(A.N.) It's been a long time since I posted, but I'm kind of temporarily homeless, so there! Long story short, my house is currently unsafe to enter, so I've been staying with relatives all over the place for the last month or two and now I'm in a temporary place of my own while they fix my freaking house. Sucky? Yes. But on the bright side, as excuses for not posting go, that's a pretty good one, right? :D
Anyway, enough of my yapping. Here's episode four:
There was a blinking red light, and it was going to wipe out life on Earth.
The light was one of many on a control panel in the middle of a large laboratory. The laboratory was filled with many scientists, and was normally a very quiet room, the only sounds usually being the noise of typing, and beeping, and complicated conversations about physics.
Today, however, it was chaos.
There was an alarm sounding over and over. Flashing warning lights and electronic voices repeated dire scenarios in vacant voices. The scientists were rushing about wildly, shouting across one another in between fearfully staring at their computer screens.
Not one of them was looking at the blinking red light, or the machine it was monitoring.
"We can't stabilise it!" cried one of the scientists, looking desperately to the man next to her.
His name was Doctor Edward Wilhelm, and unless someone did something quick, he would be forever immortalised as the man who brought about the end of the world.
Doctor Wilhelm was trying his best to appear calm, though the flashing lights could be seen bouncing off the sweat on his brow. He wiped it off with sleeve of his expensive three-piece-suit - no white coat for him - and continued to type away at his computer.
The sound of the door to the laboratory whushing open caught everyone's attention, and there was an audible sigh of relief when a young red-headed woman entered the room and ran quickly towards Dr Wilhelm.
"What'd I miss?" she asked, in a smooth American accent.
"Blitz, where the hell have you been?" asked Wilhelm furiously. "I called for you four minutes ago, do you have any idea what's happening here?"
The woman - Blitz - waved a vague, apologetic hand. "I was upstairs trying to order a pizza. The only thing worse than the food in this place is the cell phone signal." Wilhelm gave her a look of utter disbelief, so she quickly turned her focus to the screen in front of them. "Ohhh Eddy. That's bad. That's very bad."
"I know," he replied as she elbowed him out of the way and took over control of his keyboard.
"Like, end of days bad."
"I know," Wilhelm repeated in exasperation.
"You said you had defenses to stop this sort of thing," she told him irritably, typing away at breathtakingly high-speeds.
"I do and they're supposed to," said Dr Wilhelm. "But there must've been a glitch and they've stopped running."
"A glitch?" Blitz repeated incredulously, never taking her dark green eyes away from the screen. "Everything this thing can do and you left a glitch in it?"
"Never mind that! Can you stop it?"
All the other scientists had stopped now. All eyes were on her. Blitz - the Earth's last hope. The light from the computer screen illuminated her pale, freckled face as she bit her lip in concentration.
In the centre of the room, smoke started to trickle out of the machine that no one was making eye contact with. The red light started to flash at an alarming rate.
Dr Whilhelm turned away from his ashen-faced colleagues, away from the screens given them the statistics surrounding their horrible deaths, away from the machine of his own invention that was attempting to kill them all. He looked instead to the far corner of the room, to a small dome that hung from the ceiling, blacked out but containing a camera.
They were surely watching this, he thought. Why weren't they doing anything?
"Blitz," he begged.
"I know, I know," she said, some desperation starting to edge into her own voice. "Just… give me a minute."
"If we don't do something right now - "
"I said give me a minute!" Blitz snapped.
"We don't have a minute!"
Her emerald eyes flicked across the information pouring across the screen at great speeds that were only outdone by her fingers typing on the keyboard below.
"I can do it!" she said in amazement. "I can diffuse the reaction and reset the system. But there's still gonna be a massive energy discharge." She whipped her head around to look at Whilhelm enquiringly, her auburn ponytail missing his face by inches. "What's next door?"
"Next door? Nothing, we're just using their generators. It's a school, I think."
Blitz smirked and returned to typing.
"Not for long, it isn't," she said.
Meanwhile, next door, there was an envelope with Ryan Murphy's name on it. This envelope contained the results of Mr Murphy's A-level exams, which determined whether or not he would be accepted into University, which Mr Murphy felt would define his entire life.
This envelope, much like the building it inhabited, was about to be blown to pieces.
The Saviour's Hand
The field was busy that day. August was ending, summer was taking a final bow, and weather reports were already warning of September's oncoming storms. But for now the sun hung high and proud, and people decided to make the best of it. In addition to the usual dog walkers strolling across the freshly cut grass that day, ordinary folk had decided to join them, some using it as a sunny detour to the shops across the way, while others were simply enjoying a relaxing morning trek.
And, of course, there were the students, nervously journeying towards the school at the far end of the field for their exam results.
If any of these walkershad been looking, they would have seen something very peculiar. In a shady corner of the field, two people entered a big blue box, which gradually faded from view. A few seconds later, however, the box returned, exactly where it stood before, and the same two people stepped out of it.
Both of these events took place in the same minute, but the box, and it's passengers, had been across this world and others between takeoff and landing.
"It's the same day?" said Ryan, blocking the sun in his eyes with his hand and gazing across the field.
"Err…" said the Doctor, closing the TARDIS doors behind him, licking his finger and holding it aloft. "Yep. We've been gone about fifty-two seconds."
Ryan looked to the footpath at the other end of the field, where he could spot a few of his fellow students heading into the school, like he had been, to pick up their A-level results. Ryan let out a relieved sigh.
"No offence, but I did have a passing worry you'd end up landing, like, a year after we left or something."
"…Yeah!" the Doctor laughed heartily. "That would be awkward, wouldn't it?"
They then returned to the unbearably awkward silence that had plagued them since Ryan had asked to come home. Neither of them knew where to take the conversation from here, but it was Ryan who eventually spoke first.
"Listen… I'm sorry, Doctor."
The Doctor, who had been absentmindedly drawing patterns in the soil with his boot, looked at him in surprise.
"Sorry for what?"
Ryan shrugged sadly.
"For the way I spoke to you before. I don't blame you, for what happened. And I'm for sorry wasting your time. I know you've probably travelled with a lot of people before me. I'm sorry I wasn't strong like they must have been."
The Doctor looked at him for moment, then laughed.
"Ryan Murphy," he said. "The boy who stood on this field one dark evening, and saved the whole world without taking a single life. Ryan Murphy, who uncovered the lost, alien child that had been unknowingly killing random New York citizens. Ryan Murphy, the boy from Earth who wouldn't leave a compound on an alien world until every stranger that inhabited it was safe, and who stopped an old, silly man from making a very big mistake. And you think you're not strong?"
Ryan shook his head sadly. "It's not about - "
"If you want to leave, Ryan," said the Doctor, "that's your choice, and if you're sure about it then I'll get in my box and I'll fly away. But I will be damned if I leave you thinking that hearing a man murdered and letting it get to you is a sign of weakness."
His words did nothing to ease Ryan's mind. The simple fact was that Ryan had gotten spooked at the first sign of trouble, and begged to come home, a fact which left Ryan feeling pretty ashamed.
"It's not always like that, you know," said the Doctor. "I really don't go looking for trouble. I'm nearly one thousand years old, I worked up a lot of breaths and I like seeing sights that take them away. Like the caterpillar planet! Or the waterfall stuck in a black hole. Or Mario Kart tournaments at Stan Lee's house."
"But they come at a price, don't they?" replied Ryan, that bitter tone from earlier resurfacing. "Because every now and then you get a day like I've just had, don't you? Like the compound, and the Nothing, and the guys who are supposed to be protecting the people instead burning them alive and turning them into monsters."
The Doctor stopped smiling.
"I have the means to help people in situations like that. I can't turn a blind eye."
Ryan sighed, suddenly feeling very tired.
"I'm not asking you to, that's what makes you who you are. And I wish could be that type of person, but I'm not."
The Doctor gave him a stubborn shrug. "I think you are."
"And I'd like to believe that, but look where we are."
They were quiet for a moment, and it wasn't until Ryan realised the Doctor was wondering how he could convince him that he decided to make things final.
"I'm staying," he said, and felt his heart cringe at the look of sadness on the Doctor's face.
"Okay," said the Time Lord, quietly.
He walked forward, gave Ryan an awkward pat on the shoulder and then turned back to the TARDIS, pulling out the key and unlocking the doors.
"Thanks," Ryan had to say, before he stepped inside and flew away forever. "I know it didn't turn out how we thought it would, but… thanks for taking me."
The Doctor gave him the smallest of grins.
"We had some fun, though, didn't we?"
And Ryan couldn't fight his smirk.
"Yeah. Yeah, we did."
The Doctor hovered clumsily for a second, before walking forward again to embrace Ryan in a crushing hug. Ryan laughed and squeezed as good as he got.
"Take care of yourself," said the Doctor, releasing Ryan.
"Take care of yourself," Ryan replied.
The Doctor beamed at him for a long moment, before taking in a big breath and turning away.
"I'm gonna go before I cry, or kidnap you."
Ryan chuckled again, watching as the Doctor walked to the TARDIS, only to pause again with one foot in the door.
"Listen," he said pleasantly. "I know it's probably very unlikely, but if you ever have any more trouble around here - my kind of trouble - all you have to do is let me kn - "
Ryan and the Doctor recoiled in shock, as an explosion at the other end of the field sent a giant fireball flying into the sky.
"You know," said the Doctor, watching Ryan's school become enveloped by flames, "maybe I'll stick around for a bit."
End of chapter one.