Author's Note: Alright, here it is, the first chapter of the (not so) long awaited sequel to The Scavenger and the Dalek! And yes, if you've somehow stumbled into this story without reading that one first, it is a sequel. While technically, yes, it does stand on its own, some of the context would make a bit more sense if you read The Scavenger and the Dalek first. (And no, this is not shameless self-advertising. Alright, maybe it is. A little bit. But I'm not admitting anything. ;D)
The first sound she heard was the clamor of a hundred people talking.
They stood in a small alleyway, the form of the TARDIS behind them. A street stretched away on both sides, and people milled about, talking, laughing, arguing. Rey just stood there for a moment, her hand pressed up against the brick wall, breathing in the air—air colder than she had ever felt.
So many people.
The bright colors of their clothes made her head swim, and the houses that lined the street were different from anything she had ever seen—they were not shacks, not made of rusty metal or torn cloths, but bricks, stone. She shot a glance at the Doctor, and a little, insistent smile tugged at her lips.
"Another universe." A little, shaky giggle shot through her words. "I'm standing in another universe."
She let her hand drop to her side and looked at her feet. The street below them was paved with round stones, worn down from years of use.
Stones from beyond the edge of the universe.
"Where are we?" She backed away, and touched the TARDIS door. "It's so…strange. I've never seen a city before."
He stepped to her side, grinning. "From the looks of it, we've landed in the colonies, I'm guessing…sometime around the revolution." He frowned, and tilted his head to the side. "That's…unexpected."
"Ah…explain it to you later. Bit of a long story." He raised an eyebrow, and held out a hand. "Shall we?"
A little laugh escaped, and then she was grinning. "Of course!"
Together they stepped out into the street, the little droid bumping along behind them. For a few steps, Rey watched as her feet landed on the smooth stones, and then her gaze scanned up, along the street, the people, so strangely dressed, the houses, poking their peaks up into a clear winter sky, a few wispy clouds on the horizon. A cold wind whipped down the street and tugged at her clothes.
She shivered, and rubbed her hands together. Some sort of coat would have been nice.
A moment later, any lack of outerwear was forgotten as a warm, sweet smell drifted through the air. She took a deep breath, and a smile burst across her face. She started forward, tugging the Doctor behind her.
The door of a shop stood open, and she saw rolls of bread inside, and barrels of brightly colored candy. She closed her eyes and just stood there for a moment, breathing in the smell of baking bread.
Her eyes snapped open as she heard the Doctor's voice beside her.
"Excuse me—uh—kind sir," he said. A young man, just passing by, had stopped, and tipped his hat politely at Rey. "We seem to have—lost our way…."
The man laughed. "Ah, 'tis not an uncommon thing. Newbury street's the place, and the Old South Meeting House just down the way." He tipped his hat again. "And a fine day to you, good sir!"
"Ah, so we're in Boston!" The Doctor nodded, and smiled at the young man. "Good day, sir."
He shot a glance at Rey, and started across the street, his eyes fixed on an empty, dark building on the corner. She pulled her hand from his and crossed her arms.
"Where are we going, Doctor?"
"Ah…printer's shop. They'll have newspapers. Which also happen to have dates on them. Which means…we can find out what year it is." He leaned closer, and raised an eyebrow. "I try not to walk up to people on the street and ask them what year it is. That's a bit frowned upon in most civilizations." He stopped, nudged the door open, and peeked in. "Ah, they're not home. Good." He grinned, and opened the door with a flourish. "Welcome, and behold the wonders of the revolutionary printing press!"
A strange smell greeted her as she stepped inside the shadowy building. Papers were piled everywhere, covered with writing she was surprised to find she could read. In the center of the room sat a large machine, all wheels and bars, and a stained apron hung over a chair.
She stopped in the doorway and tensed. Tiny eyes stared at her from all corners of the room—no, they stared past her. It seemed, for a moment, that the room itself could see into her mind.
She shook herself, and the feeling fled. She stepped to the Doctor's side, and stared over his shoulder at a newspaper he held in his hand.
"December 15, 1773." He held up the newspaper. "Rey, look at this! We've landed the day before the Boston tea party!"
"What's that?" She reached for the newspaper. "Boston tea part—"
She tensed, and clenched her fingers so hard around the paper that they punched holes through the sides. The words blurred, and as she stared at the paper in her hands, it seemed that she looked through the words and saw a single message printed again and again over the paper. An outside consciousness seemed to reach into her mind, probing at the corners of her thoughts. She squeezed her eyes shut, and pushed back. Get out. She focused all her will on a single point, the paper in her hands. Get out of my mind.
Her eyes snapped open, and the newspaper fell to the floor. "What?"
"Rey?" He rested a hand on her shoulder. "What's wrong?"
She stepped back, and felt a thousand tiny threads tugging at her mind, a thousand tiny eyes staring into her soul. "That paper." She edged toward the door. "There's something wrong about it."
He reached down to pick up the fallen newspaper. "What do you mean?"
"It's like…" Her hand felt for the doorknob behind her, and her fingers closed around it. "It's like it's watching me."
"How odd." He reached into his pocket. "It seems like a normal…"
"May I kindly request that you leave?" The voice that spoke from the corner was anything but kind, and they turned as one to see the shadowy figure of a tall man standing against the far wall, his arms crossed. "Peasants are not welcome in my shop."
Rey turned the doorknob, and the door fell open behind her. "Doctor," she said. "I suggest we obey him."
"Right." He dropped the newspaper, and turned for the door. "And, for the record, sir," he turned back, and raised an eyebrow, "I am not a peasant. Don't know where you got the impression. I think I'm quite well dressed."
He stepped out the door, and let it close behind him. Rey's mind felt suddenly free, as if something had been pressing on it since she entered the shop, and she sighed and shook herself.
"Alright then," she said, and edged away from the door. "There's lots more to see. Right, Doctor?"
"Right!" He grinned, and took her hand. "Allons-y!"
They started off down the street, and the bustle of people filled her senses again. "So you said there was a revolution." She looked up at him, her eyes sparkling. "Like a rebellion?"
"Yep! Well…there will be a revolution. Tenses, bit of a nuisance. Anyway, we've come in at the very beginning! In just one day, the people will wage their first act of resistance against—well long story."
"Tell me." She felt a little smile tugging at her lips. "I want to know."
"Well, a few hundred years ago…alright, alright, I'll start sooner. This country called Great Britain—not such a bad country as countries go, in fact I rather like it, but that's not the point—decided to establish some colonies on this continent—that's the one we're standing on—called America. Well, cut to a few years ago, and Great Britain—not that I'm against them, mind you—decides they want more controls over these colonies than the colonies themselves are willing to accept. Most specifically, taxes. They've decided they want to up the tax on tea—horrible decision, really. Everyone likes tea! I like tea. Come to think of it, I would have sided with the colonists myself. Well, the colonists—the patriots, that is, that's what they call themselves, the rebels do—tomorrow, they decide to storm the harbor, and—ooh, look at this!" He stopped before the doors of a tall building, its steeple silhouetted against the late afternoon sun. "This is the exact place! The Old South Meeting House! Tomorrow—"
"There was a rebellion in my universe." She paused, and hesitated on the words. My universe. It sounded so strange. "Years ago. Some remnants of it still remain…" She disappeared around the corner of the meeting house, her head tilted upward. BB8 bumped against the Doctor's ankles, and he looked down.
"Oh. Oooh. That's not good." He squatted at eye level with the droid. "Listen, BB8. I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry, but you've got to go back."
Its head drooped, and it gave a pitiful beep.
He patted it with a little smile. "It's not your fault," he said. He lowered his voice. "It's the people here. They're not ready for you. They might think you're some sort of witchcraft, and you can imagine the trouble that could get us into." He gave the droid a little nudge. "Go on! Back to the TARDIS!"
The droid bumped sadly along the cobblestone street, its head drooping. The Doctor sighed, stood, and turned to Rey.
Rey was gone.
Yes, I am fully aware of the fact that I just dropped the protagonist of a British show into the middle of the revolutionary war. I regret nothing. ;)