Bill quickly made her way through the university corridors. Her watch had ran out of battery without her realising so she was late for the Doctor’s lecture. If she was lucky then she’d catch the tail end of it. Hopefully the Doctor wouldn’t be too mad at her. He was, after all, an expert in losing track of time.
She sighed in relief as she reached the lecture halls doors with ten minutes to spare and pushed them open.
Bill almost swore out loud when she saw the person doing the lecture.
Standing in the middle of the hall was a woman with shiny blonde hair. She wore a cream suit and gloves and had her back to the room as she wrote on the blackboard.
Bill looked over to where Nardole was standing and shuffled over to him. “Who is she?” She whispered.
“I dunno.” He squeaked back. “I tried to get up there and talk to her but she barked at me to go away.”
“Do you know her name?”
Nardole shakes his head. “She said some name at the start of the lecture but it was very long and sounded rather like nonsense. Hang on, why are you so late?”
“Quiet back there!” The woman calls out, turning around and looking up at them. “Now. Your scientist lady, what was her name now… ah, yes. Marie Curie. So yes, Marie Curie is the only person in your history to receive a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. She’s probably an inspiration to a lot of people although I wouldn’t know. So yeah, she discovered radiation and it cost her her life. This is a good thing because… oh hang on.”
The woman pulls out a small notebook that Bill recognised as the one that Doctor kept on his desk and squinted at the pages. “Dear god the Doctor’s handwriting gets worse with every paragraph.”
She pockets the book again and sighs. “Yeah I don’t know what he had planned for the last few minutes. You can all just go now, I need to sit down.”
The woman leaves through the door that heads up to the Doctor’s office as the mass of students start picking up their stuff and walking out.
Bill looks over at Nardole. “Come on, let’s go see what’s going on.”
The two of them jog down the steps of the lecture hall and head through the door on the side of the room.
After speeding up the stairs to the Doctor’s office, they walk in and see the woman pacing around the room, poking around some of the Doctor’s stuff.
“Oi!” Nardole barked. “Those are the Doctor’s special biscuits and he doesn’t tolerate people touching them!”
The woman shrugs and puts one of the Doctor’s party rings in her mouth.
Nardole marches up to her and snatches the packet off her. “Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“Well I could ask you the same question.” She remarked. “I don’t know who you are but you’ve just stormed into this office, stolen my biscuits and shouted at me. Why would you think I’d want to introduce myself to an intruder as rude as yourself?”
“They are not your biscuits.” Nardole replied. “And we have much more right to be here than you do.”
Bill groans. “This isn’t getting us anywhere.” She stepped forward into the office and holds out a hand to the woman. “My name is Bill, the Doctor is my personal tutor. That’s Nardole. He’s… well I’m not quite sure what he is but I think he’s something like a butler.”
The woman smiled at her. Bill noted that she looked fairly pretty when she smiled. She took Bill’s hand and shook it. “My name is Romanadvoratrelundar. You can just call me Romana though.”
“Good to meet you. But… where’s the Doctor?”
Romana sighs. “No idea unfortunately. All I got was a message from him saying to come here and when I got here. Nothing.”
“Hang on. The Doctor called you here?” Bill asked.
Romana nods and starts poking around the pot of sonic screwdrivers that were on the desk. “I see his screwdriver designs are still fairly cheap.”
“So are you, like, mates then?”
“Yeah, something like that.” Romana nods. “Been a while since we saw each other but yes I suppose we are.”
“Hang on. So the Doctor just called you here and he wasn’t here when you arrived?” Nardole butts in, moving the sonic screwdriver pot away from the prying woman’s hands.
“That’s what I said.”
“Well, any idea where he is?”
“If I did I’d hardly still be here, would I?”
“But what do you think you’re doing taking his lectures?” Nardole demanded. “Just because he’s not here doesn’t mean some random woman can step in for him.”
“Oh so were you going to do it for him?” Romana asks, somehow looking down at Nardole whilst also being shorter than him. “I really doubt it. Now, you two seem rather lovely but I’m afraid I’ve got to go. So I’ll just take these,” she grabbed the pack of party rings back off Nardole, “and be on my merry way.”
Romana saunters over to the corner of the office to where the TARDIS was sitting and pulls out a key from her pocket.
“Been a while since I used this key.” She muttered as she unlocked the door of the ship and slipped inside.
“No.” Nardole shakes his head. “Absolutely not.”
“Is she stealing the TARDIS?” Bill asked, unsure what to think of this newcomer.
“Not on my watch.” Nardole huffed.
Bill and Nardole both pile into the TARDIS and see Romana standing at the console.
It seemed they’d gotten inside just in time since the moment they shut the doors, Romana pulled the big lever that dematerialised the ship.
The engines start up and Romana looks up, a grin all over her face. “Oh good, I almost thought you weren’t coming.”
Nardole marched over to the console. “We are going back to the university right now. You can’t just steal the TARDIS!”
“Why not? I thought that’s how one acquired this TARDIS?”
“Uh, how can you fly it?” Bill asked, trying to stop the fighting.
“Because unlike some people, I actually read the manual.” Romana flipped a few switches and grinned. “He’s really made a mess of the old girl hasn’t he. Never used to be so cluttered in here.”
“Ok, well if you can fly the TARDIS, where are you taking us?” Bill looked over at one of the TARDIS screens for some kind of hint but saw nothing helpful.
“Well hopefully, to the Doctor. You see, what was it? Bill? You see Bill. Every Time Lord with a TARDIS forms some kind of a mental connection with it. I’m tapping into that connection to track down the Doctor.”
“But that’s impossible.” Nardole argues, following Romana around the console. “You can’t just use the TARDIS’s brain as a navigation system.”
“Maybe you can’t.” Romana shrugged.
“Hang on, are you a Time Lord then?” Bill butted in. “Cause how else would you know about all this?”
“Very good.” Romana beamed at Bill. “I like you, you ask the right questions. Yes, I’m a Time Lord. I used to travel with Doctor. A long long time ago.”
The TARDIS engines stop wheezing and the room settles.
“We’ve arrived. I wonder where though.” Romana grabbed the screen and pulled it towards her.
“You know, I think that’s the smoothest landing I’ve ever had in the TARDIS.” Bill admitted.
“Why thank you Bill.” Romana beamed. “I do try my best.”
“Are you complimenting her?” Nardole looked bewildered at Bill. “Don’t compliment her when she’s stealing the TARDIS!”
“Look, she’s clearly just trying to help. We don’t know what happened to the Doctor but she seems to know how to find out.”
“But Bill.” Nardole glanced over at Romana and lowered his voice. “We can’t trust her.”
“I never said we had to.” Bill said back, in an equally quiet voice.
Romana stepped back from the console and grinned at her companions. “Right. I think I have some idea of where we are. Come on.”
Bill was a little taken aback by their surroundings once they stepped out the doors. The TARDIS had landed in the exact same place as when they’d left, sitting in the corner of the Doctor’s office.
“You really thought you could fool us, didn’t you?” Nardole turns to face Romana and bigs himself. “We’re not idiots you know. You obviously can’t fly the TARDIS at all, can you?”
Romana rolled her eyes and walked over to the Doctor’s desk.
“See, I told you.” Nardole said to Bill. “She’s not to be trusted. I bet she’s just playing for time whilst some devious plan is set in motion.”
Romana sighed and chucked one of the sonic screwdrivers at Nardole who promptly caught it. “You really are a ridiculous little man aren’t you. Perhaps if you had a proper look around then you’d realise that we are not where you think we are.”
Bill gasped. “She’s right! Look, the rug isn’t there! The one I got the Doctor. It’s gone.”
“Oh good, I’m glad that one of you can see the obvious.” Romana remarked. “This is not the Doctor’s office, it’s just been made to look like that. Presumably to throw us off. Take a look at that screwdriver, you’ll see I’m right.”
Nardole cautiously examined the silver device in his hand. He tried to press the button to activate it but quickly found that the button was just a dummy.
“It’s a fake. Just a model.”
“Well of course.” Romana agreed, snatching the fake sonic off him and snapping it in half with ease. “Whoever has duplicated the office obviously didn’t have the capability to replicate something as advanced as Gallifreyan technology so they’ve just put plastic models in instead.”
“But… why has somebody copied the office in the first place?” Bill looked around the room for more inconsistencies. “I mean, if it’s so obvious that it’s a fake then why go through all the trouble?”
“That,” Romana started, “Is a good question. One that I’d like to find an answer to. But what we do know is that the Doctor is somewhere close by. The TARDIS would only bring us here if the Doctor was nearby so let’s go look for him.”
Romana stepped over to the door of the office and pulled it open, revealing the familiar corridor of the university. “Shall we?”
Bill and Nardole shared a worried look before following the unfamiliar woman into the odd duplicate of the university.
Bill walked close behind Romana with Nardole close behind her. This clone of the university was eerie so they were sticking together like glue.
It was weird. They’d explored a few more rooms and they all seemed near identical to the real ones, bar a couple of inconsistencies. But that wasn’t what made Bill feel unsettled. No, it was the sheer shallowness of this university that made her uneasy. The university she was used to was always bustling with activity. Students, teachers and other staff were always on the move and there was always something going on to fill the background noise. But here? Nothing. No people, no noise, no nothing. Just her, Nardole and the strange woman that had brought them here.
Oh and another creepy thing Bill had noticed earlier: If you looked out any of the windows it was night time, making it hard to see much of the university grounds. However, the inside was brightly lit by sunlight. None of the lights were on because there were clear sunbeams coming through the windows that gave off the same light and warmth of regular sunlight. Only difference was that it was coming from nowhere. Romana had said that she’d noticed this paradoxical detail moments after arriving but Nardole seemed even more on edge now that she’d pointed it out.
Romana was leading them all through the ground level of the building now. They’d fully explored the floor on which the Doctor’s office was on so now they were looking around the more communal areas for him.
They’d just left the cafeteria, a room that Bill found especially odd without the familiar scent of cheap chips and bland meat, when Romana broke the silence that had been hovering over them for the past few minutes.
“You know it’s just occurred to me that I may not even know what the Doctor looks like.”
“What does that mean?” Bill asked.
“Well it’s been a while. He might have regenerated.”
“Regenerated? What’s that? Sounds familiar actually, I think the Doctor mentioned it once.”
“How long did you say you’d known the Doctor for?” Romana asked Bill. She seemed a little taken aback by the fact she didn’t about regeneration.
“A while now.” Bill told her. “But I only learnt about the alien stuff about a month ago.”
“Ah well that explains it.”
“Why? What is it?”
“Oh nothing important.” Romana said, waving the question away.
Bill turned around and looked at Nardole. “What is it?”
“Big explodey face-changing thing that lets them cheat death.” Nardole explained.
“Hey it’s not always explodey.” Romana argued. “Only those who lack style explode. Anyway, let’s look in here.” The Time Lord opened the door to the library and slipped inside.
Following her in, Bill looked around the library. Searching for inconsistencies in the rooms had become her way of staying focused in this weird place so her eyes immediately started scanning the room for oddities.
Everything seemed fairly normal so far. The bookshelves were all in the right place, the tables all had the wear and tear from 20 years of usage and the computers were all plugged into the right place. But Bill quickly discovered something that was definitely not normal.
“The books are all wrong.” She pointed out. “Look, all the titles have spelling errors or they’re missing the author’s name or something.”
“This one just says ‘book’” Nardole remarked, pointing at one of the thicker novels. “Ugh, and they’re not in alphabetical order. After all that work I did to put them in order someone just comes along and makes it random.”
“Nardole, it’s a copy.” Bill reminded him. “Your books are still in order.”
“It’s still insulting.”
Rolling her eyes, Bill moved over to the section labelled ‘biology’. She quickly discovered they were all just a bunch of kid’s picture books with farmyard animals.
Well, all of them but one.
Bill took the thin bronze book from the shelf. The title was written in some weird alien language and the book was far shorter than the other ones.
On the page was a diagram. The outline of the person seemed human but everything else on the page led her to believe otherwise. All the annotations and organs were all a bit… weird. The organs were in odd places or just completely unfamiliar to Bill and the annotations didn’t really explain what they were.
Just as Bill noticed the label that said ‘binary vascular system’, she heard Romana call something from the other side of the library. “I found something. I think it’s the Doctor’s, can one of you check.”
Pocketing the book, Bill walked over to where Romana had gone and examined her findings. Romana was kneeling over a tatty grey jacket that had been tossed on the floor.
“Yep that’s his. But what’s it doing on the library floor?”
Romana started rummaging through the pockets. “Well it’s definitely not a copy. His things are in it, look.” She pulled out the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver and buzzed it briefly. “It’s functional so it must be real.”
“But why would you just leave it here?” Bill pondered. “It’s not damaged or anything, or at least no more than usual, so it can’t have come off in a fight and it wasn’t taken off him cause you wouldn’t just bung it on the floor.”
“Perhaps he left it here.” Romana pondered. “But why though?”
“Maybe he wants us to have the screwdriver?” Bill suggested hopefully. “Or the TARDIS key?”
“Hm I doubt it. I have my own screwdriver and key.” Romana pulled a thin silver and green device from her pocket to prove her point.
“Maybe… he didn’t know you’d be here? So he left it here for me and Nardole?”
“No.” Romana told her. “The Doctor called me here so he would have known that I’d be prepared. But why call me and not say what was happening. Unless…”
“Perhaps the Doctor didn’t call me here.” Romana suggested, her voice cold.
Before Bill could say anything to that rather ominous suggestion, the sound of Nardole’s shrill scream pierced the room, followed closely by his loud footsteps.
“Run!” He screamed at the two women as he passed them, racing to the door.
Bill almost questioned him but the sound of claws clattering towards them from round the corner activated her flight or fight instincts. After scooping up the Doctor’s jacket, she darted towards the door with Nardole. She could hear Romana following close behind her.
The trio of time travellers ran through the university, the sound of a snarling, spitting creature never too far behind them. They had just turned a corner when Bill suddenly had an idea.
“Guys follow me.” She told them, changing her direction back the way they came.
After Bill turned back round the corner, Bill briefly glimpsed the shiny black shell of the creature down the corridor before slipping into a door to her side. The other two piled into the small room with her.
“What are we doing in here?” Nardole asked impatiently. “We’re trapped now!”
Bill didn’t answer verbally but instead stepped over to a small cabinet that was built into the wall. She pulled it open and grinned. Her plan would work.
“No we’re not.” Bill pointed into the alcove in the wall.
Nardole looked horrified. “Bill that thing hasn’t been used in years. It’d break the second we turned it on.”
“What is it?” Romana asked, intrigued.
“It’s a lift for the science labs.” Bill explained quickly, very conscious that the creature would soon be trying to bash down the door. “To deliver all the chemicals and stuff upstairs without risking dropping them. It can carry a person though. A few students were mucking about with it last year.”
“That’s clever.” Romana remarked. “Can’t see how we’re all going to fit in there though. Maybe two could but not all three of us.”
“Exactly, only two of us. Both of you get in and go find the Doctor. I’ll catch up in a bit.”
“No time for arguing Nardole.” Bill interrupted. “You two know more about the Doctor and aliens than me so you’re more likely to be able to help him. Now hurry up.”
Nardole started to argue but the sudden sound of a claw being bashed against the door made him nod quickly and climb into the cramped lift.
Bill pulled the sonic screwdriver out of the Doctor’s jacket pocket before chucking the grey coat into the lift. “Who knows. You might need it.” She shrugged.
Romana squeezed into the lift with Nardole, barely fitting into the small space. “Stay safe.”
“And you.” Bill remarked back, giving a quick grin before being startled by the sound of a second smash on the door. She rapidly fumbled around with the sonic, trying to remember how to work it. She quickly found the button and buzzed it at the lift and thought the word ‘up’.
The lift slowly started ascending, taking Romana and Nardole upstairs. Bill closed the hatch for good measure and then turned her attention to the door.
How the hell was she meant to get out of this.
ok so maybe i didn't plan on ending it there but it felt like a natural stopping point. this whole chapter is basically trash but hopefully chapter 3 will be better :)
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
The small wooden lift grounded to a halt. Romana felt around her surroundings for the hatch.
As her fingers found the edge of the hatch, a loud crash came from the floor below them that caused the man next to her to wince. The crash was shortly followed by a loud scream and then heavy set of pounding footsteps that gradually grew quieter and quieter.
Romana tried not to think about whatever had just happened below them and instead pushed open the hatch. The hatch was fairly old so it took her a couple of forceful shoves but thankfully it didn’t take too long to ram it open with her fist.
Light streamed into the lift and Romana climbed, well more like fell, out onto the hallway floor.
“What are you thinking just leaving Bill down there all on her own?” Nardole snapped, trying to take charge of the situation now that his initial shock was gone. “She’s too young to be dealing with that thing by herself.”
“She seems capable.” Romana replied, observing the corridor around them. “Besides, I didn’t see you offering to take her place.”
“Wh- I- That’s different!” Nardole huffed.
“Sure it is. Now, does the Doctor still like physics? Just trying to figure out which of these rooms he’d be in.”
“Yes it is different thank you very much! And of course he still likes physics, he practically invented the subject. But what would he be in the classroom for?”
“Hiding from that monster, obviously. Or he’s writing a paper. Either way, it’s worth a look.” Romana marched down the hallway towards the physics end, expecting Nardole to follow.
Rolling her eyes as she turned to face Nardole, she sighed. “What now?”
“Help.” He squealed. “I can’t move.”
“Stop being silly of course you can.”
No sooner than Romana had finished that sentence had she noticed what was wrong with Nardole. Somehow the carpet had fused itself with his shoes. The line between where the soles of the shoes ended and where the carpet began looked kind of distorted.
“No I literally can’t!” He yelled, gesturing violently towards his shoes.
Romana knelt down and inspected the situation a bit closer. Or at least she tried. The distorted line between the carpet and the shoes wasn’t just an optical illusion, there was a thin fuzzy line where the two materials connected, making it impossible to tell what had actually happened.
“This is remarkable. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Romana traces a single finger around the fuzzy area, feeling a strange mix of shoe leather and thick carpet. “Are you able to slip out the shoes?”
Nardole tries to maneuver one of his feet out of the shoe. Immediately the carpet crept further up the shoe, now enveloping about half of it rather than just the soles.
Nardole froze the second this happened. “It’s in my feet. There’s carpet inside me. This is weird, I don’t like it.”
Ignoring the panicking Nardole, Romana made a mental list about what to do about this. So far the only in reach option was to leave him there but there was no way she was doing that.
As a last resort Romana whipped out her sonic screwdriver and scanned the ground. Surprisingly, it had a small effect on the carpet. The moment the familiar buzzing sound emanated from the screwdriver, the carpet started writhing around in a strange fashion, creeping about another inch up to Nardole’s ankle.
Nardole shrieked. “Stop that feels funny. Oh no I don’t like that at all.”
Quickly stopping, Romana checked the readings on the sonic. “Oh that cannot be good.”
“What’s it saying? Oh please don’t tell me it’s something bad.”
“It’s both good and bad.” Romana replied grimly.
“Is it in a Time Lord’s job description to always give vague answers to important questions or are you and the Doctor both just annoying.”
“Oh it’s definitely the latter.” The Time Lady remarked. “These readings give me mixed feelings about this place. On the positive side of things apparently the material is in flux so in theory it should be fairly easy to remove it. On the more negative side however, well it’s reading as a lifeform. This carpet is alive.”
Nardole shrieked in terror. “This thing’s alive? There’s a living creature inside my body? Get it out get it out get it out.”
“Quiet, I’m trying to concentrate.” Romana thought hard on how to do this. Theoretically she should just be able to disrupt the molecules with her sonic and force it to release Nardole but since the carpet was a lifeform rather than artificial material she wasn’t certain what the outcome would be. She would likely end up making it worse if she did something reckless. But then on the other hand, there was a chance she could end up making it much better.
“Ok Nardole stop squirming for a second. This requires precision.”
Nardole froze. “What are you going to do?”
“Not sure.” Romana admitted. “But it reacted to the sonic so I’m just going to try that again.”
“Excuse me what?!” Nardole looked down at the kneeling Time Lady in shock. “Last time you did that it crawled up me. In what universe could you possibly think this is a good idea?”
“Well considering I spent a chunk of my life in another universe, that question is actually rather hard answer. Now, hold still.”
Without wasting time by letting Nardole say anything else, Romana jumped up from the floor, took a step back and used her sonic screwdriver on the carpet entity, repressing her anxiety about the situation.
Immediately after pressing down the button on the device, the carpet writhed and stretched, crawling further and further up Nardole.
Nardole screamed and started thrashing around, trying to get loose from the thing. Obviously the sonic was taking much more affect on it than last time.
Romana didn’t stop though. A common trait amongst threatened animals is to lash out and seem tough but if she just kept pushing it then maybe…
With a sound that was reminiscent of a gunshot, the carpet that had engulfed Nardole’s leg exploded and scattered bits of carpet material everywhere.
Romana pocketed the screwdriver and immediately went over to help Nardole, who had fallen onto his back and bashed his head against a radiator against the wall. Blood was slowly leaking from a large gash just above his ear and his body was limp.
After checking that he was still alive, Romana sighed and clenched her jaw. She really should have prepared a bit more before acting.
Disappointed in herself for letting this happen, she grabbed the Doctor’s jacket and started to rifle through the pockets. Knowing him, he’d have at least some basic medical supplies in his jacket.
After pulling out a few bits and bobs, she was startled by a voice from behind her.
“If you’re looking for a medkit, there’s one in the secret inside pocket under the other inside pocket.”
Romana’s head snapped around to face the man behind her. An ageing scotsman in a waistcoat who could only be the Doctor was standing behind her. He grinned at her.
“Or we could always take advantage of this rare situation and draw a silly face on the back of his head in permanent marker.”
“Doctor?!” Romana gasped, not needing confirmation to know that it was him. “Oh I have so many questions to ask you.”
“I bet you do. But first explain to me what happened here.” The Doctor knelt down next to Romana and looked down at Nardole. “Why did you bring Nardole with you?”
“Oh him and Bill followed me into your TARDIS.” She explained. “Not that I was complaining mind you. But then we materialised in this weird-” she stopped in her tracks as she suddenly remembered about Bill and the creature downstairs. “Oh Doctor. I think Bill could be in trouble.”
Bill turned her back on the hatch that hid the ascending lift. She gripped the sonic screwdriver tightly, ignoring the beads of sweat forming on her forehead.
The creature slammed into the door again, causing the weak wood to splinter. Bill could see the creature through the tiny gaps in the door, the smooth black skin reflecting the sunlight like the carapace of a large beetle. She noticed it backing up again and immediately stepped out the way of the door, knowing that it wouldn’t survive another hit.
Running on adrenaline alone, Bill’s eyes scanned the tiny room for something that could help. She quickly found it, a tall lamp crammed next to the door. Preparing the sonic in her hand, she waited for the inevitable shattering of the door.
It didn’t take long. Barely a second later, the creature rammed into the door and it flew straight off its hinges, splinters flying everywhere. The creature charged into the room, it’s snarling, drooling face staring straight at Bill, barely two feet from her face.
Bill almost froze but thankfully her instincts took over. Barely wasting any time by looking at the creature, she clamped her eyes shut, pointed the sonic at the lamp and pressed the button. Even through her closed eyes she saw the overcharged flash from the lamp. She heard the bulb shatter from the strain of the unnaturally bright flash.
The creature emitted an uncomfortably human-like scream and stumbled backwards. Bill took advantage of it’s confused state and barged past it, bolting down the corridor and back towards the library. It did not take long for her to hear the thumping footsteps of the creature chasing after her.
Bill slammed the doors of the library shut and locked them with the sonic, hopefully buying herself some extra time. She immediately ran through the maze of fake books and headed for the set of doors on the opposite end of the vast room. Her plan was to reach the staircase that led to the science department and meet up with Romana and Nardole, hopefully losing the weird creature in the process.
Just as she was passing the biography section, she heard a massive splintering crash followed by more thumping footsteps that grew closer constantly. Bill knew she’d never make the doors in time, the library was too big too navigate in such a short space of time. But if Bill couldn’t outrun the creature then her only choice was facing off with it.
Tightly gripping the sonic, more for comfort than anything else, Bill did something completely ridiculous. She ran back the way she came, towards the creature.
They met in the centre of the room, surrounded by an oval shape of bookshelves and for the first time Bill could properly see the thing that had been chasing her. She was rather confused by its body. It was circular but not symmetrical, a bit like a rough drawing of a circle but with a head and tail attached onto it. It’s head was a similarly uneven circular shape with no visible nostrils on it and only one big, black beady eye that was just off centre above the mouth.
The creature bared it’s stumpy yellow teeth at Bill and thrashed it’s whip-like tail against the floor. It looked ready to pounce.
To counter it, Bill put on her most threatening face and held up the sonic the same way she’d seen the Doctor do countless times. Shakily, she took a deep breath and spoke aloud at the creature.
“Whatever you are, I warn you I am very, very… scared. And us humans, well we’re not fun to mess around with when we’re scared. So just back off ok.”
Ok so she’d just told the creature that she was scared of it. Perhaps not the best strategy but hey it was a start.
The creature snarled in response, it’s slimy, forked tongue flicked out of it’s mouth at her.
Flinching, Bill forced herself to do something more.
“You know what? This is your last chance. Go back to wherever it was you came from or I promise it will not end end well.” trying to hide her trembling, Bill stepped forward towards the creature and stared into its large unblinking eye. “Leave.”
The creature did not leave. Instead it started emitting a low growl from the back of it’s throat and crouched down into a pouncing position.
Bill realised she was going to have to fight this thing. But how the hell do you fight something that’s twice your size? The sonic wouldn’t actually be able to do anything to it. Or could it…
An idea suddenly sparked to life in her head, giving her hope. She analysed the room, making sure that everything she needed to do this was in the correct places.
Bill looked back at the creature, staring it in the eye and inviting challenge. She could tell it was waiting for her to run so it could get more thrill out of the kill. It was a classic hunter instinct that the Doctor had told her about once. Well who was she to deny it of that thrill?
Breaking eye contact with the thing, she turned around and ran for it. The moment she heard the creature pouncing, she threw herself to the right, landing on the floor and probably bruising her hip badly, and watched the creature land onto the floor a few feet away from her, obviously surprised that it’s prey had escaped again. Wasting no time, Bill pointed the sonic up at the ceiling directly above the momentarily stunned creature and pressed down the button.
The fire alarm that was directly above the creature suddenly began ringing at an incredibly loud pitch, causing it to cry out and lash out at nothing. Even Bill jumped at the sound.
Bill grinned and quickly sprang into action, trying to drown out the horrid noise. Jumping up off the floor, Bill ran down the aisle of bookshelves that the creature had stopped in front of and stopped at the last one. She rammed her whole body into it, pushing it over.
The falling bookshelf caused a domino effect and the entire row of bookshelves crashed down on the creature, crushing it’s head and forelegs.
The creature struggled for a couple of seconds but it’s body quickly went limp and it’s only movements came from the slight expansion of it’s tummy as it breathed.
Bill used the sonic to turn off the annoying alarm and slumped against the wall behind her. She breathed a sigh of relief and let herself think for a minute before doing anything else. She was out of danger. Well, she hoped she was and she could relax a little bit.
She quickly found that now that the adrenaline of the situation was wearing off, there were various pains spreading throughout her body. Her entire right side ached from the impact of the floor just now, her legs were sore from all the running and her fingers felt stiff because of how tightly she’d been clutching the sonic the whole time. Her heart was still beating rapidly against her chest from all the action and she now felt a painful stitch in her abdomen.
Bill’s eyes snapped open at the sound of the familiar voice. She jumped up off the floor when she saw the Doctor standing next to the crushed creature, looking confused.
“Oh my god, Doctor.” Bill ran at him and embraced him in a hug. “I’ve missed you so much!”
The Doctor returned the hug immediately. “I was wondering where you were! But why are you here?”
“Your mate brought us here in the TARDIS. Romana her name was. Her and Nardole had to go upstairs.”
The Doctor pulled back from the hug and frowned at Bill. “That’s not right. You shouldn’t have come.”
“And yet I did anyway.” Bill beamed. “Oh right, here’s your screwdriver. Sorry I don’t have your jacket, I gave it to Romana to keep hold of. Speaking of which, should we go up and check if they’re alright? I said I’d catch up with them.”
“Why didn’t you lead with that?” The Doctor asked. “Lets go.”
Bill and the Doctor walked through the library at a quick pace, Bill’s legs aching with every step. After a couple of minutes of walking in silence, they reached the staircase to the science block and started going up them.
“So how long have you been here?” Bill finally asked. “And where even is ‘here’? It doesn’t make any sense.”
“I wish I knew.” The Doctor replied grimly. “From what I gather, it’s a lazy copy of the university. It’s a bit like when you try to print a colour picture with a black and white printer, it’s just wrong.”
“But why? And also how?”
“How am I supposed to know? I’m on the same page as you.”
“But what was that creature?” Bill asked. “And how had it not gone after you before.”
“Bill what did I just say?”
The duo stopped in their tracks after turning a corner. Down the hallway was the people they’d been looking for. Nardole was lying facedown on the ground and Romana was examining his head. But they weren’t the only ones there. Standing behind Romana, slipping on the tatty grey jacket that they’d found before, was the Doctor. Another one.
“What the hell?” Bill cried out. She looked back at her Doctor and stepped away from him in confusion.
Romana’s head snapped up at the sound of her voice. “Bill! Wait, what? Doctor? But I swear you were…” She looked behind her to check if her Doctor was still there, which obviously he was. “Ok this is bad.”
The two Doctors glared at each other.
“Well obviously that thing is a fake.” They both say simultaneously, jabbing a bony finger at each other.
They both frown and take a step towards each other. “Stop that. Look that’s obviously the fake one. Ok this is crossing the line. Stop.”
Bill jogged over to Romana. “Is Nardole ok?”
“Probably. Hard to tell when I don’t know what species he is. Any idea?”
“Not a clue. Can you tell which one of those two is real?”
“Not at the moment.” Romana admitted. “They seem identical. I somehow get the feeling that things are about to get a whole lot worse for us.”