Welcome, everybody, to the first chapter of the sequel! Hopefully you're all still with me, and are ready for another adventure with Kia and the Doctor. Check out my profile for links to fan-art and facebook, which contains updates and general extra facts. But for now, do enjoy the adventures of Kiarna Pullman and her Doctor.
Don't Look Back
Time is fickle. It may seem like a straight line when it's really a giant scribble. It changes perceptions; it flies away when there's fun to be had, yet lingers and crawls when there's nothing to do. There's always more time, but it's never enough.
The streets of London were busy, being a few hours after lunch on a Tuesday as it was. Nonetheless, not a single pair of eyes wandered to a bus stop with a broken backing, behind which a blue box had mysteriously appeared. It hadn't been there on the Monday, and it probably wouldn't be there on the Wednesday. The box appeared and disappeared at random, but always came to that same spot.
Apparently, the chip shop across the street sold the best in the universe.
That is, if you were to ask the two occupants of that box, both of whom stumbled out into the waning daylight, hand in hand, laughing so hard it brought tears to their eyes and made their lungs burn. Coils of smoke drifted out from the box behind them, smelling slightly of burnt rubber, but neither seemed concerned about it. Indeed, they hardly seemed to notice anything outside of one another, and the conversation they were intensely involved with.
"Did you see his face as we left?" the Doctor cried, his voice going up an octave as he attempted to re-enact the scene. In stitches beside him, it was all I could do to stay upright, recalling the Bleecratt Lord and how he had turned all shades of angry green when the Doctor politely informed him that he was not eligible to become a concubine. We'd thought it was me the Lord was after, until he rudely shoved me out the door to discuss... "business" with the Doctor.
If the fact that we were now banned from that planet due to the Doctor's apparent sex appeal wasn't funny enough, watching the Time Lord bulge out his eyes and blow a raspberry certainly was. His ears wriggled. "I was waiting for him to order your head off!" I giggled back, gasping for breath in between words.
He swung our hands between us as we crossed the street, the scent of chips already luring us in, two helpless fish on a line. "Beheading? Oh, no, no! They haven't had a beheading on Bleecratt in centuries. Don't be so barbaric," the Doctor scolded me, mock-serious as he winked when I raised my eyebrow at him. "They boil you and eat you."
"I think he would've eaten you without the boiling, since you're so nummy-nummy." I couldn't believe I'd said it, but someone had to. I'd put up with days of watching the aristocrat fall over himself trying to impress the Doctor, while the man himself remained purposefully oblivious to the intentions, when all we wanted to do was get out.
The Doctor shot me an affronted look, shaking his head at my poor impersonation of a big, purple beach-ball of a Lord simpering over the Doctor's very footsteps. "You are disgusting," he informed me cheerfully, as we took our usual booth by the window. He liked watching the people and I just wanted the food, so I didn't care where we sat.
"Like you're not," I retorted, recalling with a brief look of horror the mess he'd made of the dinner the night before. We'd stayed in the TARDIS, neither of us feeling up to facing Earth, and he insisted on trying to cook me a delicacy from a planet I couldn't even pronounce. What we ended up with was molasses-thick sludge that smelled of dead fish. The Doctor had insisted that it tasted better than it smelled and promptly devoured the lot, as my appetite had ducked for cover and my poor stomach did somersaults of protest.
"That dish was a delicacy from the Ovyorus Cluster in the Endula System. Show a bit of appreciation for fine cuisine, you uncultured ape."
Sniffing in derision, I crossed my arms and sat back in my seat. "I'm back to being an ape, am I?" The Doctor replied with an unworried grin as a plate of chips appeared between us. I greedily wolfed down a handful or two, having avoided the kitchen and food the entire night. "I suppose the fact that I saved your sorry arse on Naroosh and Bleecratt is forgotten?" He'd done something to irritate the authorities, they tossed him in the dungeon. I hadn't saved him so much as paid his bail, but it got him released so it counted as saving. Not to mention that while he was in the dungeon for the compulsory twelve-hour internment on Naroosh, I'd found the kidnapped TARDIS and managed to locate the missing Princess. Her disappearance had been enough to almost incite a savage civil war which threatened to destroy the Narooshians, which had been the cause of our landing there in the first place.
Pausing momentarily, the Doctor shrugged. "Considering I saved you on Felspoon, in Ancient Egypt and from being delivered as sacrifice to the tomb of Umiph, on Umiphadz, yes." Ah, yes. Lovely time on Felspoon; trapped in a ski-lift to the top of the swaying mountains, while time froze around me and life-eating monsters tried to devour my soul. Definitely going back. Ancient Egypt was even better, when just breathing in the wrong dust mite could potentially rot your insides in a tenth of a second, fantastic.
Grumbling under my breath, I surrendered with the knowledge that I owed him my life more than he owed me foremost in my mind. He smirked triumphantly, fuelling my seething determination to one day win a game of wits against the mad alien. "So, why 2005?" I asked, having caught the date on the way out of the TARDIS.
"No reason," the Doctor replied evenly, quickly shoving a few chips in his mouth to avoid having to continue. The plate was empty now but for the crispy parts of the chip that were my absolute favourite, and the Doctor knew better than to protest when I dragged the plate nearer and crunched them one by one.
"There's always a reason with you. Nothing's random," I reminded him, shaking my head slightly with a disbelieving smile. Sheepishly, he shrugged and looked out at the people passing us by, before searching the shop and beckoning me in a little closer.
"Alright. My scanner picked up on a transmitting signal, far beyond the capabilities of anything Earth has in this time period. I don't know what, or who, but I intend to have a chat and find out."
"And calmly shunt them off if they're misbehaving?" I assumed, grinning when he nodded. I ignored the eye-roll, as I'm sure he ignored my sarcastic summary of what we really would do.
We fell silent for a moment or two while I finished my food, and, finally sated, we paid- my money, he never had any unless he broke an ATM- and left to walk along the street, never straying too far from the TARDIS. "There's a strong chance that something will happen near this location," he explained, nodding along the street. "That's why I've landed us here; we always land within a day or two of our previous selves taking off." The explanation was unnecessary, but I appreciated it all the same. He seemed to forget that he'd taught me how to input co-ordinates and read the scanner even if it wasn't in a translatable language. No need to worry about that on Earth, though; it was amazing though how strange it felt to be back home for more than just a pit-stop. We had been travelling for just over ten months now, more than half of that off-planet and half a universe away. Coming home to Earth and staying felt odd, but in a good way.
"I noticed," I nodded; it was partly why I questioned him on his choice of year. It was amazing really that nobody around here actually noticed the TARDIS, since we always landed in the same spot. Perception filter or not, the blue box wasn't easy to miss in the middle of a busy street like this. Too many eyes. "How do you know it's here?"
The Doctor paused and leaned against a short wall separating us from the beer garden of a small pub. Cigarette smoke made us both wrinkle our noses but we ignored it; the Doctor for studying the area, me for watching him and waiting for an answer.
"I can detect the relay device from here, but it's a vague detection spanning over the entire city. History says there was an explosion at this point though..."
The thought of the Doctor being in another explosion sent me into a momentary panic, before realising that there was nothing I could do to stop him getting involved. If the TARDIS had landed, then we were stuck in the timeline. "Well," I smiled, pushing off the wall and heading for the nearest shop. We might as well do something if we were just waiting around for something to happen; I wanted to see if I could convince the Doctor to wear something other than leather if only to get my greedy little hands on that jacket. "Who are we to argue with history?"
Grinning, and our hands swinging between us, we headed into the department store and straight up to the roof, despite me wanting to stop and check out some of the stores on the way up. The Doctor simply sighed and tugged me onwards, using the sonic to open the staff-only-roof-access doors and the two of us slipped inside. As the door clicked shut behind us, I leapt up the stairs two steps in front of the Doctor, laughing and racing him to the roof.
It felt good to be carefree, to have a bit of quiet time before the danger began. The air was clear and mild atop London, though the building we were on was nowhere near the tallest around. "You go left, I'll go right," the Doctor instructed, as he began scanning the ground with the sonic. I didn't have one of my own, but I did have a pocket-sized nanomechanical loudspeaker which would spike if I came across the relay device, measuring the faint electric signal.
I wandered around the roof, only half paying attention to the loudspeaker's beeping. I was more concerned with the view, and pensively wondering what I'd originally been doing in 2005. Since I didn't meet the Doctor until 2009, my younger self still had a good four years of blissful ignorance before her world came down around her ears. After that, it was all aliens and running and danger and freeing the exploited, defending the innocent and beating the bad guys. I paused beside an air conditioner vent, leaning against it and watching the sun slowly sink down towards the horizon. Four years ago- which was really a few days ahead by the local time- I'd turned nineteen and applied to major in history, figuring it'd be good for something eventually.
It hadn't. Nowhere in my history books was there a mention of ice-men roaming the streets of London on Charles Darwin's twentieth birthday, nor was there a mention of bug-headed aliens swarming through Bristol and making nests out of rubbish dumps. The funniest thing was, though, that if I went to read those same books over again right now there'd be a mention of the ice-men, of the bug-headed aliens, and of two people who appeared to stop both. A man in a leather jacket and his pretty companion. My, how my head blew up when I read about myself and the Doctor, both of us credited as heroes though we hadn't meant to be.
"Kia!" the Doctor snapped me out of my reverie and I started, flinching slightly before turning to dawdle over to him. He was halfway across the roof, standing by a small blue box that really had no differences from a simple meter-cover. I knelt beside it and felt the heat radiating outward from nearly a foot away and the Doctor swept off his jacket, sonic'd the cover, and lifted it off. "Oh, this is beautiful," he breathed.
I tended to agree. It was a mess of wires and lights, but everything had a place and everything did a job- not that I had any clue whatsoever about anything, but it looked cool. "Wow," was all I could utter, reaching out to touch it but being repelled at the very last second. "What's the plan, then? Blow it up?" I grinned, suddenly knowing just why history mentioned an explosion here. Generally, if history mentioned destruction and chaos, the Doctor would've been swanning about somewhere with me tripping on his heels.
"God, you're violent," he muttered absently, ignoring my tongue-poking in favour of performing an artistry of hokery-pokery on the poor transmitter. "After I reroute the general signal to this one device, yes, we'll blow it up." He barely looked at what he was doing, showing off as he switched a few wires and flicked a switch or two. My loudspeaker went utterly berserk in my hand and I dropped it, the force of its' vibrations nearly ripping my arm off. After a momentary wrestle which saw me come off triumphant, I was aware of the bemused look the Doctor was bestowing upon me.
"Like that's the weirdest thing you've seen me do," I grumbled, shoving the loudspeaker into my bigger-on-the-inside pockets. Frequent flyer's privilege, alongside the superphone and the TARDIS key, which I kept on the same chain as Mum's old fob watch. Shaking my fluffier-than-usual hair away from my eyes, I concentrated on the relay device as the Doctor worked; I had no clue what he was doing, but I figured watching him might actually make me smarter.
Apparently, the confusion I felt must've shown on my face because the Doctor cleared his throat, snapping me into proper focus, and pointed at where a little green light blinked lazily above an engraved label reading 'maximum output'. "This should narrow it down to here and the origin," he explained. "By drawing in all the signals from any other relays- this one's the master, by the way- it should, in theory, give us a lead on where the transmissions are from."
"And we can't just check the scanner now?" I asked, already knowing the answer before the Doctor shook his head grimly, shrugging.
He stood up and offered me his hand, which I took without hesitation. "We'll have to wait."
"Oh, my favourite part of the day." The Doctor helped me up and we headed back for the stairs and down into the store, creeping out of the employee's only section with just a little sheepish look at the nearest actual employee, a blonde girl around my age- maybe a bit younger. She just smiled at us weakly and watched us go, the Doctor and his companion.
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Remember to check my profile for the first installment of this series "Changing Me"; it's not a requirement, but there might be some things you won't understand otherwise. And there's the Christmas Special, also linked via my profile page.
Hope you're still with me and as excited as I am for Don't Look Back!
- MS xx