Sometimes those previous regenerations hobbies cluttered the place up - other times they might be useful. Seventh Doctor with Ace.

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Seven: Lure

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Dashing inside the TARDIS, the Doctor skidded to a stop at the console, automatically smacking the door control, just in case. He looked up at the scanner, watching intently, his hand poised over Ace's boombox where it was lightly wired to one of the console's inputs.

Ace came running over the weed-strewn lot, heading straight for him.

Watching, he waited until she was past any possible danger from the potential blast. "….now," he said to himself, twisting a knob on the console and poking a button on the boombox at the same time.

In the town, any local inhabitants who had their radios on all frowned and leaned toward their sets to jiggle their tuners as a blast of what sounded like a jazz-saxophone came through.

In the large factory-like building behind Ace, a small but deadly army of hostile robotic weaponry heard the same saxophone…and exploded. Ace dove to the ground, instinctively covering her head though she was far enough out even the exploding window-glass now tinkling to the earth all around the building fell yards short of her.

"Good girl, Ace!" the Doctor said happily. On the scanner, she was already climbing back to her feet looking somewhat smug. As she closed the remaining distance to the waiting TARDIS, he punched off the boombox, hit the door control to let her in, and turned ready to greet and congratulate her.

The doors started to open, then inexplicably stopped only a little ways in. Ace bounced off of them. "Hey!" she protested. "Professor!"

He stared at the doors, so surprised by their malfunctioning he momentarily forgot about his companion who was now shoving her arm through the crack trying to force them further apart.

"What the devil…?" he said, smacking the door control again, then jiggling it in various directions.

"Open the door!"

"I did! The control seems to be a bit sticky…" He tried bobbling it rapidly, then slowly, then kicked the console base just for good measure. When that didn't work, he came over to the doors themselves and just stood there a moment, looking at them thoughtfully. He poked at various parts of them with his umbrella.

"Umph!" Ace said, pushing to no avail. "Let me in!"

"I would if I could, Ace! They seem to be well and truly stuck. How odd. They've never done that before." He scratched under his hat. "This could be most inconvenient."

"Professor!" Ace said with a mixture of equal parts annoyance and anxiety. "If any of those robots made it through that blast they're going to be coming this way." She pulled her arm out and part of her face appeared in the gap instead. "That's what I call inconvenient! Hurry up and fix them!"

"Well, it's either the control, the connection or the doors themselves…" he mused. He ran back to the console and pulled a tool from his pocket. He extended a wire from it and threaded this into a tiny hole next to the door control then checked the resulting reading. "Hm. Not the control…"

"What?"

"Not the control!" he repeated more loudly, pocketing his diagnostic device. "I'm working on it!" He got down on his knees and pried up a panel from the floor. He peered down inside it, then pulled a penlight from his pocket and shone it around.

Ace looked anxiously back toward the smoking factory where a distant clanking and rumbling sound could be heard, then peered inside again. He was partly upside-down, his head and shoulders poking around in the hole.

"Doctor! I think they're coming!"

"Aha!" he said in a muffled voice. "I think I see the problem."

"Fix it!"

He pulled his head back out a moment, sat back, rumpling up his hair thoughtfully. "Just a moment…"

He stuck his head back in the hole.

"What in the world are you doing fishing around in there?" she called. She looked back at the factory again. There was a very definite metallic rumbling and it was very definitely getting louder.

She put her eye to the crack in the doors again. He was gone. A finger tweaked the end of her nose and half of the Doctor's beaming face looked out at her.

"I've got it!" he said happily."What you just said!"

"What I said?"

"About fishing! Exactly! Be right back!"

"Professor!" She glimpsed him running off down the hallway and shook her head with disbelief. Ace sidled around the TARDIS, beginning to seriously wonder if she needed to just start running for the town or digging a hole to hide in or something.

After a moment she sidled back around to the doors, pushing them just to check. They didn't budge.

"Ha! Yes! Perfect fit!" he was crowing somewhere inside.

Ace peered into the crack again. The Doctor was kneeling by the access panel in the floor with what appeared to be a fishing-tackle box open beside him, a tangled jumble of snarled lures and line hanging over the edges. He'd measured out a length of line, snipped it, tied on a three-pronged hook and was carefully attaching a daisy-chain of rubber worms, tiny fake squid and minnows onto it. All of this was gently gathered into a rubbery loop. He stuck the penlight in his mouth and dove back into the hole with it.

Ace slumped back against the TARDIS doors, blowing some wayward strands of hair out of her eyes. This was it. He'd officially gone 'round the bend. She'd always guessed he was slightly mad anyway, but…

The doors opened.

Ace fell into the TARDIS, sitting abruptly in an undignified manner on the floor.

"Ow! Hey! You got them open!" she said in disbelief.

The Doctor popped his head back up from the hole in the floor, the penlight still clutched in his teeth. He pulled it out and grinned at her maniacally. "It worked!"

There was a rumbling noise outside; gravel near the doorway exploded. The Doctor reached up to the console and smacked the control as Ace scrambled away from open doors. This time they obediently swung as they were supposed to, and all the way shut.

Ace brushed gravel from her jacket. "What do we do about that one?"

"Just a moment," the Doctor said. He punched a button on her boombox where it still sat on the console. There was a blast of music; on the scanner screen the last robot give a disjointed jump as its innards exploded. He looked back at her obviously pleased with himself.

Ace scooped his hat off the floor, handing it to him with a shake of her head. "Really Professor. What am I going to do about you? And no, I don't want to know how a rubber worm fixed that."

"You don't?" he looked disappointed, but popped his hat on his head and rallied anyway. "Aren't you even at least just a little bit curious?" He leaned over towards her as if he had a great secret to share and when she didn't respond threw in a little pout. " Just a bit?"

"Oh, all right," she said, giving in. "But don't expect me to understand it."

"All right," he said, happy as a child showing off a new toy. "You see, the quadielastic transducer cables have these positronic cellulodic joint pips encasing the grappling portion of the fromatoledic.."

Ace reached over and turned up the music.