Title: Distract Them
Characters: Ianto, Jack, Ten, Daleks
Disclaimer: Not mine; they belong to RTD and to the BBC.
Summary: Never believe the Doctor when he says it's just one trip and nothing can go wrong...
"Distract them!" the Doctor had yelled as he had hurtled off to find Jack and the master control that would allow them to release the TARDIS.
That was all very well, Ianto thought a tad crossly as he turned back to face the three Daleks as they glided towards him, but how the hell was he supposed to do that when he didn't have so much as a sonic screwdriver to his name? He'd only come on board the TARDIS after Jack had lured him with tales of a one-off trip to a world where coffee was worshipped. Then the Doctor had picked up a distress beacon that had led them to this derelict ship and an encounter with three annoyed Daleks, with the Doctor discovering that something was now holding the TARDIS is place.
"Where is the Doctor?" the black lead Dalek demanded as it halted in front of him.
Ianto cleared his throat. "Have you tried looking in a hospital?" he asked as calmly as possible.
The Dalek swivelled its eyestalk to meet the sweeping gaze of the Dalek beside it before moving back to focus on him. "The Doctor is injured?"
A small light-bulb went off inside Ianto's head and he felt a little giddy. Literal-minded, he thought and mentally rubbed his hands together with glee. "Well, that depends on your definition of injured, I suppose," he began thoughtfully.
"Injured is being at less than full capacity," the Dalek intoned. "It is a weakness that Daleks do not suffer from. We function at peak efficiency or we don't function at all."
"I mean, there's physically injured, where a person is physically unable to do what is necessary," Ianto continued. "Then there's mentally injured, where an individual is psychologically unable to fulfil their function."
"The Doctor is always psychologically unfit," the Black Dalek shot back.
"The Doctor does not function in a sane and logical manner," the second, bronze-coloured Dalek agreed.
Ain't that the truth, Ianto reflected ruefully. "But that depends on the baseline that you are using to measure all actions against," he pointed out. "If the base data you are using is incorrect then all your deductions will also be flawed."
"Daleks are never flawed!"
"If you're flawless then you would win out against inferior races but you don't," Ianto said carefully. "If the Daleks are flawless then the Doctor must also be flawless, just flawless in a different way, otherwise he couldn't win against you."
"There is only one way and that is the way of the Dalek!" Black Dalek blasted back at him. Ianto was certain that there was a distinctly petulant note behind the flat electronic voice.
"I'm sure that's the kind of thing that you tell all the newly created Daleks," Ianto agreed, "but experienced warriors like yourselves must have noticed the flaw in that reasoning. I mean, from a purely logical point of view..."
Second Bronze Dalek flicked its eyestalk from side to side. "It is true that the Doctor's ability to overset our plans is remarkably consistent," it intoned.
"You will not make such a statement!" Black Dalek shrieked. "Such a statement is counter to the Dalek edicts."
"The statement is a logical one," Second Bronze Dalek shot back stubbornly. "The Doctor cannot win if he is inferior but the Doctor wins, therefore he cannot be inferior."
"Of course, you could always surmise that the Doctor is lucky," Ianto said with an air of helpfulness. Lucky in the same sense as a supernova is a bit warm, he thought ruefully.
"Luck is an erroneous concept," the third bronze Dalek chipped in. "There is no scientific or logical basis for luck."
"You are not required to state the obvious," Black Dalek said crushingly.
"It's a valid point," Ianto pointed out, feeling unaccountably sorry for the third Dalek as its eyestalk drooped.
"Valid points have no place in Dalek discussions!" Black Dalek snapped at him.
Ianto pulled a face and nodded. "Sounds about right," he agreed. "So we've agreed that the Doctor isn't lucky, because there's no such thing as luck, but he is as flawless than the Daleks because he keeps beating you."
"That is an erroneous statement!" Black Dalek was practically vibrating in its outrage.
"But it was stated-" Ianto began.
"The statement was incorrect!"
Ianto affected intense shock. "A flawless Dalek made an incorrect statement? Is that possible?"
"It is not possible, therefore the Dalek who made the statement is not flawless," Black said firmly.
It took a couple of seconds, and the fact that Ianto and Third Bronze were now looking at it, but Second Bronze finally caught on. He swivelled to give Black Dalek what might have been a laser-like glare. "I am not flawed!" it barked.
"You made a statement that was lacking in focus and clarity, therefore you are flawed." Blackie wasn't budging on the matter.
"I made a statement that was both logical and which explained all random factors. Your statement, on the other hand, lacked resolution for our main problem."
"We are Dalek. We shall overcome," Blackie ground out, inching forward a couple of feet in what would have been an aggressive move in a human.
"We have been attempting to overcome for some time and we have yet to succeed," Second Bronze retorted. "Our tactical assessments consistently fail to neutralise the Doctor."
"If it's any consolation, most of the universe has the same problem," Ianto said helpfully.
"It is not," Blackie said. "You will be silent!"
"It is illogical to cut off a source of information because it does not conform with a theory that is already held," Second Bronze announced to the air in general.
"All information is of use if the parameters of the problem are in flux," Third Bronze put in helpfully.
"Your input is unhelpful," Blackie barked. "You will be silent."
"I'm sure he was only repeating what he'd been taught," Ianto protested. "It's a bit harsh to stop him from contributing to the discussion just because you don't like what he's saying."
"There is no discussion! I am the Dalek Prime," Blackie said loudly, revolving around on his axis. "My commands are paramount. We will find and destroy the Doctor."
"Because he is a considerable threat to you and you are worried about him," Ianto slipped in smoothly.
"DALEKS DO NOT WORRY!!!"
Ianto winced at the sheer volume of that bellow and the other two Daleks zipped back and agitated their eyestalks for several minutes.
"It does sound like you're a little bit worried to me," Ianto said as he folded his arms. "In fact, you might even sound a little frightened."
"Daleks are never frightened." Third Bronze managed to sound shocked at the thought.
Ianto shrugged. "Well, I don't have much experience with your species, so it could be that you react differently to us. When a human starts shouting and refusing to listen to other people's advice and observations and closes his mind to any new theories, most people would assume that they were frightened of something. Still, I suppose the idea that the Doctor might be able to defeat you yet again is enough to scare anyone."
"I am not scared!" Blackie snapped.
"I understand. It's never a good thing for the commander to show the troop how little he rates their chances in an upcoming battle. Ruins their morale."
"Daleks do not have morale!" Blackie insisted.
"But you admit to being pessimistic about the outcome of the coming confrontation?" Ianto said swiftly. "Very wise."
"What?" The eyestalk did a little dance all of its own. "I said nothing about our chances of success!"
"Of course you'd want to keep it confidential. Nothing worse than realising a battle's lost before it's even begun."
"We will be successful!"
"That's the ticket," Ianto said approvingly. "Stiff upper... eyestalk. In an ideal world, of course, you'd be able to withdraw from a hopeless battle and regroup but you don't have much option with the Doctor around."
"I... we have no need to retreat. We will be victorious! We are Dalek! We shall overcome!"
"We do not know where the Doctor is," Second Bronze pointed out.
"This creature will tell us," the Black Dalek ground out.
"Oh, I'd imagine he's off somewhere setting off the self-destruct," Ianto said in an offhand manner.
"It would not be logical to set off the self-destruct while he is still on board," Third Bronze said.
Never said he'd be doing it on purpose, Ianto thought to himself. "Not for a Dalek, but this is the Doctor. What better way to eliminate you than blow up the craft that you're in? His TARDIS is indestructible so he'd just ride out the explosion and then leave."
"That is... logical?" Second Bronze said after a moment.
Blackie made a sound that was perilously close to a raspberry. "The Doctor is never logical."
"Our records do indicate that he is fond of blowing up Dalek installations," Third Bronze pointed out a little diffidently.
"It is illogically logical, therefore it is perfectly in character with the Doctor," Ianto pointed out with relish.
"The human has a point," Second Bronze said.
"We are no longer numerically superior," Black Dalek said slowly. "It would be... logical... to husband our resources. A withdrawal is logical under the circumstances."
"We cannot withdraw," Third Bronze said peevishly. "Our vehicle is damaged."
Ianto made a point of shifting about and looking like he was about to say something. To his delight, Second Bronze immediately pounced.
"You have an escape route planned. You would not have remained here if you could not escape. You would have left with the Doctor."
"I could have been left behind, you know," Ianto pointed out. And he was going to have words with Jack about bragging about him to the Doctor and building up a completely wrong impression about how Ianto could take care of himself no matter what the odds. "I don't have to have an escape pod-" He clapped his hand to his mouth and backed up a step.
"Halt!" Black Dalek slid forward. "You will lead us to this escape pod!"
"You will do this or be exterminated!"
"Fine, fine. It's this way."
Doing his best to droop convincingly, Ianto led the way through the vessel's corridors. He hadn't had much chance to go exploring before all of this had happened, but he had taken a look at what the Doctor had said was a schematic of the ship, so he had a pretty good idea where they were heading. The Daleks glided along behind him, the soft whine of their motors the only sounds to be heard. Ianto eventually stopped in front of a reinforced door.
"This is the escape pod?" the Black Dalek demanded.
Ianto nodded and pressed the door panel. The hatchway rumbled to one side, revealing a compact room which was set out like a shuttle. The control panel lit up and there was the distant sound of engines revving up. Ianto stood to one side as the Daleks moved inside, fitting in with some difficulty as they looked around. Before they could decide to turn around and fry him, Ianto hit the door panel again and watched the hatch rumble closed again. As soon as it had snapped into place, he heaved a huge sigh and sagged against the wall. With a small grin, he leaned over and hit the Start button, feeling the hatch quiver against the side of his face as he finally relaxed.
The sound of Jack's voice was very welcome and Ianto turned around in time to have the Captain wrap himself around him in a bear hug that was also a frantic appraisal of Ianto's current state of health.
"You're okay?" Jack demanded. "When the Doctor told me what he had done-"
Ianto could see the Doctor coming up behind them, an expression of woebegone guilt on his face. "I'm fine," he said reassuringly.
"Ianto, he left you with three Daleks!" Jack yelped, giving the Doctor a glare which had the Time Lord shifting from foot to foot.
"Well, maybe you could tone down on the 'Ianto can do anything' stories and next time he won't," Ianto pointed out reasonably. He grinned reassuringly at the Doctor and watched him brighten cautiously.
"Sorry," he said softly. "Should have remembered Jack's tendency to exaggerate."
"I never exaggerate," Jack huffed. "I don't," he insisted as Ianto and the Doctor both laughed. Then he grinned as well. "Anyway, I'm glad you got away from the Daleks. The Doctor's figured out how to free the TARDIS so we need to get back to her without running into them, then we can rig this ship to blow and leg it. Any idea where you saw them last, Ianto?"
"Hey, it's okay," Jack said reassuringly. "I know this is a whole new world for you and facing Daleks on your first trip is, well, pretty hairy, but where did you last see them?"
"They're, um, in here," Ianto admitted, gesturing over his shoulder at the hatchway behind him.
"In there?" Jack stared at the door in bewilderment, TARDIS magic allowing him to read the legend along the top. "Ianto, that's a shuttle training simulator."
"I know. I sort of conned them into thinking they needed to evacuate the ship and then closed the door on them and started a standard programme running. They probably think they've left the ship and will probably run into whatever disaster is programmed into the lesson at any moment."
"Hang on, hang on!" Jack gave him a stunned look. "The Doctor left you facing three Daleks and you persuaded them that they needed to run away and then tricked them into a simulator so they think they've escaped while they're actually sealed into one place?"
"Er, yes, that's pretty much it," Ianto admitted. "Although I didn't have to work very hard. You never told me they weren't all that bright, Jack."
The Captain was staring at him with his jaw halfway to the deck. Ianto put a finger under his chin, closing his mouth firmly before giving him a peck on the cheek. "Now you said something about us getting back to the TARDIS?" he asked, turning to give the Doctor a small smile.
"Bloody hell, Jack, I take back everything I said," the Doctor said after a moment. "Where Ianto Jones is concerned, you were actually restrained with the truth!" he clapped his hands together and gave them both a bright-eyed grin. "This is going to be great!"
He bounded off down the corridor, leaving Jack and Ianto to trail after him. Ianto felt Jack take his hand and gave him a surprised look. He blushed as he saw the expression on the Captain's face.
"It was no big deal," he mumbled. "It was only three Daleks, after all."
Jack Harkness flung back his head and laughed happily before leaning across to pat Ianto on the side of his face with the other hand. "Oh man, and I thought things couldn't get any better. C'mon, let's catch up with the Doc before he finds any more trouble!"