“Are ya’all ready?” I yelled enthusiastically.
Spencer looked around the room “Don’t you want to know who’s here?”
“When you treat a man like a computer, he may begin to think like one, but this doesn’t make him one,” I said, cryptically, “Nope, I’m fully aware of who’s here, and glad to have you back Jackie, how was your journey?”
She looked at Spencer, “What do you mean?,” she said.
“Still gonna play this game are we? Well then,” I said as I slammed the switch on the TARDIS, “Off we go.”
Everyone promptly sat down, and buckled up quickly.
Kevin, a little frightened said “Can you tell us where we’re going?,”
“Where AREN’T we going?,” I said as the lights dimmed.
“New Effect, You all are seated, good, this one’s a fun one, “ I said.
As the lights dimmed, the room with the exception of the chairs everyone was seated on was was reduced to about 20% transparency. The effect was much like looking through a window, only the window was 360 degrees longitudinally and 360 degrees latitudinally.
If I must say so myself, the view was magnificent.
The world around began to rotate, slowly, as the TARDIS slipped into a wormhole. As the TARDIS flew through this meandering colorful cloudy tunnel, Pam said “I think I’m gonna be sick”
“Pammy, it’s a short journey, close your eyes,” I said as a tunnel widened at the end
The TARDIS exited the wormhole, and looming over us was something beyond amazing.
The door opened, and a blast of hot wind came in.
The walls were still semi-transparent though, but the floor had become solid the moment we touched down on solid ground.
Kevin’s eyes grew huge. “Is that, an Imperial Cruiser,”
But by then I’d already been standing at the door.
“A Star Destroyer to be accurate, I welcome you to the planet Tatooine. If there was ever a planet that could make the denizens of Phoenix, Arizona, USA feel like home – it’s a bleak, dry and water-less place that was among the first planets to establish civil trade relations within a system at war,” I said, as I walked out the door.
The Star Destroyer was huge, by any standards, a mile long by a half mile wide by a half mile tall, and had found its resting place to be the surface of this wasteland of a planet.
Everyone ambled out of the TARDIS.
I way over exaggerated wiping sweat off my brow and added a ‘phwew, is this smoking hot out here’, for the effect
“Kinda takes you back, way back, doesn’t it, Jackie?,” I said, “You clever girl, you.”
“What are you talking about?,” she said.
“This isn’t real, “ Gina said, “This is fictional”
“And SO AM I, “ I retorted.
Bill and Ron pulled out their cameras. Yep, we all now have photographic proof we were there.
“Quickly, “ I said after a couple of minutes.
“We barely just got here,” Kevin said, “Can’t we go explore it?”
“A barren waste planet who’s primary import is water and you sincerely think that thing isn’t gonna be scavenged to death by now?,” I said. “Everyone IN!,” I yelled. “NOW!”
I could feel it looming mere minutes behind me.
Had to go now.
Kevin walked by as he said “I just wanted to look,” he said.
“Later,” I said, my smile turning briefly upside down to express the urgency as I nodded in the direction of the chairs.
I jogged to the center console, barely giving everyone time as I slammed the lever.
“Old girl, you’re just gonna have to trust me on this,” I said to the TARDIS console.
“Is everything ok?” Becki said.
The floor disappeared revealing the wormhole, as we tossed and turned inside of it.
“Where are we going now?” Pam said.
“Q, is everything ok?,” Ron’s wife Deb said.
I turned around rapidly, as if caught off guard and looked at everyone with my hands perched on the console behind me.
“Fine, everything’s fine, why would you think any differently,” I said, with my worst fake smile I could conjure up.
“Baby, take us somewhere that will light my hair on fire without taking us to the sun,” I said quietly to the TARDIS
About then a bright light could be seen at the end of the tunnel.
“Ah hah! Brilliant!,” I said.
We suddenly found ourselves along side a Cessna 172, which was flying along side of us, but as we watched, the pilot’s head was bobbing and weaving and suddenly, he passed out.
Everyone could see it was Bill.
And the plane was in a nose dive.
“But he’s here, “ Pam yelled, “This doesn’t make any sense.”
He was clearly younger though.
“That’s not this Bill, he’s much younger, “ Becki said.
We watched as the plane accelerated downwards. 9000 feet. 7000. 6000. 5000.
“WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING, “ Pam said.
“And here I thought you said – you insisted in fact – that time can’t be changed or altered,” I said.
“But Bill. If he dies here. Then I’ll never meet him,” she said, practically in tears.
“If that’s how you reason it, “ I said.
The ground was a mere 400 feet below us.
“We can’t just let him die, “ said Gina, “Not if we have the power to do something about it,”
I snapped my fingers.
Time paused in the world outside of us as the TARDIS drew close to the passenger’s door of the plane.
“The audaciousness of humans knows no bounds. You’ll judge me for gallivanting as I see fit across space and time, but when it comes to applying the same rules to yourself, your own rules selectively apply when you see fit,” I said.
I then added “Brilliant philosophy, I might add, so let’s do something about it.”
A ramp formed from the TARDIS to the plane’s door, as I walked out, and stepped into the passenger’s side of the cockpit, and strapped myself in.
“Pick us up at Chandler Airfield in Arizona, keep in mind wind conditions and the refueling issue we will have in Las Vegas, “ I said.
“Wait. I remember this,” Pam said, “didn’t Bill get food poisoning and you flew pretty much the entire way from Reno to Phoenix as he recovered?”
I smiled and winked at her.
“So this is how you came to be on the trip, what about your memories of the flight up there?,” she said.
“NOW we’re getting somewhere,” I exclaimed, “You and I, we have some chatting to do in – 6 hours.”
I closed the door to the plane as the door retracted back into the TARDIS, as the TARDIS’s door closed and drifted away.
I then pulled back on the yoke hard, and then resumed time.
It was close. And so to say I was mildly nervous was a true statement, but with the air speed – about 100 feet above ground I managed to pull it out of the dive.
Young Bill wasn’t even aware anything was going on. he mumbled something that sounded like ‘fucker’ as his head shifted to the side.
I’d just saved his life. And his response was ‘fucker’?
Something was odd.
Two hours later, Bill and I were having engine problems in Las Vegas, which Bill convinced me to ‘trust him’ as we got to flight level and the engine would cool down. I did. And it did.
It was almost like things beyond our comprehension were in collusion to try to end our lives.
Lisa and Pam were both greeting me at the airport when we landed in Chandler four hours later.
“Lisa?,” I said, “It’s been ages.”
“I hear you’re really doing this,” she said,“well you know I meant it when I took those vows, til death do us part.”
I was stunned. I’d remembered her being here for me before, but this time, Bill had gone up alone, so there was clearly more going on to all this than met the eye.
“How is he?,” Pam asked about Bill, who was locking up his plane.
“He’s fine. But he said something off as I pulled out of the dive,” I said.
“I’ll drive him home and rejoin in a bit,” Pam said, dismissing my comment.
“You have his address?,” I said.
“I do. I tried getting Donna to come down here to pick him up but she wasn’t living with him, they’d already started divorce proceedings on this timeline,” Pam said, “I’ve modified his vision to see Donna when he looks at me, we’re repairing the timeline to align with your experiences.”
“Sounds like you’re getting the lingo, “ I said.
“Something for you to think about,” Lisa said smugly.
Bill walked up.
“How do you feel, “ Pam said, only her voice sounded like Donna’s.
That was eerie, I thought.
“Like shit. I just want to go to sleep for a few days,” he said.
Pam waved as they got in the car and drove off.
Lisa drove around the corner to a larger hangar bay, which housed only a TARDIS.
I looked at her.
“So you’ve met Jackie?,” I said.
About then Jackie walked out and gave Lisa a hug.
“We go way back, “ she said.
“And you’re fine with this arrangement?,” I said.
“Always have been. You wouldn’t believe what we’ve gone through to make you ok with it though,” she said.
We walked inside the TARDIS, everyone was there except Pam.
“Let’s call it a night,” I said., “I’m exhausted.”
Everyone seemed content.
“We are curious. Are you ill now, in your real world?,” Gina said.
“I am,” I said.
Without saying more, we both knew that Bill’s food poisoning on this weird day in 1998 and my cold in 2016 were one and the same thing.
“Pam can let herself in, let’s get some sleep, “ I said.
They were all looking at me expectantly, as if they wanted me to say more.
But I had nothing else to say.
I couldn’t help but think as I left the others “Why did he call me ‘fucker’? moments before saving his life?”