Pairings/Characters: Three/Rani, Jo/Liz, Brig (a little bit of implied Three/Brig)
Warnings: drug-related dubcon, people get tied up.
Word count: 5000
Summary: The UNIT family vs the Rani and her neurochemical expertise. (Oh, for crying out loud, it's porny crack. Or cracky porn. Something like that.)
Notes: Written for pimpmytardis in the Fall Fandom Free For All, and also a contribution to Day O'Classic. Huge thanks to biichan and peeeeeeet for beta-ing.
The Brigadier marched into the lab in his customary good order, swagger stick tucked beneath his elbow and cap perfectly aligned. Jo smirked slightly as the Doctor deliberately ignored him and carried on gazing at his ridiculous experiment.
"Pack up your things, Doctor, we're going. You too, Miss Grant."
Jo's smirk turned into a genuine smile at the prospect of the excitement that was so sorely lacking in the Doctor's investigations into differential sugar solubility in hot trophophyllic infusions. "Going where?" she asked.
"Nonsense, dear fellow," the Doctor said at the exact same moment, without even looking up. "My work here is at a critical phase." Jo's face fell; she saw him glance at her quickly, almost invisibly, and wink. "Take Jo with you and she can tell me all about it."
"I shall have to insist that you come, Doctor. I've just received a phone call from Miss Shaw." It was the Brigadier's turn to smile. "Ah, I see that's got your attention. She's got concerns about a new professor in her department. Appeared out of nowhere, but no one else seems to realise it. All sounds a bit fishy."
"Well, it would be nice to see Liz again," the Doctor said. "It'd be nice to discuss the finer points of organic crystallography with someone who might stand a chance of understanding it."
Jo found herself feeling slightly put out at this. She decided to prove that she was perfectly capable of understanding things, that she had picked up exactly what the Brigadier's fears were. "Do you think it's the Master again, Doctor?"
"It could be, Jo," the Doctor mused, "it could be." He put down his complex experimental equipment (or, as Jo preferred to call it, his teaspoon). "Very well, Brigadier. Let's go to Cambridge. Come on, we'll take Bessie." And before anyone had time to suggest any other, less terrifying form of transport he was out of the door, plucking his cape from the hooks by the side as he went.
* * *
So, this was Liz Shaw, Jo thought, as they sat crammed into her office. The space, which was not exactly large to start with, was crammed with books with incomprehensible titles and large stacks of papers and journals. Jo was perched on the arm of the visitor's chair in which the Doctor was sitting, while the Brigadier stood bolt upright just inside the doorway.
Jo gazed at her predecessor with unabashed fascination. She had heard so much about her, often from the Doctor when castigating her for some tiny slip up like mistaking a hyperspanner for a retrograde dendritic piledriver, the sort of mistake that "Liz would never have made", but never had a chance to meet her before. Liz was dressed seriously but stylishly, an unfussily patterned dress, but relatively short with it above boots that if anything were even longer than Jo's own. Her hair was tied tightly back, and her eyes were worried as she explained the situation to the Doctor.
"And how long ago did this person arrive?" the Doctor was asking.
"About a week."
"But everyone else remembers ..."
"... having met our "new" professor ages ago. Mike down the hall even insists they studied under the same supervisor for their doctorates."
The Doctor rubbed his lip. "Yes, it's all very suspicious, you did quite the right thing by contacting Lethbridge-Stewart."
"Oh, it's such a relief to hear you see that," Liz said, and the palpability of that relief in her voice gave Jo a sudden rush of warmth towards her. "I've been worried I was going insane. I've had more than one person tell me that I must just be jealous that someone's achieved a professorship even more quickly than I did. The cheek!"
"Don't worry, Liz, I think we'll find there's a perfectly rational explanation for everything," the Doctor said.
"You sound as though you've already got more than half a suspicion what it is," Liz said shrewdly.
The Brigadier interposed himself at this point. "We've been having a lot of trouble recently with a slippery character, calls himself the Master. Another of the Doctor's people. Imagine someone as brilliant as our friend here, but as dedicated to mayhem and chaos as the Doctor is to ..."
"... chaos and mayhem?" Liz asked, with a twinkle in her eye.
"Now that's hardly fair," the Doctor said. "The Master is evil, a black hearted rogue of unspeakable deviousness."
"Besides," said Jo, "I think the Brigadier's wrong." Her superior's startled face made her smile involuntarily. "The Master may be an evil genius but he's nowhere near as brilliant as you, Doctor." Well, she reflected, it was after all her job to keep the Doctor happy, even if that meant contradicting the person who had appointed her to it.
"Thank you, Jo," the Doctor said. "Now, is there a good opportunity for me to meet this new professor?"
"Your timing is, as always, impeccable if a little last minute," Liz said. "There's a public demonstration of preliminary results for potential funding partners on the hour." Jo looked at the clock: it was ten to. "I can tell them that you're old colleagues of mine who are interested. It won't even be a lie!"
"That might work for the Doctor and Miss Grant, Miss--"
"Professor," Liz interrupted.
"Professor Shaw," the Brigadier corrected himself, "but I rather think I might stick out like a sore thumb at such an event."
"Oh, no, there's a whole host of top brass coming," Liz said. "You'll fit right in. Not quite sure why they're so interested, though."
"If there's military interest, there's even more reason to be concerned," the Doctor said. "Come along, there's not a minute to be lost."
* * *
The four of them tagged themselves onto the back of the crowd following Liz's mysterious new colleague around the fourth floor. The Doctor whispered that he had detected the presence of another Time Lord mind, but Jo couldn't help noticing that the professor they were following was female.
"Good Lord, Doctor," Jo said, "has the Master disguised himself as a woman?"
"That's not the Master," the Doctor hissed.
"But you did say your Time Lord sense was tingling."
"I said nothing of the kind!" the Doctor expostulated. The crowd turned as one to glare at them, and the Doctor dropped his voice as they turned back to the professor at the front as she continued her exposition. "My telepathic connection with my fellow Time Lords is not some sort of comic book pseudoscience. No, I'm afraid to say that's not the Master but another of my old acquaintances. If anything, she's deadlier and more cunning than the Master."
"The female of the species, eh?" Jo said.
"Yes," the Doctor said, "yes, I suppose you could say that."
"You could also say that you seemed to run with a most disreputable set during your school days, Doctor," the Brigadier said. "I have to say, if you had to go through normal vetting procedures you'd never have got anywhere near UNIT."
"Your faith in me is positively touching, Brigadier," the Doctor said.
The tour progressed quickly; they formed a crocodile line to poke their heads round the door of an experimental area but were quickly ushered on.
Jo smelt a rat. "I say, she scooted past that lab rather quickly, didn't she, Doctor? Do you think we should take a closer look?"
The Doctor gave Jo a look. "That sounds like a terrific idea, Jo. Why don't you take Liz? She can explain it all to you."
"But, Doctor, neurochemistry is nowhere near any of my fields of expertise--" Any further protests were cut off when Jo took her firmly by the elbow and propelled her into the experimental suite.
As Liz cottoned on and relaxed into her grip, Jo heard the Doctor saying, "This way, Brigadier. Let's go deeper into the spider's web."
Suddenly, Jo wasn't sure if the Doctor was sending her into trouble or trying to keep her out of it.
* * *
Finally, the tour reached a small lecture hall. The motley assemblage of civil servants, military commanders, business oligarchs and perfumiers comprising the group crammed themselves into the front rows of seats. As he walked past the lectern, the Doctor felt a strong flash of telepathic contact. He knew that she could feel the link, too, but her eyes flicked upwards to meet his for only a moment before she returned her attention to the room at large.
This was all a charade, the Doctor realised; she didn't really need funding, and from the bored tone of her voice, he judged she was tolerating the whole affair about as well as he managed to put up with the sort of petty bureaucracy that was inflicted on him so often at UNIT. As she continued droning on, explaining elementary concepts at great length, he snuck a glance across at the Brigadier, realising that he probably did protect him from a great deal of this sort of thing. He'd never had a request for lab equipment turned down yet, even when he'd deliberately asked for things he didn't really need and wasn't even sure had been invented yet.
"Well, Doctor?" The Brigadier was trying to whisper, but he didn't really have a quiet setting, it came out as a harsh rasp. "I can't make head or tail of this nonsense."
The Doctor leaned in to murmur, "She's developed a method for altering the balance of certain key neurotransmitters in the brain. The chemicals responsible for passing messages from one nerve cell to the next," he added, seeing the Brigadier's blank look. "Interferes with the brain's normal functioning."
"To what end? Does it paralyse a man? Instantly kill him?"
"Er, no, no, it would appear not. Though I can imagine it would have a rather destabilising effect on the enemy ranks," he said with a smile. "It's ... let's say an irresistible aphrodisiac."
The Brigadier looked puzzled for a moment, then said, "Ah, yes, I believe the Americans are working on such a thing."
The Doctor looked back at his friend, eyebrow raised in mild surprise.
"All very hush hush, of course. I don't believe they've got anywhere."
The Doctor returned his attention to the woman at the podium, studying her. She had changed so little since the Academy -- if she had regenerated, it was into an identical body. Her mind was closed to all his attempts at telepathic infiltration, but they'd all learned similar techniques to prevent Borusa and the other tutors from prying into their private affairs.
Finally, the speech finished and the group broke up, a few trying to catch a brief word with her, but she gave them short shrift. "If you don't mind, Brigadier, I think I might have better luck if I speak to her alone."
The Brigadier nodded. "I shall be just outside if you need anything."
Eventually, they were alone together. How many centuries had it been since that had last been the case? The Doctor closed the door on the pain of the memories.
He walked over to her. "I know what you're doing, of course ... I'm sorry, I don't know what you're calling yourself these days."
"You can call me the Rani," she said, as though it was a great privilege she was bestowing on him.
"'Queen'?" The Doctor snorted.
"As it happens, I did accidentally end up in charge of a small tribe of primitives at one point," she said diffidently. "It was quite a good way of getting pliant experimental subjects; I may try it again some day. It's a more fitting title than 'Doctor' for someone who scraped by at the second attempt."
The Doctor ignored her remark. "And now you've turned your attention to Earth. You realise you're not even being terribly original. The Master's been active in this region of space-time for a while now. A relative while."
"Don't talk to me about that prattling nincompoop," the Rani snapped. "That idiot couldn't conquer a Minkowskian metric even if you gave him a point singularity and told him where to put it."
"Well, quite," the Doctor said. "But what are you doing here? This sort of interference is hardly your style."
"Would you believe scientific curiosity?"
"Oh, very well. I'm interested in control, 'Doctor'." She spoke the title with heavy sarcasm. "The reproductive urges of these lesser species are so overwhelming, they surely provide a good motivational basis."
"You're talking about removing their free will," the Doctor said angrily.
"Free will is an illusion," the Rani snapped. "At least for lesser beings like these, the shapes of their brains constrained by their past experiences, grasping forward into the future, repeating the same mistakes again and again." Was she talking about them? the Doctor wondered. Was this an elliptical expression of regret?
"You always had an unpleasant supremacist streak," the Doctor said. If she was holding out an olive branch, he was going to thrust it away unreservedly. "Any sentient being deserves the right to self-determination."
"Do you find your spurious morality cathartic, Doctor?" the Rani asked. "I can't see what other good it can do you."
"That's your problem, not mine." She smiled at him. "Let me show you where I do my 'research'."
She walked through a small door in the back of the lecture room. The Doctor, alert, but pleased at the opportunity to get to the bottom of things, followed her through a maze of small corridors running round the backs of the lab complex into a small office. He realised absently that the Brigadier would be unlikely to find him if he came looking.
The office was strangely furnished, lacking a desk but possessed of a bed. As the Doctor looked at it more closely, he saw the brown leather restraints built in to the sides. Repurposed from a psychiatric hospital, perhaps? But his mind was cast unwilling back across the centuries. Was she expecting to resume their relationship? "You know, our ... mutual experiments at the Academy were a long time ago, m'dear."
She gave him a wide, wolfish smile. "Two lifetimes for you, or so I hear. If I'd known you were going to waste that fine incarnation so quickly, I'd never have let you go. And I never even got to meet your second self. I can't tell you how disappointed I am. But I'm sure I'll live with it. As for myself, I intend to keep this form for a good millennium or so at least. And I do seem to recall you rather liked it ..."
"Now look here, you seem to be assuming that we can just recommence from ... well, you can't deny that things between us ended badly. It would be foolish to assume I'd willingly go along with whatever it is--"
"Oh, but my dear Doctor! Weren't you the one just now lecturing me about taking people's free will away?"
"Lesser beings, though, not ..." He glanced at her hand, in which she was holding an atomiser with a phial of clear liquid screwed into its spray mechanism. "You can't possibly expect that rubbish to work on me. Time Lord biophy--"
The Rani laughed. "Don't patronise me, Doctor. This is my specialism, after all. Why, next you'll be warning me against the local analgesics! The hormones in this little concoction may be utterly different, but the same principles apply. Come, surely you didn't think I wouldn't have anticipated your interference?" And she brandished the little device like a weapon, ready to spray it into his face.
Urgently, the Doctor chopped his hand across her wrist to knock the phial free. But the Rani yanked her hand out of the way too quickly, ducking into a crouch at the same time. The Doctor instinctively recognised the disciplines of Martian jujitsu. With a "hai!", he lashed out with a short, controlled kick, but the Rani grabbed his foot with both hands and attempted to use it to twist his whole body off the ground. He extricated himself, but lost the initiative in the process. She progressed towards him, steadily, relentlessly; the forms she adopted seemed strange with such a slender frame, but what they lacked in the menacing bulk of an Ice Warrior adept they gained in the danger of her lightning fast reflexes. Inexorably, she forced him towards the bed, desperately blocking all the way.
Suddenly, without quite knowing how it had happened, the Doctor found himself trapped beneath her on the bed. Before he could react, she cuffed his hands to the restraints at the top, then reached behind herself to do the feet, all the while keeping him pinned between her thighs. She raised her atomiser and sprayed it into his face.
The change came over him with frightening speed. As he looked up at her, he saw once more the woman who had so entranced him, that one short year they had had together at the Academy. Why had he ever let her go? She was perfect for him, his equal in every way -- no, he had to admit it, his superior in many. Brilliant, bold ...
It was hormones. His brain chemistry had been altered. These were not his thoughts. His mind was corrupted by his physical basis, he reminded himself; it was always thus, but particularly true now. He began to mutter a mantra under his breath, to obviate his distracting and distracted sense of self ...
But the sensation of her hand gripping his member brought him crashing back to physicality. He was agonised to realise that he was already somewhat aroused, and growing stiffer every second under the Rani's manipulations, however lacking in tenderness they might be.
"Don't fight it, Doctor," she said quietly.
And why was he fighting it? This magnificent woman who he'd been so foolish as to cast aside over some quibbling difference of ethical opinion -- and surely she could be brought round; did he doubt his persuasive skills so? -- was willing, eager, to take him back. Surely surrender was better than resistance.
"Your human friends seem to be enjoying themselves." With her free hand, she gestured at the wall; a panel slid upwards to reveal a closed circuit television screen set into it. On it, he could make out two small figures: Jo and Liz.
"You monster, what have you--"
"Watch, Doctor," she said. "Just watch."
* * *
Jo strained against her handcuffs, grunting with frustration. She and Liz had only had a few minutes to investigate the lab before one of those heavy-faced bruisers who always seemed to accompany renegade Time Lords had come in and overpowered them. He'd handcuffed their hands behind them and left them lying on the floor facing away from each other. Before he'd gone, he'd squirted them with something from the lab bench.
They'd managed to wriggle round until they were facing each other, and Jo found herself distracted from her escape attempts by the sight of Liz. Not that this in and of itself was too surprising -- she was an attractive woman, and it wasn't as though Jo hadn't had a pash on another girl before -- but the intensity of the feelings being inspired shocked her somewhat. She did her best to keep herself under control, but as time went on, and the handcuffs stayed resolutely on, she became increasingly convinced that the way Liz was looking at her contained a similar intensity.
Jo decided to test her theory. Adjusting her position yet again to try and manoeuvre herself out of the cuffs, she deliberately spread her legs slightly, giving Liz a glimpse of her knickers, if she chose to look.
She did. When she looked back up, Jo smiled at her shyly.
"Miss Grant--" Liz began.
"Jo," Jo said. "Call me Jo."
"Jo, are you flirting with me?" Liz asked the same serious tone with which she'd talked to the Doctor earlier.
"Would you mind if I was?" Jo asked, suddenly nervous. Surely Liz was the sort of enlightened type who wouldn't mind that sort of thing, even if she didn't feel the same way herself?
"In general, no. In fact, in general I'd be flirting with you. You're a very attractive young lady. I just can't help thinking that being trapped together like this isn't perhaps the most appropriate time. Although ..."
"Well, somehow that objection doesn't seem to be making itself quite as strongly inside my mind as I'd expect."
"I think there was something in that spray," Jo said earnestly. "This must be what that friend of the Doctor's was working on, some terrible biological agent that makes people lose control."
"Well, let us resolve not to lose control," Liz said.
"Absolutely," Jo agreed.
And suddenly, they were leaning in to kiss one another. Liz's tongue was warm and flicked against Jo's lips in ways that made her heart race. Jo closed her eyes and melted in to the kiss; when she finally opened them again, she found herself staring at exactly what she needed.
She broke off hurriedly, leaving Liz somewhat discombobulated. "Liz!" she said. "You have a hairclip!"
"Well, of course," Liz said.
"I can use it to get out of these," Jo said. "Why didn't I think of that before?"
Quickly, they readjusted themselves so that Jo was facing away again and Liz was leaning forwards, so that Jo could extract it from Liz's hair. Then, with her nimble fingers, she picked the lock in her handcuffs, freeing herself. She quickly did the same for Liz. She saw Liz raise her hands as though to grab Jo's thighs, then master herself and force them to her sides. She bit her lip at the thought of what the other woman might do to her, given the chance.
But no, there were more important things to worry about right now. They could take care of that sort of thing later, if they still wanted to once this chemical whatever-it-was had worn off. "Come on, let's get out of here."
* * *
"Their escape is of no consequence," the Rani said, dismissing the screen with a flick of her hand. The panel slid back down over it. "They'll never find you, and if the drug is taking hold as strongly as it seems to be with you, they'll be too distracted to even try."
"Please," the Doctor said, "you don't have to tie me up. I'm quite happy to go along with whatever you want to do ..." He wasn't sure even as he said it if it was subterfuge or truth; the conflict inside his mind seemed to have moved on to subconscious levels, and he was no longer sure what he thought about the situation.
"No, I'm afraid I don't trust you," the Rani said. "Besides, you always used to enjoy this sort of thing so much. Why should I deny you your little pleasures?" She began to unfasten his clothes, exposing first his chest and then his hips. He was fully hard now (he tried not to consider the possibility that watching his two friends together had excited him further), and on seeing his erection she bent downwards to kiss it. Just as he was beginning to enjoy the sensation, she bit his shaft lightly and raised back up. "On the other hand, I certainly see no reason to deny myself mine." So saying, she lifted her skirt and lowered herself onto the Doctor.
She was tight around him, and her obvious pleasure at feeling him inside her increased his own at feeling her around him. But no, a small voice protested, she was using him, making him want this. It was abominable in every way imaginable. But, too, it was pleasurable in ways he had never imagined. Curse her! Praise her, a thousand praises, the love hymn of the conquered lover ... As the involuntary pleasure increased, the war within his mind sprung back into full consciousness, tormenting him even as he groaned in ecstasy.
"That's it, Doctor, give in to me. Give yourself to me!" And he was, the tide of the mental battle turning more and more in her favour with each of the thrusts of his hips he was barely aware of making. His awareness slipped away, lost in the blizzard of immediate experience.
That experience became rather surreal when all of a sudden the Rani's movements stopped, there was a crashing noise, and he felt warm hands on his wrists. Piecing together what had happened, he realised that Liz had hit the Rani over the head with an Erlenmeyer flask; she had knocked her out, and was now lifting her off the Doctor with a surprising strength. Jo, meanwhile, was working dextrously to free him.
When Liz had removed the Rani and laid her on the floor, away from the broken glass, he realised that both girls were looking at his turgid member. "Why, Doctor, I'm almost not sure I should untie you," Jo said coquettishly.
"Jo ..." the Doctor said in a warning tone of voice, as his equilibrium restored itself (although, that dangerous part of his mind whispered, she was an attractive young girl, he knew that; would there really be any harm?). "The Rani won't stay unconscious for long."
"Rani, eh?" Jo said. "Someone certainly fancies themselves." She set to releasing his feet, and soon he was off the bed and they were heading out of the door.
"What shall we do now, Doctor?" Jo asked as they came out into the main corridor.
"Back to UNIT HQ, I think," the Doctor said. He brandished a phial of the Rani's chemical mixture that he'd palmed as they left her laboratory. "I can set to work on making an antidote for this. From what I gathered about the isomeric structuring of it from the Rani's talk, I should be able to come up with something airborne that has no effects unless the individual's exposed, so we can release it into the area prophylactically." They stopped momentarily as they reached a junction, before the Doctor decided on a whim to take the left hand path. "I'll ask the Brigadier to arrest the Rani, but she's every bit as slippery as the Master; I doubt we'll be able to hold her for long. Best to have preventative measures in place."
"You're leaving so soon?" Liz said, and the Doctor caught her glancing across at Jo.
"If it's OK with you, Doctor, I'd like to take more of a look round," Jo said. "I'm sure there are lots of interesting things Professor Shaw can show me."
The pair grinned at each other, and the Doctor felt a sympathetic smile tugging at his own lips. He harrumphed loudly. He wasn't going to demean himself by admitting he knew what they were talking about. "I think that would be very worthwhile, Jo. Very well, I'll go and find the Brigadier. He'll probably need a platoon to get the Rani into custody."
"Are you sure that's a good idea, Doctor?" Jo said earnestly. "Going to see the Brigadier? In your current condition, I mean."
"I can assure you, Jo, I'm quite capable of controlling myself." He was painfully aware, though, that he was still somewhat tumescent.
"And if you can't," Liz said, "the Brigadier's a commensurate professional. He'd never fraternise with the lower ranks."
The Doctor wasn't going to stand for that sort of thing. "Lower ranks? As you well know, Liz, as a special advisor I'm completely outside these ridiculous hierarchical structures that you humans are so fond of."
"So there'd be no problem fraternising with the Brigadier?" Jo said with a smirk. "If he was willing, of course," she added, mock-serious.
"Doctor," Liz said, "I do hope you're not planning to use that thing you've got in your hands there on the Brigadier."
"I wouldn't dream of it, my dear," the Doctor said. "That would make me no better than the Rani."
Besides, he added to himself, he'd never needed any assistance in the past.
* * *
Torchwood Repository Deposition Slip Form 9A/3(iv)
Item number: 7135734365
Description: Small sample of alien biochemical agent and delivery device. Recovered from UNIT in mutually agreed asset swap, June 1980. Affects neurochemical pathways; exact mode of action undocumented by UNIT personnel concerned.
Signed out by: Owen Harper, 13th March 2007