After a fitful night's sleep, Del woke up and stretched. There was a crick in her back from sleeping on the metal floor of the TARDIS but apart from that she was fine.

Better than most of the other guys down there, anyway, she thought, remembering how everyone on her home planet had been snuffed out in an instant. It could have been worse. I could have been there.

But that wasn't very reassuring.

"Alli?" called Del softly, wondering where her friend had got to. "Alli?"

"Here," said Alli from somewhere on the other side of the TARDIS. "I'm here. With the Doctor. We're just, uh, checking something."

What? Yesterday they had been angry at the Time Lord, even furious. After all, he had abducted them. Now Alli was hanging out with them? Confused, Del hauled herself to her feet and walked in the direction of the noises. It was very disorientating, being in the TARDIS. You never knew where you were.

"Ah, Del, I wonder if you could help me here." The Doctor was speaking. He looked up from the computer and smiled, looking so innocent and charming that Del instinctively smiled back. Then she caught herself and flipped up her defensive shields.

"Don't call me Del," she said.

"I'm sorry?" The Doctor was puzzled. He only knew of her from Protagonize and other people's comments. Wasn't Del her name? "Isn't that your name?"

"My name is Delorfinde. Only my friends call me Del."

"Oh." He suddenly understood. She didn't count him among her friends, despite the fact that he had rescued her. Well, that was to be expected. He had, after all, grabbed her and dumped her in the TARDIS rather unceremoniously. She was right to be a little irritated, though it was hurtful.

"What's up?" she said, smiling disarmingly. Alli wanted to laugh at how this change of tone affected the Doctor, but did not.

"We have a slight...issue. With the TARDIS."

"Ah. And what might that be?" Del looked around for some clue: perhaps there was a wire that was loose; perhaps something had caught fire? But nothing seemed to be out of place, as far as she could tell.

"It's lost its power of time travel, that's the issue." Before Del could reply, Alli ploughed on, "and we want to power it using an Improbability Drive. Only thing is, that might have major side-effects."

"Who cares?" said Del, laughing. "We have to get out of here!"

"Rightly said." Now the Doctor came striding back, seemingly in control despite his confusion over Del's major mood swings. "Who cares about side effects? I've had worse. Go for it, Alli! Install that Drive!"

"Well, okay." Alli pulled the lever and pressed the buttons. She typed something into a keyboard; entered a complicated security sequence that actually closely resembled her telephone number. "Hold on!"

They all held on to something in the TARDIS - a pillar, part of the desk - and closed their eyes, not wanting to see the moment of transition.

But they soon opened them, feeling the pillars turn soft and slightly sticky. Del looked around at the dieter's hell.

"The TARDIS turned into haribo?"

The End

47 comments about this story Feed