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Interlude: T'Zar's Reassignment

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“Abaddon.” T’Zar’s cool tones echoed around the console room until they reached her partner’s ears. “Are you certain you can fly this?”

“Yes! Sure!” Abaddon pulled out a mallet and carefully tapped one of the valves. Satisfied, he continued to dash around in a manner reminiscent of the Tenth Doctor…which was a little odd, as he greatly resembled the Eleventh. “Great TARDIS, we’ve been friends for ages, well, I say ages, but she does like me, really, don’t you?”

The TARDIS groaned, and tossed the two agents across the purple-themed console room.

T’Zar held back a soft sigh. Emotional beings could be so illogical. Walking over to the console—she had excellent balance, and found it only a little difficult—she tapped two buttons and pulled a lever. The TARDIS landed, purring…and then began to shake.

“T’Zar?” Abaddon looked at her anxiously. “What—”

“I believe this is—” T’Zar had to raise her voice to be heard over the cloister bell. “I have seen this before—”

At that moment the TARDIS stopped shaking, knocking Abaddon to the floor. As he got up, he noticed a stocky, dark-skinned man bleeding out onto the TARDIS floor nearby.

“Oh dear,” he said. “T’Zar, do you have the—?”

“Of course.” T’Zar was never unprepared. She pulled out the dermal regenerator, and proceeded to heal the man.

“What—” the man gasped. His already-wide eyes widened further. “How did you—” He accepted Abaddon’s hand, and was hauled to his feet. “I’m so sorry, I—I didn’t know this was your TARDIS—I just—”

“Save it,” Abaddon advised. “You aren’t a Stu, right?”

T’Zar kept herself from rolling her eyes. “Of course he is not. I have already checked the CAD.” And what loud shrilling noises it had wanted to make, too…fortunately, she was quite skilled at keeping it quiet.

“Oh, good, right.” Abaddon grinned at the other man. “How’re you feeling?”

“Alive,” he replied. “Not even in pain, really. Um. Could you—could you maybe…give me a ride?”

Abaddon looked to T’Zar, who shrugged. “Where are you going?”

“Anywhere,” the dark-skinned man blurted. “Anywhere you like. Just get me off Gallifrey.”

“We’re on Gallifrey ?” Abaddon exclaimed. Behind him, someone swore.

“This is not Asgard.” The speaker sounded very annoyed, faintly apologetic, and extremely American. “For one thing, they wear nicer clothes. Ianto, I’m so sorry.”

“That’s all right.” The second speaker was Welsh…in fact, he was Torchwood ’s Ianto Jones, as Abaddon saw when he turned around, and the first speaker was Captain Jack Harkness. “I’m sure we can find something to do here.”

Jack eyed first Ianto, and then Abaddon, the unidentified man, and, finally, T’Zar. He grinned. “I can think of a few things…” T’Zar found that she was suppressing a faint blush. She raised an eyebrow.

Before anyone else could react, a potted plant appeared out of nowhere and crash-landed in front of the doors. Everyone except Jack and T’Zar jumped.

In a move that hurt the eyes of most people, a door opened in the potted plant. Three Time Lords in robes and giant collars emerged (one in yellow, flanked by one in blue and one in purple). The one in yellow immediately began to shout at Abaddon.

“What do you mean by taking my TARDIS!” She stomped forward, ignoring everyone else. “In fact, how dare you take my TARDIS! I need it! And you can’t just have a party—”

“Your anger is illogical,” T’Zar cut in. She nodded politely to the Time Lords in blue and purple—that is, to the Disentangler and the Agent—and continued to talk as they nodded back at her. “Abaddon believed this would be a worthwhile excursion. We will, of course, return your TARDIS to you in due course.”

The Time Lord in yellow—the Reader—fumed. Behind her, the Disentangler and the Agent had carried on nodding, now at the dark-skinned man, who was nodding warily back at them. The Disentangler added an awkward smile to her nodding, and was soon echoed by the other two.

Abaddon looked around for Jack and Ianto, only to cough and look away. Realizing that they were being ignored (save for the occasional curious look the dark-skinned man cast their way), they had simply shrugged and begun to make out, leaning against the railing.

“You!” the Reader snapped. She stalked over to the dark-skinned man, robes flaring behind her, and frowned even more as he twitched away from her. “What are you doing here?”

“I, it, it was an accident,” the man replied. He shifted anxiously from foot to foot, and then began to back away. “I didn’t know there were people in here, I just wanted to get off-planet, I swear—” He yelped, and began to fall. The Reader grabbed him by the arms and dragged him upright again.

There was a loud screech. Abaddon, the Disentangler, and the Agent flinched; T’Zar, of course, did not, merely looking up calmly at the creature that had just appeared and dive-bombed the Reader and the unnamed passenger before disappearing.

Jack and Ianto paused and glanced around too late to see the Reaper. They shrugged, and went back to making out.

The Reader straightened slowly, and eyed the dark-skinned man. “What’s your name?”

“Saa.” The blood had drained from the man’s face. “Was that—that was—”

“A Reaper,” T’Zar put in.

“Because of me.” The Reader winced, and let go of Saa’s arms. “I’m you. Or you’re me. Well. I was you, and you will be me, although you shouldn’t be in a TARDIS still looking like that and not dying—oh, of course, that’s why the Reaper came—”

Another screech rent the air. Saa and the Reader ducked; the Reaper flew over their heads, and disappeared. Jack and Ianto glanced round again, saw nothing, and continued to make out. Abaddon sighed.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Really. I just wanted to take the TARDIS for a joyride…”

The Disentangler patted him sympathetically on the shoulder, and T’Zar gave him a reassuring look. She would take care of everything; she was a Vulcan, after all, and Vulcans were nothing if not efficient.

The Reaper appeared, and dive-bombed again. Jack and Ianto paused, sighed, and slowly turned to look. Spotting nothing out of the ordinary, they sighed again, and went back to making out.

“I—I was dying,” Saa said quietly. “Someone seems to have healed me, though, and I can’t be ungrateful. Regenerating…” He shuddered. “It’s quite far from fun, I’ve found.”

“Agreed,” the Reader said quietly. “But the Reaper will continue to dog our steps unless history—my history, your history—takes its course.”

Saa met her gaze levelly, pausing only as they ducked the Reaper’s fourth attack. Jack and Ianto paused, and cracked their eyes open to look, saw nothing, rolled their eyes, and continued. “You may not be wearing the colors of Rassilon, but that is formal Gallifreyan dress. Can you say to me, honestly, that you are not a part of a corrupt government? For if you are, I can’t in good conscience take your advice. I’ve seen what the government of Rassilon has done: it has torn Gallifrey to pieces and burned the remains. I will not trust any politician of Gallifrey. Not now.”

“Well, we’re part of the Continuity Council of Gallifrey in Exile, as the Notary is so fond of announcing,” the Agent put in. “So that’s alright.” He offered a smile.

The Reaper reappeared yet again, complete with screeching. Saa and the Reader ducked; Abaddon, the Agent, and the Disentangler had stopped flinching by now. Jack and Ianto didn’t even bother to look anymore, although they did pause for several seconds.

The second screech, which was accompanied by singing, did make them pause again, before they determinedly continued.

“Let me be your cookie!” sang a female voice. It giggled, but went on.

Let chocolate dry your tears!

I’m here

With—many cookies,

To feed you and to bake with…

The female voice—which belonged to a PPC agent dressed in a sleeveless black turtleneck and black jeans, both of which had gained a dusting of flour—broke off, laughing hysterically. The male voice (singing very high) which took over was familiar enough to make Abaddon, the Reader, and Jack and Ianto freeze.

All I ask is every waking moment

Turn my head with smells of cookie dough!

There was some chuckling, which made Jack and Ianto pull back and stare at each other, and then the male voice continued, surprisingly tenderly, considering the words.

Say you’ll always bake just here, beside me

Promise me your baking skills are good

That’s all I ask of you!

He broke off, laughing just as hysterically as the woman had. (He, of course, was Jack’s doppelganger, dressed splendidly in a sparkling dark blue suit…which was also covered in flour.)

“What if—what if—cookies,” the woman gasped out, and Jack’s doppelganger laughed.

“What indeed! Let’s see—” He grinned broadly, and began to sing.

Let me be your cookie,

Let cookies be your light!

The Disentangler and the Agent exchanged unimpressed looks. Saa looked gobsmacked; Jack and Ianto weren’t much better. Abaddon and the Reader were both doing their best not to grin; they knew who this was. T’Zar, of course, was expressionless.

The man winked at the female agent, who was now holding onto a railing for support, and continued the verse.

You’re cookie, no one will cookie you,

Your fears are far behind—cookie—

And with that, the two of them collapsed against each other, laughing hysterically. Only the railing kept them from falling to the ground. The Reaper reappeared, shrieking, and was screeched at in return by the mini-Reaper who had accompanied the woman and the doppelganger into the TARDIS. Jack and Ianto exchanged glances, and reached carefully for their guns, relaxing only slightly as the full-size Reaper disappeared.

“Okay,” Jack said slowly. His doppelganger’s head shot up, although he didn’t stop laughing. “Exactly what is going on?”

“Agent Jacques Bonnefoy,” the doppelganger said breathlessly. He pulled the female agent closer, supporting her with an arm around her waist. Both of them were fighting giggles. “This is Agent Karen DuLay. We’re with the—the PPC—” He broke into laughter again.

“What, were you in a war?” Ianto asked. He kept a wary eye on the mini-Reaper, which had yet to disappear as the full-sized one kept doing. “And is that what was screeching before?”

“That’s jack harkness,” Jacques explained. “He’s a mini-Reaper—it’s fine, he’s just a misspelling. Of you, actually,” he added to Jack. “Me, I’m a former character replacement. Nice to meet you.” He favored Jack and Ianto with a grin and a wink.

“You’re covered in flour,” Abaddon pointed out. “Did your last mission involve a bakery, or something?”

“Actually, no,” Karen put in, grinning. “We were just baking cookies with Dawn—Dawn!” She tackled the young woman with a long braid who had just appeared via a blue portal. They hit the floor in a cloud of flour, most of which rose from Dawn’s Emelan court clothes (shift, gown, sleeveless overgown, and a long-abandoned veil over her hair). “Dawn, you’re here too!”

Dawn—Agent Dawn McKenna—sighed, and kicked her feet (clad in flipflops) helplessly. “Karen, l’écrivaine m’a dit qu’il est temps de partir .”

Vraiment ?” Jacques walked over and pulled Karen up. “ Mais nous sommes arrivés il y a quelques minutes! Ce n’est pas juste .” He gave Dawn a soulful look; she glared in return.

Tu as jeté de la farine sur moi, Bonnefoy. Je ne suis pas heureuse .” Despite this, she accepted his help to get to her feet, and attempted to brush herself off.

Omelette du fromage ,” Karen put in, looking from one fellow French-speaking agent to the other. “ Omelette du fromage ? Omelette du fromage !” She threw herself on Dawn, hugging her tightly. “ Omelette-y !”

Dawn staggered backwards. “No—no, just—just don’t.”

T’Zar opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted.

“On this day…Gallifrey rises !”

No .” Saa stumbled backwards; the Reader did the same, and went pale to boot. “No, no, not here—”

Rassilon, Lord President of Gallifrey, resplendent in long red robes and flanked by two Time Lords in the same outfit (only with giant golden collars as well), lowered his staff and took in his surroundings.

“What,” he demanded, “is this? Who are you? Why have you taken me from—”

“Oh nononononononono,” Abaddon squeaked. “This is bad. Very bad.” Jack and Ianto traded meaningful glances at this, and aimed their guns at Rassilon. (No, they did not begin to make out once more. What are these vicious lies?) The Disentangler and the Agent also traded glances, although theirs were more of the ‘ and what the hell do we do about this ? ’ variety. Karen, Dawn, and Jacques traded amused glances; Dawn was actually smirking, and unconcerned. The Reaper appeared again, and was shot down by the Gauntlet of Rassilon; jack harkness flew jaggedly over to shelter on Jacques’ back, peering over his shoulder from time to time.

“Do not worry,” T’Zar said calmly, stepping forward. Dawn raised an eyebrow at her; the Vulcan ignored her former partner, and continued. “I will fix—”

Dawn looked up, still smirking, and nodded. Somewhere far away, a writer named DawnFire tapped several keys, and the TARDIS went dark.

“And that takes care of that,” the Boarder said, getting to her feet. “Time for a break. Go on to Part 2, if you like; the link’s below, and should answer any questions you have.”

“And, of course,” she added, “Happy April Fool’s Day! Please do direct cookies to Lily Winterwood and Karen DuLay in thanks—wait, am I—no, hey, that’s what disclaimers and author’s notes are for, I’m not doing this out loud! Stop recording. Why are you even recording in the first place? This is the last time I buy robotics from Tony Stark…”