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space rats from planet 10

Chapter One

The brilliant white alien interior glowed and deep within the craft its engine emitted a smooth hum. In the middle of a large room, around a five-sided console that was decorated with bizarre and wondrous instruments that flashed and buzzed and at its centre a column rose and fell, a white haired old man, called the Doctor, his faced serious and sullen, studied several mechanisms.

'Most strange, most strange.' he muttered.

'What is it Grandfather?' said Susan, his Granddaughter. The young girl dressed in black leggings and a white and red striped top walked over and place a hand on his shoulder.

'These readings are peculiar to say the least.'

'What do they say?'

'Detecting fluctuating pockets of un-sequential time distillation.'

'Huh?'

'Exactly! Most extraordinary.'

'Oh.' Susan sighed.

'Hmm?'

'Do you think we’ll ever return home?' she asked, her voice carrying the answer before it was given.

'No.' he replied. He then cleared his throat and put his arm around his Granddaughter. 'I hope so Susan.' he said, patting her gently on the shoulder. 'I hope so.'

'Quiet now child,' said the Doctor, as he leaned forward over the controls of the machine.

'Sorry, I just need some.'

'Some what?' he snapped back.

'Some-thing to do.'

'Oh, oh I suppose being cooped up with an old man can’t be terribly exciting.' he considered.

'I didn’t mean it like that.'

'No, you’re quite right, quite right! I think we could both do with stretching our legs.'

Susan grinned from ear to ear. 'Where shall we go?' she asked, resting her excited hands on the console of the ship.

'Hmm? Oh, somewhere fun?' he said, purposefully giving her the answer she wanted to hear.

'That would be, err, lovely!' she answered, surprised at his suggestion.

'Don’t sound so flabbergusted, gasted child,' he said, correcting himself, 'I was a young man once upon a time!' The Doctor straightened his posture, put his hand on his hips and puffed out his chest. Susan laughed.

'Oh, what’s so funny, hmm?'

'I can’t imagine you ever being young!' she giggled.

'Oh, can’t you now?' he questioned, 'Well, I was!' And with that he flicked a switch on the console.

'Yes Grandfather.' she replied, with a smirk as the craft shuddered and shook its engines heaving for a few seconds before it abruptly landed. 'I don’t think I’ll ever get used to those bumpy landings.'

'Yes, it is taking a while to get used to the precise principles and functions of the craft. But practice makes perfect. Check the radiation levels would you, Susan.'

'Yes Grandfather.'

'How are they looking?' he immediately enquired.

'Fine, fine.' she replied looking at the gauge in front of her.

'Yes, good, oxygen and gravity levels are suitable.' he said to himself, as he whizzed around the ships console checking some of the instruments. 'Fetch my cloak would you.'

Susan sighed, trying to resist the temptation to fling the doors wide-open and run straight out into where ever it was and when ever it was they had landed.

Susan took her own denim jacket and her Grandfather’s cloak from the coat stand.

'I wonder where we are?' she said, as they put their apparel on.

'We shall soon find out? And one day I may get around to working out how to properly use the destination calendar on the console there. Come along then, let’s see what awaits.'

The doors of the TARDIS opened before them and arm in arm they stepped out.

Susan eyes widened in awe as before them thousands of people mingled on dozens of different levels, totally unaware of the newly arrived strangers.

The Doctor turned and looked back at the ship. 'Oh my word!' he announced, holding a finger to his mouth and tittering. "Look Susan."

'Oh it’s one of those portable loos!'

'Quite so. Ha ha! I better make sure its well and truly locked we wouldn’t want any uninvited visits would we?'

Susan’s joyful face turned its attention back to their new surroundings.

'Look at all these people.' she gushed, as the Doctor locked the door of the ship

'Yes, this appears to be some kind of space port.' he said, returning to her side and re-hooking the ship’s key to a thin silver chain around his neck and placing it beneath his shirt.

'How you doin’ folks?' came a nasally voice to their right. 'Fancy a trip on the Zo-lan In-ter-pla-net-tar-y Crui-ser?'

Susan quickly looked at her Grandfather in hope. 'That sounds exciting.' she said, squeezing his arm.

'Young man, I do not.' huffed the Doctor, as Susan’s expectant face dropped. 'And what’s more,' he continued,

'I would appreciate not being snuck up on like that!'

'O-kay, o-kay sor-ry folks, have a nice day won’t ya.' Susan watched the bi-pedal, multi-coloured humanoid slouch off in search of other custom.

'Grandfather!' she protested at his rudeness.

'What?' he stuttered. 'Oh sorry my dear. Forgive my harshness won’t you?'

'You did say we were going to have fun.'

'Yes, yes I did, of course. Let’s go exploring shall we?'

Susan gave a swift enthusiastic nod and her smile instantly returned.

The pair strolled forward into the crowd. They were indeed on a space station and not just any space station it was the largest in the Milky Way, so large that it had acquired the moniker of ‘Planet 10’ situated as it was between the dwarf planets Pluto and Makemake.

Planet 10 was a place where every form of known life refuelled, traded, gambled, hustled, ate and met. The station had four thousand levels, with up to twenty or so docking arms on every level. It was a masterpiece 51st Century architecture and engineering.

They wandered further and the greasy aroma of fried food caught their attention.

'That smells good.' said Susan.

'Yes, it does.' agreed the Doctor.

As they rounded the corner they saw a stall called Planet 10 Burgers.

'Are you hungry?' asked the Doctor, seeing that there was no queue.

'Rather.'

'Wonderful, this will make a change from our usual meals.' he said, referring to the TARDIS’s food dispenser that lacked the colour and substance of fresh cooked food, no matter how unhealthily it was.

'Hey guys, what can I get ya?' asked the overweight proprietor of the burger stall.

'Erm.' began the Doctor, staring at the extensive menu.

'Special’s today are the Triple Cheese and Chilli spice burgers.'

'Susan?'

'I’m not sure.'

'Come along, come along, the gentleman is waiting.'

Susan looked all around her. Everywhere people, sounds and sights.

'Susan, Susan…' repeated the Doctor.

Susan felt herself moving forward and merging with the crowds.

'Go on, have this on the house, OAP special.' said the man, passing the Doctor a burger wrapped in a napkin.

'OAP? Oh, thank you.' muttered the Doctor, concerned at Susan’s behaviour.

'She’ll be back Pops.' The Doctor at being called ‘Pops’ turned and looked at the man and he, seeing The Doctor’s fractious glance, quickly focused his attention to his next customer.

'Pops indeed,' scowled the Doctor, biting into his burger sending sauce shooting out from the other end and dropping onto his cloak.

Susan was in awe of it all. She walked in a daze, her eyes desperately trying to take in everything around her. Suddenly a leaflet was pushed under her nose. She looked up.