"Doctor, I asked you and Miss Shaw to look at those meteorite fragments hours ago...." The wind was taken out of the Brigadier's sail when he noticed that the lab he'd marched angrily into was completely empty. The experiment that the Doctor and his assistant had set up to analyse the meteorite bubbled over, completely forgotten. The blue police box sat in the corner of the lab with the door ajar.
"Doctor, are you in there? Doctor!" When he didn't receive a response, the Brigadier pushed the TARDIS door open. "Good grief...."
"Yes, yes. It's bigger on the inside, I know." The Doctor was standing at the hexagonal console that dominated the room with his back to the Brigadier. "My dear chap, either come in or step outside. Either way, close the door. Now," he continued without turning to look at the Brigadier, "Liz, my dear, if you could press that green button without letting go of the lever you're holding."
Liz gave an exaggerated stretch to illustrate that there was no possible way that she could reach the green button on the other side of the console while holding down the lever.
"Oh, allow me." The Brigadier pressed the green button. The column at the centre of the console juddered up and down and the air was filled with the whooping sound of the universe rearranging itself to fill the space where a police box no longer stood.
"Ah." The Doctor ruefully rubbed the back of his neck. "That was a slightly better result than I expected."
Liz was fascinated by the alien planet. She was two hundred yards south of the TARDIS, examining a fragment of the glass like substance that made up the majority of the landscape. Luckily, the Brigadier was more singularly minded.
"Another world, Doctor, you've brought Miss Shaw and myself to another world without even asking for our consent."
"Oh, do try to enjoy yourself, Brigadier. You're standing on ground no human being has stood on before, breathing air never breathed before."
"That's a lovely sentiment, Doctor. But what about the Earth?"
"I'll set the coordinates to take you back. I won't have such a," the Doctor fumbled for the right word, "sourpuss in my TARDIS!"
"I think you've upset him," observed Liz, who'd picked her way back across the broken landscape just in time to watch the Doctor swish his cape and flounce back into the TARDIS.
"Do you know, Miss Shaw, I think I might have."
"Still," she said, "this place is incredible. The odds of there being another planet with a breathable atmosphere are astronomical, and just look at this landscape."
"It's the stars I can't get used to. Look at the sky. It's so different from the night sky anywhere on Earth."
"I would never have guessed you were a stargazer, Brigadier. Watching the skies for threats from other worlds?"
"Always, Miss Shaw, always."
The Brigadier was in the TARDIS kitchen. It was strange, but even though he was hurtling through time and space in a ship powered by unknown means and driven by a madman, the TARDIS kitchen made him feel more secure. Perhaps it was the room's resemblance to the kitchen his mother had in Scotland when he was a small boy.
Liz walked into the kitchen. "The Doctor would like a cup of tea."
"And you're planning on making him one?" the Brigadier asked, astonished.
"No, but I'm planning to see how long it takes him to notice that I won't."
The Brigadier pulled out the chair next to his. "In that case, Miss Shaw, join me."
"It's Doctor Shaw, as it happens."
"I apologise, Doctor Shaw."
"But you should call me Liz," she said, sitting down. "The last thing we need around here is another doctor."
The Brigadier laughed and offered to make them both a pot of tea.
"This isn't Earth, Doctor." The Brigadier looked up into the Martian sky, where the Earth could be seen as a faint blue speck.
"It's not bad for a first attempt," the Doctor attempted to explain, "especially for the TARDIS."
Liz arched an eyebrow at him.
"Well, maybe not by your limited human standards."
"Doctor, do you know who they are?" The Brigadier was referring to the several seven-feet-tall armoured figures that were heading towards them. He reached for the service revolver he habitually wore on his belt, before remembering that the Doctor had threatened to leave him on Metabelis III if he didn't stop carrying it.
"Ice Warriors." The Doctor sounded delighted. "Noble race, I've always had a very positive relationship with them." He strode forward to meet them.
The Brigadier's body smacked against the wall of the cell he'd been thrown into. He managed to gain a foothold and turn around just in time to catch Liz as she was thrown in after him.
"Very positive relationship," he grumbled. "If I ever see the Doctor again I'll show him a very positive relationship."
"At least the Ice Warriors were willing to talk to him. He may be able to convince them to let us go. God, it's chilly in here."
Not for the first time, the Brigadier noticed that Liz's clothes weren't exactly Victorian in their primness and her blouse and short skirt offered even less protection against the biting cold than his uniform did.
"Come here." He extended his arms to her.
Liz looked at him warily for a moment, then her desire to be warm overcame any lingering formality between them and she stepped gratefully up to him and let him wrap his arms around her.
Several hours later, and there was still no sign of the Doctor. The Brigadier and Liz were huddled in the corner of their icy cell.
"I'm so tired," Liz said quietly, "I just want to close my eyes."
"No, no, Liz," the Brigadier tried to force some authority into his voice through the haze of his own fatigue. "Open your eyes, you've got to stay awake."
"Of course you can, Doctor Shaw. Tell me about your research at Cambridge. What were you studying?"
"I wanted to..." he didn't understand much of what she said after that, but that didn't matter. All that mattered was that she was conscious and talking.
When the Doctor finally arrived, looking as composed as ever, the Brigadier didn't know whether to thank him or swing for him.
Liz was laughing so hard that she had to hold on to the side of the console to stay upright.
"I don't know what you're laughing about," the Brigadier said, offended. "This was your idea."
Liz was the one who'd finally convinced him to change out of his army uniform, especially after that unfortunate business last week on that planet where they found the colour olive green offensive. After numerous hours rummaging through smoking jackets and ruffled shirts, he'd turned up a pair of black trousers and a plain white shirt. And while he wasn't in any sense a vain man, he thought he looked rather dapper.
"It's not the clothes. It's that... thing." Liz pointed at the swagger stick the Brigadier hadn't been able to bring himself to leave behind and had tucked securely under his arm.
The Doctor entered the console room and did a double take at the Brigadier. "Old boy, what are you wearing?"
Liz helped the Brigadier back into the TARDIS. He was desperately trying not to lean on her too much even though every step he took under his own power sent sparks of pain shooting up his left leg.
She helped him over to the chair and he sank down gratefully. "When I was a small boy, I used to dream of being a cowboy in the Wild West. The real Wild West is rather different."
"Yes," said Liz, rolling up his trouser leg to get a better look at the bullet wound. "The bullets are real."
The Brigadier pushed her hands away. "Leave that."
"And who else do you think is going to do it, Alistair. Unlike some people not a million miles away, I actually am a doctor of medicine."
The Brigadier had to concede that she was right. And even if she wasn't, if the Doctor was as poor a medic as he was pilot of the TARDIS then the Brigadier might just keep the bullet in his shin.
On the third planet of the Hyroxian Empire, the Doctor and Liz were imprisoned for undertaking scientific research that had been outlawed by the priesthood. They looked up in surprise when the Brigadier marched into their cell block and was saluted by the guards.
"Alistair, what's happened?" asked Liz.
The Brigadier nodded and the guards switched off the force-fields to the cells containing the Doctor and Liz. "I, um, appear to be in charge of the Hyroxian armed forces."
"Brigadier," said the Doctor, thrilled, "you've masterminded a coup d'état."
"I think the Doctor's been rubbing off on you," Liz muttered, passing the Brigadier as she followed the Time Lord out of the cell block.
"Perish the thought, Liz."
The Doctor had, for the thirty-first time, failed to return them to Earth. But as mistakes went, this wasn't bad. The Brigadier and Liz sat on the shoreline, watching the twin suns set.
"Will you miss all this, Alistair, when the Doctor gets us back to Earth?"
"If the Doctor gets us back to Earth."
"Oh, be an optimist, Brigadier."
"I do try. But the Doctor doesn't exactly inspire confidence with his piloting skills."
"He tries his best." Liz laughed. "I'll miss it. I mean I'll be glad to get home, but I'll miss all this." She nodded towards the horizon, where one of the suns had dipped behind the purple sea. "It's like living in a film."
"I'm surprised to hear you watch films about other worlds."
"Perhaps you don't know me as well as you think you do. And I suppose you watch war films, boys and their toys."
"No, as it happens I like the classics, Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn."
"You old romantic, you."
"Come on, you two," called the Doctor from the TARDIS just as the second sun was about to set, casting the world into darkness. "We haven't got time to be sitting around watching the suns set."
"Yes, we have to get lost again," said Liz, allowing the Brigadier to help her to her feet.
The Brigadier stepped out of the TARDIS and stopped so suddenly that Liz very nearly walked into his back.
They were in the lab at UNIT headquarters; there was a small puddle on the work bench where a beaker had bubbled over.
"Brigadier." Sergeant Benton entered the lab and snapped to attention. "General Finch wants to know how the analysis of the meteorite fragments is coming."
Benton, in the tradition of good sergeants everywhere, pretended not to notice his commanding officer's bewilderment.
"Two and half minutes after we left," said the Doctor, who was standing in the TARDIS doorway examining a fob watch. "Sergeant, Liz is going to finish the analysis. Myself, I have to be off."
The Brigadier, Liz and Benton backed away as the TARDIS door clunked shut. The police box faded out of existence with a wheezing noise, then faded back into existence with an alarming crack. The doors opened and belched out a lot of thick black smoke along with a coughing and spluttering Doctor.
"My dear, perhaps you would like some help with that analysis?"
"Actually," the Brigadier interrupted, "Doctor, perhaps you'd like to examine the fragments yourself. Doctor Shaw and I are going to go for a pot of tea."
The Doctor looked at Liz, mildly appalled.
She shrugged and said with a tiny smirk, "He is the boss."