I do not own Doctor Who or The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne
Ace woke to the smell of strong coffee and sighed as she sat up. She was going to have to find someplace fairly private to scan for Jack. A small thump caught her attention and she turned to see Rebecca closing the wardrobe door. The woman was dressed head to toe in a form-fitting leather outfit. Ace felt her jaw drop. She was sure women didn't generally dress in that manner at this time. She cleared her throat.
Rebecca turned her head and smiled as she sat down to adjust her boots.
"Best to be ready for action," Rebecca commented when she noticed the look on Ace's face.
"I think I could use something like that," Ace remarked. "There's clearly more to you than meets the eye."
"I could say the same of you," Rebecca said. "I'm sure we could put one together for you, easily."
She put her foot on the floor and regarded Ace for a moment. She inhaled deeply and let the breath out slowly.
"If we're going to work together to get Jack from the Count, we should probably trust each other. I work for the British Secret Service; I find this type of outfit very useful from time to time. It's helped to get me out of some very tight spots, if you'll pardon the pun."
Ace chuckled and shifted under Rebecca's steady gaze. The woman was clearly waiting for Ace to speak. She surely couldn't tell the woman everything.
"I worked for a special branch of the British military," she finally explained grudgingly and hoped Rebecca would buy her story. "I specialized in unusual happenings and I'm very good with explosives."
Rebecca looked at Ace for a few more moments and then finally nodded. "That will come in handy," she said with a tone of finality. Ace knew the woman could sense there was more and was grateful Rebecca wasn't pushing it. Both women turned at a brief rap at the door.
"Miss Rebecca, Miss Ace, breakfast is ready," the voice of Passepartout called through the door.
"Be right there," Rebecca called out. She glanced at Ace. "We'll get your measurements and see how quickly we can get a suit made for you, if you really want one."
Ace nodded. She could already think of modifications she could make to the suit. She bent down to put her own shoes on as Rebecca pulled a dress on over the leather suit and then checked her hair in the mirror.
She followed Rebecca out of the room after a quick brush of her own hair. Phileas was nowhere to be seen, but Jules was seated at the table working his way through a plate of bread, cheese and fruit. He stood as she and Rebecca approached the table.
"I hope you slept well?"
Ace nodded. "I did, thank you."
She sat down and helped herself to coffee and breakfast. She was hungrier than she'd realized.
"Where's Phileas?" Rebecca asked and took a sip of coffee.
"Not back yet. I assume he's still at home," Jules replied and took another huge bite to avoid any other questions.
Ace shared an amused glance with Rebecca and turned her attention to her food while Rebecca idly sipped her coffee, picked at a croissant and read the newspaper. When she'd finished her croissant, Rebecca put the paper aside and stood up.
"I have some people to talk to," Rebecca stated as she stood. She looked at Ace. "I'll be back in an hour or so and then we can go see about that little project we discussed if you like?"
Ace nodded. "That's fine with me. I have something I need to work on."
Rebecca flashed Ace a quick smile and swept from the room. Jules sat for a moment, glanced at Ace, then excused himself and hurried after Rebecca.
"Need any help?" he offered.
Rebecca pursed her lips and glanced towards the ceiling before smiling. "If you feel you need to. You're good at carrying things," she told him and gestured him to follow.
"Will you be needing anything else, Miss Ace?" Passepartout wanted to know as he came in to clear away the dishes.
"No, I'm fine, thank you," she said and paused before looking at him. "Do you know anyplace I could find some very small tools?" she asked.
He looked surprised at her question for a moment and then gestured her to follow him. She got up and followed him to a door. He paused a moment, then smiled at her and opened the door and gestured her inside.
"This is my lab," he told her. Ace gaped around her and made her way to a table covered in drawings. The tech was amazing for this time. For the first time she thought she might actually be able to rescue Jack and get them both home.
"Thank you, this is far more than I expected," she told Passepartout with a smile.
Passepartout clasped his hands together and scuffed a foot, looking shyly pleased.
"Did you make all this?" she asked and gestured.
"Yes, I like to make things," he said. "Mr. Jules, he is drawing many of the things I make, but sometimes I just am doing it."
He shrugged. "I have work," he stated and hurried from the room. She barely nodded as he left, her attention caught by the machines scattered around the room. This was really quite amazing. She gathered some tools and sat down at a bench near a clear space at one of the tables and with a quick tap, opened her armband.
After a few minor adjustments, she began to program a scan to find Jack. She stuck her chin in her hand as her eyes moved over the map of Paris projected in front of her, watching for the telltale dot that would tell her where Jack was.
She heard a quick intake of breath behind her and mentally cursed herself. She should have known he would be coming back. There was no way to hide it now. She grimaced and then turned to see Passepartout gazing at the projected map in wonder.
"It's amazing," he breathed and came towards her. He looked at the armband and the odd control panel of keyboard and various small levers that was clearly too large to fit inside the slim gold band.
"How are you doing that?" he wanted to know as he pointed at it. His eyes narrowed slightly as his brow furrowed and he looked at her as his arms defiantly folded across his chest.
"You are from the future," he stated. Ace couldn't help her eyes widening. He wasn't asking. She cleared her throat uneasily.
"What makes you say that? You have a lot of impressive technical equipment here," she said with a quick gesture around the room.
Passepartout shook his head at her, his face stern.
"You are like Miss Rebecca, before your time," he said. He stabbed a finger at the armband. "And that, that is…." he paused as he tried to think of a word, "alien," he finally said.
His face suddenly broke into a grin and he went over to a table and grabbed up a sheaf of drawings.
"Mr. Jules and I, we build," he said and shoved the drawings at her. "We, too, have traveled in time, to the past," he informed her, his tone slightly smug.
Ace leafed through the drawings and then looked up at Passepartout. "Is this…a time machine?"
He nodded. "'The Phoenix' she is called."
"It's fantastic," she breathed. She had no idea these people knew about time travel, or had experienced it.
Passepartout slid onto a stool next to Ace, the ghost of a grin pulling at the corners of his mouth. Ace put the drawings down and looked at him.
"Is there any chance you would be willing to build another?" she asked curiously.
Passepartout paused a moment, then nodded. "You are wanting to go home?" he said, the question almost a statement. "I will help."
He tapped the drawing as Ace opened her mouth to thank him. "'The Phoenix', she is a bit unreliable," he told her and Ace slowly smiled.
"Leave that to me," she said slyly and looked at the armband. Once she found Jack, she would be able to put the Timelord tech in it to good use and get home.
Jack blinked, or thought he blinked. His head was splitting and he couldn't seem to open his eyes. He tried again and managed to open them just a crack.
"I see our guest is awake," Jack heard a harsh, gurgling voice say. He felt his skin go cold at the sound of the voice and shivered. He opened his eyes a little farther and saw what he could only think of as an abomination, and Jack had seen a lot of horrible things in his time, but nothing like this horrifying, Frankenstein's monster melding of human and what looked to be medieval armor.
Jack twitched and realized he was chained up on some sort of apparatus. He wanted to look around at it, but couldn't take his attention from the monstrosity that faced him.
The thing made a noise like a drain gurgling, Jack realized it was laughter.
"Your expression is quite amusing," it said to him. Jack simply blinked. He had no idea what to say and his mouth was so dry anyway, he wasn't sure he would be able to speak.
"I hear you cannot die. That is something I am very interested in, as you might have guessed," the gurgling laugh sounded again. "I am Count Gregory."
Jack felt his throat clicking with a desire to swallow hard, except there was no moisture to swallow.
"You've heard of me," the Count stated. "You look thirsty," the Count observed and he made a sort of gesture that sent an assistant over with a glass of water. The underling held the glass to Jack's lips and Jack reflexively swallowed to keep from choking as the cool liquid filled his mouth. He realized the water might be somehow drugged, but was there a point in worrying about being drugged when he was chained up?
He managed to turn his head from the glass and the underling looked at his master before scuttling away. A man in a white lab coat came over and began to prepare Jack's arm to draw blood.
Jack tentatively cleared his throat. "You can't get it from my blood," he said. The words came out raspy, but understandable.
The Count's gurgle of laughter caused Jack to shudder.
"I don't want your blood," The Count explained, causing Jack to look at the man who was drawing his blood then back at the Count.
"I intend to take your body," The Count said and Jack felt something approaching real horror. Could this bizarre creature do that? He did not want to hang around long enough to find out. He found himself pleading, nearly praying, that he would be rescued soon. There was no way he could get out of here on his own….
Ace sat and stared at the small scanner she and Passepartout had managed to cobble together, using tech from her wristband and various other things, to find Jack.
Passepartout had wandered off to make some food, stating all the inventing was making him hungry. She barely noticed Jules and Rebecca coming in and sitting near her to look at the scanner.
"Will it work?" Rebecca wanted to know.
"It should. Passepartout is quite clever and I have some," she paused, "specialized knowledge."
She still wasn't quite comfortable telling them everything. Passepartout had simply figured it out and although she didn't confirm, she hadn't denied any of his theories either. She also knew that he would never say a word.
Rebecca continued on as if she knew Ace was holding back, but choosing to ignore it.
"You'll have a suit by the end of the day," she told Ace. Ace turned her head and glanced at Rebecca.
"Thank you. Once we find Jack, I have a feeling I'll need it," she turned her attention back to the scanner.
"Jules and I have already raided the armory for some decent weapons to use against the Count. He's a small army at his disposal so it won't be very easy to extract Jack."
Ace could see Jules nodding in agreement from the corner of her eye.
"I can be an army if need be," she muttered and Jules and Rebecca shared an uneasy glance.
Ace had just started to doze off when a shrill beeping filled the air. She sat up with a start, in time to see Rebecca drop the cup of tea she'd been sipping from. Jules came running into the room and looked from one woman to the other.
"It's found him," Ace stated, unaware of the menacing smile that curved her lips. Rebecca stood up and rubbed her hands together, her predatory expression matching Ace's.
"Let's go then."
The group followed the device in Ace's hand to the outskirts of Paris and a large, empty-seeming warehouse. Ace shut the device off, stuffed it into her knapsack and led the way slowly towards the door, using crates and other bins as cover. She tried the door and finding it locked, gestured Rebecca over.
Rebecca nodded and pulled a small, syringe-like device out and carefully squirted something on the wood around the door handle. The liquid quickly began to smoke and Rebecca carefully pulled the handle away.
Ace pulled a canister of Nitro-10 from her pack and led the way inside. Jules made to follow the women, but Phileas stopped him.
"Stay out here, hide. The Count would love to get his hands on you and we can't have that. Let's not tempt fate."
Jules sighed, but nodded and slipped into the shadows at the corner of the building.
Ace turned and glanced back at Rebecca at the sound of voices as they neared a door. She made a series of gestures at Rebecca, who nodded and moved with cat-like grace to the other side of the door to peer into the dirty windows nearby. She edged her face close to see and caught sight of Jack. She jerked her head back and twisted around to nod at Ace.
Rebecca reached down and carefully drew a long knife from her boot while Phileas drew his sword. Ace put her hand on the knob, glanced to make sure Fogg and Rebecca were ready and then slammed the door open with a shriek as she threw the canister into the room, aiming it at the Count who was near a console. She tucked into a roll, using the smoke that was issuing from the canister as cover and then stood and bolted for Jack.
"NO!" she heard the Count's voice bellow, but ignored it and focused on Jack. A feeling of déjà vu washed over her as she saw him strapped to the metal frame. She took a moment to look around the room. She could hear the sounds of Rebecca and Fogg fighting the guards the Count had had in the room.
She pulled out a knife Rebecca had given her and quickly sliced through the straps. She saw the color of the smoke change and let out a shrill whistle. Rebecca and Fogg broke off fighting and dashed across the room to Ace as the canister went off.
Fogg and Rebecca took charge of Jack as Ace peered through the smoke, her brow furrowed. Why hadn't the Count done more? She hadn't looked long enough, granted, but he had seemed to just be standing there. She shrugged. No use worrying about it now. They had to get out. She picked up a nearby trolley that had various medical implements on it and used it to smash one of the large windows.
She pulled the skirt Jack had made her wear out of the knapsack and flung it over the edge of the window to protect them from the bits of broken glass still in the window frame and hurriedly climbed out.
The three of them muscled Jack out of the window and then Rebecca and Fogg quickly climbed out. As Fogg and Rebecca carried Jack out, Ace waited a moment. She peered intently at the smoke, her ears straining for any sound. She could hear nothing. No outcry. Nothing. She felt gooseflesh begin to creep across her arms.
Why was there no one else in the building? Surely that explosion would have brought guards running from everywhere? From all they had told her about the Count, rescuing Jack should not have been this easy.
She bit her lip and then turned and ran after Fogg and Rebecca. When she got outside, she saw Rebecca kneeling next to Jack, trying to bring him around. Rebecca looked up as Ace approached.
"He's been drugged or something. I'm not sure I can do anything for him until we get to the Aurora."
Ace nodded absently and looked over at Fogg, who was using one of Ace's two radios to talk to Passepartout.
"So, is the Count dead then?" Jules wanted to know. Ace shook herself out of her reverie and looked at Jules.
"I want to say yes," Ace began hesitantly. "But I just can't." She tapped Rebecca on the shoulder to get the woman's attention.
"Didn't that seem too easy?" she wanted to know.
Rebecca opened her mouth and then closed it again. Her brow furrowed as she thought.
"In all the excitement I hadn't thought about it, but now," Rebecca paused. "I think you're right. There should have been a lot more guards around if he was using this as a base. He has his whole League of Darkness at his disposal."
Rebecca stood and brushed at the dust on her knees. She tossed her braid back over her shoulder and looked back at the warehouse.
"Maybe he didn't think we would be able to find him," Jules suggested. Ace and Rebecca both turned to him. Rebecca snorted with disgust.
"Why don't we just thank our luck and get him out of here," Fogg broke in. "We can debate it all later."
They all looked up at the sound of the Aurora overhead and got on board as quickly as possible.
Rebecca held Jack's hand as she sat next to the bed they had put him in. She hoped he would be okay. She knew she shouldn't feel this way. Despite her seeming upset at Phileas' disapproval, she knew her cousin had a point.
"Do you think we should find a doctor?" Ace asked from the doorway.
Rebecca looked over and a ghost of a smile crossed her face before she turned back to Jack.
"No, Passepartout is skilled enough. We're flushing his system so surely he'll come around soon."
Ace took a sip of her tea.
"Speaking of Passepartout, he's got some food ready, if you're hungry."
Rebecca shook her head. "Not just now."
Ace narrowed her eyes, but said nothing. It was clear how the woman felt about Jack. Ace wanted to advise her against it, but she was still trying to keep from revealing too much about herself and Jack to these people, even though they had proven to be good allies. Though, it was starting to become pointless. She'd shared some of her Timelord technology with Passepartout in order to find Jack and would be sharing more to help build the Phoenix and they knew Jack couldn't die. She sighed, but kept silent as she watched Rebecca pat Jack's hand and then turned and headed down to the workroom.
Passepartout was already hard at work on finishing up the body of the Phoenix. She peered through the hatch and noted the pedestal where the control panel would go and then to the comfortable-looking chair. She frowned. There was really only room for one person in there! How would she and Jack get where they needed to go if they both couldn't fit inside.
"Passepartout, it's too small," she stated.
Passepartout straightened up from where he'd been touching up some of the welding. He took off the goggles and smiled at her.
"Is not too small, Miss Ace," he corrected her.
"Just Ace, please, Passepartout," she said with a sigh. "And it is, there are only one chair and no room for anyone else."
Passepartout held up his forefinger and walked over the large table he was building the "engine" for the Phoenix on. He picked up her armband and held it up.
"But this is being larger on the inside than on the outside, yes?" and grinned at her.
"So, my armband is going to be completely dismantled then?" she asked unable to keep the disappointment from her tone.
"But in good cause," Passepartout told her and gestured her over to the table where the partially built engine sat.
She walked over and soon the two had their heads together and were engrossed in an intensive technical discussion as they worked to finish the engine. Ace found herself again and again amazed at Passepartout's skill and intellect. She watched and assisted as best she could as he finished dismantling her armband and adapting the technology to use to build the engine for the Phoenix. Some of what he did she couldn't even follow, but she kept quiet. He seemed confident in what he was doing.
A sudden shrill scream made them both turn, Passepartout dropping the tool he was holding, while Ace gripped the screwdriver she was holding tighter in her fist as she started for the door. She burst into the hall from the stairs, nearly impaling Fogg on the screwdriver.
"Rebecca," he barely gasped and pushed Ace in the direction of Rebecca's room and stopped short at the sight of Jack holding Rebecca in his arms. Ace could see blood and her fingers tightened on the screwdriver. From the corner of her eye she saw Fogg raise his sword.
"What's happened?" Fogg demanded as he took a step towards them.
A feral smile twisted Jack's face as he tossed Rebecca's body to the floor just in front of Fogg. He then quickly turned and ran down the hall and into the control room, maniacal laughter trailing behind him. Ace looked at Phileas in shock before running after Jack, leaving Fogg to deal with Rebecca.
She rushed into the control room too late. Jack had already opened the hatch and was sliding down the rope. She slammed her hand down on the button for the winch in order to wind the rope back up, but Jack looked up at her and let go of the rope, dropping the last 10 feet to the ground. He ducked, rolled and jumped up. He looked up and sketched her a cocky salute before dashing off and quickly becoming lost amongst the buildings.
Ace brought the rope the rest of the way up and closed the hatch.
"What happened? Was that Jack?" Jules wanted to know. Ace turned to face him.
"It was Jack's body, but I don't think that was Jack," she told him, her tone dark. She headed back into the hall and went into Rebecca's room where Phileas had laid his cousin on the bed.
"Rebecca…." she began.
"He killed her," Phileas' voice grated with barely suppressed rage.
Ace felt the tears sting her eyes, but she refused to let them fall.
"Why would Jack do that?" he demanded to know as he stood and faced Ace. She could see the hurt and anger in his face. "We trusted you."
Ace shook her head. "That wasn't Jack," she told him. "I don't know how, but..." she broke off and shook her head again. "I think that was the Count, in Jack's body."
Phileas felt his jaw drop. He wanted to argue, but he thought about the expression on Jack's face. True, he hadn't known them long, but it was easy to see that that expression was alien to what he knew of Jack's character.
"How," Fogg breathed.
Ace shook her head. "I have no idea." She leaned against the wall, slid down it and slumped on the floor. "And I have no idea how to fix it…or…or anything."
She leaned her head against the wall, trying to fight the despair as she felt the tears finally began to slip down her cheeks. Phileas looked at her a moment, then dropped to his knees next to her and took her hand and patted it awkwardly.
"Surely we can think of something," he said softly.
"I don't know what," she replied brokenly. "Rebecca's dead and so is Jack."
Phileas squeezed her hand. Passepartout came out of Rebecca's room and stood behind Fogg.
"Can we not be using the Phoenix to maybe save Mister Jack and Miss Rebecca?"
Ace felt her heart stop. Why hadn't she thought of that? She considered it a moment. The Jack she had met when she came here was from the future, in fact had just come from quite far into the future. The Jack who'd traveled with the Doctor hadn't been the Count. Therefore, they should be able to use the Phoenix to go back and rescue Jack before the Count had been able to try his experiment.
Ace quickly jumped to her feet and dashed her tears away with the back of her hand. She smiled hugely and grabbed Passepartout and kissed him soundly.
"You are a genius," she said. "Let's get busy! We have time machine to build!"
Passepartout stood in shock as watched her hurry away. He slowly moved his eyes to glance at Fogg who was trying not to smile and then blushed before turning to run after her and trying to ignore the sound of Fogg's deep chuckle that followed after him.