"I think we all could do with a holiday," said the Doctor, eying the TARDIS console warily.
"Yeah?" said Ben. "Where are we then?"
The Doctor had made this anouncement only after the central column had come to rest. Ben and Polly were now convinced that he was still the Doctor despite appearances, but it had taken some persuasion. The Doctor didn't feel the TARDIS was quite convinced, though.
"Germany. Berlin, actually," the Doctor said. "1944. Close to your own time, as these things go." 1944 was a few years before either Ben or Polly was born.
"Why is that a good place for a holiday?" Polly asked.
"And time," the Doctor amended.
"You've had German beer, Duchess," Ben said. "This was about the time their beer exports were getting the Jerries back on their feet after the Great War."
"That's what I thought!" the Doctor exclaimed with delight, his trepidation with the controls a thing of the past. "We can pop out and tip a pint or two."
"But we don't speak German..." Polly objected.
"Tut tut, the TARDIS takes care of all that," said the Doctor vaguely; and he pranced out of the TARDIS, leaving Ben and Polly the choice of staying there or following him down the street looking for a pub.
"Awful lot of soldiers about..." Polly said.
"Hmm? Yes," said the Doctor, as if he hadn't noticed until now. In fact most of the people on the street were uniformed soldiers, and but for them the street would have been quite empty for the time of day.
"I ain't no historian," Ben said, "but I don't remember anything about Germany being on a military footing in these days."
"Well, I am a historian," the Doctor said, "and I ..." He trailed off.
"War footing, it looks like," Polly said. "Look, a lot of the stores are closed too."
"War?" Ben said, as the Doctor walked distractedly off. "Something'd have to be wrong with history then. Doctor, do you..."
They caught up with him staring at a poster portrait of a uniformed man with a little mustache, and muttering. "Hard to tell with this primitive photographic process. He'd have to have changed again, at least once..."
"You know that man?" Polly asked.
The Doctor didn't respond immediately, and when he did, indirectly; in a low, grave voice. "I'm very much afraid something horrible has happened."
"You! You there!" An officer was approaching from across the street, several soldiers in tow, his calls aimed at Ben. "What sort of uniform is that?"
"British Merchant Marine," Ben answered promptly.
"You are British?" the officer asked.
Ben didn't seem to care much for his tone. "Yeah, so what?"
The Doctor sighed. "Guess," he said, "with whom Germany is at war."
The officer - a colonel, it turned out - had them bundled all into a nearby headquarters building and began asking them questions. Almost immediately the answers turned him purple.
"We didn't know there was a war on," Polly said.
Ben said helpfully, "We stopped to tip a pint," and glared at the Doctor.
"For years this war has gone on, all over the world! Where can you have been not to know this?"
"Oh, here and there," said the Doctor humbly. "I'm a scientist, you see, and we were exploring -"
"A scientist?" the colonel interrupted. "You are a scientist?" The flush was fading from his face.
"Why?" said the Doctor, with odd suspicion. "Are you interested in science?"
"Take the boy and the girl to holding," the colonel told the captain of the soldiers. "I will take the scientist to the Master."
The captain responded with a stiff-armed, palm-out salute. "Hail the Master!"
"Hail the Master." The colonel's salute was less formal, flipping up from the elbow; but the very casualness somehow chilled the Doctor...
To Chapter Two
Back to DOCTOR WHO/STAR TREK index
Back to Paul's index