Across the furthest reaches of Time and Space, a hero known only as the Doctor travels within his TARDIS, determined to the last to protect the universe from some of its most evil forms. In particular, the Doctor has developed a fondness for the planet called Earth, saving it time and time again across multiple incarnations and personalities, be he alone or alongside his most loyal and trusted companions.
But would his greatest adventures have been different if he had been in another body? Would a different ally change things for the better… or worse? If the deeds of the Ninth and Tenth Doctors had been performed by an earlier incarnation, what would happen then? This is…
DOCTOR WHO CLASSICFIED: ALIENS OF LONDON
Starring William Hartnell as the Doctor, Maureen O'Brien as Vicki, Peter Purves as Steven Taylor, William Russell as Ian Chesterton and Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright
This story takes place between 'Galaxy 4' and 'The Myth Makers'
It was quiet upon the street corner, the early morning rays casting long shadows of a place which betrayed its era – mid to late sixties, the distant noise of traffic within the busier side of this great city, a collection of papers from a recent demonstration flapping on the ground. All appeared to be calm.
Then, all at once, there was the sound of groaning and whirring as within this corner of a quiet London Street on a glorious spring morning, an object seemed to appear as if from nowhere, its vague shape that of a rectangular cube, and with the shade of strong blue. As time passed the form became clearer, eventually proving to be unmistakable as a London Police Box of the previous decade.
The light atop the box stopped flashing and after a few moments, a figure stepped out onto the cobbled streets. He was an elderly gentleman of what seemed in his late seventies, though if someone was to stare deep enough into his eyes, they seemed to give off an almost ageless quality to them, as if he could be ten or ten thousand years old all at once. He wore a costume which almost suited the last century than this one, and he carried a long brown cane in one hand, in which fixed to one finger he wore a ring with a beautiful purple orb within.
This odd man began to glance about at the various objects within the street, including a red post box, the architecture of the 1930's built home opposite his entry point and finally, that of the single streetlamp at the corner, which stood next to the box and was presently unlit. The figure gave a satisfied grunt and then motioned to someone within the box that was as yet unseen as he stepped out further out into the road, apparently quite content in his present surroundings.
Were anyone from this place and time actually present on the street, and having already seen these twin oddities of a Police Box appearing from nowhere, and a man within glancing out as if checking for whether the sky might be blue or green, they would surely have been completely confused by how two further people – a younger, late twenties something man with a determined frown of perplexity, and a still younger woman, with a smile that betrayed a mixture of child-like curiosity and the slight tinges of nervousness – could also fit within this apparent small space of the Police Box.
Of course, were said person able to look beyond those two they might have seen - with further amazement, no doubt - that the Police Box appeared to contain within its apparent small stature a huge room with blinking lights, a hat-stand, a bust of Napoleon, several timepieces and in the centre, a hexagonal console with a seemingly infinite number of buttons, levers and switches. Most likely the person would have fainted by the number of impossibilities by this stage in proceedings, so it was fortunate that such a person did not exist.
The Police Box was in fact an alien device known as the TARDIS, so first called by the absent granddaughter of the elderly man who had first stepped out of its disguised exterior, to stand for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space. The elder of the group was only known as the Doctor, and the other two individuals, named Steven Taylor and Vicki Pallister, were not entirely sure who or what he was, but over the course of many adventures throughout the cosmos and history of Earth, had learnt to count him as a good friend.
"Hm! Very good! Heh heh!" The Doctor was nodding his head at his surroundings, having adopted a beaming smile and chuckle, and was speaking, if to anyone, to that of himself. "And most ironical, as well! All those months of trying to get them back... and it's only afterwards that I realised that by adjusting the TARDIS' circuits properly and by the most exact degrees, I was able to land just where I wanted! A little slight off course geometry mind... but just right chronologically! Never have I managed so well on that count, hm?" And at this he turned his attention back to his somewhat flustered companions.
Steven gave the Doctor a hardened glance before he decided to speak. "If you wouldn't be so mysterious Doctor... what exactly are we doing here? You mentioned something in the TARDIS about a 'long-overdue' visit, but what connects that with here?"
Before the Doctor could reply Vicki, who had been spellbound at the sight of her own planet's history alive in front of her, just as she had been in Nero's Rome and Norman Britain, suddenly gave a sharp exclamation of delight. "Oh Doctor, you mean to say we're going to go and see...?"
The Doctor nodded as he gave her a beaming smile. "Quite right my dear, a visit to Ian Chesterton and Miss Barbara Wright is in order, if only to wipe the smug look off Chesterton's face that if he had been prepared to wait, I could have gotten to this time period eventually, it just that the Dalek Time Ship was a little... um, more reliable in that regard, that's all." He was, of course, referring to the adventure where he and Vicki, together with Ian and Barbara, former travelling companions of the Doctor and his departed granddaughter Susan, had been pursued by their old enemies the Daleks in their own time machine. It had been through this device that the two old friends of the Doctor, quite determined to return to their own time, had left him and returned to the comforts of the 1960's.
"Of course that is the second reason I am here... not that I trust that Chesterton didn't blow up the Dalek ship to prevent those of immoral design to have access to it, but I would quite like to examine the wreckage myself... just to be certain. I wouldn't want any of those metal pepper-pots detecting a signal or any other in the remains and showing up to menace the world a few centuries early, hm?" With this the old man fixed his cane firmly on the ground and after a short intake of breath, moved surprisingly briskly for his age. He seemed to know exactly where he was headed, and with a look of self-assurance between them Steven and Vicki were soon by his side as the sun gradually rose amidst a colourful display of planted trees by the London roadside.
In the distance, the familiar sight of the waters of the Thames, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben's mighty spire could be seen. London was not a new city to either of the Doctor's companions – Vicki had visited it in her own future, and both had recently travelled back to even earlier than this and seen the same river frozen in a frost fair of the early Nineteenth Century where they had become involved in the schemes of a heat-stealing Phoenix and met Jane Austen of all people. Vicki and Steven both knew that to travel with the Doctor to anywhere in the universe, Earth Past or Future or indeed another planet entirely was far from dull.
It could also be very dangerous – the TARDIS had a knack for picking places where some evil force or threat would be bound to be waiting for them, but to counter it would always be the Doctor. Neither of them knew which planet the Doctor came from, though they had met and battled one of the Doctor's own people – a wicked foe named the Meddling Monk – upon Earth in the run-up to the Norman Invasion of Britain. But whatever the Doctor was, he was a kindly man and friend, and so both enjoyed the twined excitements and dangers that his time and space machine took them to. Even so, the chance to catch up with two old friends and relax in 1960's Britain for a time did seem a tempting offer.
After a few minutes of twisting this way and that, down one street and left from another, the numbers of people within the Capitol began to swell in front of them, natives and tourists alike. The Doctor finally spotted another quietened area, ascended the steps of a grand looking house and glanced keenly at the brass number on the door before grinning and knocking gently with a metal clapper.
Within a matter of moments, the door was opened by a woman of some sixty years old and gave an inquisitive stare back at the Doctor. Just behind him, Vicki tried to discern the woman's features; there was something oddly familiar about the face, the shape of the nose and eye colour. At once she gave a sudden gasp of first surprise and then delight, for she was sure that she had worked out the identity of this individual.
The Doctor nodded slightly to the confused woman. "Ah, greetings to you madam. You must be Miss Barbara Wright's mother, I expect."
The woman nodded. "I am Joan Wright, yes. Is there something Barbara can do for you? I'm afraid she's not yet up and she does rather have a great deal of work to do today for her students."
The Doctor beamed. "Ah yes, I remember. She once taught my granddaughter at Coalhill School, and I'm pleased to hear that-" At this the old man faltered for Ms Wright had fixed him with an intense stare. "Is something the matter, madam?"
"Barbara hasn't taught at Coalhill in three years." Joan Wright spoke ruefully, for clearly this was a period of her daughter's life she was not proud of. "Not since that disappearing act she had with young Mr Chesterton in 1963. Something about a granddaughter in..." At this she suddenly gave a yelp of anger, and then pointed a boned finger at the Doctor. "You're him, aren't you? That old man she spoke of when she thought I wasn't listening... All that foolish talk of being an African Missionary... Where did you go? What did you do with my daughter for two years that she can't tell me anything concrete about it, hey?" By now the Doctor was feeling uncomfortable in the wake of so much directed criticism, and he could clearly see where Barbara had gotten her determined view points and verbal strength from.
It was at this moment when Steven and Vicki, out of the firing line and considering how safe it might be to intercede in such a argument, that the sound of footsteps from upstairs could be heard, and a very recognisable voice emitted from the hallway.
"Mother? What on Earth are you doing down here, and why all the – DOCTOR!" True as life and emerging into the sunlight was a dear friend of all three of the time travellers, Miss Barbara Wright. She stared back, open-mouthed and amazed before a look of delight erupted and she almost moved forwards to hug the Doctor, just remembering in time the presence of her mother.
"I knew it!" the older Wright smirked at having being proved right. "I suspected as much when he arrived. He's the man that had something to do with those missing two years of yours, and it's high time I had some answers!"
The reunion between the Doctor and Barbara Wright had not quite gone as planned due to the presence of her mother, and the Doctor had quickly realised that he was in a tricky situation. Even so, Ms Wright left the Living Room briefly at one point, giving the time travellers the opportunity to talk better to their once friend as best they could. Barbara was overjoyed to see them and had managed to put off her University Classes for the day – the fatal slipup that the Doctor had made was the fact that her unexplained absence could never get her back into her old school roots, hence the update to University, teaching Aztec History, no less, which the Doctor and through explanation his companions amusingly saw the point of – he, Barbara, Ian and Susan had travelled back to the age of the Aztecs and had Barbara mistaken for an ancient Mexican Goddess, leading to her being quite the expert.
Still Barbara, though happy to see the Doctor after a year apart and interested in the many adventures that Steven and Vicki had undertaken, knew that she had been placed in a difficult position. "I've been able to convince my mother for a whole year that my absence could be explained away, but she's never forgiven me for it. Ian and I thought that the two-year gap was sufficient, and that there was no point in returning to exactly when we left in 1963. But unfortunately it's made things very difficult for us."
The Doctor placed a reassuring hand on hers and gave a apologetic look. "I wished at the time that I could have returned you to when you left but the TARDIS is not an exact science, I'm afraid my dear. I thought that perhaps the Dalek Time Ship might be better but I can see I was wrong. Still, if what little I have heard so far is true, then you and Chesterton seem to have done fairly well in the circumstances, hm? In any case, I felt it would be ideal to visit the pair of you and see how you have gotten on... not to mention proving that it would have been possible to get you back to your home time eventually, hey?"
Of course Steven wanted to point out that it would have been close to three years of attempts for Ian and Barbara to get back had that been the case, but wisely he kept silent. Indeed Steven felt a little out of sorts with the whole situation – he after all had only met Barbara on his initial encounter with the Doctor, and by the time he had stumbled from the jungles of Mechanus and sought the safety of the mysterious blue box he eventually learnt to be the Doctor's TARDIS, both she and Barbara had left his company in the aforementioned Time Ship of the Daleks. Still he was happy to see her again, but much of the attention of Barbara was focused on the Doctor and Vicki, leaving Steven to consider whether her mother was at all listening by the door for any clues to her daughter's actions in the past.
Resigning himself to the fact that he was at present not at the centre of attention and thinking that when, having been called by Barbara not long ago, that at each he might find pleasant conversation with his old friend Ian Chesterton, Steven opted to look about the well-managed living room of Barbara's mother. It was well-kept and everything seemed to have a proper place. Steven had just fixed his gaze to looking out of the window towards the high-rise view and buildings in the distance when something in the sky caught his attention, a odd spot on an otherwise clear blue sunny morning day over Sixties London. Steven squinted hard, trying to work out if the object might be simply an old-fashioned aerial transport of the period like a small private plane. The object was getting larger, indeed it looked to be getting closer, and Steven had to hear a sudden raised voice from the Doctor to turn his attention away.
"Doctor, what is that there? I don't think it's a plane..."
Vicki, Barbara and the Doctor all turned to stare outside, and as the Doctor put on some spectacles to check closer, his face turned ash-white. "Bless my soul! It can't be! But..."
There was no mistaking it. It was a spacecraft. Steven had been a pilot of such vessels for some years before becoming a 'guest' of the Mechanoids, and whilst he did not know the origin or design of such a alien ship, he knew it to be the product of some advanced race, sleek even by the standards of Earth's own spaceships of his own time, several centuries in the future. And more to the point, it was in trouble. Both Steven and the Doctor recognised the engine damage and smoke emitting from the vessel as it plummeted towards...
"Oh my god! It's going to crash into the Houses of Parliament!" Barbara was aghast at such a thing from happening and there was the sudden scream of her mother as she entered the room and dropped the cups of tea she had been preparing from her hands to the carpeted floor.
Rushing past the shocked woman, the Doctor as quickly as he could manage moved through the hallway into the street, where several figures were staring up in twined emotions of fear and terror as the craft sped down alarmingly close to the seats of British power, Barbara and the others coming quickly behind him. As they continued to stare dumbly there was a sickening crash as the ship just missed the top of Parliament and then its right wing slammed into the clock tower of Big Ben, sending chunks crashing to the ground as it continued before plunging head first into the murky waters of the Thames, a huge spray of water drenching one side of the far bank. Even at this fair distance from the crash site, the travellers could see the pandemonium which was instantly spreading round the entire of Central London.
Vicki clutched the Doctor's arm and stared up at him, attempting to gain some sort of understanding from the incredible incident which had just occurred. He merely stared not at her but the ship, his eyes incredibly youthful and fiery. "This was not to happen, not now." They heard him mutter. Then he motioned at them to follow him and with swiftness surpassing his apparent age moved in the direction of the crash site. Earth was not meant to know of alien life, not yet. Something was wrong and as always within these circumstances, he resolved to put things right. Something told him that this time however would prove more difficult than it usually was.