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The Unhappy Engineer

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“I take it you know where we are?”

The TARDIS had landed somewhere and her passengers were staring at the scanner, discovering what was expecting them outside. Ian had caught the Doctor smiling, apparently satisfied by the view that consisted in what looked like a narrow street in a town.

“Don’t I ever, my boy? Hmm?” Was the answer.

The science teacher decided to avoid any useless argument by pointing out that “eventually” was the missing keyword in his sentence.

“So where are we, Doctor?” Peacefully asked Barbara.

She was expecting a vague answer, but she was quite surprised when the old man pompously said: “London, 1808.”

Even Susan seemed surprised by his accuracy but didn’t dare question how he managed to be so precise. He looked at his companions and frowned:

“Well now, go get dressed! Surely you don’t want to walk around and attract attention with those clothes of you, hmm? Try to find something fitting in the wardrobe. Off you go!”

He waved them away, while he remained at the controls.

 

“And of course, he never attracts attention with his clothes!” Grumbled Ian as they walked towards the living area.

“Let’s be fair, his way of attracting attention is way beyond his clothing,” corrected Barbara winking at Susan.

The girl smiled: “Have you seen how grandfather looks happy? He does like 19th Century England…and I forced him to stay in the 20th…”

A shadow passed on her face and the historian teacher immediately wrapped her arm around Susan’s shoulders to comfort her.

“I’m sure that he doesn’t dislike it as much as you think. He is just frustrated because he ended up with us and now he needs to bring us home… That’s all.”

Susan didn’t seem very convinced. But they had reached the TARDIS extensive wardrobe and they all started looking for something fitting.

 

They met outside the wardrobe. Barbara and Susan, both wearing empire dresses, admired Ian.

“You look like Fitzwilliam Darcy,” said the historian teacher approvingly.

“Who?” Asked Susan.

Barbara sighed. The girl’s gaps in classic literature were sometimes distressing.

“Darcy is a fictional character from “Pride and Prejudice” written by Jane Austen in 1813.”

Susan casted Barbara an innocent look:

 “Oh, then it’s only fair that I couldn’t know who you were talking about since we are in 1808. The book hasn’t been written yet.”

 “I think that she just made a point, Miss Wright,” laughed Ian. “Now, shall we go and join the Doctor? He must have grown impatient by now.”

He gallantly offered his right arm to Barbara and his left to Susan. The three of them made their way back to the control room, but there was no sign of the Doctor.

The doors of the TARDIS were ajar.

“Grandfather!”

There was fear in the girl’s voice.

“You old fool,” mumbled Ian under his breath, when he realised that the change of clothes had been a trick from the Doctor.

The old man had obviously planned to explore London on his own…