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First days

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The first time Kate Lethbridge-Stewart set foot in UNIT, she had no idea what it was. The Brigadier had brought her to work, reluctantly, as there was no one else available to look after his two year old daughter. Fiona was sick, probably just flu but was in no position to look after a toddler, the usual babysitter was on holiday and the nursery was full that day.

They travelled in on the tube, excitement enough for Kate who loved waving at the other passengers, before entering an unassuming door in a wall. The security guards looked curiously at Kate as she waved at them too.

“Needs must,” the Brigadier muttered as they ushered them through.

He settled Kate in his office with some colouring pencils before making a start on the pile of paperwork. Kate stayed quiet most of the morning and he had got through a large amount of needless red tape before he glanced up and realised she had disappeared.

He ran panic stricken down the corridor, calling her name, worried beyond belief. UNIT was no place for a toddler to wander. There were too many dangerous things going on. A number of heads appeared around office doors, confused at seeing the Brigadier so flustered.

He found her eventually sat in the canteen with the kitchen staff, happily drinking a glass of juice as they cooed over her.

“Kate!” he said, relief washing over him.

“Daddy!” she said excitedly, “Juice!”

He scooped her up, thanked the kitchen staff profusely and headed for the door. Kate waved at her new friends as they left.

“We are going home,” he announced, both to Kate and to the gathering crowds of UNIT staff who had followed him. “And she is never coming back.”


 

The next time Kate Stewart set foot in UNIT, she had dropped the Lethbridge in her name, unwilling to be judged by her father’s merits rather than her own. She had no memory of being here before, and nor did any of the staff. Most of them had joined UNIT in the years since and even the older ones would not have associated the cool, calm adult with the excitable toddler who visited one morning years ago.

She cleared security and was lead through to the science department by a colleague introduced as Jones.

“So I expect you will be wanting to know about what UNIT does,” he said.

She paused for a moment, unsure how much to reveal. “Yes,” she said, “They wouldn’t tell me anything at the interview.”

They didn’t need to know that she was well versed in what went on at UNIT, that her father had filled her in on all the minute details, that he had recommended the job to her in the first place and put in a good word with the recruiters.

She didn’t bother listening as Jones talked though the different departments and their responsibilities, instead looking around at their surroundings as they walked. Along one wall she saw photographs of all the past heads of UNIT, her father included, and smiled.

Eventually they made it down to the scientific labs and Jones left her to acquaint herself with the equipment. It was all fairly standard as far as she could tell. Presumably the alien technology was not for the likes of new recruits. A pile of paperwork had been left on a desk to complete, the standard new starter forms as well as some rather serious looking confidentiality agreements. It took most of the morning to complete them.

Jones took her to lunch in the canteen with some of her other new colleagues. They were all friendly and she tried to make an effort with them, wanted to make a good go at this job, to make her father proud. They filled her in on some of their projects and she told them about Gordy, now in full teenage mode.

She spent the afternoon shadowing one of her colleagues, a woman called Georgina, helping out with her experiments. At one point there was a loud bang from a nearby lab and an alarm rang out, making Kate jump.

Georgina laughed, “You’ll get used to that. In fact, if you are going to carry on working for us, you’ll get used to everything and anything.”

Kate smiled, thinking back to the tales her father told, as well as the recent times when she had been dragged into adventures with him. “I’m looking forward to it.”