He softly petted her control panels while cooing her to follow his desire for exploring a further bit of the Vortex. She was being extraordinarily stubborn about it; rather than just taking him elsewhen like she normally does, she was simply refusing to travel on, leaving them both suspended between time and space. Surely she could go on, she'd taken him everywhen so far, but she did not. He rounded the console, pushing buttons and pulling levers — lights flashed on and off, the scanner displayed only a whirlwind of colours and the time-space destination coordinates flickered. He monitored them closely, finding perhaps some indication of why the TARDIS refused in the chaos of the Vortex.
A bright light on the fault indicator lit up. What. Didn't he stick that away when it kept on lighting up because of the fluid link and the chameleon circuit?
He returned to the coordinates. There were about a dozen of them, repeated over and over again. Oh my — WHAT.
Then the Cloister Bell struck — WHAT?! - and the TARDIS shocked violently. He slammed face-first into the console and drooped onto the floor.
It was white.
She looks extraordinarily light from down there, the TARDIS does. He pulls himself up by the edge of the nearest control panel. She still refuses to go forward, backward, sideward, upward, downward and even diagonally, but at least she appears to be like he remembers, white floors, honey-coloured walls, steel supports, while the controls closely mirror the aesthetic of an 8-bit game console like they have on Earth in the 1980s. She is how he remembers her, but not as she should be. She is all at once. Fascinating.
The coordinates still flicker between a dozen or so option.
No. No no no no no. He looks at his reflection in the scanner.
The hair! So much of it, sticking out to all sides as if it exploded — a woman!
That'll put Cameca off. He wonders what River'll say. Still not ginger. And what is he wearing?! It's like he raided the complete wardrobe.
Oh my word — it's a temporal entanglement. She doesn't refuse, she's stuck. They're stuck.
Hmm, yes, yes, yes. If he reversed the polarity — but that's rubbish. If he doesn't get them out of here, it'll become a temporal cluster and nothing he's done will ever happen or have happened. It'll be Belgium.
How stuck are they?
He makes his way over to the doors and cranks them open and is immediately blasted against the floor by the intensity of it. Why doesn't anyone have sunscreen? She slams the doors shut. He feels faint. Phytomenadione. Potassium. Something. He searches my pockets, sticking his fingers in a paper bag of congealed jelly babies, a half-eaten apple, his passport, the sonic, a broken dematerialisation circuit, an almost complete deck of Coruscantian playing cards, a recorder, one of his journals, a broken auto-mobile remote control, a cricket ball, a security pass to the Institute — and a banana. He likes bananas. And finally that stick of celery proves its usefulness too. They're very stuck.
There aren't very many ways to get out of a tangle and a time knot is even harder. He briefly contemplates Alex's method but then it's really hard to get something sharp outside of the Vortex when the Vortex is out of time and space itself and besides cutting the knot will sever all time streams. That's not good. That's very very very not good.
He brings up the TARDIS's Information System, searching for time knots, temporal entanglements and clusters, but of course nothing is revealed. None of the recorded Time Lords have travelled so much that their time streams can become intertwined like this. He is the first and probably the last, too. Last - no - only.
It's like being stuck in a jam with himself but then nothing like it.
But what if — hmmm. Yes.
He's a genius.
He takes his scarf from his neck and ties one end around the dematerialisation lever, a further bit around the zig-zag plotter, moves the time/space control to forward and takes a deep breath as he opens the throttle and pulls his scarf at the same moment.