Ruth Matheson was a UNIT commissioned officer, with the rank of Captain, who for a time, was placed in charge of the Vault, an archive where many of the alien artefacts found on Earth were housed during the 20th and 21st centuries.
Matheson was part of a United Nations peacekeeping unit in Bosnia after the fall of Yugoslavia in 1993. When she was there she helped to evacuate a group of children from a battle zone, when her unit was killed in a bomb blast.
In 2002, Matheson interviewed Romana I about her involvement with a art robbery in Kensington, to cover up the fact that Matheson herself was the thief, having stolen a painting from the Braxiatel Collection to prevent the Doctor taking it back. (AUDIO: Tales from the Vault)
In 2011, Matheson gave Charlie Sato a tour of the Vault when he first became its warrant officer. In the Vault, they came across four objects: An army jacket, a painting, a crystal and a wax cylinder, which bore a significance. Each was used in one of the Doctor's many adventures. (AUDIO: Tales from the Vault)
The Master's escape
Matheson and Sato were in the vault when the Master awoke and went to visit him. She interviewed him as part of the protocol that the Brigadier set out and helped Sato understand why he was in the Vault. The Master tried to manipulate her by telling her that if she set him free then he would stop her unit being killed. The Master managed to succeed in tricking her and Sato to allow him to escape in his TARDIS. (AUDIO: Mastermind)
After the escape of the Master, Matheson, along with Sato, was relieved of her duties at the Vault and "reassigned", having been deemed a Category-One Security Risk due to the risk of the Master placing any post-hypnotic suggestions inside her mind. Relocated to a private residence for compromised UNIT personnel, Ruth believed that any tampering made by the Master would wear off in time, and so kept herself busy by completing several degrees, unlike Sato who felt that his career, and life, were now over. However, they earned a chance at a reprieve when they were recruited back into action by Mike Yates, who needed their help to investigate what had happened to the Vault during a communications blackout and subsequent loss of contact with several investigative teams. Although it was mostly expected by the higher-ups that the assignment would be a “suicide mission”, both Matheson and Sato were able to survive, and Yates promised to make sure that their security status would be re-evaluated and they would return to active duty. (AUDIO: The Screaming Skull)
Returning to duty
Following up on a job started by Charlie Sato, (AUDIO: The Turn of the Screw) Ruth travelled to Belize to find the last Terileptil viral plague. She used a recording of Zoe Herriot to get to the temple. She tried to negotiate with Deakin to get the items from the Terileptil invasion back for UNIT. Deakin placed her in a maze. She wanted to know why he had become a mercenary. Zoe later arrived in the temple. After killing Zoe, she managed to get the items from Deakin. Zoe didn't die and she used Zoe's logic bomb to wound Deakin. She managed to get Jamie, Zoe and the Doctor back into the TARDIS before the missile hit. She then escaped using the same method Zoe did earlier. (AUDIO: The Tactics of Defeat)