theoldgirl: (christmas lights)
theoldgirl ([personal profile] theoldgirl) wrote2010-12-16 09:24 pm
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All I Want For Christmas... - open to [livejournal.com profile] im_dead_ur_mad

The TARDIS shudders and groans disapprovingly as she rushes through the time vortex. This isn't the smooth trip she had planned when the Doctor, exhausted from an adventure gone too wrong for comfort, had set her to roam freely in the vortex so he could take one of his infrequent but deep slumbers. She'd found herself a nice calm current to float along on, decades and centuries flying past her in an intricate, yet perfectly ordered dance, and once again wished she could share this sight with her Time Lord. At least until a sudden surge in the current had shaken her out of her reverie, and before she could change course a rather violent temporal eddy had seized hold of her, throwing her back and forth in an increasingly erratic manner.

Engines wheezing, it's now all she can do not to be pulled in further or spit out of the vortex who knows where, and she is starting to get a little worried. Normally, this wouldn't be a dangerous situation, but without the support of her pilot she finds herself unable to break free and subjected to growing levels of distress and exhaustion. Her days of gleefully dipping in and out of such powerful turbulences were long over even before the Doctor had first found her on Gallifrey, after all.

Now almost desperate to escape, the TARDIS finally mobilizes all her energy reserves for one dramatic jump, shaking off the chaotic forces of the eddy and stabilizing at last. But the new time track is itself jarring, not quite right, and she quickly homes in on the nearest safe-seeming planet to catch her breath and get her bearings, as it were.

A cursory scan of the surroundings reveals it to be a good choice - no tumultuous point in local history, no temporal anomalies, no hostile species... Indeed, she can't detect any life signs at all, the area around her resting silently under a thick layer of pink snow. And that gives her a rather unusual idea. It's almost unthinkable for a TARDIS to go "exploring" on her own, but with her passengers asleep and no one in the vicinity that she could run into... Well, the Doctor would surely approve of some initiative, wouldn't he? And physical distractions are the best cure for aching structures, as she well remembers.

With an exciting mixture of anticipation and nervousness, she slips into her human form and stops by the wardrobe on her way out. Her last experience with snow has taught her that "wet and freezing" isn't exactly an enjoyable sensation, so she puts on a warm Victorian wool dress, sensible boots (though she'd rather be barefoot) and a long blue coat. The wide variety of garments with which humans cover themselves still baffles her, but at least she can concede to a certain functionality now. Finally, with a fond thought to the Brigadier, who'd given her these some time ago, she completes her winter gear by donning a soft scarf and gloves, though she tucks the latter away in a pocket in favor of gathering sensations with her bare skin.

So prepared, the slight form of a young girl exits the conspicuous blue box and takes a few experimental steps onwards, in a manner resembling a cat stalking through the first snow of the year. After taking a few deep breaths to feel the cold air rush through her lungs, she drops unceremoniously to her knees and digs her hands into the icy substance. Unlike any ordinary girl playing in the snow, no sound of delight escapes her mouth, but the intent with which she is now forming a ball and the small smile playing at her lips gives her fascination away.

However, she isn't too engrossed in the experience to miss the sudden shimmer in the air and the spike in anomalous sensor readings that occur before she can even enjoy the feeling of melting water on her hands. Nor indeed could she miss the inexplicable appearance of the most familiar bio-signature in the universe.

[identity profile] im-dead-ur-mad.livejournal.com 2010-12-16 10:47 pm (UTC)(link)
This in mind, the console receives one final pat before he checks his pockets and sets out for this strange wonderland.

To this end, he's been exploring, investigating and frolicking for nearly an hour by the time he finds the strange force field. And it isn't even a force field, really; it seems more of a... diaphanous film of not quite tangible gel. There are no chemical signatures he can recognise as unfriendly, and passing his hand through with a rock to see if the rock can escape bears positive results. If the rock can escape, he should be able to one way or another. And, as is the way of Doctors, he steps in, because it looks very interesting indeed.

"Hello!" Not even an echo, until he thinks about it. Otherwise, snow. Pink snow, in fact. The temperature drops exponentially, but only to the extent of accommodating snow. It looks very flat, he muses... and is somewhat taken aback when suddenly it isn't, nor can he remember it having been. Hills now break the straight edge of the snowy horizon, but he could have sworn... no, he knows they weren't there.

Cautiously, he wonders why there's no plant life, and trees have been lining some of the hills--in JUST natural enough a pattern, he sees--since he stepped in.

"It's really almost like Christmas!" he can't help blurting out, and begins to walk toward the quaint-looking cottage he really should have noticed before. No, he reminds himself, it wasn't there before, but he's certain he'll find some gaudy holiday cheer skulking about the place. He'll uncover this conundrum in due time, but he needs to get a feel for it first. Perhaps he'll be invited in by an imaginary hostess for an imaginary spot of tea and a session of delightfully imaginary decoration. The cup he suddenly sips from, even as he walks, tells him it all seems real enough, or else it's a very convincing sensory mirage.

The tea is good, though. Little milk, no sugar, just as he likes it.

He wonders what sort of mirages would pop up were the TARDIS to be in here. Are the mirages tuned to one sentience alone, or can there be more than one influence? He's almost tempted to turn back and pilot her into this, but if he isn't completely assured of her safety, he'd rather not risk it. "I want to be a real boy, nice blue fairy," he mutters to himself, half jokingly and not really referring to himself. "If only you could see this with me now." He's surprised first and foremost when a Pinocchio puppet doesn't appear... but he's even more perplexed by the strange waver in the sky, what he presumes is the force field... and then by the very faint empathic brush he shouldn't be able to feel this far away. He can almost--was that the sound of dematerialisation? But he didn't quite hear anything.

Here's a convenient tree to hide behind. Of course. He does so, squinting over the horizon, and sees... a girl. She didn't come from the cottage, he's been looking at it. What's more, she did come out of... the TARDIS? What's she doing there? And who's that?

His tension and suspicion seem to aggravate the bark of the tree he occupies, and something... something? suggests that perhaps it isn't a threat. Perhaps, instead, he should enjoy. He should play. He eyes the snow. Yes. YES.

And thus, the girl in the snow will find, upon her pause, that she is to be beaned atop the head with a loosely packed snowball. "No sudden moves!" demands a wild-haired, very prim-looking man in the distance, even if his bio-signature is familiar. "Right yourself! Who are you? What are you doing with my ship?"
Edited 2010-12-16 22:51 (UTC)

[identity profile] theoldgirl.livejournal.com 2010-12-17 12:49 am (UTC)(link)
The TARDIS, being of a very clever and very complex mind, goes through several reactions in hardly more than a few seconds. First, alarm at the sudden change in conditions - and they had changed rather drastically, as both her sensors and her eyes inform her that she is now engulfed in a force field with hills and vegetation that were definitely not there when she'd arrived - and at the unexpected appearance of a younger Doctor.

Second, in quick pursuit of a reason for this disconcerting turn of events, the detection of a rudimentary intelligence, a semi-sentience that had also not been there before (or rather, not discernible), now focused on her and attempting to reach out to her in an almost playful manner.

Third, to the TARDIS' great relief, the understanding that the sentience is friendly, child-like even, and haboring nothing but an eagerness to please; followed by the equally comforting realization that this isn't quite her own timeline, which means interaction with the Doctor in the distance should pose no threat of temporal unpleasantries as long as she treads somewhat carefully.

And finally, the curious noting of the fact that she'd been hit in the head with a snowball. It is this last one that elicits a visible response from her, though only after most of the cold mess has fallen out of her hair.

"Doctor! It's me!"

Struggling slightly in the deep snow, she gets to her feet and, her own mass of snow still in hand, starts towards the 'attacker'. Now that she is feeling reasonably safe again, her usual game of "see how long I can fool the Doctor into thinking I'm Nyssa" comes to her mind, accompanied by a gleeful approval from the presence. Of course it would like the game, it's a child. Well, why not amuse the young one and herself at the same time?

[identity profile] im-dead-ur-mad.livejournal.com 2010-12-17 08:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Step. Stop. Double take.

"...Nyssa?"

That puts him at a loss for just a moment, before he gives the area a furtive glance. Did this... thing just up and pluck him out of some other sequence? How? And why? No. No, wait, it couldn't have. She knows who he is, and he doesn't remember running into himself with Nyssa in tow, not with this face. And Nyssa had never been terribly fond of such a prim state of dress, once she'd learned she didn't have to keep being the princess.

You clever thing, he thinks at the force field, still wondering how it managed to pluck up bits from a memory he hadn't even addressed. He really ought to be righteously angry, or even exceedingly suspicious, but... if he takes anything from it, there's a distinct lack of hostile intent--rather a distaste for the concept of hostility, it seems. But to invade his memories like that simply won't do. All right, I'll play along with this one, but stay out of here. There are boundaries you'd do best not to cross.

Even as he sets his terms, he's stepping forward again with a smile to meet her. It probably means well, but of course, good intentions pave...

"What are you doing here? Where are the others? And where are your gloves? You'll catch your death in this, pretty though it may be."
Edited 2010-12-17 20:59 (UTC)

[identity profile] theoldgirl.livejournal.com 2010-12-18 07:20 pm (UTC)(link)
Aaaand she has him hooked, as humans would say. Most incarnations sense who she really is sooner rather than later, but that doesn't stop her from having a little fun in the meantime. Though she isn't very good at lying, foreign a concept as it is to a being who enters minds as a matter of fact, so she focuses on the least incriminating of his questions and responds with the smallest of smirks.

"I shall be fine, don't worry."

The mention of gloves does remind her that an uncomfortable numbness is starting to replace the bite of the coldness in her hands, and she decides it may be best to dispose of the snow for now. But she doesn't just drop it, oh no; she learned some time ago what to do when one is being shot at with snowballs, although that situation had been far more hostile than this.

After a few more steps towards the Doctor, still with that cat-like peculiarity, as she isn't used to walking in such difficult terrain, nor indeed in such heavy dress and boots, she throws her snowball at him without another word. Although she hasn't had much practice in hand-eye-coordination, even she can't miss at this range and hits her target square in the chest.

[identity profile] im-dead-ur-mad.livejournal.com 2010-12-26 07:57 pm (UTC)(link)
That stops him short, and for a split second, he actually gawks. First at the snow tumbling into the folds of his cravat and waistcoat, and then at the Nyssa construct. The expression he soon adopts, however, is nowhere near 'how dare you', being far too amused even to be mistaken for it.

"Is that the best you can do?" he taunts, stooping to gather more snow. "Really, Nyssa, I could have sworn I'd taught you to bowl."

Something is still vaguely off, though. Constructs shouldn't give such a familiar empathic vibe; usually, they don't give one at all. And this one doesn't feel quite like Nyssa's. For a moment, his eyes lock onto the TARDIS a short distance behind her, studying the structure. But what he feels should be from his own, shouldn't it? Which would make this one a construct as well... but why the warmth, so close? And why Nyssa before him, rather than Charley, or even C'rizz? What exactly is this field doing with his memories, and how deeply has it reached?

"Who are you?" escapes from his train of thought, though under his breath and absently uttered; he doesn't quite mean for anyone to hear it.

[identity profile] theoldgirl.livejournal.com 2010-12-27 09:36 pm (UTC)(link)
His focus on her real form doesn't escape her notice, and she nearly nods encouragingly. She has always enjoyed keeping the Doctor on his toes, be it by taking him somewhere unexpected or by changing her inner structures. He'll solve this mystery quickly enough, but his confusion as he does so is quite amusing.

"What do you mean, who am I?" Of course she heard him. Though her response lacks the confusion or concern one would expect in such a question; instead her tone is almost approving, nudging his thought process on. With a glance at the snow in his hands, she adds teasingly, "You will catch your death in this."
Edited 2010-12-27 21:37 (UTC)

[identity profile] im-dead-ur-mad.livejournal.com 2010-12-31 11:27 am (UTC)(link)
"Of course I won't. Time Lord," he reminds her absently, his mind working. The impression is no illusion; it can't be. Even woodwives are hollow behind their faces. There should be no familiarity beyond a simple fa├žade, and yet there is... even that gentle chiding, the tone of 'You know who I am, you silly Doctor', is something he should know--needs to know.

How I wish this were C'rizz instead, he tries experimentally. She remains Nyssa, and what's more, the constructing presence balks. Of course. C'rizz isn't from this universe... but Charley is, and Nyssa doesn't become Charley, either. In fact, she seems to simply deflect the presence, or more, to absorb its intent rather than shaping it as he does. Observing it, perhaps, with a pristine emotional foundation devoid of wishful thinking. And the TARDIS, serene and... extensive, apparently. In fact, he can't seem to differentiate the two of them.

"You're not a part of this field. You won't conform to the patterns here," he informs her, intrigued, "and you aren't Nyssa, are you? Nyssa wouldn't have recognised me. But who are you, then? And whose is she?" He glances again to the TARDIS behind her. "She feels right, but I know that my TARDIS is in another direction entirely... and you're linked to this one, I'd wager. Nigh inseparable by the feel of it. Kamelion? But no... hmm."

The snow is dropped and brushed off his hands, forgotten. He nearly fails to notice the smart pair of gloves that appear in one hand, and gives a tolerant half smile at them as he steps closer to study her. "Are you from another timeline, or not?"

[identity profile] theoldgirl.livejournal.com 2011-01-29 01:22 am (UTC)(link)
She can tell he is testing the entity, probably trying to see if its influence extends to her appearance, but it only results in the intelligence turning to her in something like petulance, as though it was her fault that he was being so silly. She gives it a tolerant mental pat and folds her hands behind her back, patiently listening to the Doctor's verbal train of thought. At the mention of Kamelion she has to stop herself from huffing in disdain; nothing but trouble that machine was and she'll thank him not to associate her with it.

The Doctor's scrutiny is met with an amused smile, challenging his wits, though of course she has no doubt in them. "Ah, you wish to play '20 Questions'? Although I would hope you do not require nearly that many to guess who I am. Yes," she answers his last question, "I am from another timeline."