The Doctor was engrossed in her gadgets for some time once they got back to their freezing flat. As soon as they got in she shut the door to her room, and over the next few hours Yaz got used to the odd noises that seeped through the walls. The beep of the sonic screwdriver. A horrible banging noise. And the sound of her friend, barely audible, muttering possibilities under her breath.
“Judith’s invited us to dinner,” Yaz said when she finally worked up the courage to enter the Doctor’s room. “I think she’s lonely. Needs someone to talk to, maybe. About everything that’s going on.”
The Doctor didn’t respond, or even seem to notice that Yaz was there. She was hunched over a map of London spread out on her bed, with things she’d stolen from the police box piled up on one side.
“Doctor,” said Yaz, “are you even listening to me?”
She gave a sharp look at her friend, who was licking a policeman’s helmet with her tongue. When she saw Yaz was looking up at her she blushed, looking up and unsure how exactly to arrange her face.
“The police are monsters,” she muttered.
“I know a lot of people think that these days,” she said. “But there are good folk in there; they’re working hard”—
“What?” said the Doctor. “No, I mean they actually are monsters. Aliens,” she added, scrunching up her face. “Things full of goo. The reading’s clear.”
“On your tongue?” said Yaz.
“Sour as anything. Someone’s called down the COPS.”
“Alien police,” she said. “Again.”
The Doctor nodded.
“The Cosmic Ordinance Police Service,” she said. “The Fundamental Forces. Who upheld the letter of the law. You know the Time Lords. These were their... Time Dogsbodies, I suppose.”
“But it doesn’t make sense that they’re here,” she said. They’re only used for something major. I mean really big. They’re armed police; there’s no telling how many arms they’ve got there up their sleeve. They’ll grab you first and ask their questions later. They were outlawed a long way back, before I was born”—
She stopped talking as she heard her own words.
“Before when I thought I was born,” she said, very softly.
“I still forget,” she added, after a while had passed.
“It’s okay,” said Yaz. “I know it must be hard.”
“I think of my family and wonder— did they know? Did my grans know, when they made me that quilt spun of time?”
“Nothing’s simple any more,” she said.
Beside them both, a strange device like a big pile of whisks began to whirr and bleep.
“Except that,” she added. “Tracked down the COPS. The nearest one’s in an alley not far from here. Ready to run?”
Yaz looked back at her uncomfortably.
“Something’s up” the Doctor said.
Yaz smiled sadly.
“This was supposed to be a holiday,” she said. “Alien Policemen and a nuclear war? It’s not much of a break.”
“I know,” said the Doctor gently.
“I’m tired,” said Yaz. “We all are. 2020’s been so hard. Even if you can get away from it.”
“Well, we can take it easy soon,” said the Doctor. “Track down the COPS, wait ‘till a war doesn’t happen, then we’ll all settle down with a big chip sandwich. Something to look forward to, eh?”
Yaz smiled again, wishing she could agree.
But she was thinking that whether in 2020 or 1962, it wasn’t so easy to look forward to things anymore.