The Time Librarian

Give a Timelord a room documenting everything in existence, and…well, they’ll become a librarian. I can just tell. – Womble, “The Captain Knows My Name”, 2014.

Whether he likes it or not, I continue to maintain the belief that Womble would have made a decent Timelord, by his ability of forethought alone. Seeing as he continuously rejects such a suggestion, for which I cannot blame him, it would still be appropriate to say he would make a good detective. Take, for example, the chain of events resulting in our march on Gotham. He has the ability to draw past-tense observations into valid future-tense predictions and is right more than 90% of the time, a vital deductive skill which I believe is a key factor towards his maintained self-preservation. Unlike him, I wander blindly into hostile environments, interact with unknown and potentially dangerous artefacts and still have yet to learn my lesson. He has already committed this to memory and thus far saved my life more than four times.

The point of this, HH’s 7908th Random Ramble, is because Womble’s premonition of my impending librarian-hood has been proven correct. I’ve yet to decide if this one counts because he may have been the one to put the idea in my head; self-fulfilling prophecies and precognitive suggestion aren’t quite the same thing. I don’t truly know, in honesty, but what I do know is that this is by far the most inconvenient Christmas gift I’ve ever organised. What makes it even worse is the intended recipient…

I didn’t think I’d ever find myself returning here. It was a placed soaked in unwelcome truths, irritating silences and, since our intervention, has been reduced to rubble. Whatever debris remains is scattered through the atmosphere, like the planetary rings of Saturn, except this one has sofas and statues of Bill Nighy in lieu of asteroids and ice. The once-proud and heavily defended home is long gone, leaving homeless the being we called Towels, his previous title knocked a tense backwards to “The Man Who Knew Everything”.

What his IKEA space junk orbits is my target, the end goal of my endeavour and a hilarious sight to see. The image on Odyssey’s exterior scanner reminds me of an old Futurama joke: “You find yourselves in a space perpendicular to a forgotten location. The kind of ancient place which contains a lot of broken clocks or perhaps a library. You feel like it might be alive, but maybe you’re just hungry. You brave to open…The Scary Door.”

That’s basically all there is to it. Inside the circular halo of junk is a door, white wood, normal proportions, bearing a Post-It-Note sign with the word LOL on it in what I presumed to be Towel’s handwriting. No physical room or chamber behind, around or before it, just a closed door in space which leads – I sincerely hope – into the Library of Life. It’s a room I remember well, mostly because I fainted in it. There’s a special reserve in my memory for moments when I made a colossal prat of myself. It enjoys reopening at odd intervals.

Within the Library’s gigantic realms, any explorer can find the individual book and life story belonging to everyone, everywhere, everywhen. And that’s why I’m here, to reduce access from ‘any explorer’ to just an explorer.

Some may believe that combining one dimension with another is difficult and they’d be half right. Getting the door/portal into Odyssey is the easy part, I just needed an empty patch of wall. Doors love walls, can’t get enough of them, though maybe not as much as they love hinges. Without a wall, a door is just a glorified, upright plank. It requires no effort convincing the portal itself to merge with my ship, we do that sort of thing all the time*, the difficult part is then adding in what’s behind the portal. It requires one bigger-on-the-inside entity being forced into another, leading to a lot of impossible mathematics battling to the death over which is the biggest on the inside, while Odyssey does his best to protect his ego. Honestly, it’d be easier to get a planet into a balloon.

Still didn’t stop me trying it. ‘Impossible’ is just a filing system for lazy people. It didn’t come without risk, once again living up to my reckless reputation. I calculated four explosions, twenty nine burst light bulbs, loss of one screen and eleven times I was thrown across the room. My console room shook far more violently than I am usually accustomed – hence my unintentional backflips – and the noise was deafening. Not completely deafening though, my ears still work and I can hear perfectly the name Odyssey keeps calling me since starting my little experiment. It implies I’ll be seeing him next Tuesday.

I ignored him though, left the console room and walked straight into the new library. Womble’s prediction still stands, though. I admit the TARDIS had a library – an extensive one at that – but this is Odyssey’s first** so let my occupation of librarian begin here. I shall immediately begin practicing an indoor voice and hissing at anyone who hasn’t got one. My selection leaves a lot to be desired: a cathedral-sized room, four floors of empty bookcases and so far I’ve put my Hitchhiker’s Guide next to a battered pocket-sized copy of Slaughterhouse 5. The rest of them are still in the main console room with nowhere else to go, until now. Every librarian has to begin somewhere, right?

Towel’s collection has its own separate wing at the far end of my bare shelves, behind the very same ‘Scary Door’ we picked up. I approached the entrance to the Library of Life and peeled Towel’s “LOL” sign off the door. I suspect I’ll get round to making a new one eventually. When I gripped the handle, I noticed it’s still very much the same door I walked through the first time, on the other side of which my jaw dropped and my life changed considerably.

I pushed down and forwards. The door swung open into the space beyond, one that was well-lit and pleasingly warm. A welcoming aura seemed to beckon me in. My jaw dropped, though I managed to recover it into a grin. Whether my life would change again remained to be seen. I clapped my hands together, a sound which came back to meet me a few times. “Now. Where to begin?”

Merry Christmas to me!

An infinite supply of autobiographies, which in itself doesn’t sound amazing but this is the biggest supply of tales which are not ‘based on a true story’ but are true stories. A lot of the time, real lives are exceedingly more eventful than existing works of fiction. I should know. I’m still working on mine and up until recently was travelling with another one…


* I have several portals leading to various food stops around the universe, for those moments when I’m too hungry to fly.

** Guardian’s idea of relaxing in between Silent Plain conflicts didn’t tend to include sitting still or gazing at a page, instead he chose vices like casinos and bars which are still around, somewhere.

And, of course, Happy Holidays all



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