The scraping of shoes upon the TARDIS floor, disgusting organic ground leaves Catherine’s shoes. Artist once again steps towards the ship’s console. “So what’s your opinion on Magla?”
“A giant amoeba the size of a planet?”
Artist looks at her as if curtly frozen. “That’s what it was, yeah.”
“That’s a little insane.”
“It’s quite the aberration. After all it’s one of the 699 wonders of the universe.”
Catherine carries a bewildered expression. “699?”
“Anyways, where to next, luv?”
“Did you just call m--”
“Randomizer? Sounds like a plan!” exclaims Artist to cover his verbal footprints.
“Where’s K-9 been by the way?”
“He’s recharging. You can let him out if you want.” Artist points a finger to the cathedral-like doorway. “Left door, first right turn, first entrance on the right.”
Catherine walks down the hallways as instructed, but upon her journey she hears a single voice, a loud whisper of private history. “I’ll be back… in a while,” says the voice. “I might pack on a few years… but still…”
Catherine starts to walk towards the source, even after she begins to hear a motherly voice. “Oh my baby, I’ll miss you… Be careful out there my little artist...” The door opens, there rests a single item on display in the center, a pocket watch with a rather celestial design imprinted finitely upon it. Catherine is entranced by the item and places it carefully into her own palm. The voices get quieter now. Her finger strokes the open switch. But then the sound is heard, the scream of a Timelord. Catherine drops the fob watch back in place and runs towards the console room. As she gets there it’s discovered that the doors are wide open. Catherine begins to head that direction until she hears a pained grunt coming from the hallway. She once again follows the noise. The door opens and she discovers Artist leaning against the hallway, forcing himself to continue forwards. “Artist, what happened?!” the girl exclaims in fear.
He speaks with his words mumbled. “Kitchen. Get, celery.”
“Celery.” Catherine hopes to god that she heard him correctly. She sprints over to the kitchen and opens the refrigerator. She pulls out a stick of celery from the bottom shelf and heads to Artist, who’s now removing his jean jacket. He then slumps up against the white wall. Catherine hands him the celery, it turns purple upon contact and the Gallifreyan devours it. He sits there for a long time. For a moment Catherine believes him to be dead, but then she notices him breathing. She sits next to him. “Thank you very much.”
Catherine responds by wrapping herself around him, head resting upon his chest. “What happened?”
Artist lets out a large sigh. “I made a bad decision and wound up on Scrantek. The radiation was a little extreme.”
Catherine doesn't give a rebuttal. She instead just tries to calm down while resting up against Artist. “Your heart is going so fast.”
Artist lets out a chuckle. “It’s because I have two.” Catherine removes herself from him, and looks at the man before him, and every detail upon his face. “I’m going to go wash up,” says Artist. “Could you go shut the door?”
“But I’ll be fried!”
“No no, I hit the randomizer so it’ll be okay.” Artist stands and heads towards the washroom while removing his shirt.
Catherine proceeds towards the console room once again and sees the door wide open. She begins to walk towards the door before freezing in place, she feels something behind her, she knows something sees her. Then she hears the tapping of footsteps, but on the ceiling. Catherine turns to see the source. There’s nothing there.
The rifle clicks as the woman raises it at the back of Catherine’s head. “Don’t move or I’ll shoot.”
A second person walks up, this one’s a man. “Hon, I told ya not to run so far ahead. We gotta stick together.” Catherine slowly turns to face the couple. Both are African-American, and in their mid-thirties. They are also dressed in black mercenary clothes, the woman has long dreadlocks, the man has a buzz cut. “Eh, prove to us you aint a Whifferdill.”
Catherine tilts her head. “A what?”
“A Whifferdill. You know?” he looks around in a tiny confusion. “Shape, shifters?”
“You’re the first people here.”
The woman gives the rebuttal, rifle still firmly aimed at Catherine’s head. “First you noticed. Prove you aren't one of them and the stick with us.”
She replies by giving off all the information she can think of. “My name is Catherine, I’m from Canada in the year 2013, I like to read books and got all A’s up until I graduated, I’m adopted and--”
The man cuts her off. “Yeah, that’s good. No way one of em could come up with something that fast.”
Artist steps out of the shower and walks towards his pile of clothes. The two women lean into the doorway. Catherine speaks. “Hey, someone wound up inside here.”
The woman walks towards Artist, who is still in the nude. “Why hello,” she says. “I’m Martha.”
Artist backs away, covering himself with his pile of clothing. “Uh, I’m not sure how I feel about this.”
Catherine smile. “Come on. We won’t hurt you.”
“He’s down this way,” says Catherine.
Artist approaches them while fully clothed and gives a simplistic “Hey.” Martha immediately raises her rifle at him. Artist in turn raises his hands. “Whoa, what’s with the hostility?” Martha stares at the man for a long time. A loud noise comes from somewhere in the bowels of the ship. He takes this opportunity to flee, and turn into another, more disgusting form. He leaps to the ceiling and runs around a corner whilst Martha fires, damaging the wall.
All three begin to follow the Whifferdill until Catherine hears mumbles. She steps into the washroom to see the real Artist wrapped in some kind of webbing. She quickly pulls it off and asks “Are you okay?”
He replies “Yeah.” While quickly and embarrassingly throwing on his jeans and jean jacket, leaving his bare chest exposed. “C'mon, they’re probably not far away.”
They speed down the hallway and around a corner to find one creature holding both Martha and her partner, Mickey hostage while the brother creature repeatedly slams itself against a doorway. “Now isn't this fun? Pretty soon we’ll be taking over this little base of yours.”
Artist cracks a tiny smile. “It’s not a base. It’s a ship.”
Artist hardly gives any representation of emotion. “You’re aware it’s locked, right?”
The creature stops for only a moment to reply. “Of course we are.” It then resumes smashing.
“No, I mean…” an electrical surge pulses through the monster, blasting him into the adjacent wall and causing a large dent. “It has security.”
The unhurt shape-shifter looks over its sibling. “Brother!” it exclaims. “Are you okay?”
“He’s fine, right this second.” The creature begins to look up at the Timelord with a menacing expression, which quickly vanishes when Artist fires a blaster from his hand. The Whifferdill drops, dead. “Now then,” says Artist as he holsters the gun. “I suggest we deal with the remnants. You two are mercenaries, correct?”
Mickey gives the reply. “We sure are.”
“So then what do you have to do to get paid?”
“Just pictures of ‘em. Live or dead.”
“Then take the picture quickly before I throw them into the time vortex.”
“Time vortex?” says Martha curiously.
“You wouldn't understand,” Artist assumes.
The bodies drift into the time vortex as Artist wipes his hands and looks at the two mercs. “Now where do you turn in your kill?”
“Back on Xenon,” replies Mickey.
Artist quickly lands the ship and opens the door. “So if you don’t mind, I’d like some peace and quiet. So get out before I through you in the timestream too.”
Martha scoffs. “You’re rude.”
“Well I’m sorry. But my home was just invaded, dents now exist in my hallways, they put the moves on me on my way out of the shower, and I had a gun pointed at me which I really, really don’t like! So would you kindly get the hell out!”
Mickey and Martha leave rather infuriated. They glance back to watch as the TARDIS leaves. Martha looks at her husband. “Do you think that was him?”
Mickey smiles. “Well the Doctor always said he was a rude bugger when he was younger.”