A/N - hello readers. For those who don't know, this is a sequel to my other story, "The Darkness Beneath", and it kind of follows on with the same characters. You could read on without reading the first story, and I can't stop you (obviously) but some things won't make sense. Anywho, read on and enjoy the first episode in my series. As the Doctor would say, Allons y!
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who.
SERIES ONE: EPISODE ONE
CHAPTER ONE: A MYSTERIOUS MAN
It was the middle of spring, and yet it was pouring down with rain. Brittany wandered down the street, her shoulder length brown hair hanging limply around her face and her eyes downcast. It was only an afternoon squall; it would all be over in twenty minutes, but it was a thirty-minute walk back to her flat. She cursed the tropical weather. She hated it. No one else was out walking. Brittany Harvey was the only person stupid enough to ignore the weather reports and walk home from work. Skimmers flitted down the street, their drivers safe and dry inside the winged vehicles.
Something jostled her, and she spun around to confront whoever it was, but when she turned, there was no one there. Shaking her head, she continued walking, wrapping her coat tighter around her shoulders. Then, something else ran into her, and she turned around sharply. A tall man brushed past her, shouting an apology. Before she had time to react, he was running down the street. His feet skidded on the wet pavement as he changed direction to dash down a side alley. Brittany caught a glimpse of red shoes, a blue suit and messy hair flattened from running through the rain before he disappeared.
"What a strange man," she muttered, jamming her hands in her pockets as she continued to walk.
What was even stranger was that she was sure that she had seen this man before somewhere, but she just couldn't put a name to the half-seen face. Normally she had a good memory for things like that. With a non-committal shrug, Brittany crossed the road, the flow of traffic zooming above her head.
When she finally reached her flat, the rain had worsened, which was rare for an afternoon storm, but not unheard of. She dug her keycard out of her pocket and scanned it to open the door of her ground floor flat. The door clicked shut behind her as she entered and dropped her wet boots next to the doormat and peeled of her wet socks. She dumped them in the dirty washing basket in the hall as she made her way to the kitchen. Her flatmate was already there hunched over the stove, as she had a skimmer of her own.
"Hey Sal," Brittany said in greeting, dumping her backpack on the bench and rummaging through the cupboard.
"Decide to go for a swim?" Sally chuckled good-naturedly, stirring the pot of soup she was cooking. Brittany's mouth watered at the small wafting from the pot, and was glad when her flatmate offered her a bowl. She took it gratefully, grabbed a spoon and threw herself down on the couch. Sally down next to her with an identical bowl. They ate in silence for a while, but Brittany spoke up after she finished half her soup.
"Did you hear about all those disappearances down at the mine?" she asked, idly stirring her soup.
"Yeah. There's nothing on the news though, which is a bit odd, don't you think?" Sally said absently.
Brittany nodded. "I bet it's all a big cover up by the Central World Authority. Those CWA bureaucrats never tell us anything."
Sally laughed. "You and your conspiracy theories. Next, you'll be saying you've met an alien."
rittany laughed along with her, but did not think that comment was funny. She had met an alien, just once. Four years ago. It had been the most memorable experience of her life, and he had been the most amazing person that she had ever met. He had offered her what she had wanted her entire life, a chance to get away from this mudball that was the planet Sydoriv, her home, but she had turned him down. Every day of her life, she had wondered what would have happened if she had said yes, and gone with him in his spaceship to see the stars.
"So, anything else to report comrade," Brittany said, in a mock Russian accent.
Sally poked her in the shoulder. "Yes sir. Some guy was phoning you before. Claimed to know you from somewhere. He rang about six or seven times."
Brittany slurped her soup loudly. "Indeed?"
"Yes indeed. I think he left a message for you." Sally shrugged and grinned at Brittany. "Is there anything you want to tell me about?"
Brittany stood up and dropped her bowl in the sink on her way down the hall. "No."
"Yes Sally. All you ever think about is guys!" she shouted from her room, closing the door and throwing herself down on the bed.
Her room was small, because she didn't spend much time in there. She was either at work or wandering the streets, hoping that if she looked hard enough, she might spot the alien again. She could only hope, but four years of searching had revealed nothing.
Three of the walls of her room were a uniform white colour, but the third was painted a smooth avocado green. There was a single window, which looked out over the street, but a blind currently covered it. A desk sat underneath the window, a computer terminal built into it. The screen was on, and facing at the bed, right where she'd left it when she'd used it this morning.
"Check messages," she instructed, and the computer gave a half-hearted beep before displaying her inbox. She had five messages. She squinted at the screen. The first one was from a workmate, but the other four were from an unknown caller, who she assumed was the man Sally had been talking about. She grabbed a pen from her pocket, and, after aiming carefully, threw it at the computer screen. It was a perfect aim, and hit the key for playing the first message square on.
The display on the screen dissolved and rearranged to show the image of a man with startling blue eyes and pale blonde hair.
"Brittany, this payload you've specified is ridiculous!" he was saying, making jabbing gestures with his hands. "It's at least twice the amount we need. We'll go way over budget if –" Another well-aimed pen deleted that message. If he wanted to talk to her about her project, he could do it tomorrow work.
The computer began automatically playing the next message, so Brittany refocused her attention on the screen. Her unknown caller turned out to be a man with brown hair and strange dress sense. She paused the image with a heroic pencil throw, and dragged herself to the chair in front of the desk. The image displayed in the screen was familiar to her. It was the strange man that had bumped into her on her way home from work.
His brown hair was strewn across his head, sopping wet and sticking up all over the place. He was wearing a plain black shirt, the top two buttons undone. Over that, he had a blue suit with red pinstripes. But what was really strange was the fact that he had what looked like a pair of cardboard glasses with one red lens and one blue lens perched on his nose. Brittany leaned back in the chair, and pressed play. The strange man furrowed his brow and tapped his finger against the screen.
"How do you work this thing?" he asked himself. "This button?" He was obviously jabbing at the controls, because he accidentally hung up.
Brittany chuckled to herself as the next message came on. This time, the picture was blurred, and she couldn't see the man at all. She could just make out a railing in the background. Something blue moved across her field of vision, and it turned out to be the mysterious man as he walked in front of the screen. He paused, and ducked down, looking at the screen, eyes impossibly wide and one eyebrow raised. This time he wasn't wearing the cardboard glasses, and Brittany could see that he had deep, brown eyes.
"You shouldn't be doing that," he muttered grumpily, and reached out to press a button, ending the message. The third message was from the same man again. He was licking his fingers, as if he had just finished eating. He spun the screen around to face him straight on, giving it a very serious stare.
"So," he started, a wide grin suddenly spreading across his face. "Long time no see, hey Brittany? Jack's back at home, if you wanted to know. And guess what! Pierre got that scholarship he wanted, the lucky bugger. Haven't heard from Lora though." He gave an indifferent shrug after a moment of thought.
"But what am I going on about?" he continued, his voice changing to a flat toneless pitch. "Let's cut to the chase. I need to meet up with you soon. It's important that –" He paused, and Brittany could just hear a beeping noise. The man flicked a few switches, but it didn't solve the problem. He frowned deeply as the alarm grew in volume.
With a glance back at the screen, he said, "I'll call you back."
The message ended, and Brittany leaned closer to the computer screen. Pierre and Lora? She recognised those names, but it had been years since she'd last heard from them. However, that line of thought was interrupted when the forth, and final, message began playing.
The man in the blue suit was right in front of the screen this time, his elbows resting on whatever desk the screen was on, and his head resting on his hands.
"Hey Brittany," he said cheerfully, but she could tell his heart wasn't in it. "Things have gotten worse, and we need to meet sooner." He paused, and dug a sheet of paper out of his suit. "I think the Skyliner would be a good place."
He spun the sheet around and pointed at one of the advertisements with a nod. "Yeah, I'll see you there. At breakfast, seven o'clock, tomorrow morning. Hold on, one more thing."
He pulled a necklace out from under his shirt, and showed it to her. It was some sort of metal key, suspended on what looked like fishing line. The man laughed. "I just realised that I've been wearing this while I was calling you. A perception filter. Not that you would know what that is," he added with an annoyed look on his face. With a fond look at the makeshift necklace, he slipped it off over his head and dropped it on the floor.
"Recognize me now?" he asked, grinning widely.
Brittany gasped. It had been four years since she had seen that man, but she would never be able to forget him.
It was the Doctor. He had come back.
Every day of her life, Brittany had regretted turning down the offer to travel with the Time Lord. But here was another chance. A chance to do things right for once in her life. A chance to change her future.