- DOCTOR WHO -Quantum Lock
(NB: I looked it up - that title's been taken already by someone else's fanfiction, dammit. But it's the best title I've got so far, so I'm sticking to it. At least the plot's different.)
- Chapter 1: Allons-y!
Cold. Light years away, stars burned in the empty blackness that consumed everything it touched. The stars knew no troubles. They just burnt their life away, until their last ounce of fuel had been used up, or their iron cores collapsed under the strain.
But the man watching them knew that his life could never be so simple. He stood there by the open door of an obscure blue box, dressed in a long tan-brown trench coat that swept down to the floor, and a brown pinstriped suit with a blue shirt and tie underneath it. He leant against the inside of the door’s wooden frame staring out at those stars, as the small box hovered there, out in the cold clear vastness of space. His dark eyes saw more than just stars and light, and planets and asteroids and the turn of two suns in the darkness. He saw all that was, all that is, all that could be, and all that must not. He could feel the gravitational pull of the planets, feel them as they swung round and around their orbits at such speeds, yet no one would guess by looking at them, in that empty stillness. He could see the turn of the Universe; feel its weight on his shoulders and the power of it beneath his feet. All that history, all that suffering… His two beating hearts knew its pain, had felt its anguish as civilisations died out and stars became nothing but dust. And yet there was so much life out there! Billions and Trillions of planets teeming with life, and new stars and suns being formed at any given moment. And all of it constantly changing, constantly moving. Always dying, yet never ending. And it all hurt so much.
This is what the universe looked like to the man in the blue box. This is what it felt like to be a Time Lord.
The man was a renegade Time Lord, known only as the Doctor. The last of his kind. He’d watched his civilisation burn, just like those stars. And now only he was left, travelling through the depths of time and space, hurtling through the universe in a spaceship disguised as a British 1960’s Police box.
But he wasn’t alone. Not entirely. A dark-skinned human hand gingerly touched his shoulder.
“Doctor?” A soft female voice said, in her London accent. “I’m so sorry.”
The Doctor turned to the voice. A female in her early twenties stood just behind him, dressed in dark jeans and a fitted deep red leather jacket. Her face was framed with sleek dark hair which swept just past her shoulders, and her deep brown eyes looked at him now with compassion and much concern. He managed a gentle smile towards her, then continued to look out across the depths of space.
“There was nothing more I could do, Martha,” He spoke quietly. His voice was calm, but his eyes burned cold. Then he sniffed a little, seeming to sniff back his troubles in an instant. “Still,” he said, pushing the doors back into place with a vigorous sweep of the hand, “No good reflecting on a past that can’t be changed.”
The Doctor turned away from the door of his spaceship as it closed shut. An echoed boom sounded around the vast interior of the ship. The TARDIS. A ship unlike any other, a space/time machine that was trans-dimensional, with the inside of the ship being a lot bigger than the outside. It was an ancient piece of TimeLord technology, and it was all the Doctor had left to call home. The energetic Time Lord ran up the metal ramp and up onto the platform of the huge golden, dome-like control room, and flexed his fingers. All the coldness and distant thoughts seemed to have vanished, as he looked up at the glowing green column at the centre of the Tardis controls.
“Right, now where should we go?” He asked Martha with a grin, as he ran around the TARDIS console that stood at the control room’s centre, twisting a knob there and then running around the other side to flick a switch or two. As he did so he began to talk animatedly in his Estuary English accent. “I know! How about Mars – I haven’t been to Mars in ages! Or maybe somewhere more tropical, like…I dunno, say, the deep hot springs of the Eridian Jungle, or – oh! The Eye of Orion – beautiful place that is, Martha…possibly the most tranquil planet in the cosmos.” He gave another grin, as he stated, “I used to play cricket there.”
The Doctor moved around the other side of the controls, turning various dials. “Of course, there’s always a question of not just where, but when should we go? Backwards into the past? Or maybe forwards…?”
“Do I hear someone talking about going backwards and forwards?” said a male American voice from beyond the control room. “Sounds kinda sexual.”
Captain Jack Harkness emerged from the hidden corridor leading off to the rest of the ship, a towel around his shoulders and dressed in his newly-cleaned WWII trench coat, shirt and trousers. It was intriguing that Jack had grown so attached to something so old…after all; he was a man from the 51st century.
“Trust you to interpret something like that,” murmured the Doctor, and then more loudly, “Now, Captain, are you staying for the trip?”
Jack looked hesitant, hanging his towel on one of the low arched-beams of the TARDIS interior. “Well, to be honest, I need to be getting back to that team of mine back in Cardiff…”
“Are you sure you don’t want to stay, Jack?” asked Martha. “You took so long to find the Doctor…you deserve a VIP trip in the TARDIS more than anyone. And it won’t be as much fun without you.”
Captain Jack gave her one of his charismatic smiles. “Oh Martha, Martha Jones, when you put like that, who am I to resist?”
“Brilliant,” the Doctor exclaimed, choosing to ignore Jack’s obvious flirting with Martha. “Molto Bene! Good to have you with us again, Captain. Well – I guess so anyway.” With that, the Doctor pulled down a final lever, and the whole ship kicked into life – with a jolt so hard that everyone stumbled to keep their footing.
“Oh I’ve missed this,” Jack laughed, grabbing hold of the ship’s railings for support, as the whole structure rocked and shook on its journey through the time vortex.
“Tell me about it,” smiled Martha. After all, for a year now she had been travelling Earth without the Doctor or the TARDIS…such a lonely dangerous year that had been. And yet, it was like it had never happened. Like a bad dream, long since gone.
With a final lurch, the familiar “Vworrrrrp….Vvworrrrrrp…..Vvworrrrrp” of otherworldly engines died down to a gentle hum, and the Doctor pulled on a lever which looked very similar to a car handbrake.
“Here we are,” the Time Lord said, running down the metal ramp, and turning around to lean on the wooden police box doors. “Outside these doors…”
“Is what?” Martha asked. She could still feel that buzz of excitement that she got whenever she was travelling with the Doctor. Even after all this time, everything still felt as if it was her first journey in the TARDIS.
The Doctor grinned at her, his brown hair ruffled and a wild gleam in his eyes. “Let’s take a look, shall we?” And with that he turned, opening the wooden doors, and stepping out into the unknown.
* * *