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Myfanwy 2

January 2018

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The Dragon and the Nightingale - Chapter Seven

The Dragon and the Nightingale - Chapter Seven
Author: Milady Dragon
Series: Dragon-Verse
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto; Toshiko/Kathy; Rhiannon/Johnny
Warnings: Language, Angst, mentions of torture
Spoilers: Up through Series One, also "Children of Earth" (as pertains to Alice Carter's background), and Doctor Who S3 E11 and E12, "Utopia", "The Sound of Drums", and "Last of the Time Lords"
Disclaimer:  I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better.  I also don't own Doctor Who.
Author's note:  This story tells how the Year That Never Was ended.  There really isn't any timing in this, because of how things end. 



Summary:  Things are coming to a head in the fight against the Master.  Ianto and Martha Jones are  in the final leg of their journey, and have come home to Great Britain for the end of the paradox...however it should end.




Three Hundred and Sixty-Four Days into the Year of the Toclafane

 

It hadn’t been difficult to find Professor Docherty at all.

Nuclear Plant Seven was on the outskirts of London…or what used to be London, before the Toclafane wreaked their particular brand of havoc on it.  Ianto looked at the battered set of buildings from his perch atop a small rise leading into the complex.  The place was now being used to power the shipworks that had taken over most of area; the rockets themselves were about a mile away, and even in the gathering dusk Ianto thought he could make out their silver nosecones against the blood red sky. 

Martha stood beside him, hitching the straps of her pack up farther onto her shoulders.  The two of them had traveled from Ddraig Llyn, through what was left of Wales and into the heart of what was considered the Master’s key territory.  It had been nerve wracking; but at the same time Ianto had felt a sense of getting closer to the end, and knew that it was just he and Martha who stood against the Master’s plans. 

It was daunting.  But it had to be done.

They’d talked during their trek through the wreck of Great Britain.  Martha had been disturbed by her time in Ddraig Llyn; she’d been certain that the people of the valley had understood the plan and had believed that it would work.  It hadn’t diminished her own confidence, however, and she’d tried to convince Ianto that they wouldn’t need whatever back-up plan that the others had come up with. 

Ianto had, in turn, explained to her why his friends didn’t have her confidence, going back to the Doctor’s deposing of Harriet Jones, and how if he’d simply left well enough alone none of this would be happening.  She understood, or at least she said she did, but it didn’t change her mind.  She still insisted that the Doctor’s plan would succeed, and that everyone had to have faith.

He let it lie.  As much as he cared for Martha, there were just some things they were never going to agree upon, and the Doctor was one of them.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

Martha looked at him fiercely.  “You know it.”

The dragon nodded, and together they set out toward the power plant.

They knew Professor Alison Docherty was firmly in the Master’s pocket, although not by her own choice.  Her son was supposed to be captive in one of the camps, and it was only the hope that the Master would let him free that made her do what she did.  It was the reason the Resistance had chosen her as their way onto the Valiant.  Ianto felt bad for her; she had no way of knowing that her son was dead, and it was only the lie that he was still alive that kept her informing to the Master.   She was just one more innocent bystander in a year full of them.

There was a chain link fence in the way; Ianto looked around, and then quickly transformed long enough to tear the fence apart.  When he was back in human form Martha rolled her eyes at him and called him a show-off.

They made their way across the compound, toward the building that they’d been told was where Professor Docherty made her ‘home’.  It was a corrugated structure resembling a warehouse, and it was in sad shape due to lack of upkeep.  Ianto pulled open the metal door, and then ushered Martha inside; she curtseyed then entered before him, and Ianto made certain the door was shut and bolted before joining her.

The place was full of all sorts of junk; from what they knew, Professor Docherty had been a physicist in another life, but had been conscripted to work in the plant as an engineer.  It looked as if she still kept her hand in, judging from the cobbled together equipment that lined the rickety tables they passed. 

The professor herself was in her late fifties, although looked older.  She didn’t catch sight of them at first; she was banging her hand down onto a battered television and muttering things about “missing Countdown” and something about “Deses” that Ianto just didn’t understand.  “Professor Docherty?” Ianto called, trying to get her attention.

“Busy,” she snapped, not turning around.

“You’ve been expecting us –“

“Don’t care.  I’m busy!”

Ianto rolled his eyes, wondering if Docherty was this eccentric before the Master.  “Too busy for Dragon and Nightingale?”

The professor stopped abusing the television, turning to look at them.   “So, you’re the infamous pair,” she noted, looking at them closely.  “Yeah, the Resistance did tell me you were coming by.  They seem to think you two know how to bring down a Toclafane.”

“They aren’t really called Toclafane,” Martha said.  “That’s the name the Master made up.”

Docherty put her hands on her hips.  “Then what are they?”

“That’s why we’re here.”  Martha dug around in her pack, pulling out a computer disc in a cracked case.   “No one’s been able to look into one of those spheres.  They just can’t seem to be damaged…except once…a lightning strike in South America brought one down just by chance.  I have all the data on this.”

Ianto, of course, didn’t add that dragon-fire seemed to liquefy the Toclafane’s armour as well; that wouldn’t work well with their plans, and there was no way they wanted Ianto’s true nature to get back to that maniac on the Valiant.

Docherty took the disc gingerly, as if she was afraid it would bite her.  She then made her way over to another long table, where an ancient-looking computer sat.  The professor removed the disc from its case and slid it into the tower.   “Oh, whoever thought we’d actually miss Bill Gates…” she muttered as the disc booted.   “Is this the reason you two walked the world?  For a computer disc?”

“No,” Ianto answered.  “We just happened to stumble onto it.”  That was the truth; the lightning strike in South Africa had come just two days before they’d arrived in Johannesburg.   It had been all they could do to smuggle a copy out before the Master’s troops had descended; he hadn’t wanted it to get out that there was a way to destroy his Toclafane.  Unfortunately neither Ianto nor Martha had gotten a look at the shattered sphere, so they still had no idea what was inside.  And it made a good enough cover story to come and visit the good professor.

Data began to fill the computer screen, Docherty’s eyes moving quickly as she absorbed the information.  “There!” she pointed at the screen.  “A current of 58.5 kilo-amperes transferred charge of 510 megajoules precisely.”

 Ianto could follow what she was saying, in part; but then he’d been an eager student of Toshiko Sato’s, and he’d seen the original data before, when Toshiko had checked the disc herself.   “Can you recreate it?” he asked.

The professor shrugged.  “I think so…”  She watched the screen for a moment longer.  “Easily, yes.”

“All right,” Martha said, grinning.  “We’re gonna get ourselves a sphere.”

**********

In the end, it was ridiculously easy to take one of the Toclafane down.

With Ianto acting as bait, they lured one in between two buildings, where the professor had set up her equipment, and with a judicious use of electricity they incapacitated one of the spheres. 

The dragon had to admit that he really wanted to know what was inside.  The Toclafane had become one of many of his personal bogeymen over the last year, and it was a fear that he wanted to know more of, the better to understand it.  He’d never had to go against one – except that once, in North America, and his flame had managed to destroy the Toclafane before it could report back that there was a real dragon in their midst.   He had no idea if one could, in fact, kill him.  It wasn’t something he wanted to test.

The thing was, it wasn’t really necessary to prove that they could damage a Toclafane.  It was simply a means to an end: getting close to Professor Docherty by giving them an actual reason to approach her.  After taking out a single Toclafane, it would appear that they trusted her, and then they would share with her the supposed plan.  She could then report back that they’d been seen and what they were up to.

Easy peasy, as Toshiko would say.

He and Martha managed to wrestle the inert sphere into the professor’s warehouse; Docherty cleared a section of work bench off to make room.  It made Ianto shudder, looking like some miniature Death Star without power going to it.  He only hoped they would be able to crack it before it came back online.

Docherty bumped them both out of the way, going to work on the sealed sphere.  “There’s a seam here,” she muttered, using what looked like a chisel on it.  “Yes, there’s a magnetic clamp…” She put down the chisel.  “If I can just trip it…”

And suddenly, the sphere opened like some sort of metallic flower.

Ianto leaned forward to get a better look, Martha at his shoulder.  What was inside would fuel a few more nightmares.

It was a shrunken, wizened human head.

The dragon felt ill.  Had the Master done this?  Had he somehow corrupted a race of humans and created this abomination? 

Suddenly, lights began flickering on inside the sphere.  Oversized pale eyes snapped open, and all three of them jumped back in pure shock. 

“It’s alive,” the professor gasped.

“Martha,” the head practically crooned.  “Sweet Martha Jones…”

Ianto couldn’t help but shiver at the sheer wrongness in that voice.

“Lovely, kind Martha Jones,” the Toclafane went on.  “You helped us to fly…”

“What is it talking about?” the dragon demanded, looking at his traveling companion.

Martha looked as confused and disgusted as Ianto felt.  “What do you mean?”

“You led us to salvation,” the sphere answered.  “The skies are made of diamonds.”

Martha obviously knew what that meant.

Her hand clasped Ianto’s arm so tightly it would have caused bruises on anyone with lesser skin.   “No,” she denied weakly.  “It can’t be…”

“Martha,” Ianto asked sharply, trying to break her out of her shock.  “What is it?”

She was shaking her head.  “You can’t be him…”

“We share memories,” the Toclafane giggled.  “You sent him to Utopia…”

“Oh God,” Martha was almost hyperventilating, the horror in her dark eyes like a shroud. 

Ianto knew; of course he knew the moment the head used the word ‘Utopia’.  Martha had told him that story on their travels, of how the TARDIS had gone trillions of years into the future and had seen the remnants of the human race.  How she, Jack, and the Doctor had helped those last survivors launch a rocket toward somewhere they only knew as Utopia.

How the kindly professor whom they’d helped had been the Master in human guise.

“What are they?” Professor Docherty was asking, her face pale.

Ianto shivered as Martha answered, “They’re us…the human race from the future.”

It made so much sense, why the Master had wanted to create the paradox in the first place.  Martha had also told him that the Doctor had damaged the TARDIS just enough that the time ship could only travel between two different times: the far future and Ianto’s present. 

Martha confirmed that with her next words.  “The Master stole the Doctor’s time machine, but the coordinates were fused.  It could only travel from 100 trillion years in the future…to when the last place the TARDIS had left, which was over a year ago.”

He wanted desperately to sit down.  This was worse than anything his own imagination had come up with.  Had the Master done this to those far-flung humans?  Or had they done it to themselves and the Master had taken advantage of the situation? 

“We saw the future humans, and tried to help,” Martha went on.  “The Utopia Project was their last hope…”

“It was a lie,” the Toclafane sounded petulant.  “No safety…no diamonds.  Just the cold and the dark.  So we made ourselves pretty.”

“You did this to yourselves.”  Martha sounded as ill and Ianto felt.

“The Master came, and he had a time machine, and he brought us all home.”  There was such sick joy in that child-like voice.

“But you can’t exist here!” Docherty exclaimed.  “This is impossible!  You can’t come to the past and murder your ancestors!  That would cause a paradox!”

“But the Master has the paradox machine,” Martha said.  “It’s why he needed to create it: to ensure the paradox.”

If Ianto hadn’t been determined to end the paradox before, he was now.  What they’d discovered from the downed Toclafane made him want to immediately go up to the Valiant and wring the Master’s neck with his bare claws.  It was only the idea that they’d be up on the carrier tomorrow that was keeping him from rushing up there.

The Toclafane was cackling, and the sound put Ianto’s nerves on edge.  He wanted nothing more for it to shut up, and without thinking he drew his gun and shot into the housing, putting a bullet right between the thing’s eyes. 

**********

Afterward, when the shock had worn off, Docherty had come right out and asked about the rumours about the so-called gun that would kill a Time Lord.  Martha had explained, and had shown the professor the weapon that Toshiko had gadgeted together.  It was their cover, and it was a good one; although anyone with a lick of sense would know that the Doctor would never have sent Martha for a gun and then asked her to use it.  That was why Ianto was around, because he was more than capable of wielding a gun…just ask the dead Toclafane he’d just shot. 

Docherty seemed to buy it, which was good.  Martha had become quite the actress in the last year, and she totally sold it, explaining enough about Time Lord physiology to make the idea of a last resort weapon seem reasonable.   After all, Docherty would be reporting to the Master after they were gone, and he had to believe her. 

Ianto felt sorry for the professor, but once they broke the paradox none of this will have occurred and her son would be back.

Afterward, they left the nuclear plant, heading toward the slave quarters at Bexley, making certain Docherty also had their destination.  Ianto was shaken by what they’d discovered about the Toclafane, and just how insane the Master’s plan truly was.  Bringing the future to conquer the past…it was twisted and obscene, and Ianto knew they had to fix it.  It was no wonder the Great Dragons and the Fae had been unable to see any deeper into the future.

Tomorrow would be the day things would go back to the way they should be.

Ianto might not have all that much faith in the Doctor, but he did have faith in that.



Comments

Can't wait to see how it turns out :D
More up in a bit! :)
Love this update!!
Thanks! More up soon! :)
Wow. What the Master did truly was awful wasn't it? Ianto feels it quite keenly. Though, it is a frightening thought that they came up with on the show. The end of the Universe where there is nothing but the cold end.

In a strange way Martha being unable to really understand Team Torchwood's perspective is a consequence of the shows. A Companion has to have utter faith in the Doctor, otherwise the whole premise of the show doesn't work and the Companions would off the Doctor out of sheer frustration. I think that Torchwood and Doctor Who are sister shows but their core is incompatible.

Loved this chapter - things are really starting to move along! I can't wait for the next one! :)
It was awful. The very idea of nothing left...it's terrible.

You're right about Martha. But I think she does get it once she joins UNIT, since they have an even worse track record of killing things than Torchwood does...Torchwood just gets a bad rap because of what T1 did.

Thanks! More up in a bit. :)
I know humanity has gotten this far by being highly adaptable and stubborn. But being reduced to a head in a tin can...ickickickick! I 'd rather be extinct, thanks!
Xoxoxo
Oh, I know! It's really horrible. *shudders*
It's coming and I'm really looking forward to the Master vs Ianto showdown not to mention The Reunion of Jack and Ianto and yes it requires capital letters ;P

Can Ianto stomp over the Master please??

:)
Yep, it's coming up...in a little bit actually, when I'll be posting the next chapter. Well, the beginning anyway...

We'll see what Ianto does. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
So looking forward to Ianto meeting the Master...and the Doctor. This is going to be EPIC!!
Epic...that's a pretty good word. Hope the end lives up to it! *grins*
Fabulous chapter. The showdown is approaching and I can't wait for the master to get what's coming to him. Jack and Ianto can be reunited at last.
Brilliant hon
D xx

Edited at 2012-02-10 07:35 am (UTC)
Thanks, hon! It is, and it's going to be very interesting...I hope, at least. *grins*

And I think I need their reunion as much as the boys do! :)
Those Toclafane were so creepy. *shudder*
They are, with those childish voices and penchant for cutting things apart... *shudders*
I'm so looking forward to how this pans out!! Such twists and turns! Love it!
Thanks! More up in a bit, and I hope the next chapter is a good one. :)
*stocking up on tea, cookies and chocolate*

When's the next chapter? This is wonderful stuff!!!!!!
Stocking up is good!

Next chapter up in a bit. :)
strongly tomorrow! and after !
More up soon. :)
Read this morning in a rush as usual. Great chapter - I'd probably have my doubts about the Doctor's plan too. Bring on the downfall of the Master.
Thanks, glad you liked it, hon. More coming up in a bit. :)
i am still not happy with the doctor about harriet jones despite martha's unwavering faith.
Yes, I know the feeling.

More up in a bit! :)
*shivers* That was one of the most chilling moments of the whole series, both on TV and here.
You're not kidding, whenever I watch this again it just is so disturbing.