THE FAMILIAR wheezing and groaning sound of the TARDIS had inspired many a rush of emotions for John Riddell in his travels with the Doctor: the thrill of danger, the hope of rescue, the promise of a new adventure, and much more besides. This time, though, he felt a novel and incongruous combination of relief and regret.
The door creaked opened and the Doctor greeted his friend with a broad smile and a doff of his Panama, before standing to one side and gesturing for him to enter. Riddell eschewed the welcome, trudging inside in silence, eager to leave behind the Helios starliner and all of which it still reminded him.
“What’s wrong, John? Did someone spike your drink?” the Doctor quipped, punctuating the question with a characteristic short, explosive laugh that irritated Riddell in moments such as this.
“WHAT IS it, old man?”
The Doctor had been unusually introspective and subdued ever since they had left Kyrstal on Oomahn. It was a marked shift from his usual mood that Riddell couldn’t help but notice. The Time Lord stood at the TARDIS’ bulbous console, mulling the controls—and, specifically, the glaring red button of the randomiser.
After a pregnant pause, the Doctor finally spoke. “You know, I might have been able to get Kyrstal back home. Back to her own place and time. I might yet be able to do the same for you.” He chuckled. “I might even be able to do the same for me.”
“SO, IN summary, yes—she’s bigger on the inside and travels anywhere in time and space,” beamed the Doctor to his latest impromptu travelling companion, unable to conceal a sense of pride in his brand new and ancient TARDIS control room and excitement at having someone new to whom to show it off.
His voice echoed through the cavernous space, its stone-like form resembling the interior of some otherworldly cathedral, with a high, curved ceiling segmented by six translucent panels patterned with Gallifreyan symbols. Through them fell soft blue light in varying, shifting shades that created a mosaic on the control room floor. Suspended from the centre of the ceiling was the time rotor within a marbled blue cylinder and, beneath that, the console, the smooth curves of its bulbous form suggesting a reflection of the ceiling’s hexagonal design.
“Lost and Found” (1LD01)
by David Agnew
Game Master: Brian Players: Adam, Erin
Game Date: 27 August 2016
Characters: The Doctor, Riddell
Adversaries: The Master
Continuity: The first adventure featuring the Lost Doctor.
Synopsis: Outside of time, beyond space, exists a pocket of reality where the Time Lords of Gallifrey have buried remnants of their most advanced technology. This is the scrapyard where TARDISes come to die. The Master has brought the Doctor’s old Type 40 here in a bid to gain his freedom, and his escape may lead to ultimate victory over his eternal foe. The Doctor’s regeneration has gone dangerously wrong and his beloved TARDIS is behaving erratically. Unless John Riddell can make sense of a dimensionally transcendent space-time machine gone mad, none of them will escape this impossible graveyard alive!
SHARDS OF fiery regeneration energy spewed forth from the Doctor’s hands, feet, and neck as he was violently thrown back against the central console, his arms and legs straining against the power of it, his features beginning to transform. He let out a shout somewhere between a cry of agony and a scream of ecstasy. As the sound of it rose amid the chamber, the timbre of his voice seemed to shift in pitch to a higher, lighter tone.
Once the sparks of regeneration energy had subsided, a new man stood in the old Doctor’s place. Just marginally shorter than his predecessor, this lean figure had a brand new face: narrow and eager, with a long nose, and—most notable of all—wild, inquisitive brown eyes. There was a moment during which it seemed he was sensing the physicality of this new body he inhabited. He took a deep breath and carefully exhaled. Then, bizarrely, he broke into a wide, open-mouthed grin. Finally he spoke, and in frenetic, theatrical tones: “Oh, these facial muscles are much, much more supple. Look. I can smile! Smiling is wonderful. I must do that more often!”
IT WAS clear that he was on his way out, this man they called the Doctor. Sylvia had been watching him. After the curtain had fallen to triumphant applause he’d made his way for the theatre bar instead of the exit, as was his ritual, but she could see that he wasn’t going to hang about. The admiring audience dispersed not long after the show, pouring out into the rain-sodden streets. There were plenty of seats and empty tables available. The Doctor had insisted on standing alone at the bar, however, a glass of red wine in his hand. And though he was known to savour his after-show tipples, his fingers never left the stem and the plonk was disappearing fast.
It was only a few short minutes before he’d tossed one of his eccentric tips out for Finchie—this time a sort of small crystal seashell that sparkled blue and periwinkle in the lights of the bar—and was making his way out, past the velvet rope, the cigarette machine, and a curious Sylvia. She caught a glimpse of that inhuman complexion and the shock of grey in his thick mane of hair as he passed by.
“YOU GENTLEMEN can watch while I’m scrubbin’ the floors, and I’m scrubbin’ the floors while you’re gawkin’. And maybe once ya tip me and it makes ya feel swell, in a ratty waterfront in a ratty old hotel, but you’ll never guess to whom you are talking…”
Though the sound of Lotte Lenya flowing forth from the brass horn of the gramophone had lulled her into a fitful half-sleep, a moment of stillness in the TARDIS control chamber prompted Alison to open her eyes and look to the Doctor. The taciturn Time Lord seemed to be reading by the fireside in his leather lounger, a finger held between the pages of an absurdly large and ancient tome with the name “Urnst” on its spine. His cold blue eyes, however, were fixed on the Master, who was standing in his usual place at the central console, hands flat on one of its six panels.