Doctor Who: Time And Again
Featuring The Fourth and Fifth Doctors
By Shaun Collins
Dusk had fallen.
A long, multi-colored striped scarf dragged on the ground, rustling the dead leaves it passed. The owner noticed, scooped it up with one arm, made yet another circle about his neck and dropped the remainder all in one motion. The scarf’s fringe now dangled just above the ground as the man’s long legs carried him across the campus mall toward the bell tower.
Another, much younger man stood waiting beneath the monolithic structure. He was curiously dressed in a cricketing outfit and white hat, and had a stick of celery pinned to his lapel. The dress was curious because this campus was in the Mid-Western United States in late fall.
No one plays cricket in the Mid-West in late fall.
The scarf stopped swaying as the owner slowed his approach. “Don’t I know you?” He inquired by way of greeting.
“In—a roundabout way.” The other man responded. “Thank you for coming.”
“Well, your message said it was important.”
“So it did. It’s important, because I wanted to warn you.”
“Warn me about what?” The man asked, tying a knot in his scarf.
“Well, the word is that you’re planning a trip to Aquida.”
This got the other man’s attention. His eyes snapped up the curious figure in the cricket outfit, his knotted scarf forgotten. “That’s very interesting. I haven’t told anyone yet.”
“News travels fast.”
“Yes, but that’s a little too fast. How did you—“
“I can’t tell you who I am, and I can’t tell you how I know. I just do. Don’t go to Aquida.” He removed his white hat with the red trim and glanced skyward, as the autumn breeze kicked up, billowing his blonde hair. “There’s a storm brewing.”
The stars had just begun to shine overhead, and the other man followed his gaze up, looking toward where Aquida was located in this section of the Terran sky. Not visible, but up there somewhere. “Aha.” He said, catching the meaning. “Galactic Weather Service?”
“Something like that. Let’s just say I’ve been there about now, and now is not the best time for a holiday. You had a horrible time. Dreadful trip.” The hat returned to it’s accustomed place and his hands slid into his trouser pockets.
“Lost yes, luggage no. Promise me you won’t go.”
The scarf received another knot as the thought it over. “Well, Aquida isn’t really that interesting this time of year, is it? A lot of ice a snow. You can go anywhere in the universe to see ice and snow.”
“And do say hello to Sarah Jane for me.” The other man looked up sharply at that, all levity forgotten. There was a look of pure fire in his eyes. But the cricketer just stood there, a haunted and bittersweet expression on his own face. “Don’t go to Aquida.”
As quickly as the anger had formed, it dissipated, and a sparkle suddenly lit the other man’s eyes. He rubbed a hand through his mop of curly brown hair. “You’re sure I don’t know you?” He asked in a low voice.
The cricketer smiled. “You haven’t met me yet.”
The sparkle quickly clouded over again, and with a shrug he turned back the way he came, leaving the cricketer standing beneath the monolith as it chimed the passing time. <>