A Cat Named Id
For my sister
"Where's my phonebox?"
The woman was young, no more than thirty, with long hair and glasses.
"Your what?" He liked baiting the new ones.
"Oh, never mind," she said, looking him up and down with a look that disconcerted him a little. "She'll find her way. Who are you?"
"Eh, DCI Gene Hunt."
"Gene Hunt," she rolled the name around in her mouth, as if she enjoyed saying it. "Earth name. 20th century. Is that where I am? Doesn't seem like where I am." She spoke so quickly he could barely follow her. Too bad. Most of them weren't so confused when they came over.
"What's your rank?" He tried to help.
"Rank? Oh, I'm the Doctor." She smiled and held out her hand.
Great, he thought, medical examiner. One of the worst kinds, always on and on about every detail.
"Now then, Gene Hunt, take me to your leader."
"I am your leader, Luv," he said, staring down at her a bit crossly.
"Oh, really? You remind me of Hannibal, just a bit. You're taller, of course, everyone was so short back then. And he didn't actually win. But the elephants were lovely. Best vacation I've had since I went to the World's Fair and had cotton candy for the first time. My goodness, I couldn't sleep for three days from all the sugar. Give me your hand."
Startled, Gene proffered his grimy left one, fresh from oiling the outside of his handgun. She took it in both of hers and patted it. "Oh, I like holding hands. Holding hands is nice. I've been on too many planets lately where they didn't have hands. Where did you say this was again?"
"Oh, Manchester," she looked up at a billboard. "Not that Manchester. That one's not so…alive. Or dead. Either one. That one just is. This one's nice." Gene opened his mouth and closed it again.
"You're a DCI, you said? DCI…Divine Controller of Interplanetary Forces…oh, nevermind, that's only on Califrax. Decimal Counter Intrafer…Oh, that one's Rosimer….Oh, I have it! Detective Chief Inspector! That'd be it, eh?" She gave Gene a bright sideways look. "I apologize for getting it wrong. It's just that I've never seen a Detective Chief Inspector with such lovely hair. The last one who arrested me had one of those 21st century faux hawks. You know, the ones where they look like chickens?"
"Now look here, Doctor," said Gene, putting a heavy hand on her shoulder. "It's time to calm down and sort yourself out."
"Calm? Of course I'm calm. What's there to be agitated about, I say."
"What's your name, Lady Doctor?" he tried again.
"Name? Name. I'm called the Doctor."
"Doctor what?" he was beginning to think he'd been at his job too long.
"Oh, most people say Doctor who," she mused aloud. "Interesting. Well, if you'd like a name, Jane Smith will work."
"Wonderful," Gene groused. "We're getting somewhere at last."
"Are we? I've been wondering where we were headed, not that I mind. I'm only here for the jellybabies. Except I'm not. Haven't liked those for a good three hundred years. Still like saying it, though."
After so much nonsense that he felt like his head might fall off, Gene finally succeeded in getting the little lady doctor into the precinct. Everyone stared at the newcomer, especially the guys. New girls were always a treat. Gene tried to dissuade their interest with less-than-subtle shakes of the head, before finally announcing, "Well, here, we've got ourselves a new nutter. Medical nutter."
"Oh, I'm not medical," she said. "Not strictly."
"Whatever you say, Luv," said Gene's gruff voice. He left her standing in the middle of the room and disappeared into his office, watching through his window.
"Hello," said a young male detective after a moment. "I'm DI Tippins."
"Hello, Detective," said the Doctor, smiling. "I'm going by Jane Smith today. Would you mind telling me what year it is?"
"It's 1993, by the calendar," he answered with a laugh.
"1993! Grand! That accounts for all the dreadful sweaters, then." Her eyes traveled around the room, taking in the awkward glances.
"Oh no, that wasn't nice, was it? I'm sorry. You all look lovely, just like that bloke from the Cosby Show—Huxtable, was it? I did so like that show when I was two hundred."
"I'm…a psychiatrist," said a tentative female voice, finally breaking the silence. The Doctor looked around to find a middle-aged woman approaching her.
"Oh, that's marvelous. Let's see…we're past Freud, aren't we? Lovely stuff about the id. I had a cat named Id once. And a dog named Ego. And a fish named Superego. I'm afraid I went a little mad after I met the man."
A little mad…a man sitting in front of a large computer mumbled to himself.
"Now, then," said the Doctor, "what is it you all do?"
Two hours later, the team stood over a body in the morgue, a teenaged girl without a name, covered in bruises. "What did her in?" asked Hunt, wondering which of the many blows had been the fatal one, how many she'd had to endure before she died.
"We won't know until we have a full workup," said the tense morgue attendant. Hunt stared as the new doctor pulled an odd-looking instrument out of her pocket, sort of like a fancy torch, and shined it on the victim.
"Is that one of those new hand lasers?" asked Tippins, over-excited.
"Shining her back to life, are we?" Hunt snarked.
"It's a sonic screwdriver," said the so-called Dr. Jane Smith. "She died of a blow to the head." Hunt grabbed the instrument from her.
"Will it talk to me, too, or does it only talk to lady nutters?"
"Give it back, Guv." Her expression was interesting. Scary, even.
"Don't be so possessive with your toys," Gene retorted, but he gave it back. The doctor smiled and patted his shoulder fondly. "While we're waiting for the results from someone who actually knows something," he continued, "any leads on the victim or the killer?"
"Reminds me of the kid a few months back, so many bruises," said the psychiatrist.
"Right!" put in Tippins, petering out after one word.
"Days like this, I actually miss Sam," mumbled Hunt.
"Sam Tyler?" said the lady doctor curiously. "I knew him, a long time ago." The DCI stared at her once again.
"It's fairly obvious what did this," said the doctor after a while.
"Enlighten us, Madam Doctor," said Hunt, hoping for something amusing.
"The bruising pattern suggests a Wirax. That also explains why my Tardis won't land.
"Well, once you've gotten back from seeing the Wizard, maybe you can help Dr. Piven work up a psychiatric evaluation." Dr. Piven gave her chief a mournful look, and Hunt smirked.
The only problem was, the Doctor hadn't heard him. While he'd been speaking, she'd somehow wondered off and disappeared down the street.
"Oh, cracking," said Hunt, "maybe we've lost her for good."
Tippins found the doctor, of all things, not that it was very difficult. She was standing in the middle of the street, yelling nonsense at a harmless-looking man, waving her laser torch.
"Ger back to the void!" she said, with an authority none of them had imagined she possessed. The others stepped back as the man hissed in a way no human had ever hissed before. The lady doctor pointed her screwdriver at him, and his form changed, to that of a giant snake with two legs.
"Guv?" Tippins's voice was dubious.
"DCI Hunt, I'd suggest shooting him now. My screwdriver doesn't actually kill," said the doctor, looking back at Gene in the middle of the standoff.
"With pleasure, Doctor Smith," said the DCI, aiming his gun. "Come on, Tippins; Two bullets are better than one."
The creature fell easily, surprisingly easily. "Well," said the doctor, "it's lucky when they're from a planet where technology is so advanced they've forgotten the simple things—like bullets." She stepped forward and cradled the creature's head in her arms as it bled to death. "A sad example of a degenerate species," she murmured. "They used to be friends with timelords."
After a while, she looked up. "My Tardis will be able to land now that the Wirax is dead."
Gene stood outside next to the lady doctor, watching the wind blow. "I can't stay here, you know. I'm glad I could help, of course, but I'm not really one of yours, Guv," she said after a while.
"No?" he looked at her intently.
"I'm not a copper."
"Near enough, I'd say," he said quietly.
"They're all there, aren't they? All of—mine." She looked in the direction of the Railway Arms.
"All the good ones," he answered, putting his large hand on top of her small one. "Sarah Jane, too. Wasn't my job to send her, but she's there all the same."
"I heard something—about a man named Sam Tyler."
"One of the best," he said quietly. "Married one of mine." He smiled to himself at a distant memory.
"He was—someone else before."
"You'd know that better than I would, Luv," he answered. "Sometimes, you know, the bad ones change. Not much, but it does happen."
"I'm leaving, all the same. It's not time."
"You'll be back soon enough."
"Will you still be here, Gene?"
"I'll be here as long as there're coppers to bring over," he answered.
"Or Doctors." She smiled and stood on tiptoe, placing her hands on each side of his face and kissing his forehead.
He walked with her, hand-in-hand, to the place where she had first appeared, where an ordinary police box now stood. He watched, bemused, as she snapped her fingers and the doors opened, revealing rays of light.
"Come in, Guv," she called. But he shook his head.
"If I go with you, I might never come back."
She opened the door wider, and he saw a huge room, impossibly huge, with stairs and buttons and all sorts of things his brain had no names for. And people thought his life was odd.
The Doctor peeked out and waved for the last time. "Goodbye, DCI Hunt. I'll see you in the future."
"I'll wait for you in the past," he mumbled as the box disappeared. Maybe, he thought, when she came back it would be time for him to go to the Railway Arms.