Alternative

“It is time for you to take your place in the heritage of the Timelords. This, as it always was, when a child of Gallifrey comes of age, they are assigned their duty.”

Come on, explorer. Come on, explorer.

“To you, we assign the recently vacated role, located on the Silent Plain.”

Right. I don’t like where this is headed.

“The Timelord Council has enrolled you into the protector’s archive. You shall be the protector of the Silent Plains experiment.”

…great.

-keep it somewhere safe. Very safe-

“You shall be assigned a TARDIS, one sonic tool of your choosing, and your first title. As of this moment, you shall be known as

“HH?”

Wait, what? That isn’t how it ends.

Eyes open again. Womble’s kneeling next to me, re-packing a box of universal-variety smelling salts. I sit up, and sniff. “Phew, strong stuff. Any stronger and I’d have woken from death. Thanks, though, in any case.”

My book lies between us, as guilty and suspicious as a murder weapon. The old word faces upwards, almost accusingly. Womble looks up at me. “That’s both of us, then.”

I merely nod. So much repression, so much buried past. Uncovered. Just like that. I didn’t think the old word would find me again.

“You okay?”

“Yeah. Fine*. Just…didn’t expect this. Still. Oh, hey, did you find your book?”

Okay. That might’ve been the wrong thing to say. But I swear I heard something about a book, interrupting Memory Lane. Someone’s…someone’s book is

“Kept somewhere safe. Very safe.”

“What?” Womble asks.

“Him. Towels. The Captain. He said he had a book?”

“He did.”

“Brilliant! It’s about time we and he were on equal footing. Get his book, and see what Spoilers of his we can dig up.”

Womble gazes into space for a moment. I wonder if the idea of an arsenal equipped with more than just fists is the appeal here. “Alright,” he replies, “but how do we find it?”

I fish out the sonic from my ultra pockets and hand it over. “Try this, it might help. I’ll go for my ‘session’ with him, and you can look around.”

The sonic changes hands. Its new holder eyes it with unmistakable distrust.

“I think you have a better shot than I do,” I add. “After more than a few adventures, I think we can agree we both see the universe in different ways. That might just help here.” Before setting off, I pocket The Book of HH. “If you find it, use the sonic. I’ll hear it.”

“He’ll know what’s happening,” Womble calls after me.

“Then I’ll try and ask a really good question.” I’ve been doing it all my life.

HH

*”Fine.” The biggest lie in the modern English Language, even more so than “Nice”. Experts maintain that ‘Fine’ rests on the Emotion Scale somewhere between “Awful” and “Things Can Only Get Better.”

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