Bernice was sitting in a vast, dark cavern.
She wanted to kill him. She was that angry. But not angry enough to actually kill the Doctor. Which made her even angrier, because she knew that he knew that she was angry but not that angry... which meant he had planned it.
Which made her ohhhhh, sooooooo angry.
It had started when Jan died. This peculiar anachronism with a bad Scottish accent offered her a lift after killing her best fri-shag- er- mate. To say she agreed with her eyes wide shut might be accurate, if completely incomprehensible... but she’d had a lot of bourbon that night.
She’d had no idea what Ace carried around in that bag of hers when she left them on Heaven, but Benny was damned well not stepping out of the TARDIS without something-
And of course she stepped onto the Transit platform without so much as a fluffy piece of malevolent lint. She really never understood why she did that... completely out of character.
Zamper? She’d been ready there: packed a knife in her boot, a lock pick to cover at least a three-hundred-year time span and a tiny, yet powerful, magnet capable of disabling any electrical locking system known to man, woman, or turtle.
The first time she needed them, her pockets, as well as her boot, were empty.
Over the course of one month, Benny lost four lock picks. No, strike that. Four lock picks were taken from her. She had them in her possession when she left the TARDIS, had them when she was talking to the locals, but the second she needed her tools, they were gone.
London, Montreal, planets with rings, rings with planets, always the same. Over the course of her travels, Bernice was locked up so many times it defied belief. She became so paranoid that she started keeping three flasks with her so even if she lost two, she’d still have something to drink. Everything else (ray gun, mace, stun guns, hair clips, even toothbrushes with pointy ends) seemed to run silently screaming out of her pockets at the slightest hint of danger or being useful.
It never failed. Whenever she got in trouble or imprisoned and needed her tools the most, they’d vanish. As soon as she became savvy enough to notice the pattern — and began to use their disappearance as sort of an early warning system- everything changed: all of her tools would only mysteriously vanish after she was captured, seeming to slip away whenever the jail door clanked shut. Conveniently leaving her waiting to be rescued, a sad, jaded stereotype from some bad television programme.
Benny knew the Doctor was behind it. But she didn’t have a single shred of proof.
Fortunately, she had just consumed a bottle of Hynerian Absolut vodka, which at 80 proof was all she needed. She was fed up. Locked up for twelve days (TWELVE DAYS!!!) in a damp, windowless cell by the Yerek, some poor creatures unfortunate enough to live in a solar system that the Doctor’s people decided to convert into a black hole to power some TARDISes. Poor, unfortunate creatures that were really, deeply pissed off at having lost their world and had taken it out on Bernice. Locked behind a door that Bernice could have unlocked with a string of dental floss, but even that mysteriously disappeared from inside her navel when the door slammed shut. Along with the lint surrounding it.
The Doctor had been curling.
It was one sport that really annoyed the hell of out Benny.
She kept screaming at the little figure as he brushed furiously in front of the squat, circular stone that slid slowly along the ice. Somehow, for some reason, a vast frozen lake had appeared in the TARDIS where the pantry once had been.
The broom waggled ceaselessly as he looked up at Benny. “Morning, Benny!” He went back to his game.
Benny wobbled alongside him, slipping on the ice, asking why, where had all her things gone just when she needed him, what was he playing at etc etc. The usual stuff, but she spluttered and spit for emphasis.
But the Doctor just kept brushing. The round stone kept sliding. It was moving an improbably long way on the ice. The Doctor somehow managed to be two members of his team, silent, but certain.
Eventually Benny left him. If there was one thing she despised more than curling, it was watching curling.
As she staggered back to her room, she stumbled across the cavern. It was just sitting there, a gaping hole in the TARDIS corridor. Benny popped her head in and had a look. Inside the darkness was a ghastly mountain. It was built with things from every schoolboy’s dreams: lockpicks, slingshots, cans of mace, hairpins, tasers, skeleton keys, crystal decoders, handcuffs, acid powder, and on and on. Everything anyone could ever need to escape, break free, or save oneself from every era from every world. And, even more oddly, a 22nd century waffle machine was sitting quietly at the base.
Benny crawled up to the top of the detritus collected (stolen) from a thousand enterprising companions and sat, staring around her. Far below her she swore she could see the rump of what looked like some sort of a toy metal dog...
Her anger lasted awhile.
Eventually she grew bored.
Her stomach rumbled.
She got down and started making some waffles.
As she was filling the last of the little squares with syrup, she realized she was sober and bored. And she found herself staring at the appliance that had helpfully spit out two steaming waffles. And she understood why the Doctor took away their lock picks and guns and really handy devices.
So Benny plucked a tool from the mountain, left the cave, and headed for the console room.
The Doctor found the tool on the floor outside the door of his room in the TARDIS. It had a yellow sticky attached that read: “The perfect companion: take out when needed, replace in pocket when bored.”
The Doctor frowned and headed for the console room, turning the object over and over in his hand.
He found another note on the central console, stabbed there with a fork, maple syrup dripping down onto the paper and into the inner workings of the rotor.
“I AM NOT AN APPLIANCE,” the note shouted. “I AM A FREE WOMAN.”
The Doctor sighed. It was time. The Doctor keyed in coordinates... coordinates that would take the TARDIS back to Ace, but in all probability, not the Ace he left on Heaven. Time for things to get complex again.
The Doctor slipped the Swiss Army knife into one of his pockets and watched the rotor rise and fall, stuttering slightly against the dried syrup.