30 April 2009
Osterhagen Station One
Mace had figured it out. He’d told her about the Osterhagen Key simply because he’d known she’d never use it. He must have disagreed with it as well, and this was the only way he could find to keep it from happening, by planting a cuckoo in the project who would object to its use. And, if she was ever given the order, she’d do her damnedest to keep it from happening.
If what she was thinking was true, then Martha was going to owe him the biggest apology ever. And maybe even a hug.
“Look,” she said into the silence, “if either of you wanted to walk away right now, you have my word I’d never tell anyone that you left your posts. Blame it on the Daleks preventing you from doing your duty. No one need ever know about it. But you both must know that using the Osterhagen Keys isn’t the way to save the planet. Give the Doctor a chance to work. Go home to your families. Let me handle things.”
“Is it true that they call you the Nightingale?” the woman asked, her voice now full of hope. “That you saved the world once before?”
“You know about that?” Martha was surprised; that wasn’t common knowledge. In fact, it was classified so high not even the keyholders should have been privy to it.
“My brother was a prisoner of the Master,” she confessed. “He remembered it, and he told me.”
“You saved the world?” the man in Liberia enquired, his own words warmer than they had been. “Then why did they ask you to help destroy it?”
Martha thought she now had the answer to that, but she kept it to herself. She shrugged, confident it would register through the video connection. “And I want to save the world again. I’ll erase the logs of everything that’s happened, if you want to leave. I still have a job to do, and I’m going to do it, but neither of you have to be here for it.”
Not saying anything, the man saluted her. Then he got up, reaching over his console…and the screen he’d been on was turned off, going back to black.
Martha let out a breath she hadn’t known she’d been holding.
“I’m staying,” the Chinese woman said warmly, “but only to witness. I want to be able to tell my brother that I was there when the Nightingale saved the world again.”
Martha grinned around the blush that she felt rising in her cheeks. “Now, don’t be surprised at anything you see,” she advised. “I don’t know what the Daleks have planned, and they could come after me once I give them my ultimatum. And if anyone else logs into the system, don’t let them activate the bombs.”
“I won’t. And my name is Anna.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Anna. Maybe, after all this is over, we could talk about something that doesn’t have to do with the world ending.”
Anna laughed. “I would like that, Nightingale.”
When she’d chosen this course of action, Martha hadn’t known that she’d be meeting a potential friend. “Alright, I’m gonna try to contact the Daleks. Keep your fingers crossed that this works…”
Martha bent over her console, bringing up the outside communications network. When this place had been built, UNIT had thought to use the defunct Archangel Network, but they hadn’t been able to hack into the system despite having the plans to it, taken from the Master’s own files. They’d eventually settled on their own network, and Martha was glad that the Daleks had also snagged the majority of the Earth’s satellites when they also stole the entire planet.
When she thought she had the correct settings, Martha called, “This is Doctor Martha Jones, representing the Unified Intelligence Taskforce on behalf of the human race.”
The larger middle screen, the one dedicated to confidential UNIT communications, flared to life. On it, Martha could see a large chamber, bare except for a large piece of equipment near the centre of the room. On it, she could make out Davros and several Daleks…
And the Doctor.
He was standing there, his gaze through the link dark and yet puzzled. Beside him was a blonde woman, wearing a mauve jacket and jeans, also interested in Martha’s presence in the proceedings. Martha felt as if she should know her, even though she was positive she’d never met the woman before in her life.
Martha felt that old familiar adrenaline spike as she faced down the creator of the Dalek race.
She held up her copy of the key, making certain it was visible over the connection. “I have the Osterhagen Key. Leave this planet and its people alone, or I won’t hesitate to use it.” She hoped she sounded threatening enough, once again wishing that Dragon was there. He could pull off threatening with one wing tied behind his back.
The Doctor was frowning. “Osterhagen what?” he demanded. Martha could tell he wasn’t exactly glad to see her, and she really couldn’t blame him. What she was about to do was against what the Doctor stood for, and she couldn’t even give him the slightest hint that it was just a bluff.
“The Osterhagen Key,” she repeated. “There’s a chain of twenty-five nuclear warheads placed in strategic positions beneath the Earth’s crust. If I use this key, they detonate and the Earth gets ripped apart.”
She could see the anger and horror on the Time Lord’s face. “What?” he exclaimed. “Who invented that?” Then he shrugged pointedly. “Well, someone called Osterhagen, I suppose.” And then his attention was right back on Martha, and she found herself on the receiving end of the Oncoming Storm. “Martha, are you insane?”
Not anymore she wasn’t. She felt more in control in that moment than she had ever since all of this began. “The Osterhagen Key is to be used if the suffering of the human race is so great, so without hope, that this becomes the final option.”
It bothered her that there were people out there who really believed that. That destruction was a better way to go out than fighting to the last. Thank god she wasn’t like that.
“That’s never an option,” the Doctor scoffed.
“Don’t argue with me, Doctor,” Martha growled, doing her best to impersonate her favourite dragon. “Because it’s more than that.” She looked at Davros, sitting in that weird chair of his, watching the screen avidly. “I reckon the Daleks need these twenty-seven planets for something. But what if it becomes twenty-six? What happens then? Daleks? Would you risk it?”
“She’s good,” the blonde woman commented, a small smirk on her face even though Martha could tell she was just upset about the ultimatum as the Doctor was.
“Who’s that?” she couldn’t help but ask. This stranger was with the Doctor, and Martha needed to know what she was dealing with if this was going to succeed.
“I’m Rose Tyler.”
Martha’s jaw dropped in astonishment. That was why she thought she should know her…she’d heard enough about Rose Tyler in her time with the Doctor, had tried to compete with Rose’s memory, that she’d felt as if she’d become acquainted with the former companion through some sort of alien form of osmosis. “My god…he found you.”
“Well,” Rose said, “it was more like I found him.”
There really wasn’t anything Martha could say to that.
“There is a second transmission,” one of the Daleks said, its voice grating even over the speaker. “It is internal.”
“Put it through,” Davros requested, sounding almost pleased.
The screen in front of Martha split down the middle, revealing two people she didn’t know, one she’d only seen over the sub-wave…and the last, one of the men she considered her brother and fellow member of the End of the World Club.
“Captain Jack Harkness, calling all Dalek boys and girls…”