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he flowers were in full bloom, their scents wafted pleasantly around the gardens. A bumblebee happily buzzed from bush, to flower, and to tree. It was a peaceful and idyllic scene. As it flew, its tiny wings beating in such a way that would always baffle and infuriate earth scientists; the bumblebee alighted for a moment. It landed on a tall blue box that was hidden in the shade of an Oak tree. Outside this strange edifice, cooling in its shade were two rather worn deck chairs. On these, stretched out, were two figures. The elder of the two was a rather distinguished old gentleman with flowing silver locks. He wore checked trousers and a frock coat. On his head was a rather yellowing Panama hat. His clothes had a vaguely Victorian air. Beside him was his travelling companion Dodo.

The Doctor was deep in sleep and snoring loudly. Dodo looked at him, picked up a stick that was lying beside her chair and gave him a nudge with it. He stirred for a moment and then went back to sleep. This time, at least, he had stopped snoring. Dodo turned away from him and went back to her own napping.

The Man, as if by magic, appeared out of nowhere. He wore a very well tailored grey suit, and had perfectly prepared hair. The only thing strange about his appearance was his bright silver waistcoat that glittered in the sunlight. As he got his bearings, his keen eyes scanned his new surroundings. There was nothing of interest to be seen. That is until he saw the TARDIS. He moved towards it and felt its surface. The tremor of latent power travelled through his fingers. He stepped back slightly amazed at the purity of the power and said to himself, ‘At last I've found exactly what I need.’

In his sleep the Doctor stirred uneasily as the TARDIS tried to alert him to something.

The strange man rubbed his hands together and concentrated as an eerie glow enveloped him. He shuddered for a moment, and then relaxed. With his arms extended in front of him, he advanced towards the TARDIS. As his hands touched it, there was a crackle of static and a release of ozone. He walked forwards and his entire body sank through the Police Box exterior of the TARDIS.

At the very same moment, the sleeping figure of the Doctor shot rapidly back into full consciousness. He sat bolt upright in his chair; sweat trickling from under his Panama hat. He took a hanky from his pocket and mopped his furrowed brow. He looked around to the TARDIS. He noticed that the beacon on top was flashing red. 'Oh dear, I do believe that I may have a bit of a problem!'

The Intruder was definitely in a bit of trouble. He had expected to penetrate the interior of the time vessel but instead he found himself trapped in the dimensional limbo between the inner and outer plasmic shells of the TARDIS. He found he could not penetrate any further. This was because as soon as the TARDIS had detected the outer shell breach, it had raised the interior defence shields. As he floated about he reasoned that he would need to build a bridge. The only thing wrong with that, was that it could take him quite some time to construct one. He only hoped that the owner of the craft didn't discover him before he breached the inner plasmic shell. He put his hands to his temple, closed his eyes and sank into a very deep thought. What he really needed was to find any tiny chink in the shell's defences. It wouldn't have to be very large.

The doors to the console room opened and the Doctor walked in. He crossed to the console and closed the doors behind him. As he looked around his eyes fell on the fault locator. It was flashing angrily at him. He walked towards it and made a note of the digital code on it's read out. He turned from the machine and then made his way to the far corner of the console room.

There stood an ancient bureau, and near to that was an ornate Ormolu Clock. He paused to set the correct time on the clock's bezel and then opened the slide top of the bureau. After a moment of searching he had found what he was looking for - The TARDIS flight manual. If only all of his past travelling companions knew of it's existence, and of the vital information it contained. The Doctor thought about this, and a wicked smile spread across his face. He blew the dust off its cover, opened the book and leafed through it until he found the section on Error and Fault Reports. The former smile melted from his aged face.

‘Mmm, an outer plasmic shell breach, I'll have to look into this carefully.’ and he moved towards the interior door of the console room. As he opened it a thought suddenly struck him. He turned around and moved back over to the console. He reached over, and flicked the switch on the outer lock isolation system. Dodo now could not gain access to the TARDIS. ‘She would be a lot safer outside in the warmth of the garden.’ he thought and then, without a moments delay, exited the console room and headed towards the laboratory.


he TARDIS’ intruder floated about, still deep in concentration. As he thought on, he could see the inner shell of the TARDIS in front of him, and as he looked closely he thought he could see the chink in the shell's armour. His hand reached towards it, and as his fingers touched there was a shimmering in its fabric. With a bright flash, a portion of the TARDIS components became exposed. He was most pleased with his skills as a technician and smiled to himself. He reached into his pocket and removed a small, shiny, silver bead, which sat in the palm of his hand. He covered it with his other hand and a dull red glow enveloped his clasped hands, which was combined with a high-pitched whine.

A short time passed and he eventually opened his hands and looked again at his palm. In the place of the bead there was now a small silver spider. He looked closely at the creature in his hand and said, ‘You know what to find, my little friend. Go out and eat any silver components you can find.’ He paused, ‘Be careful. Don't take anything vital. Without this vessel, I cannot complete my task. Now go and be fruitful.’  After completing his little speech, he touched the circuitry with his finger. The little spider ran along it and was absorbed into the TARDIS. At the moment it totally disappeared, a ripple was sent through the fabric of the plasmic shell to the interior of the vessel.



artwork by ANDY LAMBERT
used with permission
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