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Curiouser and Curiouser (3/7)

Title: Curiouser and Curiouser
Characters: Seven, Ace, Romana, Original
Word Count: 3716
Rating: PG
Summary: The Doctor and Ace arrive in Victorian London and cross paths with a former companion and an old enemy
Notes: OK, this is yet another story version of a sim done by "Dr Who & Co". This time I have names! These are the ones whose creativity you are about to enjoy. John, Romana, Heather, Lynn, JenK, Cody, FifthDrFan, Flameress, Doctor6master. (If I skipped anyone, I apologize). This was first posted on FFN on 3/20/02

Part One
Part Two




III

Jenna and the Doctor walked back from 221B. "So you're saying this little thing is part of a TARDIS?" she said as she looked at the ivory snuffbox in her hand.

"TARDIS? Yes. It's an entire room."

"But why is it so small? Did Holmes do it?"

"I really don't know, and that worries me. What is this Holmes like, usually?"

Jenna was having a bit of a hard time keeping pace with the Doctor. "He always seemed a bit of a loner. I meant he liked being with people but only when it suited him."

"All right...but is he what you would call a meddler?"

"Not really. Not that I was aware of anyway. If he saw trouble, he thought it was

always someone else's problem."

"Hmm. Or does he just want to live out a slice of Earth's literary history?"

"Maybe this part was meant for him. Could Doyle have met him somehow and based fiction on him? Or did he just fall in love with the character?"

"It's a bit of a paradox, really. The chicken and the egg. Should our people ever notice, they will not be happy."

"Little inconsequential problems intrigue him, though. Codes and ciphers, stuff like that."

"I'm still not sure what that has to do with my TARDIS."

"He could have changed since I was with him though. He may have become involved in something . . . unpleasant."

"Actually, I've crossed his path once or twice before."

"Really? When?"

"I think you were right before...this just isn't his style. Oh, I don't remember exactly. It's all relative anyway. We didn't really have much to do with each other. It's just that I spend a lot of time in this city, at different times."

"Could he be just a pawn somehow? Unwittingly doing it?"

"Could be..."

"I mean, after all, he's not really a people-person. If someone knew how to manipulate him, it could be done. Even the real Holmes had his weaknesses."

"Whatever is going on here, it's so large that we can't see it. We need to find a way to step back, see the whole pattern."

"Like pointillism. Up close it's only dots, but seen as a whole . . ."

"Exactly!" declared the Doctor, grinning at her.

Jenna smiled in return. I'm getting to like this guy!

The Doctor frowned suddenly. "If only we could find Ace . . ." He sensed something slightly off with time. She has a strange way of pointing me in the right direction."

"Ya know, I was thinking--sometimes a dangerous occupation--but do you guys have a kind of spy network? You know, like MI6 or the CIA?"

The Doctor saw a ghost like image of Ace in front of him, pounding on some kind of non-existent door. She seemed to be yelling, but he couldn't hear anything. "Ace! Where are you?"

Jenna kept walking, not noticing that the Doctor had stopped. "I mean, since he avoided people and other problems yet seemed to show up where things were going on. . He could have been with them."

The Doctor saw that Ace has somehow seen him, and begins pounding more frantically. He reached out with his mind. [Ace...can you hear me?]

Getting no comment from the Doctor, Jenna stopped and faced him, only to see him staring straight ahead like a madman. She pulled him off to the side of the pavement, clear of pedestrians. What was happening? He had called out Ace's name. Could he be in contact with her somehow?

[Professor! Where am I? What's going on?]

[Um...can you describe something about where you are?]

[It's like this big plastic box. It's not really anywhere. Professor...I'm scared.]

"Jenna," the Doctor called to her, "I can't see...you must guide me back to the TARDIS! Quickly!"

"Sure. We're almost there!" She took his arm and led him like a blind beggar through the streets

[Just keep talking!] the Doctor said to Ace. [We should be able to pinpoint you soon! Um...about how large is this box?]

Jenna found the alley where the TARDIS was and banged on the door for Romana. "Romana! Open up! Hurry!"

The Doctor could sense Ace looking at her surroundings [Okay. It's pretty big.]

[Can you see anything? Some detail? Even colors on the walls?]

Ace looked away from the Doctor and yelled at someone out of view. The image faded.

Romana put down her welding tools and walked into the control room. Upon hearing Jenna's cries, she activated the lever and opened the TARDIS doors. Jenna led the Doctor inside and helped him to a small chair in the corner. Romana walked over to them concernedly. "Is he all right?"

"I think he's in telepathic contact with Ace."

"No! To the console!" demanded the Doctor aloud. "Romana...put my hands on the telepathic circuits!"

"Oh, of course. Quick, help me, Jenna," she said as she tried to pull him to his feet. With Jenna's help, they got the Doctor to the console. Romana moved one of his hands to touch the console.

"It's fading! I'm losing her!"

"We could try boosting the power of the telepathic circuits," volunteered Romana.

"Perhaps...there must be enough residue! I have to be able to trace her! Yes! Do it!"

Romana opened up a panel on the side of the console and poked her head inside. "That should...do it," came her muffled voice. The lights in the TARDIS flickered then burned brighter.

"Yes! It's working! I've almost.... Got her!"

Romana pushed herself back out from underneath the console, closed the panel, stood up, and then dusted ff her dress. She looked at the Doctor and noticed that his eyes were clear and he was suddenly full of energy.

"Never a dull moment, eh?" commented Jenna.

"Jenna, hand me the snuffbox. Romana, help me to hook it up to the console." Jenna did as she was asked without question. Romana rolled her eyes and opened a different panel on the opposite side of the console. The Doctor hooked the box into the console and tapped madly at some buttons. The snuffbox vanished.

"What happened?" asked Jenna, incredulous.

The Doctor was back to his present self. "Now, both of you come along." He headed deeper into the TARDIS. With a curious look at Romana, Jenna joined the Doctor. Romana followed behind them, huffing a bit to keep up.

From her prison, they heard Ace threaten her captors. "You wait 'til the Professor gets here. He'll corner-kick you to next week!"

The Doctor explained what he was doing as they walked. "For now, at least, I'm integrating the rooms of Romana's TARDIS into my own."

"Better than your pocket," joked Jenna.

With a look at his new companion, the Doctor continued. "That way, it will be protected just as mine is."

"You could have simply kept them in stasis," Romana told him.

"I could have, but..." He stopped as he came to a door. "Here's that room." He flung the door open in a showy manner. Ace was inside, along with a short man with salt-and-pepper hair and blue eyes. His suit was strangely out of place, about 100 years ahead of time.

"Ace? Who is this, and how did they get into my TARDIS?"

Ace came pitching out, one fist pulled back, as if she was going to punch someone. Romana took a quick step back. Ace fell into the Doctor who caught her. "Professor!" She hugged him. She then looked around. "How did I get in the TARDIS?"

The Doctor hugged her back. "It's a bit complicated, Ace."

Jenna looked at the slightly disheveled girl and spied the shoes. "Man, how I'd love a pair of those!"

Doctor looked angrily at the intruder who had threatened Ace. "I think our friend here had better introduce himself first."

"Oh, no, he's cool. He's a prisoner too. This is Paul. Paul, this is the Professor."

Romana looked at the new arrival. "Friend? He doesn't look very friendly."

"Well, he's cool for an old guy."

Paul looked at Ace. "Old?"

"Old to me anyway."

Jenna took another look at Paul, Old? Doesn't look much more than 40.

"If this is a friend, Ace, then why was I supposed to sort him out when I arrived?"

"The one who's not here now. Big guy with a spear."

"Ah." He held out his hand to Paul. "Then how nice to meet you. I'm the

Doctor. And you've obviously met my young friend Ace."

"She certainly does keep odd 'friends'," commented Romana.

"This is the lady Romanadvoratrelunder (or Fred), and Miss Jenna Watson," said the Doctor as he made introductions.

Romana nodded and Jenna held out her hand. Paul took it in a gentle grip and shook hands. "How do you do?"

"Very well, thank you," replied Jenna.

"Much better, now," said the Doctor. "I have my friend, and part of my ship. I'm still looking for my dog, however. And myself. You haven't seen either of them, have you?"

"Dog, no, I don't think so." He turned to Ace. "Did he say he was looking for himself?"

"A small metal dog...looks more like a computer really..."

"Yeah, he's lost you know," answered Ace.

". . .And a tall man, extremely curly hair, great big teeth and eyes?"

"Tall, wearing a long scarf," added Romana.

"Ah. Of course. Metal dog? No." He thought for a moment. ""Does he go around offering people jelly babies?

"Yes, he does," answered Romana. "Have you seen him recently then?"

"Yes, I did see him. We were held in the same area for a while, then they took him away, and put Ace in with me."

"Then...?"

"Then somehow. we ended up in here."

Combating her sudden urge for jelly babies, Jenna asked "Excuse me, Paul, but how did you get taken prisoner?"

"Well, I was in the library at the British museum--I'm visiting from America--: and I was reading some old folios of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work when I was hit on the head. When I woke up I was in that cell."

"Paul...what year is it?" asked the Doctor.

"Oh, it's 1997."

"Hm... much as I thought."

"Another tie-in to Holmes," stated Jenna. "This is way too much for coincidence."

"Yes, indeed," agreed Romana. "Honestly, I hadn't heard of this Holmes before meeting him in his apartment."

"Someone is using my TARDIS. Well, his TARDIS. And yours, Romana as a jewelry box. Or a tackle box. Something with lots of little cubbyholes. The question is, why? Why would a TARDIS be necessary to hold captives? And why scatter them all about London?"

"Well, its infinite ability to hold them would be a good guess," said Jenna.

"Yes, well...that's simple enough."

"Paul's a real professor, you know. Victorian books and stuff," Ace informed them.

"He'd get a kick out of what's outside then," Jenna said with a smile.

Paul just rubbed his head. "I just want to get back to the museum. I have a grant proposal to write."

"You have a long time to write it now," Romana told him. "Your deadline date shouldn't be for another 100 years."

"I'm sorry?" He turned to Ace. "Then, this really is a time travel machine?"

"Yeah. I told you so."

"We can drop you off, and then return here to continue our work," the Doctor told him. "But on one condition...I'd like to have a look at that Doyle folio of yours."

"Sure. Anytime."

Romana turned the topic back to the missing TARDIS. "Still, why steal the Doctor in the first place, unless he happened to be in the TARDIS at the wrong time, or they needed him to control it for some reason."

"Could be, Romana," said the Doctor as he started back tot he console room, "but I doubt it. If I was being used to control my TARDIS, then I should be able to sense me from my TARDIS. At least with a boost from the telepathic circuits."

"Then what? He's left us clues for your missing companion, but mine had simply vanished without a trace and without any clue to who had caused his disappearance."

"Clues? What clues?"

"Remember, that Napoleon Doll was in Ace's place when she had vanished?"

"Yes...you may be onto something."

Jenna made her way over to Ace. "Hi, I'm Jenna. Romana told me we might be from the same time."

"Hey. I'm Ace. When you from then?"

"I left Boxing Day 1990. You?"

"Um...early '87. I got swept up in a time storm."

"There are still things I miss. Like your Doc Martens, for one," she grinned.

"Oh yeah. These are great for exploring in."

"Beats these stupid boots for walking. I do that a lot. I could disguise 'em I guess. Otherwise they'd look rather ridiculous doing the whole 'Vi'lets, guv' routine."

The Doctor stopped suddenly and Romana nearly bumped into him. He turned down another hallway, in a different direction from the console room. "Romana, why don't you take Paul and Jenna to the kitchen. Find them something to eat."

"I'm starved. Let's get some food!"

"No, Ace...you've got to help me with something first. Romana could be right. For some reason, our opponent left a clue in your room, let us know where you'd been hidden."

"Oh come on, just a packet of crisps. I'll bring them in the console room."

"We're not going to the console room, and we don't have time to waste."

"Fine." She sulked along after him.

Romana took Jenna and Paul to the dining room and showed them the food replicator. "You just punch in whatever you want...." She demonstrated by pushing a few buttons. They heard a dull thud and she reached into the bottom of the replicator and pulled out a bar. "And it tastes like whatever you asked it to make for you."

Jenna picked fish and chips. She eyed the bar carefully before taking a bite. "Hey, it does."

"I still must be dreaming," said Paul as he punched up a sandwich and some tea.

"If Holmes had one of these, he kept it secret. We always brought extra food from whatever planet we were on."

"Odd," commented Romana as she finished off her bar. "Every TARDIS comes with one of these. It's standard issue."

The Doctor strode down the hallway. "I'm hoping there'll be something in my storage room...something out of place. A clue to where they've hidden me. You're the only one besides me who's been in there recently." He opened the door and fought his way in. Things from every planet and every time are scattered all over. He started rummaging through old swords and bits of armour, books, and chess sets . . .

Ace looked about the room, a half-smile on her face. "Less of a mess, that's for sure."

"Come on, Ace! What have you never seen before? It should be something to do with London. Perhaps something to do with a Holmes story."

Ace scanned the room. "What about that?" She spotted a small flowerpot, about 14 inches tall with a tree in it. Both were made of copper. "Doctor?" She turned to see his arm flailing about from under a pile of costumes, one of which looked to be a harlequin. "You alright under there?" She lifted up one corner of the pile.

The Doctor's flustered face looked back at her. "Yes, yes...find something?"

"Yeah." She showed him the flowerpot.

The Doctor's eyes glowed as he stood. "Yes! That's new...although...It does look familiar, somehow. I can't quite place it."

"Now can I go get a snack?"

"Yes, yes. Of course!" The Doctor grinned and tapped her on the nose. "Good work!"

Ace smiled and headed for the kitchen area.

Jenna was sitting at the little table set up in the area. "When was the last time you got some fresh air?" she asked Paul. "Perhaps we can just go stand outside for a little while."

"Um, I don't think I was unconscious for too long...a few hours?"

"The maybe we can give you a little view of the late Victorian era."

"Really? Wow...I've spent all my life studying the Victorians. Never thought I'd get to meet them.

"I don't know if they'll actually let you meet someone . . . but we can try."

"I might as well chaperone you two," said Romana as she grabbed her shawl from where she had left draped over a chair.

Ace entered the room and caught the tail end of their conversation. "Yeah, nice folks. One of them gave me this flower."

Jenna looked at the flower. "A green carnation?"

Paul looked at the carnation intently. "Where did you say you got this?"

"Some guy named Oscar. He didn't look too well."

Jenna was amazed. "Not Oscar Wilde! Really?"

Paul grabbed her hand. "Oscar! Oscar Wilde! You met Oscar Wilde!"

Ace couldn't see what the fuss was about. "Yeah. He's a writer, isn't he?"

"One of the greatest wits in the English language as well," said Jenna.

"Oh. We didn't get to him in school yet, I don't think."

"Wrote poetry, plays, novels. . . Wonderful stuff. . . 'Picture of Dorian Grey', 'Ballad of Reading Gaol'. . ."

"Oh, 'Dorian Grey'. Yeah, I saw the movie."

"Ah yes, I've heard of...Oh, 'Ideal Husband', I believe," put in Romana.

Paul was having a tough time coming to terms with what Ace said. "I can't believe you met Oscar Wilde. I did my doctoral thesis on him."

The Doctor strode into kitchen area. "So, Paul...decided to stay awhile longer?"

"Yes, if that's alright. How often does one get to see the historical period one is studying?"

"Of course...actually, I'm rather eager to catch up with myself."

"And I'm rather eager to find the next segment."

"Romana, do stop worrying about the Key. It's not here!"

"Exactly, which is why I need to find your other self and depart as soon as possible. Remember, the fate of the universe is in our hands. Or have you forgotten?"

"Anyway, Professor..." She turned as the Doctor entered the room. "Professor? What are we going to do with this?" She pointed to the beech tree.

Jenna looked at what Ace was carrying. "Copper Beeches! Another Holmes connection!"

The Doctor looked at her and spoke like a professor trying to get a student to think. "Now, Jenna...where would you find a copper beech?"

Jenna thought of the Holmes connection. "Wait, there's a house of that name just outside Winchester, I think. It has some on its property."

"Exactly. And that's where we're going right now. Ace, you'll have to leave the crisps here. That foil bag is a little incongruous."

Ace stuffed the last couple into her mouth. "Ok," she mumbled around the crisps.

"If we're all going out in dress," Jenna looked sideways at the Doctor, "shouldn't we get Paul some clothes more fitting of the time?"

"Oh, yes, certainly," said Romana.

"Never mind that," dismissed the Doctor. "He's not so far off, and we don't have the time."

Paul looked down at his clothes. "Hm. I should be alright."

"Still, those shoes do stand out a bit," commented Romana. "No one has a shade of white like that in this century."

"Romana...let it go."

Paul self-consciously rubbed his shoes against his trouser legs. Romana frowned.

Jenna, with a smile in Ace's direction, said, "I guess with the Doctor dressed that way, no one'll even notice us." Ace smirked.

The Doctor grinned. "Exactly!" He looked at Romana. "On the one hand, you tell me to hurry so you can find the Key...but you want to stop and worry about white shoes?"

"So how do we go? Train? Carriage? TARDIS?" asked Jenna.

"TARDIS, methinks," answered the Doctor. "We gain in time what we lose in atmosphere."

Romana refused to give up on the argument. "Doctor, It would slow us down a bit if the police here picked him up for wearing something that simply didn't look like it was from this world."

"Romana...have you ever known a policemen, on any world, to arrest someone for having white shoes?"

"The fashion police if it happened to be after Labor Day," commented Jenna.

"Fashion Police?" Ace snickered. "Shoulda had those on Terra Alpha."

The Doctor began fiddling with the console, setting coordinates. Jenna came up beside him. "So you think you'll find more of the TARDIS or at least your other self at this house?"

"Yes...hopefully both. Mostly likely, I'll be in the TARDIS. Romana, did you ever finish that tracker?"

Romana frowned and crossed her arms resolutely. "I was close to finishing it when you burst in earlier."

"Well, we'll be there in a few moments. I better help you finish it."

"I really don't need any help. I'm almost finished on it." She left the console room for her workroom.

"Paul, Ace and I shall just stay here, all right?" questioned Jenna.

"Yes, yes. Just don't touch the console, please," the Doctor said absent-mindedly as he left with Romana.

"Wouldn't dream of it." She sat in the chair.

"Oh, all right," said Paul, not wanting to ruin his only chance home.

"Do either of you have a deck of cards?" asked Jenna. Ace dug around in her rucksack, hands Jenna a box of cards. Jenna took them. "Care for a game of poker? All anyone plays here is whist"

"Sure." said Paul.

Jenna shuffled the cards like a pro. "Simple draw poker. Nothing fancy."

In the workroom, Romana put on a pair of goggles and finished welding the last couple of circuits together. "You forgot to connect that bit..." said the Doctor as he came in.

"I know what I'm doing, Doctor."

"We all make mistakes. Even me. Occasionally."

"And you should wear a pair of goggles if you're going to watch over my shoulder."

"The human retina does have some advantages..."

Romana finished welding up the last couple of pieces. "There. Now you've got it!"

The TARDIS shuddered slightly and he and Romana headed back to the console room. "We've arrived..."

"Yeah, but what's waiting for us?" questioned Jenna.

Ace went to the console and activated the scanner control. "Look!" She pointed at the screen. . .

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