With a booming “whoosh” and then a loud bang and a heavy shudder, they finally landed.
“Well go on” said The Doctor waving one hand in the air whilst staring at his console of flashing lights and blinking screens.
His companion, Timmy, looked at The Doctor, then at a large blue door. Then back to The Doctor.
“Me?” said Timmy.
“Sure” said The Doctor who was now flicking various switches and kicking a few open cupboard doors closed below the console. Timmy thought he saw a whiff of smoke but told himself it was just the light.
“Go for it Timmy, about time you opened up a door on arrival” continued the strange pilot of the TARDIS popping his head back up from below the console.
Timmy hesitated. He wasn’t scared as such, just a little trepidatious. In truth, despite the combination of Time and Space travel, the big and little at the same time magic blue box and the small matter of fact that his mate was an alien with 2 hearts and who could regenerate, Timmy hadn’t ever felt scared in The Doctors company. In fact since that first night in the Gallowgate when the grey haired Doctor had suddenly chastisted him for mistaking the TARDIS for an East End Polis-Box urinal, Timmy had felt only joy and excitement.
The Doctor had looked after Timmy that night and had even took him on a few choice adventures. Timmy loved hovering over Love Street in 86, that really had been magic, and yon trip back to see Brother Walfrid walk round the Calton had been a nice touch but now, well now, Timmy was being asked to open the door. Timmy was being asked to open the door of the TARDIS!
“Only The Doctor opened the door, didn’t he?” queried Timmy to himself with the door still over a yard away.
“Och for Gods sake man, watch out the way, let me do it” said The Doctor passing by the hesitant Timmy and opening the door and then striding back in a grand put on gesture. The Doctor clearly loved those little am-dram moments and both men gave a little smile to themselves.
“See, there’s your Fergus McCann in a car park with a Hughkeevins, whatever that is” exclaimed the returning Doctor whilst extending his arm back towards the doorway.
Timmy duly leaned forward in the hope of seeing his moustached bunneted hero.
“Yes?, what is it?” asked the Doctor. “Bit of a let down I assume. Wish you had gone to The Cavern of Dreams on Io as I suggested do you?, well no take-backsies!” said the Doctor who was staring intently alternatively between his sonic screwdriver and some glowing fluff.
“Its not that” said Timmy. “Lets just say, I don’t quite think we are in Kansas, Toto?”
“Course it is, you lot these days couldn’t tell the back of your hand if your phone didn’t confirm it, watch” said The Doctor who passed by Timmy and stepped outside the Tardis.
“Oh” said the Doctor.
“Oh?” questioned Timmy taking a step outside the doorway to join The Doctor.
The Doctor and Timmy stood just outside the Tardis and both stared in disbelief. This wasn’t right.
The TARDIS had indeed landed in a car park, and indeed that car park was in Glasgow, and indeed that car park was in Glasgow at a football ground but that was where it ended.
The TARDIS was sitting in the middle of the Albion Car Park at Ibrox, and it was match day.
Hundreds of Rangers fans were passing by The Doctor and Timmy, seemingly oblivious to the large blue Police Box now sitting slap bang in the middle of the concrete.
“I assume this isn’t it then?” said The Doctor.
“Err, I don’t think so” exclaimed Timmy who was starting to feel very self conscious all of a sudden as Rangers fans passed all around him.
“Hmm?” muttered The Doctor before making a sweep with his screwdriver and then throwing some of the glowing fluff into the air. The Doctor took a moment and then suddenly started staring intently across the car park towards the stadium.
Timmy asked “What’s going on Doctor?”
The Doctor looked at Timmy, then at the screwdriver and then stared at the stadium once more.
He shook his head and repeated the action.
“Cant be” said the Doctor.
“Cant be what?” asked Timmy but the Doctor was already striding back into the TARDIS. Timmy knew The Doctor was best left to get on with it and leaned back upon the doorway watching the football fans pass on by.
After a minute or two, Timmy heard The Doctor shout “I knew it!” and then turned to watch him return to the doorway.
“Look, Timmy, up there, what do you see?” asked The Doctor pointing the sonic screwdriver over beyond the crowd
“Err, Ibrox, Castle Greyskull” said Timmy.
“What?” gasped The Doctor before shaking his head and saying “No, look, what do you SEE!!” said The Doctor.
Timmy was ready to repeat his reply but gazed once more back at the Stadium. He couldn’t believe his eyes.
It was moving.
Not large steps or strides, but a simply shimmer style of movement. It was hard to see unless you really really really looked hard at it, but it was there. Ibrox Stadium was moving.
“Something to do with the weather? The sun, clouds, wind?” asked Timmy confused as well as fearing he may have hit his head on landing again.
“Its not a mirage silly!.. it’s alive!” shrieked The Doctor before pushing Timmy into the crowd, closing the Door of the TARDIS and saying “Lets go, we have ourselves an adventure!
Timmy quickened to catch up with the Doctor who was almost running as he cut through the lumbering crowd of football supporters. The Doctor darted left and right but always continued forward towards the stadium up ahead. Finally they were standing right outside the large red brick building.
“There” said The Doctor pointing over towards a doorway where a large man in an orange security jacket stood. Timmy followed The Doctor as they approached the man and The Doctor reached into his coat pocket and flashed his wallet at the man. The man immediately stood to the side and ushered the men inside.
“You have a season book for Ibrox?” asked Timmy astonished at the ease of entry.
“Psychic Paper” said The Doctor with a wink. “He thought it said I was the Grandmaster Lodge Mother Kilwinning No. 0, no way he was gonna stop me with that!” continued The Doctor who by now was bounding up a marble staircase and heading high into the building.
Timmy followed and at the top of the stairs found The Doctor scanning the floor with his screwdriver.
“Strange” muttered The Doctor.
“What is?” asked Timmy.
“People, where are all the people?” replied The Doctor
“Perhaps theyre enjoying themselves watching the game” offered Timmy which immediately made The Doctor raise an eyebrow and Timmy to burst out laughing.
“There” suddenly said The Doctor who was bounding towards the door marked “Trophy Room”.
Timmy waited while The Doctor ran the screwdriver around the door and lock, Timmy felt there was no need to keep watch given there was no-one inside the building. “Okay” said The Doctor who pushed the door open and the two of them stepped inside.
The room was indeed a Trophy Room. There were large portraits on the walls and areas bedecked in little flags with various years upon then. Silver and gold cups and trophies sat in glass cabinets and upon plinths. There was for some bizarre reason a bicycle there and as Timmy looked around at the Trophies, he noticed The Doctor had made his way over to one exhibit in the corner.
Timmy approached the Doctor who by now was sweeping the artefact with his screwdriver and muttering to himself.
“Whats that?” asked Timmy
“Dunno” replied The Doctor.
“Looks like a cup” said Timmy looking down at the ornamental mug which was cream coloured with a white inscription on the front and ornate gold handles on the side.
“Indeed it does” said the Doctor.
“Does what?” asked Timmy.
“Looks like a cup. But it isn’t. Theres no DNA on it, no elements on or in it. Its nothing, No tea stains, no water molecules, nothing. Well nothing you would associate with humans at least” said The Doctor.
“I don’t understand” said Timmy. “if it looks like a cup, and sits like a cup, then it’s a cup right?”
“Wrong” said the Doctor shaking his head. “This might look like a cup. This place might look like a stadium. But that’s all, Looks like, not is. All of this is fake. An interpretation. A copy. I think I know what we have here”
“What is it Doctor” asked Timmy
“Sevco Synthesis” replied The Doctor matter of factly before putting the imitation cup down and walking around the room.
“Err?” uttered a bewildered Timmy
“Look at the photographs” said the Doctor pointing to the walls above.
Timmy looked at the various pictures, many from a long time ago. “Its old teams and managers” replied Timmy before asking “So what?”
“I said “LOOK” said The Doctor firmly.
Timmy stared at the picture directly in front of him. It was black and white picture of a group of men in old football outfits and in front of them sat a row of trophies. Before Timmy could speak The Doctor again slowly but firmly said “LOOK!”
Timmy stared, hard.
He stared again.
Then he saw it.
The men sat as you would expect, 2 rows, one standing and 1 seated in front. They had smart patted down hair and many appeared to have moustaches as per the period when the photograph would have been taken. It looked like a normal old photo except one thing was missing. There were no individual faces. The men in the picture had no faces of their own, they all had the same face. Even the ones with moustaches were identical and Timmy could see the ones without moustaches were also identical, just no moustache.
“But” gasped Timmy.
“Synths” sighed The Doctor. “I thought we had seen the last of them a long time ago during the TaxWars on Paguroidea but looks like some have survived and ended up here.
“But what are they?” asked Timmy now walking around the room noticing all the pictures contained the same faces.
“Let me think, Hmm, Do you know the Hermit crab?” asked The Doctor
“Yes” said Timmy before adding “It’s a scavenger crab that moves from shell to shell”
“Indeed” sad The Doctor. “Well that’s what we have here, only a more advanced race. The Sevco Synths move into dying hosts and then carry the shell of their existence to make it seem as if its alive even when all is long dead as we know it. They are ethereal parasites. They make it look like everything is fine whilst they drain everything they can. They take every possible resource, all the energy , every fine historical detail, every memory over time and history is extinguished. Once all that is gone and all that is left is a faded image of what once was, they look to move onto their next host.
“So the moving stadium?” asked Timmy
“That’s them feasting. They are consuming all from within, every fibre, every memory, every little piece of time and activity and history is being devoured. We are literally sitting in one big lunch-bowl Sevco Coffin. Soon all that will be left is a hint of what once was. It’s probably only the energy of those people outsides memory of what once was that is keeping this place here and soon that will be next.” said The Doctor who was by now heading back towards the door
“So what can we do?” asked Timmy as he hurried to catch up with The Doctor.
“Do?” asked The Doctor who was now sliding down the marble staircase with a childish smile on his face?
“Yes” said Timmy running down the stairs to catch up. “What can we do to help them here, how do we save them?”
“Save them? Oh no one is getting saved here Timmy. Its beyond my help sonny Jim, or sonny Tim should I say. Theres nothing to be done.” Said the Doctor as he skipped outside passed the large Security man at the doorway.
“Nothing?” asked Timmy catching up with The Doctor.
“Look at it” said The Doctor gesturing around him. “This is a husk, theres nothing left but an empty shell. The history has all but gone and all that remains is a memory of a memory. Think of a tape of a tape. Quality and details fade all whilst something seems familiar, its not the same, the original is gone, no more.”
“But, the TARDIS, the screwdriver, you know, cant you do your thing?” asked Timmy.
The Doctor sighed and said “Im a Time Lord, not a magician son. When something is gone, its gone, no amount of tinkering or wishful thinking is gonna bring it back. And by the way, this was no accident remember, people CHOSE this, this isn’t a mistake, its by design” added the Doctor who by now heading back through the crowd and heading right towards the large blue Police Box.
“So what will happen?” asked Timmy as they stepped through the crowd and opened the door to The TARDIS.
“Oh the Sevco will strip everything they can and then slink away while no one is looking. One day someone may notice something isn’t quite right but by then it will be too late and it will all be over. You will be lucky if anyone even cares. The Sevcos like warmer climes so will probably end up somewhere nicer than here whilst the people will just adjust. Give it a while, the people will collect up some ripe old memories again and then the hungry Sevco will come back to harvest once again. Its one of the things I love about the Human Race. Tell them all about the horror they self inflict and they simply smile and repeat ad infinitum”
Timmy stared at the Doctor and then back at the Stadium and then with one last look at the red white and blue coloured crown outside, smiled and closed the TARDIS door. The Doctor was back at the console and preparing for exit.
“So where to now?” asked The Doctor
“How’s about Lisbon May 1967” replied Timmy.
“Smashing” said the Doctor before whispering “Although I hope I don’t bump into The Slime Beast of Cattenachio again”
“The what now?” asked Timmy.
“Nothing, nothing” smiled The Doctor, before giving a small gulp and then finally pulling down the large lever on the TARDIS console and shouting “Lisbon, here we come!”