Chapter Three

Chapter Three

The swirls and motions of time and space danced about in Ian's thoughts, he could almost feel it contorting his body and mind as if he was being thrown about in a vacuumous hurricane. The non-stop sound of the TARDIS column rising and falling sung like a distant tune in the background. Visions of planets, exploding stars, and of various unknown people flashed in his mind. Faces of old friends, Barbara, Susan and others he had no memory of flickered away in a jumble of randomness. Were they people from his past or visions of those to come in his future? The rapid action of it all confused his senses, bright lights, the old man's giggle and the rhythmic sound of the engine pulsating through it all. As the images began to fade in his mind's eye, he heard a sweet young female voice calling to him as it made him stir from unconsciousness.

"Mr. Chesterton? Are you all right? Mr. Chesterton – Would you like some tea?"

The voice, a familiar voice that is, makes him grin and breathe in slightly. As his eyes flutter to open and focus on a face hovering over him, the man struggles to speak.

"Wha….who….yes, yes I would. Susan? It is Susan isn't it?"

Clearly it was Susan Foreman looking at him. She gave him a broad smile and helped him to sit up from the floor he was lying down on. A cup of tea now was placed in his hand as he sat up straight, a simple mug that anyone would have in their home, but hot to the touch. He fumbled with it as to get to the handle and sipped it carefully. Giving a slight pleased tone, he drank a bit more and looked over his left shoulder. There sitting next to him was Barbara, she too had a cup of tea in hand and was looking more aware then he was.

"What happened?" Ian utters with curiosity.

"You both collapsed on the floor." Susan explained with a wide eye gaze. "The spacial flux always affects those who cross the barrier. Those that aren't accustomed to traveling beyond time and space that is."

"Time and Space?" Chesterton moans.

It suddenly dawns on him on where he is; at first he thought it was all a dream, the old man, the strange police box and the weird lights. But as he focused his attention back to the center of the room, he realized this was no dream. There at the controls puttering about like a kid on Christmas, was Susan's Grandfather. He was all smiles and giggling away as he delighted in each dial turned or button pushed. Susan helped the disoriented teacher to stand as he took a long slow sip of his tea.

"Are you alright Ian?" Barbara asked as she continues to sit and drink her tea as well.

"Yes." He answered after gulping down the hot beverage. "My head feels a bit odd, as if I was floating."

"Oh, that will be the effect of the TARDIS my dear boy." The old man quipped as he over heard them. "Just a normal side effect. Yes, very normal for anyone – soon it will allow your minds to comprehend other languages and read alien text."

"What?" Barbara said standing up. "You mean this machine allows one to translate things we normally wouldn't? Like understanding ancient Egyptian even though I hadn't before?"

"Precisely my dear." The aged man smiled as he glared at her. "You've understood perfectly. Promising – yes, very promising."

"But that's not possible." Ian scoffs. "A machine can't do that. It's just a machine."

"Ah but this is no ordinary machine you're in." The old man proudly said tilting his head back and placing his hands on his coat laurels. "This is an ancient vessel that was once used by my ancestors to charter every corner of space and time. Its sophistication is beyond your simple logic, technology of both mechanical and biological of such advanced design that it practically takes care of itself. Some dared to call these crafts 'living machines' and that they were capable of thought – which of course is utter nonsense. It is what it is, nothing more, nothing less."

Ian shook his head in confusion, gave Susan his cup of tea and walked over to confront the aged man.

"Look here, I don't care what happened really. I just want you to open those doors and let us out. I don't know what you've done, but Barbara and I are getting out of here. Keep your damn secret as far as I'm concerned."

"You see?" Susan's Grandfather sighed at her. "They don't understand – they still don't after all they've witnessed. Dear, oh dear. I'm wasting my time trying to explain it to them."

He turned away from Ian and walked around the controls with a disappointed gaze.

"The question now my dear fellow is what is going to happen to you? Hm? You say you want out - very well. If that is how it must be, then I suppose out we shall go."

The TARDIS sudden increases it's loud whooshing sound as the man fiddles with controls; the center column rises and falls with a sudden halt. Everyone jolts around as it feels like a lift dropping to the ground floor. The TARDIS noise stops and nothing is heard bout a background hum of power. The old man turns to them, smiles and presses a button. A holographic widescreen appears just beyond the center control station, it hovers overhead and flickers an image of such clarity that both teachers had never seen before. If this was a television, it was of such rich colors and resolution that it made the ones they had at their homes look like ancient technology.

"Where are we Grandfather?" Susan asked in a curious tone.

"I don't know yet child." He replied. "Come over here and read some of these indicators for me."

Susan gladly nodded and helped her Grandfather study the information coming up on the various flat monitors scrolling data. The same unidentifiable language was appearing on the monitor, with numbers and symbols that meant nothing to Chesterton and Ms. Wright. Still they couldn't take their eyes off the hovering image above. A lush green environment, with sounds of roaring animals in the background.

"Yes, yes – looks alright, hm?" The old man smiled and nodded with delight. "Everything looks normal, air is good, weather is nice, nothing blocking the TARDIS outside…uh…how is the radiation count Susan?"

"It's at zero Grandfather." She smiled at him. "Do you know where or when we are?"

Placing both his hands on either side of his coat laurels, he twiddled his thumbs on them and gave sigh of frustration.

"I'm not exactly sure when we are my dear, it seems the time counter isn't working again. Most distressing, I must get that repaired. But from what I can gather – and this is just an estimation mind you – we're on Earth, say…oh…a few millions years in the past. Yes, that sounds about right. I won't know precisely until a get a few samples and make sure of the specifics."

"Wait a minute!" Ian shouted. "What do you mean in the past? Are you telling us we've traveled backwards in time?"

"Yes of course." The old man sighed at him.

"But that's impossible. Time can only go forward…it's linear not circular. You can't just travel willy nilly through time and get off at any point you'd like."

The aged man laughed at Ian's primitive notion of time, he was utterly amused at his foolish words and walked around the console looking up at the screen above.

"Humans, oh how utterly stupid they are at this stage in development. If only Einstein could hear this, he'd be laughing just as I am. Time is infinite my boy, infinite. While it might not be conceivable to you, my kind have been traveling through it for hundreds of centuries."

Ian pounds his fist on the control table and scowled.

"Listen Doctor Foreman! Enough of this…this…nonsense you're feeding us!"

"Eh?" The old man suddenly jerked his head in confusion and muttered to himself. "What was that? Doctor who? What's he prattling on about?"

Barbara put down her tea on the antique table beside her chair, stood up and held Ian by the shoulders to make him calm down.

"Enough Ian. He's obviously telling the truth."

Chesterton laughed out loud.

"Oh Barbara! Tell me you're not buying into this fantasy he's spreading are you?"

"What if I am?" She said pulling away from him. "Can you explain everything that's happened so far? I think they're telling the truth about all this. No matter how outlandish it is."

The Doctor turned around and smiled at her. Susan walked over to Ian and tried to convince him further.

"Mr. Chesterton – I – I know this is all a bit much to take in. And I wouldn't have wished it on you and Ms. Wright for the world. But you must believe this is all really happening. You need to let go of that twentieth century mind frame and just believe in what is happening around you."

The man continued to laugh and walked away in a giddy manner. As he began to calm down, he let in a deep breath and glanced back at them all.

"You're all insane I tell you. You've all gone mad and trying to drag me down into your madness as well."

"Enough of that young man." The Doctor said to him like a scolding parent. "Get a hold of yourself and stop trying to be so dismissive of what's been happening. It's high time you learned that all things do not conform to what one narrow point of view can see. You wanted to get out sir…is that still what you desire?"

"Yes." Ian nodded. "Very much."

"Fine." The Doctor said as he moved over to the controls. "Then I say we all should get out and get a bit of fresh air. It might do us good and allow you to calm down before you say any more foolish things to these poor girls."

Shifting down on a lever with a round red ball on it, the old man activates the doors and they swing open with the odd hydraulic sound. The light pours into the ship and the breeze of air floods the place. The rich smell of the plant life outside causes Ian to look and notice that it looks almost exactly like the image on the hovering screen that soon dissolves off. Barbara, Susan and the Doctor step out one at a time through the open doors. Ian is a bit hesitant, but soon follows behind.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

While the doors are wide and dual on either side, he notices that stepping through them he is coming to a narrowing point and now exiting out the single door of the blue box. He couldn't fathom how that was possible, nor could he explain the fact that now he was outside in a lush sunny environment of a jungle type setting.

"Its not possible." He muttered.

"My god…its true. It's all true." Barbara gasped in amazement.

The TARDIS was resting on the top of a mountainous range; thick with trees, bushes, flowers and unknown plant life they'd never seen before. Ian took two steps around the craft and suddenly stopped as he saw he was about to fall off the edge of the outcropping they were on. A slight panic came to him as he leaped back against the box and sprawled back to where the others were. Just beyond the TARDIS, looking very worried and confused, the Doctor kept looking back at his craft and muttered to himself.

"It's still a police box. That can't be right – why hasn't it changed? Dear me, this won't do. Problems mounting on problems."

Susan walks out away from Barbara and turns to look at the TARDIS in confusion as well.

"It didn't change." She loudly observed.

"What hasn't?" Ms. Wright asked.

"The TARDIS of course." Susan again shouts as she points. "It didn't turn into something else."

"What do you mean?" Barbara questioned as she looks with the bewildered girl. "Is it supposed to change its appearance?"

"Well, yes. The TARDIS is suppose to blend in with the surrounding environment, that's how it doesn't get noticed in what ever time or planet it arrives at. But it didn't change this time? Why?"

Barbara shrugged her shoulders with a blank look. She hadn't the slightest idea of what Susan was going on about. But continued to stare at this blue box sitting in a prehistoric setting, it was somewhat surreal to have this object against the backdrop of wilderness. Ian walked around the area and marveled at all the plant life. He had to touch it to make sure he wasn't dreaming, the feel of the tropical heat caused him to sweat and took off his coat he still wore. Barbara also removed her coat and took of her sweater underneath. The two teachers laughed with a giddy delight as they came back together and threw their coats to the ground.

"Do you believe it all now Mr. Chesterton?" Susan smiled at him.

"Yes, yes alright." He acknowledged. "I believe – I finally and really believe you. It's amazing…simply amazing! I've got to hand it to you and the Doctor Forman – this is truly a dream come true."

Barbara nodded in agreement. But soon she looked over to where the Doctor should have been and noticed him gone. Her eyes darted about and followed it with her head turning as well.

"Where is he? He was just here a second ago?"

"Doctor?" Ian said raising his voice. "Doctor! Are you there?"

Susan turned and walked a few feet in front. A panic drew in her eyes as she started to worry.

"Grandfather?" She shouted. "Grandfather! Where are you? Grandfather!"

Barbara rushed over to calm the excited girl down and Ian walked past them both with a deep glare into the dense jungle.

"Barbara – you and Susan stay here. I'm going to go look for him, he can't of gone far."

"I want to go look for him!" Susan commanded. "He's my responsibility. He's old and I – I – have to take care of him."

"No Susan!" Ian spoke back at her. "The last thing we need is more of us wandering about and getting lost."

"What is it Ian?" Barbara questioned as if she could tell of the look of fear on his face.

"Don't you get it?" He said with a nervous twinge. "We're in the past – prehistoric past to be specific. There are much larger things to worry about then getting a bug bite or running into thick brush. No, I heard those loud roars in the distant. Strange they might be to you and I, but the normal sound of those who occupy this point and time."

"Dinosaurs?" Ms. Wright responded with a curious gaze.

"And not you typical museum types either." Chesterton scoffs. "It would be rather ripping to see one in the flesh as it were – but not like this, not in their environment."

Ian rolls up his white shirtsleeves and points to them both.

"Stay here. Keep close to the box, I'll be back with the Doctor shortly."

He quickly scurried into the forest beyond and could be heard smacking the massive leaves and branches out of his way. Both Susan and Barbara stood in place and listened to the sounds of the wildlife all around. The roars of beasts, either hostile or otherwise, filled the air with an ominous sound that send a cold shiver down Ms. Wright's back. The inconceivable horror of being in this era was dawning on her mind, humans wouldn't exist for millions of years later, and they alone were the only members of their kind here. But as she looked back on a frightened Susan, she changed her thought and knew that it was only herself and Ian that were the humans. It was all a bit much to take in for such a short span of time.

"I'm so afraid Barbara." The girl nervously wined. "Poor Grandfather is out there. And now Ian is putting his life in jeopardy as well. I didn't mean for all this to happen. I really didn't. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry!"

As Susan cried into her hands, Barbara came closer to her and finally began to comfort the child. Alien or not, she was still a little girl that seemed to need some love and support. It was the human thing to do and perhaps what Susan needed in her life after being stuck with her cranky relative for so long.

"There, there Susan." The woman said kissing the top of her head. "It's not your fault. You didn't know we'd end up following you. I was just so concerned about your well being. The fault is mine. I shouldn't have been so damn curious."

"But – I just – I can't help it." The girl continued to wail. "If I had only listened to Grandfather in the first place and not gotten involved at your school – I guess my curiosity is just as much to blame is yours."

"See." Barbara started to laugh. "We're both trying to apologize for things beyond our control. Not so different at all – are we now?"

"No." Susan snickered as her fear faded. "I guess do share some things in common. Curiosity killed the cat, so they say. Such a silly saying isn't it? One tries so hard not to make those mistakes, but ends up doing it anyway."

The woman patted the child on the shoulders in comfort and looked out to the dense forest beyond.

"Everyone makes mistakes, Susan. We can only learn from them and try to not repeat them again."

"I don't want any of mine to hurt you or Mr. Chesterton." Susan said pulling away slowly. "You two have meant a great deal to me in the time I've gotten to know you. I think very highly of you both. Despite what my Grandfather says, I think you're both very kind and intelligent people. My dearest of friends."

Barbara was very flattered by that remark, she was happy Susan had thought of them that fondly. She always considered the girl like a smaller sister, someone she took pride in and felt generally comfortable to talk too.

"Then as a friend – " Barbara stated back to her with a smile. "I say, let's forget about all this and concentrate on helping to find your Grandfather."

"What about Ian?" The girl questioned. "He told us to stay here. Won't he be cross at us for not doing so?"

"Yes he did." The woman snickered. "But I won't tell him if you won't."

Susan gave a nod and laughed at her answer. She could see they were going to get along very well. The two held hands and headed into the dense woods with one another.