(So, I wrote this at the end of NaNoWriMo in 2013. It's a crossover because Sophie was a character from my story. It's not the best piece of writing ever, but I like the dialogue)
The first thing Sophie saw when she walked outside was the box. Thinking about it, she wasn’t sure that box really was the correct word. Certainly, what was standing in the snow was box-shaped, but it was human-sized, unlike anything she had ever seen before. Although she had no particular interest in it, she wanted very much to learn what was inside it.
It seemed to have doors, in the front. Sophie walked up to them instinctively to knock, but thought better of it. First, she should investigate this strange thing. She was well aware that she should move on, but this wouldn’t take very long, and there was no one around to judge her anyway. The hour was too early and the morning too cold for any sensible person.
Walking all around it, Sophie observed panelled sides, all of them painted a royal blue, though judging by its hue it might have once been darker. The box, however, seemed otherwise undamaged; the paint was not cracked or scratched, and the panels still perfectly smooth. Along the top there was writing, tight and curiously packed. She strained her eyes against the falling snow. Police… public call… box. It made absolutely no sense. Well, at least someone had possessed the good sense to label it a box, she thought dryly.
As she came back around to the front, Sophie decided to examine the door once again. There was a white panel on it, which held an inscription of some sort. She examined this briefly, but it too raised more questions than it answered. What was this thing, and what was it doing out here? The tiny keyhole wouldn’t fit any key she had ever seen, so Sophie decided that the wisest course of action would be to knock.
“Hello?” She didn’t expect an answer, but someone had to be behind the appearance of this strange thing.
The door opened abruptly, and a tall man popped his head out. “Did somebody call? Oh, hello there. Been a while since I’ve seen anyone.”
He was, first and foremost, extremely skinny. The pants and shirt he wore — both of an unknown style and fabric to Sophie — seemed to simultaneously hang off him and be a perfect fit. It was immensely confusing, so she decided to simply ignore it. His face was very angular, matching the rest of him rather nicely. His hair, on the other hand, looked so unruly as to be at odds with his head. It stuck out at a great many angles, such that no two strands were parallel. Sophie’s gaze did not linger there however. It was rude to stare.
“Who are you?” she asked, aware that she seemed impolite. This whole situation was too strange for niceties, however, and Sophie was aware that she should be on her way. “And what is this strange box?”
“Me? Oh, I’m nobody. Just a simple man and his box.” His voice was a little strained, and he was talking very quickly. “Sorry to bother you, I’d best be getting back inside—”
“It’s a rather small box, isn’t it?” Sophie wasn’t an idiot, and she knew the signs when someone was trying to get rid of her. “What are you doing in there?”
He laughed rather suddenly, catching her off guard. “Knitting, actually. I’d show you, but it’s a bit out of reach from here.”
“Out of reach? How can it be out of reach? That box is tiny.” Sophie should know. She had walked all round it.
“Oh, there I go again, saying things I shouldn’t. Listen, I have things to be getting on with, and I would really rather not be chatting about the TARDIS to someone I don’t even know.” He began to close the door rather quickly, and Sophie impulsively stuck her foot in the gap.
“TARDIS? Is that what this thing is called?”
“Um…” He seemed to be a little lost for words. “Yes.”
“Huh.” Sophie didn’t know what else to say, but she filled the silence with something anyway. “I don’t mean to bother you, but I haven’t ever seen something like this before. How do you fit?”
As if that explained anything. “May I come in?”
“Well, I don’t suppose it’ll do any harm.” The strange man opened the door once again, a wry smile on his face. “And here I was, simply settling down for a bit of quiet.”
Sophie shook her head and had her first look inside the box — the TARDIS. She very nearly passed out with shock.
It was, simply put, enormous. The inside was at least ten — no, twenty — times bigger than the outside led you to believe. How was it done? Her first thought was mirrors, but such an effect couldn’t just be done like that. The man walked inside and her hunch was confirmed. It was as if space itself had been stretched, to accommodate the insides of this thing. How that had happened was unfathomable.
In the centre of the space was a six sided metal thing, with controls all round it, such that she had never seen before. From the centre of that rose a clear round pillar, with a bubbling green liquid inside it. The whole space was completely surreal, so much so that Sophie had to pinch herself to make absolutely sure that she wasn’t dreaming. She was not, which only served to make the whole thing seem that much more absurd.
“What do you think?” asked the man, a knowing smile on his face.
“It’s…” She struggled to find the right words, and put them in the right order. “…bigger inside, on the.” And failed. Sophie shook her head. “Wow.”
“Wow is right.” The man grinned widely, exposing rows of perfect teeth. “My name’s the Doctor, by the way.”
“Doctor? What kind of doctor are you?”
Another laugh, no more expected than the first. “Not the kind you’re used to, I’m sure. It’s what I call myself. A nickname, if you will.”
“Then what’s your real name?”
“That’s not important. Who are you, anyway? I like to know who I’ve let into my TARDIS, after all.”
“Oh, of course.” Sophie blushed. “Where are my manners? My name is Sophie, pleased to meet you.” She held out a hand, just as she had been taught to do. Why, her parents would have skinned her alive for such an affront to a person.
The Doctor took her hand and shook it rather tentatively. His grip was a little weak, but his hands were warm. “Glad to have met you, Sophie. Welcome aboard.”
“You do ask a lot of questions, don’t you? Though I suppose I invite them. This, my dear, is far more than simply a box. It moves, too.”
Did it? Sophie had enough presence of mind not to ask another question. She simply couldn’t seem to help it, but if it fazed him she would try to stop. Who was this man? This enigmatic, eccentric and completely intriguing man. She had to know more.
“Time And Relative Dimension In Space. TARDIS. It’s an acronym, you see.”
If Sophie had known what an acronym was, she surely would have replied. Instead, she continued to drink in the experience, and kept her mouth well shut. What wonders the universe held, indeed! If only her mother, or even her father, could see her now! What would they say to her, to find her with a strange man inside his moving blue ‘police public call box’? Probably nothing good, so Sophie did not try and imagine it.
“What’s wrong with you? Cat got your tongue?”
“Cat got my what?” Sophie sighed. “It’s a lot to take in.”
“I’ll say.” The Doctor smiled. “You’re doing very well not to panic, though.”
“Am I?” Another question. Those seemed to be the only things she could articulate at the moment. “I think the panic is waiting to burst out later.” Might as well be truthful.
“Really? You humans are funny creatures, aren’t you?”
“Us humans?” There she went again. “What are you, then? Some kind of alien?” It was a rhetorical question. She wasn’t actually expecting an answer.
“Yes, actually.” Well, she’d gotten one anyway. Who was this person? Not human? That was completely and utterly absurd.
“I don’t believe you.”
“Of course you don’t. I just showed you a box that’s bigger on the inside—” There was that expression again, said correctly this time. “—and you won’t believe that I’m an alien. You know that thing I said about loving humans? I think I take it back. You people have such tiny minds sometimes.”
“Watch your tongue, sir! I will not stand for slander like that.” Sophie sighed, and then remembered that he hadn’t said anything about loving humans. She decided to let it slide. “Well, let’s say for a moment you do come from somewhere alien. Why would you look like a human?”
“Oh, you lot really do think that you’re the centre of the universe, don’t you? Well, let’s call it evolution. The human form is quite a good one after all, isn’t it? Although I will say that it may be you who look like us.” He shook his head and flopped down on a chair. “Honestly, the things you people come up with.”
“You can be a rude alien, can’t you?” Sophie smiled despite herself. “Though I don’t believe it’s on purpose.”
“Certainly not. Manners of a saint, usually. Better, actually. Met a couple of saints. Terrible table manners, never seemed to wash. Anyway, what are you doing aboard the TARDIS?”
Having a look around, it seemed, although there was something else about this place which tugged at the mind. “You let me in, and I’m naturally curious.” Sophie smiled. It wasn’t entirely her fault. “This place is fascinating, and quite beautiful, in its own way. How does it all work?”
“It would take rather a lot too much explanation to tell you that.” The Doctor’s grin was growing wider by the second. “If you were a great deal more clever, I might attempt to tell you.”
More clever? Sophie frowned.
The Doctor scratched his head. “Actually, it’s just that you’d need a physics degree just to get your head around even half of this stuff.”
“What’s physics… oh, never mind. It’s a beautiful machine, anyway.”
“Oh, I think she’ll like that.”
“Who will?” Was there a woman here somewhere, in one of the corridors which lead out of here?
“Um…” The Doctor bit his lip. “The TARDIS.”
“The… the box?” Now this was really getting crazy.
“Yeah. She’s sentient.”
Wow. This was a lot to take in. “Let me get this straight. The box is a woman?”
Despite her best efforts, Sophie began to panic.