In a remote area of the city something was happening. On the junction of the blue residential area and the green residential area, a shimmer had appeared next to a communication booth. The rushing sound diminished as the blue box became more solid. Finally it was as if the box had never been anywhere else.
The blue light on top stopped flashing and the door opened to show a tall willowy, blonde cat eared woman clad in a tight fitting silver cat suit and silver heeled boots. Around her shoulders was draped a matching silver cape lined and edged with blue fur. The woman looked both ways down the snow covered street and called back inside “All clear.”
Then she stepped out of the box, fastening her cloak around her throat and settling it more securely over her well endowed chest. She was followed by a man in a long black leather coat, a matching broad brimmed leather hat shading his face. He locked the door of the blue box, took the arm of the woman and they set off down the street, heading towards the distant sounds of music and a faint haze of light.
“3080? What happened then?” the woman asked after five minutes of silence.
“The Protem Government of the Earth collapsed in 3075 and gangs roamed the cities. Most people hid inside their buildings or got on the first space liner out.” The man smiled as if the plight of the people he was describing was the funniest thing he had heard for ages. “Then in 3078 Lord Marcus gained control of all the gangs and slowly dragged the earth back out of the dark ages it was sinking into.”
“Why on earth have you brought me here then? I thought we were going to go somewhere fun.” The woman complained, slipping slightly on ice under the snow.
“In 3079 Lord Marcus abdicated and handed the control of the empire he had built to his son and daughter on the understanding that his son was to look after peace and his daughter was to make life fun again for the inhabitants. They succeeded. By 3080 – this year – the Earth was considered to be one of the major entertainment centres of the galaxy and everyone was coming back to get jobs and enjoy life.”
“Sounds interesting. Tell me about a few of these entertainments…” the woman purred, resting her head on the man’s shoulder and kissing his cheek.
He smiled down at her and replied “Why spoil the surprise? We’re almost there.”
The unseen watcher followed the couple down the street and into the heart of the entertainment district. The watcher was aware that if she should stop shielding, the man would sense her presence but her mission was such that she was not allowed to relax. The couple strolled from booth to booth, sampling food and drink and laughing. The watcher got the feeling that even though the woman was relaxing; the man was tense, his free hand hovering over his coat pocket, almost as if he was waiting for something to happen. When nothing happened, he began to relax and the watcher could begin her mission in earnest. She slipped the ear piece into place and tapped a code into her wrist comp. The technology immediately began to record the man’s brainwaves which were translated into words for the watcher to hear:
“Why did the TARDIS bring me here?”
“What is going to happen this time?”
“I wish that…I could have saved them. I am so lonely.”
That last thought caught the watcher’s attention and she tapped another code into the wrist comp. A microphone extruded down from the ear piece and she whispered into it, trusting the shield to deaden the noise around her and to hide from the surrounding hordes of humans and other races in the entertainment district. “Who did you want to save?”
The translation programme turned the words into brainwaves and spun them on a tight frequency into the man’s brain. The reply came as such a shock that the watcher had to sit down on a low wall beside an ornamental pool.
“My family, my people, my planet…GALLIFREY!”
The watcher whispered again “What happened to them?”
Again the slight pause as the technology did its work then the answer:
“The Daleks destroyed them in the Great Time War. I hate the Daleks and I will go to any lengths to deliver to them the fate they delivered to my people.”
The watcher felt the blood drain from her face and her hearts begin pumping faster. Quickly she whispered “When?”
The answer would have meant nothing to anyone other than the watcher or the man she was tracking but it rocked her to her very soul:
“Yesterday, tomorrow. Now.”
The watcher disengaged her equipment and removed the earpiece, stowing it in a small pouch at her belt. Saving the data she had gathered, she closed the brainwave translation programme down and rose from the wall, intending to return to her ship. She found the way blocked by the man and his companion.
“Who are you?” he asked harshly. “Why are you following us and why are you reading my thoughts?”
The watcher said nothing. She just blinked up at them. Her shield was still up and that meant that he couldn’t sense who she really was. Now all she had to do was get away and… She smiled in sudden delight. She didn’t need to go back to her ship she just needed to contact it. Quickly, without looking, she tapped in a short code on her wrist and her ship sent a transmission beam to her position. Another code tapped in and she faded out of sight, with the same rushing sound that had accompanied the blue box.
The companion’s eyes widened “How did she do that Doctor?”
His eyes had darkened and filled with tears. He didn’t, couldn’t answer. So the girl had been following him and tuning into his brainwaves to ask questions about the end of Gallifrey. Why? She hadn’t been a Time Agent because their wrist comp’s made no noise when they moved the agent. That noise was only generated by a TARDIS and as far as he knew, no TARDIS had the capability to move people like that.
“Doctor?” his companion’s voice broke through his reverie and shocked him into action.
“Come on Alisha, we need to get back to the TARDIS. I have to check something.” He replied.
“It’s always the same with you. We finally go somewhere fun and you drag us out. Well I am not coming. I am fed up with the rushing around and the danger. I want to relax.” Alisha replied.
“Ok. Give me your key.” The doctor replied in a calm voice.
“What do you mean?” Alisha demanded, her voice becoming shrill.
Something snapped inside the Doctor and he turned on the silver clad woman, his voice low and dangerous with anger.
“Well I am probably going to be leaving shortly and I did warn you that this life would be dangerous but oh, no you didn’t want to listen. Well this is goodbye. I don’t want you with me anymore. I will arrange it so that you have an apartment somewhere nice and plenty of galactic credit so that you can enjoy the rest of your life in peace.”
“What do you mean the rest of my life? I’m only thirty, I have years to go yet.” She whined.
“Give. Me. The. Key.” He forced out through gritted teeth. She handed it over, tears starting in her eyes.
Then he sent a thought back to the TARDIS and pulled out a blank white card with a silver chip embedded in the plastic. He ran his sonic screwdriver over it and Alisha’s face and name appeared on it, along with an address. A scrolling line on the back of the card proclaimed a balance of thirty million galactic credits. He handed it to her and she jumped slightly as the card accepted her thumb print.
“Good luck Alisha, it’s been fun but I’ve had enough of your whining and temper tantrums. Go find a rich boyfriend or husband. Just one tip – get off planet before midnight on the 30th October 3082. Or you won’t live a long time.”
And pocketing the key, the Doctor turned away and strode back to the TARDIS not looking back to see what Alisha was doing.
He got back much faster than it had taken to do the outward journey. After stepping inside and locking the door, he flipped switches and pulled levers. He set a destination of thirty thousand miles into space and let off the handbrake. As soon as the TARDIS came to rest, floating and spinning gently in space, the Doctor set the computer to scanning the Earth. It took mere seconds but the wait was nerve wracking for the doctor. All the evidence pointed to another Time Lord but the Doctor knew that they were all gone, even his old adversary the Master. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for but the ache in his chest suggested what he hoped for.
Finally the answer popped up. The Doctor let out a breath and began to read, dropping into his old habit of muttering to himself. “No rift activity around Cardiff, but a number of anomalies popping up in London, Cardiff and Bristol at different times. Well my lady TARDIS, what does this mean? Was she popping around through time looking for me or can she track me? I didn’t feel any connection in the way that I do with the Master but there was something familiar about her. Wait. What about dimensional activity, could she have come through the Void?”
He keyed in few more codes and set the computer searching again. This time the computer showed that the answer would be forthcoming in about three hours, so the Doctor decided to refresh himself and just check up on how Alisha had integrated into the society he had left her in.
It turned out that by chance, Alisha had met and married Lord Marcus’s son Lord Antonius. She persuaded him to take her on a cruise around the galaxy as a honeymoon and so wasn’t on the Earth when the London Volcano emerged and erupted, setting off a chain reaction in the crust and dropping the planet into an ice age almost overnight. Lady Cleopathia, Antonius’s twin sister perished in the disaster and when Alisha and her husband returned to
Earth ten years later, they founded a dynasty of peace and plenty in the Bahamas. The Doctor laughed for at least ten minutes when he read about that. Alisha was enough of a human to take advantage of a situation and enough of a Cat to fall on her feet. “I wish her luck and long life. I really do.” He murmured. “I felt a little guilty about dumping her like that.”
The TARDIS was, as always listening to her Time Lord and arranged it so that Alisha had both luck and life so that the Doctor wouldn’t have to feel guilty. The TARDIS was always very careful of her Time Lord’s well being and it wouldn’t do for him to be worrying about some unsuitable companion he had picked up against her wishes. Now it was her task to find a more suitable companion and from the data she had gathered, this strange female watcher that had read her Lord’s mind and disappeared seemed a most appropriate companion.
“Aha!” the Doctor exclaimed as the computer printed it’s conclusion onto the screen “Void activity is definitely the way this mysterious watcher found me. Good. Now let’s find her…”
He ran around the console setting up the encounter and finally pulled the lever to set everything in motion “Can’t cross my timeline in Cardiff or London so let’s meet her at the first of her appearances in Bristol – May Day, 2011.” He muttered.
The TARDIS disappeared from space in 3080 and reappeared in the car park of a large shopping mall, next to a real phone box.
“I don’t suppose I can persuade you to reinitialise your chameleon circuit at all?” he asked as he shrugged on his leather coat and put his hat on. The TARDIS remained silent. He picked up what looked like a PDA and sighed.
“I thought not. Well I’ll be back as soon as I can my lady. Behave yourself.” And with that stern admonition, the Doctor let himself out.
The Doctor looked around at the sight of the shopping mall full of people and smiled “Humans, so creative and so small minded. Why on earth do I like them?” he muttered to himself “All that power and imagination and what do they do on a day off? Go shopping for things that they don’t really need.” He laughed and looked down at the PDA. “Hmmm. That way and in about five minutes.”
He strode off down the main street of the mall, weaving through the crowd. He’d never been to Bristol so he was in no danger of being recognised here and he relaxed just a little. Then he found the spot he was looking for and consulted his PDA again. “Upstairs we go.”
He dashed up the stairs and sat down on a marble bench just as something materialised beside a booth selling handmade cards. The noise was unmistakeable and definitely a TARDIS. He fished out a pair of cardboard 3D specs and looked at the newcomer. “Yup, came through the void without a doubt.” He mused as he put the specs away.
He stood up and moved over in front of the new TARDIS that for some reason had decided to look like a poster pillar. As the door opened, the doctor put one hand out, pushed the girl back inside and stepped inside himself. And got the shock of his life.
“This is MY TARDIS!” he cried.
The girl he had pushed back inside looked strangely calm and didn’t cower as the Doctor rounded on her.
“What are you doing in my TARDIS in this universe? Do you not realise the damage you are doing by going through the void like that? Why are you tracking me…” he trailed off as he realised something “You…are…me?”
He stuttered, for once speechless.
The girl guided him to a chair off to one side and said “Lock and remain” to the TARDIS. The doctor just stared.
She sat down across the low table at him and said “I feel thirsty. I’m sure that you are as well. Would you like some Viranthyn Juice?”
A pair of tall glasses materialised on the table filled with a deep blue opaque liquid, moisture beading on the outside. She took one and sipped. Numbly the Doctor took the other. He sniffed it. “No drugs, just pure Viranthyn juice.” He muttered. He sipped and felt tears fill his eyes. “Perfect.”
The girl waited while the doctor savoured the juice. It had been his favourite drink when he was a child, before he had been accepted into the Academy.
“Better?” she asked when he had finished the juice.
He nodded and set the glass down. It disappeared.
“I will explain. I know that you have encountered me far into the future of this planet where I was using the Brainwave translation programme to read your mind and question you. My TARDIS has just told me that this is what will happen. I also know that you have traced me to this time and place because you want to know what is going on. Your TARDIS just told me that.”
“You can talk to your TARDIS?” he asked.
“So can you. It is one of the things that make us Time Lords. That separates us from the rest of our people and makes us alone. I however have a companion that means I am never lonely.”
The Doctor blinked “What do you mean?”
“TARDIS dear, would you like to come out and meet me?” the girl called.
A man materialised from out of nowhere and bowed solemnly “Lord Doctor.” He said then he disappeared.
“Why doesn’t my TARDIS do that?” the Doctor asked.
“When your TARDIS’s Chameleon Circuit got stuck, it short circuited other areas of her form and she lost the ability to do many things, this was just one of them.” The girl replied.
“But she’s never done that…or at least I don’t remember if she has.” He replied.
“How many times have you regenerated?” the girl asked.
“Eleven. Does that make a difference?” the doctor was puzzled. Everything that had happened to him seemed as clear as day, including each regeneration but this…girl seemed to be suggesting that his memory was faulty.”
“You have lost some of the memories of home as well haven’t you?”
He didn’t like that question but when he thought about it, it was true. He nodded slowly, re-evaluating his memories and was horrified by how many gaps he had.
“All TARDIS are linked to their Time Lords through a Bio-feedback loop. When your TARDIS lost her Chameleon Circuit it affected you as well.” The girl smiled. “Through watching you, we have been able to improve the TARDIS technology to avoid such difficulties as you have experienced.”
“Can you fix my TARDIS?” he asked quietly.
“Yes, but do you want me to?” she replied and then held up a hand when he would have answered “Don’t say yet.”
“In essence, my mission to this universe and time is to track you through your travels. As I am also you at an earlier stage of our development, this can cause dangerous time ripples when we are in the same time and place. Hence when you confront me in 1069 years, I am shielded and you do not recognise me. At the moment there is no difficulty because our TARDIS are collaborating to shield us.” The girl paused, obviously trying to decide how much to tell him. Then she shrugged “I am also trying to find out what is going to happen to Gallifrey. The Great Time War has not yet happened in my Universe although the Daleks are very strong, as are the Cybermen. I sense that both races have come through to this universe from another one?”
The doctor nodded and discarding caution told her exactly what had happened. “So beware of Torchwood. I don’t think that Queen Victoria understood what she was creating but they are dangerous until after that point in time.” He finished.
“I see. Would you like to come home?” the girl offered.
Several hours after the Doctor had left his TARDIS, he returned. He locked the doors and stood looking at the centre console. He frowned and then programmed a shift from Earth to the Moon so that he could concentrate on the matter at hand.
“Well my lady TARDIS.” He said as he stood in front of the console. “You have always been looking after me and trying to find me a companion to settle with.” He pulled out his sonic screwdriver and crouched beside a dark panel on the left hand side. “I have told myself how to fix you. What we do now is up to you. If you want me to fix the problems and ease your pain that have plagued you for so many eons then flash the materialisation light. If not I will erase the memory and we will continue as we have been.” He waited.
The TARDIS was shocked. She had not been so startled since Rose had looked into her heart. The TARDIS had liked Rose and had grieved when she had been locked by accident into that other universe. Now her Time Lord was proposing that he fix those circuits that had blown so very long ago. Did she really want that? The TARDIS thought long and hard. And the Doctor waited.