First Doctor Who Story Ever Told;Doctor Who;Jo Grant;Katy Manning;Third Doctor;Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart;Jon Pertwee;Jeri Massi
The First Doctor Who
Story Ever Told
Forty-two was too numb from the quick overthrow of events to even ask questions. He could not even analyze the wealth of new emotions in him: dread, grief, horror, worry, and a new form of loneliness. He had never pictured being alone or separated from his fellow scholars. They had incubated together, been nursed together, studied their courses together. The concept of being cut out from them had never even occurred to him. And losing Eighteen to that same horror of separation wrung him with fear for his friend.
The Doctor of Philosophies kept a firm hand on his shoulder, directing Forty-two ahead of him, down several corridors and then down a long flight of steps. They were in a section of the great old estate house reserved only for the Doctors and Masters. Neither Eighteen nor Forty-two had ever been permitted to venture here.
When the Doctor of Philosophies spoke, his tone was not unkind. "If you can clear your mind, student," he said, "You may find enough of interest down these halls to distract you from your tears."
"Where are you taking me?" Forty-two asked.
"Into hardship and sorrows as the Master of the Students directed. But I shall go with you. You will not see them alone."
Just then the lighted walls dimmed, flickered, and then brightened again.
"The technicians must not know what they are about," the teacher mused. "They are preparing a TARDIS, but I see I will need to check their work."
He guided the boy into a large, brilliantly lit chamber. Forty-two would have hung back, but the Doctor of Philosophies guided him forward with the same firm hand. They crossed the room to an oblong booth, very faintly similar in dimensions to the transmaterializer that Eighteen had jury rigged in the lab.
"Go inside, boy. Nothing in there will hurt you."
As though in answer to the teacher's will, a door opened before them, and they entered into a large control room dominated by a hexagonal console in the centre. The room was larger inside than outside, but Forty-two did not find this remarkable. He already understood the implications of entering the booth.
"My name, as far as you are concerned" the Doctor of Philosphies said, releasing his shoulder and walking to the console, "Is K'An Po. Outside of the halls of Gallifrey I am content to be known as a student rather than a teacher. Please call me K'An Po, or sir, as you please."
He studied the console for a moment and then activated it. The doors to the TARDIS closed. His long, thin. boney hands skimmed over the controls. But he shot a look at Forty-two. "You must be exhausted from all your troubles," he said. He nodded at a hatch in one of the walls. "Through that door are many rooms, but the first few are serviceable. Select one of them for your quarters."
"Alone?" Forty-two asked.
"Alone. Nothing will hurt you. If you choose to live as an individual, you must rest as an individual."
Forty-two nodded and suddenly became resolute. Up until then he had been driven before the crisis, but K'An Po was right. He had chosen to be an individual; now he must truly become one, though it seemed like an arduous task. He strode to the hatch. It opened, and he passed through into a hallway, selected a cubbyhole of a room that was equipped with a bunk, and lay down on it. It had no covers and was made of a flexible, inorganic material. The room darkened automtaically as he lay down, but he did not mind this. It was not darkness that frightened him, but solitude. Previously, he had snatched at moments of privacy, yet all around him had been the sense of the others, his peers. But to be alone in time and space with only a stern Doctor of Philosophy under instruction to punish him-- His resolution nearly wavered.
"You'll sleep better with blankets, matey!" said a familiar voice. Forty-two bolted to a sitting position as the lights came up, and a bundle of blankets struck him in the chest. He clawed them away and exclaimed in a whisper, "Eighteen!" And without thinking or analysis he flung himself off the bed and threw his arms around his friend, no more self conscious than a puppy would be over leaping up and down in welcome.
Eighteen did not mind, though neither of them ever remembered being embraced. Their instinctive joy and relief were new to them. "How did you get here?" Forty-two gasped. "The Master sent you halfway across Gallifrey-"
"Of course he did, the pompous old windbag," Eighteen said, releasing him. "And when I got there I promptly rewired the booth to send me back. It's the exact same principle as the booth in the lab. It just uses more power and has a better guidance system."
"You've got to get out of here-"
"No, never!" and Eighteen's eyes flashed. "I got you into trouble. I'll go with you into it. Whatever the Master intends for you to see, it will be better if we see it together."
For the first time, a longing flickered up in Forty-two. He forgot his grief and fear. "Do you suppose we might see pirates?"
"I think it's going to be worse than that," Eighteen said quietly. "But maybe somehow that will make it better. We ought to know, Doctor. We know so many things; we ought to know what's really out there. Even if it is only appetite and misery and all the rest. If I'm going to spend the rest of my lives serving Gallifrey among a bunch of doddering old ignorant fools, I want to know that there was nothing better for me out there."
"What will we do about K'An Po?" Forty-two asked. "That's what he wants me to call him now."
"Oh, we'll wait until we're through the Vortex and landed on Earth," Eighteen said. "Then I'll announce my presence if you like. He won't turn back then. I think he wants to get this over with quickly."
He paced away from Forty-two, thoughtful.
"He's not a bad soul," Forty-two ventured. "He's not like the Master of Students."
"Nobody's like the Master of Students." Eighteen glanced at him.
"What I mean," Forty-two said cautiously. "Is that deep down I think K'An Po might--approve of what we've done. Maybe not approve, but have an insight--"
"Sympathize," Eighteen said.
"Yes. Funny, I never really knew what that word meant until today."
"Neither did I." Eighteen stopped, his hands behind his back. "I never knew many things until today. They told us that disobedience was bad, but I think it's good."
"No!" Forty-two exclaimed instantly. He strode up to his friend. "Disobedience is bad. It creates disorder--and shame, and tears that just keep on going."
"But now we have knowledge," Eighteen pointed out.
"Because we've obeyed higher things than what the Masters have told us," Forty-two told him. "Don't you see that they've created a system to enclose us away from doing any real good? Of course it went awry. They made us smarter, Eighteen, and then tried to raise us as though we were like them. We have to get out of that system. There are higher and better things than the Masters and Doctors of Gallifrey. It's--it's all in TREASURE ISLAND, but I can't understand it yet."
Mouth slightly open, Eighteen looked at him in some astonishment. "I--I can't follow your reasoning," he said at last.
"What if there were Jim and pirates and the Hispaniola, and they were in trouble?" Forty-two asked. "The Master of Students would punish us if we went to help them. But maybe some greater Master or power or teacher wants us to go help them. Maybe we ought to go because the Master of Students has been disobeying whatever is Master over him."
Eighteen shook his head. "I will study more," he said, an expression that the students used to show that they did not understand something.
But his eyes followed Forty-two as the fair haired boy strode back to the bank and gazed absently at the wall. "It isn't right to be smarter and faster and more efficient and then be made to serve those who are already smart and fast and efficient." Forty-two said. "It isn't right."
"Right?" Eighteen gasped. "Who are we to say what's right? How do we know what balances the universe? The Masters and Doctors--" He stopped as understanding dawned.
"Exactly. They don't know; or if they did, they've forgotten. I tell you, it's in those books!" Forty-two insisted.
Outside, they heard the hatch from the control room open and close.
Eighteen whisked under the bunk, rolling out of sight, and Forty-two flung himself on top of the mattress and pulled the covers up in an awkward lump over his chest and head. The door to the cubbyhole opened. "Are you asleep, pupil?" K'An Po asked.
"No, sir," Forty-two said. He got up on his elbows. The teacher entered.
With an efficient flick of his wrist, K'An Po snatched the corner of the covers and jerked them out straight, covering the boy. "Well, it is about time you did sleep. We are on earth, but we will not emerge into the environment until you have rested and their day has dawned. Here are clothes for you." He dropped a bundle of clothes onto the floor. "We must blend in."
"Yes, sir." Forty-two lay back down. K'An Po surprised him by resting a long hand on his shoulder. "It is never wise to anticipate trouble, boy. I will protect you. You may see grief and hardship, but it will not touch you."
"May I ask a question, sir?" Forty-two asked. He was amazed at the insights that the experiences of the last day had given him. Suddenly he knew that K'An Po had always liked him, admired his scholarship, indulged his questions out of a respect for his determination to grasp and understand.
"Yes, one question, and then you must sleep."
"What if it were better to be touched by the hardship?" he asked, not turning to look at his teacher. He ketp his eyes fixed on the ceiling.
The question silenced the old time lord, and the hand that rested on Forty-two's shoulder seemed to become cold and tense for a moment. Then it relaxed. "You have asked the question that has plagued us for centuries," he said. "But no answer to it has ever been found." He hesitated, and then he said gently, "I think, my boy, that when you do see what humans do to each other--no matter what doubts you feel now--you will hope that their hardships do not touch you. You will be glad to be protected."
He walked out, and the door closed. "Maybe that's the very reason I should be touched by them," Forty-two whispered.
* * * *
After K'Anpo walked out, the room dimmed again and remained dark for so long that Forty-two nearly dozed off. But finally Eighteen pulled himself out from under the bunk. The lights came up, and Forty-two sat up.
Eighteen picked up the bundle, shook it apart, and held up the items of clothing, one at a time. "Very different," he said. "We'll have to find something for me. You'd better get changed."
Forty-two remained pensive for a moment and then said, "We could just run away. Is that what you want?"
"Of course. I have no intention of being led around on a leash. He only wants us to see the suffering. That's not a valid exposure, is it?" Eighteen glanced at him. "I wouldn't go all the way to TREASURE ISLAND just to see the pirates, would you? I want to meet Jim and the Captain and all the rest."
Forty-two dropped to the floor and hurriedly changed into the unfamiliar clothes. It was a respectable pair of trousers, a button-down shirt, and a sweater such as a school boy might wear. He got everything on correctly and looked down at himself. "It is awfully scratchy," he said.
"Come on, the old Doctor must be asleep by now," Eighteen said. "Or else he's locked away somewhere brushing up on his history. There must be store rooms further in the back."
It took a good deal of searching, but after a couple hours they turned up dark trousers and a dark turtleneck for Eighteen.
"Now what?" Forty-two asked. "There may be an alarm on the doors out front."
"Oh, we ought to inspect the control console anyway," Eighteen told him. "We should see what we're getting into."
They found their route through the passageways of the TARDIS back to the control room, which lighted up as they entered. It seemed very big and eerily silent.
"I know," Forty-two said. "Remember that trick we played on the Seventh Years? We locked them out of their program with a puzzle. We could do that with the doors--configure the re-set sequence to let us out but to prevent the doors from opening again until the calculation circuits of the console solve an equation. A repeating decimal. That way the Doctor of Philosophies won't be able to get out until he figures out what we did and overwrites the program or manually removes the connection to the calculation circuits."
Eighteen grinned. "How long will it take you to rig up?"
"I don't know. I'll have to trace the circuitry, but it shouldn't take as long as it took us to find your clothes."
"While you're doing that, I'm going to look at the intergalactic atlas and find out where we are in time and space. Maybe it will help us to know our environment."
Forty-two nodded. At home with electronic equipment, he quickly stripped a cover plate from the console and began searching the boards and wires. Eighteen went to a different panel and activated the small viewer that served as a reader into the copious electronic atlas.
"London, 1941," he said out loud as Forty-two pulled off another plate on the underside of the console and got down under it. "There is war being made against London. Do you know what a bomb is?"
"It's a weapon," Forty-two said.
"It doesn't say much else. But if a bomb falls on you, then you have to go down into the underground--I think. I wonder what that means."
"It must be like going to prison."
"Or a grave. They bury their dead. No, that can't be right. It said people went down into the underground at night and came up again in the mornings."
"They don't regenerate, do they?" Forty-two asked. "Not even from bleeding wounds. Anything kills them. I suppose they hide underground to be safe."
"They must be terribly frightened creatures," Eighteen said. "What did you think of Jim? He didn't seem very brave, did he?"
"Well, he got into the coracle and paddled out to the Hispaniola all alone," Forty-two ventured.
"Well, he did do that, but he said afterward it was a foolish thing to do. Say, how is it coming?"
Forty-two was silent a moment, and then his voice came up from under the console. "You know, Eighteen--"
"Call me Master, Doctor."
Forty-two laughed out loud. "All right, Master. I was just going to say that the circuitry in this thing isn't all that different from that set-up in the lab that we used to get into the attic."
Eighteen, or Master as he preferred to be called, heard the panel clap into place as his friend finished up. In another moment the tall, fair haired boy got to his feet. "I've configured the re-set lockout. This machine is old," he added.
"Does that matter?"
"Yes. I think it does." But he did not pursue the idea. His dark haired friend came around the console. "Come on, then. It's early morning out there. We look like them, and we can talk like them, and we understand their culture--a little. Let's try it."
Forty-two let out his breath and suddenly ran his fingers through his thick, fair hair. Then suddenly he grinned. "All right. What's the worst that could happen?" He activated the doors. They slowly and silently swung open, and for a moment both boys watched in a silence of their own as a portrait of the Earth opened before them. It was a plain, empty street lined with very small tobacco shops, news stands, and doors that opened into narrow buildings.
"It's so ugly," Eighteen whispered in awe.
"I smell them," Forty-two said, and slowly smiled. "Do you smell them? They have a scent. They perspire more than we do."
"Yes, but it's like a maze out there. Don't they have any sense of order?"
"And smoke--" Forty-two added, not listening. He moved towards the doorway as though being slowly pulled. "And that's food like the Gallifreyens eat. They're just like us--and nothing like us! What wonderful creatures. Come on!"
And so, without money or map or weapon, they plunged from the security of their last link with Gallifrey into the heart of some urban corner of London.
* * * *
The first few moments on Earth were spent very conventionally, though neither boy knew it. They stopped and stared for a long time at the ribboned boxes in a confectionary shop's window. Then they moved up to the next shop window and stared inside at an assortment of second hand clothing. Both of them had been trained from infancy to be orderly and methodical in gathering information, and so this piece by piece inspection of their world lasted for an hour as they worked their way up the street. They had gone about five blocks and had just discovered a booksellers, when they were interrupted by a terrifying sound.
It was nothing more spectacular than the shifting of gears and loud engine groan of a London bus coming in the early morning to pick up the day shift. It ambled toward them with what they thought was a slow and loud roar of an overburdened diesal engine. Insticntively, they both flattened against the glass window.
"It's a bomb!" Eighteen exclaimed. "Look at the smoke coming from it!"
"No, Master. Bombs come from the sky at night," Forty-two hissed. "Stay very still. It may pass us by. It may be programmed to stay in the street. It may not be a weapon."
"What could that hideous thing be but a weapon?"
The bus stopped and disgorged one or two people, who quickly hurried down the street. The enormous doors closed. It moved again and passed the boys. Nothing happened. They stared up at it, open mouthed, as it went by. They both coughed at the unexpected gas fumes in its wake.
"It was carrying people!" FOrty-two exclaimed as soon as he could.
"I tell you, it had to be a bomb. It's spewing out those poisonous fumes!"
Forty-two stepped closer to the street and looked after the monstrosity. "It pours out those poisonous fumes, and nobody stops it," he mused. "And nobody's afraid of it." But just then his eye glimpsed somethign int he window of the booksellers. "Master!" he hissed.
Eighteen turned to the window, and then he saw it too. Both boys peered closer. It was a huge volume of TREASURE ISLAND, with color plates illustrated by Andrew Wyeth.
"The whole, intact volume," Eighteen whispered. "We could read all the parts that are missing from our book."
"And look how the artist painted the cover." Forty-two's eyes were nearly reverent. "Somebody here saw what we saw in the book. The humans can't all be fools like the Master of Students said. SOmebody else had to love that book to paint a picture of the pirates like that."
"Well, well, well. If it isn't Lord Fauntleroy and his entourage!"
Interrupted by this loud, unpleasant voice, both students turned around. They found themselves facing four slightly shorter but much stockier young men. Forty-two sniffed. "I think that's the smell of aggression," he said. His knees trembled at the idea of this first meeting of two worlds, but he bravely smiled. "Hello, humans--" he began.
But Eighteen had already grasped the seriousness of the situation. He held up a hand in Dr. Livesy fashion. "Were you addressing me, sir?" he asked. Forty-two recognized the allusion to their favorite book, and realized that this was much more a confrontation than he had first thought.
"What are you two doing on our street?" one of them asked.
"Where'd you get them clothes?" another asked. "Out of the mission barrel? Going to sing a hymn for us?"
The others laughed at this. Forty-two joined in. He turned to his companion. "See? They want to be friendly. Maybe we frightened them."
But suddenly he found himself pulled face to face with the leader of this group, gripped by his shirt front. "Nothing scares me, Lord Fauntleroy." He was a red headed, heavily freckled youth, sporting a cap and a shirt several sizes too big for him. He shoved Forty-two back against the store front. "It costs money to walk on our street. You got any money?"
"No, and if we had, we wouldn't give it to you," Eighteen said sharply. Then he added, "Don't appease them, Doctor. This is their fight ritual. Let's make it short."
Forty-two's eyes lit up. "A fight? A real one?"
"Oh, you like that?" the red haired boy asked. "Let's see how much." He reached for Forty-two again, but Forty-two sidestepped and slapped the hand away. His attacker pursued and made to grab him again but again found his hands plunging into empty air.
"Behind you," Forty-two said helpfully from behind him. One of the other boys made to tackle him as the red haired leader swung round. Forty-two dodged down very low and slipped away, and the two boys found themselves grabbing each other. The two other boys leaped for Eighteen, who also nimbly ducked away. For several attempts, the entire fight was almost a pantomime, with the two students simply ducking out and pushing their attacker's arms back into them. BUt at last Eighteen--with the carelessness of a person who has learned fighting but never really fought, stepped right into a left hook that snapped his head back. The other boy on him caught him from behind and tried to hold him.
Forty-two exploded into action. Before Eighteen's attacker could land a second punch, Forty-two had put both of his down onto the sidewalk. He caught the boy just in the act of throwing the second punch, spun with him in a headlock, and knocked him into the corner lamp post.
Furious, Eighteen bowed forward, bringing the boy holding him onto his shoulders. With the superior strength of his race, Eighteen gripped the boy's ankle in one hand, wrist in the other, spun in a short circle, and then threw him off his shoulders in a classic flying eagle throw.
"No!" Forty-two shouted. He got under the hapless human and let the boy crash into him. They both fell to the sidewalk, but Forty-two caught the young street fighter's head, saving him from a cracked skull.
"Scarper!" One of them shouted.
"Get the red haired one!" Forty-two shouted at Eighteen, and EIghteen obliged by tackling the leader of the small gang as they all took to their heels.
Forty-two set the boy he had saved onto his feet. "Are you all right?" he asked.
"I didn't mean you no harm, mate. I just did what I was told." The street boy's eyes were big. The throw from Eighteen might very well have killed him, and they both knew it.
Forty-two firmly took him by the shoulder and turned him to face EIghteen. Eighteen's face clouded with rage at sight of him, but Forty-two shook his head. "You--you primitive!" Eighteen shouted. "How dare you lay hands on me--"
"It's over. He said he was sorry," Forty-two said.
"Say it to me then! Say it!" Eighteen shouted." He still had the red haired boy in a very efficient arm lock, but he ignored him.
"You will call me Master. Say it!"
"I'm sorry, Master," the boy repeated.
"Let him go, Doctor," the Master said, and the rage slowly passed from his face.
"Go on," the Doctor said to the boy. "We don't want to hurt people."
The boy took two steps away, stopped, looked back, and then said to the Doctor, "Thanks."
It took the Doctor back, but he suddenly smiled a half-smile and quickly pushed out his hand. "Quite all right." They shook hands.
"Eddy, clear out of it!" Red yelled, and the smaller boy edged away and then ran off.
"What about this one?" the Master asked. He was still angry. The DOctor would have spoken in milder tones to calm his friend, but a shrill sound interrupted him. He looked around.
"It's cops. Get out of it or we're all in the stew!" Red exclaimed, struggling to get away. A big, bluff man with a red face and a heavy blue tunic suddenly barged between them. "Now then, now then, what sawll this?" he bawled. He expertly took Red by the collar with the expertise of one who is used to such a task. "More trouble, Red? And 'oo are you two pikes then? What are you doin' on mah roun's at this time ahter morning?"
The Master looked at the Doctor in complete bewilderment. "What did he say?"
The Doctor looked at the constable and understanding passed across his face. "He and his companions wanted our money," he said.
"What's two educated lads doin' down here?" the PC asked. "School closed from the bombin' then? You'll do better closer to home. These rogues is all over the streets nowadays." He shook the red haired boy. "Holding up lads for money is it?" he asked. "Lucky for you there's too much afoot for me to run you in."
"You mean your shift is up and you wants a bit of bed," Red snapped.
"I say, could you make him give us our money back?" the Doctor asked.
The Red haired boy's jaw dropped. The Master was taken off guard for a moment, and then played along. "Yes, they took all our money."
"Right you are then young masters." The PC shook his prisoner until the poor boy's teeth rattled. "'and it over."
"I didn't take no--"
"'and it over I said, or you'll be spending the day in the nick whilst we decided whether you're a juvenile or not."
Protesting and whining, the red-haired boy emptied his pockets and turned out a mass of silver and copper coins.
"That's not all of it, not at all," the Master said. "But it will have to do."
"You just wait, Fauntleroy--"
Off with you then!" and the policeman added a clip on the ear as the final insult to the young street boy's injuries, "Good day, young gents. I would get back to your own neighborhood if I were you." And the policeman ambled off while the red haired boy raced down the street in fury, frustration, and shame.
"Things happen so quickly on this planet!" Forty-two exclaimed as he watched the figure of their would-be tormentor turn, shake a fist at them, and then run off again.
"I can't make anything of this coinage, Doctor," the Master said, looking down at the small pile of coins in his hand.
"Are you young gentlemen here to buy a book?" a voice said. Both of them looked up. For a moment, neither of them said anything. A woman, tall and fortyish, a little angular but with very rich, dark eyes, stood in the doorway of the booksellers, a broom in her hand. Neither boy had ever spoken with a female before. Part of their training process required keeping the genders separate until the need for mothering had been thoroughly outgrown, and any latent desires to mate not already genetically removed had been cooled by conditioning.
Eyes almost shining, the Doctor edged closer, his hand out, as though he were offering grain to a very beautiful deer.
"Is this enough," he said in a very small, gentle voice. "Is this enough to buy that book in the window?"
"No, my lad. That book there is out of your means, I would say," she told him. She pushed a whisp of graying hair out of her eyes. "But since you've done me the favor of chasing off that disreputable gang that's been ruining my business, perhaps you would like a cup of tea?"
The Doctor shot a swift glance at the Master, who was also completely subdued, his own dark eyes also shining. The Doctor turned back to her and bowed. "Madam, we would be very grateful for a cup of tea."
"Well come inside then." And she held the door open for them. "No need to put on airs. Plain tea and plain breakfast rolls and jam."
And so, on this planet where things happen so quickly, they found themselves ushered into the heart of a bookstore by a human female. Both of them felt that anything might happen at this point, and neither of them would have gone back to Gallifrey for anything.