School in Whoville was a place of learning, and not of questioning. That was made clear from the moment you started. If it hadn't already been addressed by the parents years before that is.
Jojo, a seemingly typical six year old boy, had just finished another seemingly typical day at school. That is what you would see if you didn't know him, but in actual fact, he was far from typical. He was a Thinker, still a developing one, but a Thinker none the less. His mind was filled with creative ideas, having the power to chance the world, but all they seemed to do for him at this stage was get him into trouble. He had only been back at school for a few weeks, and already he had been to the principal's office four times, all for his supposed Thinking problem. He couldn't help it if he wanted to know more about the world, to wonder why things were what they were, to try things in a different or new way; that was just who he was. Unfortunately, no one could accept that, and constantly tried to change him, to conform to their idea of the perfect child.
Holidays seemed a long way off, way too far for Jojo to cope with. Those days were the only time when he could escape the teachers, the adults, the bullies and the compliant pressures of reality, to his own little niche in space and time, where his mind could be as free and creative as his heart desired. When he was old enough, he wanted to go and see the world, to try and find that place, or person, that could accept his imagination. Where or who exactly, he didn't know, but he had the feeling would know it when he found it.
He sat alone and silent, almost a shadow against the oak tree, as all the children ran into the nearby park after a long day at school. He had found that by staying mute, he was able to concentrate on his Thinks easier, the completely opposite conclusion his teachers had come to. The other little Who children were playing games, talking and doing things that other normal Who children do, all with their little friends they had grown up playing with. Jojo sometimes envied them, the normal kids with heaps of friends and no worries, but he had learnt to live with the fact he would never be normal.
"Hey, look at this thing!"
Annoyed that his Thinks were being interrupted, his head whipped to where the loud voice was coming from, which was around one of the many bins surrounding the park. It came from some boys, a group of bullies, who in the eyes of their parents and teachers were the 'perfect little lads'. For the two years that Jojo had been at school, they had been tormenting and teasing him, finished him off with his head being dunked in the toilets at the end of each week. They were five of them; Zach, who had just yelled, Ron, Olly, Quinn and their leader, and most intimidating, Buckley. They were all close to Jojo's age, yet with their height, they often got mistaken for nine year olds.
Rolling his eyes, Jojo gently drifted back into his Thinks. It was short lived however, as one of the boy's sudden remarks, who he later found was Buckley's, caught his curiosity.
"Boo! It's just some boring old piece of metal. It's so dumb looking, I bet it doesn't even work! How about we put this 'dead robot' to good use?"
Usually Jojo would never delve into the activities of those boys, especially when they 'put something good use', which actually meant 'smashing the living daylights out of it'. However, when they mention the term robot, he knew he couldn't just let them destroy it. The information it could hold; it was a Thinker's dream! But what could a little boy like himself do against kids like them?
Curious, the other small children watched the group in silent. Some that had formed a crowd started cheering when second in command, Quinn, got out his hammer. Jojo shivered at the sight of it, memories of the following year and his first encounter with that same hammer coming back to him. Meanwhile, Ron, a stout boy and the youngest of the group, got the robot out of the bin and Olly, the tallest, pushed everyone out the way.
When he was passed the hammer from Quinn, Buckley ordered everyone to be silent. "You lot ready to see this thing fly? Hmm…I think I have a better idea! How about we make this thing go out with a bang?"
Out from his bag, came a small firecracker in the shape of a rocket, filled with small explosives. It wasn't very powerful, but enough to make a lot of smoke and blow up something small like that robot. Where Buckley had been able to get something like that, Jojo didn't want to know, but he knew he had to do something to help that robot, and fast, if he didn't want to get caught.
Come on, Jojo! THINK OF SOMETHING!
By this time, the boys had already tapped the two together with some cheap tape, and were almost ready to light the explosive. None of the adults could see what they were doing, the group acting as if this was just their normal playtime activity, so none of them worried. Quickly, Quinn passed Buckley a match. At that moment when that match was lit, in less than 20 seconds after, the robot would soar through the sky and then explode.
"Ready for take-off!" the boys cheered, as Quinn picked up the rocket and turned it upright, ready for when Buckley lit the match. As soon as he did, he made contact with the thick robe, and a spark formed, which ended up burning Quinn. Being the dim bulb he was, he let it go, and threw it across the playground into a tree.
Suddenly, a pair of hands found themselves wrapped around the rocket, trying to tear it off. Jojo tried as hard as he could to get the robot out of the hold, the pressure of both the escaping time and the five boys making it hard for him to focus. Time escaped quickly, with Jojo still fiddling with the rocket with only five seconds left.
Finally, he managed to pull the robot out just as the rocket soared out of him hands, right into the group of boys. It exploded right under their feet, pushing them all three metres back into a nearby duck pond, their hair on ends and faces covered with ash and smoke. They looked to Jojo, on their faces expressions of pure murder.
By instinct, Jojo turned and ran, not even looking back. Even though his body was tiny and scrawny, when he needed to, the boy could run faster than anyone in his class, having a natural Thinker survival technique. The sights around Jojo were ever so familiar, having walked this same route countless times before. It wasn't hectic, but enough for no one to notice a small six year old boy running for his life along the streets with a robot under his arm.
"YOU WON'T GET AWAY WITH THIS, THINKER!"
He picked up speed, squeezing easily through the lines of people, desperate to get out of the group's sight. Jojo knew that they were closing in on him, trying to block out their constant threats to think up a plan. Jumping in a large rubbish holder hidden in a small alleyway, Jojo peeked through a small hole in the metal container. He saw the boys, who had stopped just near the lane. Jojo held his breath, as the boys listened and looked for any sign of their target.
It was Zach who broke the silence, when he pointed at something. "Look! Over there!" Fortunately, he wasn't pointing at the dumpster, but across the road. "Come on, after him!"
Jojo gave a sigh of relief, as the group ran passed the alley, on the trail of a false lead. Not wanting to give away his hiding place, he stayed put for a minute or so, before coming out and sitting away from the pathway. That was way too close…
The small boy's ears pricked at the mechanical voice, which had come from the robot in his hands. Now that he could have a better look at it, he realised that the robot looked much like a dog, its unusual style and quirks appealing to Jojo. It was rather run down and damaged, but it did seem to still work.
"Master? You have a master?" he asked the tin dog, lightly dusting its body off.
The red lights above the robot's snout began to flash. "…Affirmative…but he is gone travelling…he left K-9 many years ago. Mistress has now passed…so K-9 has tried to find his master, but has come out unsuccessful."
K-9? That must be his name… "So, you're alone? You have nowhere else to go?" he asked the robot, calmly, whose little dog head drooped sadly. Jojo felt sorry for the poor thing, having lost his master, whom he seemed to have a close bond with. The two seemed much alike, having no one, both lonely in this huge universe. "How did you end up here?"
"Information unknown," K-9 told him. "My calculations indicate an unknown universal location…Master has not yet travelled to this realm of time…"
"Wait a minute…are you saying your master can travel through time?!"Jojo's eyebrow's raised in curiosity, desperate to know more, but he could see how much the robot was struggling to get his words out, indicating that his systems must be broken. "How about I take you to my secret place and fix you up? I've got plenty of awesome stuff there, you'll love it! After that, I can help you find your master again! Would you like that?"
The robot slightly wagged his tail in approval. "Affirmative. Emotional calculations indicate that there is much creative potential, trust and courage within you. K-9 is thankful to have been rescued by his new young master."
A sense of responsibility and pride filled the young Thinker, having been given such a regal title, as he carefully put K-9 into his backpack. "I just did the right thing to do. And you can just call me Jojo," he said simply, not knowing how else to put his sudden bravery, while making sure the robot was safely snuggled up. "You should get some rest, keep your strength up. I'll wake you up when we get there, okay?"
K-9 curled up into the jumper which was at the bottom of Jojo's bag, and slowly, his lights dimmed, all functions now inactive. Carefully, Jojo closed the bag over, and started to walk out of the alley, along the streets to the old observatory, where he spent every spare minute he had. He would have run straight there; desperate to get inside and help his new friend, but after walking round the corner of the last street, he did a quick turnaround, the sight in front of him stopping the Thinker in his tracks.
A blue box.
Jojo's eyes explored the exterior of the box, the weird bright shade of blue filling him with interest. Looking up, he read the sign, and upon seeing the words 'Public Police Box' confused him even more. He had seen these before, a few popping around in old history books, but something about it didn't seem right. It was a lot straighter and serious than what he had seen in pictures, but was a detail that he could quite put his finger on, something which made him quite curious, not to mention the fact that he hadn't seen it when he was walking towards it moments ago. He tried to pass it, stop his troublesome urge to investigate further, but it was short lives, slowly giving in to his inquisitiveness, touching the wooded door lightly.
A bolt of light went through the young boy, a sense of powerful exhilaration in the form of a beam of light filling him. He yelled out in pain, his limbs cramping up and his mind aching. It felt like an eternity, but only lasted a second or so, the impact making him fall back from the strength. What in Who was that?! He couldn't find anything to describe the feeling which he had just experienced; it was as if someone had just shot the entire universe and more into his mind and back out again. He lay looking up at the sky, dumfounded and still trying to register what had just happened. When he managed to sit up, he was shocked to find that the blue box had disappeared without a trace.
"But…how-? It was-? The-?" Jojo's head began to spin. "How could it just vanish? And what on earth was that…thing? Could I have just Thinked it all up? Hmm…" He shook his head, rubbing his head. "I probably just need some more sleep. Too much impossible excitement in one day, I reckon!" And with that, the boy continued on his way. Even though he tried to forget about that moment, it still puzzled him. However, he now had something to distract him from that, something that could have endless possibilities
This Thinker now had a friend.
A tall, young looking man, dressed in a tweed jacket and bow-tie, walked along one of the many wet streets of 21st Century London, an umbrella in hand. Those who had walked by him would think of him as just an ordinary man, but he was everything but. To call him ordinary would somewhat be an insult at the highest level.
He was the Doctor, the last of the Time Lords, protector of all of time and space, and an utter madman.
The Doctor whipped round a corner, to where a seemingly ordinary looking blue police box sat, its unique shade of blue standing out against the countless shades of grey that covered the city. To identify that blue box as ordinary would be an even bigger insult. Opening the doors with a click of his fingers, the Doctor stepped inside his glorious TARDIS. The two had travelled in company for countless years after they had stolen each other, exploring billions of planets and time streams, and had bonded for life as eternal companions.
"It's good to be back," the Doctor sighed, shutting the door behind him, taking in the familiar hum and glow of the TARDIS. Soon after, he bounded around the central control room, excited and prepared. "Now, where to this time? So many choices, so much time! Or do you have somewhere else in mind? Where do you think, old girl?" He grasped one of the controls, like he had done so many times before, only to be unexpectedly filled with a bolt of light.
The Doctor held tightly onto the control desk, screaming with agony. Thousands of images soared through the Time Lord's mind, memories from a universe he had never seen before. He couldn't see all of them, the pace even too fast for his brain to keep up with, but he could witness many. Most were seemingly common situations and places that he could basically identify, but the way they somehow fitted all together just bewildered him. One part was an untamed ridiculousness of an endless imagination, the other a sinister riddled madness of both reality and fantasy. Through it all, he kept seeing someone, a child, with their thoughts shaping the vision. They didn't seem familiar to the Doctor, who never forgot a face, but it seemed to him that both their minds were intertwined somehow…but maybe not in the best way.
After an agonising time, the Doctor released himself from the web his mind had been caught in. He stood in the TARDIS in silence, trying to decipher the message she had given him. He tried to say something, but nothing he could think of could describe that flood of time, but that didn't mean he didn't want to explore it further. It made him more inquisitive in fact.
Adjusting his bow tie, he smiled at the console with a light in his eyes, before setting the TARDIS into motion. "So…what have you got planned for me this time, old girl?"