Megan (sanestlunatic) wrote in quillofrassilon,

NaNo 2009, Chapter 11

The phone rang in the hours just before dawn, and Martha disentangled herself from John to answer it, squinting blurrily at the caller ID. "Malcolm? I'm really not the person to call at...whatever time it is when your interdimensional toaster explodes in your face." John cracked one eye open to peer at her, then promptly pulled a pillow over his face.

"No, no!" Malcolm stammered, and followed this with a rush of technobabble that Martha couldn't even begin to translate. She was really going to throttle him if this was something inconsequential – after she got a few more hours of sleep, anyway.

She took a deep breath and tried to wake up a little more. "Slowly, Malcolm, and in English, yeah?"

He gave what sounded like a wail of anguish, then tried again. "Remember, I said that we'd be peaking soon, in terms of Rift activity? Well, I believe that yesterday's sudden massive increase of activity was our peak."

Which, Martha thought, was obvious to anybody with eyes, but she prodded John with a foot anyway; if Malcolm was at work, she would probably have to deliver some of Torchwood's equipment to him. "Yeah," she agreed, not really knowing what else to say – which was entirely too common during conversations with Malcolm at any time of day.

"Well, first of all, it's not a peak, it's a plateau. Instead of decreasing, debris – both organic and inorganic – has been coming through at a constant rate." He paused. "That's not entirely true, I suppose; there was a surge period when we hit the peak, but it's levelled off at a plateau that's still decidedly higher than the curve I'd plotted out."

It was entirely too early in the morning for science and math – or anything other than going back to bed, in her opinion. "Yeah, but there's nothing we can do about it, Malcolm," she told him wearily. "Look, my friend Jack brought some equipment that you might want to poke around at, I'll get through the barricades at a reasonable hour. Like, once I've showered and dressed and had breakfast. Normal things like that."

"Mmph," John agreed from under the pillow, showing absolutely no inclination to get up – which Martha had to admit was perfectly sensible, all things considered.

"Er. Well. The other reason why I was calling you is because they've got someone locked up in solitary – you know, the group of people who...aren't your friends? I was here when they took her by."

"Her?" Martha suddenly had a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.

"I didn't get a good look at her, but, yes, she was, ah, rather decidedly female, with red hair."

Martha moved the phone away for a moment so she could let loose with a rather unladylike stream of profanity. "Right," she said wearily once she'd calmed down. "I'll let my mates know – we'll be there in...oh, God, probably an hour, maybe two?" She wished it could be sooner, but you could only manage so much at this time of day, especially with curfews and barricades in effect.

"The SUV," Jack replied immediately once she told him about the situation. "Nobody is going to mess with that beast – and it looks official enough that everybody'll assume it just belongs to someone else. Look, Sarah Jane's going to stay here to monitor the situation – we'll be in contact with her via earpieces, as usual."

"Did Mr Smith come up with anything overnight?" Martha asked.

"Nah, nothing new that we can find. His findings agree with the ones this friend of yours came up with, though. Looks like he knows his stuff, all right." Jack paused for a moment to think. "Give me...twenty minutes to get to your place. Possibly less, if I end up running a few soldiers down."

"God, Jack," she groaned, "someday, you're going to get into trouble that even your position can't get you out of."

"Probably today!" he agreed cheerfully. "I've never illegally sprung someone from UNIT's solitary."

"...what, you've done it legally – never mind, we haven't got time for stories. I'll try to have some sort of food ready by the time you get here, but I'm not making any promises." Especially because John would be the one making it; Martha would have to shower and dress quickly. "Just be careful on your way here – maybe just run over UNIT troops or something."

"Right, I'll be sure to ask them for ID beforehand," Jack retorted. "See you in a bit, Martha." And then he hung up, leaving Martha alone with her worries. She wondered what UNIT knew about Donna that she didn't – there was no logical way they could've made the connection between her and rest of what had been happening. She'd only managed to stumble across it more or less blindly.

John came out of the bathroom then, one towel wrapped around his waist as he used the other to briskly dry his hair. "When are we leaving?" he asked around the toothbrush in his mouth.
Martha arched an eyebrow. "Sorry, you were planning on strolling into a UNIT base? Have you looked in the mirror lately? I know it's hardly your fault, but if anybody gets a good look at you, you'll be chucked down in the cells with Donna. And any other time, that might be a viable plan, but not now. I'm sorry, John, but you'll just have to stay here."

He deflated a little, nearly pouting. "Why do I have to stay here while you and Jack go off and have all the fun? Sitting here and doing nothing is so boring."

Actually, the thought of leaving him alone in her flat with an assortment of electronic appliances didn't sound especially appealing to Martha, either, but she didn't exactly have anything else to do with him. She shook her head. "Look, I haven't got time to argue about this," she huffed. "Jack's going to be here in about fifteen minutes, and I've still got to get ready. Just see if you can throw together some food without burning the kitchen down, please?"

John stalked off into the kitchen, muttering sulkily to himself.

"And put on some clothes!" she added just before she closed the bathroom door.

By the time she finished showering and dressing, Jack had made himself at home in her kitchen, sitting at the counter and eating a fried egg sandwich. "G'morning," he greeted her around a mouthful of sandwich. "Though the good part might be questionable."

On the bright side, the kitchen wasn't on fire, which Martha regarded as a definite plus. There was even a sandwich on freshly-toasted whole grain wheat bread for her, straight from the skillet.

"Jack says I can come along and keep an eye on things from the SUV," John said triumphantly, as if challenging Martha to tell him otherwise, but she just rolled her eyes and shook her head, biting into her sandwich instead. It was, she thought, entirely too much like being the parent of a teenager, something she hadn't expected to have to deal with for a couple more decades.

"All right," she said finally, helping herself to a travel mug filled to the brim with coffee. "I've got my medical kit and tranq gun – just a pistol, I don't anticipate needing the rifle." Which, of course, meant she probably would, given Murphy's Law, but she didn't want to think about that just now. "Jack, you've got your firearms, ammo, and the portable rift monitors, right?"

"And a flash drive with some of Tosh's notes," he reminded her. "I hope your friend will be able to make some sense of them, because none of us can."

"I just hope we aren't barking up the wrong tree entirely," Martha said darkly. "John, you're going to monitor electronics and maintain the connection linking us to Sarah Jane. I wish I could say that I can get you into the base's security remotely through some sort of back door or something, but that takes more computer knowledge than I'll ever have."

"That," Jack told her, "is where our charm and persuasion come in."

Martha eyed him for a moment. "Yeah, you try and be a little less charming than usual, okay? You're a bit notorious 'round these parts yourself." He probably was nearly as likely to get recognised as John was, but Martha knew that it would be fruitless to even try and tell him that he couldn't go – and she certainly didn't want to go in on her own.

"Aye-aye." Jack saluted her, grinning. "Come on, then, let's hit the trail." He grabbed his own coffee and his keys, then led the way out of the flat.

"You didn't run into trouble on the way here, did you?" Martha asked him as they headed downstairs.

"Oh, nothing major. Like I said, nobody wants to mess with something like that, not with emergency lights flashing, to boot." He shrugged. "No mad beasties, either; they must be tied up elsewhere."

"And hopefully not converging en masse on UNIT headquarters," John added. "After all, if they were drawn to her before, who's to say that it's not still happening? She's not going to suddenly stop being some sort of magnet – mind you, I haven't the slightest idea how she managed that. The metacrisis on its own shouldn't have caused those sorts of effects." He paused for a moment. "Though if he did what I thought he did..."

"What?" Martha stopped in her tracks, causing John to run into her and nearly make both of them fall down the stairs. Her voice was razor-sharp, and both men flinched at it.

"Humans aren't capable of handling all that power," he explained slowly, clearly afraid Martha was going to hurt him somehow. "It didn't happen to me because my genetic base was Gallifreyan, but Donna...her mind would have been broken if she'd stayed the way she was. She would have died, Martha. The only thing he would've been able to do was block off that part of her mind entirely – not only the part she received from him, but all the memories she associated with him. Being reminded of it could break down the wall and trigger everything all over again."

Martha clenched her hands into fists until her fingernails dug half-crescent marks into her palms. "He should have given her a choice," she said quietly.

"Martha." Jack took her arm and tugged gently. "This is no time to discuss moral dilemmas. You two can argue all you like later, all right?"

"Anyway," John continued, drawing back from Martha, "some of her...I guess presence is the best way to translate it into English – it could have leaked through and sort of pulled things coming through the rifts to her. That's the only thing I can think of, and it's really not terribly plausible." He ran his fingers through his hair nervously as he finished, still keeping a wary eye on Martha.

Martha sighed and started moving down the stairs again. "We'll figure it out later, once we've got Donna safe again. That's what's important right now."

"I don't think it was right of him to leave her like that, either," John told Martha quietly as he got seated in the SUV. "I can see why he did it – but he should have thought of all the consequences first. Something like this never should have happened."

Martha just ignored him, staring stiffly ahead through the windscreen. No matter what he said, she was finding it hard to sympathise with the Doctor on this – maybe it was because this was even worse than everything he'd done to the rest of them previously. At least they still had their memories for comfort; Donna didn't have anything.

The rest of the trip was just as silent; pre-dawn London was silent and deserted in an eerie way that never happened in the city. Martha found it unsettling – she had lived in the city all her life, and it seemed dead now. It made the skin on her arms crawl and prickle into gooseflesh.

Jack stopped a short distance from the base and glanced over at Martha. "So. Are we going in the front or aiming for rear penetration?" Even his innuendo couldn't lift the pervasive sensation of strangeness.

Still, Martha gave his question due consideration. "They've got to be down to a skeleton crew manning the base now," she mused. "I don't know who's likely to be the gate sentry, but we ought to be able to get past them as long as they don't radio in for confirmation."

"And if they do?"

Martha shrugged one black-clad shoulder. "Then we step on it, I guess."

Jack winced. "I was afraid you were going to say that. I could really pass on angry men with guns firing at me, you know. Maybe we ought to find another way in."

"Where's your sense of adventure, Jack?" Martha gave him a thin-lipped smile. "We're going in the front. Being sneaky about it is an even better way to end up filled with bullet holes." It made sense to her, at any rate - and she didn't want to admit that she didn't really know of any back ways into the base. They kept the blueprints well-guarded (though she didn't doubt that Torchwood had managed to acquire them before Tosh's death).

As they talked, John was fiddling with the headsets, and now he handed one to each of them. "Best test them before you go in," he advised. "You don't
want to get caught in there without a connection to the outside."

"Might as well teach your mom how to do this," Jack scoffed, fitting his behind his ear. "I've been infiltrating secret bases since before UNIT was even founded."

"Aren't you a little old for your mum jokes, Jack?" Sarah Jane's voice came in clearly over the headsets. "Not to mention that even I know those went out of style years ago."

"If they were ever in style," Martha commented wryly. "Everything connecting properly, John?" She assumed that something - probably the Doctor's knowledge of technology - made him capable of doing all this. Not that there was much to do past the initial setup; he just had to monitor things now.

He peeked out from behind the front seat to look at them. "Oh, yeah, just about." Martha couldn't help but notice that his hair seemed to be ridiculously unruly even without the use of styling products. "I'm just giving it a little boost to the range, nothing to worry about..."

Jack and Martha exchanged worried glances, bracing themselves for the inevitable noise of sizzling electronics that seemed to occur whenever the Doctor modified, well, anything.

"There we go, all done, and good as new! Well, better than new, actually, but, you know, twenty-first Earth technology isn't precisely what I'd call difficult to modify. Easier with a sonic screwdriver, of course, but who wants to take the easy way out?" He darted a nervous look at them, running his fingers through his hair. "Just had to do a wee bit of rewiring, is all. Of course, I had to reroute everything to the backup system while I was doing it, might've lost a little data there, but nothing to worry about. It's all back on the main system now and working fine!"

Martha knew that the headsets were capable of transmitting over an area the size of Cardiff and glanced at John, concern in her eyes. It was obvious that he didn't want to be left on his own, out of the action completely. She felt a little guilty for it, but, honestly, she would have taken him along if they'd been doing anything else - having someone who looked exactly like a Time Lord in UNIT, well, it just wasn't safe these days.

"Just, you know, good luck." He waved a hand vaguely. "Be safe, and all that. Don't do anything I wouldn't do. Actually, wait, you probably ought to do things I wouldn't do - well, things he wouldn't do, at any rate." John cocked his head to one side, looking slightly bemused. "Did that make sense?"

Martha smiled softly at him. "We'll be fine," she reassured him as she opened the door and made sure her equipment was properly secured.

"Do things the Doctor wouldn't do." Jack snapped a crisp two-fingered salute. "Got it."

"Like staying safe!" John called after them as they jogged across the pavement together.

"Bit overprotective, don't you think?" Jack asked Martha, his tone one of perfect bland innocence – which, with Jack, said far more than any lewd comment could have.

Martha refused to rise to the bait. "Pretty justified, though," she pointed out mildly. "UNIT don't take kindly to intruders, even at the best of times."

"Oh, Martha, we aren't intruders. You're an employee, and I'm a member of an agency they happen to be on friendly terms with."

"I believe the term they use is de facto recognition, actually. It was de jure until UNIT separated from the UN."

"Fancy international law terms? Martha Jones, you set my heart all aflutter." Jack grinned flirtatiously at her. "Of course, I've always loved people who speak more than one language."

She paused to think about this for a moment. "Jack, you're a man. That doesn't even make sense." Martha rolled her eyes. "Look, can we maybe focus on what we're doing for a moment? Preferably before we get shot." She flipped the switch on her headset just before they came up to the gates, then pulled her ID out of a pouch on her belt.

The sentry manning the gates wasn't someone she recognised, but from his insignia, he looked like a raw private – a good sign that the base was more or less deserted. She nodded at him as she passed over her ID; the one Jack produced was a driving licence for someone whose name was obviously not Jack Harkness and wouldn't trigger every red flag on the computer.

He waved them through, raising the barrier, and Martha just barely turned her head to give Jack a fraction of a smile. They'd made it through the easiest bit, anyway. The problem was that the containment cells were likely to be in the most heavily guarded area; Martha barely had the clearance to get into them, but didn't have an excuse for being there. The cells - and whatever else went on down there - had their own medic (one, she suspected, with far more flexible morals). Still, if there was one thing Martha was good at, it was bluffing her way through things.

"You worried yet?" Jack muttered, his voice barely audible. They'd gone past a guard with an M16 on their way in - though guns didn't pose a problem for Jack, just a minor annoyance, they could definitely cause complications for Martha.

"Can't act worried," Martha replied in the same low tones. "The key to getting away with things is to act like you belong there."

"As if we didn't all learn that decades ago," Sarah Jane commented wryly over the headsets. "You should've been around in the seventies and eighties, Martha. You could've engaged in all the espionage you wanted."

"Ooh, Sarah Jane, I bet you made one foxy spy back then," Jack teased her. "Giving Emma Peel a run for her money."

"Sans leather catsuit, thank you very much. I was a respectable journalist, Jack Harkness, no matter what thoughts are going through your head."

"I'm just thinking that if I end up getting stranded in the past again, I ought to pay a visit to London in the eighties," he retorted.

Martha was beginning to understand the Doctor's comments about Jack's flirting - though, looking back, she wasn't entirely sure they weren't partly due to jealousy. Had Jack been with Ianto then? she wondered. Not that she would expect him to be monogamous, were she in Ianto's shoes; she got the feeling that Jack just wasn't that sort of person. (And she couldn't help but wonder what had happened between the two of them after she and John had left the previous night. Not that Sarah Jane wasn't a fully-grown adult - old enough to be her mum, certainly - and more than capable of making her own decisions.)

"Jack," John broke through, "this isn't exactly meant to be your private sex party line. Really, can't you manage to stop flirting for ten minutes? Actually, wait, don't answer that, because I imagine the answer'll involve flirting with me. quiet."

And they could hear Sarah Jane's laughter over Jack's silence. "This is a bit different to spending one's time with teenagers, you know - mind you, I'm not sure if that's in a good way or a bad way."

"I don't want to know," Martha commented wryly. "Look, we've got to stop here to visit a mate of mine - the one who called me about this in the first place." She peered at Malcolm's door, but the door to his lab was made of thick steel, without any windows to indicate whether or not the lab was occupied. (They'd learnt that solid steel was necessary after the first few explosions, or so he'd told her.) She pressed the buzzer next to the door - then thought better of it, as Malcolm tended to conveniently ignore it at the best of times, and pulled out her mobile to send him a text. A few moments later, the door opened a crack and Malcolm stuck his head of unruly hair through to grin at them.

"Martha! Is this your, ah, friend from Wales?" He was as excited as Martha had ever seen him, nearly bouncing on the balls of his feet. (He'd been doing the same thing for a good week after he me the Doctor.) She wondered again what it would've been like if he'd been able to meet Tosh in person, rather than just reading her notes - they'd probably have managed to figure out time travel all on their own, and a fair few other things besides.

"Jack Harkness," Jack introduced himself with his usual smile, extending a hand for Malcolm to shake, and Martha swore she could nearly hear John and Sarah Jane rolling their eyes - though that could've just been the sound of her own. But Malcolm was, perhaps, the only person to pay more attention to Jack's wrist than to his face. He ignored the hand that Jack had offered, peering instead at the wrist strap poking out from under his coat sleeve.

"That looks -" He grabbed Jack's arm and lifted it closer, pushing the wool of his coat back. "Hmm, simple construction, particularly with the organic components - the use of tanned hide is particularly primitive and somewhat anachronistic compared to the rest of it - but the body appears to be of an unfamiliar alloy." Jack raised his eyebrows at Martha over Malcolm's head as he was rapturing over the vortex manipulator, and Martha shrugged apologetically. Tosh had always been a quiet sort of person, from what Martha had seen of her, but Malcolm rarely stopped talking. (He was rather like the Doctor in that regard.) "Where did you get it? How did you get it?"

Martha decided to take the easy way out and grabbed the collar of Malcolm's labcoat, bodily dragging him into the lab. Jack, a bemused expression on his face, followed. "It's a long story, and it takes place long ago, in a galaxy far, far away - by which I actually mean the future, but that just sounds better, don't you think?"

"No," John commented. "Nice try, though, Han."

"Science fiction films sort of tend to lose their lustre when you've lived them out," Sarah Jane added. "When I saw the last one, I just kept thinking about how fake everything looked."

Digging the flash drive out of her pocket, Martha did her best to tune out the banter (was she the only one taking this seriously?) as she passed it over to Malcolm. "This is what's left of the research one of Jack's team conducted on the Rift in Cardiff," she explained. "There could be more, but if there is, it's encrypted so nobody else can get to it. Jack's got their equipment in his bag; hopefully there's some schematics for it in there. I expect you'd manage to figure it out anyway, knowing you, but our time is a bit limited, so we need to figure out the best way to modify it as soon as possible." Martha paused for a moment, chewing her lower lip, then took a pen and scribbled down a pair of numbers on a nearby notepad. "Look, if something happens to us, you need to make sure Donna gets out. The first one is for Sarah Jane Smith - I'm sure you've heard of her, yeah? She'll help get you somewhere safe. The other one - don't call it unless things go completely pear-shaped, and I mean beyond anything that might have happened to us." She really hoped it didn't come down to any of it - but they needed someone else inside the base, and Malcolm was the only person she was willing to trust. He was a little nervous, and not exactly suited for their sort of work, but she knew he'd do his best.

Malcolm nodded solemnly, his eyes wide and owl-like behind his glasses, and took both the flash drive and the piece of paper, tucking them into a pocket, then ran his fingers through his hair. "Right. I'll get to work on those Rift devices posthaste; it'll be interesting to see what someone who's been able to go beyond theory has invented." His eyes darted to the wrist strap again, and it was obvious that he wanted to take a closer look at it, but he grasped the handle of the bag once Jack handed it to him (and nearly dropped it on the floor). "Good luck," he told them. "I'm positive you'll return unscathed."

"At least only missing a limb or two," Jack reassured him. "Don't worry, I've been doing this for a living for as long as I can remember. Possibly longer. And Martha's just a natural."

"Natural, my arse," Martha muttered under her breath. Everything she'd learnt about this sort of thing had been the hard way, through three hundred and sixty-five days of evading the Master's notice - it hadn't all been the perception filter. "And," she said a little louder, "I will not tolerate any comments about the attractiveness of said arse, Jack." Deciding it was past time that they left, she cast a pointed look in the direction of the door, and then, deciding that she was too impatient to wait for Jack to get the hint, she began herding him towards the door.

"Look, I'm sure you're having loads of fun with your banter, or whatever you want to call it," John interrupted when they were back out in the corridor, "but do you two really have any idea where you're going? I imagine they like to keep the actual location of the solitary confinement cells a secret - you know, the kind of secret that actually remains secret?"

"I've been trying to get blueprints, but even Mr Smith can only find them for the top level, and those are behind more than a few layers of security. Not exactly in line with the building code, that, but I expect that if you're UNIT, you aren't concerned with that sort of thing," Sarah Jane added.

Martha squared her shoulders and looked at the lift at the end of the corridor. "Only one way to find out, and that's not going to change if we stand here talking about it." In fact, she wanted to keep moving as much as possible; someone watching the security cameras might not notice two people passing through the halls, but they would definitely draw attention if they stayed in one place for an extended period of time. "Going down." She grinned nervously at Jack.

"That's what -" Jack was cut off in mid-sentence by something landing on his back - and, from the sound of his undignified yelps, it was digging its claws in. A few seconds later, a familiar black-furred head appeared over Jack's shoulder, and Shadow settled down (draping himself across the back of Jack's neck) and licked the back of his paw, grooming his face.

"Oi!" Martha glared at him indignantly. "Where have you been, then?" She didn't ask how he'd been getting in and eating the food she left out during the day; when you had a pet alien cat-fox-rabbit thing, there were some things you just accepted. "Probably pulling your starving cat act on someone else, eh, you glutton?"

Jack eased his hand off the butt of his gun. "Martha, what is on my back, and why is it purring?" In response, Shadow licked his ear, then kneaded Jack's shoulders with his paws. "Ow! You need to get those things trimmed."

"...Martha. Don't tell me that's the animal K-9 found."

"He's been missing for a week," Martha protested helplessly. "I don't even know what happened to him, and now he just...shows up in the middle of a military base on high alert!" Though he'd actually appeared in a corner of her office before - another thing she tried to avoid thinking about, because he certainly didn't seem to be doing anything harmful.

"Mrr," he agreed as he jumped down from Jack's shoulders and rubbed against Martha's legs, looking entirely too self-satisfied for his own good.

"Yeah, yeah, you bloody cat," Martha grumbled good-naturedly while she petted him. "I swear, I'm drugging all your food from now on. Or filling the flat with catnip."

"Do you know what that is?" Jack asked, his eyebrows raised in surprise. "And how the hell it got here?"

Martha scooped the cat into her arms and straightened up again. "My pain in the arse pet cat...thing. I think he slipped through with one of the larger aliens - he's not been inclined to tell me where he's from, though." She idly rubbed his stomach, carding her fingers through the golden fur.

"There's a race of creatures called Chalabhnin cats - they aren't precisely cats, but they have their fair share of feline DNA, and humans are lazy when it comes to naming things. Anyway, they're one of the most expensive and highly sought after pets - mainly because of their latent ability to teleport, so they're even less likely to stay where you want them to than normal cats are. Teleportation restrictors are ridiculously expensive, and the cats aren't particularly fond of them." Jack eyed Shadow suspiciously. "I suspect your little friend here managed to slip his bonds and escape to Earth. They also form psychic connections with their owners, and are capable of reading surface thoughts - and they won't stay with an owner they don't like."

Shadow's eyes were just slits as Martha petted him, but she got the distinct feeling of smug satisfaction from him. "Yeah, probably 'cos I spoil you rotten," she muttered to him, and he flicked one of his long ears in response - though she had no idea what that was supposed to mean. "Though I still don't know why you're here now; you ought to have more common sense than that."

He wriggled free of Martha's grip and hopped back to the ground, where he then headed over to the lift doors, looking back at them with an expectant glint in his golden eyes.

"Great. My psychic cat is solving my problems for me," she commented. "Now you're going to set me up on a blind date, aren't you? At least pterodactyls and robot dogs don't muck about in your affairs."

"No," Sarah Jane sighed, "I think that list just consists of pterodactyls."

"Do you really think he knows where Donna is?" John asked. "All right, so he's intelligent, but, honestly, most species can learn to understand English, psychic or no. That doesn't mean he's some sort of, I dunno, magical tracking device or something. That's not how things work."

Martha was pretty sure that if Shadow had been able to hear that remark, he would've given John a disdainful look. As it was, he switched his bushy tail irritably, clearly waiting for the two humans to follow him.

"Look." Martha wasn't in the mood to argue with anybody at the moment. "We're planning on going down, he wants us to go down. As it is, without an actual tracking device, which I probably should've thought of before now, we haven't got anything better than the psychic cat. And that is a sentence I never thought I'd utter." The entire situation was giving her a headache; she'd envisioned slipping in, rescuing Donna, and leaving, not all this ridiculous arguing. She quickly crossed the distance to the lift doors and hit the button, which she thought ought to stop all further comments from the so-called peanut gallery.

Jack watched her, a slightly wry smile on his face; she was almost surprised that he hadn't offered up his own opinion, but figured (or hoped, at least) that he agreed with her. "And did you figure out a plan to get past the lock they probably have on the lift?" he asked nonchalantly. "Hopefully it's not anything biological, because I didn't bring any materials for that along. I figured UNIT are more likely to use the mechanical route."
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