Friday, 17 July 2009
Doctor who special story- Blue Moon Chapter one
16th July, 1969.
'Beautiful. Just, beautiful. Do you know who would like this? Monet.' The Doctor gestured with a half eaten cheese sandwich across the tarmac of the Kennedy Space Center. The deep heat of July shimmered a perfect reflection of the blue sky across the ground. A flock of birds overhead.
'Completely wasted on him of course, worst eyesight I've ever seen. He actually thought he was one of the great photo-realists of his age!'
He was distracted by a tap on his shoulder, the old woman sitting behind him held a finger to her lips.
'Sonny, I can't hear the countdown.'
'Sorry.' The Doctor apologised with a mock cringe and turned back to face the launch pad. He started to wrap his sandwich back in the tin foil, but thought better of it.
A gravelly voice over the tannoy echoed across the tiered seating, two miles away from the steaming hulk of the Saturn V.
The Doctor scanned across the rows of people he was sat amongst, trying to find a face that could match his grin of excitement, but they were all deadly serious. To be fair to them, he thought, the Apollo missions hadn't always been smooth sailing up until now.
He wished he could tell them, reassure the worried friends and families in the crowd that it was going to be all right. Today was the day, the beginning or humanity's journey toward its first steps on alien soil.
He wished he could tell them.
But why spoil the surprise?
Then, all of a sudden, it made no difference whether they knew or not. The shockwave crashed against the tiers, shattering into a million tiny breezes. The Doctor's fringe flopped across his face to be quickly brushed away again. A deep rumbling filled the air.
'Ignition. We have ignition.'
The rumble became a roar and he watched as great plumes of pure white smoke billowed from beneath the launch tower, cleanly dividing the sky from the rippling tarmac. It took several seconds for the rocket to clear the red scaffold around it and the Doctor could feel the weight of the beast as it pushed against Earth's gravity, straining to break free.
'Breathtaking,' he murmured.
Finally, when the Saturn V was no more than a gleaming speck in the sky, the frightened hush broke and the crowd erupted into applause, on their feet, cheering. The Doctor turned to the old woman behind him who, previous annoyances forgotten, nearly toppled him over with a massive hug.
'That'll teach those commie Russians,' she said with triumph.
The Doctor felt the emotion of the crowd wash over him. 'Look at you,' he said to no one in particular. 'There are planets out there that would call you all a bunch of looneys for doing this. Packing three men into a tin can filled with a skyscraper's worth of fuel, hurling them out of the atmosphere into the harshest conditions imaginable, with nothing more powerful than a pocket calculator to guide them. For what? Just because you can. That's not lunacy, that's bravery and courage and I don't know what. It's just... brilliant.'
For once the Doctor had run out of adjectives.
He turned back to the tower, now surrounded by fire engines and trucks, people running everywhere. The magical stillness of the morning had been broken and now it was time to clean up. But there was something out of place.
The Doctor squinted.
A long black limousine was gliding across the site, heading toward Mission Control.
'Somehow I don't think you're here to help with the sweeping,' he said, glasses suddenly pinned to his nose.
Not one to miss out on the action, the Doctor quickly wrapped his sandwich away, slipping it into the old woman's coat pocket as he shook her hand goodbye, and started picking his way through the tiers.
'Sorry. Excuse me. Doctor coming through!'
Soon he was sprinting across the tarmac, hands already fishing for the psychic paper.
The following transcript was transferred to the Torchwood archives after the closure of ▄▄▄▄▄; its authenticity has not been verified. July 16th 1969, 10.43am, Apollo ▄ Cockpit.
▄▄▄▄▄We have less fuel than expected but ▄▄ easily within the safety limits ▄▄▄, if you don't mind I'm going to stretch my legs.
Houston:That's affirmative, have fun.
▄▄Hold on, ▄▄▄, will you check the left ▄▄▄? I thought I saw a light.
▄▄▄Where? Outside the ship?
▄▄▄ Yeah, really bright, like a sort of flat star. Look! There's something else out here!
It just shot off to the ▄▄▄. I've lost visual.
▄▄▄ Probably debris from the fuel tank separation. Nothing to worry about
▄▄ Debris doesn't make ninety degree turns.
Somehow the Doctor had made it into Mission Control first. In fact, by the time the occupants of the mysterious black limousine entered the great hall of computer banks and chattering voices that smelt of smoke and sweat, he'd already introduced himself to half the team.
'Hello, I'm the Doctor and you are? Justin? Great to meet you Justin, you're doing a brilliant job, keep it up! And hello to you as well, your name is...?' Each greeting was punctuated with an earnest handshake.
Mission Controller Cliff Boxworth ran a hand through his hair in utter bewilderment at the strange gangly man bouncing around his control room. The solemn façade the Doctor had presented whilst flipping open his access all areas pass had now been replaced with childish glee. Never in his entire career had Cliff met anyone like this.
All of a sudden the Doctor was standing next to him, arm hung lazily about the Controller's shoulders.
'What a team, eh Cliff? Splendid chaps, all of them. A real shame that they don't get the credit they deserve I think. Oh yes, it's Neil and Buzz that land on the Moon and plant the flag and play golf, but without all these wonderful people down here...' He gestured around the room by way of demonstration. 'Without these unsung heroes, none of it would have happened.' He coughed quickly. 'Sorry I mean none of it will happen.'
Cliff's opinion of the Doctor rose drastically. He straightened his tie and stood up a little taller. 'Well, yes, of course. I'm very proud of my team. We're all extremely honoured to be a part of this. True it's not as glamorous as actually going up there, but that's not what it's about, is it, Doctor?'
'Definitely not,' said the Doctor with a smile. 'And nothing says fun to me more than a good graph or chart anyway.' He rubbed his hands. 'So, is there anything I can do to help?'
The controller was taken aback. 'Uh, well I think we've got everything covered, actually.'
'Really, are you sure? I'm very good at, well, everything really and I'd love to help. Tell you what? Who's for a nice cup of tea? Anyone?' He cupped his hands to make himself heard over the radio chatter.
'I said anyone for tea?' he shouted, 'Show of hands please!'
He totted up the total, 'Twenty four. Right, I'll get a tray.' The Doctor turned and started bounding up the steps to the back of the room, Cliff shouting after him.
'Two sugars in mine, please, and easy on the milk.'
The Doctor thumbed his acknowledgement.
As he reached the double doors he nearly ran into the two suited figures from the limousine, waiting patiently in the background. He'd forgotten about them.
They didn't look impressed. An expression that remained even after the Doctor extended his offer of tea.
'No, thank you.'
'Suit yourselves,' the Doctor said. 'I'm the Doctor by the way.' He flashed the psychic paper. 'And you are?'
'Agents Spencer and Milledge, Secret Service.' The taller of the pair replied.
'Really? Me too, never seen you at any of the Secret Service Christmas parties, though. What department are you in?'
'That's classified,' the shorter one answered.
'Fair enough.' The Doctor slipped between them and out through the doors. 'Now if you'll excuse me, I have a tray to find.'
The following transcript was transferred to the Torchwood archives after the closure of ▄▄▄; its authenticity has not been verified.
July 16th 1969, 11.57pm, Apollo ▄▄ Cockpit
▄▄▄Can I get a time check please ▄▄▄?
Houston:Yeah sure, eleven fifty seven for you guys up there.
What ▄▄▄ is that noise, can you put it on broadcast frequency?
▄▄▄ doing it now.
*Unidentified noise, possible music sample.*
▄▄▄▄Some sort of light, ▄▄▄▄ outside.
Houston, I'd like to report an intense bright light in the cockpit.
▄▄▄▄I'm not trying to be funny Houston but it's freaking us out here.
Houston:▄▄▄ shows clear, can you please identify source of the light?
▄▄▄Oh my ▄▄▄there, I can see them. Positioned at two, five and eight o'clock. More on the other side.
▄▄▄He's right, there's ▄▄▄▄ else up here. Houston there are six white shapes flying in formation ▄▄▄▄ with the Apollo. Objects are unidentified.
Houston:Switching to alternative frequency ▄▄, please copy.
It was Justin that received the call from Apollo Eleven. His colleagues immediately rushing to their desks as the news broke, desperately tracking for signs of Russian missiles. Tea cups dotted the room, forgotten.
But there was nothing.
'There's a transmission sir, different frequency to Apollo, but I've got no source or trace of any kind.'
Cliff feverishly rolled up his sleeves. 'Put it over the speakers, Justin.'
He pressed a button and the control room fell silent as an unearthly, five note chord faded over the astronauts' panicked messages. The notes alternated at seemingly irregular intervals but always maintaining a pure minor harmony.
The Doctor pricked up his ears. 'That's not the Russians,' he muttered, and darted toward a nearby computer. 'Justin, can you give me the wave spectrum of the signal?'
'Uh, I'll try.' He started tapping at his keyboard.
'Doctor, do you mind telling me what you're doing? You might have the authority to be present here but there's no rank that can let you interfere with our work.' Cliff grabbed the Doctor by the shoulder but he shook him off.
'Quiet Cliff, you need me. This isn't a Russian trick, it's alien, and right now I'm the only person who might have the knowledge to find out what they want!'
There was a quiet click behind his head and Cliff stepped backward to reveal Agent Spencer, revolver in hand.
'I think you might be wrong there, Doctor,' Spencer growled. 'Step away from that computer and raise your hands.'
Reluctantly the Doctor obeyed, ushered to the side of the room by a wave of the pistol. Agent Milledge took the stand to address the frightened crowd.
'We are Agents Spencer and Milledge, Secret Service. Under Code Seven of Revised Project Blue Book, we invoke the rights approved by the late President John F. Kennedy regarding first contact.'
'In short,' added Agent Spencer with a grim smile. 'We are now in control.'