... "Then, one day, Buffy met an alien. A Time Lord. Called the Doctor…"
"Have you ever wondered what your future self is up to?" Martha shouted, as she raced down the streets of feudal Japan, just barely avoiding the swoop of arrows. "This is the third monarch that's wanted to kill us the moment he saw you, because of something you haven't done, yet."
The Doctor blew a breath out of his cheeks. "Well, whatever I do, I suppose I'll probably have a good reason," he mused. He leapt over a feudal Japanese peasant, then ducked as an arrow sailed right through the tips of his spiky brown hair. "Oi!" he shouted over his shoulder. "You could be more grateful to us for saving your island from the Yuggzomborous Zilch of Alpha-5!"
A hurled katana barely missed the Doctor's mid-section, as he and Martha zipped around a corner, towards the TARDIS.
"Everywhere we go, there's aliens trying to end the world!" Martha said. "Is there anywhere in the universe that we could turn up and not find trouble?"
The Doctor shot her a manic grin. "You love it."
Martha wasn't exactly in a position to argue with that. "I'd almost think you looked for…" She stopped talking, as she realized her mobile was ringing. "Hang on. Probably Mum." And she really had to stop hanging up on her mum. One of these days, she was going to go home, and her mum would be furious at her.
She answered the call.
"Mum?" she asked.
All she heard on the other end of the phone was a wave of static. And something that sounded a little like a voice.
Martha checked the display. Caller ID blank. She held the phone up to her ear. "Who is this?"
Another wave of static. This time much longer. The voice was indistinct, but whoever it was sounded desperate. Scared. Martha thought she caught the word, 'help'.
The Doctor, glancing back at her over his shoulder, looked highly curious. Like he was only seconds away from snatching up the phone and scanning it — complete with sonic and brainy specs — to figure out what was going on.
"Look, I don't know how you got this number," said Martha, "but whoever you are, if you need help, I can help you. I've got this friend, right? He's called the Doctor. We can help you with whatever's going on. But you have to speak up and tell us where you are."
There was a soft hum of static on the other end, and Martha figured whoever it was was probably screwing with the controls. Or finding a better reception spot.
The Doctor grinned at her. "Me? Looking for trouble? When it phones you up to make an appointment?"
Martha only just managed to sidestep out of the way of another arrow, phone still pressed to her ear. "It's probably just Leo," she told him. Then, into the phone, "Leo, if this is you, I can't talk, now. But I'm sure, whatever it is, it's not the end of the world."
"Well, maybe they…" Martha started. But she didn't have time to finish.
Because the next thing Martha knew, a feeling came over her, like she was being yanked by a string, across the feudal Japanese street — no, into
the street, into the whole world — and she couldn't hold on, even as the Doctor shouted for her, rushed towards her, tried to catch her. She was flying, pulled through the inside of the world and the inside of the universe. Mashed up and scattered and then pulled back again, and the first second she could think, she realized…
She was no longer in feudal Japan.
Not even close.
Martha found herself in the middle of a small room. A very smoky, small stone room. Her mobile still in her hand.
And people were coughing, a short ways away.
Martha swatted the smoke away from her face. No idea where she was. When she was. Kidnapped by people she didn't know using a telephone call that hadn't completely gone through.
She looked around for something to defend herself with.
"Whoever you are," Martha called, through the smoke, picking up a blasted apart wooden chair leg, "you'd better put me back before the Doctor finds you. Or you're going to be really, really sorry!"
A small voice asked something, although the words were covered up by the sound of a sparking bit of machinery, somewhere nearby.
A sigh. "No, that's not the Doctor," came a familiar sounding voice. "That's Martha. And the reason she's sounding clearer is because she's right here."
A shape emerged in the slowly fading smoke. A shape that Martha recognized, from a trip she'd taken only a week ago.
"I know you!" she said, dropping the chair leg. "You're… you're Buffy Summers. From Sunnydale."
"Yeah, basically," said Buffy. She waved at the smoke around them. "Sorry about this. We were trying to call the Doctor, but we wound up… teleporting you here, instead. Somehow." She turned back to the piece of machinery that had appeared from the smoke. "I told you I didn't think it was supposed to look this complicated! You didn't build a phone thing. You built a teleport."
"Teleport?!" cried a voice from the other end of the machine. "I didn't build a teleport! I built an inter-dimensional mobile phone extender. And it worked perfectly!"
"Uh-huh," said Buffy. "Right until the moment it blew up."
"Well… well… that had nothing to do with my machine!" the voice replied. "My machine was perfect. Brilliant! Ingenious. It did exactly what it was supposed to do! It's the Archangel Network that malfunctioned. Not my machine." The smoke cleared, revealing the silhouette of a short figure, bouncing on her toes as she squinted at the machine. "I'm 95 percent sure. Well, 70. 62. Almost 40 percent sure it had nothing to do with me!"
"Oh, my God," said Martha, as the smoke cleared. And she saw who was standing there, checking out the machine. And who the girl looked, sounded, and acted like.
"Yep," said Buffy. "That's basically what I said, when she first woke up."
Martha had disappeared.
No rhyme, no reason, no nothing. Just phone call, and then, pop! Gone!
Now the Doctor was scrambling around his TARDIS, frantically connecting and disconnecting circuits, tuning into the exact frequency wavelength that had been used to snatch Martha away. It was… extra dimensional. Well, sort of. A bit. Extra-dimensional-ish. Well, maybe a bit more than ish. But still ish-ish.
The Doctor stopped by the monitor. Craned his neck to the side, absorbing the data written on the screen. Then grinned.
"Oh, a slanted dimension to our own, travelling along its intersection point!" he cried. Then flipped some levers, and turned some dials on the console. "Whoever you are, you're almost as clever as me!"
He shoved his foot across the central console, to flip another switch with the sole of his shoe, as he pulled down the dematerialization lever.
"But not quite!" he added, as the ship took off.
"He's on his way," said the Supreme Councilor. "There is nothing we can do to stop it. The events have been set in motion."
"But that's impossible," said Henadraia. "Our psychic block should have redirected the signal away from the Doctor, and straight to—"
"Straight to the Embarrassment," said Ezixil. Looking at the trapped entity. And shaking his head.
"Then the Embarrassment has done something," Vaya hypothesized. "He loved Seosyrae. He would have given the child some method to contact the Doctor that would use our psychic block to his own advantage."
"The mobile number is Martha Jones'," said Laom. "The signal would not trip our block if it was directed at her, instead of the Doctor. Contacting Martha Jones using the Archangel Network tapped into the power of a paradox, whilst a paradox machine was idling nearby."
They all looked back at the Embarrassment. Disgust written across their features.
"The soul of humanity," sighed Henadraia. "That can love a child so much. Take such measures to keep her alive. How embarrassing."
"We could still redirect the Doctor," said Talcon. "Make sure he stays away."
Andor stepped forwards, meekly offering his counsel. "With all due respect, you cannot," he said. "Martha Jones has been transported. I know what the Doctor is like, when his companions are threatened. We could delay him a thousand years, but we'd never be able to stop him from reaching his intended destination."
"At any rate, it doesn't matter," said Vaya. "If the Doctor's involved, we cannot intervene. So says the contract."
"Oh, forget the contract!" shouted Henadraia. She pointed at their captive. "The Embarrassment has been neutralized. The Weapon is at large. The Beast of Krop Tor has nearly uncovered it. And the Slayer — our most reliable warrior — has turned against us. Death is here, death for all!" She grabbed up the contract from Laom, and ripped it apart. "The contract is finished. Forever."
Supreme Councilor Laom took this in, thoughtfully. "In that case, this could work to our advantage," he said. "You have seen what happens when we
attempt to destroy Seosyrae. Even if we could retrieve her, she would simply use the energy to transport herself, again."
"And the carnage that transportation carries in its wake could be even more devastating than it was this time," Ezixil said, looking around at the damage she had caused. "Far, far more devastating."
"But if the Doctor were to kill her," said Supreme Councilor Laom, "she would never risk hurting him to stop him. If the Doctor killed her, she'd let him."
The others considered this, interested.
Andor seemed less than enthusiastic.
"He is a primitive," Henadraia reminded them. "One of the lower dimensional beings."
"He is a lower dimensional being," said Supreme Councilor Laom. "But an enlightened one. His race once ruled this universe for good. We must remember that. The Doctor sees farther and understands clearer than any other lower dimensional being. And he can divorce himself from the sentimental human emotions that have infected our Slayer."
"I don't think this is wise," said Andor.
"The real question is — would the Doctor do it?" asked Talcon. "Would he destroy someone who so resembles his own kin?"
"He destroyed his own kin to save the universe before," said Supreme Councilor Laom. "The answer is simple. If the Doctor believes he must
destroy Seosyrae, then he will. However much it displeases him to do so."
Andor still seemed hesitant. "I don't think…"
"There can be no argument," Ezixil scolded Andor. "You know the consequences of letting the Weapon go free."
Andor nodded, and gave a military salute. "I will redirect the Doctor's vehicle here. Let you present your case to him." Then turned, marching off to arrange it. As he muttered beneath his breath, "I only hope you know what you're doing."
The TARDIS jolted and bucked, as it toppled through the dimensional barriers within the vortex. The Doctor adjusted a few knobs and switches and levers. "Steady," he said. Another heave, and the Doctor flipped something else. "Steady, old girl."
Then a shake that threw the Doctor to the floor, followed by the slam of a crashed materialization. The Doctor peeled himself up off the floor, catching his breath.
The TARDIS console was smoking and sparking, giving a sick groan.
"There we go," he said to his smoldering TARDIS control console. He adjusted his tie. "Easy peasy. What did I say?"
Then marched out of the doors, to see what awaited him outside.
Buffy had been trying to explain to Martha exactly what had been going on. And why they were there. And who or what Seo was. And why they needed the Doctor's help.
"…and then she said that actually, she could tap into Archangel twice, across two different points in time, and wind up with thirty satellites," Buffy said. "And then it blew up."
Martha seemed impressed. She looked over at Seo. "You blew up Archangel?"
Seo looked defensive. "No!" she said, her hands on the top of her constructed machine. "My machine was perfect. Archangel
blew up me
"That's Seo-speak for 'yes'," Buffy translated. "'I blew up the Archangel Network.'"
"I didn't—!" Seo started.
"Blowing things up," said Martha, with a laugh. "Like father like daughter."
Buffy crossed her arms. "Excuse me?" she said. "You're talking to Miss 'Blew Up Her Own High School' over here!"
"But the machine didn't destroy the Archangel—!" Seo tried.
"All right, like parents
, like daughter," Martha amended. "Blew up your own high school?"
"Giant snake monster," Buffy explained.
Martha nodded. "Oh, well, of course."
"You don't understand!" said Seo. "Archangel didn't blow up, because it—"
"It's amazing how times change," Buffy remarked, looking at Seo with a fond reminiscence in her eyes. "When I was her age, I was blowing up high schools and shopping malls and gyms. And, now, she's blowing up vast intercontinental cell phone networks!"
"For the last time, I didn't blow up the Archangel Network!" Seo shouted. "And you've never been my age! I'm 71 years older than you!"
Buffy turned to Martha, with a little sniff. "They grow up so fast."