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In a crowded pub in a busy spaceport, an angry bartender was mixing drinks with two of his six hands. From time to time, he glared with his single eye at a tall figure with a long scarf and an even longer face. The man had come in hours ago, demanding something called "ginger pop." When the bartender said he had no idea what ginger pop was, the man had stomped over to an empty table, produced a bottle of amber liquid from his pocket, and had been sitting and sulking there ever since.
Abruptly, the man stood, leaving the empty bottle on the table, and approached the bartender again. "You know, you remind me of an ambassador I once knew. Wore a cape and became alarmed very easily." The man leaned towards the bartender. "Do you alarm very easily? I thought so. His name was Alpha Centauri, and he was friends with someone I used to know. Have you ever been to South Croydon? No, I don’t suppose you have, have you? You really should stock ginger pop you know. Are you going to stand here all day talking? I have places to go, people to see. Only don’t know who they are yet. Good-bye."
The bartender blinked in relief as the man turned and walked away. Some lifeforms, he thought, just shouldn’t be allowed out in public.
The Doctor strode down the corridor, ignoring the other pedestrians who were forced to scatter out of his path. Ahead of him he saw his TARDIS, the tall blue box which had been his only home for centuries.
He stopped in front of the ship, pausing to breathe on one of the frosted windows, and buff it with his scarf. He took the spade-shaped key from where it hung around his neck and unlocked the door.
He stepped inside and was back in the dark wood and stained glass of the current console room, which was filled by the quiet hum of the TARDIS. He moved around the six sided console, flicking switches and turning knobs in an intricate pattern as he began to lay in the coordinates for his next destination. Which was where?
The Doctor stopped, leaned on the console, and sighed quietly. "It's just you and me, old girl," he muttered to the ship. "Perhaps we could just pop in and visit Sarah Jane. . . " No, it was no good. Knowing the TARDIS, he'd probably get the wrong decade and find Sarah was in her eighties, and had forgotten who he was.
Come to think of it, he suddenly wasn't sure if he'd actually dropped her off in South Croydon at all. "I'm sure I got the planet right, at any rate." He paused. "Well, probably."
Speaking of Earth, why not? He wouldn't go looking for Sarah, but a nice constitutional would do him good. And if he just happened to run into her again, well, where was the harm in that? He needed someone to impress with his brilliance, after all.
The TARDIS was a wonderful ship, and had stood by him for a good many centuries, but her roundels and ubiquitous hum was just no replacement for a good look of confused awe from a young assistant.
Yes. Earth it was then. 1970s, perhaps. Or maybe the 1980s. But where, exactly? Ahh. Hyde Park would be just the place. He could go fishing on the Serpentine. "Right." He clapped his hands together and burst into a sudden flurry of movement, circling the console, energetically manipulating the controls.
Outside, the light on top of the ancient Police Box began to flash, accompanied by a loud grating noise. Gradually, the TARDIS faded from sight, leaving an empty space behind.
This story is intended to fit between the Deadly Assassin and Face of Evil from the original series.
This story copyright (c) 1999, 2006 Worth Godwin
This page was first created on Wednesday, May 10, 2006.
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