Bernice (draft 2)

[Here we go with version 2, this time I’ve checked the spelling and actually re-read what I wrote yesterday.] Professor Bernice S. Summerfield woke up but didn’t open her eyes right away. She somehow knew she wasn’t in the same bed she had fallen asleep in. In her far too common experience when waking in unfamiliar places it was best to pretend to be asleep while she worked out what the hell was going on. So she kept her eyes shut. Then again in her experience it was rare to wake up in such an incredibly comfortable bed. She realized there was something familiar about this place after all. She had the sense of being at home in her bedroom. This was odd as she hadn’t had anything she would call her bedroom (or even a home) for more than ten years. She finally figured it was the noise of the room that sounded familiar, even comforting.

Her eyes snapped open. ‘Oh no. No. No. No. What’s he done to me this time. Cruck.’ she mumbled into the pillow. She rolled out of bed, her feet perfect fitting into the pair of slippers that were positioned on the floor, exactly where they always were. She looked around the room, it was about twenty years since she had been here, she wondered how long it had been for the room. The room looked the same, it was large and spacious, the walls looked like they were made from white plastic with many round glowing indents. Her king sized four post water bed was in the center of the room. There was a giant bamboo chair in the corner surrounded by a potted collection of exotic palm trees, she was surprise that someone had bothered to water them. Her dresser with a bunch of makeup and various other junk scattered across it. A glass cabinet containing part her beer mug collection. The Ikea wardrobe stood by one of the walls, doors open and clothes pouring out onto the floor. On the bedside table were two volumes of her diary. There was an archway that lead off to the bathroom and a simple white door that lead out to the rest of the ship. She stood in front of the dresser and looked at her reflection. A 54 and three quarters year old woman wearing an oversized blue-green hyper-color t-shirt, looking both older and younger than she was looked back at her. The t-shirt wasn’t very flattering but it matched the “Pikachu” slippers. She shrugged her shoulders, twirled her hair and headed out of the room. The hallway outside had changed, the sterile white replaced with cool grey stone. She went right, she always went right, left never seemed the way to go. The corridor went slowly down and curved to the left. Every few meters a stone archway pretended to hold up the ceiling, with burning torches on the wall at random intervals added to the psudo-medieval feel. But she knew better than to trust the looks of this place. She passes closed doors that didn’t catch her attention. She knew she was being guided and just let it happen. After a while the corridor ended at a large set of double wooden doors. She pushed them open and walked out across a wooden suspension bridge that spanned a black chasm. On the far side of the bridge another set of doors lead to a spiral staircase. She went up. Occasionally she passed a landing with a closed door. She stopped at a door that was in no way different from any of the ones she had already walked by. But this one felt like the one to open. She pushed the door opened and got a face full of bright sun light. She held her hand up to shade her eyes and looked into the room. Stretching out before her was a large wheat field, in the distance was what looked like the begging of a forest and rising beyond that was the peaks of some distant mountains. She stepped from the cool stone corridor into the beautiful summers day. She suddenly wished she had bothered to get dressed. He was there, standing a short way off by the edge of the field, he was wearing a large floppy straw hat, his shirt sleeves rolled up above his elbows, a light earth toned vest, brown slacks and work boots. All very pastoral. He looked up from his work towards Bernice, even from the distance she could see his face break into a broad, sincere smile. He waved at her warmly. She walked down the track to join him. A gentle wind played over the field making pockets of the crop dip and twist and sway. As she walked up to the man he put down his tools and gave her a big hug. It was like hugging your favorite uncle. ‘Hello Benny, miss me?’ She had always liked this version of him, he was easier to read than the others she had meet, he radiated honesty, trust, joy, happiness, good feelings. She couldn’t help smile and the angry opening line she had been planing to say to him disappeared, instead she simply said; ‘Nope.’ He took a step back and looked her up and down, then smiled again. ‘It really is good to see you again, its been too long.’ ‘So,’ she asked looking away from him, ‘what’s with the wheat?’ He looked around, almost as if noticing the field for the first time. Then he looked down at his hand, in which he was holding a few [top of wheat, the grain bits… not sure what they’re called]. ‘I was in the mood for making some bread,’ he replied. She couldn’t tell if the thought of buying some floor had simply not occurred to him, or if he thought that would be cheating in some way. It didn’t really make much difference. He waved his hand and indicated they should head back to the door. ‘So, what have you kidnapped me for this time?’ she asked as they walked. He stopped short. ‘Kidnapped? I haven’t done anything of the sort! We are still on Ploddus-3, the TARDIS is parked about five meters from you tent. I just thought you might find your old bed more comfortable to sleeping on the ground.’ All the remaining anger faded away, he hadn’t done anything silly. Well he had done something silly, but he was being nice, he hadn’t whisked her off to far away times and places, to adventures unknown. He had just dropped in for a chat and some tea. They stopped by the scare-crow so he could give it back it’s hat and collect his jacket. Then they continued through the door and back into the corridors. It was a different corridor to the one Bernice had use to enter the field, even though it had been the same door. Neither of them was surprised. ‘The wheat will be ready soon. I’ll have to work out how to mill it next,’ he said to himself absently. Then he looked at her and offered her the crook of his arm. She accepted and arm in arm they strolled off down the corridors, he was leading the way past a few turns and then through a door. ‘So your just visiting then?’ she asked carefully. ‘Yes, unless there was somewhere you wanted to go, but first I think its time for breakfast,’ he said as they entered the room. The dining room was larger than it had been, again the white walls had been replaced, this time with a dark wood. A long table was in the center and food dispensers on both the left and right walls. At the far end of the room the wall was filled with a stained glass window depicting some sort of garden scene. He dialed up a generous fried breakfast for Bernice, and a pot of tea for himself and they sat and ate. After a while, and once Bernice was feeling more satisfied, she answered his question, ‘No, I don’t think there is anywhere I want to go. Well, not that I can’t get too on my own, but thanks for the offer.’ She knew he hadn’t really been serious, but she also knew that she only had to ask and he would take her to the end of time, literally. ‘Traveling alone nowadays?’ she asked as she sipped her tea. ‘Funny you should ask, no, I’ve got a full crew at the moment.’ ‘And just how many people comprise the “full crew” of an infinitely large time-space ship?’ He blinked. ‘Er, for a type 40?’ he started counting on his fingers, ‘six Time Lords if I remember the specs right. But that’s not what I meant. I rescued the crew science vessel that was in a spot of trouble with the Zerg. I keep offering to drop them off somewhere but they seem happy to just travel for the moment.’ Bernice looked at her old friend in frank surprise, somewhere in this ship there could be anywhere up to 10,000 people depending of the crew size of the original vessel. ‘Fourteen,’ he said, realising what she was thinking. ‘I’ve grown rather found of them too, there all very nice people. Its different actually having a large group on board. I hope you get a chance to meet some of them.’ The door to the room burst open and Bernice looked around to see a tall, extremely well built, 19 or 20 year old man walk in wearing nothing but a pair of speedos. ‘Hi Doctor, is this your friend?’ he asked as he went and dialed up a double serving of everything. ‘Yes, Benny, meet Dr Maxwell Lightfoot. Max, meet Professor Bernice S. Summerfield.’ Max sat down at the table opposite Bernice. ‘Not THE Professor Bernice Summerfield?’ he asked. ‘The archaeologist? I’ve read some of your books, you were way ahead of your time.’ ‘Er, cheers, I think,’ she replied, and then turned to the Doctor. ‘Does he always dress so causal?’ ‘You should count yourself luck, he’s from the Molontra colony. Its illegal to wear clothes of any sort there.’ Bernice wasn’t sure if she was lucky he was wear so much, or so little, but she kept that thought to herself, after all she was old enough to be his grandmother, just. [As for ‘woeful’ dialog… I don’t think it was that bad. I seem to have written myself into a corner all for the purpose of a joke and now don’t know how to go one… I may have to lose the whole Max sequence but it is too late tonight to do any more.]