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The Collector and the Odd Dimension

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The Doctor fiddled with the controls. Regeneration had left her somewhat compulsive. She turned the wheel handle and took off the handbrake. She didn't care where it would take her.

The TARDIS was a bit miffed and took her back to Britain, steering towards Wales. They travelled back in time to about the 1200's, then the TARDIS veered off course dramatically.

The Doctor awoke and stood up from the floor. She checked the display for the date, shrugged, and went off to get changed. She hoped it was Paris, or Venice, or Rome! But they'd be no more Romans left, would there?? It'll all be preachy churchy people.

She rubbed her hands together. She'd have some fun...

It was rural. She should've brought rubber boots. Somewhere behind her, the TARDIS beeped, bringing up mild activity in the area. Somewhere, there was a portal and a remote control...

It was raining a fine mist of light drizzle. The Doctor put up her hood and stepped out into a field. It had just been churned and was turning to cool mud. Behind her, sheep bleated.

She shut and locked the TARDIS door and pocketed the key. She turned on her sonic screwdriver and set about triangulating the signal. There was a farmhouse in the distance and the distant crash of waves. She set off for that.

She disturbed a man in the hedgerows, gazing at the sheep. He was wearing black overalls and black leather boots, with a black shirt. She wondered if he was with the church.

He stood up. "Who are you? I haven't seen you before." He turned. "Or your box. Where are you from?" He paused. "God."

He didn't sound surprised; he sounded religious, or mad. "Did God send you?" That confirmed the latter.

"Hello, I'm the Doctor. What's your name?" She noticed he carried a circular, steel box tucked under one arm.

He noticed she'd noticed and flinched. Then he held it out. "This," he said, "holds all my knick-knacks." He didn't take the lid off. "I'm Skulking McGromit."

"Skulking?"

"That's what they call me. I've been skulking for seven years now." He paused. "I like sheep."

The Doctor raised a hand to her mouth, and tried hard not to smile or laugh. He was serious, deadly serious.

"What do you do with sheep?" she asked. "Draw them?"

"I collect them. I've got over two hundred at home."

"You... collect other people's sheep?!"

"No, I collect my own sheep from the fields. My wife lets them loose by mid-morning each day. It takes all day to get them back. I have to herd them with my hands." He flapped his hands about and the distant sheep baa'ed.

"I see. No, I don't in fact. Why do you have to collect sheep, young sir?" She hazarded a guess at his age, and it was nagging her that he was, in fact, gay and giving off a strong gaydar, despite his wife. It was too early for civil rights, and too late for Rome and Greece.

"They have the smeckles, miss. I have to cure it by praying each night upon my flock. They have to watch me and the missus bang at it to cure them of their infidelity. That guy jumps across my hedge every night and try to have his wicked way with my ewes. He has a big--" He stopped. Obviously it was way too soon to introduce a gay relationship, and the Doctor bet that the man wasn't interested in the ewes at all!

"How do you stop him?" she asked, as he'd obviously seen him naked.

"I used to goes out and fend him off with my crook, but when he wouldn't leave me alone, and he runs awfully quickly for a naked man, I started keeping the sheep indoors. My wife hates it, and makes me keep them in the croft, and in the yard, then we built an enormous great barn--" It didn't look that gigantic to the Doctor, who'd travelled to America, later "--and we started keeping the baby lambs in the house near the Aga. She liked that. We only have one child, miss, who keeps to himself with the dogs. I have plenty of free time..." He trailed off.

Then he stuck out one hand. "I'm Mr McGromit, ma'am. How do you do?"

The Doctor shook it. "And I'm the Doctor, again. I'm OK." Her sonic screwdriver beeped in her pocket. "Have you seen anything unusual around here?"

"No-oh. I've only found gold this morning," he said sadly. "Does it belong to you?" He opened his steel box.

Inside was a collection of rocks, stones, leaves, sheep wool, broken bits of pottery, broken shards of glass, half a mosaic piece, pieces of dyed wool, scraps of metal, and underneath one such scrap--something gold.

The Doctor plucked it out, and held it aloft. It was a large coin, embossed with tentacles one side and a star chart the next, and around the rim was gibberish. The telepathic translator couldn't decipher it.

"Ah," she said, looking at it. "That's what I'm looking for." She wondered if it was a remote control, and whether the portal had a slot.

McGromit's hand closed over it. "That's not yours," he said. "You're reacting to it wrong, miss."

He put it back in the steel box, and hefted the lid on. "You might not be a thief," he said, looking back at the blue box. "That doesn't look as portable as a cart. How did you get here? God." He tried again. "God sent you." He looked miserable.

"HEY!" cried someone from the next field over. McGromit ducked back into the hedgerow.

The Doctor turned. "Hey, yourself," she said.

"That's Skulking McGromit, miss. You'll save yourself some trouble not mixing with him. Are you from the Mainland? I've not seen you before." So she was on an island.

"No, I'm just passing through, good sir."

"God sent her in a blue box," mumbled McGromit. The other man had very good hearing.

"God has left you, McGromit," he called back. "Stop announcing his name in vain. Miss, he is trouble. He herds all the sheep back to his farmhouse each and every evening. It's rumoured he--" And the man gestured with his hips.

"No, that is a lie! I've saving them from being--" And McGromit did the hip dance.

"And from who? Only you can sense him, Skulking McGromit. No one else sees your naked, young man with the muscles."

Despite his madness, the Doctor felt a tingle up her spine. Sometimes the mad could sense things... others couldn't.

The Doctor hauled McGromit out of the hedges. "Perhaps I can help," she said. "I'm a Doctor... 's wife," she added to his disapproving glance.

"Very well," said the man. He went on by, in the mud.

"Are you really a doctor? God says women can't train as doctors."

"Where I'm from, anyone can be doctors." She slung an arm across his shoulders.

"Where's that?"

"Rome," she invented.

He stared at her. "No-oh. That's not right. You're lying!" he accused of her. He shrugged off her arm. "We're having tea at five," he said. "You're welcome to come."

The Doctor smiled. "Splendid."