Actions

Work Header

The Hunters and the Hunted

Chapter Text

“Kate,” the Doctor’s voice is harsh to his own ears and he tries to gentle his tone. “I’ve found your people,” he kneels among the bodies, all dressed in UNIT uniforms, “I think they’re dead.”

The reply, when it comes, is thin and broken with static, despite his prior attempts to boost the signal. “All of them? How?”

“Crush injuries,” he moves from person to person, “as if part of the cave collapsed.” He frowns and looks around, confused. “But I don’t see any debris. I count maybe…six people here. Plus the two I found when I landed, which means-”

“We’re still missing seven UNIT personnel plus,” the sound fizzes out completely for a few seconds and he only catches the end of her sentence, “observer.” A pause. “Is Osgood-”

“No, I don’t see her or your Captain Carter here.” He pulls a small device out of his pocket and lays it on the cave floor. “I’m leaving a beacon so you can retrieve them later.”

“Thank you-”

“There's no need,” he stands and straightens his bow tie, “I just wish I'd gotten here sooner. I’ll continue looking. Doctor out.”

Slipping the radio communicator into the pocket of his long purple coat, he surveys his options. Three tunnels lead from this relatively large cavern, which looks very similar to the one he’s left his TARDIS in. One tunnel is the one he came through, which still leaves two options. He handles this decision the way he always has, “Eenie, meenie, miney, moe.” His finger stops on the tunnel on his right and he walks cautiously down it.

The silence quickly wears on him. He’s used to having companions to talk to, worry about, and comfort in situations like this. Here he has too much time to be in his own head, to remember-

A sound further down the tunnel draws his attention back to the here and now. The Doctor raises his torch and the beam illuminates the face of a man several feet away.

The stranger freezes in place, shielding his eyes from the light. “Hello,” he says and his voice quavers slightly. He sounds heartbreakingly young. “Who’s there?”

“Hello!” The Doctor rushes forward to shake the man’s hand like he’s priming a pump. “I’m the Doctor and I’m here to help.” He looks the man up and down. Dark hair, dark eyes, and the beginnings of a beard that somehow manages to make him look younger rather than older. He also looks very frightened. “I assume you aren’t from UNIT,” he eyes the man’s clothing - a duffle coat over a t-shirt and jeans, “so who are you?”

The man blinks several times. “Oh.”

The Doctor tilts his head and moves closer. “It’s alright, you’re safe now. You can tell me-”

“I just did. My name is O.” O shrugs, embarrassment chasing the fear from his face. “It’s a code name - long story. Short version: I’m an observer from,” he pauses, clearly weighing how much to tell the Doctor, “…a sister agency.”

The Doctor nods, shining the torch light further down the tunnel. He moves in that direction, trusting O will follow him. “Ah, I see. Torchwood. How is Captain Jack these days? I assume he’s still with them-”

“No, not Torchwood.” There’s another pause. “MI6.”

“You’re a spy?” The Doctor is impressed, if a bit surprised. “I’ve always wanted to be a spy. Have been one a few times, I think, although that was probably a few lives ago. Unless you count that time in the White House during the 1960s, before the moon landing. I’ve certainly met a few, even called some friends…and enemies. Mata Hari, what a woman-”

“Not a spy,” O interjects into a pause when the Doctor takes a breath. “I’m an analyst.” He speaks hurriedly now, seemingly worried he won’t be able to get another word in if he cedes the floor now. “I guess you can say I’m their version of Fox Mulder. You know, investigating the unexplained? Wait,” he looks at the Doctor more closely. “Did you say your name was the Doctor? Osgood mentioned you on the tour. You’re a time traveler of some sort?”

“You’ve seen Osgood? How is she?” The Doctor freezes, his mind finally catching up with what O said. “Tour? What tour?”

“Tour of UNIT HQ. She gave me one before we came here.” He looks worried again. “I haven’t seen her since we all split up and everything…went sideways.”

“What exactly happened here, O?”

“I’m not sure. It was supposed to be a training exercise. The tunnels had been mapped, supposedly, and Osgood released a small…well, a robot spider-looking thing, something she made to simulate an alien incursion. We broke into teams of three,” he shrugs, “well, four in my case. I tagged along with Edmunds, Wade, and Cortez.” O shakes his head and shivers. “Something fired at us, but it wasn’t…it didn’t sound like bullets. More like,” he struggles to find the right words, “an energy weapon? We thought it was part of the test, at first. But it killed Wade and then our radios were jammed and I got separated from Cortex and Edmunds.” He gestures weakly. “then I just…wandered alone in the darkness trying to find my way out, until I ran into you.”

“And I’m very glad you did.” The Doctor gives O a grin, the one he knows inspires confidence even in the worst situations. “Unfortunately, you’re the first living person I’ve found so far.”

O quickly catches the connotation of that statement and stares at him wide-eyed. “So, that means everyone’s dead?”

“We don’t know that” the Doctor soothes, “after all, you’re still here. There’s still a chance we could find more survivors and help them.” He looks deeply into O’s eyes. “I could really use your help for that. What’d you say, O?”

O swallows hard and composes himself. “Right. Sure. I can do that. Whatever you need, Doctor.”

He thumps the young man on the shoulder and grins. “Good man! Come on. Let’s see what’s down here-”