A/N: Hi. I had originally posted this in pieces... And sort of got wrapped up in stuff and didn't post the end! I think it works better as a whole anyway. Just to say the use of a vicar in a sci-fi fic is not intended to prompt some deep and meaningful religious debate, I just wanted to make a joke about a vicar and a doctor walking into the TARDIS... This is set a while in the future I guess.
The round, wobbling clergyman was sweating, it seemed, out of his eyebrows (the only hair on his head at all, in case you care to know) and struggling to speak as his tiny, nut-shaped eyes took in what appeared to be a space ship, which he appeared to be standing in. "You've stripped all the lead off my church roof!" was the first thing he managed to say, loosening his dog collar as he did so. "We'd only just replaced that after it had been stolen! The verger's going to have your head! The verger's going to have my head… She's a scary woman."
A pair of legs, which were lying on the floor, twitched indignantly at this. "It's not my fault."
The legs, I probably ought to explain, belonged to the Doctor, who was on the ground tinkering with the central 'whatsimafloogit', in his words, trying to work out where the flux-i-ma-thing-i-ma-bob had got to. He wasn't having much luck, partly because his screw driver was seventeen and a half sizes too 'something-or-other'.
The vicar frowned and bent over, turning red-faced at the effort, to address the torso that was attached to the legs. "Not your fault?" he asked, grasping at the controls and wheezing.
"Yeah. It's your spire that got in the way of my TARDIS."
"My spire?" bellowed the vicar indignantly. "And what on earth is a TARDIS?"
"Oh…" mumbled the Doctor, sliding out with his back on a skateboard, and sliding further than he'd intended to, hitting a wall and nearly denting a roundel, so it looked distinctly less round. "Ow. Err…" He ruffled the back of his head and looked disgruntled before sliding back to where he'd slid from originally and searching for his screwdriver on the floor. "The TARDIS? That's this thing that we're in now. Big blue box. Bigger on the inside than the outside? Ah! There it is."
"It stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space," said a perfectly ordinary-looking woman, who came in from a corridor holding a tray teaming dangerously with cups and biscuits. "Tea, vicar?"
The vicar, who looked like he was about to faint, nodded his head and just about managed to say, "Yes."
"Please," corrected the Doctor, who had disappeared again to tamper with his flux-i-ma-thing-i-ma-bob. "Yes, please, vicar. Never underestimate the importance of saying please."
"Yes, please," murmured the vicar, accepting his cup and saucer from the woman, then squinting at her and asking, "And, not to sound rude, but who are you?"
"Actually," answered the Doctor, before the woman could speak for herself. "I'm not too clear on that myself."
"You don't know who you are?" asked the vicar, sitting down on a chair that he was sure hadn't been there a moment ago; this was all getting far too complicated for him. "But you just told me you were the Doctor! Is this some sort of insurance scam? Because I can assure you I'm not worth scamming."
"No, no, no!" exclaimed the Doctor, and then: "Ouch!" as he hit his head on something hard. "Of course I know who I am! I'm not stupid. It's just her," he pointed at the woman who was currently pouring a cup of tea.
"Who is she?" repeated the vicar.
"Oh, I'm sorry, how terribly remiss of me," the Doctor chided himself. "Vicar Bobbie, this is Bonnie, Bonnie this is Bobbie. Bonnie and Bobbie - ha! No? No one? Oh well. Where's that screwdriver gone?"
The vicar removed his handkerchief from his pocket and mopped his forehead. "But I thought you said you didn't know who she was…"
"I never said any such thing. I said I wasn't sure. Or did I say I wasn't clear? Never mind. You must listen more closely. I believe she's my new assistant, isn't that right, Bonnie?"
"Yes sir," said Bonnie with an obedient nod, handing him a cup of tea, which he refused whilst pulling a face.
"Ew. Tea? That's for grown-ups. Don't you have any fish-fingers and custard?"
"I'll go and have a look, sir," Bonnie curtsied and scuttled off to the kitchen.
"Haven't I got this one trained well?" laughed the Doctor. "That must have been my idea. Much better than the previous one: a loud-mouthed red head," he sighed. "Much better."
The silence that followed this was deeply sad, and the vicar couldn't have told you for the life of him why that was.
"She says I just picked her up, and that is what I do…" muttered the Doctor, unscrewing something. "Hm. I don't remember that being in the blueprints. It certainly wasn't supposed to be that colour. It's your stupid spire that's done this; you really must watch where you put those things."
"You crashed into my church!" exclaimed the vicar tiredly, who'd had just about enough of all this.
It was rather fortunate that Bonnie re-entered the room then. "Fish fingers and custard, sir," she said obligingly, offering them to the doctor with a polite smile.
"I think I could get used to this 'sir' thing," declared the doctor through a mouthful.
The vicar seemed confused. "How did you warm them up so fast?"
"Heat radiation from the time vortex," explained the Doctor, wiping custard off his chin. "It's channelled through the kitchen. Mm, that's nice. Bonnie, pass us a chisel, would you?"
"A chisel, sir?"
"Yes, don't ask questions, just hand me one. It's in the tool box by your feet; it should be on top of the ukulele, just next to the nutcracker. Actually, while you're at it, Bonnie, could you pass me the knitting needles as well?"
Bonnie did as she was told, looking highly baffled, and shortly afterwards there issued forth some alarming crashing sounds and curious pink sparks. The Doctor didn't express any concern, and Bonnie merely shrugged; the vicar pinched himself to check whether or not he was dreaming. It was the fourth time he'd done that in the last quarter of an hour.
"So, Bobbie, tell us about yourself!" commanded the Doctor cheerily.
Bobbie the vicar blinked. "Uh… well… I don't know. I can't think of anything much to say, really." He looked up to Bonnie for help, but she wasn't going to rush to his aid any time soon, that much was clear. "I suppose I'm rather shy."
The Doctor hummed at that, which seemed strange, and then he began to sing, which seemed even stranger. "Shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to…."
"Excuse me?" asked Bobbie.
The Doctor groaned and tossed the chisel across the floor to Bonnie. "I'm done with that. Does no one listen to decent music anymore?"
"I prefer classical," the vicar told them snootily. "Bach is a personal favourite of mine."
"Bach liked The Smiths."
Bobbie scowled. "That's nonsense! This is all nonsense. How could Bach have liked The Smiths?"
The Doctor nipped out from underneath the controls with a look on his face and a screwdriver in his hand. "I leant him my iPod, of course. Don't ask stupid questions. Actually, that reminds me, he still hasn't given it back. Bach hasn't given it back! Ha, ha! Oh, come on! That's funny! No? Never mind."
Before the awkward silence that then followed could fulfil its proper potential to hang awkwardly a horrible, desperate wailing noise rang around the entirety of the console room, shaking its walls with fervour and knocking over the vicar's cup of tea.
"What was that?" asked Bonnie, readjusting her brown pigtails.
"That was a distress signal," answered the Doctor, frowning. "You should have heard it in English. Clearly your spire," here he added a glare at the vicar, "has bodged up the TARDIS' translation matrix somehow. I just don't know how to fix it."
Bonnie, who was still fiddling with her pigtails, tapped the Doctor's shoulder. "Are we going to go and help them?"
"What? Oh! Yes. The distress signal. Of course. Yes. Right. Errm… I just need to try and lock the TARDIS onto the signal's source…" he began flipping controls and switches and pressing all kinds of buttons. "Right! That should do it. Hm." He held a small black box in his hand and looked confused. "Oh dear. That's not supposed to be portable."
"Doctor? What's wrong?"
"Nothing," insisted the Doctor, as the TARDIS flipped disturbingly like a sick stomach from side to side. "There is absolutely nothing wrong."
The TARDIS turned upside down and lights that even the Doctor hadn't known were there began to flash.
"Are you still sure that there's nothing wrong?" asked Bobbie.
"A perfectly normal side effect of time travel, I assure you," the Doctor told him as he floated by, since the gravity had apparently just disappeared.
All of a sudden, water rushed in from the surrounding corridors and the vicar looked alarmed.
"Okay," gurgled the Doctor. "Maybe the crash has damaged the TARDIS a little more than I thought."
As if to confirm his thoughts, the TARDIS thunked to a halt, drained all of the water and made an unhappy juddering sound.
"Well," the Doctor clapped his hands together. "We're here! Right…" he turned to his two recently acquired companions and frowned at them. "How did you two get so wet? Never mind," he rooted around in his tool box until he found what he was looking for. "Here. Have this."
Bobbie received the towel thrown at his head with no little disgruntlement.
"Now!" exclaimed the Doctor. "Here's what's going to happen: Bonnie, you can have this." He handed her the little black box he'd been clutching since it had detached itself from wherever it was supposed to be.
"What is it?"
"It's the heart of the translation matrix."
Bonnie didn't really look any more enlightened.
"It's sort of like a giant walkie-talkie," he tried again. "One person speaks their language into one end, and the TARDIS translates it into the language the TARDIS-traveller needs to understand. Except, it does it telepathically, so you hear it in your head. So maybe it's not like a walkie-talkie. Give me a minute: I'll think of a better analogy…"
"No, please, Doctor," Bonnie looked alarmed at the thought of having to hear anymore. "It's fine."
"Yes. Right. Well. Here's what I need you to do with it: keep hitting it with that."
He passed her a hammer.
"What's this?" asked Bonnie.
The Doctor frowned. "That's a hammer."
"Do you see this light, here?" the Doctor pointed to a very small spec that could easily have been missed, in the top right hand corner. It was not currently lit but was simply sitting there, looking back at them dimly, glumly. Bonnie nodded. "Yes, good. Well keep hitting it and watch that light. It'll flash purple when we find the source of the transmission. It'll flash red when it's fixed. If it turns green, you've hit it too many times. Shall we go and see who's in trouble then?"
"But, wait! Doctor!" cried Bonnie desperately, holding the box in her hand with a perplexed expression, afraid already that it might start flashing green. "What happens if it flashes green?"
The Doctor, however, had already sauntered off out of the TARDIS to go exploring, and had, in fact, been followed by the vicar, who had clearly already sussed that sticking to the madman was his best chance of survival, which sounded like a strange rule of survival, but when everything else around you has gone mad, mad people are probably the ones to turn to.
At the sight that met Bonnie's eyes when she stepped out of those blue front doors, she forgot all about a flashing green light. "Doctor!" she gasped, covering her mouth with her hand. "Doctor! What's happened here?"
"I have no idea," he answered quietly, and honestly.
The unfamiliar land around them was charred to the point of being totally unrecognisable. What could have been buildings, trees, or even homes were melted blackly to the ground in horrible, ashen piles like the scattered remnants of an unimaginably huge bonfire. As they drew closer, on gentle, tentative feet, inspecting their surroundings, they came to identify the blurry smudges that were dotted about randomly, poking up from the ground in obscure, jagged shapes and patterns, as people; screaming, crying, dying people.
"People frozen in the instant of death forever," observed the Doctor, with that age-old sadness in his voice. "This must be where the distress signal came from." He turned to move back to the TARDIS. "There's nothing we can do to help these people now. It's too late. I'm too late. I hate it when that happens."
"Doctor," Bonnie spoke quietly. "The light isn't purple."
"The light isn't purple? I don't see what that has to do with… Oh. Oh, I see," the Doctor scratched his ear in thought.
"What light?" demanded Bobbie, who hadn't heard their earlier conversation, as he'd been too busy towelling his ears. "What are you two talking about? And where in God's name are we? What terrible thing has happened here, Doctor?"
"I don't know what happened," he admitted. "And I don't know where we are because the TARDIS isn't working properly, but if that light isn't purple then it means we haven't found the source of the distress signal yet and that means that there's somebody still alive here."
With that, he turned away and marched off, leaving the others to hurriedly follow after him.
"Oh, and Bonnie? You'd better be hitting that matrix."
There was a pathetic 'thwap' that was presumably Bonnie hitting the matrix with her hammer.
"Harder than that, Bonnie, honestly! Knock it into next week!"
A louder bang followed this instruction and the Doctor smiled, but it was hard to smile when there was the stench of burning bodies in the air, and with hardened faces, they all began to search.
"Is anybody there?"
"You can come out!"
"We're just trying to help!"
"Doctor, we don't even know how big this planet is!" Bonnie sighed, still hitting the box, as they stumbled around what they assumed were streets, now all turned strangely curvy as they moulded together. "It could take forever to search for someone!"
"Planet? You're telling me we're on another planet? Pish," said Bobbie, who'd turned red in the face from all the physical exertion. "I refuse to believe that any of this is happening. None of this exists. I must have eaten too much cheese last night; I'm just having a bad dream."
"Fine," shouted the Doctor. "And if you don't shut up it will soon get much worse. Is there anybody here?" he yelled out into the distance, staring into a crumbling, simmering forest, where flames still flickered on the tops of the branches.
"Do you think there's somebody trapped in that wood?" Bonnie wondered.
"I really hope not," replied the Doctor, already heading towards it like a man who just doesn't know when to stop.
They tramped across the grey, grey grass solemnly and slowly, no one wanting to mention that even the sky was a horrible, ominous black lit by sickly yellow stars (which had been an observation worrying them for some time) but before they reached the woods, Bonnie, upon lifting up her hammer in preparation for smacking the matrix again, shrieked.
"It's purple!" she exclaimed. "Doctor! Doctor! It's purple! But there's no one here…"
The Doctor peered over her shoulder at the faint light. "Hm. I'd call that more of a blue-y-indigo: we must be getting close. Tell me when it turns violet - that will mean they're right under our noses."
Bobbie pointed to the edge of the woods, where a little building had only just become visible. "What's that?" The light on the matrix jumped at even the mention of the building. "What was that?"
"Well… It could have been random," admitted the Doctor. "But I'd bet my bow tie it's not! C'mon! The source of our signal is in that building and there's someone still alive who needs rescuing! Let's go! No time for lollygagging!"
With that they ran and ran, and ran and ran, and ran; in fact, I think I'll not tell you about all of the running they did, because there was such an awful lot of it and you'd get bored. I'll just tell you that they reached the building and that, by the time they did, their calves hurt. And their thighs. And they were out of breath. Actually, it was the two humans who were gasping and keeling over; in fairness to the Time Lord, he was looking as chipper and ready to go and save the world, or indeed fight the world (depending on which world it is we're speaking of), if necessary, as he always did.
The building they reached looked bigger than it had from a distance (not uncommon) and the brickwork had tasted fire, turning it a strange, smoky colour. They stepped across the threshold where there had once been a door but now was only a pile of tiny flecks of ashes, quickly ground up beneath their feet.
Inside they blundered about impossibly through thick, smouldering, smothering smog, until the Doctor removed his sonic screwdriver and twisted it, turning it into a torch, offering the explanation, "Handy, isn't it? I use it mostly for unlocking doors in the dark. You never can see what you're doing… Think of it as like having a torch on your key ring."
Bobbie nodded. He couldn't really think of anything else to do or say, other than, of course, protesting that none of this was real and there didn't seem to be any good reason to say that right now as opposed to a few minutes earlier or later.
"Doctor," whispered Bonnie, in the frightened tone of voice of a reluctant discoverer. "I think you should come over here."
Bonnie had stepped into a side-room, which, at first glance, appeared to be smaller than the first, but was actually only concealed by a thick, black curtain. Upon hauling this curtain back, it took all three of them to do this; they discovered some great, dark hall, with a high ceiling, two floors, the second of which looked down upon the first, almost as if to judge it. There was furniture scattered about, most probably made of wood from the nearby forest, and when they stooped low some carvings in the legs and arms of chairs remained.
It was whilst she was stooping low, stooping very low indeed to examine one of these chairs, squinting in the poor light, Bonnie screamed. She screamed and jumped back, because the arm of a chair she had been so close to touching was still being touched by a human arm, resting against it, burnt into it.
The people here had become the furniture.
"Doctor, I don't like it here," Bonnie whimpered.
"I don't think you're meant to," he answered her, examining the place with a critical eye. "This is a court room; it's not meant to make people feel at ease."
"But Doctor, the people… This must have been horrible…."
"I know, Bonnie," he looked at her. "But there isn't anything we can do for them. And we need to find the source of the signal. The sooner the better. Bobbie? What are you looking at?"
"None of this is real," was what Bobbie said, apparently in response, sounding spooked. "You're all just figments of my imagination."
"Look, Bobbie, I am getting really tired of being told that I'm not real, alright?" growled the Doctor. "Do you think we could possibly have a big philosophical debate about existence later?"
"None of this is real, Bobbie, none of this is real," repeated the vicar, who clearly hadn't heard a word the Doctor had said, and was now just muttering to himself.
The Doctor's eyebrows flickered with realisation and he edged across the sticky floor towards him. "Bobbie? Bobbie, what have you seen?"
"Doctor! Doctor the light! Doctor it's purple! I mean violet! Whatever. It's definitely a really bright purple. Not blue." After saying this, she hit it again with the hammer for good measure.
"Thank you, Bonnie," The Doctor nodded his head calmly, still tiptoeing down to the very end of the courtroom, where Bobbie stood in shadows, hyperventilating. "Bobbie? Can you hear me, Bobbie? Stay calm. It is very important that you stay calm. Whatever you've seen, it is real..."
Here Bobbie wailed, which was not encouraging. The Doctor had almost reached him now.
"It's real, Bobbie, but you don't have to be frightened of it. Imaginary things can be far more frightening than real things, because they don't have any weaknesses; real things always have a weakness, Bobbie. Remember that." By now, the Doctor had reached his side and was watching the vicar closely, reassuringly.
Bobbie pointed straight ahead.
Very, very slowly, as though his neck was terribly brittle and he was afraid of snapping it in two, the Doctor turned his head to follow the direction of Bobbie's finger. There, in front of them, tied in horrid green chains to a chair, was a very large, furry blue creature, with sorry eyes.
It looked at them.
They looked at it.
Bobbie screamed. Bonnie screamed because Bobbie had.
The Doctor laughed and clamped a hand over Bobbie's mouth to make him shut up. Bonnie fell silent shortly afterwards. "You don't need to be afraid of him," said the Doctor, laughing. "Oh, Bobbie… Can I keep you? You really are the funniest humanoid I've met in ages!"
The vicar met this sentence with a very long frown and then said, "Rubbish."
"Of course I speak most alien languages…" said the Doctor, arrogantly, and it seemed, irrelevantly, until he followed it by saying: "But hearing the signal from him perplexed me. It's him the signal's from, right Bonnie?"
"Yes, Doctor. Definitely. Doctor?"
"Of course it makes sense now, perfect sense. You see, when I heard it, I thought I recognised it, but I couldn't have told you exactly what it meant. And do you want to know which language it was familiar to? Of course you do! It was Gallifreyan. That seemed curious when we were on the TARDIS, so I didn't say anything about it then, but now it makes perfect sense!"
"Is that how you knew it was a distress signal, then, Doctor?" asked Bonnie.
"Of course not, don't be stupid. Anyone who heard that noise could have told you it was a distress signal. It certainly wasn't a party invitation. Besides, with my luck, chances are it's a distress signal. Now… What was I saying?"
Bonnie was frowning down at the matrix, which she had stopped whacking some time ago. "Doctor?"
"Ah! Yes. Of course. Well, you see, the fact that the signal was similar to Gallifrayan makes perfect sense now that I've seen this fellow here! Because, you see, I know who he is!"
"You know him?" these were the first words Bobbie had spoken in a while, and he spoke them whilst staring up at the creature in terror.
"Not personally. I know his kind, or rather, I know of them. We learnt about them in history, I used to have a picture of one in my textbook."
"We?" inquired Bobbie faintly; as the creature's pale eyes stared emptily ahead.
"Others like me. We used to co-exist on Gallifrey with another race, the Scapers, but we didn't treat them well. Actually, that's a bit of an understatement. It's not just humans who react to what they don't understand with fear, you know, Bobbie," he told the frightened vicar, clapping him on the back. "And like humans, we let our fear turn into anger. I'm not proud of it, although I wasn't involved. They were blamed for everything that went wrong, they were mistreated, they became lesser beings in society, and eventually they were banished to live in places that we knew were uninhabitable. I didn't know that any had survived," here the Doctor smiled loosely up at the chained Scaper, who stared back at him in return, looking inexplicably fearful. "Maybe today I can amend a little of what my race did to theirs." The Doctor looked at the chains that held the creature in abhorrence. "What have they done to you? See, Bobbie? See what fear of what we don't know can lead us to?"
Bobbie opened his mouth to answer but had nothing to say, only his shame and confusion answered for him. The Doctor moved forwards to break the chains with his sonic screwdriver, a look of determination on his hard face, but then Bonnie spoke from behind them.
"Doctor! Have you looked around yourself?" she gestured to the awful condition of the courtroom and the people melted crisply into chairs. "Don't you think it's suspicious that he's survived? We don't even know why he's here in the first place! I think a better question would be what has he done to them?"
The Doctor paused, and let his eyes slowly creep around the destroyed room, his hands slinking back to his side. His eyes met the Scaper's, and it stared back at him with that same fear, that same emptiness, that same lack of understanding. The Doctor squinted, and saw a lack of empathy.
"You're right, I'd forgotten," The Doctor spoke quietly, rubbing his temples, as long-blocked-out History lessons came rocketing back to him. "They have a certain amount of psychic energy that they can unleash when threatened."
"A certain amount?" asked Bobbie disbelievingly. "Have you seen this place? He's burnt it to the ground!"
"And he doesn't care," added the Doctor quietly, staring into the Scaper's eyes. "He doesn't care about them, all these people he's killed."
"Doctor," Bonnie called. "Doctor, the light's red."
"Then it's fixed. Stop hitting it," he replied, not taking his eyes off the Scaper's, which were growing wider and more panicked by the second, darting about as it wrestled uselessly with its chains.
"But, Doctor! I think it made a noise a minute ago…"
"That doesn't matter. That will just be a translation of the original signal it received. Until it's connected to the TARDIS again it's not programmed to transmit anything else, so it'll keep repeating that one translated signal every once in a while. Just don't hit it again, or you'll break it."
"Don't interrupt me again, Bonnie," the Doctor narrowed his eyes, and stared at the Scaper, whose breathing was harsh and who looked ready to scream with terror. Its eyes were still scoping the room murderously frantically as its three sets of pupils dilated into each other. "You sent me a distress signal," said the Doctor, leaning towards the Scaper. "That was very clever of you, congratulations. Tricking a Time Lord into coming and rescuing you; after all, who else would feel guilty enough to overlook the fact that you were clearly the one on trial here in the first place?"
"Doctor!" wailed Bobbie. "If this thing is as dangerous as you say it is when it gets frightened, don't you think you ought to stop scaring it?"
"Nonsense! I'm willing to bet my life that it burned itself out on that last little exertion, and it's going to take a while to build up its strength again." The Scaper only grew more nervous at this, twitching in its seat, scraping its hands, which were strangely small for its size, against its legs again and again and again.
Bobbie kicked the leg of a nearby chair in frustration. "But I'm not willing to bet mine!"
"Shut up. Now, you nearly caught me. I nearly went along with your plan. But, thanks to my friend Bonnie, I've caught you instead. What could these people have possibly done to deserve this? Because you didn't just torture the people in this Court Room, oh no; you tortured all the innocent people on the streets as well. They can't have done anything to you! Don't you care about them at all?"
The Scaper showed not an ounce of concern in its eyes for the humans, it simply tossed and turned in anxiety.
"Selfish!" screamed the Doctor, leaping away, hitting the Judge's desk and making the Scaper flinch. "And you want me to help you? Me help you?"
"Doctor!" called Bonnie, watching the red light on the matrix. "Doctor! The transmission! It's going to play again!"
"Be quiet!" snapped the Doctor. "Why on earth should I help you?"
The Doctor stood right in front of the Scaper, staring into its eyes, which, for once, were staring back, with fear, fear, fear shining through tears. Watching the alien looking almost terrified to look away, the Doctor spoke coldly, "Give me one good reason why I should help you."
The matrix crackled behind them and its red light twinkled. "Please," it whispered.
The Doctor stood silently for a second, looking at the creature, as it looked back at him. "That's good enough for me."
Bonnie dropped the matrix to the floor and it flashed sickly green in warning. In one swift motion, with a click, she pulled from her side a Thunderbolt 3000-78 Intergalactic Issue Handgun and aimed it at the Doctor's head. "Freeze! Doctor Whoever the hell you are, I am arresting you for attempting to aid the escape of a dangerous criminal. Come with me or I swear I'll blow your brains out."
The Doctor, to his credit, didn't raise an eyebrow, but he did raise his hands. "Is that the version of the speech you're supposed to give?"
She shrugged. "Something like it."
Bobbie kicked the chair leg again. "What's going on now?"
"I am X-Quadrant Detective Mole, with the Intergalactic Police Force, and I've been placed undercover in order to arrest the Doctor," Bonnie answered.
"Arrest him for what?" asked Bobbie.
Bonnie shrugged. "With his reputation, he was bound to do something eventually. We just needed to catch him in the act. I was sent undercover in advance of any actual crime."
"Oh, that is so Minority Report," responded the vicar, sounding impressed.
"I thought you didn't approve of science fiction?" asked Bonnie.
Bobbie stuck his fat nose in the air. "Not officially."
"Oh come on!" shouted the Doctor, turning to look incredulously at the Scaper. "There's no such thing as the Intergalactic Police Force!"
"I'm afraid there is, Doctor and we've been monitoring you and your suspicious criminal activities for some time. You do know that you have to apply for a permit for all time-travel related activities?"
"Is your name even Bonnie?" wondered the vicar, but nobody was listening to him.
"But I'm a Time Lord!" whined the Doctor. "It can't possibly apply to me!"
"Everybody thinks the rules don't apply to them, Doctor," said Bonnie. "But if no one followed the rules, then where would we be?"
"Err… Having a lot more fun?" he answered.
Bonnie was not impressed by this. "Leave the dangerous alien behind and come with me. I'm going to call for back-up and he'll be impounded and will serve life for his crimes, however long his life is. If he's lucky he might be transferred to Z-Quadrant, they still have capital punishment there."
"Lucky?" cried the Doctor in alarm, looking back to the sad, frightened Scaper. "Bonnie, listen to me… We've been friends, haven't we? I've taken care of you; we've done some fun stuff, right?"
"Listen, Doctor, this is my least favourite part of the job, okay? If you just come with me and don't give me any trouble then it will be easier for all of us. Bobbie included." (Bobbie was looking a little left-out at this point.)
"Bonnie, please, just listen to me, please…" the Doctor looked back at the Scaper and grinned.
"Why are you grinning? What is funny about this situation?"
"Bonnie, what are the first two words a parent teaches their child?" he asked, staying where he was, but hopping from foot to foot with an uncontrollable amount of energy that suggested there was a brilliant thought in his head about to come bursting out one way or another.
"I don't know. Mum and Dad? And you probably ought to start calling me Detective Mole now."
"No, Bonnie, try again."
"I don't know!" she insisted, looking about ready to drag him off into police custody then and there.
Bobbie looked thoughtful. "Please and thank you?"
"Yes!" the Doctor yelled, punching the air and accidentally jumping up then falling over with the force of said punch. He tried to collect himself and make it look as though the whole thing had been deliberate. "You're brilliant, Bobbie! Absolutely brilliant! In all languages, parents teach their children please and thank you! Okay, so maybe they're not the first two words, but most kids learn if they want something, they've got to say please! Am I right?"
The other two looked at him blankly.
"Of course I'm right! I'm always right!"
"Doctor? What's this got to do with anything?" asked Bonnie, tapping her gun against her temple in a manner that could have been menacing, but was actually probably just absentminded.
"Isn't it obvious? I've never seen a real Scaper before, so I don't know how big they grow. His eyes! I told you they didn't have any empathy in them, any understanding of what he'd done? Well, of course they didn't! He's a child, Bonnie!" the Doctor snapped his fingers, and pointed at the Scaper. "He's just a child. These people, for whatever reason, thought he'd done something and put him on trial. They can't have known he was just a child, or if they did, they didn't care. When he said 'please' he was asking for something. Asking for help, asking for them to stop, I don't know. I'd guess it's one of the two. What happened here was a tragic accident, but the people in this courtroom are partly to blame. This is an infant Scaper with no idea of how to control his energy; he didn't know what would happen when he used it, I don't think he meant to hurt them, he was just frightened. In fact," the Doctor took a look at the chains that were keeping the Scaper in place. "These chains are coated in acid. They've been torturing him; the energy that came from him, that sent the distress signal to us and destroyed this planet, I think that was just him crying. I don't know what these people thought he was, but, Bonnie, he is just a child."
Bonnie looked at the Scaper. It didn't look any different in appearance or in manner, it was simply sitting there, frightened for its life it seemed, frightened of them, the building, of everything. In fact, it didn't even seem to know the people there were dead. It still looked at them and shuddered. Not the way one grimaces upon seeing a corpse, but the way one flinches at the sight of an enemy, someone who can do you harm. This creature had no comprehension whatsoever of what it had done.
"Detective Mole, the back-up fleet you requested is on its way. Two Minutes. Stall the Doctor."
The crackly voice pierced the great void of silence that had consumed them since the Doctor's enormous speech.
"Bonnie!" yelled the Doctor. "You said you hadn't called for back-up yet!"
She winced. "I lied, Doctor. I'm sorry. I was following orders."
"Two minutes," said the vicar, breathing out with a big, exhausted whoosh.
"I'll stay here, Doctor, you go," commanded Bonnie.
"What?" asked both the men, looking stunned.
"Take him with you," she gestured to the Scaper, and the Doctor began to undo its chains with his sonic screwdriver. "We don't have time for this! You have to get back to the TARDIS! There's no way you'll do that in two minutes."
"I don't know," joked Bobbie. "I can run pretty fast."
"Look," Bonnie told them. "I'll say you got away this time, I'll say you outwitted me, I'll say anything! You're off the hook. Just go!"
"Alright," agreed the Doctor. "Are you sure you'll be okay?"
"I'll be fine," she insisted. "It's you idiots I'm worried about. Go, now! Oh," she picked the matrix up off the floor by her feet. "And take this stupid thing with you. Sorry I broke it."
Just then the chains finally broke free, clanging gloriously, and the Doctor led the reluctant Scaper to its feet, took it by the hand, or paw, if you prefer, and broke into a mad run, closely (or perhaps not so closely, considering his speed) followed by Bobbie, the vicar.
Their three sets of feet hammered through the field towards the town, but overhead they could hear the drone of space crafts approaching.
"There isn't time!"
The matrix in the Doctor's hand gurgled miserably at this and fizzled, emitting sparks, sending out some kind of signal. This was immediately followed by the sudden appearance of the TARDIS right in front of their noses, so that they ran straight into it, literally into it, through the doors and into the console room. The Doctor frowned behind himself at the unlocked doors, swinging open merrily. "I could have sworn I locked those…" he muttered. "Ah, well. Let's just be grateful for malfunctioning TARDIS'! Back to earth, eh, vicar?"
The vicar nodded his head and turned to look at the Scaper, who was wandering around the TARDIS happily, poking things and sniffing stuff.
"Off we go! Oh, and do try to hold on to something," advised The Doctor. "I'm not sure that the door lock is working properly."
Back on the wasteland of a planet they'd left behind, Bonnie was shrugging her shoulders and explaining to her Chief Gamma-Sergeant 90E5 York, that the Doctor was really just too wily for one mere detective to try and cope with alone. Maybe they should give up, she suggested, since the backlog of parking tickets they had on the TARDIS was so massive it took up an entire Quadrant's filing system. Chief Gamma-Sergeant 90E5 York thought he smelled a rat, and said that, if one detective wasn't enough, then they'd send a whole army of detectives at him; they'd send the entire Intergalactic Police Force after him if necessary. He also warned X-Quadrant Detective Mole that defecting to become a Doctor sympathiser was a serious crime, and she turned a little red at that.
The Doctor managed to fly the TARDIS back to the vicar's church after three attempts, and after sitting around fiddling with it for a while (the TARDIS, not the church, or the vicar) he managed to fix it. Mostly. You probably wouldn't have noticed the damage, unless you were looking for it. Other than the dented roundel; that was probably going to be permanent.
As they examined said roundel - the Doctor with an air of exasperation - Bobbie had an idea.
"Doctor? Can I ask you something?"
"Go for it, Bobbie."
"Now that the TARDIS is fixed, why don't we just go back in time and stop all of it from happening in the first place? Rescue the Scaper and save the people?"
"Oh, Bobbie. It's never that easy," he smiled. "But I admire you for wanting to. We can't go back because that would mean crossing our own time stream, and you should always avoid doing that. It can be really dangerous."
"Oh. Will you ever see Bonnie again, Doctor?"
"I don't know. But it explains the elephant joke."
"I told you that I wasn't clear about who she was, right? She must have wiped my memory, or something, and used that to get undercover. All I knew was that one day she appeared by my side and started saying she was my new assistant."
"Weird," declared Bobbie.
"Decidedly. I knew something was off."
"So why did you keep her around? Because of that whole 'keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer'?"
"No, that's stupid. Then they'd hear everything you were saying to your friends. Who says that?"
"I don't know. People."
The Doctor rolled his eyes. "I kept Bonnie around because I wanted to know what she was up to."
"I think that's the same principle as 'keep your friends close…'" Bobbie tried to explain, but the Doctor completely cut across him, suggesting he wasn't listening at all in the first place.
"And because of the elephant joke."
"What elephant joke?"
"Well, obviously I asked her some questions, and, to explain about herself, she said we met when I told her the elephant joke."
Bobbie, by this point, was now wriggling, itching with anticipation at the thought of this silly joke. "What's the joke?"
"Oh. Err. How does an elephant ask for a bun?"
"I don't know, how does an elephant ask for a bun?"
The Doctor drew his hand up the sleeve of his coat to make a trunk and waved it around in front of his nose, then put on a funny, nasal voice. "Please, sir, can I have a bun?"
Bobbie looked at him blankly, coughed, and then said, "Well it does sound like the sort of joke you would tell."
"Yes!" exclaimed the Doctor. "That's what I thought! But something's been bothering me about it, and I've realised what it is!"
"I wouldn't tell the punch line like that, would I? Because that's not how an elephant asks for a bun. I'd say it like this," the Doctor insisted, before trumpeting in a manner indistinguishable from your standard elephant.
"You speak elephant?" asked a dumbfounded Bobbie.
"Of course. Don't they teach that in schools anymore?"
What the TARDIS being largely repaired meant was that the translation matrix was soon back in business, and they'd been able to reassure the Scaper that everything was alright, that no one was going to hurt him, and that there were no people under his bed (the Doctor had given him his own room in the TARDIS, but his sleep was usually disturbed by nightmares). Once the Scaper was feeling a bit better, they were even able to ask him if he wouldn't mind doing them a favour and fixing the nice vicar's church roof for them, which he very obligingly did. The vicar then shook their hands, declared it was time for them to part, and told them that they had no business whatsoever existing, which, if you think about it, they probably didn't.
The Scaper, whose name loosely translates as Morris, you might well like to know, gave the Doctor some rough idea of where he lived. He said it was big, with red and purple spots on the ground and yellow rivers; the Doctor, with his extensive knowledge of the universe, couldn't not know about a planet like that. He'd just never known there were any Scapers on it.
And so it all ends rather happily, I think.
The Doctor thought so too, returning to his TARDIS after five days of searching for Morris' parents, and having now returned him to them, safe and sound, and also managing to heal the bond between Time Lord and Scaper somewhat. He felt good about himself. So good, in fact, that he wanted to listen to some music and dance around.
He reached out to his iPod dock, only to find his iPod missing.
"Bach…" he growled venomously. "I'm going to get you!"