Tallon Shults shook his sopping wet hair like a dog, drops of water spraying everywhere.
"Knock it off, buddy" An kid growled from a nearby library table, wiping some water off his textbook.
"Sorry" Tallon said, not really caring if the idiot believed him or not. He strode past the rows of tables and into the forest of dusty bookshelves in the back of a small public library.
"Quandary, Quantum, Quellian... Read those already" He growled, prowling in between the shelves, mumbling the row cards to himself. Tallon prowled away from the Q section and beelined for the E's. Whenever he ran out of things to read, he always found something new in Engineering.
"Galactic conversions? No... Pd42 Engines? Eck. Where is it?" Tallon growled, searching the musty books irritably. Every library he drifted to had THE book. The very first he had read about starship engines.
"Looking for this?" A sultry voice said from behind him. Tallon turned, raising an eyebrow at the short woman that had mysteriously appeared behind him.
"That's mine." He said bluntly, indicating the book with his blue eyes.
"Funny... I thought we were in a public library" The woman said, tossing her red hair over one slender shoulder. She opened the book, scanning the pages.
"Hey-" Tallon started, reaching for the book. The woman danced out of his reach.
"Intergalactic mechanical functions?" She asked, peering through the books at him. Tallon sighed in annoyance and bent down so he could see her bright eyes glittering from the next aisle.
"Can I have that back?"
"That depends..." She replied, punctuating her sentence with another toss of auburn curls. Tallon raised an eyebrow.
"I have a proposition for you..." The woman moved back into Tallon's row, holding the book tantalizingly out of reach.
"I have a... spaceship of sorts. It's outside in the parking lot. If you promise to use your knowledge to keep said spaceship in good working order, you'll get a substantial reward" The woman said. Tallon waited for the hair toss. When it came, he rolled his eyes.
"Listen, lady. Having a british accent doesn't make you smart... You're crazy." Tallon said with a laugh, leaning against a shelf.
Brown eyes locked on blue.
"I'm not." The woman said, handing him the book. "If you want to accept my offer, i'll be out in the parking lot. You might want to bring the book." She slipped under Tallon's arm, hips swaying as she left the library.
Tallon let out a snort of laughter.
"I must be crazy..."
"I must be crazy..." Tallon repeated ten minutes later, staring up at the innocent blue police box in front of him.
"Does this thing really fly?" He asked the redhead at his side.
"Oh boy, does it. I'll try not to blow your mind on the first day, though." She laughed.
The two stood in the back library parking lot, looking up at the dark blue box for a moment more before the woman pushed open the door, disappearing inside.
"Come on in" She called back to Tallon. He peered into the darkness of the box.
"Note to self... Don't ever get into a stranger's blue box. Even if they offer you candy..." Tallon muttered, ducking his head a little to step into the box.
Inside, it was completely dark. Tallon felt his way forwards, arms stretched out like a zombie.
Suddenly, a light flicked on up ahead, revealing a glittering mass of panels and important looking electrical wires. Tallon turned towards the light in time to see a mass of red hair emerge from underneath an electrical station. She pressed another button and power flooded the "ship". Tallon's jaw fell open.
"My name's Emilia. This is my TARDIS... If you help me keep her in good repair, i'll make you rich."
Tallon turned around, still unable to completely comprehend what was happening. Around him, masses of electrical equipment was piled, some rusted and broken. Wires hung out of every metal surface and coils or copper tubing littered the floor.
"It's not much to look at... But there's life in here." Emilia said. As if responding to her words, a mechanical creaking came from the walls and small lights went off all around the room.
"Erm... What did you call this thing?" Tallon asked, running a hand repeatedly through his hair.
"TARDIS. Time And Relative Dimension In Space" Emilia said with another hair flip. Tallon resisted the urge to snort. The girl had hair issues.
"All right. Say I join you in this... TARDIS. What happens then?" Tallon asked.
"You help me clean this thing up, I pay you, I drop you off in whichever century or galaxy you want" Emilia replied, shrugging.
"You're convenient, you're smart, and in 300 years you'll be a hero."
Tallon's eyebrows disappeared into his hair. Emilia smirked.
"So, earthling... Ready to join the ranks of intergalactic travelers?"
Tallon gulped. "Sure..."
An hour later, Tallon was having second thoughts.
"So... to get off of this TARDIS thing, all I have to do is open the door?" He asked, shifting a pile of scrap metal.
"If you want to jump out in the middle of the horsehead nebula, be my guest... Shut the door on your way out." Emilia said from behind an electrical panel.
"Wait... So we aren't on Earth? ah, fuck!" Tallon cussed as one of the metal parts dropped on his foot.
"No Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore." Emilia answered.
"Okay, that's it! Who are you?" Tallon growled, dropping the metal parts onto the floor and striding over to where the red head stood. Close up, their height difference was considerable.
Emilia looked up at him, and Tallon actually got a good look at her face. Round cheeks, freckles spattering across her nose, chocolate brown eyes and fiery red hair. Not bad looking for a british ginger.
"I told you... My name is Emilia." She said quietly, staring up at him.
"No last name?" Tallon asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Dropped it a while back. Can't remember it now..." She replied.
"You're lying." Tallon said.
"So I am."
Tallon stared down at his companion for a moment before backing down. He turned and went down the steps of the command center, back to his pile of metal. A slightly awkward silence fell over the two workers. Tallon sighed.
"What part of England?" He asked, abandoning the pile of metal for a panel with wires sticking every which way.
"What part of England are you from?" Tallon repeated, tossing a charred piece of scrap metal over his shoulder.
"London. Lived there until I was four" Emilia said. Her voice got a hard edge in it. Tallon turned around to look at her, but her back was to him, so he sighed again and went back to his work.
"What about you?" She asked after a moment.
"Lived in what's left of L.A. until my parents died, then I hitched up to where you found me. I just roam from library to library" Tallon said.
"So you just drift around to where there are good books?" Emilia asked.
"Liar..." She said, half teasingly as looked down at him, once again fixing him in her stare. Tallon returned it, blue eyes locked with brown.
"Never." Tallon said, winking.