Her heart raced as she contemplated her next
move. The man frightened her at the deepest of levels based on his size alone.
This place was certainly large enough for her to find a place to make a home
for herself without his knowledge, but was she prepared for the consequences if
he found her out? And what if she just introduced herself right how? Would he
be angry with her for stowing away?
Her questions were answered soon enough. The
man fiddled with a few controls and the room felt like someone picked it up and
shook it like a snow globe. Zepheera cried out on surprise as her feet slipped
through the grating of the floor, but she managed to catch herself before she
fell through. The movement stopped and she was able to pull herself up to hang
from her underarms.
Her panic rose when the floor vibrated around
her. She scrambled to get up and away, but something snagged her by the waist.
A scream caught in her throat as she was lifted swiftly into the air, dangling
in front of a striking blue frown.
“Who the hell are you?” he
demanded, dropping Zepheera into his other palm. “How long have you been
on my ship? This is not an intergalactic taxi service, you know!”
Zepheera scrambled to her feet, clutching her
bag tightly against her stomach. Despite the scare and his indignant tone, he
wasn’t angry enough to do away with her and be done with it. He was listening,
perhaps on some level curious. Taking a deep breath between short, panicked
ones, she hoped he would hear her out.
“I h-haven’t been here long, I just
s-saw your box disappear and–”
“You’ve packed,” he observed, his
frown deepening as his eyes softened the tiniest fraction.
Zepheera looked down at her overflowing
messenger bag, feeling her neck heating up in embarrassment. She’d filled with
everything that mattered to her in the world, all on a stupid whim. But a
glance up at the man told her he expected an answer. “I thought…maybe I
could disappear, too.”
“…Do you not know who I am? Or where you
She studied her shoes and shook her head no.
He was quiet for a moment. Once Zepheera
broke eye contact, she was hesitant to make it again. Then the man was on the
move, the sudden motion knocking her to her knees. When everything settled down
again, his hand was hovering above the strange-looking surface of the center
structure. Taking this as a good sign, she hopped right off, glad to be on
solid ground again.
“Let’s talk,” said the man as he
took an old seat across from Zepheera. “I reckon we got off on the wrong foot.
I’m the Doctor. And you are?”
His more casual position helped Zepheera
relax a tad, and she released her iron grip on her bag. “Zepheera,”
The borrower and the Time Lord had a good
long talk. The Doctor explained that he was an alien and this place was a ship
that could travel through time and space. Zepheera told him about her father,
her brother, her husband; as much as she felt comfortable revealing to a total
stranger, which wasn’t much. The unspoken conclusion they both drew at the end
was the undoubted loneliness of the other.
“Do you want to come with me?” The Doctor blurted when Zepheera had
She stared at him in shock for a moment. She
hadn’t expected to be invited along, but if he was seriously
“What, run around the universe
throughout time and space with a strange alien in leather?” She smirked.
“Why the hell not.”