Wednesday 22 June 2011

Girls' Day Out, by Matthew Clarke (my fan fiction)

In Tears in Paradise, I brought Venussa from The Ark into the TARDIS crew with the Second Doctor, John and Gillian.

I think it is about time Gillian wore something other than that yellow turtleneck pullover!

The planet Isis, 2880

The Doctor and John had gone to the spaceport. John was a 14 year old boy and the Doctor was a boy at heart. Neither of them liked anything more than spending the day looking at spaceships.

Venussa and Gillian were free to spend the day shopping without two bored males dragging their feet behind them.

Isis Central Plaza was the largest shopping centre in the Earth Empire, a vast complex the size of a town, or perhaps even a small city. Its malls and terraces were linked by interior monorails. While one could buy almost anything at Isis Central Plaza, as with most shopping centre, it was really all about fashion, with every high street fashion retailer in the empire having at least one store in the plaza. The terraces were thronged with shoppers from across human space, with even a few non-humans browsing the stores.

It was warm weather outside, but deliciously cool inside the plaza. Gillian wore a purple top and leggings, with ballet pumps. Venussa wore a pink blouse and denim skirt, with flip flops. Neither of them were quite sure if their clothes were in fashion in this period, but that was usually the problem they had.

As Venussa browsed the stores, she was amazed at the variety in clothing. Until she travelled on the TARDIS, she had always worn the simple tunics and sandals of the Guardians. On the Ark, her people had obtained their clothing from dispenser machines. On Refusis, they had started making clothing by hand, but still kept to the same style as ever. Venussa bought a few things for herself, but mostly she did not care for the attire she saw in the shops.

In contrast to Venussa, Gillian had three shopping bags from different stores by mid-morning. Venussa was surprised that Gillian felt the need to buy so much clothing. The TARDIS wardrobe was so vast and new outfits mysteriously appeared on its racks occasionally. Perhaps her shopping spree was motivated by a desperate desire to live as a normal person and not a traveller in time and space.

Venussa loved Gillian like a sister, but she could not help but think of the girl as a spoilt child. She seemed very good at always getting her own way with her grandfather and lacked discipline. Venussa did not want to ruin her friendship with Gillian, but she definitely needed to talk to the Doctor about the teenage girl's attitude. Venussa's own upbringing had been harsh. Her childhood had been spent as a slave to the Monoids. With whole families crowded into the Security Kitchen to work, eat and sleep, children were given short shrift. She wondered if perhaps she should not begrudge Gillian her care-free childhood. The girl had certainly had to face plenty of danger from Trods, Kleptons, Quarks and Daleks.

By the middle of the day, Venussa and Gillian were in need of a well earned lunch and they retired to one of the many cafes in the plaza. Venussa found it difficult to identify a lot of the dishes on the menu, but she tucked into a plate of synthetic meat, vegetables and some sort of grain. According to Gillian, the grain was called couscous.

Over the meal, they talked about a number of things, Refusis, Earth, Cybermen and Gillian's encounter with the Pied Piper. Venussa asked a question she had been meaning to ask for a while.

"I don't understand how your grandfather could have become so different to how he was when I first met him. I know he is the same man, because he remembers me perfectly and travels in the same blue box, but he seems like a completely different person."

Gilian smiled. It was just as difficult for her to get used to her grandfather becoming a different person. She had not actually been there when the change took place. Nevertheless, she very much liked the new Doctor's calmer temper and more easy-going attitude.

"Perhaps you have gathered that my grandfather is not human. He is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. He likes to be mysterious, so he probably wouldn't tell you that himself," explained Gillian.

Venussa had indeed suspected that the mysterious traveller was something other than human.

"Time Lords change," continued Gillian. "When they get very old, like grandfather, or if they are seriously hurt, their bodies regenerate and take on a new form."

"Can they choose the new form?" asked Venussa.

"Generally not," replied Gillian. "Though I have heard some of the younger Time Lords are getting better at regeneration and can make choices about when and how they change."

Venussa could not help wondering about Gillian herself.

"So will you change one day, Gillian?"

"I will, and to be honest, I'm terrified of it. It's like I am going to die and be reborn as somebody else," she replied with a shudder.

"That does sound scary," said Venussa.

"Grandfather has talked to me about it, to help me prepare, but it is still going to happen whether I like it or not. Perhaps if I went to study on Gallifrey, I might be able to learn to control it like some of the young Time Lords have managed to do."

"It must still be exciting to change. I mean all of us grow up and get old anyway, so even if you weren't a Time Lord you would change. On the Ark, my people got too used to everything being the same," mused Venussa.

"I suppose so," said Gillian. "Perhaps when I regenerate, I might be black. I quite like the idea of being like an African princess. Or perhaps I will end up being a redhead like my brother."

"Your brother has lovely red hair," said Venussa. There was still another question she wanted to ask.

"Do Time Lords get married?"

"It's hard to explain about that," replied Gillian. "Time Lord things are always complicated. I was born on Earth, so I'm not really an expert. Grandfather got married a long time ago. He would hate me telling you that. He hates people knowing about his past. Most Time Lords don't marry. I have no idea whether I will ever get married."

"Being married is so wonderful, Gillian. It's beautiful belonging to somebody else and having somebody else belong to you. It can be hard though. Dassuk and I had some painful times together and losing him was even more painful," said Venussa. She had no idea whether somebody as alien as Gillian could relate to this. Outwardly, Gillian seemed so human, yet inside she had to be utterly different. Venussa could not begin to imagine what kind of a life the teenager had before her.

Somehow the conversation moved on to lighter topics; clothes, space travel and the wonders of Fairyland. The two young women decided to go to the Central Plaza's enormous cinema. The day was theirs to enjoy.

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