Fanfiction is never quite the writer's journey I've taken. Technically, I have, but I was never that writer growing up who wrote oodles and oodles of fanfiction for Harry Potter or something. Officially the only fanfiction I've written and what you can probably still find online is a several-part Community fan fiction I wrote one night at uni.
If you bring spec scripts into the mix, however, I have written a pilot for an indie cartoon called Super Turbo Atomic Ninja Rabbit the creators can't legally read, a complete Jaws 19 screenplay (Yes, the joke from Back to the Future II), and started screenplays for Aquaman, Ghostbusters III, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Indiana Jones, Batman, Han Solo...and probably some other stuff. Also an incomplete Aayla Secura Star Wars origin story, and I once made an X-Files fan-film.
Okay, so fanfiction is a thing I dabble in. Mostly conceptual. There's a pitch for a Transformers reboot co-starring The Rock I pitched once which is also online somewhere. Maybe I'll share that one day.
One of my writing dreams is to write for Doctor Who, however, and I did start a hypothetical episode of a hypothetical season with a brand-new female Doctor. But that didn't go anywhere.
That quick runthrough of my relationship and history with fanfiction, and we come to this: "Different", a foray into the world of fanfiction once more with an original short Doctor Who story.
Basically, I saw an off-handed tweet about this website called Mixital, which I believe is an offshoot of the BBC, and they mentioned a fanfiction writing challenge and the potential for your writing to be a featured story. As the procrastinating writer I have been of late, I decided to take the opportunity to have a little writing challenge. And this is what I came up with.
At 3000 words in the space of 90 minutes, it's nothing towards the current screenplay in progress, but it's a nice exercise into the dream of writing Doctor Who.
I never said it was great, but here we go!:
“You seem a bit…odd,” Jodie’s mother said as she took note at how differently her daughter was speaking. Mothers noticed things, even when they neglected to say anything about it. Jodie’s mother tended to be a bit more blunt, however.
Jodie paid no attention to her mother’s remarks, but then again, what teenager does listen to their parents 100% of the time? In a way the behaviour upset Jodie’s parents, but they were young and fun and “hip” once. So they understood for the most part. Most of the time didn’t pay too much attention to it.
Even though they should have.
The Doctor always did like to travel. Never in the same place. Never in the same time. Just different seconds spent in different worlds, almost never consecutively. Ever since the Time Lord ran away from a destiny forged and towards a destiny constantly chasing him, The Doctor made up for his non-chronological attitude to the universe’s workings by attempting to fix what didn’t quite work.
Time had a tendency to do that. Time was always a bit more manageable than space. Until it got complicated. Unfortunately that’s usually the case. Which makes it a shame that the alien to our world has two hearts and not two brains.
Space might be infinite, but The Doctor always had an affinity for Earth and its inhabitants. Quite a few had quite the affinity for him too. Whether it be getting him to save the world for the foreseeable version of the future or just making goo-goo eyes at him. Sometimes it was both.
Of course the Time Lord wouldn’t be able to do all the incredible things across all of time and relative dimensions in space with out the TARDIS. Which stands for…Oh, well, nevermind. What matters is that the TARDIS, to the Doctor, was home. And work. An office where he lives. That travels through time. Easy enough to understand. Complexly if you had two brains.
The TARDIS when boiled down to it is a time machine. That device people would love to use to go back in time a few decades and change all of time, go into the future and see if hoverboards and time machines existed, and generally go sideways through all of history to see what they wanted and inadvertedly change the entire course of things. The Doctor was a little more careful in that potential. Most of the time. Time usually fixed itself anyway. When it wanted to.
The Doctor’s TARDIS generally worked when it wanted to as well. With only a single Time Lord at the helm the majority of the time, the TARDIS isn’t exactly piloted the correct way a lot of the time. With this in mind, the TARDIS loved to pick up the slack. And the destination. Even if the Doctor wasn’t planning on it. The Doctor didn’t always find trouble. Nor did trouble always find the Doctor. But the TARDIS loved to put the two together and prod them with sticks.
Usually somewhere like London or Cardiff. Not that the rest of the United Kingdom wasn’t ideal. Let alone the Republic of Ireland, Europe, or the rest of the world. The Doctor welcomed anywhere he landed when it came to Earth. He always looked forward to where he’d end up.
“London,” the Doctor determined as he peeked his head out of the TARDIS. He stuck his tongue out to catch non-existent snowflakes to taste the time and place. 2017. He was fond of 2017. Or was it 1917? The Doctor had lived for so long and lived so many lives, sometimes the details were a bit hazy.
He stepped over to the TARDIS controls and picked up his trusty Sonic Screwdriver: a Swiss Army Knife of possibility that lacked a knife attachment. Or a corkscrew. The Doctor was surprised by just how many moments in time where he needed a corkscrew. Maybe for the next model.
Twirling his magic wand of technology in the air as he bounded for the exit, the Doctor grabbed his jacket and went on his way to work.
“Ah,” the Doctor said as he stepped into a muddy puddle. Behind him the TARDIS doors swung to a shut position. A bold blue police box stood where a time machine of endless possibility should of stood. It was a type of camouflage the Doctor was a fan of. Even though the concept of a police telephone box felt alien any other time than the sixties. That said, the Doctor was an alien, and a red telephone box didn’t sit right for the Doctor. Not that he could change it at all anyway. The TARDIS was stuck in its appearance; the one thing time could never change. Size, maybe. But that’s a different story.
Outside and able to scout his surroundings properly for the first time and gather his bearings, the Doctor found that he was in a garden. A particularly tiny garden boxed between a large wall and an average house. In it sat a football goal, a washing line, and some tables and chairs. Not that you’d be able to use two of those things at the same time. Wherever he actually was in that particular moment in time, the Doctor knew he was there for a reason.
Which is exactly what he thought before a football hit him in the head.
“Watch where you’re throwing that thing!” The Doctor clutched at his head and the one brain he had that rattled inside it. He looked around to find a culprit and found a girl standing before him. Mud caked her shoes and socks pulled up over shin-pads.
“It’s a football,” the girl said as the ball rolled back to her. She placed her foot over the top of it, holding it in place.
“Yeah, well, if it’s that there’s no need to hit it with your head!” The Doctor said as he rubbed his head, bringing himself back into the moment. His eyes narrowed and stepped forwards. “What’s your name?”
“Jodie?” called the girl’s mother as she stepped out into the garden already too small for two people.
“Ah, Jodie,” the Doctor nodded. “Well, you have a hell of a kick there.”
“Who are you?” Jodie’s mother asked, concerned by the grown man and the blue police box that had appeared in her garden dangerously close to her fragile washing line.
“I’m…The Doctor,” the Time Lord said. “I think I got a bit…lost.”
“‘The Doctor?’” Jodie’s mother repeated. Her eyes flicked back to the TARDIS. “What’s that?”
“Oh you wouldn’t believe it if I told you,” The Doctor said as he walked towards the house. “Have you noticed anything strange lately? I tend to find strange. Or strange finds me. Not that I’ve seen anything strange just yet.”
The house was definitely even smaller on the inside. The Doctor struggled to manoeuvre through the tiny kitchen past piles of clothes and boxes. It was here he was glad he hadn’t brought his companion on this adventure. The Time Lord was most certainly spoilt by the grand scale of the TARDIS, but that’s what happens when you find a way to fit a big box in a smaller box. Science on Earth can put countless songs into a tiny box, but still a limit to space. Architecture was just as backwards, the Doctor thought, after he hit his head on a low-hanging beam.
“Watch out!” Jodie’s mother called after the Doctor. “You’re going the wrong way!”
“Am I?” The Doctor looked around. “I assumed I was just in the back of the house and by going this way I was heading to the front. Did I miss a left or something?”
“You’re a doctor, right?”
“I’m The Doctor.”
“Well you’re not the one I called! Dr Singh said he was 50 minutes away.”
“50 minutes? A lot can happen in 50 minutes…Is there an emergency?”
The Doctor looked around. Maybe it was exactly here he was supposed to be. Nothing looked to be in danger. No Daleks. No Cybermen. A Weeping Angel couldn’t even fit in the room.
“Didn’t you see? My daughter. She’s…odd.”
“Miss…Whatever your name is. I hardly doubt that thinking a football’s meant to be hit with your head is enough ground to call someone odd. Different, maybe, but…Different is good.”
“But you didn’t try…Talking to her.”
“How old must she be? 14?”
“Well there we go! Adolescence! That’s why you’ve been having problems talking to her!”
The door to the garden slid shut as Jodie stepped into the kitchen. There was a clip clop of sounds that echoed from her feet as she walked into the house, dragging mud. Jodie’s mum moved away from the Doctor and back to her daughter.
“Jodie! What did we say?”
“Sorry, mother,” Jodie said and walked past. The Doctor raised his eyebrows as he watched the teenager continue through the house, sparing a moment to turn and look right into the Doctor’s eyes before moving on.
“Now that is odd.”
“See? She never calls me mother,” Jodie’s mother said.
“Not that, the fact she said sorry,” the Doctor corrected. He raised a finger to keep Jodie’s mother where she stood, and followed Jodie alone.
The Doctor tiptoed up the stairs past what little room was allowed beyond all the pairs of shoes that stood. At the top of the stairs was the very first door he could see. Ajar and illuminated by bright light.
Taking his time, the Doctor edged his way to the portal. Placing a hand on the painted wood, the Doctor felt a low hum. The Time Lord’s head began to ring ever so gently. It was a curious frequency. One the Doctor had felt before, but not in such a long time.
“Jodie, can I come in?” The Doctor asked.
Nothing. This teenager was inconsistent in communicating with adults. Like all teenagers, but also completely different.
“I’m coming in,” the Doctor warned, pulling softly on the door handle.
“Well I can see why you don’t let people in your room.”
The Doctor marvelled at the bright lights that filled the space. Still quite the tiny room, it was only made smaller through the sheer amount of monitors that took up the space. Old and new, thin and fat, Jodie had hooked up countless monitors in an array from whatever she could get her hands upon.
Jodie said nothing, at first. She just sat in the middle of her bed in the middle of her room and just looked at the Doctor.
“Now, I’ve been a lot of places in a lot of times and met a lot of people, and not one of them I would call ‘odd’, like your mother says,” the Doctor said, as he put his hand in his pocket.
Jodie’s gaze followed the Time Lord as he moved in what small a space he could.
“I will, however, suppose that what you are doing is quite unconventional,” the Doctor noted. He took a closer look at a monitor. “Patterns! Codes! Nothing odd about that, loads of kids like playing spy when they’re in school! Secret messages, all that.”
The teenage girl straightened her back as she kept her legs crossed, examining the houseguest.
“Now this,” the Doctor tapped on one of the older monitors, the glass vibrating, “Is a bit more interesting. Star maps! People your age like the stars. I know I did when I was…younger…Maybe you’re even interesting in sailing!”
Jodie’s mud-stained footprints trailed a path for the Doctor to which he took, moving closer to Jodie.
“But this…However…Now this is the closest thing to odd,” the Doctor said as he zoomed in on one particular monitor. “Now that’s not just a code, that’s a different language. From many lightyears away from here. I assume, because my TARDIS translates everything. But you know what a TARDIS is, don’t you?”
Jodie said nothing. She only leant towards the Doctor, locking eyes.
The Doctor felt the hum vibrate his skull once again. He laughed and threw on his sunglasses.
“It’s okay that you don’t want to talk, I understand that,” the Doctor said. His hands reached back into his pockets. “Strange man, from outer space, suddenly appears as if he was summoned. Or dropped here somewhere.”
The Doctor raised his finger.
The Time Lord lifted his Sonic Screwdriver from his pocket with his other hand. With a press, all the monitors switched off. Outside, the Doctor could hear the doors to the TARDIS wobble and bang.
“Oh that would have been too easy, Jodie! Distract me and let your mother break into the TARDIS to steal it? You can’t steal something that’s already stolen! There’s a code about that somewhere! Pirates', probably…”
The Doctor flicked his Sonic Screwdriver again and the monitors leapt back into life.
“I have to say, it’s rather ingenious that you’re doing recon through some unassuming girl’s mind and you can somehow leap to another mind too. Why not try and take over the rest of the peoples’ minds?”
Jodie slowly began to shake her head.
“Is that not what you want? Oh! You want to bring everyone here! An invasion!”
The Doctor laughed and waved his Sonic Screwdriver. The monitors flicked through images of maps and plans.
“But why would you want a TARDIS?” The Doctor pondered. “Oh! That’s brilliant.”
The Time Lord clapped and moved to Jodie’s bed. He sat on the edge of it.
“You’ve managed to make contact with another world but you don’t have the ability to travel,” the Doctor theorised. “Don’t worry, Earth won’t discover the technology either for quite a while. Maybe your two worlds will meet one day! But not today. Not tomorrow.”
The Doctor stood up as soon as he sat down. “So get out of this innocent girl’s head and go back to waiting.”
“No,” Jodie said.
“That’s not the right answer,” the Doctor responded. “You need to leave right now. This is not your time. And you’re not going to ruin a young mind in your quest to invade this planet I hold so dearly.”
“You know nothing of where we come from,” Jodie said.
“Try me,” the Doctor smiled. “I’m the Doctor. Forever finding myself in a different time, forever finding myself in a different space. Either I’ve met you or I will. Probably in a different order. Our worlds will cross when time allows it, but you can’t force it to happen. So take this chance to leave, and I won’t have to make you.”
“You wouldn’t attack me,” Jodie said.
“You’re right,” the Doctor smiled. “All we need is to turn it all off and on again.”
The Doctor pointed his Sonic Screwdriver to the ceiling and switched it on. The device began to emit a counter series of hums and vibrations that cancelled out the ones he felt the moment he came towards the room. However it was that the signal of mind control reached Jodie, the Doctor didn’t quite catch. It wasn’t a crack in time, at least, but it was something.
Each and every one of the monitors around Jodie’s room sparked and blew their fuses. One by one the screens cut to black and lost the kaleidoscope of images strewn across the area. Whatever information they stored, it was gone in an instant.
With that gone, as was the grasp that was held on Jodie’s mind. The switch, however, was enough to knock her clean out. On examination there wasn’t any recognisable damage to the adolescent’s mind, just the usual trials and tribulations of high school that had worked on her. It was Jodie, and thankfully back to the Jodie her parents would recognise.
The Doctor took his leave of Jodie’s room. He was sure the girl had some explaining to do once her parents discovered where all the spare technology in the house and surrounding electronics stores had gone to.
It took a little while for the Doctor to find his way back out of the house and into the garden. After a minor struggle with the sliding doors, the Time Lord found himself back in the tiny garden of too much happening in too small a space and discovered Jodie’s mother picking herself off the ground, confused and disorientated.
“What happened?” she said. “Has Doctor Singh gotten here yet?”
“No, it’s okay. I managed to help,” the Doctor smiled as he took Jodie’s mother’s hand and led her back towards the house. “I’m a good enough doctor too.”
“That’s the spirit.”
The Doctor clicked his fingers and the TARDIS doors swung open.
“So my daughter’s stopped being odd?”
“Well,” the Doctor pushed his sunglasses up his nose to avoid glare. “She’ll probably still avoid talking and other human interaction, but she’s a teenager! They all do that. Or so I’ve read.”
“How much do I owe you for helping?”
“Who pays for healthcare? Call it universal,” the Doctor waved as he made his way back inside the TARDIS.
“Where are you going? We have a phone inside!”
“Oh, it’s okay, it’s my ride,” the Doctor peeked out from around the doors.
“Bigger on the inside,” the Doctor said. “I said you wouldn’t believe me. Have you thought of doing some…spring cleaning?”
“I…” Jodie’s mother said as she turned to look at the contents of her house. The sound of the TARDIS’ cloister bell drew her attentions back to where the Doctor stood.
But he was gone.
“It’s a good thing mind control has the side-effect of recent memory loss,” the Doctor mused. “Well…a relatively good thing.”
The Doctor removed his sunglasses and put them back into his jacket before hanging it up. He stepped back towards the centre console of the TARDIS and looked at the readings.
“I guess I should stop leaving Bill waiting around, shouldn’t I?” The Doctor said to the TARDIS.
But she didn’t say anything back.
The TARDIS was odd like that.