Chapter 1: Astrid
Disclaimer: Doctor Who and all associated characters, plotlines, etc. are not mine. No matter how much I wish that I was Russell T. Davies illegitimate offspring. *sigh*
However, Astrid is mine in every way, shape, and form. *glomps* No takies!
AN: This particular chapter is inspired by the fanfic “NotRose” by NoVacancyMind (hosted on FFNet). It is an excellent story, and I highly recommend it.
Also, I am an American…which means my British colloquialisms come from watching Doctor Who and Torchwood so much its scary. So forgive me please if I mess up…I have no beta.thoughts
Her house sat in the middle of two and a half acres of land in the middle of where nowhere was sixteen years ago when they moved in. Since then, especially over the last five years or so, the closest city had slowly moved outward and housing developments were cropping up only a half-mile away. But it was a beautiful spot, a little pond in the backyard full of catfish and perch, a swimming pool in the front yard complete with diving board and slide. Surrounded by trees in the back and weeds along the fence encasing the property.
They had two horses, both getting on their years, which were quite comfortable never being ridden. Three dogs, two German Shepard sisters that were finally getting old enough not to jump on everything, fenced in themselves to ward off suitors when ‘that time of year’ arrived. A Golden Retriever stray that had just stuck around had a sweet enough disposition to sleep inside at night. Recently, their oldest dog had to be put down. Another German Shepard named Tygger had developed cancer in her hips and had just never come home from the vet’s office. They had seen it coming of course, so the blow wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it was still sad. She hadn’t even gotten a chance to say goodbye. Three cats, all of whom hated her because she kept tossing them out of the house. And god-knew-how-many mice in the barn that the cats were supposed to be eating.
In the summer months of June and July, the blackberry bush on the fence to the horse pasture grew ripe and countless pies, cobblers, jam, and fruit desserts were made. She loved cooking, but didn’t get to enjoy it often since she was still in school.
She was a mathematics major at the local public university, commuting every day since it was cheaper than boarding. She even lived with her parents, her overprotective ex-military father, and a mother who was just as cynical. They loved her very much, she knew. As their only child, since they met so late in life, she was slightly spoiled, but her past was a bit darker than their white-picket fence façade. She was grateful for everyday she had with her parents, and loved them back with as much ferocity and protectiveness as they did her.
Her father and she had many of the same interests, from books, to movies and television series, and games. They had no secrets and she quite often asked him for advice. She was a daddy’s girl and was proud of the fact. They also shared two genetic quirks that separated them from the general public. They were both intelligent and possessed a learning difficulty called Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD. It just brought them closer together. They would often slip in movie references and quotes into their casual speech. Since the two of them liked much of the same things, they knew what the other was talking about. Not many could make that claim. Even her mother was lost when it came to this part of their relationship; though she was just as smart as her husband and daughter, and in some respects even more so, she did not have ADD and thus was not always able to keep up with the rapid shifts in conversation between the two of them.
Her favorite TV series, and her father’s too, was a BBC show called Doctor Who. Neither of them could watch the old stuff from the 1960s and on, the bad acting making them both shake their heads in despair, but the 2005 series beginning with Billie Piper and Christopher Eccelston they both fell in love with. David Tennet was their favorite Doctor, and quoted episodes almost daily.
As a joke one day, she turned to her father and said “If the Tardis shows up, I’m going with him. School can wait.”
He had rolled his eyes playfully and shrugged, “Just as long as you leave a note and are back in time for dinner. It is a time machine; I shouldn’t even know you’re gone.” She laughed, hugged her father, and life went on.
Astrid was dressed in blue jeans, a light blue t-shirt with blue and green butterflies, and black sneakers. It was about five in the afternoon, a perfect time to pick blackberries. The heat of the day was passing and nobody was home. It was a time when she could think and dream without worrying about chores, homework, tests, or work the next day. A bucket for the pickings under one arm, she walked between the horse stalls and barn to get to the small blackberry bush. It produced enough that she had to freeze them before they went bad, but not enough to sell. And it was sure well worth the thorn she would have to dig out with an X-acto blade later.
She had gathered up one handful and was working on the second when she heard that characteristic sound. Grinning, she looked up with the expectation of seeing her father with the portable DVD player, idly wondering how she could have missed him pulling through the squeaky gate. A frown crossed her features when she didn’t see him; she began to glance all around as the dogs finally noticed something off and began to bark like mad. Shadow and Nightmare, the horses, ran out of their stalls, abandoning their supper, and raced to the far end of the pasture. She kept her eyes constantly moving, searching for the sound’s source as she knelt to drop the blackberries into the container and in so doing, hiding behind the prickly bush.
Then it was over. The tell-tale sound stopped. But where was the source?!
She couldn’t see any disturbance anywhere, and she was facing the two entrances to the property. She couldn’t see where the dogs were barking for the horse stalls, but she still could hear them. Whatever had made the Tardis landing noise hadn’t left yet.
In a split second, it occurred to her where the only other place it could be (whatever ‘it’ was). They had a trailer on the property, sitting perpendicular to the barn. Once upon a time, they had rented it out to a nice couple. To give the family some semblance of privacy, they had installed a third entrance and a back way out of the yard. So, there was about a twenty by sixty foot area that she could not see from her hiding spot. And it just so happened to be behind her.
Curiosity getting the better of her, not for the first time, Astrid carefully picked her way to the end of the (relatively) empty trailer and peered around the corner. That’s it. I’ve finally lost it.
This thought triggered a memory of one of her favorite Stargate SG1 episodes ‘Window of Opportunity’, and she finished the line out loud, “Finally gone crazy. Nuts. Insane. Bonzo. No longer in possession of one’s faculties. Three fries short of a happy meal. Wacko!” slightly under her breath.
And the reason why she was suddenly thinking she had gone off the deep end, was that a wooden, blue box was sitting in the yard. It proudly displayed the words ‘Police Public Call Box’ at the top, with a white sign on the left hand door on how to use the box, and a white cylindrical light bulb thingie (technical term that
The doors opened with the squeak she had heard many times on the show, but out popped, not the Doctor in any face that she recognized, but the form of the Master as seen at the end of season three.
Astrid swallowed thickly, but didn’t say anything, didn’t move, and barely dared to breathe. Of all the Time Lords to show up in my back yard, it’s this one?! How the hell did my karma get this bad?
The male Gallifreyan pulled out his laser screwdriver and started to scan the surroundings. From his perspective, he had landed in the middle of nowhere in front of a mobile home, trees and shrubs all around to block the view. As the scan went passed the closest corner of the house, it got louder and had more of a frequency wave before quieting down.
Astrid knew she had been caught and sighed. She stood up, straightened her back, gathered her courage (for all the good it will do me
) and stepped into his line of sight. It’s not like I have a handy bottle to bludgeon him with.
She stood about six feet away from him, close enough to see him blink at her, whether in surprise or confusion, she couldn’t tell.
“Who are you?” His voice was just as she remembered, just as cold with a little hint of boyish charm. It terrified her. Knowing it would do absolutely no good to lie, she answered as concisely as possible.
He paused for a split second before he frowned, “Who else is here?”
She raised an eyebrow at him, “No one. My parents aren’t home yet and the property behind you is a cow pasture. To the back is a pond full of fish and ducks.” She pointed over her shoulder with her thumb before gesturing to a two story cottage across the street to her left. “And the Roger’s moved out almost a year ago. Who are you looking for?”
Astrid blinked twice before what he said registered in all its complexity. “Billie Piper lives in Britian, about a thousand miles or more that way.” She pointed east. “But she’s not technically Bad Wolf. She played Rose Tyler in a TV series. Bad Wolf is a fictional character here. I think you’ve got the wrong dimension.”
A smile that in a way reminded her distinctly of a wolf spread across his face, chilling her to the bone. “Bad Wolf did not occur as it should have in my world. Someone else should have been present. I worked together with the Doctor and ran simulations and equations. We came up with and discarded more theories than your puny mind can possibly comprehend. Every time we came up with the same answer, written in a numerical code. It placed that a second person should have been present when Bad Wolf was created. We plugged in the equation to the navigation program of the TARDIS and received these coordinates. I barely got here before all the stars went out.”
In spite of herself, curiosity made her ask a question when he took a breath. “You said the answer was a code. What did it say?”
“Dark Angel.”How could he possibly know that name?! I haven't used it for years! There is no possible way...
She tried desperately to keep a poker face as she calmly asked, “Then why are you looking for Bad Wolf?” She cocked her head to one side in confusion.
“You would not understand.” He sniffed, but the evil smile had only faded slightly and now it was back in full force. “For some reason, you are the only one who can fill the role of Dark Angel.”
Astrid just looked at him for a minute. “So you want me to travel to your world, journey with Rose Tyler, be there when she becomes Bad Wolf, and supposedly my physical presence will be enough to save your world. Is that about right?” At his nod she shook her head slowly ‘no’. “I’m sorry. But I have no guarantee that I will ever get home. I will graduate college in one more semester. My family is here. You will cease to exist as soon as we go back, if I go with you. I will have no money, no home, no clothes, no job, and no identification to get any of the aforementioned items. I’m sorry. I really am, but I’m not going.”
The Master gave her a cold stare and said in that boyish tone he had used to threaten Jack, “Who said you had a choice?”
[break]What do you think? Reviews are love!