Authors Note: This is a new effort for me. This is the first story I've ever posted that is not HP related. Please let me know how I did. I made it a point to write the entire story before I started posting. I also edited it. (It's only seven chapters.) It is not a long story but hopefully a good one.
Chapter One: Encounter
"Where are you off to, Jackie?"
She was fifteen, tall for her age, with long brown hair tied back with a white ribbon. She wore a full length white skirt and a blouse that closely resembled the standard issue shirt of the Royal Navy. Her adversary was a boy, perhaps a year older, near her height. He wore a nondescript brown jacket and trousers the same colour. He had ginger hair cut short in the style of the day, and a satchel. And he bristled when the girl called him 'Jackie'.
"Jonathan," He corrected her.
The girl laughed as she followed him down the London street. She began talking to an imaginary person. "Good afternoon, Sir. I'm Sarah Smith. And that doleful boy is Jackie Smith. No relation I'm proud to say." She laughed again and quickened her step to catch up with him. "Must you always be so serious? I don't think I've ever seen you smile."
He stopped as she came abreast of him. "And what is there to smile about . . . when you're around?"
Another laugh. "Because I'm around, silly. No one else could ever be bothered." She tried to look serious. "That's why I'm your only friend." She paused. "At least the closest you've got." She grabbed his hand to make him keep walking. "It's only because Mother put you up, so you have to put up with me. Better than wherever it was they planned for you."
She frowned as he pulled his hand free and began to walk faster.
"I am sorry, Jackie. It's not your fault. And I do like you. I mean, I would like you if you weren't always so mopey. And a know-it-all on top of that." She stopped when he stopped. "It's true. You're always trying to find an explanation for everything." She smirked when he glared at her. "It's true as true. I know you're smart. Everyone does. But do you have to go on all the time about how this does that or the other thing? And look at you. It's the summer holiday and you still have that case with whatever inside."
She laughed at his almost frightened look. A look mixed with curiosity. "What is it? I've never seen you scared of anything? That scared." She started to laugh but his look stopped her. "Jackie?"
"Don't you see it?"
His frown made her nervous but she hid it best she could.
"That?" He pointed to the side of the building.
"The police box."
As he said that, her eyes focused on the large blue box that sat there. It had a light on top and the words, 'police box' on the trim above the doors.
"What about it?"
"It shouldn't be there."
"The police probably put it there. I'm sure they had a good reason." She smirked. "You're doing it again. Why does it matter?" She swished her skirt as she turned to continue walking. "After all, there is a war on. I'd worry more about the Huns than about the police."
"It has a light. And there are no wires leading to it. Don't you think that's strange?"
Sarah stopped again and turned around. Her tone was serious. "No. I don't. But you want an explanation. It probably has a battery. You may have heard about them?"
"And why use a battery when they could just hook up a wire?"
"I don't know and I don't care. Why do you, Jackie?" She ignored his look. She was now angry. "It's only a box. It belongs to the police. It isn't my business and it isn't yours." She huffed at him when he returned her frown. "If you have to know, then run down the way and ask a constable. I'm sure he would love to waste his time telling you it's none of your business."
Jonathan continued frowning. "You're not curious in the least?"
"NO." She stopped and took a deep breath. It was not like her to raise her voice. She repeated softly, "No, Jackie, I'm not. I'm more concerned with getting home on time. There's supposed to be an important speech."
"Just Asquith saying how great the war is going but we need to put more effort in whatever we're doing."
"The war will be over by the end of summer," Sarah said smugly. "Father predicted it in his last letter to me. And the morning papers announced a great assault." She was smiling again and pulled his hand to get him to move. "We need to be going." She saw him eyeing the box again. "It'll be there in the morning. I promise. I'll even come with you if you like. We can look at it all you want."
Sarah smiled as Jonathan reluctantly began walking. She knew he wouldn't be satisfied until he knew everything about the box, including why they picked that particular spot to place it. She didn't care. The war was going to be over as soon. The British Army were crossing the Somme. They would take the war to Germany before the month was out. Best of all, Father would come home.
They had taken no more than three steps when the sky grew dark. This time, Sarah was the first to stop. "Jackie? Where did those clouds come from? I'd swear the sky was clear only a moment ago."
"The sky was clear," He agreed. "Look ahead."
Sarah looked down the lane. The sky was still bright in the distance. She was at a loss to describe what she was seeing. The sky wasn't getting cloudy. The best she could explain, it was as if a theatre curtain was coming down. Her concern increased as she saw no one except for two figures, fancifully dressed, walking up the street toward them.
"There should be more people about." Sarah was beginning to panic as a wind began blowing. "What happened to everyone?"
"Asquith," came the reply. "They're all inside, listening to him tell about the great victory."
"That couple," Sarah noted, "they're running to us." She corrected herself. Not toward her. They were going to run past her. "No, Not us. They're going . . ."
". . . to the police box," Jonathan finished.
"You don't have to . . ." That was all she could say. The next moment, as the strange couple neared, a gust of wind caught her, knocking her to the ground. Somehow she landed on something soft. She heard Jonathan ask her, from underneath, if she was hurt. Before she could reply, someone was helping her up. A woman. He hair was being whipped around from the strange wind.
"DOCTOR?" The woman called out.
"SARAH JANE," came the reply from the man.
Before Sarah could react, the fancy dressed man was pulling Jonathan up and dragging almost forcing him forward. Sarah let the woman lead her. They were going into the blue box. Then Sarah corrected herself. It wasn't a box. It was a doorway. She could see the large room inside it.
Her first thought was how curious it all was. To set up a doorway and cover it with the police box. And there was the strange machine that the fancy man was going on about, running from side to side to look at a gauge or something. Every time he stopped he would mutter something about impossible or it can't be.
The woman was looking at them, though. She was asking if they were hurt. Satisfied there were no injuries, she turned to the man, asking, "Doctor, what was that all about?"
"I have no idea. I know something attacked us and now the Tardis is telling me we've taken off. I have no idea where we're going."
"The Time Lords?"
The man gave her a peevish look "I don't know. We'll have to wait until we arrive." He turned around and smiled. "Are the children fine?" He smiled at Sarah and Jonathan. "Of course you are. And thank you."
"For what?" Sarah asked.
"For not becoming hysterical. It's very annoying and also quite common among children your age. This is a rather unusual situation . . . um . . . I think introductions are in order."
He nodded to the woman who smiled. She held out her hand. "Pleased to meet you, I'm Sarah Jane Smith."
That brought a smile to the girl's face as she took the proffered hand. "I'm Sarah Smith, without the Jane. And this is Ja . . ." She paused when she looked over. He seemed so serious, now. This wasn't a time to tease. "This is Jonathan Smith. No relation I'm afraid."
Jonathan gave her a bemused look. The result was that she now had a wide grin.
Sarah Jane pointed to the fancy man. "And this is the Doctor."
He smiled. "I'm very pleased to meet both of you."
"Doctor . . . who?" Jonathan asked in a low tone. It was curiosity and fear, again, in his voice.
"Just the Doctor. Although, and this should amuse you, I sometimes go by the name of John Smith."
Sarah Jane gave a light laugh. "John and Sarah. Sarah and John. It must be, what's that Indian word, karma."
The Doctor smiled. "I would have said kismet, but it's the same thing." He gave Sarah Jane a knowing look before turning back to his two new guests. "I want to assure you that you're in no danger. While I don't know our exact destination, neither of you have any cause to worry."
Sarah laughed as she asked, "Destination? I wasn't planning on going anywhere. Except home." She turned to the door. "I don't hear the wind, anymore. Do you mind if I see if it has let up?"
"There's nothing out there," the Doctor told her. She frowned as he walked past her and opened the door. She and Jonathan both looked out. There was only black. Not the black of night. The complete absence of any light. The Doctor closed the door, saying an explanation was in order.
"This is the Tardis. T.A.R.D.I.S. Time And Relative Dimensions In Space."
"But this room . . ." Sarah began to say.
Jonathan finished her sentence in a way she didn't expect. " . . . is inside the police box."
"Very good, Jon," the Doctor said, giving him a broad smile.
"That can't be," Sarah insisted. "The box is only a doorway. This room is in the building behind it." It irked her when she looked at Jonathan, who was also smiling. "And why are you grinning, Jackie?"
His smile didn't fade. "The butcher's shop is in the building behind it. Remember? All we have to do is go back outside and walk around the corner."
"Except we can't," the doctor said. "Not for a while, anyway."
Sarah couldn't understand. "But this room is too big to be inside the box."
Sarah Jane put a hand on her shoulder. "The Tardis is bigger on the inside."
"But that's impossible. It can't be."
"This is a time machine, Sarah," Jonathan told her. His fear had disappeared to be replaced by excitement. "As in the H.G. Wells novel. They must have found a way to do it in the future."
"The past, actually," the Doctor said, "on another world. The Tardis also travels through space as well."
Sarah started to panic until Sarah Jane suggested tea. That made her stare. It seemed so normal. When she said there would be scones as well, Sarah was surprised. She had to ask, "In a time machine?"
Sarah Jane knew what she was doing. Her next words banished Sarah's fears completely. "It doesn't matter what time it is, everyone has to eat. As for trying to understand all of this, I just go along with it. The Doctor presses a few buttons, throws a switch. When we open the door it's someplace else. Sometimes it's familiar. Sometimes it's strange. But it's always interesting."
"Strange?" Sarah asked. Now she was curious.
"Dinosaurs in London, oh, sixty years from when we met you. They explained it away by saying it was mass hallucination."
"And people believed it?" she asked doubtfully.
The Doctor answered, "As a rule, Humans are always eager to ignore anything they can't understand."
"Such as police boxes," Sarah admitted. She turned to Jonathan, "That makes you the one the proofs the rule."
Jonathan smirked. "That almost sounds like a compliment."
All conversation ended as the Tardis began to make a whooshing noise. The Doctor gave a smile of expectation. "It seems we're landing."