The Planet Xeros, unknown time and date
"This museum is remarkable; I think there's something here from every era of Earth history!" Ian grinned at Barbara as they bent over a deconstructed model of a car engine. The placard stated it was from 1973.
"More than Earth, Ian. Remember that Dalek?" Barbara grimaced, rubbing the goosebumps off her arm. "Eugh, it still gives me the creeps."
"At least it wasn't occupied. That's something. I wonder if there's anything from Vortis, or the Sense Sphere," he mused, straightening up to glance about. "Say, where did the Doctor go?"
"Over there," Barbara pointed at their alien friend, bent over examining something across the room. "I wonder what he's found?"
"Let's find out. Doctor!" The two humans strolled over. "Find something interesting then?"
"Hm? Oh yes, my boy, yes, very interesting," the Doctor hummed, straightening up to twiddle his thumb against his lapel. "Have a look at this." The young man bent to examine the object, puzzled.
"It's a...box?" It didn't look anything more than that. Square on all sides, built without apparent seams or hinges. It looked battered and burned, as though exposed to high heat, the metal surface blistered and rust-grimed. The top was inscribed with the designs of an alien language, through use of a cutting tool if Ian had to guess.
"It's more than just a box, Chesterton," the Doctor chided. "That, my boy, is a home-box. From a Starliner, fifthty- fifty-first section-century if I'm not mistaken. Dear me, it has been through a good deal of trouble, look at the state of it..."
"And what's that when it's at home?" Ian grinned at his own pun. It earned him a disgruntled look from the old man.
"A home-box homes. It's much like your aircraft, planes, with their black boxes. Flight data is rec- er, contained within. And in the event of a crash, er, dish-disaster of a type, the home box flies home! Most ingenious device, yes." The Doctor tittered with delight.
"Extraordinary," Ian marvelled. "What's it doing here, I wonder?"
"Oh who knows, Chatterton, who knows. That isn't the most interesting thing about it," the Doctor said with a dismissive flick of his wrist. "What's curious is the writing."
Barbara chimed in. "Do you recognise it, Doctor?"
"Oh yes. You see my dear, that is my planet's language. Old High Gallifreyan!" The Doctor chuffed. "Quite remarkable to find it here, of all things! Especially this dialicked-dialect."
Ian and Barbara shared a curious look. "Gallifreyan?"
The old man gave them a sidelong smile. "You didn't think the entire universe spoke your Earth-English, did you?"
Barbara began to giggle. Ian looked astonished. "But everyone we've ever met has spoken English!" He protested. "How was I to know? For that matter, if it's true, how do we understand everyone where we go?"
"My dear Chesterton, the TARDIS has a translation circuit that translates us speech to our proper tongues, do be sensible about things," the Doctor admonished. It set Barbara off laughing harder, while the tips of Ian's ears flushed red.
"Well okay then," he grumbled, and whacked Barbara's arm lightly. "It isn't that funny, Barbara."
"Oh Ian," she giggled, "I'd worked that out ages ago. How else would we have been able to talk with Marco Polo, or convinced Autloc that I was the reincarnation of Yetaxa?"
"Okay, okay," Ian sighed, resigning himself to embarrassment with a stiff upper lip. "So, Gallifreyan? Is that your planet then, Doctor?"
"Hm, yes. Yes...been quite some time since I've been back," the Doctor mused in an absent, pensive mutter, but it was fleeting. He straightened his shoulders, tugging his lapels straight. "Never mind, never mind. I say it's quite curious to find Gallifreyan in this place, especially on this home-box. Quite curious indeed. We don't have such things for the TARDIS."
"What does it say, Doctor?" Barbara asked with interest.
To the human's surprise, the old man's cheeks pinked faintly, as he cleared his throat. "Ah, well, it's difficult to translate, I should say. Certainly a strange message, very strange. You see these sigils here, these are coordinates; perhaps where the home-box originated from-"
"And the rest of it?" Ian asked, amused by the turn of events.
"Ahem, well, er..." the Doctor sniffed. "It says, 'Hello Sweetie.' Oh really, you humans, stop that noise," he scolded, brushing abruptly past the two guffawing Earthlings. "Now where did Vicki get off to, I should find her. Shouldn't keep separated in a place like this. Come along, you two!"
"Coming, Doctor!" they chorused, before lapsing back into giggles, following him arm-in-arm.