A Slight Diversion That’s Bigger On The Inside

After hearing the rumor that Matt Smith might be leaving the show after filming the Christmas Special, I thought "Darnit! And I *just* finished my very first official-type fanfic for Dr. Who! ACK!" And while the rumors turned out not to be true, I thought I'd share my little diversion here on my blog as a way to bond we Whovians together during this latest regeneration scare. (It was also a nice way to break out of my editing/proofreading/revising panic-brain and indulge in pure silliness for a while. It's a nice place to visit!)

So here's a little fic' just for fun, inspired by Figment's contest (going on here) I kept to the 1200 word limit and adhered to all other rules except, well, submitting. This being my first stab at such a thing, I'm curious as to what experienced fanfic writers think. So experienced fanfic writers: What do you think? Leave tips in the comments. I'm new at this!

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They ran through the corridors of the ancient tomb. Somewhere down below, auxiliary engines whined. Dust and bits of sandstone rained down as two thousand years of stasis were shaken loose, preparing for lift-off.
“I said not to touch it,” he said.
“I didn’t touch it!”
“You deliberately touched it,” he shot back. The Doctor led the way, trailing his companion behind him in a white-knuckled grip. “What makes you think that I’m always going to show up just to rescue you no matter what incredibly unbelievable danger you’ve blundered your way into?”
The young woman managed to shrug in her ridiculous red coat. “Because you never disappoint me?”
“Ha ha,” he said darkly. “This way.”
They dove down a sloping set of stairs into what had once been a relief chamber and was most likely the Phenarii control axis. He let go of her hand and swept the sonic screwdriver over its calcified surface.
“I might have known better if you hadn’t left me,” she said pointedly. “Again.”
The Doctor checked the readings and rapped it against his head. Diving sideways, he stopped short of a great slab of rock covered in runes that the TARDIS helped translate as: “Emergency Exit.” He ran the screwdriver along its seam.
Her face appeared over his shoulder.
“It’s jammed, isn’t it?” she said.
He sniffed. “It’s jammed.” He adjusted his bow tie. “Right, then. Stand back. I’m going to use an old trick taught to me by the Guru of Hol’pek.”
She looked intrigued. “What are you going to do?”
He rubbed his hands together. “I’m going to kick it!”
He did. The stone loosened and slid sideways, smooth as oiled glass.
“Ah ha!” The Doctor said, dancing to cover his sudden limp. “Come on!”
They staggered up the next corridor with the crash and thrum of erupting machinery at their heels as the Phenarii ship sloughed off the last remnants of human civilization. The Doctor glanced back at his companion’s white gaiters and black boots.
“Where did you get the uniform?”
“Hell-o?” she sang. “Revolutionary War? America? The Time Cannon? Big explosion and then we’re knee-deep in desert? Any of this ringing a bell?”
“It sounds vaguely familiar,” he admitted. “But I thought you were with the Ood.”
“I was. He wore one, too,” she said. “I thought it would help him fit in.”
“Help him fit in?” The Doctor said. “Have you seen an Ood?” His fingers flew over a series of glowing pads set into the wall at impossible angles. “The only place an Ood would ‘fit in’ is with a very tolerant and likely nearsighted school of land-bound cephalopods with a curious affinity for glowing Christmas ornaments. Now hang on to something that isn’t me.” He grabbed the ornamental staff held by a faceless statue and gave it a violent twist. The ship buckled. The Doctor bounced off the Phenarii Trajspherion and smiled at the golden light streaming out of the sunken eyeholes, draping a miniature sea of stars in the dusty air: an interstellar map.
“Is that where we’re going?” she asked, coughing into her fist and snagging her hair on one of the cuff's brass buttons.
“No,” he said in a whisper. “That’s where we’ve been. I mean the ship—this ship—all the places the Phenarii explored before becoming marooned on a little blue and green planet on the other side of the universe.” His eyes widened and he smiled like a child. “Quite a trip, from what it looks like. Hope they packed crisps.” He lifted a hand, fingers swimming through space, tickling tiny suns like a god. “Aren’t you a beauty?” he cooed.
“Excuse me,” she said. “Quick reminder: ancient pyramid, disguised spaceship, about to take off?”
He snapped up. “Yes! Well then. Of course. I'm the genius. Got to set rights to right!”
“So you know how to fly this thing?”
He laughed. “Haven’t a clue,” he said. “Hang on!”
There was a great shudder and the deafening scraping sound of clay and brick crumbling like a thunderstorm, kicking up a vast cloud of sand as the Phenarii vessel emerged, sharp-edged and blinking, its great stellar eye a shining beacon at its helm. The Doctor pressed his face to the lost likeness of the statue, peering through the eyeholes into its gold and sparkling depths to steer. With any luck, they’d uncork the TARDIS from the strange bubble that had appeared after the Time Cannon’s direct hit.
The young woman crept to the nearest panel, wiping away a sheen of dust. The human mind had little capacity to grasp the wonders of the universe, but he watched her awe with envy. How long had it been since he’d been struck by the miraculous? How many years had dulled the sheen over his eyes? Maybe regenerations were incomplete. They’d left layers of cynical film behind. That’s why he loved humanity—their limitless possibility and wonder wakened something in him that he’d otherwise forgotten.
She caught him staring at her and smiled. It was radiant.
“So…this was the Phenarii’s?”
The Doctor patted the wall. “This was the Phenarii’s,” he said. “A race lost to time, rumored to have sent their best and brightest in all directions once their home world was doomed to their nova sun, searching the endless reaches of the universe for a new place to call home.” He wiped the grit of ages on his pants. “I guess they found one.”
“I guess they did,” she said. “That would explain why the Egyptian gods had animal heads and their penchant for wrapping things up after death.”
The Doctor grinned. “Not every planet celebrates birthdays the way you do.”
“I prefer my Harrods gift cards, thanks.”
“I’ll try to remember: no mummies for pressies.” He stepped away from the control unit, still holding the tuning shift. He could feel its sonic energy buzzing in his bones. Fortunately, he was used to it.
He squinted around the hexagonal chamber. There were statues in every corner, their faces eroded into unrecognizable shapes, and the walls behind them clean of hieroglyphs, unlike the rest of the tomb. “The Phenarii found their place in ancient Egypt, but why did we pick up a signal in Greek? Why lead us to America, 1778 only to throw us back here?” He ran his fingers through his coxcomb, mourning his lost fez. “What were they doing?” he muttered. “They had a Time Cannon. They could have relocated to any time in Earth’s history—returned to their own planet by jumping far enough to join interstellar travel. The Phenarii haven’t the capacity to build, let alone power, such a thing and what use is it to…” The Doctor’s face swept clean, a curtain flung aside revealing a stage full of fear. “This is a sarcophagus,” he whispered. “Greek, sarkophagos, literally, ‘flesh-eating stone.’” He carefully turned away from the walls whose faces had rotted over time. The carved bodies, faceless and crumbling, sent a shiver through him stronger than the sonic drive in his hand.
The Doctor placed a hand on his friend's shoulder and said two words slowly:
“Don’t blink.”


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