Had the ship been in an atmosphere it would have made a thunderous roar but in the
icy cold of space it was as silent as the grave. The ship was massive; it displaced many millions of tonnes of non-existent
water. The lack of gravity rendered it lighter than an insect's wing.
Captain Gurd S. Omega sat in his command chair staring blank-faced at the instrument
panels. Due to the increase in piracy Earth Security Fleet had invented the new subjective perception displays. Omega pressed
the feeder button on his wristband. The control drug flowed through his veins into his brain. The display became clear at
once, if only ESF could have put their talents to changing the system rather than the operator then his career would be twice
as long. Systemic organ failure was the inevitable reason for the shortened life span of command staff. They called it Coma
White because the press loved a snazzy title to blame everything on. All he could look forward to was drug-induced euphoria
caused by his higher brain functions breaking down. They would put him in a care institution of course. The ESF looked after
their own until no one was looking then all he was to them was excess waste to be got rid of.
Omega looked over to his
second in command. Commander Biggs was younger and healthier but the symptoms were already showing. Shaking, facial twitches
and that blank-eyed stare. Omega swore that if he ever saw that look in his own eyes then he would end it all. Fifteen percent
of all senior officers died of suicide; it was a chilling statistic. They chose to end it rather than end up like that. If
you saw a Coma White victim then you saw someone drained of their very humanity. It had to end...it had to.
The Doctor was casually leafing through a garden centre catalogue; picking out some
new potted plants to decorate the console room with. The soft crumpled green of her velvet skirt and jacket matched the olive
blouse and silk hair ribbons. She was thinking orchids as usual but kept finding herself drawn towards geraniums. "Oh well,
there's always room for orchids in the other rooms." The click of her velvet green boots tapped out as she walked over to
the console. She set the controls and the decision was made. It came as some surprise when instead of the garden centre she
found herself in the cargo bay of a spaceship. "If there's Vervoids out there I'm going to be most cross."
Warning lights came on in the control room. "Space pirates, lots of them." Omega
instructed the computer to run for it. They were a cargo ship with minimum light armaments after all.
"Which way I wonder?" She put her hands on her hips and tried not to look indecisive.
Turning around she found her companions were not there. She found them in the recreation room playing snooker. David was wearing
the same black jeans he always wore and a Prodigy t-shirt. Claire was in a purple dress with a black shawl draped over her
shoulders. "We have landed. I know I don't run as tight a ship as I should but is it too much not to expect a little adventure
from the two of you? There's a packet of revels in it for the two of you." They followed her to the door. "There you go."
She handed the sweets over while tucking a flask of tea under her arm.
The boarding party blasted the feeble defence troops aside and quickly suppressed
any and all resistance with lethal force. They penetrated deep into the ship like a needle through skin before spreading out
in a fan-like search pattern. Survivors were herded towards a makeshift camp in the main cargo bay and tied up with rope and
bandages from a first aid kit. Several members of the boarding party examined the blue box but assumed it was just cargo.
The Doctor, David and Claire explored
the ship; it seemed deserted which was strange. It could be automated but why would there be crew rooms? And why would this
cup of tea be warm? "A little sweet for my liking but it's palatable." She drained it off and placed the cup in the automat.
that box for Doctor?" David asked.
"The automat is a very clever device which can perform a number of pre-programmed tasks.
It can clean cups, make tea, stir tea and keep your tea warm."
"Does it do any other duties that aren't tea related?"
would anyone want to do that?" She feigned seriousness.
"I dunno maybe they wanted coke for a change?"
The Doctor took
off one of her velvet boots and put it in the automat. "Press the instruction code and there you go it's clean."
"Yes, pity it's not large enough to put you in it." Claire joked at her brother's expense.
Omega initiated the security protocols, sealing the control section with three feet
of diamond-encrusted tungsten. Nothing could get through that. It came as a surprise when they came through the floor and
ceiling instead. His ship was captured but he managed to activate the self-destruct system.
Klaxons sounded throughout the ship. The Doctor followed a plan of the ship,
found attached to the back of every crew door, until they found the command deck. The sonic screwdriver opened the access
locks and they found themselves in a smoke filled environment. Handy breather units were at hand and they put them on. The
control centre was closed but she made short work of the controls. Some days the sonic screwdriver really was her best friend.
They found themselves staring into the business ends of a dozen blasters. "I surrender?" The Doctor raised her hands, inspecting
her nail polish.
"Very wise." The lead pirate motioned for the other pirates to put their guns down.
turn the loud noise off now? I think everyone's learned the sound it makes by now." The Doctor smiled as the noise died away.
"Now that's more civilised isn't it? I'm the Doctor by the way and this is not a garden centre is it?"
"Be quite woman."
The lead pirate went to strike her but the Doctor avoided the clumsy oaf easily.
"Charming fellow isn't he? I do hope the
rest of you are going to behave or I'll be forced to use this against you." She held up the silver flask of tea. "All that
glitters is cold."
"She's got a fusion bomb." The chant went up. "She's a maniac, lets get out of here."
could only laugh as the pirates escaped. "I didn't know they were so scared of a good cuppa. I suppose they just didn't want
to impose on my hospitality."
Captain Omega thanked the Doctor for saving his ship and crew. "I'd like to thank you for
saving me but I fear it's too late. I can hear Coma White singing my name."
The Doctor remembered this brief and nasty
condition from an earlier incarnation; probably the seventh, this sort of area seemed to be his forte. "You know what you
need? A nice cup of tea. Contains all the stimulants your brain needs without all the unnecessary side effects."
Omega was appalled. "Why didn't they bother to see if there was an easier way?"
"I have dealt with scientists before. Narrow
eyes, egos the size of planets and arrogance worse than Daleks. They wouldn't recognise the power of a good cup of tea unless
it came in tablet form and that would ruin it altogether."
Back inside the TARDIS the Doctor began to make room for the
new plants. "A quick trip to Ceylon
and then India to pick up some specimens. A couple of tea
plants are just the things to spruce the old place up." She set the controls and left to see how the snooker game was going.
She would end up as umpire; she could feel it in her bones. Still she could have a nice cuppa; it always hit the spot.