the pearl


About halfway through the Cybermen Purge, they found out they could change some of them back.

Not all the way, and it was only a very small amount of people -- all young women, for some reason, but they'd get back their identities and you could remove most of the machinery and, aside from a faint clanking sound when they walked, the buzzed-short haircut, and the facial scars, you'd never know they spent any time trapped in a metal exoskeleton.

When all the Cybermen were wiped out, and Rose Tyler crash-landed into this world, her first job at Torchwood was to work with these women, who weren't just former Cybermen, but something far older and far more secretive than Torchwood knew how to deal with.

The two people who came to speak with her about them were mismatched in a way that broke Rose's heart, just a little, reminding her of when she first grabbed the Doctor's hand and ran away to her future. The man was posh, public school educated, but with a steely edge to him.

The woman was all steel and edges, loud American voice clashing with the clunk of her motorcycle boots. She kept on looking over at the women, all scarred and fragile, all sitting together as if they were still a legion of soldiers.

"Shit. Giles," the woman said, after a few minutes of looking at them. "Giles, that's Buffy."

Rose flipped through the paperwork in her hand. "I don't have a Buffy on the list..." she said.

The woman sneered at her. "Yeah, well, your list is wrong. Because, that one, in the blue --" She pointed at one woman, who looked back with blank eyes. "That's Buffy Summers."

Rose looked at the woman being pointed out, then back at the man and the woman. The man was pale, shocked, looking at the woman with the dull eyes and duller hair. The American woman was furious, eyes flashing angrily. "That's Jane Doe," Rose said. "According to the notes, she hasn't spoken since the re-humanising surgery."

"Is that what you're calling it?" the man said, his voice low and strained. "Re-humanising?"

The woman shook her head. "Oh B..." Her voice cracked a little and Rose thought she might start crying.

Rose looked back down at her paperwork, and didn't say a word.

This Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Doctor Who story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at