On the wall of the little girl's room there was a picture of a horrifying green monster, with sharp teeth and sharp claws and a nasty, cruel smile. It was not a picture any child could look at without feeling that crushing childhood sensation of an unnamable adult fear.
Below the picture was the little girl, lying on her bed, listening to a voice in the darkness.
"Your mother," the voice said, "was an evil woman."
"Really?" the girl whispered.
"At night when you were a baby she took a knife and stabbed you. She would have killed you, but you were brave and pulled through."
"Yes, yes, she did." That voice in the dark was worse than any picture on the wall. "She did."
"I believe you," the girl whispered into the dark, "Turn the light back on, I'm scared."
And the man smiled and said,
THE DOCTOR'S PEOPLE
Sometime off in time and space...
"Jupiter," said Amy.
"Tudor England," said Rory.
"A 1920 jazz club."
"Theme park planet," said the Doctor. "I think you'll agree I win."
"Theme park planet?" Amy asked.
"Wellllll, it contains over a thousand separate theme parks, and it is owned by an Earth corporation that went intergalactic, oooh, forty-eighth century. They have a wonderful selection of candyfloss, drinks and ice cream from all over the universe..."
"Tell me they have Ben and Jerry's! I like their Chunky Monkey."
"I'm afraid both Ben and Jerry have passed away by this point," said the Doctor, sounding rather sad. "They have flavours including sausage, bacon and fish custard...I may have slipped a bit of paper on a desk at some point. Anyway, the planet is owned by a company called TomorrowCorp, who I'm told are jolly nice people..."
Suddenly there was a knock on the door.
"Hold that thought," the Doctor said. "Who could that be?"
"Don't you have a way of checking who's outside?" Rory asked.
"Yes," the Doctor said, "but it takes the fun out of it."
He strolled to the door and flung it open. A man and a woman, both dressed in black and holding guns, stood there. They stared. The Doctor stared back.
"Who is it?" Amy called.
The Doctor stepped to the side. "Martha. Mickey. Do come in."
Uncertainly, the couple stepped into the TARDIS.
"Seats!" the Doctor yelled. "You need seats." He paused. "We don't have any seats. Well, make yourselves comfortable. Amy, Rory, this is Martha Jones and Mickey Smith."
"Actually, she's..." Mickey began, but then Martha spoke, softly.
"Doctor? It is you, isn't it?"
The Doctor approached her. And smiled.
"It's me all right."
"You've changed things round a bit."
"Yeah, I do that."
"Yeah. Sorry about that."
"No, don't be sorry...I married Mickey."
"Yes, I thought you did. Good for you! Good for you both. Hello, Mickey! Great to see you." They shook hands.
"Um," said Rory.
"Rory! Amy! Don't be shy!"
The two couples looked at each other curiously, and then Martha made the first move.
"So! You're the new ones. His new companions! Welcome to the TARDIS!"
"Only I get to say that," the Doctor whispered.
"I'm Martha, I traveled with the Doctor too, a few years ago. He was a bit different then."
"A bit different?" Amy asked.
"We'll save that for another time," the Doctor said. "Amy, Martha helped me save the world. Now she carries a gun...I don't like that, Martha, get rid of the gun."
Martha obediently put it down.
There was a brief, awkward pause, and then Martha said. "You're wearing a ring! You're married?"
"Yes," Amy said.
"To me," Rory cut in.
"That's so great! Congratulations!"
The two women looked at each other for a moment, and then, in one of those rare moments that sometimes happens between people, simultaneously swept each other up in a hug.
"Has he taken you on honeymoon?" Martha squealed.
"Yes! It was brilliant! There were monsters and it all got quite complicated but it was brilliant!"
"This is the best way to travel ever."
"I love it! Love it to bits."
"We went to the forty-second century!"
"We fought vampires in Venice!"
Immune to the sudden excitement in the room, Rory and Mickey just looked at each other.
"Mickey, right?" Rory asked.
"Yeah. Rory, right?"
Mickey nodded slowly. "Mickey Smith."
"So, what century are you from?"
"Oh. Same as me."
The Doctor popped up from behind the console, where he had taken the opportunity to fix a loose wire. "So! Everyone acquainted?
"Doctor," Mickey said, "you haven't even asked how or why we're here."
"Oh yes. You're right. How and why are you here?"
The two of them looked at each other.
"Well," Martha began uncertainly, "when we last saw you...I mean, the last you...you walked away and we thought that was it. That we'd never see you again. We had all these talks about whether we should track you down or whether we should...just get on with things. Because you might not have regenerated into anything like the person we knew."
"And we had jobs to do," Mickey said. "We worked for Jack, for UNIT, we did a bit of everything."
"We looked out for you, though," Martha said. "We kept an eye on the world. There was something about some strange things going on in a village called Leadsworth..."
"Yeah, that was us," Rory said.
"And all sorts of other stuff. And we were just...walking about in Cardiff, we'd been to see Gwen, you know Gwen...and we turned a corner and the TARDIS was there. So we knocked on the door. And here we are."
"Here you are," the Doctor repeated. He was silent for some time, and then said. "Well...we're off to a distant planet. Want to come with us?"
Mickey and Martha exchanged a glance.
"Yes," Martha finally said. "Yes, we do."
"Excellent! Mickey, Martha, we were heading off to Brian One."
"We were doing what?" Rory asked. "I thought we were going to the theme park planet."
"Brian One is the theme park planet. It's named after a bloke called Brian."
"Oh, right, that makes perfect sense."
"Amy! Rory! Mickey! Martha! Please take your places around the console and do exactly what I tell you."
With considerable glee, they took their places.
This was the way to travel.