I11 find a way: Romana set a hand on the Doctor's arm:You know there's nowhere in the universe she can go where she won't feel that same hunger. Tianna just smiled. Your heroes often have feet of clay. But you will find many others aboard our vessel with similar stories. The outcomes may not always be as Charley frowned. Coloured blood?
No, Gallifreyan vampires rarely touch Human blood. And this? This is a rather splendid Martian spirit. T'rss, I believe they call it. I used to like it. Charley tried to keep her eye on her, see who she spoke to next but Within seconds, Tianna was out of sight. The Steward placed a fresh drink before her. The Steward shook his head.
They all do. None of them wilt, lose petals or decay in any way. What do you see? A pretty, bright orange flower. I can see a face She frowned. I wished I hadn't. He said they were commemorative as well as ':decorative. I wondered what they commemorated so he told me. Further down the hillside, clumps of scrubby violet grass dotted the Wound, interspersed with long razor-sharp blades of indigo and black, Which swayed in a dusty breeze.
A shallow, cracked canal led down through the vegetation for as far as the eye could seethed end of the valley was lost in a mist-heavy haze, but a series of strangely shaped, yellow-grey tucks were visible, jutting out of the ground near the dry river bed. The soft light of a blue sun made the police box's old paintwork look like new 'Is this where 're supposed to be, then? Well, no,' admitted the Doctor, scanning the purple horizon with his Careful eyes. The concerned expression broke into an impish smile 'But Ws as good a place as any: 'What for?
Together they trudged down the slope, arm-in-arm, while he pointed out interestingly shaped rocks and unusual planets With his umbrella. At one point they found a great swathe of tiny mauve flowers, growing to the dry soil like miniature mesembryanthemums, and each with g glowing amethyst at its centre. They Must be very beautiful at night She shielded her eyes and gazed into the cerulean sunset:It must be evening now.
And while we're waiting for night to fall, we can have a look at those old ruins: He drew his companion's attention to a series of tall, rocky outcrops a little further down the valley. Only now, When she looked at them properly, Ace could see that there was a definite purpose to their arrangement, a symmetry or functionality, which could only mean one thing: intelligent life!
Come on, Professor! Ace thought it was like walking around inside a giant honeycomb. There were no signs of habitation, only the empty shells of places that might once have been homes. The Doctor was poking around at some yellow-green lichen which had formed on the rocks. It was thick and fibrous, but with a dry consistency. It turned to dust under the attention of his umbrella's ferule. They reminded her of cave paintings, although the marks were spiky and uneven, like letters. If it was writing of some kind, then Ace couldn't read it and certainly didn't recognise the language.
And here - numbers. These smaller runes may be children. Representations of a human colony, certainty. Long extinct: Ace shivered. She felt like an intruder now, poking around in someone else's home. Old age? There is any number of fates in this universe It was, as the Doctor had suspected, a beautiful sight. When he tapped Ace on the shoulder and pointed up 33 at the darkening sky, 32she gasped with delight.
High above were two perfect moons, each glittering in the light from the setting sun. As the last rays of the blue sun faded into night, the stars brightened visibly and the twin moons sparkled as though a child had decorated them with glitter. That wasn't a memory she wanted. They walked through the shining field arm-in-arm, marvelling at the colours and frosty petals.
When they turned back to look at the ruins, they saw odd patches of green glowing all over the distant stonework. Ace thought it looked a bit creepy, like a spreading disease or patches of decay. As she watched, a faint, milky vapour seemed to rise around the base of the ruins. The Doctor said it was lichen spores, lifted on the warm air as it evaporated from the ground into the cold night sky.
They watched as it swirled and drifted through the ruins, silent but purposeful in the darkness. When they made it back to the old police box,Ace was breathing a little harder. His eyes narrowed and Ace followed his gaze. She couldn't see anything, but she guessed what he was looking for.
She, too, had felt the presence of someone - or something - following them up the valley. She hadn't liked to say anything, fearing that it was only her imagination. The eerie mist slithering around the old ruins was fresh in her mind. Without another word Ace followed him. The Doctor dematerialised his ship and made them both a mug of hot cocoa.
Ace watched him check the TARDIS instruments for the second and third time since taking off before broaching the subject. Sullen-faced, Ace folded her arms. She felt cold, although it was usually warm in the TARDIS, and that wasn't her imagination: she had the goosebumps to prove it. The Doctor appeared to have lost interest in her: his attention was now Sully absorbed by the flashing readouts on the big, hexagonal console.
Suddenly the main lights dimmed and the room was wreathed in shadow. The Doctor looked up, his face illuminated only by the soft glow of the transparent column in the centre of the console. Ace shivered. The Doctor moved around the console, checking the instruments carefully. He took off his straw hat and scratched his head in puzzlement. I don't know what it is' 'I still feel like someone's watching us' 'Don't be silly' said the Doctor.
Absurdly she felt herself glance around the sterile 34 white room, but there was no one there - except her and the Doctor. It was a distant sound, a gentle but mischievous chuckling The Doctor had turned his attention back to the controls. For quite a while they heard nothing more, as if Ace's direct question had frightened their unseen companion into silence.
But there was no question in Ace's mind that it came from inside the console chamber, seemingly from the very air itself. Ace bridled. I am not scared. I just don't like it' 'Of course not, agreed the Doctor gently 'It's never very nice when someone laughs at you' Is that what it's doing? The pastel glow of the central column cast strange, crystalline sparkles over the walls and ceiling.
All Ace could see of the Doctor now was his face, pale and ghostlike in the darkness. And behind him, another face: faint, transparent, laughing. It vanished the moment she saw it. A face in the darkness, behind you! A little girl, I think - very young, smiling. This has nothing to do with me, Doctor. Ace f elt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. You might as well let us take a look at you' No response. Who is she? He quickly circled the console. It's not very funny: The Doctor's face suddenly brightened, his eyebrows jiggling. But what. Maybe that'll help!
He started to play a tune - Ace thought she recognised mangled version of My Old Man's a Dustman - clapping the spoons Together on his hand, knuckles, elbow, knees and finally the back of his head. The child visitor found it most amusing. She appeared on the other side of the room, her soft young face bright with laughter, captured in the Slow of the central column.
Encouraged, the Doctor launched straight into a metallic variation on Rock Around the Clock. The little girl laughed and even Ace felt herself smiling Eventually the Doctor finished with a flourish and a bow, rolling his hat back up his arm and onto his head with a goofy grin. The girl stayed where was she was, clapping her hands with delight. The girl stopped laughing, started to fade away. Ace ran quickly over to her.
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No - don't go! It's all right. What do you want? She grew more and more transparent, until they could barely see her any more. The readout panels blinked and a series of warning bleeps erupted from the controls. Instantly he began flicking switches and twisting dials, his hands moving in a blur, a look of intense concentration on his face.
What's wrong? Leaning over the instruments, the Doctor continued to wrestle with his ship. The TARDIS whirled and pitched, as though it was careering down the time vortex, impossibly ricocheting between the then and the now Eventually the ship settled, with a few loud bangs and flashes from the electronics. And the little girl laughed. The Doctor stared anxiously at the console:I wish she'd stop doing that. He reached out to touch the console, but his fingers stopped shy of the edge just for a moment, as if he had been struck by a tiny premonition of danger.
And then, because he didn't believe it, he did touch the console, in a deliberate challenge; and then it happened. A horrible spasm of energy threw him backwards, lifting him clear off his feet. When he hit the floor, strange black sparks flashed and crackled around his fingers. Are you all right? It's her. All the while, the girl kept up her soft chuckling, but the Doctor's face was as grim as Ace had ever seen it.
With a merry laugh, she passed straight through Ace like a chill. Ace clutched her chest, feeling as though the blood in ber heart had been painfully frozen. She could still hear the laughter as she fell. Wake up! She turned over and buried her head in her arms. She was lying on something cold and hard like rock or marble. When she opened her eyes, it was as dark as night. A face appeared in the gloom, close up, one she recognised. Come on, wake up When she heard the little girl's laughter,Ace shut her eyes tight.
When the didn't hear the Doctor's voice again, she opened them. He was kneeling on the floor, arms loose at his sides, head back. She could see the veins standing out like wires under his skin. Without waiting for an explanation,Ace crawled over and pulled the door lever. The big grey portals groaned open. There was a shrill cry and a blast of wind seemed to whip out of the TARDIS, carrying the Doctor's straw hat with it into the deep blackness outside. Something snapped the Doctor free of whatever force had held him, and, pausing only to grab Ace's hand, he charged out after his hat.
They were back on the same planet, possibly even the same night they had left. The flowers twinkled in the moonlight. Further down the valley, the lichen-covered ruins glowed softly green. The Doctor was already heading for them, clambering down the dusty slope. Ace followed him, kicking up sparks from the flowers in her rush She caught up with him at the edge of the ruins, where he stood for a while contemplating the strange, hivelike edifice. The lichen had coated his shoes in a film of luminescent dust. He tapped his chin with the handle of his umbrella, his eyes steady and full of thought.
There was no sign of the little girl, and nor had they heard her laughing since leaving the ship The Doctor walked into the ruins, silent and contemplative. Ace watched him carefully as he again examined the pictograms on the internal walls. He was tense, distant, but she could see the concentration on his face as he strove to decipher the glyphs. There might have been a laser beam connecting his eyes to the pictures. It sounded hard and gritty, like an old gravestone.
All the people here died: he continued. She automatically glanced around, looking for homicidal green blobs or monsters. But there was nothing else here, just her and the Doctor. When she looked back at him, he pointed at the ground. She looked down and saw the sofn, velvety lichen covering the sand and rocks beneath her feet.
Glowing spores clung to her boots. She blinked as the realisation hit. But it was impossible. She looked back up at the Doctor. The Doctor prised a38 flat piece of rock from the ground with his brolly, and then used the rock to scrape away 39 the lichen. The sand beneath shifted as he began to scoop out a shallow hole. As Ace watched, the Doctor quickly uncovered something buried in the sand, dry and white.
He delicately brushed away a last skein of dust to reveal a piece of bone, shining in the moonlight. A few more minutes work revealed a skull, perfectly preserved, ribcage, Alpine and arms. The position of the skeleton made it look pathetic rather than frightening.
The Doctor cleared the sand and lichen away from one arm, which appeared to be thrown, outstretched, holding something in its bony fingers. It proved to be another hand, connected to a second 'Skeleton. The two skulls, once revealed, were looking directly at each other, empty eye sockets seeing only each other. He straightened up and brushed the dust from his hands.
Ace wandered out of the dome, feeling cold in the silvery-blue light. Looking down, she could now see shapes in the sand beneath her feet, 'shapes that had been there all along, but somehow unrecognisable. With the toe of her Doc Marten, she scraped away the grey dust until she glimpsed bone. There were bodies everywhere, huddled together beneath the thin blanket of sand, as if seeking warmth or comfort at the moment of death.
He sounded grim, as he cast about the lichen-covered rocks and dirt, his eyes burning into the ground, deciphering the shapes beneath, interpreting the faded language of the dead. He had wandered some distance from the ruins before he finally stopped and knelt, pushing aside dusty clumps of lichen, digging with his hands in the soil beneath. It was loose and dry, parting easily beneath his fingers. He uncovered it soon enough: a small, perfectly human skeleton. Smooth, delicate white bones lay in a fetal curl, hands tucked beneath the as if sleeping. She was over the shock and nausea now; she could start to analyse the position of the paves.
The lichen was moving, the yellow-grey fungus beginning to spread out over the ground, silently, slowly, curling over the edge and then creeping towards the tiny on. Spores appeared on the bones, speckling the surface like mould in a speeded-up film, until the fibrous growth seemed to crawl like flesh all around the body. Lichen bulged inside the ribcage like lungs, and then a heart formed, sprouting arteries and veins and ligaments. Tissue surged up around the spine and into the skull, fleshing out the throat and mouth from the inside.
A dusty film of skin settled over the features as they formed. It was the girt. She stood up and looked at the Doctor and Ace, her eyes glinting strangely in the alien moonlight. But coming from this weird, lichen-made simulacrum, the laughter sounded strange and sinister. She had walked a little way towards the old ruins and when she stopped, she turned to look back at the Doctor and Ace with a more somber expression. The Doctor followed her, stepping softly through the remaining patches of lichen 'I don't understand; he said.
Ace looked at the ground, and saw the shapes of the bones beneath the sand. Where did you find it? No one else cared - except when they started dying: The girl looked down. I didn't know it was going to do that, not to everybody. How could I? And brought it back here' 'Only wanted to show people, that's all They never lit up at night anymore. I went back there every single night but it was always dark. I wanted to see another one light up, just one, but they never did. And the lichen? The flowers all died and they got covered in this stuff: 'It killed the flowers, didn't it?
Well, I didn't know that. They just looked angry to me. Angry and mean. They made me go away, take the lichen with me. It was all over my hands and I couldn't get it off, no matter how hard I scrubbed. I tried wiping it off on the rocks, and I wiped and wiped till my fingers bled, but it Wouldn't come off. It was all over me, suffocating me. Choking them and making them dead' She was crying now. But they threw rocks and things at me and said I'd ruined everything!
The girl looked lost and utterly dejected. Still alive? Allowed the memory of the lichen, or the child it had absorbed, to live on. I'm alive! I can live again, and 'dance and laugh and play! Nothing can change that now. Ace hurried after him, glancing back at the lichen:Can't we help? I will not stop here to bandy words with a Ace looked back at the ruins, but there was no sign of the girl. They didn't seem to be as spectacularly pretty any more. They glinted in the earth like a hundred tiny cat's eyes, watching her, waiting for her to hesitate.
But the Doctor had paused to prod at the ground around the flowers with his umbrella. She was beginning to puff, but there was, thankfully, no sign of pursuit. The Doctor already had his key out when they reached the police box. Ace whirled around in shock, but the girl was nowhere to be seen. Ace could faintly see the girl in the midst of the spores. Her eyes were blazing darkly.
Get lost! I can't! I'm sure we can reach an agreement on this. It maintains a very precise and delicate relationship with the Web of time, and you are a dangerous temporal anomaly. With a last, nervous look at the girl,Ace turned to follow him. You'll leave me here! The Doctor wouldn't do that,'Ace said. Wait here. A terrible wail echoed around the console room, a scream of torment that ended in an infantile sob of terror - and then nothing, except for distant echo that might have been Ace's imagination.
What did you do? She dn't come with us. She should Inver have existed: 'That's terrible: 'I know. His face was dark and heavily lined. He blew imaginary dust from the crown. Well, the result could have been catastrophic. She isn't alive.
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She's dead. It is? Charley eased the vase away from her, back towards the Steward. He just nodded understandingly and without speaking, turned to serve a couple of of men who were standing at the bar. Charley looked them up and down. The nearest was blond, clearly well-built with a good tan and powerful hands that gripped tightly on the green bottle of beer the Steward passed him. He wore a chunky jacket, red with off-white sleeves and an image of a lion sewn over the breast. He glanced at Charley, nodded reassuringly at her and then tapped the other newcomer on the shoulder.
His companion was also drinking straight from a bottle, his brown, the word 'Ale' written in huge letters across it. Before he replied, Charley guessed he'd be a Londoner and she wasn't proved wrong. Nah, mate, not right now. It's had clearly seen better days. As his American friend wandered away, the Londoner spotted Charley. He winked at her and Charley found she was smiling.
What do you mean? The "Web of Time", Charley. You must've done something bad to be here. Listen, I'll tell y'what I mean The best stories always Most people think that they are dirty, dangerous places, full of rubbish. But they're not. One man's junk is another man's jewel. Everything's got value for someone. Back then we still used to do the rounds with the horse and cart. The wagon had been my old man's, but he didn't go out much by then. This WAS the early sixties and the cough that carried him off was already keeping him in his bed most days.
So me and the General did the rounds on our own. It wasn't always a barrel of laughs, ambling slowly round the streets of the East End, wearing my throat hoarse with the traditional street cry -'any old iron: The trick was to run the words into each other, so it just became a strange guttural howl. It was murder on the vocal chords, but it did the job, carrying into the houses so folk would know we were there.
We took everything: old clothes, furniture, crockery; anything and everything. Metal was best of course, easily and swiftly converted into hard cash, but a smart man could make money out of anything that was chucked out and my dad hadn't raised any idiots. Some said my old man was a skinflint. They'd say it was easier to get a drink in the Sahara than get one out of old man Galloway down the Fox and Hounds.
It wasn't true. He could be generous in his own way. He lived by a simple motto: watch the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. And he did. He was never in debt. Not even when the old horse had to go to the knackers yard and he had to stump up to buy the General.
So there I was. Christmas of ' Not as snowbound as the winter the following year but cold enough. The last weeks of the year hadn't been good, they never were. Everything was being hoarded, made good and fixed up ready for the festive season. January's a better time. All those unwanted gifts! I must have been doing the rounds on my own for a couple of years by then. Dad joined me sometimes, on the odd summer's day, insisting on taking the reins and making the cries as long as his lungs held out, which wasn't long, but never in winter.
If there was a hint of frost it was just me, the General and my hip flask on the cold streets, looking to scrape a living. I was only just an adult really, but already it looked like my life was mapped out. I wasn't much of a looker, I guess, and the job didn't really get me very far with the ladies. I didn't reckon much for my chances of getting married any time soon. And then my luck changed. As well as the rounds, and the shop where we sold what we could, we also did house clearances and the like.
They were a bit of a risk; you could spend a backbreaking day carting every last thing out of a house and have nothing but total junk or you could strike it lucky and walk away with a small fortune. A couple of house clearances at the right time of the year meant the difference between getting down to Margate for a week in the summer and no holiday at all. It was a few days before Christmas, and I'd not had a customer all day in the shop. Then, just as I was closing up, this bloke came in and said he had something needing clearing.
An entire junkyard. I thought at first that he was pulling my leg. He was a short man, softly spoken, well dressed. I don't think he was local. He said his name was Hawkins He smiled. Like them teachers that went missing last month. It had been in the local paper. A pair of teachers and a girl, from the same school that they'd taught at, had all disappeared.
He told me that the girl's guardian - one Doctor John Smith - had been his tenant. What was a doctor doing in a junkyard? Hawkins hadn't been able to answer that. All he cared about was the land, not what was on it. Hawkins wanted to build on it but needed it cleared first.
Was I interested or not? He offered a fair fee to clear the lot and said I could make use of anything I took off the site. How could I have refused? I thought it was my lucky day. I didn't know how right I was. Or how wrong. Susan my child, do be careful with that! I've never seen anything bend light like this. Carefully be plucked it from her. This is not just a pretty trinket, you know' An annoyed frown appeared on Susan's forehead.
Why did he have to keep treating her like a child all the time? So what is it she asked haughtily The Doctor was now placing the crystal into a receptacle on one of the panels of the console; a strangely shaped slot that Susan was sure hadn't been there before. I don't think it has a name as such The Blessing Star? You can't always trust your eyes and ears Susan, you need to think about what you see and hear.
That's why I want to stop our travels for a short while. Now don't try and get me to change my mind. You know I won't. I think it will be good for you, just for a while, to be in one place, one time. The familiar groaning and moaning of the Ship's engines began to Jill the room. On the console panel the alien crystal lit up with a myriad of colours. I still don't understand. What is it? How can it help you guide the Ship? The creature is microscopic but is a powerful empath.
It responds to desires, and generates a field of positivity: The engines were really loud now. Outside in the real world the ever adaptable outer plasmic shell of the Ship, currently looking like a large native tree, would begin to fade from existence.
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Surely Grandfather was always telling her that magic didn't exist. But that would be like magic. This creature uses a sophisticated technology, advanced even by our standards, to manipulate multi-dimensional mathematics and alter reality. And it's just what I need to help the Ship's computers direct us to where I want us to be A torrent of sparks exploded from the panel, glass shattering from readouts and sprinkling the floor with sbards. The central column came to a shuddering halt and the overhead lights flickered and then went out. The engines protested and then shut down with an ominous deep thud.
For a moment there was silence and then, from somewhere deep within the bowels of the spacetime craft, a bell could be heard tolling a dire warning. There was the sound of a match striking and then a glow of light as the Doctor lit one of his everlasting matches. He quickly found a candle from a cabinet set into one of the wall decorations. He held the candle horizontally over a flat surface on one of the panels and then set it down in the pool of melted wax he bad created.
Is it Nothing too serious, I imagine. But it may take some time to repair' No, Grandfather the creature. Have you harmed it? But I don't think I'll be using it again somehow Far too dangerous Would you like to have it? Through the doors they could see piles of rubbish and bric-a-brac, old twin-tubs, bed-frames, shop-window dummies, wardrobes, all manner of bits and pieces in various states of disrepair. A junkyard:The Doctor declared with a hint of smugness. Perfect: But where are we Grandfather?
What planet? Late twentieth-century England. Exactly where I wanted to be. When I got the gates opened and guided the General into a small clearing it was instantly dear that it was going to be a big job. The yard wasn't large but it was crammed with stuff. Whilst the General had a feed, I began to sort through the piles of junk, selecting the most obvious pieces that I could easily make some money On. Within an hour the cartwheels were groaning under the weight of the things I'd piled on it. It certainly was my lucky day. And then I found it.
There was an area of the yard that was emptier than the rest. There was, of course, a semi-circle of space in front of the gates currently occupied by the General and the overloaded cart but there was also another area to the right linked by a corridor lined either side with junk. In this section of the yard there was a circular area in which it was clear something with a square base had stood for a while. From the dimensions of its footprint, clearly visible in the dust and muck that caked the floor like a carpet, it must have been some kind of small shed or hut.
But how it had been removed was a mystery. There was no sign of anything heavy having been dragged from the area. It was as if some gigantic hand had reached in and plucked it into the sky. I was distracted from thinking about this puzzle any further by the glitter of something shiny peeking out from the junk that would have been behind the now absent shed.
Carefully I reached toward the sparkling object and my hand closed around some kind of crystal. It was the strangest thing I ever saw. It was like a crystallised representation of a snowflake, delicate and beautiful, but at the same time it had warmth like a stone that had been lying in the sun. I looked at it, nestled in my big clumsy hands and felt a peculiar sensation wash over me. Even in the cold of that winter's day I felt a sudden inner warmth and a feeling of immense good fortune.
I just knew this was going to be my good luck charm, my rabbit's foot. I clutched it to my chest and made ready to leave. My first load of material from the junkyard would not be my last by a long road, but I had already found my treasure. Taking the crystal into school had been a mistake, Susan realised now. She'd found it hard enough to settle into the routine of a normal life with time plodding on in such a dull linear fashion.
She wasn't used to Tuesdays following Mondays, Wednesdays following Tuesdays, and so on with such relentless predictability. She missed the freedom of stepping in and out of the timelines, of playing hopscotch with chronology. Not to mention the thrill of seeing New Worlds. Having enjoyed travelling the length and breadth of all known Time and Space with her grandfather, being stuck in one small part of one stale planet In one segment of consecutive time was a nightmare. And school was just the icing on a very bad cake. She'd tried hard to fit in, she really had.
But she was an alien to her classmates in so many, many ways. She was smart, and articulate and opinionated; qualities Grandfather had always encouraged her to have but in Coal Hill School they were attributes that just accentuated her otherness both to the other school children and the staff She knew too much50about some things, too little about others and the net result was to mark her out as a strange and unearthly child. Taking the Blessing Star into school had been an act of desperation. The problem was that it was too successful. How it worked she didn't know; she knew it wasn't magic, so she had to assume that it was a higher science as Grandfather had suggested.
She was no slouch at maths, as the Maths teacher Mr Cooper could vouch, but she bad never realised that mathematics could actually affect reality in such a direct way. She had asked her Grandfather about the subject and he muttered something about some place called Logopolis before being distracted by another failed systems repair.
Day by day the Ship was getting back to its previous condition but it was taking forever. Susan was beginning to think that Grandfather was deliberately taking longer than necessary to complete the task, as if be wanted to stay here in this backwater for some time. But then she'd caught him flicking through star charts and other memorabilia from their travels and she was reassured.
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The wanderlust was still strong in him. They would resume their travels soon. But until then she needed to find a way to get along with her new contemporaries; so she'd taken the Star into school. It bad been an immediate success; the girls in particular were amazed at its delicate beauty but even the boys were interested, especially when she demonstrated its weird warmth. A lad called Christopher thought be felt it throbbing, as if it were alive. And then the luck started.
First she won a game of cards without really thinking about it, then she came top in an unexpected History test not always her best subject, as she tended to have different ideas from the text books about certain historical events. Some of the other children had started joking about her then, saying she bad the luck of the Irish today and calling her Paddy. And then at lunchtime she'd been sitting near a group playing a game of football in the playground. Susan bad never shown any interest in sports, and bad certainly never been known to kick a football but when the ball bad rolled out of play and landed at her feet she'd made an effort to kick it back into the game.
The ball had curved through the air, between the goalposts and was caught in the back of the net. The boys were stunned - it bad been a fantastic kick, an astonishing fluke. The girls were horrified - now the weird new girl was showing off to the boys at their own game. All the progress she bad been making was lost in a moment. Now Susan was standing out more than ever. After school, Susan bad hesitated as she reached out to put her key in the police box door; still thinking over the events of the day.
However it worked, she was now convinced that the Blessing Star did have a way to influence events but wasn't sure what to do with it. Something that powerful inside the Ship might be a danger to them. When the repairs were complete she wanted to go back to having travels throughout Time and Space again but with the Blessing Star on board she would be constantly worrying that it would interfere again. And the next time they might get stranded somewhere even more primitive than late twentieth century Earth.
Behind the Ship she bent down and pushed the crystal into a small bole in a mound of junk and then rearranged some other items to mask its hiding place. Grandfather need never know, she thought to herself, with a sense of relief As soon as I got the thing home it started working for me. I didn't realise the connection at first but then as my luck changed so consistently I couldn't ignore it. I really did have a lucky charin: it was changing my life.
It started with a little pools win. That started the ball rolling. It wasn't anything too much, just a nice little windfall but it was the beginning. I was able to retire the General and get a van. I started getting more house clearances. And the stuff I was picking up started getting better in value.
An antique chair here, a Chinese vase there, before I really knew what was happening the junk shop had turned into an antiques shop. I took on staff, got Mum and Dad a place down near Margate as a retirement home; everything was looking up. I even got engaged, to a wonderful woman called Margaret. We were married in April , and had a two-week honeymoon. I was on a roll and no mistake. And then in there was the big one. The World Cup.
With the way my luck was running how could I resist? And I had the money to put up a hefty stake. If Bobby and the boys could pull it off, I was going to be made. I mean we were the host 52 nation and all that, but that's no guarantee is it? But I went for broke. England to win it 51 in extra time. And then I polished my little crystal just to be sure.
The Doctor was feeling happy. Something about this planet always cheered him up. Maybe it was the humans themselves: such complicated creatures, so contradictory, so much potential for good and evil. Or maybe it was the planet itself: the unique combination of atmosphere and gravity that so reminded him of his own birthplace so far away. Perhaps that was it - Earth was a home from home for him and every exile needed a place like that. It bad been a while since he'd been here, both subjectively and in real time.
The London he and Susan had lived in for a while had still been crawling from the monotone fifties but this present era was full of youth and colour and, at the moment at least, football fans from around the world. The Doctor recalled that when he and Susan had begun their time here that the locals were still bemoaning the failure of their national team in the competition in Chile. Brazil had beaten them in the Quarter Final. Now it was time for the next competition for the Jules Rimet Trophey and the pressure was on the home team to lift the trophy.
The city felt alive and vigorous. The Doctor was satisfied that his young companion Dodo would find happiness here if she chose to stay, as he knew she would. The prospect of travelling alone again had raised ghosts in his memory, of those who had travelled with him before. Steven, the space pilot, now helping the Elders and the Savages, young Vicki, tragic Katarina, Chesterton and Barbara and, of course, the first to leave him, Susan.
His own granddaughter, now once again living a mortal's existence in the Dalek-ravaged Earth of the future He would never admit it to his companions but he often thought of Susan.
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Should he really have let her go like that? Was it wise or fair? Hours be spent in silent contemplation in the Zero Room deep within the Ship, his heart heavy with such thoughts. Finally he convinced himself that she would be all right, come what may. After all she had that alien device, the Blessing Stan didn't she? That would see her right. The thought nagged at him. Something about that crystal. The more he thought about it the more he was sure that he had been mistaken and that Susan hadn't had it with her when she left the Ship for the last time. In fact he couldn't recall when he had last seen it.
Finally the nagging thought had to be dealt with. After Steven's departure the Doctor had waited until Dodo was sleeping and had then gone to the room that had remained locked and untouched since Susan had left.
Big Finish Short Trips # "Destination Prague" Hardcover Book - Doctor Who Store
When Ian and Barbara had travelled with them she'd slept in one of the communal rooms, for the sake of sociability, but this was her private room, her own sanctuary. As soon as he opened the long-locked doors he knew the truth; it wasn't here, and hadn't been for a long time. Where had it gone? The truth became obvious as the Doctor worked his way back through his memories of the past few years - it must still be on Earth. Susan must have left it there in the junkyard in Totter's Lane.
Another loose end to be sorted out when he next landed on Earth in the right period. Perhaps the Ship's telepathic circuits had responded to his needs, for the next dematerialisation had brought Dodo and the Doctor here, to London in the summer of First he'd visited a certain graveyard but be found the Hand long gone. For a moment he felt something akin to panic but then he calmed as the obvious explanation came to him. He was, after all, a traveller in time.
At some point in his future he would dearly land on Earth between and and deal with the Hand. The Doctor smiled, taking comfort that he had a future to look forward to. His next priority was to locate the Blessing Star. The site of the junkyard that had been their home for a while was now a building site. The Doctor had made some enquiries and tracked down the name of a rag and bone man that had been paid to clear the site. A man called Joseph Galloway. A man who, according to local gossip, had been enjoying the most amazing run of luck these last couple of years.
The Doctor was sure now who had the Blessing Stan now all he had to do was find it. So there I was: July Jo Jones is travelling. Setting out from London Gatwick to Mexico, she lands back at Gatwick. Jo Jones is travelling once again. Setting out from London Gatwick to Mexico, she lands back at Gatwick with the exact same crew and passengers. Setting out from London Gatwick to Mexico, she lands back at Gatwick with precisely the same crew and passengers, again. Except, perhaps, the lure of another Time Lord The Doctor is locked in a mortuary in Victorian London, dying.
It was so much fun to write, not just having those two fantastic Doctors bouncing off each, but also an enjoyable challenge of finding a story that was appropriate for the range. Multi-Doctor stories are normally big old epic affairs with the fate of the universe at stake, unlike the stories you normally find in Short Trips.