the cafe

The flowers were in full bloom, their scents wafted pleasantly around the gardens. A bumblebee happily buzzed from bush, to flower, and to tree. It was a peaceful and idyllic scene. As it flew, its tiny wings beating in such a way that would always baffle and infuriate earth scientists; the bumblebee alighted for a moment. It landed on a tall blue box that was hidden in the shade of an Oak tree. Outside this strange edifice, cooling in its shade were two rather worn deck chairs. On these, stretched out, were two figures. The elder of the two was a rather distinguished old gentleman with flowing silver locks. He wore checked trousers and a frock coat. On his head was a rather yellowing Panama hat. His clothes had a vaguely Victorian air. Beside him was his travelling companion Dodo.

The Doctor was deep in sleep and snoring loudly. Dodo looked at him, picked up a stick that was lying beside her chair and gave him a nudge with it. He stirred for a moment and then went back to sleep. This time, at least, he had stopped snoring. Dodo turned away from him and went back to her own napping.

The Man, as if by magic, appeared out of nowhere. He wore a very well tailored grey suit, and had perfectly prepared hair. The only thing strange about his appearance was his bright silver waistcoat that glittered in the sunlight. As he got his bearings, his keen eyes scanned his new surroundings. There was nothing of interest to be seen. That is until he saw the TARDIS. He moved towards it and felt its surface. The tremor of latent power travelled through his fingers. He stepped back slightly amazed at the purity of the power and said to himself, ‘At last I've found exactly what I need.’

In his sleep the Doctor stirred uneasily as the TARDIS tried to alert him to something.

The strange man rubbed his hands together and concentrated as an eerie glow enveloped him. He shuddered for a moment, and then relaxed. With his arms extended in front of him, he advanced towards the TARDIS. As his hands touched it, there was a crackle of static and a release of ozone. He walked forwards and his entire body sank through the Police Box exterior of the TARDIS.

At the very same moment, the sleeping figure of the Doctor shot rapidly back into full consciousness. He sat bolt upright in his chair; sweat trickling from under his Panama hat. He took a hanky from his pocket and mopped his furrowed brow. He looked around to the TARDIS. He noticed that the beacon on top was flashing red. 'Oh dear, I do believe that I may have a bit of a problem!'

The Intruder was definitely in a bit of trouble. He had expected to penetrate the interior of the time vessel but instead he found himself trapped in the dimensional limbo between the inner and outer plasmic shells of the TARDIS. He found he could not penetrate any further. This was because as soon as the TARDIS had detected the outer shell breach, it had raised the interior defence shields. As he floated about he reasoned that he would need to build a bridge. The only thing wrong with that, was that it could take him quite some time to construct one. He only hoped that the owner of the craft didn't discover him before he breached the inner plasmic shell. He put his hands to his temple, closed his eyes and sank into a very deep thought. What he really needed was to find any tiny chink in the shell's defences. It wouldn't have to be very large.

The doors to the console room opened and the Doctor walked in. He crossed to the console and closed the doors behind him. As he looked around his eyes fell on the fault locator. It was flashing angrily at him. He walked towards it and made a note of the digital code on it's read out. He turned from the machine and then made his way to the far corner of the console room.

There stood an ancient bureau, and near to that was an ornate Ormolu Clock. He paused to set the correct time on the clock's bezel and then opened the slide top of the bureau. After a moment of searching he had found what he was looking for - The TARDIS flight manual. If only all of his past travelling companions knew of it's existence, and of the vital information it contained. The Doctor thought about this, and a wicked smile spread across his face. He blew the dust off its cover, opened the book and leafed through it until he found the section on Error and Fault Reports. The former smile melted from his aged face.

‘Mmm, an outer plasmic shell breach, I'll have to look into this carefully.’ and he moved towards the interior door of the console room. As he opened it a thought suddenly struck him. He turned around and moved back over to the console. He reached over, and flicked the switch on the outer lock isolation system. Dodo now could not gain access to the TARDIS. ‘She would be a lot safer outside in the warmth of the garden.’ he thought and then, without a moments delay, exited the console room and headed towards the laboratory.


The TARDIS’ intruder floated about, still deep in concentration. As he thought on, he could see the inner shell of the TARDIS in front of him, and as he looked closely he thought he could see the chink in the shell's armour. His hand reached towards it, and as his fingers touched there was a shimmering in its fabric. With a bright flash, a portion of the TARDIS components became exposed. He was most pleased with his skills as a technician and smiled to himself. He reached into his pocket and removed a small, shiny, silver bead, which sat in the palm of his hand. He covered it with his other hand and a dull red glow enveloped his clasped hands, which was combined with a high-pitched whine.

A short time passed and he eventually opened his hands and looked again at his palm. In the place of the bead there was now a small silver spider. He looked closely at the creature in his hand and said, ‘You know what to find, my little friend. Go out and eat any silver components you can find.’ He paused, ‘Be careful. Don't take anything vital. Without this vessel, I cannot complete my task. Now go and be fruitful.’  After completing his little speech, he touched the circuitry with his finger. The little spider ran along it and was absorbed into the TARDIS. At the moment it totally disappeared, a ripple was sent through the fabric of the plasmic shell to the interior of the vessel.


The first thing the Doctor did when he reached the Laboratory, apart from puff and wheeze, was to make himself a nice cup of tea. He always found the Tannic acid it contained helped relax his ancient body. He sipped on his cup of tea, as his eyes spied the comfy sofa. It seemed out of place in the hi-tech lab however, he decided that he needed to get his breath back and promptly stretched himself out on it. He placed his cup of tea on the lab floor beside the sofa, and as he did so the whole interior of the room suddenly rippled in a most improbable manner and the contents of his cup were spilt. Suddenly, all hell seemed to brake loose amongst the computers in the lab; warning lights flashed rapidly on the science computer and as suddenly as it had started, all activity quickly ceased, and for a while there was silence.

Boom! Boom! Boom! The ominous sound of the cloister bell shattered the silence and the Doctor rose quickly from the sofa, he crossed to the science computer and looked at it. On it's screen flashed a message which it also spoke:


The Doctor looked away from the computer, ‘You just cannot trust a computer to make a serious decision for you. It's just as well really. I have never trusted them fully.’ He mumbled and as he listened, he realised that the TARDIS was back to it's usual self. That was strange he thought, although the ship was back to normal, he could still hear the cloister bell in his head. The telepathic circuits were still reminding him too that the TARDIS was still in danger. He only had four minutes left, so he would have to make his way quickly to the drive room.


Dodo awoke from her sleep, yawned and looked around her. The Doctor was nowhere to be seen. ‘I know,’ she thought, ‘he must have popped back inside for some refreshment.’ She got up from her deck chair and approached the doors of the TARDIS. To her amazement the doors were locked. Dodo fumbled about in her khaki shorts and removed her copy of the TARDIS key, inserted it into the lock and with a twist of her hand she turned it.


Nothing happened. No open door, no entrance to the console room. Nothing. The doors stayed reticently closed. She was, to all intents and purposes, locked out. She turned away from the doors and said, ‘I must be locked out for a good reason. I'll just have to sit back down, and wait it out.’ then Dodo flopped heavily back down onto her trusty deck chair, which to add insult to injury immediately collapsed. It really appeared to be one of THOSE days.


In and out of TARDIS components the little spider ran. Occasionally it stopped to eat all traces of silver it could find. During this time it had only made one mistake. Its sharp little teeth had nibbled away at a portion of the plasmic shell stabilizer. It wasn't worried about the damage because the pilot of the vessel would be able to restore it manually. It hoped.


The doors of the drive room burst open, and the Doctor skidded to a halt in front of the drive computer. He was, as after any exertion, wheezing like an asthmatic pit pony. The sound of the cloister bell was still ringing in his mind. He steadied himself for a moment to regain his usual composure. Inside his head the telepathic circuits told him that he had under a minute to activate the manual override, but first he would have to find the switch. He looked eagerly around for it, mumbled to himself, ‘Where on earth is the wretched thing?’ The Doctor looked around again and then finally he located the switch. He brushed the dust off it, and pressed the activator.


The sound of the bell in his head ceased. He went from the switch to the drive computer, looked at it and spoke; ‘Please may I have a status report on Inner Plasmic shell, if you will.’
The computer considered this and replied:


The Doctor heard this with interest and headed towards the door and as he went through it said, ‘An unidentified life-form, eh. How dare it hitch a lift. I'll have to find a way of dealing with it.’

The Doctor left the drive room heading back towards the console room. He needed to let his body relax, as he really needed to rest. As he walked through the corridors he came upon the TARDIS cinema and decided to stop for a while and peruse what cinematic treats it had to offer while he had a much needed rest.

As he entered the cinema he remembered that, with his granddaughter Susan he had (when he first borrowed the TARDIS), started a collection of classic films from throughout Earth's history. He studied a play list and found that he could stay and watch “A Clockwork Orange” or The Exorcist (Uncut) amongst others. This small ship's cinema was the only place where he could see both these films on the silver screen and see them in their entirety. ‘What a good thing that the petty attitude of repressionist censors had not pervaded the minds of the management here.’ he thought and sat down in one of the plush red velvet seats. Another good thing, he thought, about the TARDIS cinema was the fact that there wasn't a lot of poor, underpaid staff being forced by the management to sell you horrible food at unreal prices. The Doctor also remembered from his last visit to the cinema that his luxury seats and air conditioning did not give you chronic back pain and saved you from having to go to a sauna after your visit.

He chuckled to himself as he remembered Susan telling him how much she hated the commercial “Multiplexes which were run by big companies who drove the little independents to the wall. To these big companies profit was the only reason for existence. The Doctor closed his eyes, he could hear her voice for a moment.

‘Enough of this reminiscing, I have got some business to attend to!’ he said out loud and he rose from his seat and left the cinema. At the door he paused to look at the silver screen. As he looked, he could see that there seemed to be portions of the screen that had been eaten away. ‘Mmm, it appears I'll have to return with the insect spray!’ He shut the door with a swift movement. A moment after, a silver spider shuffled from the shadows. It found an open access port and disappeared into it.