“Unbelievable! Spending all of your free time on a stupid game, while we coul- DON’T ROLL YOUR EYES AT ME RORY POND I’LL HAVE YOU KNOW I HAVE BROUGHT A CHILD INTO THIS WORLD – granted I was unconscious most of the time but still - WHAT HAVE YOU DONE THESE LAST FEW DAYS EXCEPT SITTING ON THAT COUCH IN FRONT OF THE TELLY?!”
Professor River Song quickly closed the door to her parents’ house behind her, relieved to shut out the apoplectic sound of her mother trying to rupture the eardrums of her father…as well as those of every neighbour within a 2 mile radius. She loved her parents, she really did, and she often wished that she could have spent her childhood with them, at home, like a normal family. But sometimes she felt very relieved that she had skipped the living-at-home phase, if only for the fact that she probably would have been deaf by the time she reached the ripe old age of 16. Amy Pond was a loving spouse and a doting mother – even to her grown-up assassin daughter – but once she got into a fit, there was no stopping her. Not even the Doctor could stop her when she got really angry, and so River had taken one look at her mother’s flushed cheeks and thin-striped mouth and booked it out of the house, mumbling something about priceless Zocci artefacts that needed unboxing before lightly kissing her mother on the cheek and making a beeline for the front door.
She had just used her vortex manipulator to arrive at her most recent temporary home, a lovely house on New Earth 3029, when she spotted a familiar-looking blue police box materialising between the trees of the nearby park. Grinning, she closed the lid on her time travel device – cheap and nasty time travel, honestly River – and quickly crossed the street, only stopping for a second to make sure her hair was still okay before pushing open the doors of the TARDIS and striding in.
The Doctor had been having a rather boring weekend. Graham, Ryan, and Yaz had asked to be dropped off back home for a bit but had made her promise, cross her hearts, that she would be back for them by the end of the week, seriously Doc, don’t leave me any longer with my sister than necessary, she’ll have me on the new series of First Dates before you know it and THEN who’ll bring you fried egg sandwiches during the middle of the night whenever you’re feeling peckish hm?
After popping out to Duchamp 331 to pick up some parts for the TARDIS and making a quick pit stop on the planet Pandatorea to help find a missing Pandatorean conga spotter – he’d gotten a tad too close to one of the enormous fish who’d decided that the spotter would make a fabulous nanny to her children – the Doctor simply found herself with too much time on her hands.
She’d already tinkered with the TARDIS console for longer than the old girl would normally allow, but had eventually been warned off by a shower of sparks and the warning whirr of a time machine finally getting fed up by her DIY thief. The Doctor had wisely taken the hint and put away her tools, but found herself so bored within minutes that she couldn’t help but inching ever so slightly back to the console.
“Perhaps if I could just- ouch!”
Hastily pulling back her singed fingers and putting them in her mouth, the Doctor glared at the central column of the TARDIS which let out a series of bleeps that sounded suspiciously like ‘I warned you’.
“Owkay, owkay, shweesh, aw cwan twake wa whint,” the Doctor mumbled around the tingling fingertips still in her mouth as she plonked down on the floor. Getting ready for a big old sulk (been a while since I had one of those), the blonde woman didn’t notice her spaceship readying herself to leave the vortex the Doctor had parked them in until the floor started tilting at an alarming rate and the familiar sounds of the ship straining against the brakes filled her ears.
“Oi! What are you doing?! I didn’t even set out a course!”
Scrambling at the floor for anything to stop her from bouncing all over the console room – I really miss the grating from the old TARDIS at times, at least you could hang on to that …though I do NOT miss the different floors right now to be honest – the Doctor eventually managed to grab on to a lever and held on for dear life.
“I understand you don’t like me tinkering with you all the time but at least give a girl a warning before you – there’s bolts flying around everywhere, do you want to get stranded on some desolate backwater planet without anyone being able to fix you cuz I’m bleeding out on the bloody floo- oof!!!”
With a final woosh the TARDIS landed neatly and bleeped at the Doctor, who was lying upside down in a rumpled heap curled around one of the columns.
“ …I’m going to paint every single wall inside of here the most garish pink colour, including the outside and then I’m going to drop you on the pinkest moon of Kosnax, you know, the one with all the unicorns and rainbows right at the time of the See-How-Far-We-Can-Toss-Your-Spaceship-With-This-Gigantic-Slingshot-Festival, see how you like people throwing you around at the most inopportune of times!”
The ship gave out a series of unimpressed pings and pongs and at the Doctor’s glare promptly shut down the lights, leaving the spluttering blonde in the dark with only a few leftover sparks blinking on top of the console.
“What did I say this time?!”
Flabbergasted at her ship’s mood – first flying off on her own, then shutting down the lights on her own again – the Doctor had just started the process of trying to clamber back to her feet – bit difficult when not knowing which way was up – when the doors suddenly flew open and a familiar silhouette waltzed in.
Having flung open the doors of the TARDIS unannounced many a time before, River had become … used to the fact that anything could greet her whenever she entered the time machine. And while she’d had her fair share of surprises – 11 dancing the Baby Shark Dance around the central column wearing nothing but some boxers, a tie and his fez sprung to mind – the archaeologist had to admit that entering total darkness was a new one. As the doors fell closed behind her, River carefully tried to let her eyes adjust to the dark environment, only helped out by a few emergency lights that had lit up at her entrance.
Her voice seemed to echo off the walls of the – seemingly – empty room, making River think her spouse was in a different part of the TARDIS, perhaps trying to fix the lighting. But just as she was about to make her way to the console to see what was wrong, she heard a low moaning sound coming from somewhere further into the room.
Her mind flashing back to the creatures she had seen on the television screen at her parents’, River quickly grabbed the gun strapped to her thigh and put it on stun – why did I leave my bullets back home, oh yeah, because mum hates guns at the dinner table – before pointing it into the direction of the groaning. While she knew, technically speaking, that zombies were not real – they were usually humans drugged into thinking they were dead, either with earth drugs or the space soft drink Bubble Shock! – there was a small, niggling feeling in the back of her brain, whispering but what if dad’s videogame was right? What if there are zombies on the TARDIS?
Lord knows that if there were zombies – real, proper, honest-to-god zombies – somewhere in the universe, you could leave it to the Doctor to find them.
Wrapping her finger around the trigger, River carefully kicked off her heels to avoid making any unnecessary sounds and made her way further into the room, getting closer and closer to the source of the sound when suddenly a cold hand grabbed her ankle.