Return to Gallifrey, Chapter 2

A beautiful, red-orange planet stood before them. Bizarrely-shaped vehicles darted overhead in what seemed to be very organized interstellar traffic system. But what really caught the eye was in the distance–a large citadel loomed over the horizon, trapped in what seemed to be a semi-translucent bubble. It had a majestic air about it, with its magnificent skyscrapers and structures. Cast in silhouette by the Gallifreyan sunset, its beauty set it apart from the rest of the alien landscape.

Martha stood there for a moment, taking it all in. She felt overwhelmed by its beauty, enthralled by her very presence upon it. She turned to the Doctor.

“Gallifrey? But you said it was destroyed. Long ago, in the Last Great Time War.”

The Doctor said nothing, only stared out at the vast planet lying ahead of him. Then, he slowly, he faced her and said, “It was. But the TARDIS has a setting where, under the correct circumstances, it brings me here…back to my home.” He smiled mysteriously at the still-puzzled look on Martha’s face. “Timelord, remember? I can time-travel, you know. To anywhere…or, anywhen, I suppose.” He paused, then clapped his hands abruptly, coming back to himself. “Now then! Let’s see what’s wrong with the ol’ girl.”

Martha began to follow him into the TARDIS, her mind cluttered. What was that look–that strange, almost hurt expression she had seen on the Doctor’s face as he explained how they landed here? She rarely saw anything but grim determination coming from him in times of urgency. So what had made this so different? Why had, for a moment there, she seen his guard falter?
Suddenly she knew: the Doctor was homesick. The expression on his face was one she could feel on her own, time and time again during their travels. He missed Gallifrey as much as, if not more than, she missed London.

She sat down just inside the entrance of the TARDIS, her brain working furiously as the Doctor tinkered. He broke the silence with an occasional “hmm” or agitated grunt. After about twenty minutes or so, Martha’s thoughts were jolted once and for all by a loud “AHA!” from her companion.

The Doctor’s triumph quickly dissipated, however, and he murmured anxiously, “Oh dear…now that’s not very good at all, is it? Oh, no…not at all…” Martha looked up. “What is it, Doctor?” she called.

“It’s worse than I thought is what it is,” said the Doctor grimly, “The power regulator is completely blown out. I can’t fix it!”

Martha paled at these words. “What…what are we going to do?” she asked, a note of panic rising in her voice.

The Doctor sighed. “Well…I’m afraid we’re stuck on Gallifrey for a while. Or perhaps more.” He crossed the floor and sat down next to her. “You see, the reason the TARDIS landed on Gallifrey is because it knows that that’s the only place anyone will be able to assist us. The Time Lords will be able to help. Unfortunately–” he gulped, “–we’ve arrived just before the Last Great Time War.”

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