Disclaimer: BtVS-verse belongs to Whedon. Doctor Who belongs to the BBC
Timeline: Fifth Doctor after "Resurrection of the Daleks" and before "The Planet of Fire." Between BtVS Ssn 3 and AtS Ssn 1.
Cordelia Chase left another fruitless audition. She headed towards the direction of her home, disappointed for the umpteenth time. Ever since she had moved to Los Angeles three months ago, nothing had gone her way. She couldn’t pay for anything she wanted. She lived in a cockroach infested hellhole. There was no in town she knew. It was like she was just another faceless person in a city of millions. She wasn’t noticed by anyone, and that drove her crazy. Everyone knew who she was in high school and back in Sunnydale, but here in Los Angeles, no one knew. She did what she could to make through her days, but that wasn’t much.
She continued walking down the sidewalk towards her apartment which was several miles away. She would have loved to have taken the bus or the subway, but that cost her money, the one thing she was short on. On her way, Cordelia spotted a coffee shop. As much as she wanted to stop and get a cup of anything caffeinated, she couldn’t. She had to keep repeating to herself not spend anything. She needed all the money she had on rent. Soon that would go south and she’d be out on the street. That was one thing she could never allow.
This trip home felt different than all the other ones Cordelia had taken before. She felt like someone or something was following her this time. She stopped and turned around. There was no one out of the ordinary behind her, but she felt unease about something. She couldn’t put her finger directly on it. It was an ability, albeit one she really didn’t pay attention to, she gained in Sunnydale living on the Hellmouth. This was one of those times she really shouldn’t ignore the feeling. It felt different. The feeling wasn’t demony or Hellmouthy. It was actually something alien.
Eventually, the feeling passed, and she turned around. As she started walking, she didn’t pay attention to where she was going and she ran into a man who was walking by her. He seemed like she had knocked him out of a trance and he was unaware of his surroundings. Cordelia first noticed the man’s long blonde hair. She was somehow attracted to him even though the outfit he was wearing was completely horrible in her opinion. Not to mention the celery stick on his chest was one of the most ridiculous things she had ever seen in her life, but there was something about him that she liked. He seemed innocent somehow, but when she saw his eyes. Those things weren’t innocent or so young. She saw something way older than how old the man appeared to be. It was only when he spoke that Cordelia was snapped out of her little trance. She picked up on the English accent immediately and was even more interested when she found that out.
“I’m so sorry,” he said, “I didn’t see where I was going.”
Cordelia shook her head, saying, “It wasn’t your fault. That was all me. I felt like I was being followed.”
“By what?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” Cordelia said. She suddenly changed the subject and told him, “I’m Cordelia. Who are you?”
He thought for a second before saying, “I’m John. John Smith.”
“John Smith? Seriously? That’s a ridiculously common name,” Cordelia replied without thinking. She wanted to continue talking to the guy, but she thought her statement would offend him. She didn’t want to hear what he had to say about her comment, but when he did reply, it was not the response she had expected.
“That’s why I chose it,” the man said.
That was not the response Cordelia had thought she’d receive or even hear for that matter. Why would he choose a name that was so common that he wouldn’t stick out? She didn’t like the thought of that so she decided to end the conversation there. She did like the man, but she couldn’t get over the feeling that there was something wrong with this whole situation. She told him, “Well, I need to get home. It was nice to meet you. It really was.”
The man was surprised, but also relieved when she told him that. He replied with, “Nice to meet you too, Cordelia. Have a safe trip home. I’ve got my things I have to attend to. Maybe we’ll meet again.”
“I doubt it. Los Angeles is a pretty big city,” Cordelia said.
“Not the biggest I’ve been to. Not even one of the biggest I’ve been to,” he said.
“Maybe,” Cordelia said. After several seconds of awkward silence, the two went their separate ways.
After her long walk, Cordelia was across the street from her poor excuse of a home when she felt like she was being followed again. This time she knew that there was something weird going on. It might actually be that very attractive man she ran into on the way home. She hoped it was him, but she knew it wasn’t. He was odd, no denying that, but he didn’t seem to be mass murdering or stalking type. She stopped, ready to face whoever was behind her. Just as before, there was nothing behind her. It was still. That alone was enough to freak her out. This place was never still. There was always activity all around. Something was off, something big.
She crossed the street and that’s when she noticed something that hadn’t been there when she left that morning for her auditions. It was a big blue box. At the top it said, “Police Public Call Box.”
“What the hell is that thing?” asked Cordelia. She shook her head and continued on her way. When she reached her door, she saw three flashes of red light illuminate the hallway. Freaked out, Cordelia turned around to see three red robed figures moving towards her. Standing at seven feet tall, they dwarfed Cordelia. She couldn’t make out any features due to the robe, but she was able to see the hands. They didn’t look human or demon. Rather, they seemed metallic like a robot. The way they moved towards her was a gliding motion. She tried to get her keys out only to have the key get stuck in the key hole so she couldn’t unlock her door. Shaking the door handle, Cordelia yelled, “You have got to be kidding me!
When the first robed figure was in arm’s length, Cordelia bolted away. She flew down the hallway only to have one of the figures appear right in front of her. She turned around to run the other way, but the other two figures were coming up behind her. The three things closed in on her with no chance of her escaping.
“What the hell are you things?” asked Cordelia sternly.
“The animal speaks with authority,” the first robed figure said.
“From the authority, I believe it is of alpha female level,” the second one said.
“We must bring it back with us,” the third said, “I told you it would be worth it. The Curator will be pleased with us for bringing an alpha female as the mate for the male.”
Cordelia, even though she was terrified and slightly flattered with the alpha comment, was angered at the mate statement, “What do you mean I’m going to be something’s mate. Listen to me, buckos. I am no one’s mate unless I choose to be a mate, and so far I haven’t got any mate at all. So why don’t you just leave me alone.”
“The aggression coming from her and the confidence indicates alpha female qualities,” the second one said, “Your initial assumption of her rank. She reinforces the alpha female theory.”
“You’re damn right I reinforce the alpha female theory. So you freaks better let me go before I go all alpha all over your asses!” Cordelia yelled.
“She misuses the word, but her rank outweighs her intelligence,” the first one said.
“What do you mean ‘outweighs her intelligence?’” asked Cordelia.
“She won’t go easily. Get the tranquilizers,” the third one ordered the others.
Cordelia had enough, “You are not going to tranquilize me. You hear me!?”
The first figure took out small gun and shot Cordelia in the back. She felt her body go numb as the world around her started to spin. The world turned black, and Cordelia collapsed to the ground. The first figure moved towards Cordelia’s unconscious body, but before it could do anything, the blonde man that Cordelia had met on the street entered into the middle of the fray.
“I think you should let that woman go,” the man said.
“A male of the species has entered. It thinks it has some authority here,” the third said, “Kill it.”
“That would be very unwise,” the man said, “I’m not human. You are Keepers from the looks of you. Scan me with you big robotic bodies of yours.”
From underneath the hood, a red scanning light scanned him from head to toe. The figure that scanned him said, “Forgive us. We didn’t know what you were. We forget that the humans look Time Lord. What is your name, Lord of Time?”
“I’m the Doctor,” the man said, “That woman belongs to me.”
“Woman?” asked the third figure.
The Doctor rolled his eyes, “That female is mine.”
“She belongs to you?” asked the first.
“Yes,” answered the Doctor, “She’s my pet. She may not look it, but it’s true.”
The third figure told the Doctor, “She must be registered with us to prevent any more confusion.”
The Doctor was caught off guard by that statement. He didn’t know anything about registering, but hoped it would get him in deep trouble with the girl when she woke up. He sighed before saying, “Of course. What do I need to do?”
“We need to get a microchip to plant in her. It will hold all of her information and prevent her from straying too far away from you, her master. We need to know some information on her,” the figure answered.
The second figure took out its own injector gun. It pressed a series of buttons and said, “Ready. What is the pet’s name?”
The Doctor had to think about a name, but remembered the name she gave him on the street, “Cordelia. Her name’s Cordelia.”
The figure put in the info. It said, “Sex is female. What is the age of Cordelia?”
The Doctor assumed late teens from the physical appearance and immature features that most of the world couldn’t see. He answered, “Eighteen years.”
“Earth years or Gallifrean years?”
“Both. They are the same,” the Doctor said, “And I know the chances of that happening appear to be slim to none, but it’s more common than you might realize. Anything else?”
“No,” said the second figure, “Just be sure to let us know if anything changes.”
“Of course,” the Doctor said.
The second figure moved towards Cordelia and placed the gun at the base of her head. It held the gun steady and fired. The microchip flew into Cordelia’s neck. Tendrils came out of the microchip and connected to Cordelia’s nervous system.
“So are you three going to leave now or do I have to do something else?” the Doctor asked, “Because as far as I know, that’s all I have to do.”
“You are correct,” the first one said, “We shall leave you now.”
With three flashes of red light, the figures left. The Doctor looked down at Cordelia. He told himself, “This is not going to be good. She’s not going to be a happy girl when she wakes up. Well, best get her back to the TARDIS.”
The Doctor picked up Cordelia’s limp body, and made his way towards the TARDIS.
Groggily, Cordelia woke up. It took a while for her eyes to register what she was seeing. It was a white bedroom with basic furniture and a mirror. It was clean and not falling apart so she knew she wasn’t in her own bedroom at that hell hole anymore. She jumped out of the bed she was laying on only to become instantly light headed. The dizziness caused her to fall back on the bed, which was incredibly comfortable she had to admit. After a few seconds, she sat up on the bed again. She looked around the room again. Even though she tried to figure out where she was, she was thinking about she was going to do with the room if she, for some insane reason, was to stay wherever she was. Cordelia stood up and walked around the room. She heard a slight hum come from the walls. She stared at the blank wall before touching it. She jumped back when she felt the warmth and vibrations coming from it.
“The wall’s alive?” asked Cordelia, “But how is the wall alive? And how do I know that the walls alive?”
Cordelia thought she heard a woman’s voice, but she couldn’t figure out where it came from. She shook her head trying to figure out if she was crazy or not. She walked to the door and walked into a hallway.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Cordelia said, “This whole place is white. Why is this whole place so blah?”
Cordelia heard the voice again, but this time, Cordelia thought she heard the voice say that the place isn’t blah. It’s what he likes
“I’m going crazy,” Cordelia told herself, “Maybe this is what’s wrong. Those red robo-things knocked me out and now I’m crazy. I think I’m here, but I’m somewhere else. That’s why I’m hearing a woman’s voice. It’s all making sense now. Either that or I’ve been taken by those freaks. Now, I’m on my way to that male they want me to mate with. Sad thing is that it’s better than my apartment. What happened to me? I miss the good old days, but no. Mom and Dad had to screw the IRS.”
Cordelia stopped her little monologue and finally chose a way to go down the hallway. She felt something tell her to go the other way. She tried to ignore it, but the feeling got too much and was practically screaming and slapping her in the face to go the other way so Cordelia changed her direction. The feeling left as she walked back down the hall. She asked, “Where am I?”
She thought about that and asked, “Why didn’t I ask that to begin with? Doesn’t really matter now. I’m here.”
Cordelia walked down the corridor until she came to a door she had the urge to burst through. She acted on that urge and pushed the door open. She walked into the room. Like the others, it was white, but there were circle indentions all along the walls. She walked towards some kind of console with too many buttons and levers on there. In the middle was a glass cylinder. She walked around it, trying to figure it all out. Eventually, she asked, “What the hell is this place?”
She heard someone come down the hall and ran towards the opposite side of the console. The doors to room opened. Cordelia peeked around the console to see someone in hideously colored striped pants. She had seen those pants somewhere else before. It took her a bit before she realized she saw those before on the man she ran into on the way home from her audition.
“Looks like you’re awake,” he said.
Cordelia jumped up, smacking her head on the console. She cursed as she stood up to see the man. He was staring back at her with a smile, a rather nice smile actually. She looked around for another exit that he wasn’t blocking.
“Cordelia, it’s okay,” he said, “I’m not here to hurt you. Granted you are on my ship, but I’ll explain.”
“Explain what? And how do you know my name?” Cordelia demanded, pointing her finger at him.
“You told me. When we bumped into each other on the street. You criticized my name.”
Cordelia remembered now. She also remembered his name, “Okay, John Smith, where am I?”
“First of all,” he started, “John Smith is not my name. It’s just an alias I use from time to time. I never thought I’d see you again, but events unfolded differently than I thought.”
“What’s your name then?”
“The Doctor?” asked Cordelia.
“That’s it. Just Doctor,” he told her
Cordelia said, “Short and to the point I guess, but why am I here?”
The Doctor rubbed the back of his neck and said, “That’s the part where you are not going to be happy with me.”
Cordelia’s eyes grew wide with both anger and worry, “What did you do to me?”
“I think you should sit down.”
“Where? There isn’t exactly a chair in here, Doc,” Cordelia snapped.
“It’s Doctor. Not Doc. I despise Doc,” the Doctor told her, “And there is a chair right behind you.”
Cordelia turned around to see a chair behind her. Unlike the rest of the place, it had color. It was a deep blue. She asked, “How did that get there?”
“The TARDIS gave it to you,” the Doctor explained, “It’s gets into you head and creates what you need if it chooses to.”
“The TARDIS. What’s that?” asked Cordelia, cautiously taking a seat.
“The TARDIS is this place. This room is the control room and that thing you were hiding behind is the control console,” the Doctor said, “But that’s not the big thing.”
“Then what’s the big thing? I’m not getting any younger. And I seriously want to get out of here.”
“Not yet you can’t,” the Doctor told her, “Those figures that were after you. Do you remember them?”
“Of course I remember them. How do you know about them?” asked Cordelia, her untrust growing even deeper now.
“I was following them. They led to a rundown apartment complex…”
“Rundown. You can say that again,” Cordelia interrupted.
“Don’t interrupt,” the Doctor snapped at her.
“Touchy much?” she asked.
“I don’t like it when people interrupt that’s all.”
Cordelia rolled her eyes and told him, “Go on then. I’ll try not to interrupt.”
“Thank you,” he told her, “Those things that were after you were there for a reason. Apparently, you were that reason. Those were Keepers. As in Zoo Keepers.”
“What do you mean Zoo Keepers?” asked Cordelia, “What zoo would put humans as an attraction?”
“The Zoo. The largest and most popular zoo in the universe. It’s an entire planet so it doesn’t even need a name other than that. The Zoo is like the Library. All it needs is a ‘the’.”
“That’s doesn’t make any sense,” Cordelia told him.
“Just go with it please,” the Doctor said, “Anyway, those Keepers were there to get you and bring you back to the Zoo. There female human must have been killed or died somehow so they came here and looked for another one to take back. They found you, but luckily for you, I found them. I stopped them from taking you.”
Cordelia, still untrusting of the Doctor, thought about what the Doctor had told her. She was more open to things like this than most other thanks to her background and hometown. Then she realized what the Doctor had said. She asked, “Those things were alien? You said the Zoo was an entire planet.”
“Yes, those were aliens. All of this is alien,” the Doctor told her.
“That’s new,” Cordelia said, “Aliens. Haven’t seen those before.”
The openness in her voice was surprising. A lot of other people wouldn’t have been. He would have to ask her about it later, but there were more pressing matters that needed to be attended to.
“How did you save me?” asked Cordelia, “Those things weren’t exactly small or easy to overpower.”
The Doctor sucked air in through his clenched teeth. He told her what he didn’t want to, but he knew that he had to tell her. He said, “I told them you were my pet.”
“WHAT!?” Cordelia shouted, “I am no one’s pet at all!”
The Doctor remained cool and collective as Cordelia stood up and glared him down. The Doctor told her, “The Zoo Keepers don’t see humans as people. They see humans as animals so the only way I could actually talk to them about you and save you is to also treat you like an animal, and the only way for the Keepers not to take you as their newest addition to the Zoo was to say that you were my pet. They were willing to accept that on one condition.”
Cordelia put her hands on her hips and got in the Doctor’s face, “What condition was that, Doc.”
“Don’t call me Doc.”
“I’ll call you whatever I like. You seemed to do whatever you liked with me. Like calling me your pet!” Cordelia scolded the Doctor, “So what was the condition?”
“They had to register you on their files so other Zoo Keepers won’t come and take you away.”
“How would they find out?” asked Cordelia.
The Doctor backed away from her towards the wall of the TARDIS control room. He said, “This is where it even gets worse.”
“How the hell can it get worse?” Cordelia demanded.
“They implanted a microchip at the base of the skull. It’s connected to the central nervous system. It holds all the information on it.”
“I can’t. If I do, it will kill you. Also if you go too far away from me, there will be an intense pain that will cause you to go back within the microchip’s range,” the Doctor explained, “When they scanned me to find out I wasn’t human, they put my information into that chip. So we’re connected.”
Cordelia softened her tone, but was still stern, “What are you then? Demon? Vampire? Or just some psycho human?”
“None of the above,” the Doctor said, “I’m an alien.”
“You look human,” Cordelia said, going off on the tangent.
“No I don’t,” the Doctor said, “You look Time Lord. Time Lords were first by a long, long length of time.”
“Okay, Alien Boy, where are we now? Since I can’t be separated from you,” Cordelia said, turning around and walking away from the Doctor.
“We’re in space,” the Doctor said.
Cordelia turned back towards him, “You can’t be serious.”
“I’m very serious, Cordelia,” the Doctor said. There was a slight buzz for a few seconds. Then the Doctor said, “Now, we are nowhere.”
“How can we be nowhere?” asked Cordelia, skeptically.
“We are now in the vortex.”
The Doctor looked at her like she was supposed to know, “The time vortex.”
Cordelia put her fingers on her temples and said, mainly to herself, “My head hurts from my situation. Sadly, this all makes me miss Sunnydale.”
Cordelia thought to herself about what she just said. She couldn’t have been serious. She hated that town and spent her last year there waiting night and day for the time when she would leave behind that freaky ass town for good. She never thought she would say that she actually missed the place, but all this happening around her was driving her to wish she was back home. It was also happening way too fast for her. When she woke up this morning, she hadn’t figured she would be on some alien’s spaceship in something called the time vortex. And, even though she didn’t trust the man at all, she found something about him attractive. Maybe he was telling the truth. Maybe he wasn’t. She had to play along so nothing would go bad and she might die.
She asked, “So, Doctor, since I can’t leave you because I’ll get an incredible pain in my head, I would very much like to know where you are taking me to.”
The Doctor sighed as if he was ready for another outburst from Cordelia. He told her, “We’re going to the Zoo.”
Cordelia stared at him with disbelief, “And why are we going to the very place that wants me to be the new star attraction.”
“Because the Zoo has gone and stolen sentient life forms from lower level planets. I didn’t even know that the place even exist until recently. If I had known sooner, I would have shut it down. The only way to shut the place down is to go to the Zoo and actually do it.”
“How are you going to shut down an entire zoo that is a planet?” asked Cordelia.
“The Keepers work for someone. They are just machines. They’re not advance enough to become self-aware. They are programmed by someone who is a living being who is probably a member of a Dark Times race. Those are the oldest and most advanced in the universe. They see all other races as animals that aren’t even worthy of being called sentient,” the Doctor explained with a hint of all too much knowing in that statement.
Cordelia picked up on that. She told him, “There was way too much resentment in that last statement. What’s up with that?”
“Cordelia, I’ll make it short and to the point,” the Doctor told her, “My people, the Time Lords, are one of those Dark Times races. I don’t share their beliefs and that gets us into many fights.”
Cordelia what for him to go on, but he didn’t. For once, there was a British guy who didn’t ramble on and was easy to understand. She told him, “You are the first British guy that was easy to understand. The others would just go on and on and on. They would never stop, and when they would talk, it was too confusing to understand.”
The Doctor looked at her, “Cordelia, I’m not British. I’m Time Lord. I may sound like I am, but I’m not.”
“It’s just easier for me to remember okay,” Cordelia told him.
He nodded in acknowledgement.
Cordelia sat back down in the chair. She sat there awkwardly for several moments before asking, “Where is this Zoo at?”
“The Cratus System,” the Doctor told her.
“Never heard of it,” she told him.
“Of course not. You’re only from the year 1999. The Cratus System won’t be discovered for another thousand years. It’s that far away,” the Doctor told her.
“How are we going to get there then? Even this thing can’t go that fast, can it?” asked Cordelia.
“There is a lot humans don’t understand,” the Doctor said, “This ship is going through the time vortex. It’ll only be few more minutes now.”
Cordelia nodded. She changed the subject with another question, “Is there anyone else here?”
“No,” the Doctor said, “It’s just me. Has been for about a month now. It’s strange. I was always around someone. Now, with no one here, I think I hear voices throughout the TARDIS halls.”
“Where did they all go?” asked Cordelia.
“They left me,” the Doctor said, but with what he said next, deep sadness filled his voice, “Or they died.”
“I’m sorry,” said Cordelia, “But why did the others leave?”
“Different reasons. The Daleks and bloodshed were why the last two left.”
“Daleks?” asked Cordelia.
“Aliens that are single minded and ruthless. Pray that you will never have to encounter one,” the Doctor told her.
“How many people have travelled with you?” asked Cordelia.
“More than I care to count right now,” he answered.
“How? You’re young.”
“I’m youthful in appearance only,” the Doctor said, “I’ve got several centuries on you.”
Cordelia noted that. She wasn’t surprised or stunned. She just accepted that. There was another thing she could thank her hometown for, which she was now not missing at all. That horrible feeling passed over her and she was grateful for that.
The control room got silent for several long minutes before the TARDIS control console beeped. The Doctor looked at it and said, “We’re here.”
He pulled a lever, and an image appeared on the wall behind him. It showed several cages and buildings. The Doctor read the readings outside. He repeated them aloud, “Atmosphere outside enclosures are suitable. Actually, this planet is very much like Earth. So it should feel like home to you, Cordelia.”
He scoffed, “Yeah, a sick, twisted zoo version of Earth.”
The Doctor thought about that and had to agree with her. He went to the coat rack that was near the door and grabbed his hat. Cordelia watched him do it and just realized there was a coat rack. She had been in the control room a good half hour, but never even noticed it before. She couldn’t figure out why she didn’t. It was a dark brown and the room what white. It would have definitely stood out. She walked up next to the Doctor as two massive doors started to open. On the other side was the Zoo.
The Doctor stepped out first, followed by Cordelia. The Doctor shut the doors to the TARDIS. Cordelia turned around and recognized the thing from earlier in the day. She said, “Hey, that’s the thing that was outside my apartment. Nice trick with it being bigger on the inside.”
The Doctor was both surprised and a little relieved she didn’t freak out over the whole “it’s bigger on the inside” thing. He did have to ask though, “You’re not even a little bit surprised about the TARDIS being bigger on the inside.”
Cordelia shrugged her shoulders, “Not really. I’m from Sunnydale. We had our own Hellmouth underneath the high school.”
The Doctor replied, “That must have been one wild and wacked out town.”
She looked at him in the face and told him, “You have no freakin’ idea.”
He saw the look in her eyes and told her, “I guess I don’t, but anyway, we have to get going. The entrance is this way.”
The Doctor walked off with Cordelia right behind him.