As she materialises, she wheezes, the sound of temporal and spatial displacement and metamorphosis as she forces her atoms in the places previously occupied by other and different atoms.
A familiar voice sounded by him but he couldn't place it with a face - “Doctor, wha' 's happening?”
He patted himself down. Did they even notice? He ignored the question, switching the doors open and stumbling over the threshold onto the dusty, dry soil.
The planet moved at a peculiar, familiar speed through its galaxy, wobbling oh so mildly around its axis. The powder blue atmosphere revealed a single star to be the centre of its system, while a single faint moon over the distant dry mountains pulled softly against the planet's almost Galactic Standard neutral gravitational force.
“Doctor, where are we?” the familiar voice asked. Good question. They always have such good questions.
“Earth,” he answered evasively. Good. He likes Earth, its people are peculiar in an endearing fashion. Humans have such a way of dealing with things they don't understand. No other language in the universe is as rife with metaphors as the human language with its manifold accents and dialects. Casting time as space is only a testament to human ingenuity — although of course it is backwards, as spatial location is determined by time rather than temporal relations being defined by space, it does show a profound early understanding of spatial-temporal reality. They are a wondrous species, certainly, which makes it such a shame how they let their language limit their understanding of reality — but then without the mastering of intermentality, verbal and pictorial modes are perhaps among the more efficient manners of communications. Even after years in the TARDIS, they would still sometimes miss what feels so obviously clear to him — but as one cannot expect someone illiterate to be literate, so a Time Lord cannot expect a human to see. Not that they are not clever, of course — they are. Very clever. Inventive. But it is such an imprecise language. They allow their expressions to have so many meanings, making it so easy to be misunderstood or to misunderstand. Although it does so often allow for conversational escapes; its imprecision perhaps also has a societally preservative function. The “where are we” did not ask for a planet, it asked for a precise location on this planet, if I could offer one. But when precise spatial deictics are phrases while generic spatial deictics are morphemes, not being precise is also a matter of efficiency. A matter, a presumption, of conversational cooperation.
The relatively position of the planet to the Sun and the Moon and the stars beyond the atmosphere, invisible to the human eye, as well as the local meteorology — Northern hemisphere, certainly — indicated early spring. This, in turn, put the current location somewhere around the 40th degree latitude. Slightly south of it, perhaps.
“Hey, Doctor, look!”
He followed the voice. Olive trees. Ah. Clever humans. He crouched down and poked at the soil. He's been here in a different regeneration, once. She had wanted to see when it was covered at Coal Hill. He smiled when he remembered Susan, then turned to his companion.
“Welcome to Athens.”
His grin widened when he saw the comprehension on his companion's face. “Yes, Athens! No beasties, or running, or false accusations. The perfect location for a little holiday.”
“Aye, I've heard tha' before.”
He could not suppress a smiled as he clasped his hands together, looking around for a place to go towards. Behind the TARDIS, in the distance, stood a set of brightly coloured buildings set on the slopes of a hill. On top of the hill sat a blindingly bright Parthenon, looking as though it was only just completed. Perhaps it was. The colours reminded him of a coat he had briefly worn during the temporal entanglement. He shuddered at the thought that his sartorial sense would ever be thus, and marched on, Jamie in tow. And that scarf! Fascinating memory. That he would travel so much that he creates a time knot. He did not like the notion of 'probably the last', although there were only parts of him thinking that - and certainly not the last.
“Doctor...” Jamie began, trudging along beside him.
“Wha' happened to the TARDIS?”
Jamie really was quite clever, sometimes. “Oh, just a small hiccup. Just a time knot, it was quite harmless.”
“Och aye, harmless.” He did not sound convinced.
“Yes, Jamie, harmless. Now, let's get on to the city. Allons-y.”
He paused. That did not sound right. He shrugged it off as the after-effects of a merging of minds. “Let's go.”