“Are you ready?” Ian asks.
Martha glances up at him. He has kind eyes and a generous nature. Maybe too generous. She found him outside of London, still reeling from the loss of his family. He hadn’t hesitated to help her if it meant a chance at stopping the Master no matter what it cost him. And cost him it did. Her eyes go to the sling on his arm. She thinks back to when it happened. The fear when Ian was shot by the Master’s forces as he tried to get her to a safe house. The sense of calm that came over her as she grabbed him and dragged him the rest of the way while bullets blew past them. He thanked her after she bandaged his wound before passing out. All she could think was that he wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for her. She’d left him sleeping and used her remaining calm to go over his plan to get them out of England again. That feeling of calm kept her steady through the treacherous journey across the channel into France. It didn’t last though. She’s felt unsettled and unsure since.
She forces a smile at his question. “Give me a moment?” Ian nods and walks out of the room. Martha closes the door behind him, leaning her forehead against the smooth wood. She takes a ragged breath.
Alone, she feels the doubt creeping in again, threatening to suffocate her. What is she doing? Working on only a few words and the barest hint of a plan. The world was in chaos and somehow she had to cross it and reach as many people as possible. How could one person accomplish this?
She tries to picture her mother, the strongest person she knows, but the image shifts to the last time she saw her. Martha remembers holding the vortex manipulator, hands shaking, heart torn. She pictures what her mother must have looked like when her daughter disappeared, leaving her in the hands of a mad man. Then she pictures her sister’s face. Her father’s face. Over and over again like a carousel she can never get off. Logically she can tell herself that they were glad she escaped but right now she wonders if they were unsurprised to see her go, expecting that she would abandon them. Again.
“Martha, is everything alright?” Ian asks, tapping softly on the door. She’s been quiet for too long. “We can’t stay long,” he continues.
On the other side of that door, a group of people wait to hear about the magical plan she has to stop the soldiers, stop the killing, stop the Master. Martha takes another deep breath. The Doctor had given her this task. He believed in her. For better or worse she was the only one who could undertake it. She had already survived so much with the Doctor. Survived medical school. She was Martha Jones. She could do this. She had to. Pushing the panic down, she whispered a piece of an old poem for comfort, “But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.” The world was waiting for her.
Martha opens the door and looks at Ian, all doubt wiped from her face. “I’m ready.”
She follows him down the hallway into a room filled with tired, frightened, and suspicious faces looking back at her. Her thoughts are racing, already piecing together a narrative to give them hope.
“There’s someone I need to tell you about. Someone you’ve never met or even heard of, but he has always been here keeping us safe.”
And so she begins.