This is a crossover between Leslie Charteris’ Saint stories and Doctor Who, set in 1976. I’m ignoring the date discrepancies in early Sarah Jane Smith canon since they don’t make much sense in the context of later stories and the Sarah Jane Adventures.
You may want to think of The Saint as an older version of Roger Moore’s portrayal. Spoilers for the Saint story The Convenient Monster and the Doctor Who episode Terror of the Zygons. All characters belong to the BBC, the estate of Leslie Charteris, etc., this story may not be distributed on a profit-making basis.
By Marcus L. Rowland
Simon Templar was never entirely sure why he’d chosen his pre-war Hirondel Tourer for the trip to Scotland. Lovingly restored by an enthusiastic mechanic, it spent most of its days in a garage, with an occasional run into the country when Simon was in the mood. In its glory days it had nobly served his career of unlicensed banditry, providing reliable and speedy transportation whenever he’d needed it, but the brutal fact was that it was a little slow and far too conspicuous for the less flamboyant knight errantry of his later years. But given beautiful late summer weather and no other plans, and a mild feeling of nostalgia, he’d decided on the spur of the moment to drive it to Scotland and get a week’s fishing. Ten days later, the boot loaded with an ice box and several respectable salmon, he was on his way back to London.
He was driving south out of Perth through light rain when he noticed the hitch-hiker, an attractive but bedraggled-looking girl in her twenties, wearing damp denim dungarees, holding a battered piece of card with the word “London” painted on it. There was some luggage by her feet. She smiled as she saw him stop, looked into open side window as if expecting to see someone, then her smile faded a little.
“Need a lift?” asked Simon.
The girl raised her eyebrows, and said “No, I’m just standing here getting soaked for the fun of it. Are you heading towards London?”
“Yes. Whereabouts did you want to go?”
“South Croydon, if it won’t be too far out of your way.”
“No problem. Put your luggage in the back and hop in.”
“In the boot?”
“No, that’s already full. Move the rods out of the way and pop your bags on the floor in the back. There’s a blanket under my rods, if you’d like to grab it, you might as well try to get warm.”
“That’s very kind of you, mister...?”
“Templar. Simon Templar.”
“Sarah Jane Smith,” said the girl, climbing into the front passenger seat and wrapping the blanket around herself. “Wait a minute… Simon Templar? The Saint?”
“I thought you’d be… well, a little older.”
“I am,” said Simon, putting the engine into gear, “but for some reason it doesn’t show.”
“Sorry,” said Sarah Jane, “it’s really none of my business... although I’d love to interview you, of course.”
“You’re a journalist?”
“Freelance,” said Sarah Jane. “I’ve been doing other things for the last couple of years, but I need to get back to work.”
“So how does a freelance journalist come to be hitch-hiking through Scotland?”
“A friend was supposed to fly me back to London, but he had to divert to Aberdeen. He’d taken off again before I realised I’d left my purse aboard the… the plane. I managed to get a lift from Aberdeen to Perth. It was stupid… he used to drive an old-fashioned car too, when I saw you on the road I thought it must be him for a moment. I though he’d spotted my mistake and come back to help me.”
“Well, I hate to be a let-down.”
“It’s quite all right. We’d both realised it was time to go our separate ways. But getting stranded was just stupid. I should have called the Brigadier; he would have arranged a train ticket or something.”
“The Brigadier?” asked Simon, switching on the windscreen wipers as the rain became more intense.
“I was press liaison to his unit for a couple of years.”
“It’s rather complicated,” said Sarah Jane, “and some of it is probably still secret.” She checked her watch. “Would you mind if I switched on the radio and heard the news, I’m a little out of touch.”
“Be my guest,” said Simon, pointing towards the ancient radio.
“Golly, that must be nearly as old as the car. This one?” She pointed at one of the gleaming brass switches.
“That’s right. Tuner and volume are to the left, the other switch is medium or long wave. Give it a minute or two to warm up before you try to adjust anything, it’s a valve set. If the frequency dial is pointing at ‘Home Service’ that’s BBC Radio Four.”
“Radio Four is fine,” said Sarah Jane, switching it on. “They’re still best for news, aren’t they?”
“You have been out of touch, haven’t you?” said Simon.
“A bit.” She didn’t seem inclined to elaborate, and Simon didn’t press her for details.
The radio crackled for a minute or so, for ten or fifteen seconds played a snatch of music, then faded to static. Then there was a loud, strangely inhuman voice: “Sto ko ro tro rho, taro ko bah-lo Sarah Jane Smith ko bo.”
“What the hell?” asked Simon. Sarah-Jane’s face was white. The same sequence repeated, much louder, with her name the only recognizable words.
“I’m sorry,” said Sarah-Jane, “I think you’d better drop me off. They’re after me, not you.”
“I’m not sure… whatever’s inside that thing.” She pointed up and to the left.
Simon peered out and tried to stay calm as he said “That’s a flying saucer, isn’t it?”
“It’s some sort of spaceship. Not a type I’ve seen before.” It was a grey cylinder with rounded ends, about the size of a double-decker bus, flying roughly parallel to the road. Blue sparks flickered over the hull, and at the rear was a spinning green sphere that Simon guessed was some sort of engine. As she spoke there was a flash of light from the front of the cylinder, followed by a loud explosion about fifty yards ahead and to the left of the road. “That was a warning shot.”
Simon hit the brakes. “Friends of yours?”
“I doubt it.”
The cylinder swung round over the road and landed, blocking the road ahead of them. Sarah Jane got out, saying “stay in the car.”
“Not on your life.” Simon switched off the engine and climbed out.
A circular opening appeared in the side of the cylinder, dilating open like the iris of a camera, and a ramp extended down to the tarmac. A dozen strange bulky figures appeared, wearing enormous black helmet, and costumes that looked like leathery armour with kilts. They carried massive weapons, and had several metal devices dangling from belts at their waists.
“Judoon,” said Sarah-Jane. “Don’t make any sudden moves, they shoot first and ask questions afterwards.”
Most of them spread out to encircle the car, while one of them took off its helmet, revealing a rhino-like head, and strode towards them.
“To ro ka ro, do to so Sarah Jane Smith.”
“That’s me,” said Sarah Jane. The Judoon stamped towards her and pointed a cylindrical device at her head. Blue light shone into her eyes.
The Judoon and said “Ko no mo to lo ko.”
“I’m sorry,” said Sarah Jane, “I don’t understand.”
“To no so lo to.”
“I’m afraid that doesn’t mean anything to me.”
It touched a stud on the device, and said “Language assimilated. You are Sarah Jane Smith?”
It swung the rod towards Simon. “Identify self.”
“Simon Templar.” The name seemed to mean nothing to the Judoon.
“Human. Not the Doctor.”
“Aren’t the Judoon forbidden to visit the Earth?” asked Sarah Jane.
“Exceptional circumstances, have warrant. You and Doctor are charged with breach of regulation fifty-three of the Shadow Proclaimation. The penalty is death.”
“What is regulation fifty-three?”
“Destruction of an endangered species.”
“The... oh, the Loch Ness monster. You’re mistaken, it isn’t dead.”
“It looked pretty healthy the last time I saw it,” said Simon. Both of them stared at him.
“Back in fifty-nine,” said Simon. “I saw it eat someone.”
The Judoon pointed the light at Simon and said “Say again.”
“Back in fifty-nine, I saw it eat someone.”
“Truth… irrelevant. Prior to alleged crime.”
“It was very destructive,” said Sarah Jane. “But the poor thing was being controlled by the Zygons. The last time I saw it, it ate its controller and was swimming back to Loch Ness. It isn’t dead so far as I know.”
The Judoon pointed the cylinder at Sarah-Jane and said “Say again.” She repeated her account.
“Truth. No case to answer, charges dropped. Have a nice day.” It turned away, and stamped back towards the spaceship.
“Wait a minute,” said Simon. The Judoon turned back, as Sarah Jane gave Simon an angry look. “Someone laid a false charge against this lady. Who was it?”
“Are you going to let him get away with lying to you?”
The Judoon looked confused, as much as something that looked like an irritated rhino could, hesitated, and said “There will be investigation.”
“He may want to harm Miss Smith.”
“There will be investigation!” The Judoon turned away again. Simon was about to ask more questions, but Sarah-Jane shook her head and he stopped. The Judoon put its helmet back on and stamped back towards the spaceship. The others followed it aboard. The ramp retracted, the iris closed, and after a short delay the spaceship lurched into the air, hung there for a moment, then accelerated smoothly into the sky. As it vanished from view there was a soft sonic boom. The damp surface of the road was steaming gently at its takeoff point. Behind them the static stopped and the radio in the car started to play the theme tune of The Archers.
“I might have been able to find out more,” said Simon.
“Whoever or whatever it is won’t be on Earth,” said Sarah-Jane. “I’ll probably find out sooner or later, but there’s no point worrying about it.”
“You’re probably right,” said Simon, reaching into the car to switch off the radio. “Were they serious about the Loch Ness monster?”
“Oh yes. Aliens tried to use it to destroy London a couple of years ago. The Doctor and I stopped them.”
“The only time I saw it, it ate someone who was about to kill me.”
“Helpful of it.”
“She was trying to fake monster sightings to cover up an earlier murder.”
“The Zygons must have been afraid it would attract attention to one of their infiltrators.”
“Another type of alien.”
“How many are there?”
“And this morning I didn’t really believe in flying saucers.”
“The Daleks are the main race that uses saucers,” said Sarah Jane, getting back into the car, “and they’re really bad news. Kill you as soon as look at you.”
“So your friend that left you at Aberdeen,” said Simon, getting back in and starting the engine, “Was that the Doctor they mentioned?”
“When the Judoon tested me it said I was human. So the Doctor isn’t? Should I take it that he didn’t land there in a plane?”
“Not exactly,” said Sarah Jane. “You really are good at this, but it’s a very long story.”
“Well, there’s a hotel with an excellent restaurant about an hour down the road, you can fill me in on the details over lunch.” The Hirondel glided forward smoothly. Simon steered around the section of tarmac that was still steaming slightly, and accelerated south.
“If you think about it,” said Sarah Jane, sipping her wine, “there’s always something a little odd about anyone who uses ‘The’ as part of their name. Peter the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Jack the Ripper. The Doctor, The Master, The Rani… The Saint. Not necessarily bad, just odd.”
Simon Templar grinned. “You’re not wrong, old thing.”
“Shouldn’t I be calling you that?”
“My old granny would have said that you’re only as old as you feel.”
“That would have been around… say… nineteen-ten?” At his raised eyebrow she said “There’s a copy of Who’s Who in the lounge, I had a look while we were waiting for a table. It was quite illuminating about your early career.”
“Pretty much. For some reason I haven’t aged much since the war.”
“Damned if I know.”
“Well, the Judoon said you were human so I can rule out most of my usual suspects. Maybe you drank from the fountain of youth or something.”
“If I did I don’t remember it,” said Simon.
“Well, there are all sorts of reasons why that might happen…” Sarah Jane began to tell a complicated story about alien brain-washing, then stopped as she realised that Simon’s attention was wandering. “Is something wrong?”
“Something odd. It looks like I’m not the only one that doesn’t age.”
Standing in the entrance was a handsome man, about six foot tall with brown hair, who appeared to be in his thirties. He wore a bulky old-fashioned greatcoat, the type she remembered from old war films. As Simon looked up at him he smiled, waved, and walked towards their table.
“Simon! I might have guessed it was you when I saw that heap of junk outside. When are you going to buy a modern car? And won’t you introduce me to this lovely lady?” He had an American accent.
“I’m not sure I should,” said Simon.
“Then I’ll do it myself,” said the stranger, grabbing a chair from an unoccupied table and spinning it round to face them. “Captain Jack Harkness, very pleased to meet you.”
“And I’m…” began Sarah Jane, but Harkness interrupted her. “Don’t say another word. If Simon prefers you to be a woman of mystery, then a woman of mystery you shall be.”
“What do you want, Harkness?” asked Simon.
“I was wondering if by any chance you’d seen anything unusual on your way here.”
“Like a man who hasn’t aged a day in thirty-odd years?”
“You’re looking remarkably well preserved yourself, Simon. But no, I was thinking of something more unusual.”
“I don’t think I can say we saw anything particularly unusual,” said Simon, “unless you count the flying saucer, of course.”
“It wasn’t a saucer,” said Sarah Jane, joining in Simon’s game, “more of a cylinder.”
“Well, yes, that’s probably the sort of thing I had in mind,” said Harkness. “Did it do anything hostile?”
“It fired some sort of lightning gun to make us stop then landed on the road,” said Simon.
“And after that?”
“Some aliens climbed out and started jabbering at us.”
“Well, they were speaking alien, of course.”
“Can you describe them at all?”
“They looked like two-legged rhinos wearing black armour.”
“Well, isn’t that odd… and they just jabbered at you then let you go?”
“Pretty much. They seemed a bit confused. And I’m a little confused myself, why are you asking us about them?”
“It’s my job,” said Harkness. “You left tyre tracks in the asphalt where the ship landed, my colleagues and I have been looking for a car with old-fashioned tyres for the last hour. Did they do anything else?”
“Exactly who is asking?” said Sarah Jane. “Special Branch? MI-5? UNIT?”
“And where might you have heard of UNIT, miss…?”
“Smith; Sarah Jane Smith.”
Harkness tugged an ear, and said “Could you spare a little of that wine?” He picked up the bottle without waiting for an answer, and poured himself a generous glass.
“I think you’re heard of me,” said Sarah Jane.
“Heard of, yes,” said Harkness. “Expected to meet, no.”
“Why? We obviously move in the same circles.”
“Because the people I work for… let’s just say that they really don’t like the Doctor. And you’re one of his known associates. Excuse me a moment.” He pulled a compact radio out of his pocket, and said “Mobile Four to Mobile Control. I’ve found the car, they saw the ship and some aliens, but they didn’t have any contact, they drove off and the aliens didn’t try to stop them… yes, I’m quite sure… I’ve slipped them some retcon, they won’t remember a thing about it.” He listened for a moment then said “I’m going to get some food, I’ll call back when I’m back on the road,” listened again then switched it off. “That ought to buy us a little time.”
“But why are you doing this?” asked Sarah Jane.
“Because I haven’t met the Doctor yet.”
“So you’re helping Sarah Jane because you’re hoping to meet the Doctor one day?” asked Simon.
“I’ve met the Doctor, but he hasn’t met me. Not yet, anyway, unless things are even more screwed up than I think. And when I meet him for his first time, I really don’t want him to know all about me.”
“You’re from the future?” asked Sarah Jane.
“I was trying to get back in touch with him, overshot the right time. I was aiming for… let’s just say, a few more years yet… ended up in the nineteenth century, I’ve got to go back the slow way. The people I ended up with are just a little paranoid about the Doctor, you really don’t want them taking too much interest in you.”
“But why worry about me? I’m not important any more.”
“I wouldn’t say that,” said Simon, “the Judoon certainly seemed to think you are.”
“Judoon?” snapped Harkness, “I thought you said they jabbered in an alien language.”
“It took them a while to get their translating machine working.”
“So what did they want?”
“The Doctor, of course,” said Sarah Jane, “Me too, but mainly the Doctor. It’s always the Doctor. Someone told them we’d killed the Loch Ness Monster. I managed to convince them that we didn’t.”
“Ah… Okay, that might be our fault,” said Harkness, “we took it out of the picture after UNIT let it go.”
“So what happens now?” asked Simon.
“Nothing,” said Harkness. “You pretend you never met me, I’ll pretend I’ve wiped your memories. And if you run into the Doctor again you don’t mention me, is that clear? The timeline’s already badly tangled and I don’t want to make it any worse.”
“I suppose,” said Sarah Jane. “But how do we know we can trust you? You’ve just said you work for people that don’t like the Doctor.”
“Oh, that was just a misunderstanding. He did something that annoyed Queen Victoria. Or rather, he will do. Don’t tell him about that either. I’m pretty sure they’ll decide to live and let live eventually. Let’s drink to that.” He refilled their glasses, and held his own up for a toast. “Let’s drink to forgiving and forgetting.”
“Let’s see you drink from one of our glasses first,” said Simon, “just in case you did slip some of that – what was it, the drug you mentioned?”
“Retcon,” said Harkness.
“Just in case you did slip some of that retcon into the wine.”
Harkness grinned and drank from Sarah-Jane’s glass. After a moment, when nothing happened to him, Simon and Sarah-Jane drank from the remaining glasses.
“There you go,” said Harkness, “nothing to worry about. Of course, if I was going to drug you I’d take the antidote first.”
Simon tried to get to his feet, but found his head swimming and his arms and legs reluctant to move.
“Don’t worry,” said Harkness, “all you’re going to forget is me. The last half hour or so should do the trick…”
“I suppose we were both a little tired,” said Sarah Jane, “but I can’t believe we just dozed off in the lounge.”
“I suppose it’s been a long day,” said Simon, “or maybe old age is finally catching up on me. It’s not every day I meet a beautiful girl and a herd of alien rhinos.”
“Rhinos are nothing. There was a world that was full of giant spiders, now that was really horrible.”
“I’ve never run into giant spiders,” said Simon, stretching, “but I once met a mad scientist who liked giant ants…”
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