"It's bloody huge!" was the first thing she said after she entered the TARDIS.
Around her stretched a cavernous chamber, with a high, vaulted ceiling. The walls, burnished gold and bronze in colour, seemed to shine with an inner light. Beside the door was an ornate coat rack. She was standing on metal grating, the same colour of the walls, and beneath it she could see machinery, which glowed intermittently with a fine blue light.
Roundels of various sizes were set into the walls in a consistent pattern, rising up towards the ceiling. Not far from where she was standing, a ramp led up to a raised tier with a glass floor, rimmed by a rail. Atop this was what looked like some kind of control console, six-sided, with a glowing blue-green column rising up from its centre. Beneath the raised tier was more machinery, which seemed to have been disassembled and put back together over and over again.
There was also a couch and an armchair under there, a small bookshelf with a phonograph atop nearby. There were two passageways leading out of the enormous chamber, suggesting even more rooms beyond.
The Doctor, standing next to the ramp leading up the console, grinned. "Yes it is."
"How does all this fit in here?" she said, staring around in wonder. "And what's that sound?"
A calming hum filled the air, emanating from all around them.
"That's the sound of the TARDIS' engines when they're not in use," the Doctor said. "Think of it like a computer on standby."
"It's…" she said, unable to quite grasp the words. "It's incredible!"
The Doctor nodded knowingly. "I've heard a lot of people react to the whole bigger-on-the-inside thing, but no one's had quite that… visceral of a reaction."
Sophie glanced at him. "Are you kidding me? You are not mocking me right now."
"No!" the Doctor insisted. "Not at all. Look, the TARDIS is dimensionally transcendent. You're standing in pure mathematics made reality; the inside and the outside fit together through the mathematical manipulation of space, the welding of the two different dimensional points via theoretical physics."
"I'm an English student, Doctor," Sophie reminded him, "and the reason I'm an English student is because maths and science sound like gobbledegook to me."
The Doctor grinned. "Fair enough. Tell you what, why don't you come up here and I can show you."
He made his way up the ramp towards the console, and Sophie followed him, the sound of her footsteps on the grating resounding through the chamber. She mounted the raised tier, and saw that the six-sided console was crammed with levers and switches, gauges and even what looked like a bicycle pump. There was a telephone, a keyboard, a screen hanging down from the upper section of the console. There were dozens of readout screens and, Sophie noted, a dog-eared paper back copy of a pulp fiction magazine.
"Adventures in Time and Space," she read from the front cover. "Nice."
"Vintage 1936," the Doctor said from the console, where he was manipulating controls. "Do you see here?" he said, indicating the screen. "This is the scanner. Over there," he pointed over her shoulder, to another screen set into the wall, "is the other scanner. The big blue thing? That's the time rotor. This is the console. Down the ramp is the sitting area."
Sophie took it all in, her mind still reeling. "This is unbelievable."
"Thank you," the Doctor said, smiling benevolently.
She rolled her eyes at his response. "No, literally, I don't believe you."
"Well," he said, eyes still twinkling. "You might believe this." He hit another control, and all at once the floor bucked beneath her feet. She fell on tight to the side of the console, and heard that same noise she'd heard the night this had all started. The sound of the TARDIS engines. The thing the Doctor had called the time rotor brightened and began moving up and down.
"What are you doing?" she demanded. "Where are you taking me?"
"You'll see!" the Doctor cried over the sound of the engines. Clinging on for dear life, Sophie cursed him. Then, just as quickly as it had started, the sound of the engines died away. He nodded towards the TARDIS doors, which from this side looked as though they perfectly matched the exterior doors. "Go have a look."
Sophie nodded, and went back down the ramp, towards the doors. She took a deep breath as she rested her hand against the wood. Finally, she gave them a push.
The door swung open, and her eyes widened.
Stretching out before her, beneath a velvet black sky, was a craggy, broken grey surface of dust and craters. And there, hanging in the sky, was a small blue orb. She was standing on the moon. She gaped, speechless, as she felt the Doctor fall into place beside her.
"Now do you believe me?"
She nodded mutely.
He grinned. "So, Sophie Freeman. All of time and space is now at your fingertips. Where did you want to go? Alien worlds to stand under alien skies? Did you want to meet the Beatles, perhaps?"
Sophie turned to him, tears shining in her eyes. "My parents?"
The Doctor's expression darkened. "No. I'm sorry, but there are rules; limits to where I can take you. If you met your own parents, the temptation to try and alter their fate would be too strong. The results could be catastrophic."
Sophie was bitterly disappointed, but she understood. "Okay, fine. So, the parents are out."
"I'm afraid so," the Doctor nodded.
She scoffed. "All of time and space… you certainly know how to paralyse a girl with too many options, Doctor, don't you?"
He offered her a sympathetic smile. "It's what I do, I'm afraid."
"Ah, what the hell," she said, "how about Tokyo?"
"Tokyo? What, you mean, in 2011?"
"Sure," Sophie said, "why not? I've always wanted to go. You did say anywhere in time and space, why not start there? From what I've heard, it's practically a different planet anyway."
The Doctor laughed, and shut the doors. He led Sophie back to the TARDIS console. "Fine," he said, "Tokyo it is. Now, while I set the coordinates, how about you go find your room."
"My room?" she asked.
"Well, I'm guessing you'd like somewhere to sleep," the Doctor said.
"Well, yeah," she agreed, "but all my stuff…"
"Will still be waiting here on Earth for you when you get home," the Doctor said, smiling. "Now, go on. Down the left passageway, past the kitchen, you should find the bedrooms. Just keep going until you find one you like."
"How much of this place is there?"
"A lot," the Doctor answered. "I'll show you around some day. Now, off you go."
With another dazzled glance cast around the TARDIS, Sophie disappeared off towards the bedrooms. As she left the console room, the inner light of the chamber dimmed, and the TARDIS' engines made a groaning noise that sounded almost queasy.
The Doctor winced, and patted the console. "I know, girl. She feels wrong."
The scanner screen above the console came to life, displaying an article from a newspaper the scanner identified as the Country Leader. The article was led by a picture of a smiling man and woman, and a small girl with curly hair wrapped in the man's arms. The caption identified them as Sarah and Matthew Freeman, with daughter Sophie.
The Doctor's eyes widened as he read the article.
A few moments after he finished, the scanner screen switched to an image of Sophie. Information began scrolling down the screen beside her picture; her place of birth, her date of birth. Then, to his horror, a date of death: March 2, 1996. The date of Australia's federal election. The day of the car crash that had killed her parents. The car crash that was, apparently, meant to have killed her.
He froze. "We have to help her," he said to the TARDIS.
The machine didn't respond, but Sophie's voice did. "Help who?"
Slapping a button on the console, which shut down the scanner, the Doctor turned to welcome his newest companion back into the console room. "I believe there's a little girl in Tokyo who's just dropped her ice cream. Shall we go buy her a new one?"
Sophie shook her head and smiled. "I suppose we'd better."
The Doctor grinned at her, but what he'd just seen on the scanner weighed heavily on his mind. Still, he shook that off. Hitting a few buttons, he declared. "Coordinates set. Guess what, Sophie Freeman?"
"What, Doctor?" she asked, clearly deciding to play along.
"This is just the beginning," he said and he slammed down one of the levers. The engines roared, the floor shook and the TARDIS, with the Doctor and Sophie aboard, disappeared into eternity.
Doctor Who and its accoutrements are the property of the BBC, and we obviously don't have any right to them. Any and all crossover characters belong to their respective creators. Alas no one makes any money from this site, and it's all done out of love for a cheap-looking sci-fi show. All fics are property of their individual authors. Archival at this site should not be taken to constitute automatic archive rights elsewhere, and authors should be contacted individually to arrange further archiving. Despite occasional claims otherwise, The Blessed St Lalla Ward is not officially recognised by the Catholic Church. Yet. |
Script for this archive provided by eFiction. Contact our archivists at email@example.com. Please read our Terms of Service and Submission Guidelines.