Doctor Who: The Collector
By Gareth Agnew
Earth Relative Date: 22nd February 2484
Proximity: Class 3 gas giant, Betelgeuse VI
With a sudden crackle of energy, the retro-rockets fired, illuminating and sparking the myriad of dust particles that swept from the hull under the rapid deceleration. There was an almost palpable sigh as space-time wobbled, plopped the ship out of hyperspace, and back into normal space for the first time in two centuries. The ship shuddered briefly, then cruised into a gentle orbit above the swirling green atmosphere of Betelgeuse VI.
"Not the most comfortable environment," The Collector mused, "but we have everything we need for the operation right here."
He looked across at Sub-Collector Korcula. "How are we for time?" he asked.
"Fine sir. Won't be long now!" replied Korcula cheerfully.
"Very good. Be a good chap and put the kettle on would you? I'm still a bit stiff from all that Light Speed hibernation, and a good cuppa will go down a treat. It'll put me right in the mood."
Korcula shuffled off into the kitchen area at the back of the bridge, humming his favourite tune as he went. The Collector chuckled. "Wrong version." he thought. "We'll educate you soon enough."
The Collector got up from his command chair, walked across the bridge, and into the cosy living area. He had to admit, he did like this ship. The designers had done a very good job of creating an ultra-fast, functional starship, sleek, yet comfortable, with just a hint of tat. He especially liked the three ducks flying up the wall. A nice touch.
Before settling down on the sofa, The Collector popped a blank DataPod™ into the Sony Historiographer. "Finally!" he said. "Snoozin' for two hundred years, but we've finally made it."
Korcula came in with the wicker tea tray. A brown teapot, two white teacups, milk, sugar and a glass plate piled high with Jaffa Cakes. "Shall I be mother?" he said. The Collector nodded and Korcula poured the tea.
"By the way, how is the antenna behaving itself?" queried The Collector, fiddling nervously with his spectacles.
"Nothing to worry about. Functioning normally sir." Korcula glanced over his shoulder at the red neon display out on the bridge. "98... 99... 100% aligned. We're ready. Here's your tea."
They settled back, and shuffled nervously on the sofa, trying to get as comfortable as possible. For a few minutes they munched their Jaffa Cakes and sipped their tea in silence.
"Is the Historiographer on pause and ready to go?" asked The Collector.
"Yes sir. All ready."
"Marvellous! Time to turn on then."
"OK. Here we go."
Sub-Collector Korcula picked up the remote from the coffee table, and switched on the monitor in the corner of the room.
The static cleared, and a picture formed. The Collector was practically jumping up and down in his seat, his tea sloshing dangerously around in his cup.
"Release the pause!" he cried.
"Pause released. We are recording sir!"
There was a brief announcement, a fade to black, and then with a swoosh, a bright white light leapt up from the bottom of the screen. It swirled upwards and broke apart, whizzing in all directions.
"FANTASTIC! 520 light years from Earth, but we actually did it!" shouted The Collector.
The main title appeared, and faded away. Then, a picture of a mountain appeared.
"1 down, 108 to go" said The Collector, as "The Roof of The World" faded into view.