On a spaceship, in the year 4431 AD and two light-years from Earth, red lights are flashing. This means bad news. To a man, the ship's crew are wary. They have been infiltrated.
And it could be anywhere.
On the bridge, the Second Officer leans back against the console and scuffs his foot on the floor. "I hate this," he says. "This is awful."
"I'm sure it'll be fine," says the First Officer from where he sits at his own console. "We haven't been killed yet. That's got to be a good sign."
"Since when have you ever seen a good sign?" says the Second Officer. "It's a bad sign whenever I see you."
"Oh," says the First Officer, "thanks for the vote of confidence." He takes a sip of his tea. "Why don't you go and find it then if you're so worried?"
"But we don't even know where it is!" says the Second Officer. "What's the point if... It could even be in here!" He folds his arms. "I didn't fucking sign up for this."
"Of course not," replies the First Officer. "You signed up to play Candy Crush and watch fucking YouPorn all day."
"Oh f--" starts the Second Officer.
"Shut up!" cries their Captain. "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" Her fingers clench on the arms of her captain's chair. "This situation is bad enough without the two of you going on at each other. I feel like I'm at my nephew's christening all over again." She rubs at her temples. "Where's my...? Get me a fucking cup of tea someone. And pour half a bottle of wine in it."
"Like the usual then," says the Second Officer with a grin, then ducks as the Captain glares at him.
"Tea!" she shouts. "Now!"
Sniggering, the Second Officer runs off to do as he's bid.
"So," the First Officer swivels around in his chair to face the Captain, "what are we supposed to be doing, then?"
"Fuck me if I know," says the Captain, rubbing her temples some more. "Trying not to die and get the rest of us killed would be a good start."
The door to the bridge opens.
"Um." The Communications Officer walks in. "I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"
The Captain sighs. "Nothing important; just life-threatening." She turns to the Communications Officer. "What is it?"
"Well it's just that..." The Communications Officer points at the door. "It's just that there's been a sighting on the fourth deck."
"On the fourth deck?" asks the First Officer. "Please don't tell me it was anywhere near the entrance to the access vents."
"Are you ok?" the Communications Officer asks the Captain with a look of concern. "You seem a bit stressed."
"Of course I'm fucking stressed!" shouts the Captain. "It's in the fucking access vents and I'm..." Her eyes widen. "Fuck. I'm hyperventilating. I'm fucking hyperventilating." She gets up and paces the room, then leans over and puts her hands on her knees. "Shit."
"It'll be fine," says the Communications Officer. She watches as the Captain tries to take deep breaths. "I hear lavender is very good at calming people down." The Communications Officer crouches to be at eye-level with the Captain. "Would you like me to get you some lavender?"
"No." The Captain's face has turned red. "No, I'm... Just leave me alone. Ok? Leave me alone."
"Fine." The Communications Officer backs away, holding up her hands. She turns to the First Officer with raised eyebrows and mouths 'menopause'.
The door to the bridge opens to admit the Second Officer with a mug in his hand.
"One tea with wine," he says. "Just as the doctor ordered." He frowns when he notices the Captain bent over in the middle of the room. "Is she--?"
At that moment, there's a great whoosh and the sort of creaking, groaning noise you get when you try to force an elephant through a catflap. Something flickers in the corner of the room, and suddenly a blue box appears.
"Oh fucking hell," says the First Officer, putting down his mug. "This is the last thing we need."
A door in the box opens.
"Hello fuckers." A tall, thin man steps out. He's wearing a fez. "If it isn't my favourite: Captain James T Wank and his crew of fucking tribbles." He turns to the girl who's followed him out of the box. "Have you ever seen a tribble?" he asks her. "They skin them to make merkins."
"I haven'--" starts the girl, looking confused, but the man interrupts her.
"Is somebody going to tell me why I'm fucking here?" he asks. "What's the problem? Fuck knows you only ask me to visit when it's the fucking apocalypse, which seems to be every fucking week for you lot."
The Captain stands up with a groan and leans wearily against her chair. "No-one asked you here, Doctor."
"No-one asked me here?" says the Doctor, pacing forwards. "What? So you think I just turn up here of my own free will, do you? You think I've got nothing better to do?" He looks around. "No. You're right, actually. I was just sitting in the TARDIS, so fucking bored that I was about to see if my sonic fucking screwdriver worked well as an anal vibrator when I thought, 'No. You know what? I'll just go back to that same fucking spaceship. That's far more fun.'"
The Captain sighs. "But we didn't ask you..."
"Actually." The Communications Officer lifts a hand and steps forward. "Actually, I asked him here, Captain."
"Jesus Christ." The Second Officer groans. "Why do you always--"
"What the fuck did you do that for?" asks the First Officer.
"Well, he always helps," says the Communications Officer, clasping her hands in front of her, "and we are in a bit of a pickle right now."
"It's more than a pickle," corrects the Captain.
"Um," the girl who had followed the Doctor out of the TARDIS steps up to him. "You know these people, then?" she asks him.
"Like a recurring fucking nightmare," says the Doctor, glaring at everyone in the room. "Is somebody going to tell me why I'm fucking here? Because if this isn't good, I've got a date with a fucking sonic screwdriver waiting for me back in there."
"Um, well, you see," starts the Communications Officer. "We've had a bit of a..."
"Incident," says the Second Officer.
"More like a break-in," says the First Officer.
"Infiltration, really," clarifies the Communications Officer.
"By a Dalek," says the Second Officer.
There's a horrible pause.
"Oh, fuck me." The Doctor paces in a circle. "A Dalek?" His face has turned red. "A fucking Dalek?"
"Yes." The Communications Officer nods warily.
"You," the Doctor throws out an arm to gesture at all of them. "You don't want to stop until you've given me a double fucking heart-attack, do you? How can you be so... How the fuck did you let a Dalek in here?" The Doctor waves his hands. "It's a fucking Dalek! What, did you think it'd be done with all the destruction and the killing and that it just wanted to come round for a little chat?"
"Wait," says the First Officer. "It's not like--"
"It was disguised," says the Communications Officer.
"Disguised?" The Doctor spins around so violently that he nearly dislodges the fez. "Disguised? How can you not recognise a Dalek when it's fucking disguised? They have fucking whisks for arms!"
"Well I thought it was a very good disguise," mutters the Communications Officer.
"Look," the Captain sits down in her chair, "that's not important. What we want to know is how to get rid of it."
"It's not that easy you know." The Doctor rounds on her. "It's not like it's a fucking spider in the bath or a guy selling dusters at the front door. Jesus Christ. Each time I think I've gotten rid of the Daleks, they come back again like a fucking annoying cold sore." He nods at the Second Officer. "That's oral herpes you know. I got that from licking out your Granny."
The Captain sighs. "We know it's not going to be easy, Doctor," she says, deflating a little. "That's why we need you to help us."
"You need a fucking lobotomy, that's what you need." The Doctor stops his pacing and runs a hand over his mouth. "Right," he says after a moment. "Ok. First things first, we need to know where it is." He turns around. "Clara, can you..."
He stops when he realises that the girl that had arrived with him is no longer there. "Gone off again," he says in disbelief. "I tell you, that girl's more flighty than a squirrel with a fucking itchy arsehole." He turns back around to glare at everyone else. "Ok. One of you needs to tell me where this Dalek is. Do you know?"
"Well, not really--" starts the Second Officer.
"It was on the fourth deck and it's probably entered the access vents by now," offers the Communications Officer.
"Oh, Jesus fucking..." The Doctor runs a hand over his mouth again. "This just gets worse and worse, doesn't it? It's like a Shakespearian fucking tragedy."
"So what do we do?" asks the Captain. She waves a hand at the Doctor. "You're the bloody brainy alien. You must have an idea."
"Why don't we send someone up there?" suggests the Second Officer. "They could see if--"
"Everybody thinks they're fucking Sigourney Weaver," mutters the Doctor. "No-one's going up in the vents," he says to the room. "Now you, Fozzie Bear" he points at the First Officer, "use that console of yours to increase the air pressure in the vents. If something's in there, we'll soon notice the blockage. And don't you give me any of that 'waka waka waka' either."
"Ok. Ok." The First Officer turns around to his console and presses a few buttons. "Half the time," he whispers across to the Second Officer, "I don't have a bloody clue what he's going on about. What's a 'waka waka'?"
The Second Officer shrugs.
"So." The Communications Officer brushes down her jacket. "Would you like a cup of tea, Doctor? While we wait? Or a coffee?" she asks. "In fact, we've even got a nice caffeine-free rooibos if you like. It is quite late in the afternoon."
"No thanks." The doctor sticks a hand in his pocket. "I only drink the blood of sacrificial--"
"Doctor!" Loud footsteps echo down the corridor as Clara suddenly comes running towards them. "Doctor! What does a Dalek look like?"
The Doctor bares his teeth in a grin. "Like a giant metallic bell-end with a fucking plunger attachment."
"Ok." Clara runs onto the bridge, panting. "Then there's one right behind me."
"Oh Christ." The Doctor runs towards the door just in time to find the Dalek rounding a corner into the corridor. "Fucking--"
"Exterminate!" calls the Dalek, in its quavering high-pitched voice as it speeds towards them. "Exterminate!"
Pulling a sonic screwdriver from his pocket and fumbling it over the keypad by the door, the Doctor manages to close a door in the corridor behind the Dalek so that it can't go back where it came from and then close the door to the bridge just before it reaches them.
There's a clang from the closed door as the Dalek runs into it from the other side.
"Jesus Christ." The Doctor sags back against the wall below the keypad.
"Doctor!" comes the high-pitched warble of the Dalek from behind the door. "It's the Doctor! Doctor!"
"Fuck off!" shouts the Doctor in return.
"Exterminate the Doctor!"
"Sounds like a fucking pixie in the middle of an orgasm," mutters the Doctor.
"Exterminate!" cries the Dalek, clearly getting quite worked up. There's another clang from behind the door. "Exterminate the Doctor!"
"Jesus. F-- Don't you ever say anything different?" asks the Doctor, standing up. "It's always the fucking same with you Daleks, isn't it? Always the boring same-old same-old. It's like a tedious fucking Carry On film." He walks away from the door. "Carry On up my fucking colon."
"Well, that's good," says the Communications Officer with a smile. "We have it trapped now."
"Um..." The Second Officer is watching the door. "The Dalek's gone quiet. Is it supposed to do that? Why's it stopped making any noise?"
"Could it have tired itself out?" offers the First Officer.
"Nah," says the Doctor, waving a hand, "It's probably just trying to undo the locks."
"Right." The Captain stares at the floor for a second. "Right." She looks up. "Er... Doctor, how long do you think we have before it breaks through the locks? I mean, will it break through the locks?"
"They are four-hour fire doors," says the Communications Officer.
The Doctor shrugs. "I'd say we've got about three minutes."
"Three minutes?" shout the First and Second Officers, almost in unison.
"Doctor, that's not very long," says Clara, looking panicked.
"Oh fuck." The Captain puts her head between her knees and tries to take deep breaths.
"We'll need to defend ourselves, then," says Clara, taking a couple of steps back and glancing at everyone else. "Right?" She looks around the room. "This is a spaceship. You must have some phasers or ray guns or something we can use."
"Not... precisely," says the First Officer, glancing at his colleagues.
"Health and safety," explains the Communications Officer. "They're too dangerous."
"Yeah," says the Second Officer, "thank fuck we won't get hurt by any of those."
"What are we going to do!" wails the muffled voice of the Captain.
"Calm down," shouts the Doctor. "Calm the fuck down. I've planned this, alright?" He glances back at the door briefly. "Clara, I need you on the consoles." He waves a hand at the Second Officer. "Just push fucking slender man out of the way there. He's as useless as a Jacob's cream cracker in a desert."
"Hey!" starts the Second Officer, but the Doctor just talks over him. "What I need you to do, Clara," says the Doctor, "is to set the bridge to be ejected from the rest of the ship and then, when it goes, for the power on the bridge to be shut down."
"Ok," says Clara, sitting down at the console and starting to press buttons. "Ok, I can do that."
"I'll open the door," says the Doctor. "I'll let the Dalek in and make sure that the door locks behind it." He looks to Clara. "Then we eject the bridge and the Dalek into the fucking void of space, with no power, and we escape back to the rest of the ship in the TARDIS."
The First Officer's looking hopeful. "That could work," he says.
"Very good plan," agrees the Communications Officer, nodding.
"I'm not doing it," says the Captain, sitting back up.
The Doctor pauses on his way back over to the door. "What?"
"I won't do it," repeats the Captain, looking anxious. "You won't get me to do it."
The door creaks menacingly.
"Each time I think you can't get more batshit mental..." The Doctor rubs at his temples and turns on the Captain. "We're running out of time. What do you fucking mean 'You won't do it'?"
"It's too small," says the Captain, looking at the TARDIS. "I can't go in there."
The Doctor scowls.
"You know I'm not good with small spaces, Doctor," pleads the Captain.
"Jesus. Fuck. Of all the..." The Doctor claws at the air. "Fuck me..." He's almost turned purple. "It's the TARDIS!" He gestures at it. "It's the fucking TARDIS! It's bigger on the inside. Jesus fucking Christ. How long have you known me? That's what it does! It's like your fucking ego. Bigger on the fucking inside!"
"I know that," says the Captain, clutching at the arms of her chair and taking a deep breath. "I know it's meant to be bigger on the inside... But if I'm in there... It's small on the outside. I'll be able to tell; I'll still know that it's small on the outside."
"Oh for fuck's sake..." The Doctor strides over the the Captain, drags her up by the elbow and pushes her into the arms of the First and Second Officers. "Take her into the TARDIS and then get her sectioned under the Jesus-Fucking-Mental Health Act."
The Captain looks at him with wide eyes as she's led away.
A groaning noise, like straining metal, is coming from the door.
"It's get in the box or be extermi-fucking-nated, love," calls the Doctor after the Captain. "I don't make the fucking rules." He turns to the Communications Officer as he makes his way back to the door. "Into the TARDIS with you too, right? Clara," he asks over his shoulder, "how's it going?"
"I'm done," says Clara, pushing a final few buttons. "It's all good to go."
"Ok." The Doctor nods at her. "When I give you the signal, I want you to set it going and then get in that TARDIS and make sure that none of those fuckers try to get out until we're safely off this bridge, right?"
"Roger!" replies Clara.
"Ok." Pushing up his sleeves, the Doctor sets his sonic screwdriver to the door keypad again.
With one flick of the screwdriver the door opens, and the Doctor presses himself up against the wall as the Dalek speeds past him into the room.
Clara ducks where she sits. The Dalek spins, trying to orientate itself.
With another flick of the screwdriver, the door slides back to lock again. "Now, Clara!" calls the Doctor.
Clara nods, presses one more button on the console, and the whole room shudders violently.
Lights around them flicker and go out.
The Dalek skids, flails, and the Doctor takes the moment to run across the room, grab Clara by the hand and pull her into the TARDIS with him, shutting the door behind them.
Back in the main body of the ship, in one of the corridors leading to where the bridge used to be, the familiar sound of an elephant being forced through a catflap resonates through the air.
A few seconds later, the TARDIS appears.
Its door rattles for a moment then opens and the Captain tumbles out.
"Fuck." She crawls to sit against one of the walls of the corridor, breathing heavily, and drops her head between her knees. "Never again," she says, swallowing. "I'm never going in there again."
"Well," the Communications Officer steps out of the TARDIS, dusting her hands, "I think that was very successful." She turns to the Doctor as he and the others follow her out. "Congratulations to you, Doctor."
The Doctor grins. "Well, you know," he says with a shrug, "all in a day's wank."
"So we don't have a bridge now," says the Second Officer, looking around them as if he's never seen the place before. "Are we just supposed to fly the ship via our phones or something? Because I don't have an app for that."
"Fuck," groans the Captain again.
The Doctor shrugs for a second time. "I couldn't give a shit. Fly it with your fucking vibrating butt-plug if you like."
"There might be an emergency bridge somewhere," says the First Officer to the Second. "I think I saw it on the ship's plans once."
The Communications Officer is smiling. "Would you like to stay for a bit, Doctor?" she asks. "To celebrate? It was Jenny's birthday yesterday and we've still got a bit of lemon drizzle cake in the kitchen if you want some."
"Fuck no," says the Doctor, turning to head back into the TARDIS and ushering Clara in front of him. "I need to go somewhere far less annoying right now. Like a planet full of fucking Simon Cowell. Or a world populated by the guy from the GoCompare advert. You're on your own." And muttering a final few obscenities, he's gone.
The TARDIS disappears, screeching as it does so.
With another groan, the Captain sags in relief. "Christ almighty."
"So," the Communications Officer looks around at the others, "anyone else for some lemon drizzle? It's just that it's going a bit dry now, so it would be good if we could eat it up today.