By: Yarol (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: the Sheriffs, and Jesse Blue and other recognizable characters
from SRatSS belong to WEP, Doctor Who and any recognizable characters from
that Series belong to the BBC. I'm making no money off of this, and can only
claim very deep affection for both series
It was both a pity and a blessing that April overslept that morning, for she would have been fascinated by one event taking place on Ramrod and horrified by the other. Still the events that took place that day would provide enough fodder for dreams and nightmares to come for all the Star Sheriffs.
Deep in Ramrod's hold, just on the edge of hearing, a whisper of a wheezing, groaning hum began. As it grew louder an object shimmered into existence. It was basically a big, blue box, that at first glance one might mistake for a very old fashioned earth-style phone booth. Had Saber witnessed its appearance he might have been able to identify it, and he would have been completely wrong. The door of the booth folded open and a man emerged coughing and muttering to himself as wisps of smokes trailed after him.
The man leaned against one of the nearest walls and finished coughing.
"Stupid, stupid doctor....," He stood up straight and looked around, "well now, this is an unexpected sight," he murmured sarcastically to himself trying to remember the exact number of times he had found himself in places that shouted the word 'cargo hold,' "still, at least, it isn't the bottom of the sea."
Despite being dimly lit and rather inhospitable something about Ramrod's hold sparked curiousity in the unexpected visitor. He went to the phone booth and closed and locked the door. He gave it an affectionate pat.
"I'll be back soon, old girl, and we'll have another go at that tune-up."
In Ramrod's galley Colt was taking advantage of his team-mates sleeping late. He was cooking up his favorite breakfast. As a consequence, there were thick slices of bacon slowly charring and beginning to smoke, and Colt was finely chopping chilies on the counter, despite there being a perfectly good chopping board beside him. To add to the horror of the scene, Colt was singing.
Ramrod's unexpected guest wandered about its corridors, getting more and more concerned. For a vessel that size, and that particular model, it was surprisingly empty. He was certain there should at least be a minimal crew around, even on a night watch.
Trepidation and relief washed over him when he neared what he thought should be the crew's living quarters, for he heard what was either someone singing some about "on top of spaghetti," or someone being tortured. He turned a corner and saw smoke billowing out of a doorway. The visitor grabbed the fire extinguisher from its station outside the door, and ran in.
He couldn't see due the eye-stinging smoke, he aimed the extinguisher the best he could at where the smoke originated and sprayed. The smoke lessen and the man was able to see that he had extinguished a pan of some very crisp, very blackened bacon.
'So,' he mused to himself, 'this must be the galley.'
A second later he realized that the singing had stopped.
"Hey! What do ya' think yer doing?" a thickly accented voiced demanded, "who're you?"
The visitor turned and saw a young man with light brown curly hair waving a very sharp knife in his direction.
With deliberate care he set down the extinguisher, and slowly began to back away.
In the Vapour Zone Jesse Blue was having a bad day. Besides the general depressing stupidity of the various Outrider commanders, Nemesis had picked today as "let's ask Jesse completely unnerving and embarrassingly personal questions" day. The end result was that Jesse eventually retreated to his personal quarters and locked and barred the door.
After a long, hot shower, he curled up on his bed with a book, and began to read.
Twenty minutes later as he was drowsing into sleep, curious noise whispered into the room and woke him up with a groaning and wheezing. Jesse sat up and stared as...well, it looked a lot like the metal wardrobe he kept his weapons in, except he had only the one in his room.
April woke up late that morning (as previously mentioned) and she decided that for once the boys could fend for themselves. She was going to enjoy being lazy, and for a while she was.
Then a hideous thought crossed her mind.
Within ten seconds, she had bounced out of her bunk, grabbed her robe, and was running down the corridor towards the galley.
April collided with someone's retreating back. Someone's velvet covered, broad, warm, male back, however she didn't notice that until after the impact knocked her back on her backside.
The man whose back it was, looked over his shoulder down at her, gave her a nervous smile, and said:
"Hello," he looked back to whatever was in front of him, and looked back at her, "I'd offer you a jelly baby, except there's a knife-wielding madman in front of me. I'd suggest that you run away now."
Recovering her wits, April heard what was undeniably the sound of Colt in a rage coming from the galley. She bounded back up to her feet, and with a rushed, "excuse me" wormed her way past the stranger into the galley. April stopped.
Saber and Fireball woke from their sound sleep by a single were reverberating through Ramrod.
They groggily pulled themselves from their bunks. Pulled on whatever robes they first grabbed (one another's), then pulled them off again to trade. Whatever trouble Colt had gotten into with April, it was best to let the initial steam of anger wear away, then go rescue him, or not.
Meandering down Ramrod's corridor, they both stopped to sniff the air.
"Oh no," Fireball groaned, "not again."
Saber frowned, "he had better not have touched my supply of bacon."
Their strides got a little faster.
Arriving at the galley, two things happened, the first was that Fireball joined April in haranguing Colt, and Saber noticed the visitor quietly pressed back against the wall opposite the stove looking as if he's rather get between two fighting tigers, then Colt and April. The second was that despite having been dowsed with extinguisher foam, the bacon was beginning to burn again (no one had thought to turn off the stove) and a nasty, acrid, this time chemical-smelling smoke was beginning to rise again.
The stranger darted forward and turned off the stove. With an apologetic look at Saber, he set two fingers up to his mouth and let loose a terrifically loud whistle. Silence reigned in the galley.
"Now then," the stranger smiled innocently, "would any of you like a jelly baby?"
Jesse crossly got out of bed and crossed his room to the first of the weapons wardrobe and removed a very powerful blaster. He circled in closer to the second, more recently appeared, wardrobe. It looked identical to his own, except for the now dying wheezing sound.
Something about this was ringing bells in his memory, but for the life of him he couldn't pinpoint what it was.
The wardrobe's doors cracked open.
"No thank you," Saber said politely but decisively, answering for all of the sheriffs, "May I ask who you are and how you got aboard Ramrod?" He looked the stranger up and down. The man was apparently in his mid-thirties, had brown hair which barely brushed his shoulders, and bright, wise, sad blue eyes. He was a bit taller then Saber, and broader in the shoulders as well. He was slightly outlandishly dressed in a great chocolate brown velvet frock coat, a wing-collared shirt with grey cravat, an ornate embroidered waistcoat, and loose, but tailored charcoal grey trousers. Saber supposed some people might consider the man handsome.
"I'm the Doctor," he said, "and I accidentally arrived here in my TARDIS. I was attempting to give it a tune-up..."
"Doctor who?" Fireball interrupted him.
"Yes," the Doctor nodded, "and before you ask, I'm a doctor of most things, and more besides. As I was saying I was attempting to give the TARDIS a tune-up. Something happened to knock it out of the time vortex and into your ship's hold."
"Time vortex? You're a time traveler?" April asked, her curiousity piqued; she had always dreamed of building a time machine. She took a step towards the Doctor, "You say your ship is in Ramrod's hold?"
The Doctor nodded. He felt a slight flush grace his cheeks. The young lady's robe had fallen open, she was wearing a very charming, however low cut, negligee. His eyes darted away. He noticed out of the corner of eye that one of the young men had also noticed this, and was trying to wrap the young lady's robe back shut around her.
"Err, may I ask who you are?"
"I'm April," April introduced herself, "We're Star Sheriffs. This is Fireball," she gestured up with her head to the young man behind her trying to close her robe, "That's Saber Rider," the tall blonde man nodded, "and the knife-wielding mad-man is Colt."
"Hey!" Colt indignantly yelped, "he came in and ruined my breakfast! 'Sides he's probably an Outrider!"
"Ah yes, the Outrider conflict," the Doctor finally sighed in relief, glad to know which time period he had stumbled into, "This must be the Ramrod series prototype. Quite an interesting design I always thought. Frequently underrated in the future, but quite inventive."
"You really think so?" April's eyes lit up, "series prototype?"
Saber stepped in again.
"Before we discuss Ramrod any further, Colt did have a valid point," Saber said sternly, "Doctor, for all we know you are an Outrider spy, can you offer us any proof that you're not?"
"Perhaps a tour of the TARDIS?" the Doctor asked archly, "If I remember correctly Outriders never achieved dimensional transcendence."
"That sounds wonderful!" April gushed, unaware that behind her Fireball was pulling a face.
"A tour it is then," the Doctor bowed to April. He turned to the door with April hot at his heels.
"But we have to get dressed first!" Fireball yelled, and caught hold of April's wrist.
She finally looked down at what she was wearing. She blushed.
Twenty minutes later the Sheriffs (now dressed) and the Doctor were down in Ramrod's hold.
"This is the TARDIS," the Doctor smiled fondly as he set a hand against his long-time ship (and some would say oldest, and longest continuous friend).
Saber was singularly unimpressed.
"It's an old fashion, Earth-style police call-box," he said flatly. Something about the Doctor was irritating him.
"Ah yes, the chameleonic circuitry has been on the fritz for some time now," the Doctor was a trace embarrassed, "under ordinary circumstances it would change to blend into its surroundings. But now it's stuck as a call-box. To be honest I'm rather fond its appearance."
"I see," Saber dryly commented.
The Doctor gave him an infuriatingly knowing look. He removed the TARDIS' key from his coat pocket and opened the door. He went in with without looking back.
Saber gestured for the Sheriffs to stay back. He entered the TARDIS, then he came back out, looking severely puzzled. He walked around the TARDIS. He stared at the open door.
The Doctor came out again.
"Yes, Saber, it is bigger on the inside, than on the outside. Now please come in."
Jesse stepped back from the second wardrobe, keeping the blaster raised.
The doors swung open and a dark figure stepped out.
"I am the Master"