Bambara sat behind the desk in her comfortable leather chair. Her boot covered
feet were up on the desk as she relaxed and took things easy. However her moment
of peace was interrupted when Sergeant Mary Greene bundled into her office and saluted before almost collapsing on the floor.
interrupt you sir, I’ve run all the way here from the radio room.” The
radio room was the nerve centre of UNIT’s worldwide communication network and was located on the other side of the base
to the Brigadier’s office.
breath Greene.” Bambara said slowly.
“I prefer to hear reports without the risk of one of my senior NCO’s passing out because she’s gotten
too soft in the radio room.”
“No time sir.” Greene replied. “It’s an
urgent report, code valiant.”
Bambara stood up. “Sit down there, tell me everything now.”
She listened as Greene explained the weird message.
reports that an IRA saboteur has passed through customs. He’s not on any
police files, only the top brass know about him.”
Alarm sirens started
to sound the alert signal. Bambara pulled her blue coloured beret on to her closely
cropped head. “Oh shame.” She
said before picking up her swagger stick. “You’re with me Greene.” She headed out of her office closely followed by the NCO.
we?” Mike Weston asked his weird and enigmatic friend the Doctor.
The Doctor smiled
and turned on the TARDIS display screen. “Well after that vacation I thought
we’d pop by and visit my dear friend Winifred. She’s one of my best
friends you know.”
“Ah yes, that
military officer you introduced me to just after I met you. She’s rather
hard to take isn’t she? I guess it’s the military life.”
“She was born
into the Army Mike, it’s in her blood.” The Doctor turned the screen
off. “I suppose we should let Alice know that we’ve arrived. After
all this is for her benefit.”
“Will it work
though Doctor?” Mike asked. “Can
you repair her mind?”
“I think so
Mike.” The Doctor said slowly. “I’ve
studied the circuits, read all there is to know about electronic repairs.”
Mike headed towards
the internal door that lead to the interior of the time machine. “I suppose
I should be the one to tell her that we’ve landed. Why do I get stuck with
baby sitting duty again though?”
a kind person Mike.” The Doctor replied.
“Plus she trusts you with the most precious thing in her life, her child.
I’d say it’s more of an honour than a burden.”
Bambara sat in the
passenger side of her jeep while Green drove her towards the site of the disturbance.
“Infiltrating a military base should be a capital offence. Let me
put a few of them up against the wall and then we’ll see how soon they want peace.”
that?” Greene asked, taking one hand off the wheel to point to a strange
“Oh shame.” Bambara swore. “The TARDIS. Trust the Doctor to make an appearance at a time like this.”
“The Doctor?” Greene asked. “Your former scientific
more of a free agent and I only inherited him from Lethbridge-Stewart. He’s
too undisciplined for my taste. Besides Lockwood is more than adequate as a replacement,
he’s much more suitable.”
The Doctor emerged
from the TARDIS to find that he was staring down the barrels of several SA-80’s.
“Ah yes, the usual military response to the unknown.” He looked
around. “Would you be so good as to lower those things? You’ll only get hurt.”
“Look at that
outfit!” Green exclaimed.
The Brigadier rolled
her eyes when she saw what the Doctor had on. It was a sparkling silver suit
with a huge red fake fur collar and a black velvet waistcoat with yellow question marks embroided all over it. The Doctor’s oversized glasses did little to hide his fluffed up red and black hair, in fact it seemed
to exaggerate his alien dress sense.
The Doctor spotted
his old friend amongst the sea of soldiers. “Winifred, so nice to see you
again. I don’t suppose you could cancel the welcoming committee? My friends are a little more nervous around guns than I am.”
“What do you
want Doctor?” Bambara asked, getting straight to the point.
always admired your directness Winifred.” The Doctor complimented his old
friend. “I would like a nice cup of tea, Darjeeling,
not Earl Gray. The use of one of your labs, to help my friend Alice, and the
untarnished joy of your cheery hospitality. Maybe a tray of scones to go with
the tea, fruit ones though, not the cheese though as they gives me wind.”
Bambara looked at
the Doctor for a second. “What will you do for me if I agree to all of
this? I can’t have you and your, friends, wandering around the place in
the middle of a security situation.”
get in your way at all, I promise.” The Doctor smiled broadly and crossed
his fingers behind his back. “You can come out now.” He called into the TARDIS and a few seconds later Alice and Mike emerged into warmth of the bright mid
“Hi there.” Alice waved at all the nice soldiers.
“Hello.” Mike added stoically.”
said that you could help me.” Alice
said to the pretty Brigadier. “Please say you’ll help me get better.”
“What do you
want Doctor?” She asked wearily.
The Doctor beamed
at his bombastic friend. “The lab really isn’t the main problem,
I’m going to need a lot of specialist equipment. I have some stuff in the
TARDIS but not all of what I need. Earth is so remarkably advanced in just the
right technical areas and it’s been so long since I last popped by to see you.”
The Brigadier held
up her hands in defeat. “Ok Doctor, you can use our facilities, then we
can talk about how you can help me.”
grin broadened. “That’s the spirit Winifred, I think you’ll
find I’m just what you need around the place.”
The lab was small
but not cramped. The UNIT facility was very well equipped for the operation and
it had only taken the Doctor a severe amount of persuasion to let Brigadier Bambara offer him the facilities. She had been most insistent, especially when the alternative was one of the US
computer labs. She had relented to the Doctor’s manipulations and given
him the smallest room they had.
The Doctor looked
at his nervous companion. “Don’t worry Alice,
you’ll be fine. This won’t hurt at all.”
was scared. The Doctor had promised to try and restore her intellect and her
memory, but she was so afraid that it might not work. “Do you promise?” She asked him, looking at him for reassurance.
“I promise.” The Doctor replied. “You’ll
be perfectly safe in my hands.”
sat back in the comfy leather chair and adjusted her hair so that the Doctor could gain access to the circuits inside of her
head. “Tell Mike to look after Molly in case things don’t work out.”
be fine Alice, now just relax. You’re
perfectly safe in my hands.”
closed her eyes and quickly fell asleep.
Now that the Doctor
was out of the way Bambara relaxed, just a little, there was still the problem of a potential saboteur to deal with. Entering the officer’s mess she purchased a small green pear and a cup of tea. In here rank was dropped, she could spent fifteen minutes as a normal person before
she had to leave and become the Earth’s protector once again.
“Ah, hello.” Mike spotted the Doctor’s friend and walked over to where she was sitting. “I don’t have to salute you do I?”
a civvie and how did you get in here? This is for officers only.”
sorry.” Mike stood up. “I
was just having a look around. I don’t want to cause any problems.”
so you may as well sit back down.” He was cute, Bambara decided, but not
Answelyn cute. “So how have you been?
You were at that Auton incident last month yeah?”
“Yes.” Mike felt another surge of pain in his chest.
“Lots of people died that day.”
Something in his
eyes seemed to die. “I’m sorry.” She put her hand on his arm. “You lost someone close
to you didn’t you?”
it was her birthday. She was so happy, well she was complaining actually because
she was an inch too tall to go on some of the rides, and then she…” Mike
couldn’t finish his sentence as grief welled up in his soul.
it out.” Bambara said. “That’s
an order.” She handed him a napkin.
“We aren’t machines, we feel pain, we hurt and we grieve. We
have to deal with it and try to move on. That may sound trite coming from a soldier
but in our business you see so many friends die and you’re always wondering when it’s going to be your turn. If you want to talk about it some more I’m here, well for the next eight and
a half minutes.”
Mike told her everything,
almost as much as he’d told the Doctor and Alice.
Bambara listened. Out there she had the whole world to save but in here she had just one person to help. She could see why the Doctor wandered through the Universe, he went to those who needed
his help, that was his duty. She could never do that though, the 6 billion people
on this planet were her duty.
Mike looked down
at Alice’s snoozing figure. “How
long has she been out now?”
hour now.” The Doctor replied. “I
think the process worked, we’ll just have to wait for her to wake up and then we’ll find out.”
kind of peaceful, maybe we should let her sleep a little bit more.”
eyes snapped open. “It’s ok Mike, my sleep was on a timer.” She took her tiny daughter from Mike and kissed her.
“Who’s got a clever mummy then?”
“Did it work?” Mike asked his friend.
paused. There was not much data to refer to.
“Maybe, I guess I should have been monitoring things from the start. Guess
that shows how stupid I was.”
never stupid.” The Doctor replied quickly.
“Easily distracted yes, but you’ve always had a quick mind.”
“I can feel
something inside my head, it’s like everything’s clear to me now. Oh
wow, I can hear a billion phone calls, I can see every TV channel. I can feel
the constant stream of data circulating around the world.”
say she’s smarter.” Mike said to the Doctor.
“Perhaps.” The Doctor replied. “Or is she
just picking more information up?”
a sale on right now. I need shoes, lots of shoes.”
certainly getting more like a human woman isn’t she?” Mike laughed
while the Doctor frowned.
looked at Mike. “I’m nowhere near as handicapped as your pitiful
“How do you
feel?” The Doctor asked his robotic chum.
smiled. “I feel like I could do anything I set my mind to.”
good. Why don’t you rest up here while I have a talk with Winifred, she’s
been asking after you since I told her the operation was completed. Mike will
keep you company if you like.” The Doctor left the room with a dramatic
“He can never
leave a room like every other normal person.” Alice
he’s afraid people will forget him once he’s gone.” Mike added
to his friend’s theory.
a room nice and quietly without making a fuss, I can respect that.”
of tend to leave a room on at least two pairs of wheels.” Mike stated. “It kind of defines you though, you have a lot of energy and zip.”
“Once, maybe.” Alice replied. “Now I think they’d just be glad to see me go.”
The Doctor found
Winifred’s office and walked inside. “Ah here you are, still busy
with all of those reports. Nothing really changes does it? We’re both a couple of workaholics, only I take my work around with me. You can take a holiday to get away from all of this, when I take a holiday the planet tends to get invaded.”
I think I’m happy to see you Doctor and then you remind me just how depressing you can be.”
The Doctor frowned. “I’m sorry Winifred. You
said something before about me helping you. If you rather I left, I’ll
be on my way.”
“Oh no, you
don’t get away with it that easily.” She showed him the secret report.
“I see.” The Doctor said after reading it. “You
want me to help you catch this person if he should somehow get onto your base.”
“Call it payment
in kind for services rendered.” She laughed. “My troops could take him down like this.” She
clicked her fingers. “However he’s a rather dangerous individual
and I don’t want my boys and girls getting hurt if he starts shooting.”
rather he shot me?” The Doctor asked.
“No, no.” The Brigadier said quickly. “Your
little robot friend, let her take the bullet, she’s only a machine after all.”
is not just a machine.” The Doctor snapped.
“She thinks, she feels, she learns and she can reproduce. She’s
a sentient being, she’s far more than a mere machine.”
just a walking video recorder.”
“She may be
made of metal and plastic and circuits but she’s alive. You are a biological
machine Winifred, you have muscle and bone and brain cells. You are as alive
and individual as she is. You both feel joy, you both feel sadness, you both
feel love and you need to feel loved. The only difference between you two is
the materials that compose your bodies. Alice
is a wonderful person, she’s not a walking video recorder.”
“Ok, I get
the message. Don’t get all Asimov on me.”
help you Winifred, I’ll find this saboteur if he’s here. I think
you owe Alice an apology though. She’s
awake now and I’m sure she’d like to say hello.”
put the last book down. “Is there anything else to read? I need to learn more things.”
Mike handed his
friend a couple of CD-ROMs. “Only these, can you read them?”
“I can generate
primitive laser optical reader technology.” Alice
read the entire discs in les than a minute. “It’s still not enough. Connect me to a telephone line, I must go online.”
“Is that wise?” Mike asked. “You could get a virus.”
smiled. “I am far more advanced than any software this planet can generate. Thanks for your concern though, I really do like you Mike.”
there’s a phone socket over there. I’ll go for another wander around
the place while you get all cyber with the Internet. I can show Molly the sights.”
“Yes, of course. My daughter will learn all that I know later.
You will protect her with your life.”
quite safe with me.” Mike felt another twinge of guilt and pain over the
death of his kid sister. “I won’t let anything happen to my little
connected herself to the world wide web of information and began to absorb the raw data in seconds thanks to her terabyte
modem. “Information, secrets, truth, lies.
All this will help me show them the way everything should be.”
The Doctor and the
Brigadier passed Mike as he was walking along one of the corridors, on another walkabout.
a nice chap.” The Doctor said after a few minutes. “He still misses his sister though. She was all the
family he had left you know.”
“Yes, we spoke
earlier. How can you promise that things will get better? I have two sisters and a brother. Of course we hated each
other growing up, but if anything ever happened to them I don’t know what I’d do.
They’re such a large part of my life, a part of me, poor guy must be feeling like there’s nothing left
in the world to hold onto.”
The Doctor nodded
slowly. “Perhaps but he’s good friends with Alice
and he’s taken a real shine to Molly. He’s like a surrogate uncle
to her. Maybe it’s over compensation but it’s helping him.”
Mike held Molly
in his hands and showed her all the sights, while doing his best to explain what they are.
“There’s the big red brick building. They have tanks inside
of there. Can you turn into a tank Molly?”
The green ball turned into a bright yellow toy tank. “Not bad, but
tanks are brown and green and grey. They paint them to blend in with the scenery,
although it rarely works if you ask me. Better to turn all swords into plough
shears if you ask me.”
would you defend your plastic tank from those who wanted to take it from you?”
Sergeant Green asked the civilian. “We may not be popular or pretty,
but we get the job done.”
not a toy tank.” Mike said slowly.
“No, of course
not.” Greene replied.
serious. Molly could you change into a train for the nice soldier?” He smiled when the yellow tank became a red steam train in his hands.
“How did you
do that?” The astonished NCO asked.
“I didn’t.” Mike laughed. “She did. She’s a shape changer. Who is uncle Mike’s favourite
little robot girl?” Molly changed into a pink plastic dolphin. “She’s happy, this is her favourite shape.”
a robot?” Greene scoffed.
the art and she’s a she. Well I have no idea how you’d tell but her
mother says so and that’s good enough for me. I’m the babysitter,
most of the time and protective uncle the rest of the time. She’s called
Molly by the way. Why don’t you say hello?”
“Ok.” Greene felt like an idiot. “Hello
Molly.” She almost died of fright when it played twinkle, twinkle little
star to her.
you.” Mike smiled. “The
Doctor taught her it.”
“Can I hold
her?” Greene asked.
don’t drop her. She’s very nervous around strangers.”
Greene held the
robot baby in her hands. “I can feel a whirring inside. Is that normal?”
happy.” Mike explained. “She feels comfortable and happy.”
looked over at the Doctor. “Hello Doctor, I’ve learned so much about
this planet. Do you want me to tell you about how badly it’s organised?”
not the most efficient people Alice, but I like Humans.”
being in the room.” Bambara made her presence felt. “The UN is trying to improve things but there are a lot of very stupid people in very powerful positions
of authority. Too much burocrasy and not enough democracy in my opinion.”
is unworkable, too many opinions get in the way of what needs to get done. You
do not ask your soldiers what orders they want to obey and what they do not, do you?
You tell them what to do and they do it. This is what I shall give the
Universe. I shall serve them by doing what is best for them.”
“Over my dead
body.” Bambara snapped. “You
can’t impose your will on the Earth like a dictator.”
“I must, otherwise
millions of people will die of starvation and illness when they would otherwise survive.”
you saying Alice?” The Doctor
asked. “You can’t rule the world, you can’t impose your will
want to Doctor, but they need someone to help them. They need someone to guide
them and save them from their failings. I’m the only one who sees all that
must be done. I have to do this, can’t you see that?”
“I know there’s
injustice in the Universe Alice, I know that things aren’t perfect but you can’t force people to do as you say,
no one who can stop me.”
“I will stop
you.” Bambara drew her service pistol.
“Leave me world now and I won’t kill you where you stand.”
“No!” The Doctor stood in front of the gun.
“Get out of
the way Doctor. I’m not letting that thing take over the Earth.” Bambara pulled the hammer back. “I’ll
shoot you first if I have to.”
knocked the gun aside. “The Doctor is a friend. You will not hurt him or anyone else.”
The Doctor put his
hand on Alice’s shoulder before pressing the release catch to open her access
hatch on her temple. “I’m so sorry Alice,
this is for the best.” He pulled the repaired circuit board out and destroyed
the repairs he had made. “This will return you back to what you were, I’m
Bambara picked her
gun up. “Just in case it doesn’t work Doctor, I’ll make sure.”
gun away.” The Doctor hissed. “I’d
hate to hurt you Winifred.”
looked at the Doctor. “My plans, I can’t remember my plans. I knew how to help everyone, but I can’t remember how.”
The Doctor held
Alice in his arms. “It wouldn’t
have worked anyway Alice, but at least you cared enough to try.”
Doctor?” Alice was curious.
to save the world Alice.” The
Doctor patted his friend softly on her head.
“Did I? I wouldn’t know where to start.”
loosing it all.” Bambara whispered to herself and put her gun back in its
“Who are you?” Alice asked the pretty woman in the green
and brown outfit.
a friend.” The Doctor soothed.
Alice. You’re very pretty,
can we be friends?”
“Of course.” Bambara could see the pain etched on the Doctors face.
It was hurting him so much to see this happening to his friend.
“Do you want
to see me turn into a car?” Alice
asked her new friend.
love that.” The Doctor replied, wiping a tear away from each eye.
“You did what
you had to do Doctor. You’ll find a way to help your friend someday, one
that won’t turn her into the next Stalin.”
best that she learns a bit at a time and I should learn that you can’t expect the easiest answers to be the right ones.”
“Vroom, vroom!” Alice started her third lap of the room.
that?” Mike pointed to a shifty looking guy in a bad fitting army uniform.
the IRA saboteur!” Sergeant Greene rushed over to arrest the man. He started to run but she rugby tackled him and almost broke one of his arms getting
his wrists into handcuffs.
Mary!” Mike shouted over. “I
think I’ve been watching too much TV with Alice. She loves all the characters and car chases. Sometimes I think
she imagines writing her own show featuring ninja Wombles in car chases.” He
laughed at the soldier’s look of puzzlement. “I’ll help you
walk your guest over to the jail before getting this little lady back to her mummy.”
Molly hummed contentedly in his hands.
Mike looked at the
Doctor. “Why did you have to take away all of her intelligence?”
time to do an in depth study. I had to think fast. One day we’ll get it right, but until then we’ll just have to be patient and teach her a few
things every day.” The Doctor opened the TARDIS doors and stood back so
that Alice could drive herself inside.
as long as we do our best, she’s not beyond hope.” Mike slipped the
tired Molly into the Doctors coat pocket.
always hope Mike, we may forget about it for a while but it never goes away. We
just have to look for it.”
Mike nodded slowly,
he was still feeling miserable inside but he had to hope that one day the pain of his loss would fade, leaving him with only
happy memories. “We’d better get inside, you know how upset she gets
if she misses Button Moon.”
The Doctor followed
Mike into the TARDIS. “I’ll just set the co-ordinates for our next
Bambara and Green
watched silently as the blue box vanished.
“Will we see
them again sir?” Greene asked.
“Probably. The Doctor always drops by when you least expect him.
You did well getting that guy single-handed, I’m putting you down for an award for bravery. The promotion board like that sort of thing and I expect nothing less.”