The Forgotten by AKs on Show
Summary: 1.1: Sophie Freeman's life is nothing special. Work, university, a few friends. She dreams the same dream every night. One night, she is awoken by a strange sound, and finds a blue box outside her apartment window. Then people start vanishing, one by one... the universe is collapsing around her, and her only hope is a man who calls himself the Doctor.
Rating: All Ages
Categories: Other Doctors
Characters: Other Character(s), The Doctor (Author-Created)
Genres: Action/Adventure, Mystery
Series: The Sophie Freeman Adventures, Vol. 1
The Forgotten by AKs on Show
Chapter 1: SophieAuthor's Notes: Historian's Note: this adventure features a future incarnation of the Doctor and a young Australian woman named Sophie. It takes place long after the heretofore televised events of the series from the Doctor's point of view.
The day was warm, the sun shining. High above, in the endless blue sky, a few fluffy clouds drifted listlessly against the thermals. The little girl watched them. She thought she saw a camel. Or was that a castle?
She heard her parents talking in the front seat of the car. Her father was driving, her mother fiddling with the radio.
Snatches of music and the tinny voices of announcer's occasionally escaped the static, and then her mother found the channel she was looking for, and the comforting voice of a newsreader filled the car.
"As the nation takes to the polls today, Prime Minister Paul Keating reiterated that should his government be re-elected, they would continue their triple campaign of reconciliation, republicanism and engagement with Asia."
Her mother said something, her father responded. She couldn't quite make out what they were saying. She never could.
"Opposition leader John Howard, meanwhile, said that, after thirteen years of Labor leadership, the Australian people were ready for a change, particularly in the face of a flagging economy. Early returns on this election day suggest that Mr. Howard may, by this time tomorrow, be the nation's Prime Minister."
Her father was unhappy about that, her mother unsurprised.
She looked at them, saw the back of their heads, and she felt safe; they were her parents, her mother and father. She knew that this was the last time she'd ever see them.
There was a screech of tires on asphalt as someone slammed on the brakes.
There was a scream. A crash. Metal on metal, splintering, being torn asunder. Shattering glass. The world went black, flew end over end, as the little girl's world turned upside down.
There was a resounding, bone crunching thud. Silence. Then the crackle of flames, the gurgle of liquid; spilled petrol. Blood.
She couldn't see. She knew her parents were dead.
Hundreds of kilometres and fifteen years away, Sophie Freeman woke up.
"The fact remains," the lecturer announced, as though she were proclaiming the discovery of the Holy Grail, "that Birthday Letters represents more than a mere development of Ted Hughes' writing. It was an active attempt, on the part of the author, to emulate the writing style of his dead wife, and in so doing, invoke her memory."
She smiled knowingly, a Mona Lisa smile, as though she had just ever-so-cleverly stirred a bubbling pot just so.
"Now I know there a few of you in this class who would disagree with me," she said. "I know there are a few of you who would no doubt take great issue with Mr. Hughes as a man, and as a poet, and most especially with this book! But that's why you take Critical Analysis, isn't it? To pull apart the written word, to gaze into the mind of the author; to see what it is that made him write the words he wrote, construct the phrases he constructed. It's a beautiful thing we do here in this class, ladies and gentlemen. Ultimately, our goal is to see the universe that was the author's world, and then to break it down. Collapse it into its parts, and see how those parts all fit together."
The lecture hall was hot. The lecturer, a short, thick woman who had introduced herself as Professor Lancer, knew it was hot; she just didn't care. Down there, she was kept cool by the standing fan beside her lectern. Her class, however, was left to languish in the heat of the hall; an Australian February with a broken air conditioner was a special kind of hell.
Such was the life of an undergraduate, Professor Lancer told herself. She took no small joy from the suffering currently being inflicted on those students, sweltering as they were, knowing that in a few short weeks they'd be inflicting their own kind of hell on her. She'd have to wade her way through dozens upon dozens of terrible and worse, mediocre papers, desperately trying to tap into the meanings of Ted Hughes' somewhat florid poems. And then, after that, they were going to wade headfirst into Shakespeare. She wasn't looking forward to that at all.
Her love for the bard had been diminished by orders of magnitude with every new semester of teaching. She longed for postgraduate teaching, where she could take under her wing a cadre of elite, interested students, instead of this milling posse just dipping their feet in the waters of English language literate.
She looked down, adjusting her glasses as they slipped to the end of her nose, and checked her notes. "Now, your set texts for this semester are Birthday Letters, by Mr. Ted Hughes, The Tempest by Mr. William Shakespeare and Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. You are also expected to read another Shakespeare play of your own choosing, and another novel. You're to present your choice of play and novel to your tutors in week two for evaluation."
There was an audible grown from her audience at that pronouncement.
She barely suppressed a smirk.
In the mid-level tier of seating, a young woman sat, staring down at Professor Lancer, desperate to get the hell out of the oppressive heat of the lecture theatre. "Old bitch," her friend sitting beside her whispered to her. "I bet she gets off on that stuff."
"What, making us learn?" Sophie Freeman responded, with a grin.
She was a short, slender woman, with shoulder length mousy brown hair and big green eyes, complimented by an easy smile and a willowy frame. Her skin was pale, painfully so for an Australian summer, with a liberal spread of freckles across her nose and cheeks.
"No, making us do all that stuff," her friend moaned, barely bothering to keep her voice down.
Sophie shook her head, but smiled. "Look, Leisel, quit your bitching. This your last year! After this, you've got your degree. Meanwhile, I'll be scraping together credits for another three semesters at least."
Leisel rolled her eyes. "It's not my fault you're on a reduced course load, Soph."
"True enough," Sophie replied, "but if I fail this class because you're nattering at me all semester long, that will be your fault."
Leisel giggled. "True enough, I suppose."
It was only then that the two noticed that the lecturer had fallen silent, and was staring right at them. "Everything okay up there, ladies?" she asked, and there was a titter of laughter through the lecture hall.
Sophie just shook her head, leaving Leisel to absorb the embarrassment of the situation.
"No, um, ma'am," Leisel managed. "We're fine!"
Professor Lancer lifted and eyebrow, and got back to her lecture, leaving Sophie in a fit of silent laughter and Leisel fuming.
"Old bitch," she muttered under her breath.
"If it makes you feel any better, I know for a fact that we've got a copy of Birthday Letters in at the shop at the moment," Sophie whispered to her, careful to keep her voice low now that they'd been caught out by the lecturer. "I'll buy it and we can share it."
Leisel smiled. "Always knew there'd be a bonus for befriending a chick that works at a book shop."
"My pleasant company and sparkling conversation notwithstanding," Sophie said with a grin.
"Oh, but of course," Leisel agreed. "What are you doing after class? It's a nice day out. Maybe one of the last chances we'll have to hit the beach until next summer."
"No, sorry, dear, can't make it," Sophie said, refocusing her attention on the lecturer.
"And why's that?"
"Work," Sophie said, and noticed Leisel mouth the word along with her as she answered.
"You work yourself ragged, Soph," Leisel said. "Tell the manager to shove it. Take a day off."
"I need that job, Leisel," Sophie said with a sigh. "It's either work there, or go back to the supermarket, and I've had it with being a check out chick."
"Yeah, fair enough," Leisel said, sighing. "I'll come and visit you, if you like?"
"What, and remind me of all the fun I'm not having?" Sophie said. "Don't worry about it, Leisel. Just go enjoy the summer."
When the class let out, Sophie said goodbye to Leisel and made her way to the university's main bus stop. Somehow, it was even hotter outside. The campus was leafy, and would have been nice and cool were it not almost literally built on a swamp; walking from class to class in summer was running a gauntlet of a mosquitoes and oppressive humidity. She arrived at the stop just as the 100 bus pulled up.
Big, ancient and obviously unimpressed with the heat, the bus was crowded. Packed with sweating pensioners and students. She found a place to stand up the back of the bus, and waited as it rumbled off down the street, away from the university.
This was her life; an hour bus ride from home to uni, forty five minutes from uni to work, then another twenty minutes from work back home. It was an endless cycle. Aside from Leisel and her friends, whom she never really had time to see anyway, her life was this monotony. Sophie Freeman, living in a tiny apartment she could barely afford, working a job that was boring, but not overly humiliating, desperately trying to scrape together enough academic credits for a degree that would probably be useless anyway. No parents, no past. No future.
And so she rode the bus, suffocating in the summer heat, and she wanted for something more.
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