It was the middle of the night, and most of the family was asleep. The house was dark and as quiet as it ever is, but I was still awake because of the fact that the internet exists. My brain had been telling me for a few hours that I should go to sleep, but it hadn’t happened yet. Suddenly, I heard an odd noise. “Is that the TARDIS?” I said to myself. I looked up from the computer screen. There before me was the TARDIS. The door opened and the Doctor emerged. It was the tenth doctor, not necessarily because he’s my favorite, but because I actually haven’t seen that many episodes with Matt Smith. Really, Tom Baker is my favorite, but it wasn’t Tom Baker who was standing there in my sisters’ bedroom. It was David Tennant.
“No time to explain,” said the Doctor. “Come on.”
“Um… What’s going on?” I intelligently asked.
“It’s the apocalypse,” The Doctor reminded me. “The solstice is at 4:12 AM in your time zone, and the world is going to end if we don’t do something about it.”
“Oh, that’s right,” I said. “But I thought that the whole apocalypse thing was just a misunderstanding about the Mayan calendar. And that nothing is actually going to happen except that the Mayan calendar is going to end, just like our calendar is going to end at midnight on December 31.”
“Yes, well,” said the Doctor, “That’s true, except that the world really is going to end if we don’t save it. You’d better come with me.”
“Okay,” I said, “but incidentally, why? Don’t you have Rose or Martha or Donna or someone to help you save the world? Not Donna, I hope, ‘cause I don’t like her much. I kind of like Amy, from what I’ve seen of her, and I’m looking forward to seeing episodes with Oswin, because she seems cool. I heard she’s from-”
“It’s Martha,” said the Doctor, “but she’s on vacation right now. That’s why they aren’t televising this. But the world needs to be saved, so I needed to pick up a temporary assistant somewhere. I picked you because my brilliance detector in the TARDIS detected that you, at some point in time, are the most brilliant human in existence.”
I thought for a moment. “I’ll buy that,” I said. “But I think we should bring my sister Nadia, too. She’s brilliant, and she’s totally obsessed with Doctor Who.”
“All right,” said the Doctor. “But hurry! We don’t have much time!”
“HEY, NADIA!” I yelled.
Nadia rolled over, mumbled a reference to an episode that I hadn’t seen, and became motionless again.
“NADIA!” I yelled and shook her a little, but she still didn’t wake up.
The Beautiful Princess
“MROOOOOWWWWWW!” yelled the cat.
“Beautiful Princess!” Nadia exclaimed, jumping out of bed like a jack-in-the-box.
“She’s up,” I helpfully informed the Doctor.
“Allons-y!” said the Doctor.
“Wait a minute!” I cried.
“What is it?” Nadia asked, already standing at the door of the TARDIS.
“I can’t save the world in these earrings!” I wailed. “Where are my saving-the-world earrings?”
“That’s not important,” Nadia told me. “Come on, let’s go.”
“But these aren’t the right earrings,” I insisted, “and I can’t find the right ones! The world is coming to an end, and I don’t have my- Oh, here they are. All righty, I’m ready. Let’s go.”
So The Doctor, Nadia and I piled into the TARDIS. I beckoned to the Beautiful Princess, but she is a little skittish and doesn’t like entering unfamiliar TARDISes. Technically, every TARDIS is an unfamiliar TARDIS to her. So she stayed in my sisters’ bedroom, and the Doctor closed the TARDIS door.
If you think that the interior of the TARDIS looks cool on the TV screen, you should see it in real life. It’s big and shiny and awesome-looking.
“Nice,” I said, but I said it in two syllables because this is Arkansas. Or at least, that’s where we had been. The Doctor was already pressing buttons and pulling levers, and the TARDIS was dematerializing.
“What do you need us to do?” Nadia asked the Doctor.
“Ooh, shiny,” I said, touching shiny stuff.
“DON’T TOUCH THAT!” yelled The Doctor. “It’s a very delicate device with very sensitive components! If you aren’t careful, you could alter the subatomic structure of the transdimensional circuitry, which would result not only in physical harm to you, but also a possible breakdown of the stability of the space-time continuum!”
“Well, sorry,” I said.
“Can we talk about the apocalypse?” Nadia asked. “I want to save the world.”
“Yeah, what’s up with the whole apocalypse thing?” I wanted to know. “I thought that was just some silly internet hype. You know, even the Mayans didn’t think that the end of their calendar meant the end of the world. I thought that’s just something that people on the internet made up because people on the internet like predicting the apocalypse. How can it be real?”
“Because it’s Christmastime,” said the Doctor. “Apocalypses always happen at Christmastime.”
“Are we going to London?” Nadia wanted to know.
“No, I want to go to Central America, where the Mayans are!” I said. “I love Mayans! They’re awesome because they invented baseball. And Incans are awesome because they lived on beautiful mountains and had llamas. And Aztecs are awesome because they discovered chocolate and because they were Aztecs and Aztecs are cool by definition.” I paused briefly for breath. “Also,” I added, “When I was taking World History in high school, I got a perfect score on the quiz the week we did Mayans and Incans and Aztecs.”
“But the apocalypse always starts in London,” Nadia said. “Haven’t you ever watched the Doctor Who Christmas specials?”
“We’re not going to London,” said the Doctor, “We’re going to a spaceship that’s hiding in another set of dimensions, like in Stones of Blood, even though that’s one of the older episodes with Tom Baker.” He used his sonic screwdriver to do something I didn’t understand to the shiny thing that I wasn’t supposed to touch.
“That’s the episode that comes right after my second favorite one,” I helpfully informed everyone.
“Once we’re in the spaceship,” Nadia asked, “what do we do?”
“I’m going to go disconnect the stabilizer circuitry in the time-jam generator,” The Doctor explained, “which will cut off the influx of time gravity and keep time on your planet moving forward. That will buy me enough time to sneak into the control room and reprogram the transdimensional navigation system circuitry for the apocalyptic explosives. Then we run back to the TARDIS and dematerialize quickly before the spaceship sinks into our set of dimensions, falls into the black timehole it created to destroy the Earth, explodes, and bursts into anti-time-gravity flames, which will neutralize the black timehole.” He seemed to be building the shiny thing I wasn’t supposed to touch into the TARDIS control panel.
“Okay,” I said, “I totally didn’t get any of that, but now I have another question. While you’re doing all of that science-fictiony stuff, what are Nadia and I supposed to do?”
“Take these,” said the Doctor, handing us each a thing that appeared to be a Nerf gun, “and shoot any Griggerumps you see.”
“That I can understand,” I said, “except just one thing. What’s a Griggerump?”
“They’re purplish greenish lizardy things with five heads, six feet, a few tusks, and an antler or two,” said the Doctor. “You’ll recognize them when you see them.”
“Why couldn’t we just have daleks?” I grumbled. “I already know exactly what daleks look like.”
The TARDIS rematerialized forcefully, and Nadia and I both stumbled for a moment before catching our balance. Loud, disturbing noises came from the TARDIS console.
“WHAT’S THAT?” I wondered.
“THE TRANSDIMENSIONAL NAVIGATOR IS MALFUNCTIONING!” Nadia explained. “WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO HURRY SO WE CAN GET OUT OF HERE BEFORE IT STOPS WORKING ALTOGETHER, OR ELSE WE’LL BE STUCK HERE UNTIL WE BLOW UP IN THE BLACK TIMEHOLE!”
“Why do these things always make sense to her?” I complained. But nobody heard me because I wasn’t talking in caps lock.
We left the TARDIS and found ourselves in a long, white, featureless hallway with numerous black doors and a funny chemical smell. The Doctor hurried off to find the control room, while Nadia explained to me that it was vitally important that we guard the TARDIS because the Griggerumps were searching for it because the Doctor had stolen the transdimensional navigator from their scout ship down on the planet’s surface. More specifically, it was in London. The Doctor had uncovered their plot, snitched the transdimensional navigator, and linked it to the TARDIS’s controls so that he could use it to get to the set of dimensions where the mothership was. That’s where we were now, Nadia told me, and if the Griggerumps discovered us, we couldn’t let them get the TARDIS. They could take it apart to get replacement parts for all the stuff the Doctor was sabotaging in their own ship.
“Plot hole!” I pointed out. “It shouldn’t be possible for you to explain this stuff to me. You don’t have any way of knowing it.”
“I was being observant and clever,” said Nadia, “while you were looking for your earrings and talking about Mayans.”
Suddenly, a Griggerump popped up out of nowhere. Nadia and I both shot at it and it died, but by that time, we were surrounded by a bajillion others.
“OW!” I yelled.
“Did they get you?” Nadia asked as she shot frantically.
“No,” I said, “I stubbed my toe on the TARDIS.”
“ONE GOT PAST YOU!” yelled Nadia.
I whirled around, and sure enough, there was a Griggerump slithering into the TARDIS.
“I MUST STOP IT!” I shrieked, and dived headfirst into the TARDIS behind it, cleverly dropping my Nerf gun as I did so.
The Griggerump was already halfway to the TARDIS console. I grabbed it by an antler and a tusk and pulled with all of my strength, which happened to be significantly less than all of its strength. It made an annoyed hissing noise and slobbered disgustingly on my hands. The slobber was slightly acidic and stung a little. That was probably mostly because of my dry skin. I really wished I’d put hand lotion on my hands before we’d left. I regretted having almost lost my saving-the-world earrings. If I was as brilliant as the TARDIS thought, I’d have already been wearing them, which would have saved me some time.
With a silly whimpering noise, the Griggerump died, and I realized that Nadia had just shot it as she and the Doctor ran back into the TARDIS. Nadia slammed the door and the Doctor hurried to the console and pressed a few buttons. The TARDIS dematerialized with that lovely familiar sound which is even more reassuring in real life than it is on TV.
“Ew, look at my hands,” I said. The Griggerump slobber was a funny puce color. “Do you have a sink where I can wash them?”
“Wait until we get back home,” Nadia suggested.
“But I want to give you a high-five!” I said.
Minutes later, we were back in Nadia’s bedroom, and we went back to sleep with the satisfaction of having done our part to help the Doctor save the world from the Mayan apocalypse.
I think we’re going to bake some apocalypse cookies this afternoon.