‘The Prime Factor’, Part One, Chapter 4

4. Cargo Boxes and Schools

SCENE #30 – INT – TARDIS CONSOLE ROOM – N/A
Meanwhile, in the TARDIS, Nyssa enters with two glasses of cloudy lemonade. She gives one to Billy and has one for herself as they wait in the console room.

NYSSA
“There you are, Billy. One glass of cloudy lemonade as requested.”

BILLY
“Thanks. I need this.” (realises) “Oh I see you’ve got a glass too.”

NYSSA
“Well, I might as well join you.”

BILLY
“Are you sure it won’t affect your Trakenite biology in any way?”

NYSSA
“I have had lemonade before, Billy. And I’ve had…choc-o-late…from you and the Doctor. I’m sure I can manage a drink like this.”

BILLY
“Suit yourself.”

Nyssa and Billy take a sip from their glasses.

NYSSA
“You’re getting anxious aren’t you, Billy dear.”

BILLY
(gradually) “Yes I am.” (Pause) “I wonder what’s going on inside that house of my uncle’s right now.” (Pause) “I’ve got a nagging feeling that the Doctor and Maxil might run into trouble. I know I shouldn’t feel like that, but…”

NYSSA
“Try not to worry about it, Billy. It’s no good fretting over…spilt milk? I think that’s one of your Earth expressions.”

BILLY
“Close enough. It’s ‘don’t cry over spilt milk’.”

A moment of silence ensues.

BILLY
“You’re right, of course. I shouldn’t worry about it.” (Pause) “It’s just…with us being so close to my past, it’s hard not to think or worry about it.”

NYSSA
(gradually) “Well, perhaps we could do something together whilst we’re waiting to keep your mind off it, Billy.”

BILLY
(intrigued) “Yeah? What had you in mind?”

NYSSA
(thinks) “Perhaps a bathe in the TARDIS swimming pool or something.”

BILLY
(gradually) “Oh! That’s a nice idea. Why didn’t I think of that?”

NYSSA
“Shall we make our way to the swimming pool then?”

BILLY
“Shall we take our glasses of cloudy lemonade with us?”

NYSSA
“I don’t see why not.”

With that, Nyssa and Billy are about to head out of the TARDIS console room, before an alarm bleeps on one of the console instruments. Nyssa and Billy stop in their tracks once this happens.

NYSSA
(puzzled) “That’s odd. One of the console instruments is on the blink.”

BILLY
“Yeah.” (Pause) “Maybe it’s nothing to worry about.”

NYSSA
“Maybe not. But we’d best check.”

With that, Nyssa goes over to the TARDIS console instrument on the blink and examines it. A short while ensues.

NYSSA
(realises) “It’s the proximity detectors, Billy. They’re picking up other faint TARDIS energy signatures close by.”

BILLY
“What? You mean…there are other TARDISes in this area as well as the Doctor’s?”

NYSSA
“I think so. I’m not sure.” (checks further) “Wait!”

BILLY
“What is it?”

NYSSA
(gradually) “The instrument panel indicates the energy signatures are of the same TARDIS. This TARDIS, Billy!”

BILLY
“What?! You mean there are other versions of the Doctor’s TARDIS in the same area that we’re in?”

NYSSA
“From various time perspectives I should imagine. From past and future.”

BILLY
(perplexed) “Why would we have other versions of the Doctor’s TARDIS in the same area as us?” (Pause) “Is there a mighty catastrophe happening or something like that?”

NYSSA
“The cloister bell hasn’t rung. So it can’t be that.”

BILLY
“Could it have something to do with us seeing various versions of the Doctor when we were in Swansea nineteen-thirty?”

NYSSA
“I honestly don’t know, Billy. It’s very peculiar.”

A moment of silence ensues between them.

BILLY
“Still want to take that soak in the TARDIS swimming pool, Nyssa sweetie?”


SCENE #31 – INT – LIVING ROOM, NO. 25 – DAY, EVENING
Back in Uncle Brawn’s house, the Doctor and Maxil continue to question Brawn and Emily with their daughter Hannah in their living room.

DOCTOR
“Surely Mr. Walker, you and your wife must be concerned about your nephew if he has a bad headmaster at his school.”

BRAWN
(ignorantly) “Not really, no!” (to Hannah) “Hey Hannah, give me a can of beer or I won’t give you a pound!”

HANNAH
“Can I have crisps, Dad?”

BRAWN
“No!”

Hannah moans before she tosses a can of beer to Brawn which he catches.

DOCTOR
“It’s not just Billy who’s been complaining though, Mr. Walker. There are other pupils who have been through similar experiences like Billy…”

HANNAH
(interrupts; to Doctor) “Do you want a beer?”

DOCTOR
“Uh…no, thank you. Tea would be nice though.”

EMILY
“We only do beer here!”

DOCTOR
(surprised) “Oh.”

HANNAH
(ignores Doctor; to Maxil) “And you? Do you want a can?”

MAXIL
“I’ve never had beer before in my life.”

DOCTOR
(whispers; to Maxil) “And you’re not having any tonight, Maxil.” (continues; to Brawn) “Anyway teachers and pupils have been complaining about Mr. Lewis. I want to know what Billy has said to you about this.”

Brawn drinks beer before he belches loudly.

BRAWN
(dismissively) “Why should I care what Billy’s said. He’s a liar and a cheat!”

EMILY
(concurs) “A liar and a cheat!”

BRAWN
“A liar and a cheat! Next he’s going to build a bungalow out of lies and cheats. He’s done nothing but that ever since he came into my house.”

MAXIL
“What makes you think Billy’s a liar and a cheat, Mr. Walker?”

DOCTOR
(interjects) “Whatever differences you have with Billy, the point still stands! Mr. Lewis at Billy’s school has become a disturbance this week. We…” (stammers) “W-W-We’re planning a petition to see to it that Mr. Lewis gets taken off the school premises.”

MAXIL
(puzzled) “We are?”

DOCTOR
(to Maxil) “We are!” (to Brawn; Emily) “Billy must have said something to you two about the state of affairs at his school and Mr. Lewis. Do you even know or guess what will happen to Billy at school tomorrow morning or at lunch-time?”

BRAWN
“It’s not of interest to me. Billy said that there was a special gathering happening tomorrow in the school playground at noon, but who cares! You’re teachers, aren’t you? Do you know about this?”

DOCTOR
(hesitates) “Well…of course we know! We’re teachers after all. But we want to hear from you as to whether Billy shared his anxieties with you about this matter. This is part of our petition, you know.”

EMILY
(interrupts; shrewdly) “Look! Mr. Snits…or whatever you two are! The life of one insignificant boy does not concern the likes of us. Even if he is a part of our family.”

MAXIL
“That’s not a very responsible attitude to your nephew, Mrs. Walker.”

EMILY
“Yes well, who cares? I have a nice house; a wonderful husband; and you two are going on about some kid and other kids terrified of the big bad wolf at the big bad school. Why do a petition anyway? It’s not going to help with things, is it? Is it so Billy can go to college and graduate someday?”

DOCTOR
“Well, I don’t know about that [but…”]

Brawn and Emily scoff and laugh.

BRAWN
(rudely) “College? Graduate? I mean, look at me! Look at me! I’m sexy! I mean…do you see me having to go to college or to graduate? Cos I’ve never been to college or graduated. Never cared about college or going to graduate.” (Pause) “College and graduation is awful!”

Emily lets out a horrible laugh.

MAXIL
(observantly) “Now I see what beer does to people. It makes them idiots.”

EMILY
(to Maxil) “You what now?”

DOCTOR
“Billy’s education and well-being may not mean much to you, Mr. Walker. But it certainly means a lot to us. To me and Mr. Maxil. I see now why you’re so unreasonable. At least…at least that’s what I’ve heard based on rumours about you and your family in Churchwood Street, Mr. Walker.”

Brawn shrugs and half-belches, not caring.

DOCTOR
(urgently) “Mr. Walker, anything you can tell us about Billy’s unhappiness at school would be most helpful. If not just for him then for the whole school at least. You can send us information in a cargo box via post if you want to.”

BRAWN
(suspiciously) “What cargo box? Send it to whom?”

A moment of silence ensues. Before Brawn questions the Doctor further, he lets out a small belch and then a very large one that ruins the train of thought.

BRAWN
(belches) “Pardon me.”

EMILY
(annoyed) “Stop doing that when we have guests! Do it later!”

BRAWN
(to Emily) “I can’t help it! I’ve got indigestion!” (to Doctor; Maxil) “Who have you been talking to, ladies?”

EMILY
(corrects) “They’re both men, Brawn!”

BRAWN
(to Emily) “Sorry.” (Pause; to Doctor; Maxil) “You nuts!”

DOCTOR
(puzzled) “We…haven’t been talking to anybody. What are you talking about?”

Brawn says nothing at first. Then he belches loudly.

MAXIL
“I think that’s the only answer we’re going to get from Mr. Walker, Doctor.”

DOCTOR
(thinks; gradually; to Maxil) “Yes I’m afraid you’re right, Mr. Maxil.” (Pause; to Brawn; Emily) “Ah well. Sorry to have interrupted you, Mr. and Mrs. Walker. Thank you for your time anyway.”

EMILY
(bitterly) “Thank you for interrupting our TV time this evening!”

BRAWN
(shrewdly) “Tell me about it!”

EMILY
“I don’t want to!”

BRAWN
“Oh fine then.” (Pause) “Let’s watch what’s left of our favourite programme, shall we?”

EMILY
“Great idea, Brawny!”

BRAWN
“Good! Right then!”

With that, Brawn picks up the remote control and switches on the TV set. The TV set is turned on to show…

NEWSREADER
“And here is the news!”

EMILY
(annoyed) “Oh great! We’ve missed it!”

BRAWN
(annoyed; shouts; at TV screen) “Boring! Boring news!!!”

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Maxil make their way to leave.

MAXIL
“We’ll let ourselves out then.”

DOCTOR
“Thanks again for your time, Mr. and Mrs. Walker.”

Brawn and Emily sulkily don’t answer as they now watch the news.

MAXIL
“I don’t think they’re listening to us, Doctor.”

DOCTOR
“You’re right there, Maxil. Come on, let’s go.”

With that, the Doctor and Maxil leave. Just as they go, Brawn lets out another loud large belch.

EMILY
(annoyed) “Oh that’s disgusting! You stink!”

BRAWN
“This is rubbish! Fancy missing what we were watching earlier.”

EMILY
(gradually) “It’s your fault anyway!” (Pause) “Well, you switched the TV off!”

BRAWN
(protests) “It’s not my fault if she and she…”

EMILY
(interrupts) “You mean ‘he and he’…”

BRAWN
(continues; protests; angrily) “…if he and he came in here!!!”

Brawn lets out another large loud belch as he speaks.

BRAWN
“Pardon me!”


SCENE #32 – EXT – CHURCHWOOD STREET, CARDIFF – DAY, EVENING
Outside, the Doctor and Maxil make their way back to the TARDIS.

MAXIL
(wryly) “Well, that went well. Mr. Walker knows how to make himself heard.”

DOCTOR
(preoccupied) “There’s quite a lot we’ve learnt from our meeting with Billy’s uncle and aunt, Maxil.”

MAXIL
(dubiously) “Are you being flippant, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
“The fact that Uncle Brawn and his wife are ignorant of Billy’s school life is blatantly obvious. The fact that Uncle Brawn and his wife live selfish lives is also blatantly obvious.”

MAXIL
“Are you going anywhere in particular with this?”

DOCTOR
“But a detail that didn’t escape me was Uncle Brawn suspected I had talked to someone about a cargo box he’d sent.”

MAXIL
(dismissively) “Really, Doctor. Is that a really important detail?”

DOCTOR
“I believe it is, Maxil. For the simple fact that I hadn’t mentioned anything about cargo boxes until that point. It had only been mentioned in conversation when I made an example of him sending information to us in the post about young Billy’s concerns of his school life.”

MAXIL
“And you were just being sarcastic with him.”

DOCTOR
“But why Maxil? Why did he suspect me when I only mentioned it in a casual manner?” (sighs) “Oh I wish we could go back and ask him straight out what he was suspicious about. We should have come as policemen instead of teachers from Billy’s school.”

MAXIL
(surprised) “You want to go back to that house and ask more questions?”

DOCTOR
(thinks; gradually) “No. No, I don’t think that would help much, do you?”

MAXIL
“I should say not. That Mr. Walker’s the rudest and most disgusting person I’ve ever come across in my profession.”

DOCTOR
“You’ve not met many humans have you, Maxil.”

MAXIL
“I consider Mr. Brawn T. Walker to be of human standards as I expect humanity to be. That’s why Time Lords are superior to humans anyway.”

DOCTOR
(objects) “Now I think you’re being harsh and judgemental there, Maxil.”

MAXIL
“I don’t think so, Doctor.”

DOCTOR
“Not all humans are like Uncle Brawn. Take Billy for example.”

MAXIL
(interjects) “Exactly! Inferior!”

DOCTOR
“I shall ignore that remark.”

MAXIL
“I wonder why you have him as a travelling companion. And all the other humans you’ve picked up on your travels according to Matrix records.”

Moment of silence.

DOCTOR
(gradually) “I shall ask Billy what his uncle meant by that remark about cargo boxes. He might be able to clarify things.”

MAXIL
(sighs) “Not the cargo boxes again.”

DOCTOR
(eagerly) “Come on! We’re nearly back at the TARDIS.”

The Doctor and Maxil soon arrive back at the TARDIS as they enter the ship.


SCENE #33 – INT – TARDIS CONSOLE ROOM – N/A
Inside the TARDIS, Nyssa and Billy meet up with the Doctor and Maxil.

NYSSA
(relieved) “Doctor! Thank goodness you and Maxil are alright.”

BILLY
“We wondered if you’d run into trouble meeting my aunt and uncle.”

DOCTOR
(wryly) “Oh they were charming company, Billy. Absolutely charming! You were right! Your uncle was a difficult person to deal with.”

BILLY
(teasingly) “Ah but you handled him well from what I recall when I eavesdropped on the banisters.”

DOCTOR
(shocked) “You eavesdropped, Billy!”

BILLY
“Just because I eavesdropped, it doesn’t mean I saw you, Doctor.”

DOCTOR
(thinks) “Fair enough.”

NYSSA
“Doctor, while you and Maxil were out, the TARDIS console picked up traces of TARDIS energy signatures in the vicinity.”

MAXIL
“The Castellan wouldn’t send in more time capsules from Gallifrey. This mission is too sensitive for that! I should know! I’m still maintaining and blocking out external interference…”

NYSSA
(interjects) “No, no, no! You misunderstand. The energy signatures are of the same TARDIS. The Doctor’s TARDIS!”

MAXIL
(astonished) “What? How is that possible?”

DOCTOR
(dismissively) “Oh never mind about that, Maxil.”

MAXIL
(surprised) “Energy signatures that are of the same TARDIS – your TARDIS, Doctor – and you’re not the least bit concerned?”

NYSSA
“I thought you would be concerned, Doctor. After what we’ve experienced in Swansea, nineteen thirty…”

DOCTOR
(to Nyssa) “One thing at a time, Nyssa.” (to Billy) “Billy, what line of work was your uncle in?”

BILLY
“My uncle? Oh he ran a private business to supply cargo boxes and deliver special goods in them. You know the sort of thing. Heavy goods separate from the standard postal delivery service such as spare car parts; engines; etc.”

NYSSA
“Sounds like a dodgy business to me.”

BILLY
“It was a dodgy business. He got arrested for it on the grounds of illegal business-making. My parents and I never saw much of Uncle Brawn, Aunty Emily and Hannah after that.”

DOCTOR
(realises) “That could be the answer to what’s going on here.”

NYSSA
“How do you mean, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
(gradually) “Billy’s uncle was suspicious when I said the word ‘cargo box’ in our conversation earlier. I don’t know why he was suspicious but pondering about it has made me think to connect the alien planet; Mr. Lewis; Billy’s bad week at school and everything together. It’s just as well we visited your Uncle Brawn and his family when we did.”

MAXIL
“I consider that to be unimportant.”

DOCTOR
“Of course you would, Maxil. You haven’t got an imagination like I have.”

MAXIL
“And yours has clearly flipped.”

DOCTOR
(ignores Maxil; to Billy) “Billy, do you mind if we go and visit your Uncle Brawn’s place of business to find out more?”

BILLY
“Yes of course. I don’t mind. It’ll be closed now but you can park the TARDIS inside his shop.”

DOCTOR
“Whereabouts is it?”

BILLY
(thinks) “Err…it would be on the outskirts of Churchwood Street if memory serves. At one hundred sixty-nine Churchwood Street. Two miles from Uncle Brawn’s house.”

DOCTOR
(pleased) “Splendid! Let’s make our way there then.”

NYSSA
“Doctor? Haven’t you forgotten something?”

DOCTOR
“Forgotten something? No, I don’t think so, Nyssa.”

NYSSA
“The energy signatures of the same TARDIS – your TARDIS! Don’t you think we should…?”

DOCTOR
(interjects) “We’ll come back to that later on, Nyssa. Right now, our priority lies with Billy’s uncle’s shop. Let’s get there while we still can, shall we?”

With that, the Doctor sets the TARDIS controls for Brawn Walker’s shop in Churchwood Street. Nyssa, Billy and Maxil hold on, as the TARDIS makes its way to the business shop.


SCENE #34 – EXT – TIGER BAY, CARDIFF – DAY, EVENING
That same evening in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Amanda and Chester sit on the cobbled stones together close to the docks.

AMANDA
“Thanks for bringing me out here, Chester. I like it when we come here to Tiger Bay. I get the chance to study away from my parents arguing with each other.”

CHESTER
“No problem! Always happy to help out!”

AMANDA
“That coffee we had earlier was splendid. And seeing…” (Pause; sighs; content) “…seeing the night sky tonight is wonderful. With all the stars out and feeling the breeze on your face. It’s easy to forget that we’re in November.”

CHESTER
“I come from space.” (Pause) “I really do, yeah.”

AMANDA
(sniggers) “Sometimes I wonder if you’re joking or not.”

CHESTER
“Am I joking?”

AMANDA
“Despite people calling you a freak and weird…and despite you getting on my nerves at times…I’m glad to have you as my friend. You’re the only one I can rely on. Others mock me for being a bookworm.”

CHESTER
“That’s okay! Glad you’re happy.”

A moment of silence ensues between them as they continue looking at the night sky.

AMANDA
“I would like to get up early in the morning and take photos of the sunrise. I would like that very much. I would like to see the sunrise for a change instead of sitting out here in the evening. Nights aren’t always as starry as this.”

CHESTER
“Perhaps we could get out early in the morning! I’m super fast! I can get you here as fast as lightning like we did tonight.”

AMANDA
“Yes, I suppose we could. It’s just…” (Pause; sighs) “I get so tired after studying late at night.” (Pause; realises) “That reminds me. I need to ask Billy Walker to process some photos for me on my dad’s behalf. He’s got a darkroom, so they say at school. He can whip up the photos in a flash.”

CHESTER
“He’s living with his aunt and uncle though. Might take a while before he gets back to his parents’ home to process the photos.”

AMANDA
“Nah, it’s not that urgent. It’s just my dad gets so pernickety at times. Especially with the photo printer people he regularly relies upon.”

CHESTER
“Hmm. That’s fair.”

Another moment of silence ensues.

AMANDA
(sighs) “Oh I’m not looking forward to tomorrow. With whatever’s happening in the school playground at noon.”

CHESTER
“Me neither! It just seems pointless. I’d rather not be there.”

AMANDA
(laughs) “You could zoom in and out and not attend if you didn’t want to.”

CHESTER
“But…I’m curious.”

AMANDA
“Why are you curious, Chester?”

CHESTER
“I want to know why Mr. Lewis wants us to gather in the school playground. Don’t you, Amanda?”

AMANDA
“Not really, no.” (Pause) “But if it’ll satisfy your curiosity, I suppose we’d better go through with it.”

CHESTER
“That’s the spirit, Amanda. That’s more like it!”

AMANDA
“I just wish you could take me in and out during lunch break in a flash to avoid this charade.”

CHESTER
“I could! But I won’t!”

AMANDA
“No, I know you won’t. You’re far too noble for that.”

CHESTER
“I also want to win the twenty thousand mile race in two weekends’ time and be the fastest boy ever! Skipping school could damage my reputation!”

AMANDA
(ruefully) “And so modest too, aren’t you?”

Amanda and Chester laugh together again. Another moment of silence.

AMANDA
“Well, I suppose we’d better head back. Shame we haven’t got a car.”

CHESTER
“I’m not old enough to drive! But when I am, I’ll get a car!”

AMANDA
(contentedly) “Come on. Let’s go back to our homes, shall we?”

With that, Chester and Amanda get up and make their way back to their homes, leaving Tiger Bay. As they leave Tiger Bay, they don’t know they’re being watched by Roger Lewis, their school headmaster, nearby. He chuckles away maniacally as he watches them go.


SCENE #35 – INT – BRAWN’S SHOP, CHURCHWOOD STREET – DAY, EVENING
In Brawn’s shop on Churchwood Street, the TARDIS materialises inside, whooshing and grinding loudly before it makes a loud thump to land. The TARDIS doors soon open and the Doctor, Nyssa, Billy and Maxil step out. They take in their surroundings as they explore the shop.

NYSSA
“This looks like a very old shop.” (sniffs) “Ugh! And it certainly hasn’t been looked after. The smell and dust.”

BILLY
“My Uncle Brawn wasn’t always the tidiest of people at work. I remember him showing me and my cousin Hannah around the place one time. He considered passing on the place to Hannah once she took over the business.”

MAXIL
“Did she take over the business?”

BILLY
“No. The police made sure of that when they arrested my uncle.”

DOCTOR
(fascinated) “There are certainly plenty of cargo boxes on offer. In various shapes and sizes. Made out of wood; cardboard; plastic and such.”

MAXIL
(annoyed) “Must you go on with your fascination of cargo boxes, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
“That’s why we’re here, Maxil! This could all be significant. You wait and see!”

NYSSA
“I don’t see what you’re going to find, Doctor. There can’t be much to go on in connection with Billy’s school.”

DOCTOR
“Trust me, Nyssa. It can’t harm anyone to satisfy one’s curiosity.”

NYSSA
“I’m curious as you are, Doctor.”

A moment of silence ensues as the four continue looking around. The Doctor stops as he comes across something peculiar.

DOCTOR
(intrigued) “Hmm. Now that’s peculiar.” (Pause) “That’s very peculiar indeed.”

MAXIL
“What have you found, Doctor?”

The Doctor doesn’t answer at first as he goes over to some cargo boxes nearby on the floor. Nyssa, Billy and Maxil join him to see the boxes too. The Doctor kneels down to examine them.

DOCTOR
“There are these large boxes on the floor here. They look peculiar.”

NYSSA
“Yes they do, Doctor. And they’re giant-sized ones at that.”

BILLY
“There are quite a lot of them piled up to the end of that corridor. What can be in them, I wonder.”

NYSSA
“Does your uncle usually go for large cargo boxes like these, Billy?”

BILLY
“Not to my knowledge. Mind you, I wasn’t really interested in my uncle’s business at the time.”

DOCTOR
“A pity. It would have helped if we knew what was inside these cargo boxes to determine if they’re connected to anything.”

NYSSA
“Can’t you use your sonic screwdriver?”

After thinking about it, the Doctor soon takes out and uses his sonic screwdriver to try and open one of the boxes. After buzzing it away for a while, it doesn’t work and the box remains sealed.

DOCTOR
“No. The cargo boxes are sealed tight and the sonic screwdriver won’t open them. Strange that.”

MAXIL
“These cargo boxes must be of alien origin and not native to this planet.”

DOCTOR
“Really, Maxil? How did you deduce that?”

MAXIL
(gradually) “I just guessed.”

DOCTOR
(surprised) “Guessed? That’s rare coming from a Time Lord. Especially one like you Maxil.”

Just then, Nyssa notices something on the table nearby. She picks up a sheet of paper and examines it for a bit.

NYSSA
(gradually) “Doctor; Billy; Maxil. Take a look at this!”

The Doctor, Billy and Maxil come over to take a look at what Nyssa’s found.

NYSSA
“This looks like a receipt of a certain transaction carried out by Billy’s uncle. It’s addressed to Churchwood School apparently.”

BILLY
(realises) “It’s a docket sheet with my uncle’s company name on it – Walker Cargo Supplies Ltd.” (Pause) “And you’re right, Nyssa. They are addressed to Churchwood School.” (Pause; realises; disturbed) “Oh my goodness!”

DOCTOR
“What is it, Billy? What’s shocked you?”

BILLY
(gradually) “They’re addressed to Mr. Lewis himself.” (Pause; realises) “My Uncle Brawn and Mr. Lewis have done a business transaction together. Uncle Brawn is sending these cargo boxes to Mr. Lewis at the school.” (checks) “This docket sheet says he’s sending about five hundred in total to him.”

MAXIL
(puzzled) “Why would Mr. Lewis want a large quantity of cargo boxes from Mr. Brawn Walker of all people?”

NYSSA
(comforts) “Billy, I’m so sorry. This must come as quite a shock to you.”

BILLY
“Yes.” (Pause) “But I’m curious as Maxil is. Why would Mr. Lewis want these boxes?” (checks) “There aren’t any details of what’s inside them on the docket sheet either.”

DOCTOR
“Even more of a pity.” (Pause) “Still never mind. We’ll find out more when we get to Billy’s school tomorrow morning.”

BILLY
“That’s where we’re heading off to next, is it?”

DOCTOR
“Yes! It’s time to find out what really went on at your school, Billy. On the last day of the week where you couldn’t remember what happened when Mr. Lewis left the school.”

BILLY
(groans) “Oh joy! This is something I’m not looking forward to.”

NYSSA
(reassuringly) “Don’t worry, Billy. The Doctor, Maxil and I will keep you company in this endeavour.”

DOCTOR
(eagerly) “Come on then! Best foot forward! Back into the TARDIS we go! I’ll outline the plan to you three once we’re inside.”

At that, the Doctor, Nyssa, Billy and Maxil re-enter the TARDIS to set off for Billy’s school the next day.


SCENE #36 – EXT – CHURCHWOOD STREET, CARDIFF – DAY, MORNING
The next day outside Churchwood School, the TARDIS materialises nearby, whooshing and grinding before it makes a loud thump to land. The pupils are going into the school and don’t notice the TARDIS arriving. Eventually, the Doctor, Nyssa, Billy and Maxil step out of the TARDIS. They’re wearing the perception filters as necklaces around their necks as they exit the TARDIS.

BILLY
(pleased) “So far so good. No-one’s seen us as we were exiting the TARDIS.”

DOCTOR
“Don’t push your luck, Billy. There’s no guarantee these perception filters will work in the experimental stage.”

NYSSA
“But they will keep us unobserved for the most part won’t they, Doctor.”

DOCTOR
“Hopefully, Nyssa. I certainly hope that to be the case.”

BILLY
“So…theoretically we’re partially invisible to everyone else, aren’t we?”

DOCTOR
“I’ve told you before, Billy. These perception filters won’t make us invisible. They make us unnoticeable by others. So long as you don’t shout; run or draw attention to yourself, everything will be fine. Keep your voice down and keep to the shadows.”

MAXIL
“Just like ghosts, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
“I didn’t think you’d believe in ghosts, Maxil.”

MAXIL
“I merely studied the term to comprehend what ghosts meant and why Earth people get scared by them.”

DOCTOR
“Very thorough of you, Maxil.”

The Doctor, Nyssa, Billy and Maxil make their way over to the school entrance.

BILLY
“I’m surprised no-one can see us as we walk past them.”

NYSSA
“The pupils didn’t see the TARDIS arrive so they shouldn’t see us arrive.”

DOCTOR
“And even if they did see us, they would ignore us completely.”

MAXIL
“So we’re going undercover again are we, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
“Yes we are. And if anyone questions us, we are to say that we are new school teachers. Or that we’re school inspectors. I don’t know which is better.”

NYSSA; BILLY
(simultaneously) “School teachers.”

MAXIL
(simultaneously) “School inspectors.”

Moment of silence.

NYSSA; BILLY
(simultaneously) “School inspectors.”

MAXIL
(simultaneously) “School teachers.”

Another moment of silence.

DOCTOR
“Yes well, either way and like I said, don’t draw attention to yourself at all.”

NYSSA
(ruefully) “So long as you don’t draw attention to yourself either, Doctor.”

DOCTOR
(astonished) “What’s that supposed to mean?”

MAXIL
“I’m inclined to agree with young Lady Nyssa, Doctor.”

DOCTOR
“And don’t you start either, Maxil!”

Billy then stops in his tracks as he sees something. Nyssa re-joins Billy once he’s stopped and so do the Doctor and Maxil.

NYSSA
(concerned) “Billy, what is it? What’s wrong? Why have you stopped?”

BILLY
(gradually) “There’s me. Over there. My younger self.”

Nyssa, the Doctor and Maxil look to see.

DOCTOR
(realises) “Ah yes, so it is!” (Pause) “Your younger self and you don’t look very different, Billy.”

NYSSA
“Apart from being thinner.”

BILLY
(gradually; realises) “There’s also young Sean Black with me.”

MAXIL
(confused) “Sean Black?”

BILLY
“Yes. We were best buddies in those days. That was before I found out…”

A moment of silence ensues as Billy becomes sad.

NYSSA
(comforts) “Billy, I’m so sorry.”

Another moment of silence ensues.

BILLY
(gradually; realises) “Look! There’s Alexandra on the other side walking with her school friends. They used to be a gang her and her friends.” (Pause) “I’m nervous about this.”

NYSSA
(concerned) “Would you prefer to stay in the TARDIS, Billy?”

BILLY
“No, no. I’ll tag along. I want to see what goes on here today.” (Pause) “So long as I don’t draw attention to myself like the Doctor said and don’t interfere with anything, I’ll be alright.”

DOCTOR
“Good man, Billy. I’m glad you see that.”

MAXIL
(gradually) “Shall we get down to business then, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
“Yes Maxil, of course.” (to Nyssa; Billy) “Nyssa; Billy. You explore the school on the ground and first floors. Maxil and I will take the second and third floors. We’ll meet outside the school before noon to collate our findings.”

BILLY
“Whatever you say, Doctor.”

NYSSA
“Works fine for me.”

DOCTOR
“Good. Let’s go inside then.”

With that, the TARDIS four enter the school. They’re still unnoticed by the teachers and the pupils as they go in.


SCENE #37 – INT – CORRIDOR, CHURCHWOOD SCHOOL – DAY, MORNING
Inside the school, Nyssa and Billy walk down a corridor on the ground floor. They continue to be unnoticed by everyone.

NYSSA
(concerned) “Billy, are you alright? After what you just saw with…”

BILLY
(interrupts; unconvincingly) “I’m fine, Nyssa. Really I am.”

NYSSA
(gradually) “You don’t sound like you are.”

Moment of silence ensues.

BILLY
(gradually) “I just never expected to see my younger self. Even when I’ve been travelling in the TARDIS for a while.” (Pause) “And with knowing what’s going to happen…” (stops; thinks; sighs) “I just wish I could change what happened between me, Sean and Alexandra. Knowing what’s going to happen with the Dwaxi and everything.”

NYSSA
“I know. It’s hard to resist the temptation of trying to change things that might’ve been. I know what it’s like, Billy. I’ve been there.”

Another moment of silence ensues.

BILLY
“But the more I think about it, the more I realise that if I did change things…I would never have met you and the Doctor. That’s something I don’t want to get rid of.”

NYSSA
“I’m glad you don’t regret meeting me and the Doctor, Billy.”

BILLY
“Indeed not! The times we’ve spent as a threesome. They’ve been the happiest of my life. I wouldn’t want to wish that away. I wouldn’t want to change things in school knowing that there are better things to come.”

NYSSA
“I’m glad you see it that way, Billy.”

BILLY
“Yes.” (Pause) “So why do I feel so bad then? I know that Alexandra and Sean’s futures aren’t going to be the same as mine and I know I mustn’t change anything. Why do I feel so bad?”

NYSSA
(thinks) “A sense of guilt perhaps. Maybe because we’re so close to the nexus point that the temptation seems hard to avoid.”

BILLY
“It could be a combination of both, couldn’t it?”

NYSSA
(gradually) “There were times when I wish I could go back in time to stop my father from being killed by the Master. There were times I wish I could go back in time to save Adric and ignore the Doctor’s words of never interfering with the course of history.”

BILLY
“Yeah. That must’ve been difficult for you.”

NYSSA
“It was.” (Pause) “But like you, the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I would never have had the travels in the TARDIS with the Doctor if I’d changed things. I would never have met the Doctor. If I changed things, I would never have met you, Billy dear.”

BILLY
(gradually) “Thanks Nyssa. It’s hard to get over this nagging feeling, but you make me feel a lot better.”

Nyssa kisses Billy on the cheek as they continue walking down the corridor. They soon stop in their tracks as Billy sees something.

NYSSA
(concerned) “Billy, what’s the matter? You look like you’ve seen an apparition.”

BILLY
(whispers) “It’s him, Nyssa! Ahead in the corridor! It’s Mr. Lewis!”

Nyssa looks to see as Mr. Lewis is in the corridor before them.

NYSSA
(realises) “Yes! I see him now. He does look menacing. Everyone’s avoiding him! Both teachers and pupils.”

BILLY
“He’s giving the glare too. As if he’s superior and all.”

NYSSA
“He’s looking in our direction. I wonder if he can see us.”

BILLY
“Oh please don’t say that, Nyssa. I hope not.”

NYSSA
“He’s looking around to make sure he isn’t being watched.”

Mr. Lewis looks around the corridor for a number of times before he makes his way off down the corridor.

BILLY
(realises) “He’s leaving! Heading off down the corridor. I wonder where he’s hurrying off to.”

NYSSA
“He’s probably off to meet your uncle. Regarding those large cargo boxes being delivered to the school.”

BILLY
“I suppose you’re right there, Nyssa.” (Pause) “What do we do now?”

A moment of silence ensues as Nyssa thinks.

NYSSA
(gradually) “We follow him.”

BILLY
(anxiously) “Are you sure about that, Nyssa?”

NYSSA
“No. But if we’re to find out what’s currently happening, we’ve got to follow him down that corridor. To find out what part he had to play with making you forget your last day at school this week.”

BILLY
(wearingly) “It’ll be dangerous mind. We still have to make sure we don’t draw attention to ourselves.”

NYSSA
“Hopefully the perception filters will provide that camouflage long enough before we meet up with the Doctor and Maxil at noon today.”

BILLY
(sighs) “Okay. Let’s go and satisfy our curiosity, shall we?”

NYSSA
“Come on. Let’s go and follow your bad headmaster, Billy.”

With that, Nyssa and Billy follow after Mr. Lewis down the corridor.


© Tim Bradley, 2019

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