I let out a frustrated sigh after the tenth turn or so. The Doctor's directions weren't that helpful. Especially with my short-term memory and a sense of direction that were both quasi non-existent.
And it also didn't help that this bloody ship was ridiculously huge.
It was fascinating that all of this actually fitted into this tiny blue box. But it was also annoying when you needed a toilet... seriously.
A light hum in the air made me look up and around, but nothing was there that could be the origin. Maybe just the engines?
But then it was back, closer to my ear and it sounded... questioningly? I tilted my head in confusion, trying to find out what this could mean. My hand reached out to poke the air in front of me. Just in case there was something invisible.
"Hello?" I tried and the hum returned, a little louder. "Eh, okay, I'm talking to air." This time the hum sounded... amused. I startled and glanced around once again, but with the same result. "Someone there? Are you some board computer, maybe?" And quieter I added, "If so, can you lead the way? I'm a little lost in here."
Immediately a thin line of golden light appeared before my feet, leading me around a corner, where I saw a bunch of doors... changing. Where one had been an alien looking metal before, it was now an ordinary wood door. Carefully I opened it and peeked in, sighing relived when I found an ordinary bathroom inside.
"Thank you!" I said to the air and vanished inside to finally release my bladder and splash some water in my face. Back outside I listened for the weird hum. "Can... you lead me back to the Doctor? That would be nice of you."
The golden light appeared again and I couldn't help but smile widely at it. This definitely was some cool tech! Way better than Google Maps!
Back in the control room I found the Doctor tinkering with a weird looking monitor. He wore a pair of glasses and made a face as if nothing in the world would be able to distract him from whatever he was doing. But as soon as I entered the room he spun around and gave me a warm smile.
"Good, you're back!"
"Yeah, your board computer was quite helpful."
He raised both eyebrows. "I don't have one."
"Great..." I sighed, strolled over and let me fall into the jump seat. "I'm on an alien space ship and I talked to a ghost. That's not weird. Not at all... nope." I chuckled, finding the whole situation way funnier than I probably should.
"Might have been the TARDIS helping," the Doctor concluded. "She does that sometimes."
"She..." I repeated quietly. "But not a board computer, huh? So, the ship is alive?"
"Weeeell..." The Doctor clicked his tongue, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. "Probably not in a way a tiny human brain could comprehend." He ignored my eye-roll. "But yes. In a way she is."
"Right... why not." Tiredly I rubbed my eyelids, wishing for a cup of coffee in my hands.
"You must have tons of questions," the Doctor tossed in, tilting his head from one side to the other, observing me as if I were some curious animal. Maybe I was... being a different species than him and all... "First, though, let me tell you I'm sorry for what happened to you. This isn't something a human should have been dragged into."
"So you're not going to conquer earth and use our population as batteries?" I couldn't help but ask with a highly sarcastic undertone. Then something dawned on me and I straightened in the seat. "Your ship is super fast, Doctor. Can we land somewhere where there's coffee, maybe?"
"I'd prefer a cuppa tea, but sure, yes. Where do you wanna take it? Heard Felogeratia developed the perfect brew in 20 alpha 1200. Maybe a bit strong to the untrained stomach... How about Sherell? The isle of Glomburian is infamous for having the most expensive coffee in the Hanserlin galaxy."
"Eh... what? Never heard of those places. Galaxy?" I blinked my tired eyes a few times, before it clicked. "Oh... yeah... makes sense. You can travel away from earth, can' you? I mean... of course you can..."
"Yup!" he popped the 'p', grinning widely at my confused expression. "Everywhere you want."
I opened my mouth to respond, but there were no words coming out and I closed it again. I just came from a nightlong train ride to get to the other end of my own country. And now this man was telling me his ship could take us literally everywhere in the universe.
"Dang, that's lots of places," I mumbled. "There isn't a Starbucks on some... just cool looking, weird place with... I don't know... floating, glowing jellyfish birds, a purple sky and yellow oceans?"
"Oh, how do you know about Cinpecka?! Lovely north pole around the summer times."
I snorted out a short laugh. "No. Just made that up. Don't tell me there really is a place like that? With a Starbucks?"
"Weeell... You wouldn't like their equivalent of it... probably. But if you want weird and colourful - and coffee," he clapped his hands together, sprang to his console and started to push buttons and flip switches, "then I know the place for you!"
"Wait. I'm not up for another long journey. Just let us..."
The whole ship shook violently and it took all my physical strength not to crumble to the floor. Maybe it was a good thing that my stomach was so empty. Only a few seconds passed, though, and we landed safely with the same weird noise I had heard before.
Smirking widely, the Doctor took a small step back and waved his hand towards the door, inclining his head slightly. "Have fun. Take it as a redemption for your troubles."
"We can't have... travelled to another planet." My eyes darted towards the door, then back to the outstretched hand. I slightly shook my head. "Not with any tech can it be possible to travel that fast! It just... isn't?"
The smile never faded, the hand never lowered. And finally I sprang up from the seat, rushing towards the doors to pull them open.
"You're heckin' kiddin' me, man," I breathed out. "Th... that's a holodeck, right? Just a simulation. It... it can't be real! We can't have..."
The sky above my head wore a pleasantly dark turquoise, uncounted stars blinked in its velvet softness, and even though I wasn't too familiar with star constellations I couldn't find a single one of the few I remembered. Around us was an actual city, winding itself over a purple ocean. There were thousands of bridges, fragile looking and with delicate ornaments. The bridges were streets and fundament at once, holding the hundreds of round shaped houses in place. It was hard o make out if they were of stone or of some weird metal I had never seen before.
In the whole city was not a single street lamp to be found. Instead a faint glow emanated from the sea below, ever changing its colour from all shades of green and blue imaginable. Other than that there was only the orange glow from all the windows, and when I moved a few steps ahead I could also make out weird animals. Like birds, but translucent, without feathers and more swimming through the air than actually flying.
They seemed to be rather tame, one of the creatures floating right past my head, so I could take a good glance at it and find out they probably weren't flying on their own, but with the help of the swirl of luminescent particles flying around them.
A melodic whistle from behind me drew the attention of a small swarm of particles towards the Doctor. He held out his hand, palm facing upwards, and the tiny creatures came together as a collective swirl of light in his palm.
"Semi sentient light particles," he explained, eyes glinting fascinated. "They aren't really alive, you know? But nonetheless they are part of the eco system." With his other hand he fished for something in his pockets and finally got a out a tiny glass bottle, not longer than maybe half a matchstick. With another melodic whistle he guided some of the lights inside and corked the bottle, before he handed it to me. "Here, a souvenir. Take it, no one will miss them, and they can't die."
Perplex I took the tiny bottle, glaring at the particles inside. I lifted my glasses to take a closer look at them - being so short sighted has the advantage of seeing near things a lot better than other people. No need for a magnifier. Fascinated I saw that the particles looked like tiny butterflies, although they seemed to have no substance, seeing they never collided with the others. How they could be kept inside a bottle, then, was a mystery.
"Th... thanks," I breathed out fascinated and carefully placed the bottle in my chest pocket.
"Take care of it. And now... over there." He pointed at a large house, from which noises could be heard. "They sure know how to make great coffee. You'll love it."
I was just about to follow him, when I startled and stopped dead in my tracks.
"Th... there... there are aliens inside," I concluded, only now getting fully aware of the fact that I wasn't on earth anymore. How did I even breath? Was the atmosphere similar to ours? What about the gravity, the air pressure, the composition of the air? Would I even be able to survive in this place for long, or would my body react in who knows what ways?
"Oi! You met us already!" the Doctor protested.
"Y... yeah... but you look human."
"You look Time Lord! We came first."
The Doctor grinned. "That's what my species is called."
"Your kind sure has a thing with naming stuff... and people." I took a deep sigh, deciding not to think about all the possible ways my body could simply disintegrate or whatever on a foreign planet. "Alright... whatever. I really do need some coffee." I waved towards the building. "Lead the way."