The tea was getting cold.
The flat was stunningly fabulous, the couch achingly comfortable, and her head hurt like a simile that escaped her... her memory was not at it’s best, but her hands touched her throat gingerly.
The décor around her was simple, yet elegant and the furniture stylish and new. It resembled her old rooms on her ship. She listened, but could not detect the familiar humming.
Just a flat then.
Incongruously squatting in the middle of the living room was a large block of cement, five feet high and four foot square. A small chisel lay atop.
She swung her legs to the floor and slowly sat up on the couch. It was then that she noticed that she was fitted entirely in black leather. She strode over to the full length mirror and took in her new outfit. Only then did she also realize that she had a new body. While such a discovery was not exactly not alarming, she hadn’t remembered ordering this one- she didn’t remember very much of anything at all- truth be told.
That was worrying.
“Regeneration via guillotine causing memory loss is quite common,” said a voice from behind her. “Well,” the man added, “common may not be the best term... I had quite a time putting the pieces together without being noticed.”
She squinted at the bearish man in front of her. His form sizzled and fuzzed as she recognized the cloudy white form within. She gave a little sigh before tossing her hair and turning back to the mirror. “Everything is still a little vague. Are we best friends or mortal enemies this week?”
The man cocked his head. “Gallifrey is destroyed, recreated, multiplied, vaporized, decimalized, quantified, rationalized... does it really matter?”
“I’m sure it matters to the Castellan.” The memory took her by surprise.
“Change is the only constant.”
She took in the man’s leather jacket, wallet chains, tattoos, and bushy auburn beard. “Apparently. Still,” she smoothed down the leather on her thighs, “Not below standard. I assume there a reason that I look like this?”
“I was hoping you’d volunteer.”
“I do love to volunteer.”
“Your sense of humor is the main reason I chose you for the job.”
“The er-“he pointed at her “’template’ was needed elsewhere. We need a stand in for a while.”
She frowned, distaste creasing her lovely face. “I’m a substitute? That’s not really my style.”
“It’s only for a little while. It will give you time to get away from things for a bit- you did gather some rather nasty foes last week. I’m sure they’d be only to happy to meet you again. And your attempt to hide out in Paris was hardly a resounding success.”
She coughed in annoyance. “One offhand remark taken out of context...”
He smiled and filled his cup. “Well, there are no cakes here, only tea, muffins, and harmless scones. I am personally a huge fan of bread products.”
She poured tea for herself and nibbled on a scone. “How long?”
The massive shoulders shrugged. “As long as you like.”
Delicate fingers dunked and dribbled. There were, of course, no napkins. She sucked on her finger and waved it in the air. “Earth, 1960’s, isn’t it?” Soggy bits floated atop her tea. “Not to sound gauche, but I was president of the entire temporal universe-
“Unlike some others, who shall remain nameless, I’m not overly thrilled with being stranded on an unnamed backwater planet.” She put down the teacup
He stabbed a finger at the concrete block. “Stattenheim remote control.”
She picked up the chisel and examined the block. She gave it a slight sniff. “Nephaline-carbonite composite bonded with jelignite resin.”
He stuffed his hands into his jeans. “It’s in the middle. Somewhere. Should only take you three or four years to reach it.””
She tapped at the block with a light clink. “One thousand, five hundred and sixty-two days, seven hours and eight minutes.” She tossed the tool aside. “Will there be dastardly masterminds?”
“I would never disappoint.”
“Threats of universal peril, planet cracking super weapons and spatial/temporal collapse?”
The man paused, his chest muscles flexing as he considered. “Would you settle for some Englishmen with bad German accents? There’s quite a lot of them here in the London area.”
There was a knock at the door.
“I must be going.” The man said, stepping into a fern. “Remember, undercover. And don’t make it look too easy.”
The fern rustled gently and he was gone.
She opened the door. An attractive man wearing a bowler hat tilted at a jaunty angle stood before her. He was also holding a magnum of champagne.
“John Steed, at your service. You must be Mrs. Peel...”