up at the dark tower. It now appeared to be nighttime, despite the fact it was sunset. Somehow this made the whole scene even more apocalyptic, the absence of light adding to the situation. Suddenly, without warning, a series of figures streamed out of Sarah Jane’s house.
“What the hell,” uttered the Captain, shocked at this.
“Halt,” said Magambo, having noticed the Victorian garb and absence of eyes. “I am Colonel Erisa Magambo, with the Unified Intelligence Taskforce. I demand that you lay down any weapons, and come with us quietly.”
“No soldier of this world, can hold back our word,” they chanted in whispered tones. “We are the Whisper Men, prepare to meet your doom.”
“Captain, if you would,” said Magambo, raising her pistol at the Whisper Men.
“Greyhound twelve, this is greyhound four. We’ve got hostiles at number Thirteen. Possible code red,” he said, before raising his pistol as well.
“We’ll be at your location in seconds,” the man responded.
Moments later, the soldiers rushed into position, using the remaining vehicles for cover, they had them surrounded. But the Whisper Men just stood still, whispering away indistinctly, like they were waiting for something. The soldiers meanwhile, awaited their orders, targets in sight.
Still standing perfectly still, the Whisper Men raised their arms to their sides as one. Roots sprung up from the ground, fracturing the area even further. They immediately latched onto the mobile military control centre, and crushed it like a child screwing up paper. Bloodcurdling screams could be heard from within, as the soldiers and technicians still inside were crushed as well.
“Open fire,” commanded Magambo.
They all fired at the still whispering figures, but they merely walked straight towards them, one arm outstretched. The gunfire didn’t seem to affect them in the slightest, and appeared to pass straight through them.
“Retreat to the safehouse. Now!” Magambo commanded loudly.
Still they approached.
Martha was currently tending to a young girl, one they’d found wandering the streets. They couldn’t find any record of her, nor did they know where she came from. She had told them her name, Fern, but she had subsequently passed out. Right now, Martha was trying to get some fluids into her, as she was severely dehydrated. There wasn’t really anything else to be done, this was the best they could do.
Mickey had gone into the other room to speak with Kate and the others, leaving Rita playing away on whatever game it was. She would quite happily sit for hours, and right now, anything to keep her mind off what was happening was a good thing.
“Ex-excuse me, ma’am,” said the soldier in the corner with the broken leg.
“Yes? The pain affecting you again?” Asked Martha, having already seen to him.
“I- yes, erm, I don’t know. There’s something terribly wr-wrong with me,” he replied, panicked.
“Listen to me, it's just a broken leg,” she responded, trying to reassure the man.
“No, it's in my head!”
“What whisp- oh my god!” Martha exclaimed in horror, watching as the man in front of her changed.
His skin turned pale, his teeth became jagged and yellow, and his eyes vanished leaving empty sockets. The transformation was over in mere seconds, with many of the surrounding patients screaming in fear. He sat bolt upright, his clothes replaced with Victorian dress, and a top hat adorned his head.
“The woman who walked this Earth, will walk this Earth no more. Everything shall fall away, the Trickster’s lands these are.”
“Out now! Everybody out!” Shouted Martha, grabbing Rita on the way to the door.
“Miss Lethbridge-Stewart,” said Erisa Magambo, entering the kitchen-diner. “I have just lost more than a dozen men to these so-called Whisper Men. But they didn’t kill them, they transformed them into their likeness with those damned roots.”
“The roots aren’t just fast-growing, they have something else inside them. It allows them to transform anyone into these, as you say, Whisper Men. Anyone who has been touched by them for any length of time will be transformed eventually.”
“Do we have a way to combat it?” Magambo asked.
“No,” said Mickey, leaning against the wall. “At this stage, the only way to stop this is by eliminating the Trickster. But that’s virtually impossible.”
“Without Sarah Jane we-” Kate started, before everyone suddenly streamed out of the garage.
“Kate, we’ve got a problem,” said Martha, holding onto Rita. “One of the soldiers, he just transformed into this creature.”
Almost as soon as she’d said this, several more figures popped up outside the windows in the Kitchen-Diner. This hissed menacingly, before whispering away, soundless.
“Oh dear god!”
“Everyone, into position,” Colonel Magambo ordered, drawing her pistol again.
Martha hurriedly put the scared Rita down, leaving her to stand in the corner with Mickey, McGillop, and the remaining technicians. Kate, Martha, and a few other agents drew their pistols as well, while the few soldiers within the safe house piled into the room.
“You lot, stay behind me, Rita you too, and cover your ears,” said Mickey, taking out his pistol too. He would have to use his off hand, but in these circumstances it was better than nothing.
Everyone was ready, Whatever happened next, they were prepared for it.
Osgood barged into the room, barely noticing the villainous creatures outside. “Sarah Jane, she’s gone!”
“Gone where?” Kate inquired, not moving from her position.
“Back to Bannerman Road to stop the Trickster!”
The Whisper Men had clearly registered this, as their incessant chattering stopped. They all turned their heads towards Osgood, who, upon noticing them, recoiled in fear. Baring their teeth, the hideous creatures stepped forwards.
“Kill, kill, kill,” they hissed, passing through the walls.
“Open fire!” Magambo shouted.
They had tried this before, and it had failed. The bullets ricocheted off the walls effortlessly. Magambo edged forward, a vengeance to kill corrupting her.
“Magambo, stand down!” Kate ordered.
“The threat must be neutralised!” Magambo roared as a Whisper Man slid out of the wall, gripping the soldier by her throat. The Whisper Man hissed in her face as she choked at the lack of air. Rita let out a blood curdling scream, wrapping her small arms around Mickey’s leg.
Bullets were fired at the Whisper Man, but they simply passed through it. Its compatriots surfaced, skulking towards them with their incessant whispering. Death was on the horizon.
And just like that, in their darkest moment, hope came in the form of a burst of bright light. The Whisper Men halted, clutching their heads and screaming in agony. The one that attempted to strangle Magambo writhed in agony. The woman didn’t hesitate when she placed the gun on the creature’s temple and fired, a pool of blood splattering and staining her face and clothes.
“That was a person!” Kate cried out, shocked.
“They are monsters,” Magambo retorted. “And as Colonel, I cannot allow them to continue. Everybody out.”
The Colonel strode over to a cabinet, and flicked it open to reveal an explosive.
“Who authorised you to bring in a bomb?” Kate demanded.
“This safe house is densely populated!” Martha roared in horror. Osgood hurriedly grabbed Rita and hastily dragged her out the door, closely followed by McGillop. The Whisper Men were oblivious to their plan, registering nothing but pain.
“I am Colonel Erisa Magambo of the Unified Intelligence Taskforce. It is my obligation and right to defend this planet by any means possible, regardless of the stringent views of a Lethbridge-Stewart,” Magambo stated proudly, activating the bomb. “And I will not have these creatures plague my planet any longer.”
“You’re crazy,” Mickey growled, pushing past her and slamming his closed fist on the fire alarm. The shrill ring echoed around the building, followed by cries and pounding footsteps. The Colonel fled without remorse, followed by a livid Kate. Mickey turned to follow when he noticed Martha was motionless. “Martha, there’s nothing we can do.”
“There’s nothing you can do for them now. I’m sorry, but it's true. You dying isn’t going to do anyone any good,” his eyes drifted to the bomb. “We can’t stay here. Come on.”
The pair left the safe house reluctantly. They broke into a run, only just getting out of the blast radius when the whole building exploded. The rubble was projected across the street, leaving the place in ruins. Sharing a look, Martha and Mickey went over to their daughter whom Osgood was sitting with.
Kate, meanwhile, was already in a heated discussion with Colonel Magambo. She was only just keeping her cool. “What you did in there was wrong. I don’t care how you defend your actions,” she said, seething. “We don’t even know if there was a cure!”
“Miss Lethbridge-Stewart, may I remind you that I hold a superior rank to that of yourself.”
“If my father were here today he would be outraged.”
“Your father would have done what was necessary. You’ve read the reports.”
“Yes, I have. But I also knew him. He wouldn’t have agreed with this, and neither do I.”
“Well I don’t need your agreement. The higher ups wanted this dealt with, and I have done my duty.”
“Your duty?” Kate said, sickened by her very words. “This isn’t your duty, this is way beyond that. Since when did UNIT condone the murder of innocents?”
“Those Whisper Men, they killed my men. And they would have killed us too. Those things were not people, they were just mindless drones.”
“You really are deluded,” said Kate, exasperated. “Mark my words, Colonel. I’m going to fight tooth and claw to bring this organisation up to scratch, and when I do, I’ll find somewhere to put you.” “A threat? From a Lethbridge-Stewart? You’ll ruin your father’s reputation, this way.”
“Well, if Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is forced to be the infallible mediator, I suppose she’s going to have to leave, isn’t she?”
“What are you implying?”
With that, Kate strode away, leaving Erisa Magambo standing alone.
Martha and Mickey climbed out of a black jeep, with Rita now fast asleep. It had been a very long day, and night had fallen.
“Are you sure we can’t be of any help at the Tower?” Martha asked.
“No, you’ve done plenty today already. You deserve the night off,” Kate said, smiling. “In fact, take the whole week off.”
“You sure?” Martha questioned.
“Yes, one hundred percent. We’ll need to tidy up a bit, but I’m sure we’ll manage.”
“There’s a lot of clearing up to do,” Mickey pointed out.
“Well yes, there always is. Thank you again, both of you.”
“Any time,” said Martha.
“Now, I really must be off. See you again soon.”
With that, Kate’s car sped off. Martha and Mickey waved, before heading into their house once more. “Well, Mr Smith. That was an interesting day,” Martha drawled tiredly, resting her head on Mickey’s shoulder.
“That's one way of putting it. Let's get this one to bed.”
The two of them headed upstairs to put their wonderful daughter to bed. She was fast asleep in Martha’s arms, without a care in the world.
“She was just lying there! No scratches at all!” Osgood informed Kate, “I don’t know how she managed it, she was the only one of the injured who survived!”
“I’ll handle this,” Kate assured her. “Make sure nobody enters.”
Kate waited until Osgood had left the hospital room before she approached the girl. She was young, nineteen at best. Her chest rose and fell gently. She was still asleep. Kate sat down and waited patiently.
She wasn’t sure how many minutes passed, but the girl soon awoke from her slumber. She eyed Kate curiously, her bright blue eyes shimmered with curiosity. There was something strange about her. Kate couldn’t quite put her finger on it.
“Who are you?” the girl asked.
“My name is Kate Leth-” Kate paused. “Kate Stewart. Do you remember what happened to you?”
“Well, do you have any family we can contact?”
The girl tilted her head in confusion. “I don’t have a family.”
“No family?” Kate repeated, her eyebrows furrowed in confusion, “Do you remember your name?”
The girl lapsed into silence, staring at Kate for the longest time, attempting to find an answer to her simple question.
“Fern,” the girl decided on. “My name is Fern.”
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