‘LADY AND THE SOLDIER’
by Tim Bradley
Featuring the Fourth Doctor, Private James Darby and Lady Christina de Souza.
Set between ‘The Dimension Serpents’ and ‘The Face of Evil’.
They locked me up! How dare they?!!! Why would they lock me up?!
I was just minding my own business walking down a fairly ordinary London street when two coppers came out and grabbed me from behind. One was male, the other was female. I asked them why I was being arrested. The woman told me they were arresting me for the theft of three renowned paintings from the National Gallery. I told them they’d got the wrong man, but they wouldn’t listen. They were convinced that I was the man they were looking for. I couldn’t get it. I was utterly flummoxed.
By the time they put me in my prison cell, I was still trying to figure out why the police had arrested me wrongfully when I told them that I hadn’t committed a crime. I banged hard on my prison cell door to make them hear me, but nobody came. I was getting frustrated by the minute. I didn’t like early 21st century Earth at all.
Eventually, the cell door opened. I stood up to see who was there. It was the Doctor! He had a sombre look as he came in to see me after being escorted by the prison guard. The prison cell door closed behind him.
“Hello there, James,” he greeted me. “Bearing up, are we?”
“Doctor, am I glad to see you,” I said relieved. “”I’ve no idea what’s going on. I’ve told them who I am; that they’ve got the wrong man, but they refuse to believe me. They keep saying I’m a thief.”
“Yes I heard about that when the ‘friendly’ prison guard escorted me here.” The Doctor used the word ‘friendly’ rather ironically. I could believe the irony of what he said.
“Wait, hang on,” I queried. “How did you know where to find me?”
“Ah well, you see, it’s all in the news,” the Time Lord answered. “You’re top headlines in London. ‘Notorious thief caught at last by the police’, they say.”
The Doctor showed me a newspaper that he had picked up on the way here. I looked at it, seeing the headline myself. It was in big bold letters and there was a picture of me being escorted by the police.
“That’s ridiculous,” I retorted. “They made my chin look ugly! Besides, I’m no thief! I’ve never stolen anything in all my life!”
“Except for the time that you stole a ‘Star Wars’ movie from a person you hate so much,” the Doctor reminded me.
“Hey! Hey, hey,” I protested, defending myself. “That was justifiable! Besides, people will love my new ‘Star Wars – Episode VIII’. It’ll help J.J. a lot with making ‘Episode IX’.”
“You’ve changed the course of history as we’ll know it,” the Doctor scolded me.
“You’re still not going on about that, are you?” I asked, exasperated.
“I’ll keep going on about it until we find out what the mystery is we’re in now!” he snapped dangerously. “Why were we flung backwards in time eight years when I wanted the TARDIS to go forwards?”
Yeah, I should mention these extra details. After the release of my successful ‘Star Wars – Episode VIII’ movie instead of the other abomination of a movie in 2017, the Doctor tried to take the TARDIS forwards in time. We ended up in London 2009 instead. I admitted to the Doctor about me releasing my ‘Star Wars’ movie in 2017 and he was furious about it. I was rather proud of what I had done, but he was still thunderous. I couldn’t help feel a little scared of him. Yet I hated that movie! I told him so, but he refused to hear my justifications. Kept saying I was breaking the laws of time or whatever! I went out of the TARDIS in a huff and that led me to being arrested in an ordinary London street like I’ve told you. I’m amazed the Doctor came back for me and saw me in my prison cell when he heard I’d been arrested.
“And it wasn’t just through the newspapers I found out about you being arrested,” the Doctor told me. “Someone else followed your scent.”
“My scent?” I looked at him confused. “What do you mean?”
Just then, behind the Doctor’s legs, I could see my pet mascot Bazoon the Miggie! Bazooie, as I like to call him. He was my ‘partner in crime’ in our recent movie-making. Except of course what we did was not a crime in my honest opinion.
I knelt down to greet him. “Hello Bazooie! Come here, you little moron!”
Bazooie came over to me and wrapped his arms around me. He didn’t strangle me thankfully. I think he had learnt how to be gentle with me over the years. He wasn’t as excitable as he usually is either.
After Bazooie had hugged me, I got up from the floor and looked the Doctor straight in the eye. “Can you help me out, Doctor? Could you get me out of this place?”
“That depends,” the Doctor said, rather shrewdly.
“On what?” I asked, exasperated, not getting why it was such a problem for him.
“Whether I can trust you to behave yourself in future with travelling in the TARDIS,” he said bluntly. “Not make any significant changes that will cause an imbalance in casual reality.”
The Doctor was still going on about the issue. I was getting fed up with it. I gave him a sulky look before I sat down on the bench in my cell.
Sulking a bit more, I soon realised the Doctor had come to sit down beside me on the bench. He opened his bag of jelly babies. The nerve! He ate jelly babies after criticising and insulting my recent movie-making actions. He even tried to soften me up, passing his bag of jelly babies to me and saying, “Would you like a jelly baby, old friend?”
Jelly babies wouldn’t win me around this time. I folded my arms, looking away from the Doctor, hoping he’d get the message. The Doctor got it as he closed up his bag of jelly babies and put them back in his coat pocket. Was I being too harsh with him?
After an uncomfortable silence, the Doctor soon got up from the bench and said, “I’ll do all I can to help you get out of this place. Find out what’s happening? Discover why you were arrested unfairly. You’ll have to stay low, mind. Stay put for the time being.”
“Stay put!” I realised, standing up and beginning to protest. “Now look here, Doctor…”
“It’ll give you a chance to reflect on things,” he went on. “On whether what you did was the right thing to do. If you’re still bound by the decision you made in 2017, your future in the TARDIS will be in question.”
I didn’t like the way the Doctor said that. It made me sulk more. I sat back on my bench, folding my arms and turning away from him like before.
“It’s up to you,” the Doctor told me. “You’ve got to take responsibility for your actions when it comes to travelling with me. Think on it, dear James. Think on it.”
Just as the Doctor was about to leave, Bazooie gave a whiny noise. He came up to me, fawning on my right leg. I looked down at him. Bazooie looked so pathetic when he begged.
“You can have Bazooie keep you company if you want,” the Doctor said quietly. “I won’t tell a soul about it.”
I looked at the Doctor for a bit. Then I looked back down at Bazooie. I suppose being lonely all the time isn’t that much fun.
Eventually I said, “Alright, Bazooie. You stay with me whilst the Doctor figures out what’s going on.”
Bazooie looked up eagerly at me once I said that.
“Splendid!” the Doctor said cheerfully. “I’ll see you later on. Hopefully I won’t be too long. Remember what I said now, James.”
At that, the Doctor banged on the prison cell door in order to be let out. Eventually, the prison cell door opened and the Doctor was escorted out by the prison guard. The prison cell guard didn’t see Bazooie in the cell with me. Bazooie was quiet the whole time.
I was still feeling fed up. Fed up with the Doctor persistently reminding me of the moral implications of what I’d done recently in 2017. I’d done right, hadn’t I? I was justified in my actions to create my own ‘Star Wars’ movie. I’d done things better with putting that movie in place of that other abomination. Hadn’t I?
It felt like I’d been in this dratted prison cell for hours. I must have fallen asleep. It was night-time outside. I got up to look out of the barred prison cell window, picking up Bazooie off the ground to let him have a look outside too. There a full moon and the stars were out tonight. I was lucky. Getting the full moon and stars on my first prison cell night! If only I could be out there. And if only the Doctor would allow me to travel with him in the TARDIS and ignore what I had done in 2017! Can’t he see what I’d done was right? I began to wonder though if what I’d done was right. Could it have significant consequences?
It was then I heard a creaking noise. Bazooie heard it too. It came from above our heads. We looked up and saw the roof opening. It was like somebody was drilling a hole through the roof. Bazooie and I stood back as pieces of ceiling collapsed down onto the ground, almost hitting our feet. Bazooie was terrified and screamed.
I looked up to the roof and called out, “Hey! What’s going on up there?! Doctor, is that you?”
Maybe the Doctor couldn’t get back into the penitentiary for some reason – perhaps the guards wouldn’t let him back in – and he had to climb up all the way to the top of the building in order to get in through the roof. If that was the case though, why didn’t he come in via the TARDIS to rescue me?
Once I saw an opening in the roof – a patch of night sky with stars on it – I saw the head of a figure looking down on me. It looked female. At least I hoped it was female. She was looking down at me, her head covered in a black balaclava and mask. Bazooie whistled with intrigue once he saw her. I told him to keep quiet.
It was then the woman steadily lowered herself down on a set of wires. Cable wires I think they were. They looked pretty sturdy, especially as she went a long way down from the roof to the floor. I contemplated climbing up the walls to get to the roof and reach the ventilation shaft, but there were no suitable handholds and footholds to cling onto once going up.
Eventually, the woman touched down on the ground and stood straight up facing me.
I then said the lamest thing I could possibly think of. “You can’t be the Doctor surely.”
It was then the woman unmasked herself. She was a dark-haired beauty. Oh she was so beautiful. So sexy looking and sassy! My kind of woman!
She smiled at me and said soothingly, “I can definitely be your medicine.”
And with that, she reached forward and kissed me on the lips. I had never experienced a moment like this. Being kissed by a beautiful woman! I didn’t resist. I couldn’t resist. Nothing like this was going to come my way again. At least I didn’t think so at the time. Bazooie was going “Ooh!” whilst watching me and the woman kissing each other. I felt like Han Solo being rescued by Princess Leia in ‘Return of the Jedi’.
Eventually, the woman stopped kissing me and asked bluntly, “What do you think you’re doing getting yourself caught like this? You could’ve blown our cover.”
“What?” I asked, still mesmerized by her and feeling speechless.
It was then the woman looked down and saw Bazooie who looked up at her eagerly. “Hello Bazooie,” she greeted cheerfully. She then looked at me and said, “I hope your little mascot won’t spoil things as we escape.”
“Excuse me,” I ventured to ask. “But…who are you?”
The woman scolded. “Oh come on, you can’t have forgotten who I am now, can you?”
“Please tell me,” I persisted earnestly.
The woman looked at me curiously as if I were mad. She then asked. “Have you had a blow to the head? Are you suffering from amnesia?”
My head was clear as day. I would have remembered who this woman was if I had met her before today, wouldn’t I? I decided to play along.
“Err…yes. Yes, I have got amnesia. The guards knocked me on the head pretty badly.”
The woman was appalled at this. “The brutes! How could they do such a thing to you? Anyway, don’t worry. I’ll help you to re-jog your memory. My name’s Christina. You remember me, don’t you? Christina?”
I tried to make out that I had remembered. “Oh yes, of course! Christina! How could I forget you? I remember you, Christina.” I was still none the wiser.
“Good!” Christina smiled. It was the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. “Come on then! Let’s get going?”
“Where?” I asked, still entranced by her.
“Up and out,” she replied, before embracing me in her arms. “Hold on!”
With that, she pressed a button on her belt. Before I knew what was happening, I was being propelled up into the air whilst hanging on to Christina. It was an exhilarating experience as well as terrifying. I screamed as we went up. I felt so unmanly.
It was then I realised something. “Stop! Stop!!!” I called. “We forgot Bazooie!”
Christina pressed the button again and we stopping going up. We were halfway up towards the roof. We looked down. Cripes, I hadn’t realised we were so high up. There was Bazooie down on the ground, looking up at us rather forlornly.
“Oh dear,” Christina sighed, slightly put-out. “Off we go back down again!”
With that, Christina pressed another button on her belt and we soon went back down to the ground again. Once back down, I picked Bazooie up and thankfully all three of us went up again towards the roof where Christina had made her opening. Bazooie and I were escaping out from the prison penitentiary. We hoped we wouldn’t get caught during our escape.
Bazooie and I treaded carefully as we followed Christina across the rooftop of the penitentiary. It was a long way down. Thank goodness I had a reasonably good head for heights. Bazooie wasn’t so keen however. He whimpered and quivered as we walked on the rooftop. I had to pick him up and carry him, telling him to shut up and not alert the guards as we were making our way across the roof.
I could see Christina was gradually leading me and Bazooie downwards from the roof, as if we were heading for the rear section of the penitentiary where, you know, the back gates for all the delivery vans and such were.
“Where are we going?” I asked Christina quietly.
She whispered back. “We’re heading for our mode of transport! It’s not far. And I did camouflage it before I left.”
“Camouflaged?” I asked, intrigued.
Christina had a smug look about her. “And for your information, I’ve made significant improvements to the model recently, so don’t go criticising me on my latest efforts.”
“Oh I wouldn’t dare,” I held up my hands in surrender. “Dare I to criticise the handiwork of a beautiful woman.”
Christina stopped and looked back at me, putting on that beautiful smile of hers. “You never tire of saying that to me, do you?”
She continued forward and I was quite surprised by that remark. Acting all innocent, I said, “Have I always said that to you then?”
“Countless times,” Christina replied. “Don’t you remember?”
“No,” I admitted without thinking.
Thankfully she remembered. “Ah of course! You’ve got amnesia, haven’t you? Gave you a blow to the head, didn’t they?”
“Yes,” I said, pondering on how this amnesia thing I was pretending to have could help me with getting the answers I needed. I pursued further. “So, with me losing my memory and all that, who exactly are you? Are you someone important? Like a queen or a princess or something?” I tried to sound jovial about it.
She laughed. It was a wonderful laugh. “You’re not far off, dear. I’m a lady actually.”
“A lady?!” I reacted surprised.
“Of course! I’m Lady Christina de Souza. Does that ring any bells?”
I smacked my head, trying to act like I remembered. “Yes! Lady Christina de Souza! Of course that’s who you are.”
“Does that mean you’ve got your memory back?” she asked, rather cheekily I might add.
I tried to tease her. “Maybe.”
She giggled before saying, “I’m never sure whether you’re joking or being serious. But then again, you were always like that.”
“Oh really?” I reacted intrigued. “Have we known each other long then?”
“I should hope so,” Christina said. “You may have amnesia, but I’d like to think you can at least remember our wedding day.”
At that, I dropped Bazooie. He whined in protest. I stopped Christina in her tracks, having her turn to face me. She was startled when I became serious.
“What did you say?”
“Our wedding day! Surely you must remember that.”
“We were married?! I mean…we got married?!”
“Of course! I’m your wife, James darling! And you’re my husband!”
I didn’t know what to say. I became completely speechless. I felt I was about to faint. I lost my balance on the roof before Christina caught me just in time.
“Hey, steady on, steady on. Are you alright, my dear?” She clasped my face in her hands, checking me all over.
“Am I…what?” I stammered, still speechless and astonished.
“You do look pale,” Christina told me. “You will need a good glass of brandy when we get back home.”
Just then, a loud siren rang out. Christina and I were both startled. Bazooie leapt up into my arms, terrified. I told him to pipe down. I could hear faint echoes of a tannoy announcer nearby saying, “Prisoner escape! Prisoner escape! Prisoner escape!”
“Oh blow!” Christina reacted annoyed, puffing her cheeks in. “They’ve found out you’ve escaped! We have to move fast!”
“Now wait a minute,” I began to protest. I wanted to hear more about this revelation that I was married to this beautiful woman.
She interrupted though, cutting me off. “It’s alright. The bus isn’t far from here. We’ve just got to get down from the roof onto firm ground. Then we make for where I parked it.”
“Bus?” I queried, surprised.
“Yes, yes,” she said impatiently. “Now come on! We’ve got to get away from here!”
As we continued to make our way down from the roof, Bazooie whined and screeched in a frightful panic.
In unison, Christina and I said, “Shut up, Bazooie!”
He did quieten down afterwards, but he was still fretting and whimpering. I wondered whether reuniting with the little fella after all these years did me any good. All he seemed to do was whine and whimper a lot. Little did I know how useful he would be later on, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Eventually, we were on firm ground after climbing down from the roof. Christina led the way as we were making for a far-off corner next to the rear entrance of the penitentiary where the lorries would drive in to make their deliveries. There was nothing to see in the far-off corner though. I don’t know why Christina would bring me and Bazooie here.
“There’s nothing here!” I told her bluntly.
Christina smiled at me. “Remember, dearest. Camouflage!”
Ah yes, of course. She had mentioned that to me. Her mode of transport was camouflaged. How could I have forgotten?
It was then that she took out a small remote control device and pressed a button on it. I was about to query what she was doing with that before something stopped me in my tracks. As soon as Christina used her remote control, a red double-decker bus appeared before us! WHAT?!!! A red double-decker bus?!! It was scarred and singed at the top deck’s roof whilst having the number 200 on its display. But a red double-decker bus all the same?!
“What is this?!” I asked. It was very curious.
Christina exhaled and declared proudly, “The Mighty 200! Come on! Let’s all get on board!”
Her ladyship headed straight towards the bus whilst Bazooie and I remained rooted to the spot for a bit. Bazooie gave a curious whine before I picked him up, looking him in the eye.
“Trust me, Bazooie,” I said. “This is turning out to be a weird night.”
We eventually caught up with Christina before getting onto the bus itself. She made herself comfortable in the bus driver’s cockpit…or cab, whatever you call it. I saw that the steering wheel had some strange clamps attached to it. Anti-gravity ones, I believe they were. Not sure why Christina would have a bus that had anti-graft clamps attached to the steering wheel, but I’m sure I would find out in due course.
I sat nearby whilst Christina sat in her bus driver cockpit/cab. “Where did you get this bus from then? Surely the London depot didn’t offer it to you.”
“Of course not,” Christina replied. “What do you take me for? I stole it.”
I rolled my eyes and said, “Yes of course you did. I should have guessed.”
She looked at me and went on, “You sound as if you disapprove.”
Before meeting the Doctor, I wouldn’t have objected to women doing this kind of thing. Since joining him however…
“Aren’t you going to fill me in on where you got this bus?” I tried changing the subject.
“Oh don’t tell me you forgot that as well?” She queried, exasperated.
“As well as forgetting that you and me are married, yes,” I retorted.
Christina then looked at me sympathetically, placing a hand on my face, saying, “Oh those police brutes must have banged you on the head pretty hard.”
Bazooie then jumped up towards Christina, holding out his paws as if begging for something. I knew what that beg was.
“No Bazooie, you can’t have a cuddle with Christina,” I told him. “Not when we’re on the run and everything.”
Despite me telling him this, Christina reached out and took Bazooie, cradling him in her arms. “Oh you cute little thing. Of course you can have a cuddle from me.”
Bazooie seemed to enjoy being cuddled. Christina enjoyed cuddling him too. Lucky little tyke. I turned away, feeling annoyed by this.
“Don’t I get a cuddle then?” I tried interjecting.
“Now, now,” she told me off. “No need to be jealous, James dearest. You’ll get a cuddle and a kiss once we get back home, right?”
“Home?” I queried. “We have a home?”
Just then, gunshots opened fire right by where the bus door was. Christina, Bazooie and I were completely startled. Bazooie shrieked once the gunshots fired.
“Speaking of which,” Christina went on, “we should be getting back home, shouldn’t we? Mind your backs, please!”
With that, Christina pressed a button on her bus cockpit/cab controls and the doors slid shut in an instant. I looked out through the windows to see a number of prison guards running towards us, opening fire with their guns as well as a number of police cars with sirens blaring trying to chase us.
I looked back to Christina. Bazooie was jumping up and down, panicking as usual. “Can we get a move on please?”
“I’m driving as fast as I can,” Christina retorted. Then she looked at the front and declared, “Oh no! Oh that’s not fair.”
“What is it?”
“Look! More guards blocking our way!”
I looked up ahead and saw more prison guards on foot as well as in their cars coming towards us. We were surrounded on all sides by prison guards. Some of them open fired and shot through the glass of the bus windows. Christina, Bazooie and I cried out startled as they shot at us through the windows.
“So what?” I then argued. “You can drive back to where delivery lorries drop their supplies.”
“In case you hadn’t realised,” Christina snapped at me, “this bus has more weight than a standard racing car. It’ll take a while to manoeuvre our way out of the back of the penitentiary whilst trying to escape.”
“Oh,” I realised, understanding her meaning. “Why didn’t you come in a standard racing car then? It would be much easier for us to escape!”
“My red double-decker bus is much better, thank you very much.”
Christina was now talking to herself more than to me. “It’s a tight squeeze, but I should be able to fly out easily enough whilst these guards open fire at us.”
“I hope I’ll be giving Detective Inspector McMillian a bad day should he be running this operation to try and catch you and me.”
“Detective Inspector McMillian?”
“Hold on tight, lover boy,” she told me. “This is going to be pretty ‘fast and furious’!”
I didn’t get what she meant by that movie reference. But when she started the bus up, there was a strange whirring sound coming from the bus’ engines. As if we were on a turbo-charged jet platform back in my time, which is absurd. The prison guards kept on firing at us from behind and in front.
Just then, the bus began to lift up and take off from the ground. I was caught off-balance, falling onto the floor. Bazooie fell to the floor too, ending up in my lap. Christina laughed away. That sweet, honey-filled laugh! As I was getting up from the floor, I could see we were about six metres up from the ground. The prison guards were still firing upon us whilst we were taking off up into the air.
“What’s happening?!” I cried out loudly, slightly panic-stricken. “How is this bus flying?”
“Like I said,” Christina answered. “Hold on tight! We’re going pretty fast…now!”
In an instant, with foot on the accelerator pedal, Christina drove the bus forwards into the air. I held on for dear life…so did Bazooie…whilst Christina laughed away happily driving the bus onwards. Looking out of a bus window, I could see that the prison guards were about to chase us in their cars from down below on the ground.
It was incredible. At first, it felt scary. But after travelling with the Doctor, I gradually got used to the weird and wonderful. I wouldn’t say Christina was weird, but she certainly was wonderful. I also looked out to see how far we had ascended. Bazooie, Christina and I were in a London bus flying above the London skyline. Bazooie and I could even see the Thames down below near Westminster.
Our luck ran out sadly as we were suddenly fired upon. I cried startled whilst Bazooie shrieked. How Christina managed to keep her cool throughout all this, I don’t know.
“We’re being fired upon,” I cried to her.
“Yes, I had gathered that,” she replied as she looked out of the window from her driving seat, cockpit or bus cab.
We gradually realised that we were being pursued by two helicopters. They were coming onto us fast, firing missiles to bring us down to the ground. One struck the bus’ rear and nearly caused a hole in it.
“Are these guys trying to kill us?!” I demanded angrily.
Christina became rather annoyed. “Oh what a nuisance! Never mind, we’ll just have to speed things up a bit, won’t we? James dear; Bazooie! Fasten your seatbelts!”
“What seatbelts?!” I argued, clearly indicating there weren’t any on the passenger seats of the bus.
Christina realised this and nodded. “Fair point. Ah well, just hold tight onto something. Full steam ahead!”
With that, Christina pressed down hard on the accelerator. The bus lurched forwards, zooming off into the sky. I yelled as we were going faster than ever. Bazooie ended up flying backwards to the back of the bus, screaming his head off. Christina was laughing away melodiously, whilst Bazooie and I were panicking.
“Hey, lover boy,” she called out to me. “What of our pursuers? Are they still on our tail?”
I struggled to turn my head around to look behind me. When I eventually did, I saw that the helicopters were a fair distance behind us.
But I had to tell Christina, “They’re catching us! And they’re still firing missiles at us!”
This was confirmed when the bus rocked and swayed slightly. Christina puffed out a breath, exasperated by the experience.
“Oh dear! I hate having to do this,” Christina remarked. “Ah well. It’s their fault for pursuing us like this. One prays that they’ll get back down to the ground safely.”
I came beside Christina and asked, “What are you going to do then?”
“You watch this,” she said cheekily. “I picked it up from watching a classic ‘Thunderbirds’ episode once. Can’t remember what it was called though. Let’s hope the trick works.”
With that, Christina pressed a button on the control panel of the driver’s cockpit. I looked behind me to see the two helicopters pursuing us. But eventually, I saw black smoke spewing out from the back of the bus. It must have been from the bus’ exhaust. Bazooie went “Ooh!!!” as that happened. I said “Ooh!!!” too.
Christina heard me of course. “Never mind your ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’! Has the trick worked?”
I looked behind me again and saw that the helicopters were spiralling out of control. They must have crashed into each other when Christina let off the bus’ smoke screen. That was it! She must have used a smoke screen canister!
“You used a smoke screen canister, didn’t you,” I said, before adding, “Those two helicopters are spiralling towards the ground now.”
“Excellent,” Christina said satisfied. Then she remembered. “Yes, of course! FAB1! That was the car in the ‘Thunderbirds’ episode. Lady Penelope knew how to do her gadgets in cars. I installed the smoke screen canister and the oil slick dispenser recently. I could have used the back-mounted machine guns to shoot the two helicopters down, but I would only use that as a last resort.”
I was speechless. Utterly speechless! Bazooie was speechless too.
“Go on,” Christina smirked without looking at me. “Say it! You know you want to. Tell me that I’m wonderful.”
“You’re wonderful,” I declared automatically.
Christina looked at me and smiled. “You always say the right things.”
With that, she reached out and kissed me. Oh that kiss was too brief to last long.
“Don’t I get another one?” I asked earnestly.
Smirking, she turned her attention back to the front window and said “That was the starter. The main course comes later.”
Bazooie pushed his way in…the little creep…begging like he would normally do for a kiss.
Christina looked down and smiled at Bazooie. “Of course you get a kiss from me, Bazooie.”
She kissed him on the cheek. I suppose I should be thankful it was just a kiss on the cheek. Bazooie was happy to receive it though, jigging about on the bus.
“Alright, pack it in, will you,” I told him. Then I asked Christina, “Where are we heading now?”
“Back home, of course,” she replied.
“Home? Is it a big house?”
“I should think so. It’s a country estate outside London.”
I reacted surprised. “A country estate?!”
“Yes! Daddy offered it to you as a wedding present. You said ‘yes’ at the time. Surely you haven’t forgotten that.”
I was still getting over the fact that I was married to this beautiful woman. I wondered what the house was going to be like when we got there. I noticed it was getting brighter with it being a new day as we traversed the sky in Christina’s flying London bus. I wondered what the Doctor was up to.
We eventually arrived at the house. It was definitely a big place. I’d never seen such a big house. The inside was even better. Oak-panelled walls and lavish furnishings! This was what I agreed to own when Christina’s dad offered it to me when we were married? I haven’t even met Christina’s dad, I don’t think. Had I? The home I had back in my own time in the future wasn’t as impressive as this. I started to wonder whether I had lost my memory. Did I really live in the 21st century and end up marrying a beautiful aristocrat like Christina? What were the chances of my being so lucky?
Christina led me and Bazooie into the main drawing room. Bazooie was just as amazed as I was at seeing the impressive interior of this impressive country house. I didn’t register that Christina was pouring a glass of something from a decanter nearby. She came back, handing the glass to me.
“Here you are, my love.”
I looked at the glass. It was filled with brandy.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“It’s the glass of brandy I promised you,” she replied. “You know, when you looked all pale on the rooftop of the prison penitentiary as we escaped. This will probably help you get your memory back.”
I remembered. Not what she meant by the way. I mean, I remembered her saying that she’d give me a glass of brandy when we got back home. Yeah, I was still getting over the fact that this house was my home. Our home! Christina and my home…you get the idea.
I took the glass from Christina and began to gulp the contents down. I shuddered from drinking the brandy.
“Horrible,” I muttered.
Christina nodded. “Yeah. Ghastly stuff. But it’s good for the nerves, so I’ve been told.”
“That’s a matter of opinion,” I replied. Eventually, I lowered the drink down to Bazooie for him to take. “Here, Bazooie. Have this. It’ll help your nerves, so Christina says.”
Bazooie looked eagerly at the glass and took it from me. He began to swallow down the contents in an instant. Once he’d finished, he made murmuring sounds and then approving sounds, making out that he had enjoyed the drink. He enjoyed the drink? Yeah, he would. Bazooie let out a belch of satisfaction once he had put the glass down.
“Lucky beggar,” I muttered.
“At least he enjoyed it,” Christina pointed out, smiling.
“And such rude manners!”
Christina laughed as she embraced me, wrapping her arms around me. Oh was this it? Was this the ‘main course’ she was talking about?
“And now, down to business,” she said.
“Oh yes,” I replied eagerly. “Do we do it here or somewhere else? Another room perhaps?”
Christina giggled slightly, seeing what I implied. “You naughty boy. We’ll get to that part later. We have plenty of time for that before we do our job tonight. First of all, I need to fill you in and remind you what we’re going to be doing.”
I didn’t register what she meant at first as I was entranced by her alluring voice and beauty. It was about six seconds later, I think, that I realised what she had said.
“Job? Tonight? What do you mean?”
“Well, you didn’t think I rescued you from that penitentiary just so you could have the day and night off. We’ve got a job to do, remember? We agreed upon it yesterday before you got yourself foolishly arrested by the police.”
“Agreed to what?”
Christina became exasperated. “You haven’t forgotten that, have you? You can’t have forgotten! Bazooie’s part of the plan too! You must remember?”
I tried to play along in order to please her. “No, no, no. Hear me. It’s not that I’ve forgotten. I just…can’t be sure I remember the details correctly. Be a dear and…well, just remind me what I have to do in this job.”
Christina became even more exasperated as she said, “Aww men. Always so forgetful. You’re lucky to be my husband otherwise I’d send you away.”
I’m not sure I liked the tone in which she said those words. What did she mean by that?
“What, because I’m a man?” I asked.
“No, because you’re a soldier,” she replied. “I need a solider like you to do this job for me. You seemed very willing at the time.”
Sighing more, she led the way out of the drawing room. “Come on. Into the boardroom where daddy used to hold his business meetings. The plans for the job are in there. I laid them out last night before we left. I did lock the boardroom door. Hopefully the housekeeper won’t have taken them whilst I’ve been away. I’ve told her not to touch anything.”
I followed after Christina but soon realised that Bazooie wasn’t following. I called out to him. “Come on, Bazooie. Catch up. No time to dawdle. And stop playing around with Christina’s decanter, alright?”
Bazooie let go of the decanter he was holding whilst Christina and I looked away for a moment. He looked glum, annoyed even, as he had to put the decanter back and follow after me and Christina into the boardroom. That didn’t stop him from taking a swig of brandy from the decanter before he left to join us.
As we approached the boardroom, I stopped Christina in her tracks and enquired, “Look, just tell me what it is we’re supposed to be doing tonight? Is it a matter of life and death? Is the government relying upon us or something?”
“No of course not, you silly thing,” Christina said. “We’ve got to do the job tonight before they reopen in the morning.”
“Re-open? What do you mean? Where are we going?”
“The Science Museum in London of course.”
“Yes! We’re stealing something tonight! A special kind of crystal the curator and the officiators have recently installed.”
“Crystal?” I queried before I realised what she had said. “We’re going to steal a crystal from a museum in London?!”
“I’ve heard it’s a very pretty crystal indeed,” Christina said eagerly. “I can’t wait to get my hands on it.”
With that, Christina opened the door and entered the boardroom, beckoning me to join her as she went inside. I’m not sure I liked the sound of this. I don’t think the Doctor would like it either. What have I got myself into, I asked myself. Bazooie didn’t take any notice of the concern on my face. He was still looking back, thinking of the decanter in the living room, clearly wanting more of the brandy. I dragged him along as we entered the boardroom.
“Come on, Bazooie! In we go like Christina said.
Once we’d all entered, we closed the door behind us.
Christina laid out the plans she had prepared for tonight’s robbery at the Science Museum in London. They were pretty detailed plans as far as I could see. On large sheets of A3 white paper I might add. Christina was really enthusiastic about the prospect of stealing something from a museum. Is this what she tends to do in her life? Be a thief in the night. A cat burglar even! It explains why she was able to rescue me and set me free from my prison cell. She’s certainly a lot better than Halle Berry’s Catwoman of course. Little did she know and was unaware that I had no knowledge of the plan that we’d agreed upon (so Christina said) to steal a crystal from the Science Museum. I’m not sure I approved of her doing this, despite her being so devastatingly beautiful. I still didn’t understand why she needed me – a soldier as she said – to help her in this endeavour.
“Right,” she began, addressing me as I held Bazooie in my arms. “We will take the Mighty 200 to get to the rooftop of the Science Museum. Hopefully the camouflage effect when we switch it on the bus will be effective in order for us to be unseen and undetected.”
“You mean like a cloaking device?” I enquired.
“In a nutshell, yes,” she replied. “Once we land on the rooftop, we want your pet Bazooie to break the sealing bolts to let us into the rooftop section before we get into the museum itself.” She looked at me curiously. “Your Bazooie still knows how to break sealing bolts, doesn’t he?”
“Of course he does,” I replied shrewdly, acting like ‘should she have questioned that’? I turned to Bazooie. “Don’t you, Bazooie?”
Bazooie whined and shrugged in answer.
I knew that to mean “I don’t know”, but I turned to Christina and said, “He says, “Yes!””, hoping she would buy it.
Fortunately she did. “Good! Now we’re getting somewhere.” She returned her attention to the detailed plans. “So, once we’re inside, we’ll see the two guards protecting the crystal in the centre of the main room. You’ll have to use your tranquiliser dart gun in order to knock them out before we get to the crystal.”
Ah, so that’s what she wanted me for as a soldier in this robbery. I believe I understand it, sort of. There was one part of the plan I didn’t understand though.
“Why are we stealing this crystal?” I asked. “What’s so special about it?”
“I’m not really sure,” she answered. “But it’s supposed to be a very sophisticated and powerful crystal according to the scientists. Could be of great value in fact! I read about it in the newspapers and on the local news sites. It’s called the Rednarog Crystal apparently.”
Rednarog?! I remembered the name! Those were the creatures the Doctor and I faced when we went into that void outside of time and space. They were the dimension serpents as the Doctor called them. Bit of a coincidence the Rednarogs should be involved after we attended to them before I made my ‘Star Wars’ movie and before I got arrested as well as be rescued by the beautiful Christina. But why?! Why should all of this be happening, I wondered?
Christina looked at me curiously. I must have been in mid-thought. “Are you alright, my dearest? What’s wrong?”
I snapped out of it. Didn’t want her to see me this way! I was having the time of my life with this woman and I didn’t want to be exposed as a fraud too soon.
“Nothing’s wrong,” I answered. “I’m fine honestly.” I tried changing the subject. “So we go in and fire tranquiliser darts to knock out the guards.”
“Right,” Christina acknowledged. She then looked at me curiously again. “You still have your tranquiliser gun on you, don’t you?”
I didn’t have a tranquiliser gun on me to begin with. But I couldn’t really tell her ladyship that.
I worked my way through it as I made it up. “Err…sorry. The police took my tranquiliser gun off me when they arrested me.”
That seemed to do the trick.
“Typical,” Christina muttered annoyed. “Just typical!”
“Yes! What can one do?” I told her. “They are police after all.”
After sulking for a bit, Christina looked back up at me and smiled. “No need to worry, my dear. I always keep a spare one in the armoury just in case. We’ll fetch it once we’re done here refreshing our memories about the plan.”
“Great news,” I answered. I wasn’t sure about knocking security guards out with a tranquiliser dart gun. Have my years spent in the Seventh Division of Space Fleet 920 come to this? Being married to a cat burglar? We haven’t had the wedding yet! At least I don’t believe we have.
“You do remember how to use a tranquiliser dart gun, don’t you?” she asked incredulously.
I looked back at her, trying to sound affronted. “Of course I do. What do you take me for?”
She tapped her forehead with her fingertips saying, “Just checking. You still have the amnesia, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do. Thanks for reminding me,” I said.
Bazooie squeaked curiously at me. I glared at him to pack it in.
Christina continued explaining the plan. “Once the security guards are out, we’ll lower down to the ground using our safety wires and harnesses. All three of us – you, me and Bazooie.”
Bazooie chirped at that, pleased with being included.
“Down on the ground,” she went on, “I’ll cut through the glass without tripping any alarms in order to get the crystal out of its casing. You and Bazooie keep watch for any more security guards approaching whilst I’m getting the crystal out.”
“Don’t you need help with getting it out though?” I asked.
Christina smiled sweetly at me and said, “Very nice of you to offer, dear, but I’ll handle this on my own if you don’t mind. It’s a woman’s job after all.”
“Yes of course it is,” I shrugged, trying not to be disheartened. Inwardly, I wasn’t sure what Christina had said was insulting or she was just trying to be kind.
“After I’ve got the crystal,” Christina continued, “we make our way back to the roof and escape to the Mighty 200 waiting for us. Then we return home of course.”
“And why exactly are we stealing this…Rednarog Crystal in the first place?” I asked, trying to sound like I’d never heard of the word ‘Rednarog’ before.
“Because it’s fun,” Christina shrugged. Then she added, “And I’d like to see just how valuable this crystal is. Find out whether it comes from this world or from another!”
I looked at her intrigued. “You think this crystal might be…I don’t know…from outer space or something. I mean, not just from foreign parts of our world?”
“That’s something we’ve got to find out, isn’t it?” Christina coolly answered.
It did make me wonder though. Had Christina seen aliens before in her time as a cat burglar? If so, who with? Surely not the Doctor! Had she met him, I wondered?
Eventually, Christina wrapped up the plans for the robbery, rolling up the sheets of A3 paper as she did so.
“There,” she said. “Now that I’ve refreshed your memory, are you clear and satisfied with what we’ve got to do tonight?”
I tried to sound convincing. “I…believe so, yes. The outline of the plan is crystal clear. I couldn’t have put it better myself.”
“Good,” Christina smiled. “In that case, let’s go downstairs and get that spare tranquiliser dart gun you’ll need. After that…”
It was then she stepped towards me, slipping a hand around my back. I felt a tingle down my spine as soon as she embraced me. I embraced her.
“Yes?” I interjected earnestly. “After that…?”
“We’ll have a few hours or so to spare to spend some quality time together,” she said. “Before the alarm bells rings for us to leave the house at around 7 o’clock this evening. So I’ve prepared a little dinner for us.”
“Is this the ‘main course’ you were talking about?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied. “Indeed it is. Come along, lover boy.”
How could I refuse? We walked together, heading out of the boardroom. Bazooie was keen to follow. Christina and I looked back at him, giving him affectionate looks.
“Sorry Bazooie, dear,” Christina said sweetly. “This is private between us two.”
“Yeah, you’ll have to find your own Miggie to mate with,” I told him.
With that, we closed the boardroom door behind us. Christina and I smiled at each other before heading off downstairs. I’m sure Bazooie moaned away in protest behind the boardroom door. Don’t worry. We’d see him later on.
A while later, we were aboard Christina’s red London double-decker bus – she, Bazooie and me – flying above the London skyline before we eventually landed on the rooftop of the Science Museum. Everything looked so small from above. Christina landed carefully upon the museum’s rooftop. Thankfully, no alarms were set off on our arrival. Christina must have had the bus’ engines on silent as we landed. She also switched on the ‘camouflage effect’ for the bus like she said, keeping it invisible and preventing anyone seeing us.
Christina, Bazooie and I eventually got out of the bus as we made our way to where we needed to be in order to break in and get inside the museum. Christina was in her skin-tight black cat-suit, I might add. She looked so sexy in her skin-tight black cat-suit. Bazooie and I were dressed in black too. We couldn’t match Christina’s sexiness though.
“Okay, Bazooie,” Christina said to the Miggie. “Do your stuff. Break the sealing bolts and let us into the rooftop section.”
Bazooie hesitated as he turned to look towards me. Oh I hope Bazooie won’t blow our cover away too soon.
I quickly pitched in. “It’s alright, Bazooie. We have faith in you. You can do this!” I gave him a stern look without Christina noticing, saying to him “Do this or else I’ll break your scrawny little neck.” I wouldn’t really but I hoped Bazooie would get the threatening tone in my glare.
Bazooie hesitated a bit more before eventually attending to the sealing bolts on the rooftop. Christina seemed pleased as Bazooie began his work.
Just then, I cried, “Wait!”
Bazooie stopped in his tracks, petrified.
Christina tried to hush me up, placing a hand over my mouth. “Not so loud, dearest. You’ll wake up the alley cats as well as the security guards.”
“I’m sorry,” I apologised. “But I just realised something.”
“What is it?” Christina asked, perturbed.
“Won’t Bazooie tampering with the sealing bolts trip off any alarms in the museum? Before we get the chance to steal this precious Rednarog crystal?”
“Don’t worry,” Christina tried to assure me. “By all accounts and according to the research I did, the alarms will have shut down the moment Bazooie unlocks the sealing bolts. At least I hope that’ll be the case.”
“You have to trust me on this, James.”
“But what should happen if we get caught by the security guards? We’ll be in prison again!”
“Then you’ll have me to share a prison cell with, won’t you?” Christina smiled, trying to reassure me, gripping my hand and stroking it gently with her thumb.
“We could end up in separate cells,” I pointed out abjectly.
“Oh stop your fretting, why don’t you?” Christina became a little annoyed. “Besides, if the plan goes wrong, we’ll be able to get back up to the rooftop and return to the Mighty 200 using the safety harness and the wires, won’t we?”
“Will we?” I queried, sceptically. She gave me a look as if to ask “Are you questioning my judgement and planning?” I soon shrugged and said, “Ah well, so long as you know what we’re doing, we’ll stick to your plan.”
I turned back to Bazooie. He hadn’t gone back to his work after I’d interrupted him.
“What are you waiting for, Bazooie?” I asked tersely. “Get on with breaking those sealing bolts, will you?”
Bazooie snapped out of it and continued his job. He worked away frantically, trying to break the sealing bolts of the rooftop section as fast as he could. Christina told him now and again not to do it so fast and to keep the noise levels down whilst security guards were patrolling the area nearby on the ground below.
After fifteen minutes or so…at least I think it was fifteen minutes…Bazooie managed to finish breaking into the sealing bolts and open the rooftop section for us. Christina and I breathed a sigh of relief. I received a quick peck on the cheek from Christina. Oh how she made me glow all over my face. And I had only just met her twelve hours ago.
“Right,” Christina clasped her hands together. “Now we’re able to get into the museum through the roof. Let’s start what we came here to do, shall we? Follow my lead. We’ll try and do this by stealth if we can. Make sure we’re above the right cabinet that contains the Rednarog crystal.”
“Are you sure about doing this?” I asked her.
“Do you question my integrity, dearest?” She asked with a smile.
Dare I to question the integrity of a beautiful lady like her? Eventually, Christina, Bazooie and I made our way into the hole in the rooftop section. It was quite dark, but Bazooie and I carefully followed Christina instead. She seemed to know how to get into rooftops of museums with stealth. She must have done this a lot in her lifetime.
It was about another fifteen minutes or so before we slipped into the main interior of the rooftop itself. We looked down to see two security guards situated around a glass cabinet containing an emerald-coloured glowing crystal inside. That must be the Rednarog Crystal, I thought. The room it was in was quite vast and spacious. I hoped the shots I would fire from my tranquiliser dart gun would be quiet enough to allow me to knock these two guards out. Fortunately, Christina had given me the silencer for my dart gun before we left.
After what seemed like ten minutes of silence, Christina nudged me and enquired in a whisper, “Are you ready, my dear? Ready to take out these poor chaps?”
I looked down to observe the two guards at the cabinet again. I had to make sure that my timing was right. Why was I doing this anyway? Was it something about the Rednarog Crystal that fascinated me and I wanted to look at it? Or was it because I would do anything for this woman who I absolutely adored?
I nodded and replied in a whisper, “Yes, sweetheart. Ready and willing.”
“Good,” Christina smiled. Then with a hint of impatience in her voice, “Do it then!”
I got the message. With that, I gradually aimed my tranquiliser dart gun at the two guards down below. I had to make sure they didn’t see me. Please let me do this right. Why was I worrying about getting it wrong though? I’d been in active service for a long time as a soldier and whatnot. I’m always considered a good shot. Surely my experience wouldn’t let me down now. Would it?
Eventually, I opened fire. I hit the first security guard. He fell to the floor unconscious. The second security guard reacted with surprise as he went and knelt over his colleague to check on him. I took my chance. I fired again. I hit the second security guard. He too fell to the floor unconscious. Thank goodness for my perfect firing aim. It didn’t let me down after all, did it?
Christina patted me on the back, commending me. “Well done, James dear.” She gave me a quick peck on the lips. “Now we can get on with stealing the crystal. Come on. Let’s go down on the wires, shall we?”
She went over to a position where she could attach the safety harness to the ceiling. Oh but how I wished that kiss she gave me could have lasted a little longer. Bazooie eyed me with intrigue and cool appreciation. I shrugged and told him not to say a word. He just gave me a low moan.
Five minutes later, Christina, Bazooie and I lowered down to the ground from the ceiling to where the glass cabinet containing the Rednarog Crystal was. Once we got down, Christina went over to the glass cabinet to break it open silently. She got Bazooie to help out too, due to his lock-picking skills. I hung about watching for any more security guards coming our way. We kept ourselves attached to the wires and the safety harness in case we needed to get back up to the ceiling in a hurry.
“How’s it going?” I asked, looking over my shoulder. “Are you able to get it?” I still couldn’t believe I was helping out a criminal. And a devastatingly beautiful criminal at that! I wondered whether the Doctor would approve. He probably wouldn’t. Was he wondering where I was since I had escaped from the prison penitentiary?
Christina answered back. “Nearly there. Bazooie and I are cutting a hole into the glass. We should be able to get it out once we’ve cut a hole in the cabinet.”
Bazooie squeaked in agreement once Christina said that.
“How about you?” she asked. “Anybody coming?”
“Nope,” I answered. “All quiet so far. Can’t hear any footsteps from anybody?”
“And the two guards you knocked out?” she went on. “Are they still asleep?”
“Yep,” I replied. “Sleeping like babies.”
I gently nudged the two sleeping security guards with my foot to make sure they were fast asleep. They snored away nicely. You would think they would have better security guards to keep wide awake for anyone who might shoot them out unconscious. I was lucky I was able to knock them out so easily. That was the thing that was bugging me at the moment. All of this seemed too easy. I wondered if Christina wondered the same as me.
Eventually, I could see over my shoulder that Christina and Bazooie had managed to cut a hole and take out the glass from the cabinet they were breaking into.
“There,” Christina said satisfied. “Now we just need to reach in and take out the crystal. Just need to be delicate…”
With that, Christina began to reach into the glass cabinet with her hand to take the emerald-coloured crystal from its pedestal. I looked away to make sure no guards were coming our way as well as looking down to make sure the security guards I had knocked out unconscious were still asleep.
I heard Christina exclaim quietly, “Got you!” before looking back to see the Rednarog crystal was in her hand. She smiled satisfied. I was pleased for her.
Just then, a horrible alarm bell went off. Pandemonium ensued. Bazooie screeched in panic before he leapt up and landed in my arms in an instant. As I held him, I looked to see Christina with an anxious expression on her face too. I was feeling beyond anxious.
“What is it? What’s happening?” I demanded to know. “Did you trip an alarm off?”
“I must have done,” she answered. “It must be one of those five second delay alarms when someone takes out an item from one of the museum exhibits!”
“I thought you said all the alarms would be shut off once Bazooie had broken the sealing bolts in the roof section,” I complained.
“Obviously, this is a new security installation on the museum’s part,” Christina answered bluntly. “And I clearly overlooked it.”
“Fat lot of good that is to us now, isn’t it?” I retorted.
Just then, I heard the sound of footsteps coming from nearby. Christina and Bazooie heard them too. I was certain I heard someone shouting, “There’s been a break in! We must attend to it!”
Another voice, a female one I think, shouted, “Get a move on, will you? However they got in, they’ll find a way to get out quickly before we get to them!”
I turned to Christina. “We have to leave!”
“Agreed!” Christina answered. “Quick! Up we go back to the ceiling!”
She was about to press the button on her safety harness buckle on her belt before I interjected, “The crystal! Put the crystal back where you found it!”
“No way!” Christina retorted. “I’ve come a long way to get the crystal! I’m not putting it back!”
“No buts! We go back up or not at all! Come on, Bazooie! You’re with me!”
Bazooie leapt out of my arms and ended up in Christina’s. Then, Christina pressed the button on her belt buckle and shot up to the ceiling. I looked up to see her go, accelerating at a pretty fast speed. I heard the footsteps and voices getting closer as they were about to turn the corner.
“Come on, hubby,” Christina called down to me. “Get up here, will you?!”
Without arguing, I pressed the button on my belt buckle to go up. I was pretty startled once I shot up to the ceiling, just as the two new security guards – a man and a woman – came round the corner. They saw me as I shot up to the ceiling. They opened fire with their guns to shoot me down. Thankfully they missed. Clearly they weren’t as good shots as I was.
Eventually, Christina, Bazooie and I got back out onto the roof, exiting the roof section of the museum. The alarm bell was still going off from inside the museum as Bazooie closed the roof section door by which we had entered the building. He didn’t bother locking it with the sealing bolts.
“Well, now that we’ve got your fine and high mighty crystal, what else are we fine and high mighty going to do, hmm?” I enquired bitterly.
“Back to the bus, of course,” Christina answered, pocketing the Rednarog crystal in her left cat-suit pocket. “And don’t start getting shirty with me.”
“I have every reason to be shirty,” I responded. “After all we’ve been through…”
“Hello there, James,” said a familiar voice nearby. “Having fun, are we?”
Christina, Bazooie and I turned to see who had spoken. There he was! There was the Doctor – teeth and curls, big grin, long multi-coloured scarf and all. He had been waiting for us to come out of the museum we had broken into to steal something. How long had he been standing there? How did he know where to find us? Or find me?
“Doctor!” I exclaimed, stammering. “Y-you’re…you’re here. You came for me after all.”
“Well, of course I did,” the Doctor replied cheerfully, acting like I shouldn’t consider the notion. “I never abandon my friends. Though you’ve clearly got some explaining to do! About what you’ve been up to and who this woman is!”
“Ah yes,” I realised, as I almost started to dither and ramble a bit. “I can explain, Doctor. You see, I was…”
“Doctor!” Christina exclaimed, delightedly, interrupting me in mid-flow. “It really is good to see you! I wondered when you’d turn up again.”
The Doctor looked at Christina curiously. “Sorry, my dear, do I know you?”
I looked at Christina curiously now. “You know him?”
“Of course I do,” Christina answered as if it was a matter of fact. “The Doctor and I go way back. We dealt with Tritovores and Stingrays on the planet San Helios, didn’t we?” She asked this latest question to the Doctor.
The Doctor seemed to be confused. “I’m sorry, my dear, but I’m afraid I’ve no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve never seen you before in my life.”
Christina was surprised by that. “Never seen me before in your life? I’m quite offended.”
“Oh please don’t be,” the Doctor tried to reassure her. “I’m sure there’s a perfectly simple explanation. It could be that what happened for you with the Tritovores, the Stingrays and the planet San Helios hasn’t happened for me yet.”
“But you’re the same person as I remember you,” Christina told him. “Big long scarf; all teeth and curls! You’re exactly that same person I met when we went on the big double-decker bus – the one I’ve got camouflaged nearby here – in 2009. That was about eight years ago.”
“Are you sure about this, Christina love?” I asked her.
“Of course I’m sure,” Christina replied. “At least I’m sure it was eight years ago…”
“No, no,” I interrupted her. “I mean, are you sure this is the same man you met all those years ago during that San Helios whatever it was business you did.”
“Yes,” Christina insisted. “I’m positive about it.”
I looked at the Doctor. “Perhaps you’re right, Doctor. Maybe the things Christina experienced are working the other way round with you.”
“Possibly,” the Doctor remarked. “Or it could be we’re in the wrong universe altogether. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly the explanation for it.”
“What are you talking about, Doctor?” I demanded to know, getting a little annoyed with him for being cryptic at this moment.
“Whilst you’ve been having fun and games, James,” the Doctor said, “I’ve been doing some snooping around. Apparently that business with the Rednarogs we had is far from over.”
“You’ve encountered Rednarogs?” Christina reacted surprised.
“Doctor,” I interjected. “Christina and I have just picked up an emerald-coloured crystal from the museum. It belongs to the Rednarogs apparently. Christina, show him.”
Christina automatically took out the Rednarog crystal and showed it to the Doctor. The Doctor snatched it from her, examining it carefully in his hands.
“Ah yes!” the Doctor exclaimed. “This is exactly what the Rednarogs want.” He then pocketed the crystal in one of his coat pockets.
“Excuse me!” Christina protested. “That’s my property!”
“No, it’s not,” the Doctor admonished her. “It’s the museum’s property.” He then turned to me. “And you’ve got a nerve aiding and abetting this woman in the theft of an alien crystal.”
“Lady, if you don’t mind,” Christina tried to correct him. I think the Doctor ignored her.
“She’s been very persuasive,” I argued. “How could I resist her charms when she asked me to help her out?”
“Thank you for sticking by me, sweetheart,” Christina put an arm through mine as we stood together facing the Doctor.
Just then, gunshots were heard. We turned back to look and saw security guards chasing after us from the roof section. Bazooie panicked, clutching my leg.
“Get off my leg, Bazooie,” I told him off.
“They’ve caught up with us,” Christina became anxious. “We shouldn’t have dawdled.”
“Quickly, everyone!” the Doctor cried. “Get into the TARDIS!”
“You don’t have your TARDIS here,” I argued.
“Besides we have my Mighty 200 bus nearby,” Christina told him. “Don’t worry. I’ll switch off the camouflage for it.”
“My ship’s camouflaged too!” the Doctor told them, showing his sonic screwdriver and pressing a button on it.
The sonic screwdriver buzzed away before the TARDIS was revealed to us on the rooftop. It had been invisible this whole time. I couldn’t believe it.
“You’ve had it invisible all this time?!” I remarked, astounded.
“Quickly now!” the Doctor prompted urgently. “Get inside, the pair of you! You too, Bazooie!”
Bazooie squeaked at that.
“Why can’t we just take my bus?” Christina argued, perturbed.
“Because your bus can’t take us to where I want us to go,” the Doctor answered. “Now come on! Get inside!” he said forcefully and impatiently.
Christina and I were pushed into the TARDIS by the Doctor whilst the security guards opened fire on us. Bazooie got into the TARDIS too. The Doctor slammed the TARDIS door shut once we were inside.
Inside the TARDIS console room, the Doctor was at the controls in an instant.
“Hold on tight, you two,” he said to us. “We’re taking off!”
Within a few moments, the TARDIS whooshed and groaned pretty loudly as we took off. I was certain the security guards would be baffled by the TARDIS taking off once we had left the museum rooftop. I looked at Christina, seeing she was amazed and astounded by what she saw.
“This is what your ship looks like on the inside!” she remarked. I wondered if she was going to criticise the wooden TARDIS interior. I told the Doctor he should have upgraded the desktop theme. Instead she said, “It looks pretty incredible! Amazing! I’m impressed!”
“You’ve not been in the Doctor’s TARDIS before then?” I queried.
“No,” she replied. “I did ask him to take me with him when we first met. But he said he wasn’t interested. He didn’t say why.”
I looked at the Doctor. “Why didn’t you take Christina with you as a travelling partner, Doctor? She would have been great!”
The Doctor looked at me. “This isn’t relevant, James. Not now anyway!” He returned his attention to the console unit.
“Excuse me…” I began to protest before the Doctor cut me short.
“Don’t you see, James,” he argued. “We’re not meant to be part of the universe where her ladyship Christina came from.”
“What are you babbling about, Doctor?” I demanded to know, getting impatient.
Eventually, the Doctor pressed a button to open the scanner screen. Christina, Bazooie and I looked to see. We were amazed by what we saw. There was a maelstrom in space. All pink and purplely! Almost like the one the Doctor and I first saw when we exited out of the dimensions of our own universe to end up where the Rednarogs were. But it couldn’t be the same one though, could it? Could it?
“Doctor, that maelstrom…”
“Recognise it, do you?” the Doctor interrupted me. “Yes, James. Except it’s on a quantum rotational axis! And it’s burning all realities as we speak.”
“Burning all realities? What are you going on about?” I demanded to know
“The universe we believed to be home after escaping the Rednarogs. Where you made your ‘Star Wars’ movie…”
“And I’m still pretty proud of that! No apologies from me…”
“It wasn’t our home universe, James!”
“No it wasn’t. It was an alternative reality. We ended up in the wrong universe after all this time! I did some investigating and it led me to this place outside of space and time. Apparently the dimensions are still breaking down as we speak. The maelstrom we’re seeing is manifesting to a great intensity.”
“We’ve been in the wrong universe all this time?!” I exclaimed. “Why didn’t you check?”
“I’ve only recently found out,” the Doctor argued. “Believe me, James. I’m as shocked as you are for overlooking this factor.”
“So wait,” I began to realise. “The ‘Star Wars’ movie Bazooie and I made. It never ended up in our home universe at all. People are still going to have to suffer that abomination they watched in what we know as 2017.”
I shook my fists in anger. “And I was so close.”
“And whilst you’ve been having fun,” the Doctor went on. “I made contact with the Rednarogs on a rock in space, close to a portal leading to our home universe.”
“You’ve met up with the Rednarogs again?!”
“Yes! They’re trying to restore order with the tampering they’ve caused. And a dreadful job they’re doing too with the limited power resources they’ve got. Hence why the crystal…” He held the Rednarog Crystal in his hand, which he took out from one of his coat pockets.
“That’s my crystal!” Christina protested.
“The Rednarogs’ actually,” the Doctor pointed out.
“You’re going to give that to them to make sure they restore the dimensions they’ve tried to break down recently,” I said.
“Right on target!” he commended me. “I’ve also bargained with them so that we can return to our home universe. It took a lot of hard talking and earnest persuasion, but they agreed to the bargain.”
“Before we go,” I said, “couldn’t we fetch…?”
“No!” the Doctor said firmly. “Your ‘Star Wars’ movie must never be seen in our home universe! Not ever! Time and space will crumble if you bring it back into our dimension. That movie you made probably caused what happened with the big pink-purple maelstrom to intensify in the first place.”
“I rather doubt it.”
“Your movie must never been seen in our universe, James. It can stay in Christina’s, but it must never come to ours. That’s the way it should be!”
“But Doctor, couldn’t we just go back…”
“And not for private viewings either!” the Doctor snapped sharply. “That is final!”
I became sulky once more. “Spoil sport,” I grunted.
“Which is more important to you, James?” the Doctor challenged me firmly. “Your ‘Star Wars’ film to exist in our universe; or for it to be the cause of countless billions of realities, including our own to perish as well as Lady Christina’s?”
“You’re exaggerating,” I argued.
“Are you willing to risk it?!”
I knew what the Doctor was trying to do. What he was trying to say. And it wasn’t fair. How could I have come so far in making my proper ‘Star Wars’ to replace the terrible one in 2017 and for it all to come to nothing. It just wasn’t right. How could everything else be more important than that?”
Christina then stepped forward and interrupted, “Wait a minute, excuse me! Can one of you explain to me what all of this is about? My head’s hurting me!”
Oh no! My cover is about to be blown. She’s going to learn the truth about me! I couldn’t bear it!
The Doctor began. Of course he had to begin, didn’t he? “Christina…your name is Christina, isn’t it?”
“Yes of course it is. You know that, Doctor” she argued.
“But that’s the thing you see,” the Doctor pointed out. “I’ve never met you before. Not yet anyway. James and I don’t belong in your universe. We come from another reality. A reality running parallel to yours!”
Christina looked baffled. She struggled to understand.
Eventually I helped her out. There was no way getting out of it. It was a hard thing for me to do. “Dearest Christina. I’m not really your husband.”
Christina looked at me, astonished and surprised. “What?”
“I may look like your husband. I may sound like your husband. But in the end, I’m a stranger to you, just as you’re a stranger to me. Your real husband is probably running around somewhere in London trying to look for you whilst you’re with me.”
Soon, Christina stepped up closer to me. Her eyes pierced into mine. This was hurting me.
“Are you trying to say…you’re an imposter?” she asked. “That you took advantage and pretended to be my husband?”
There was no better way to answer that. “In a way, yes,” I said.
It took a while for Christina to say anything to me. Tension ensued. Eventually, she slapped me across the face. Bazooie squeaked, startled upon seeing this. The slap hurt. The pain on my face was more hurtful than I could imagine.
“How dare you deceive me?” she said simply. I could see tears in her eyes.
I gradually answered, “You made me feel good about myself. You made me feel like I was worth something. How could I resist? You’re the ideal woman in more ways than one!”
As I said this, Christina’s glare started to soften. Like she was seeing me properly for the first time! I didn’t know whether she was beginning to like me again or not.
The Doctor interrupted. “Sorry for interrupting, but we’ve got to get a move on. The Rednarogs are waiting for us.”
“What about me?” Christina asked gradually, her voice choking. “Am I to be sent back to my home universe once your deal with the Rednarogs has been sorted?”
“Yes,” the Doctor answered. “Hopefully I can persuade the Rednarogs to send you back home. The Rednarog Crystal should enable them to do that, I believe. Though it might be a little tricky should they happen to refuse?”
That was when I realised what was more important to me. Saving Christina’s life!
I looked to the Doctor. “Tell them…” I trailed off and started again. “Doctor, tell them…if they won’t agree to sending Christina back home, I’ll be staying behind with her.”
The Doctor looked at me appalled. I knew what I was talking about though. I hope that he would eventually.
“James, you can’t be serious,” he said. “Your presence in Christina’s universe could intensify the maelstrom even more.”
“I know,” I said. “I hope the Rednarogs will realise that too. I don’t understand them and their dimension breaking, but if my threats to stay behind with Christina help you to persuade them to send her back to her universe; then it should work out fine. I hope they’ll agree to your request. Christina will be sent back to her home whilst you and I Doctor return to ours.”
Christina looked at me surprised. “You’re willing to sacrifice staying with me so that you and the Doctor can return to your universe whilst I return to mine?”
I looked at Christina, feeling really sad about this. “Believe me, Christina. I would love to stay with you. But you have your husband and I don’t think he’ll be very happy to see me around. I want you to return home safely. If my persuasion tactics help the Doctor with his persuasion tactics, the Rednarogs will be able to restore all realities once we’ve returned to our home universes.” I turned to the Doctor. “Isn’t that right, Doctor?”
The Doctor looked at me, almost as if he were pleased with me at how I was handling this situation. Believe me; I was struggling quite a lot. “It’s very likely the Rednarogs will take your supposed stance very seriously. They’d dare not risk having all realities destroyed with you putting a spanner in the works.” He paused for a moment. “I’m pleased you’ve come up with this approach, James. It’s very commendable.”
“Believe me, I don’t want to come up with this approach,” I said. “This is all happening so fast. But if it’ll mean saving Christina as well as both our necks Doctor, then so be it! The Rednarogs must be persuaded. The threats that I’ll give them should be able to do that should your tactics fail.”
“You still won’t be able to show your ‘Star Wars’ movie in our home universe, James,” the Doctor reminded me.
I nodded, realising that. “It doesn’t matter.” I couldn’t believe I was saying this. “What matters is Christina’s life as well as our lives! And possibly other lives in other universes like you said, Doctor. I personally want to save Christina’s life and not have a terrible ‘Star Wars’ movie get in the way.”
A moment of silence ensued.
The Doctor smiled. “Then I think we can agree we’re all satisfied.” He made his way over to the TARDIS console and pulled a lever. “Let’s meet up with the Rednarogs, shall we?”
With that, the TARDIS whooshed and groaned loudly as we were making for where the Rednarogs were.
Bazooie the Miggie gurgled nearby.
I turned to him and said, “I know, Bazooie. You would have stayed behind with me too. I’m grateful for that.”
I stroked Bazooie’s head. Bazooie liked it when I stroked his head.
Eventually, the TARDIS landed on the rock in space where the Rednarogs were waiting. The Doctor, Bazooie, Christina and I stepped out to meet them. The Doctor handed them over the Rednarog Crystal which they were pleased to have. They should be.
The Doctor also made the request to send Christina back to her universe as well as letting me, Bazooie and the Doctor go our way to head back to our universe. The Doctor explained that they had brought Christina by mistake. The Rednarogs were reluctant to accept the offer as expected. I said I would stay behind with Christina if they refused to accept the request; the Doctor pointed out Christina’s presence outside reality would cause an imbalance; blah, blah, blah, blah.
Eventually, the Rednarog leader agreed to the Doctor’s terms, saying that they would send Christina back home as well as let the rest of us go our way back to our universe. Glad that turned out well.
“Make sure you don’t bother us again, Doctor,” the Rednarog leader hissed. “We expect not to see you ever in our universe anymore.”
“Just you make sure you don’t break down any more dimensions to satisfy your scientific curiosity,” the Doctor reprimanded.
“We shall do as we please,” the Rednarog leader protested, hissing.
“Then you’ll keep seeing me more often I’m afraid,” the Doctor pointed out shrewdly. “I have a habit of correcting things caused by people who attempt to disrupt the fabric of reality.”
The Rednarogs seemed to be grunting. Almost sulking! I think the Doctor rubbed them up the wrong way.
Eventually, the Rednarog leader hissed, “Very well. Be gone with you, Doctor. You and your friends! We shall send the woman back to her home dimension as we agreed.”
“Can I say goodbye to her please?” I asked earnestly. “It won’t take long, I promise.”
The Rednarog grunted, annoyed at my eager request.
“Oh come on, Rednarog leader,” the Doctor encouraged him. “Be a sport. Let them share a fond farewell with each other before they part.”
The Rednarog hissed bitterly, eager to use the crystal the Doctor had given him. “As you wish. Make your farewells and go!”
With that, the Rednarog leader stalked off, its minions following behind him.
The Doctor turned to Christina and said, “Farewell, your ladyship! I look forward to seeing you properly in the future. My own personal future that is.”
“I hope you’ll find me well, Doctor,” Christina said sadly.
The Doctor nodded. “I’m sure I will. Ta-ta then.” He turned to me. “I’ll wait for you and Bazooie in the TARDIS.” With that, he went off inside.
“Sure thing, Doctor,” I said, seeing him go in and closing the TARDIS door behind him.
Once he had gone, I turned to look at Christina. Both she and I struggled to say something to each other. It was really hard to say goodbye like this. After all we’ve been through and what we discovered about each other.
“Thank you for letting me become a part of your adventure,” I said. “I did enjoy helping you to steal that crystal. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”
“Just tell me one thing,” Christina said, interrupting me. She paused for a moment as I listened earnestly to hear what she had to say. “What you said about my life in that it matters. Did you really mean it when you said that?”
“Of course I did,” I answered sincerely.
A weak smile formed on Christina’s lips. Tears started to trickle down out from her eyes too.
“What I said to you about you being an imposter,” she went on. “It turns out I was wrong. You really are my husband, aren’t you?”
I was quite bemused by her remark. “How can I be? I don’t belong in your dimension.”
Christina looked down at her feet for a moment before she looked back up at me. “My husband in my reality,” she began. “He would put my life before his. Just like you put my life before yours.”
I smiled at that. This husband Christina keeps talking about sounds like a good guy.
“He’s a lucky man, your husband,” I said.
A moment of silence ensued between us.
“You should be lucky,” she said. After a pause, she went on, “When you return to your home universe, James…”
Christina breathed a bit before she spoke again. “When you return home…find me. Find the other Lady Christina who lives in your home universe. Perhaps she’ll take a liking to you. Just as much as I took a liking to you. The other you I mean. Before we got married.”
I couldn’t help be moved by Christina’s encouragement to find her in my home universe.
“I intend to find you, Christina,” I reassured her. “That I promise.”
We looked at each other deeply into our eyes. Eventually, Christina reached forward and kissed me on the lips. We both embraced each other whilst we kissed together on the rock in space, close by to the portal open and swirling beside us. We soon stopped kissing before looking into each other’s eyes again.
Christina became tearful. “I’m so sad to see you go. Knowing that I’ll never see you again.”
I smiled at that. “Don’t worry,” I told her. “There’s still a bit of me in your home universe to enjoy, remember?”
Christina was puzzled by that.
I elaborated. “I made a ‘Star Wars’ movie recently. Go to your local cinema with your husband and enjoy it there. I’m sure you and your husband will like it.”
Christina smiled, still teary-eyed. “I’m sure I will.”
Just then, Bazooie came in to get a hug from Christina. Christina reached down and cradled Bazooie in her arms.
“And I’m definitely going to miss you, Bazooie,” she said.
I allowed them both to have their moment together. I wondered if there was an alternative Bazooie in Christina’s universe as well as an alternative version of me.
Just then, the Doctor’s head popped out of the TARDIS. “Come on, James! Get a move on! If we overstay our welcome, the Rednarogs will get very angry.”
I heard the Doctor, looking to him first before turning back to Christina. It was still painful to say farewell to her.
“You should go,” she said to me. “Goodbye, James. Look after yourself.”
With that, I took Christina’s hand and kissed it. Christina kissed my forehead in return.
After one final look at Christina, I said to my mascot, “Come on, Bazooie! Into the TARDIS like the Doctor said.”
Bazooie and I made our way to join the Doctor inside, leaving Christina behind as we entered the TARDIS.
Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor, Bazooie and I saw the Rednarogs use their crystal. Soon Christina was out of sight, heading back to her home universe as we hoped. The Doctor, already at the TARDIS console, was pulling levers and pressing buttons before we departed from the rock in space and headed straight for the open portal leading into our home universe. The Rednarogs must have used the crystal to restore all dimensions and close the portal once we had gone through. Soon, the Doctor and I were back in our home dimension.
Sometime later, I stood around the TARDIS console. We were back in our home reality. The Doctor was positive about it. He checked, double-checked and treble-checked to make sure we weren’t in any other pocket dimension the Rednarogs might have slipped us into. He was pretty sure we had returned to what we considered to be home.
The abominable ‘Star Wars’ movie existing on Earth in 2017 was proof of that according to the TARDIS databanks. It was painful for me. Not just with the ‘Star Wars’ movie, but also with having to say goodbye to Christina, the woman I had come to love. I wish I could have told her that. I think she knew I loved her. Didn’t she? Bazooie comforted me, placing a paw on my arm. I placed my hand on his paw, appreciating the comfort he gave me.
The Doctor came round by the console to join me, pressing buttons and pulling levers as he did so. He saw how troubled I was.
“All well with you, James old thing?” he asked.
The Doctor knew how I was feeling. He was just trying to cheer me up, wasn’t he?
“I’m fine, Doctor,” I answered him simply.
The Doctor wasn’t convinced by that answer. I couldn’t blame him.
“I’m really sorry we couldn’t take that ‘Star Wars’ movie of yours with us,” the Doctor said. “It wasn’t worth the risk to change the course of history that would disrupt the fabric of reality.”
Somehow I didn’t think that happening was likely to be the case. But that wasn’t what was bothering me. I told the Doctor so.
“I miss Lady Christina,” I said.
“Oh,” the Doctor realised, understanding. “I see.”
“She was something else, Doctor,” I said. “Lady Christina made me feel good about myself. Like a new man. And now I’ve said goodbye to her…I feel empty without her.” I looked the Doctor straight in the eye. “Do you know what that feels like?”
The Doctor thought about it for a moment, considering his answer carefully. “I don’t think I do to be perfectly honest.” He was aloof as usual. “But then, I don’t have the same human frailties you have when it comes to loving someone. I like to be considered a romantic at heart, but never having experienced romance myself, well…that’s rather hard to say.”
“Surely you’ve had relationships with people before you met me,” I argued. “You must have had a family at some point in your life.”
“Oh yes, I most certainly have,” the Doctor replied. “I even travelled with my granddaughter Susan for a bit. You’d like her should we ever get to meet her again.”
The Doctor continued to work away at the TARDIS console whilst I considered the request I was going to make to him very carefully.
“Doctor, can I make a request?”
“Of course, dear thing. Anything you like.”
I paused for a moment. “We may have left Lady Christina in her own universe. But there’s a Lady Christina in this universe, isn’t there? You’d probably meet her in the future with a red London double-decker bus or something.”
“Yes, I believe you’re probably right about that,” the Doctor answered. “What of it?”
Another pause. “I’d like to go and meet Lady Christina properly for the first time in our universe. Can we go to Earth in the 21st century and meet her?”
“You mean, right now?”
“Yes please. Right now.”
Bazooie whimpered eagerly at the Doctor too. He wanted to meet Lady Christina in our universe too. I hoped the Doctor would accept.
Thankfully he did as he put on that big grin of his and said, “Right now it is, Private James Darby. Let’s go and meet Lady Christina…what was her surname?”
“De Souza,” I told him. “Lady Christina de Souza.”
“Let’s go and meet Lady Christina de Souza, shall we?”
The Doctor pressed the buttons on the TARDIS console as we made for Earth in the 21st century where I hoped to meet my love again…or rather the first time. This sounds very complicated, doesn’t it?
‘James Darby’ created by Tim Bradley
‘Lady Christina de Souza’ created by Russell T. Davies
© Tim Bradley, 2019
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