A heavy afternoon heat hung oppressively over the forest canopy with no breeze to brush it away. The shrill whine of the cicadas cut through the air and rose high above the forest awning which sheltered the thicket below. Dense canopy sprawled in every direction as a carpet of lush, vibrant jade. Yet, even in its midst, the running mat of green was interrupted as a most peculiar hill rose from the heart of the forest. It was smaller than the other hills, which could be seen in the distance. And it had four long, regular, sloped sides which had long ago been reclaimed by the forest… a pyramid!
And so it sat for untold thousands of years. The jungle slowly reclaiming it, the wishes of its masters long lost as the petty trifles of men often are. Though on this peaceful day its solemn slumber was disturbed as something like thunder rocked its canopy under a clear blue sky. The fowl of the trees flocked in fright of it and even the cicadas were silent, if only for a time. But this was not the work of nature, nor of the thunder god the pyramid was built to revere. This great calamity was the work of men.
Far beneath the canopy, at the base of the pyramid, a base camp had been cut into the thicket. Further up the pyramid three men huddled behind any boulder or pile of rubble large enough to shelter them from the blast. They emerged as the smoke cleared and stepped forward to inspect their work. The entrance to the pyramid had partially collapsed from the blast, but it was mostly clear all the same.
"We've done it, sir," the youngest of their party exclaimed excitedly. "We made it in the temple. The treasure is ours!"
"Son, we just opened the door," their employer said dismissively. "Don't count your chickens until they've hatched."
"Now there are chickens, sir?"
"It's just an expression, son," their employer said with a laugh. "We're not inside until you boys get that debris out of the way."
"Yes, sir. We do as you say."
"And for the last time, stop calling me 'sir'," he said, replacing the fedora upon his head. "Call me Dr. Jones."
For nearly three months Indy had been on the trail of a set of ancient Cambodian idols. The locals called them the Morâna Pheap Srèy, the Sisters of Death. As the legend went, three demon spirits were cast to Earth by the Gods of Angkor. The sisters, being master tricksters in their own mind, set a plan to prank the god Vishnu. However, the prank went horribly wrong and Vishnu's son was maimed in the process. Vishnu chased them to Earth and banished them there, turning them to stone so that they may spend eternity weeping over their own poor judgment.
It was pure fantasy, of course. The whole story was naught but a mongrel mix of Hinduism, Buddhism and a healthy does of local tribal superstition. But the idols themselves were real enough. While the East India Company had only a limited and spasmodic interest in Cambodia during the mid 17th century, a Scottish trader by the name of Shaw McDuff was rumored to have had contact with the artifacts. Word had it that while on his way south from Samraong he stumbled upon the ancient temple of Angkor Wat and chose to camp there.
Against the better judgment of his guides, he explored the ruins and soon came upon a set of stone statues. Thinking them as little more than baubles for sale, he loaded them onto his caravan and set out at first light. However, as the tales of those in his procession reached his ears, he began to be taken in by the locals and their colorful stories. And so, even having been rumored to have had an experience with the artifacts themselves, he stopped on his meandering path and sealed them in a pyramid. He said not where but that they were in a pyramid East of Sandan which had been swallowed by the forest.
It was little more than hearsay and conjecture from that point, but Indy followed whatever sporadic crumbs wherever they lay. And now, nearly 300 years later, he stood on the very threshold where the sisters had been dropped so many years before.
After arriving in the capitol, Phnom Penh, Indy recruited two men to assist him. The older, Bourey, was familiar with the legends and acted as a guide. The younger, Nhean, was little more than a hired hand. Of all the men he tried recruiting they were the most knowledgeable. They were the most trustworthy. They were the most hardworking. And, of all the men he tried recruiting, they were the only ones who didn't leave their drinks on the table when he mentioned the Sisters.
And so, with his employees in tow, he made his way north by steamboat to Tonle Sap Lake and followed one of its capillaries North and East until he reached the town of Sandan. From there it was better than a week long trek into the jungle before they found the pyramid. It was actually a fairly quiet journey, all things told. And this, above all else, filled Indy with dread. His experience had taught him that this was about the time the floor gave out beneath you. Sometimes literally.
Now Bourey and Nhean were hard at work clearing the rubble of Shaw McDuff's shattered handiwork. When the rubble was cleared Indy approached the entrance and carefully peered inside. Bourey and Nhean rested against a stand of rubble and pulled some cigarillo's out of their packs. Bourey lit his with his lighter and then offered a light to Nhean, who accepted it gladly. It was a steel flint lighter he had managed to grift off some army general a few years back. They had been smoking those things ever since Phnom Penh and it was beginning to grate on Indy. The cigarillo's were pungent, acrid and their smoke seemed to linger for an unusually long time. For the amount the pair consumed half their packs must have been smokes.
"Why do you two smoke those things," Indy asked.
"Sir… Dr. Jones, they keep the predators away," Bourey said. He had removed a small leather bound journal from his pack and wrote in it as he smoked.
"Oh, yeah? Well there weren't any predators on the boat, were there?"
Bourey and Nhean said nothing in response, only laughing at their employers discomfort. Ignoring their laughter, Indy set down his pack and removed a small torch. He held it out to Bourey who lit it with his lighter.
"Okay, follow me," Indy said, concentrating down the corridor. "And put those things out before you do."
Bourey and Nhean pinched out their cigarillos, placed them back in their pack and followed Indy down the dark, cramped tunnel. They followed the tunnel to a set of steep stairs which cut down into the pyramid. As they descended the air became very close and musty. At the bottom of the stair the corridor straightened out and became adorned with antechambers running off to either side. Near the end of the pyramid appeared to be a shrine of some type. A shaft in the ceiling allowed streams of daylight to flood the chamber and every manner of creeping plant had wound their way inside.
"Touch nothing," Indy warned. "You do what I do. You step where I step."
The pair nodded their agreement as they followed. But after a few paces in the near dark Bourey stumbled in to Nhean as he tripped on something underfoot. Indy turned with a start as Bourey let out a surprised cry. There, lying at his feet, was the corpse of a man. Not a full corpse. Only dust, bones and tatters of cloth hanging between them.
"Stand back! Let me have a look."
Carefully Indy examined the walls, floor and ceiling where the corpse lay. He could see no trap, or if there was then this poor devil obviously sprung it first. He knelt beside the body and examined the clothing. Though they were in rags they were surprisingly modern. Even in tatters he could make out a shirt, shoes and the type of khaki trousers that they all wore. He even saw what appeared to be the remains of a pack beneath the body.
Beside the body, laying near its opened palm, was Bourey's lighter. Without a thought Indy ignored the thick layer of dust on it and handed it back to him.
"Here, you dropped this."
"No, Dr. Jones," Bourey said. "I didn't."
Without a word he pulled his lighter from his pocket and held it for Indy to see. Indy looked to the lighter in his own hand now, noticing for the first time the heavy layer of dust set upon it. He brushed off the dust and held it up to Bourey's to inspect. They were identical. The metal. The inscription. Even down to the scratches on the case. The only difference was the tarnishing, which was far greater.
"It must belong to him, Dr. Jones."
"It can't belong to him," Indy said, examining the body more closely. "This body must be 300 years old at least. Maybe even 350."
Impatiently Indy reached beneath the body and removed the remains of the pack. When he did a strange metal object slid across the floor. It was a combination of black and rust red and bore a strangely familiar shape. He picked it up and it appeared to be a revolver, like the one each of them carried. He opened the chamber, which took a little hammering since it had all but rusted shut, and spied the remnants of 5 rounds and one empty chamber. Playing a hunch, he gently lifted the skull of the man and it came free in his hands. Peering underneath he saw a bullet hole in the pallet and the cranial cavity beyond.
"This poor devil ate his own gun," he said, setting the skull aside. "He killed himself with a weapon that he shouldn't even have for nearly 300 years."
Hastily he dumped the remains of the pack on the ground. There wasn't much left. Mostly the tattered remains of old cigarillo cartons and a book. A small, leather bound journal. Gingerly Indy picked the book up, taking care that it didn't disintegrate in his hands. He looked up at Bourey who for the first time had grown noticeably nervous, having recognized the volume. Indy was about to unbind it and read its last entry when he was distracted by a noise from further afield.
From down the hall, in one of the antechambers to their right, came a type of grinding. Or perhaps more appropriately a type of strange, mechanical wheezing. It grew in pitch and intensity until it seemed to fill the cramped space in which they now holed. It rose in crescendo until finally it climaxed in a resounding thud which reverberated around them and cause the cut stone above their head to shift slightly, showering them with dust.
Upon hearing the noise Indy's first instinct was not to run. Running often made things worse. Instead he stood perfectly still and waited uneasily for the noise to pass, encouraging his employees to do the same. If there was one other thing his experience had taught him it was that strange mechanical noises in old ruins were never, ever a good thing. But after the noise had passed he pressed on slowly, placing the journal in his pack, and beckoned for the others to follow a few steps behind.
Carefully he crept along the corridor, checking each antechamber as he went. Finally, at about his fourth chamber in, he saw one of the strangest out of place artifacts he had ever seen. Before his eyes and as bold as brass stood none other but a large blue box, the words "Police Public Call Box" in blue and white on the top.
"Well, hello there," Indy said as he approached.
"What is it, Dr.," Nhean asked.
"It's a police box. You don't usually find these outside of England. And never in sealed, 3000 year old Cambodian pyramids. What are you doing here?"
As if on queue the door swung open and a bizarre little wisp of a man stumbled out. He was about average height, just under six foot or so with short cropped auburn hair. His clothing reminded Indy of a stodgy old professor, with his ruffled tweed jacket and tan slacks. The odd little man also appeared to be having an involved conversation with someone but he was completely alone.
"… and that's when they made me their king. Or would have, I suppose, if they still had teeth… what? Yes… oh, my word," he exclaimed as he noticed Indy and the others for the first time. "Have I gone and landed in someone's study again?"
"Does this look like a study to you?"
"Maybe. How should I know how you like to study?"
Apart from everything else, there was something off about the little man. Indy couldn't quite put his finger on it, but there was specifically something wrong with his left hand side. It's almost as though he knew something was there, but he simply didn't want to see. Almost like there was something there he wanted to be blind to.
"Who are you," Indy asked.
The little mans chest swelled with pride before responding.
"I am… The Doctor."
The Doctor smiled eagerly in anticipation. He always looked forward to this next part.
"Doctor of what?"
The strange little man almost seemed hurt by the question.
"Doctor of what," Indy reiterated.
"No-no-no, you're doing it wrong," the Doctor said as he stepped near. "I say 'I'm the Doctor' and you say…"
"… of what?"
"Yeah, well… oh, just forget it," the Doctor said with a dismissive wave of the hand. "The moment has passed. The moment has passed. And you are?"
"Dr. Indiana Jones," he said extending his hand. "Professor of archaeology at Marshall College."
"An archaeologist," the Doctor said, regarding Indy's outstretched hand as one might a wet fish. "I point and laugh at archaeologists."
"Is that a fact," Indy said, withdrawing his hand.
"Dr. Jones, I'll explore ahead a little bit," Bourey said, grabbing another torch from his pack.
"Don't wander far and touch nothing," Indy warned over his shoulder.
Bourey nodded in reply and continued into the dark after setting his own torch alight.
"So how did you get here," Indy asked the Doctor. "And where are you from? You sound like you're English."
"Do I really? Fantastic! I've always wanted to sound English. Good show. And as for how I got here, I'm not really sure. I just hit 'random' on my playslist. So, where is 'here', anyway?"
Before Indy could answer the Doctor walked up to the wall and rapped on it gingerly with one knuckle before scratching it with his finger. Then he took a strange pen or flashlight object from his pocket and held it to the wall. It hummed and buzzed in a range of musical tones and he regarded it closely when it had finished. Then he placed it back in his pocket… but not before licking the wall.
"Are you mad," Indy exclaimed, setting a hand on his revolver for safety's sake.
"Mad? Am I Mad? Sir, I resent the insinuation. I am certainly not mad… Well, maybe. Quite possibly, actually. I've been alone for quite a while. I suppose it depends on your definition, really. But, more to the point, I know where I am! I'm in a temple or a pyramid of some type in east central Cambodia."
"Really? You got all that from licking the wall, did you?"
"Yes. Among other things… but yes."
"Okay, Doctor, I think it's time for you to go sell crazy somewhere else, 'cause we're all stocked up here."
"And another thing…"
Indy was cut short and the entire party turned toward the antechamber door as a cry of fright and panic cut through the air toward them. Immediately the entire party bolted for the door and Indy led the way, torch in hand, down the inky black corridor before them. Ignoring any threat of traps which may lay before them, they dashed down the corridor and to the well lit shrine beyond. The shrine was completely empty but for the three idols at the far end of the chamber. Indy and Nhean looked for Bourey everywhere in the room, even calling to him up the shaft in case something pulled him up that way. But it was to no avail. He was nowhere to be seen, but they tried all the same.
All but the doctor. Instead he quietly approached the front of the room where the idols stood waiting. As he approached he stared at them, unblinking. His eyes wide with dread. Directly before him stood the Sisters of Death. Three women frozen in stone. On their backs angelic wings belied faces of sorrow which they kept buried in their hands, weeping.
"Oh, no," the Doctor said quietly.
Indy and Nhean, meanwhile had not given up. They continued to scour the room for any sign of Bourey, but to no avail.
"Dr. Jones," the Doctor called, though he dared not take his eyes off the angels.
"Not now, Doctor! Bourey! Bourey, can you hear me?"
"Dr. Jones," the Doctor called again, more loudly this time.
"Doctor, damn it! Either help or shut up!"
"Dr. Jones, Bourey is gone!"
Indy and Nhean both abandoned their search. Nhean stood in stunned silence while Indy stormed imposingly close, almost speaking into the Doctors ear.
"What did you say?"
"Bourey is gone, Dr."
"How can you say that?"
"Look at the statue."
"It's just a statue, Doctor," Indy said dismissively.
"Look at the statue," the Doctor demanded and Indy did. "A little out of place, isn't it? Greco Roman design in the midst of Cambodian architecture. Odd, don't you think?"
"It was brought here by the East India company. What does this have to do…"
"From where? Somewhere else in Cambodia I'll wager. Yes? Strange, don't you think, that they would bring something like this to the middle of a foreign land just to dump it."
"Then what is it," Indy asked, noticing how out of place it was for the first time. "And what does this have to do with Bourey?"
"Tell me, Dr. Jones, did you pass any bodies when you came in here?"
"Yes," he said after a moments pause. "By the door."
"You, there. Boy," the Doctor said, beckoning Nhean over. "You see these statues? Watch these statues."
"Doctor we don't have time for this…"
"Keep watching these statues," the Doctor said, ignoring Indy's pleading. "And whatever you do don't stop watching. Don't turn your head. Don't look away. Don't even blink. Ever. You understand?"
Nhean nodded nervously, not taking his eyes off the statues.
"Good lad. Now, Dr. Jones, show me this body."
Indy grabbed his torch and took the Doctor back to the entrance at the bottom of the stairs, leaving Nhean with the angels. The Doctor stooped to examine the body, muttering to himself as he did.
"No-no-no, this is all wrong. Too old, too old. This is far too old! This must be… 337 years old. But that's impossible. They don't feed like this."
"Don't feed like what, Doctor," Indy said, growing impatient. "What are we dealing with?"
The Doctor cupped his head in his hands and pulled his hair frantically in search of an answer.
"Okay, listen," he said at last. "Can you accept that there are some things in this world that defy logic? Defy reason? Can you accept that there are some things in this world that are so far beyond what you know that they may seem almost like magic?"
"I'd be a fool if I couldn't," Indy said after a moment of thought. "In fact I've had a little experience in that area."
"Good, so listen closely. What we're dealing with are beings called the weeping angels. They're predators. The oldest predators. And they have a nearly perfect defense mechanism. Whenever someone is looking at them they become quantum locked and turn to stone. It's involuntary. They can't help it. And they feed on time energy. They send their victims back in time and feed off the energy created by the time vortex. But this is wrong," he said again regarding Bourey's now desiccated corpse. "They usually only send people back 50 or 60 years. Never centuries. Dr. Jones, when you examined him did you find anything on the body? He may have left you a note if he thought he might not get out of here."
Instantly Indy's thoughts went to the journal still in his pack. He hastily loosened the bindings and opened it. The bindings had rotted away over the years and many of the pages fell to the ground as he rushed through attempting to find the last entry. But eventually he found it. He showed it to the Doctor who began reading it aloud.
"What has happened to me," the Doctor began. "Am I in the underworld? Am I being punished? I did not believe such stories growing up, but now am I going to spend eternity being tormented by these demons? They come for me in the night, when all goes dark. I hear them. I feel them, their breath on my neck. They take me and send me to a new hell each time. It's the same place but different. Sometimes hotter, sometimes colder. Sometimes wet, sometimes dry. Different seasons and different times but the same place. The way is blocked and I can't leave. What have I done to deserve this?
"They are gone now. I can't find them anywhere, but I know they will be back. I will not let them take me again! I will rob them of their prize.
"Indy, Nhean, I'm sorry."
The Doctor closed the book and stared off into space, lost in thought. He handed the book back to Indy, muttering silently to himself.
"Of course, of course," he said, staring absently at the walls. "300 years. Trapped in one place. No food, not even a nibble! What else were they going to do?"
"Doctor," Indy said. He tried getting the Doctor's attention but he seemed utterly lost in his own world. "Doctor!"
Finally the Doctor was roused from his contemplations and met Indy's gaze.
"Right. We need to leave, now! No time to waste."
"Here, you take this," Indy said, passing his torch to the doctor. He took some of the bones at his feet, wrapped them in cloth and made an impromptu torch of his own. "You go ahead. I'll get Nhean and meet you up top."
"No, absolutely not! You don't know these creatures like I do. We stick together and we stay alive."
"Fine. Let's go."
Indy and the Doctor again made for the shrine at the far end of the dark corridor. They ran as fast as they could but stopped short a few dozen meters out from the end of the corridor. Somehow the statues had moved. They no longer stood at the far end of the chamber, cradling their weeping faces in open palms. Now they all clambered, frozen in time, through the open doorway. And Nhean was nowhere in sight.
"Oh, Nhean," the Doctor said, sorrow manifest in his voice. "I told you not to blink."
"What's happened here, Doctor? Where's Nhean?"
"He's gone, I'm afraid."
"Yes. There's nothing for it now. We need to get out of here. All of us."
Indy didn't argue as the Doctor took point and ran down the corridor. Behind them they heard a shuffling and scratching in the dark. Hissing whispers and sighing conversations just beyond the torchlight. When they reached the antechamber where the Doctors box was Indy ran by, but the Doctor turned in.
"No, Doctor," Indy called after him. "We need to get out of here!"
"Yes, exactly," the Doctor said, fishing a key out of his pocket. "We'll take my car. Be a lamb and watch the door, would you?"
"Watch the door?"
Indy watched as the doctor inserted his key into the door and immediately began fumbling with it, muttering all the more as he did.
"Oh, come on, baby! This really isn't time for games, you need to let daddy in, now…"
"Listen, I don't know what you're playing at, but I think it's time for answers."
"Yes! Answers, everyone loves answers but… well, he may need to come with us, my dear…"
"Who are you talking to?"
"What? Oh, no one… Yes, I know you're not no one but… You know we really don't have time for this right now…"
"Well I think it's time to make time! I want to know what's going on here."
"You know, just once I'd like to meet a stupid ape who knows how to follow directions… fine, a cat then!"
"Now you listen, you crazy little man, If you think I'm getting in this tiny little box with you then you have another think coming. Now, you want to play the boss and you want to play the nutty professor? Fine, but if you want me to follow you down your little rabbit hole I need answers. So I suggest you open up and…"
"SHUT UP! Fine, you want answers. And you will both get answers in due course. But first I have a question of my own that must be answered. By either of you."
"Would either of you care to tell me who is watching the door?"
Indy turned to the door and jumped back with a start as, unknown to him, the angels had already crept into the room while he was arguing with the doctor. More than that, they were only feet away. Their angelic visage had disappeared, a vicious snarl curled upon their lips as they groped angrily for their prey.
"Doctor, what am I looking at," Indy asked.
"The true face of the angels," The Doctor said. If he was afraid he never showed it, speaking very calmly and matter of factly.
"Doctor, you said something about these things being trapped for 300 years? Without food? And what does this have to do with Bourey's skeleton being too old?"
"Everything! Look at them. I mean really look at them. See what's right in front of your face. They're emaciated!"
And indeed they were. Looking at them more closely they appeared as a human might if he hadn't had a decent meal for a month.
"They have had nothing to eat for 300 years. Not a meal, not a snack, not a nibble. Nothing… until now. Tell me, Dr. Jones, if you were trapped in a room with only one meal to last the rest of your life, what would you do?"
"I'd try to make it last as long as I could," Indy said, not taking his eyes off the creatures before him.
"And then what? You'll need to finish it sometime. What would you do when it's gone? Could you consider the unthinkable? Everything you eat has to come out sometime, does it not? Can you imagine being so hungry, being so desperately hungry, that you would eat your own effluent as soon as it left your body? They did. First they fed on poor Bourey, sending him 50 years into the past. Then, having no other food at the time, they fed on him again. And again. And again. And again. Eventually they fed until they sent him back to a time before they were here, about 337 years ago. And then they did the same for poor Nhean. By the time they were done with them they probably had no nutrient value left."
"So what now?"
"Now you keep your eyes open," the Doctor said as he again tried his key. This time the key slid in and turned happily at his command. "That's it, you sexy beast! I knew you loved me. Okay, everyone inside."
"Are you sure about this?"
"Positive. Don't worry, I got them," the Doctor said, fixing his gaze on the angels. "Just get inside. And leave the torch outside, if you would."
Indy let the torch fall to the ground and walked backward into the blue box, never taking his eyes off the angels. The Doctor followed when he was inside and latched the door shut behind him. He ran past and Indy followed into the impossibly vast space beyond. With jaw agape, he beheld what he could only describe as a cathedral of sorts. An expansive, technological cathedral. At the center of the cathedral, on a raised platform, a vast array of instruments were set into a shimmering, metallic dais. From the midst of the dais a mass of crystal rose prominently. It moved rhythmically up and down to the sound of something like a heartbeat which filled the chamber.
"It's okay. You can say it," the Doctor said over his shoulder as he worked feverishly on some controls set into the dais.
"It's bigger on the inside," Indy said, all other words eluding him.
"Well, at least you got that one right."
From behind more moaning sighs and hissing whispers could be heard. Within seconds a loud scratching echoed from the door as the creatures tried to claw their way in.
"Doctor, they're coming in," Indy said as he began backing into the room.
"Not a chance," the Doctor replied, still working feverishly. "The assembled hordes of Genghis Khan couldn't get through that door. And believe me, they've tried!"
"So what are you doing," Indy asked, joining the Doctor by the controls.
"This pyramid has been opened. If those things escape they'll wreak havoc on the local population. We can't allow that."
"So what do you suggest?"
"Leave it to me. I have my own experience in this regard."
Still working on his controls, the Doctor also paid heed to a motion tracker he had called up on one of the displays. The display showed the exterior of the ship and the angels around it. Desperately they encircled the box looking for any point of ingress. When they were in position, the Doctor lifted a lever on his control panel. The entire chamber filled with that familiar mechanical wheezing Indy had heard before. On the view screen the position of the ship seemed to change. It moved about 3 meters to the south, but the angels never moved. Now they appeared nearly motionless on the screen.
"Perfect! Let's go outside," the Doctor said after the ship had landed.
"But those things are out there," Indy protested.
"Of course they are! Come along, they're perfectly safe."
Indy followed the Doctor outside and, indeed, the box had somehow moved. But, only a few meters to the north, a trio of stone angels stood where the box once had. Together they snapped and snarled, frozen in time, staring at each other.
"There we go! See that," the Doctor said, tapping on one of the angels. "Perfectly harmless. Now they can't harm anyone unless someone moves them out of eyesight of each other. And local superstition will probably keep people out of here for the next few hundred years, so problem solved. Easy peasy!"
Indy approached the angels and placed his hand on her shoulder. Then, examining the figure closely, he gently tapped it as the Doctor had done.
"Right, I can't imagine you fancy the thought of trekking back through that jungle all by yourself, so let's be off."
Without a further word the Doctor turned and stepped back inside the box.
"Now wait one damn minute," Indy said as he angrily followed the Doctor inside. "You don't want to tell me your proper name, fine. Every man deserves his secrets. But I think it's time for answers."
Halfway up the ramp, the Doctor stopped and bowed his head. Slowly he turned to meet Indy's gaze.
"Yes, of course you're right," the Doctor agreed. "What do you want to know?"
At the Doctors side that familiar specter stood looming. Indy knew something was there, but somehow he simply didn't want to know.
"What do I want to know? What do I want to know!? How about this," Indy said, gesturing to the technological cathedral in which they stood. "This is as good a place to start as any."
"This is my TARDIS," the Doctor replied plainly.
"T-A-R-D-I-S. It stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. It's my ship."
"Your ship? Like a space ship?"
"Space, yes… and time. It's good for the occasional interdimensional jaunt, as well. I suppose you could call it my Inter Dimensional Transit Unit. My TARDIS ITDU," the Doctor exclaimed, the words rolling clumsily off his lips. At the words the crystal mass pulsed red and the console twittered at him angrily. "Yes, my dear, I'm sorry," he said, stroking the console so as to comfort it. "That was stupid. I won't say that again."
Again Indy was very aware of the specter by the Doctor's side, though he didn't want to be. But he perceived it all the same as it slowly drifted down around and stood beside him, studying him.
"Wait, so this is a time ship," Indy said, ignoring the specters gaze.
"That's one way of putting it, yes."
"So we can go back in time?"
"That should be implied by the name, yes."
"So we can save Bourey and Nhean!"
"No," the Doctor said, averting his gaze. "We can't."
"What do you mean we can't? Of course we can. We're in a time machine. We can just go back and pick them up!"
"I mean time travel has certain rules and even greater responsibilities. One of which being that you can't cross your own time stream. We can't alter the course of our own destinies."
"Look at it this way," the Doctor said, stepping closer. "What was your first clue that something was wrong in this pyramid?"
"Finding Bourey's body."
"Exactly. Without that body you would have had no idea something was amiss. Next, consider the note. That note gave me crucial information. Without both working together I would have had no idea what had happened or even when to look for them. And if we go back in time to retrieve them then I won't have those clues. You will never find Bourey's body, I will never have the note and we will have created a paradox. I'm sorry, Dr. Jones, but Bourey and Nhean are gone. Some moments in time can be changed and some are fixed in time and space. I'm afraid this is one of them."
Indy lowered his head, begrudgingly accepting the truth.
"You're right, Doctor," Indy agreed at last. "They knew the risks."
"Is there anything else I can tell you?"
"Yeah, there is," Indy said, a new fire in his voice.
Without warning Indy lashed out at the specter beside him. Though his senses told him that nothing was there, and he didn't even want anything to be there if it was there, he found it and made contact anyway. He drove it to the wall as it thrashed and clawed against him. As he touched it the illusion began to fade and he saw, for the first time, the visage of a woman. Draped around her neck was a charm of some type. It was a technological bauble of the type seen in the control room. Instinctively Indy took hold of the bauble, which hung just above her breast, and ripped it from her neck. He jumped back with a start, his lying senses being shocked by the sudden appearance of the woman before him.
"What the hell is going on here," Indy demanded as he beheld the woman.
She was clearly not human, but she could have passed for one at a distant glance. Her skin appeared generally Caucasian but for a delicate, reddish brown mottling which started about her eyes, traveled down her neck and sides, ending in a delicate lattice encircling her exposed navel. Her reddish brown hair, which was more red than brown, seemed wild and untamed yet strangely well kept. It flowed around her face and neck like a waterfall and framed her eyes which were a deep green. As she stood, gasping for breath after the assault, she bore her teeth which were not unlike one would expect to find on a cat or a vampire.
"Okay, now take it easy," the Doctor said, raising his hands in a calming gesture. "This is Vranea Ch'syko. She's my guest, like you."
"Why were you hiding her?"
"She's not human. You humans are a bit of an inconsistent lot. Some of you react well to aliens, some are just as happy to dissect them. Vranea likes to keep a low profile until she knows what type you are."
"So how were you hiding her?"
"That device in your hand is called a perception filter. It doesn't make people invisible, just undesirable. Like you don't want to see them. It's like when someone asks you to pass the salt but you can't because you can't see it, even though it's right in front of you. A perception filter does the same thing as your brain does by accident, but on purpose. Now, if you please," the Doctor said holding out his empty palm.
Indy nodded in contrition and handed the bauble back to the Doctor.
"Thank you," he said, though he had no sooner received it than he was distracted by a peculiar chiming from the console which sent him into a twitter. "Oh, I have new mail!"
Eagerly the Doctor rushed to his console and checked his message. As he did a smile widened on his face and a proper childish gleam to accompany it.
"Buckle up, kids! We're going on a trip," the Doctor exclaimed excitedly after reading his message.
"Going on a trip? I can't afford another trip," Indy said as he approached the Doctor who was again hard at work on the controls. "I need to be back in time for the start of the new semester in a few weeks."
"We're in a time and space machine," the Doctor replied. "I can take you to the moon and have you back at your university by lunch time yesterday."
"Well then where are we going?"
"Off to see a countryman of yours. You may know him. A little man by the name of FDR!"
"Franklin Delano Roosevelt," Indy said, stepping closer. "We're off to see the President?"
"Yeah," the Doctor replied, a smug grin stretched from ear to ear. "He and I are buds."
"What did he want?"
"Not a clue. He didn't say. That's what we're off to see, isn't it? Why don't you go play nice with Vranea for a bit. We'll be there in a tick."
Without much else to do, Indy stood by Vranea who regarded him curiously.
"Sorry for attacking you," Indy said.
"Don't be," she replied. "You fought well. I'm actually impressed you could see me through the Doctor's magic."
"Not magic," the Doctor called from his console. "Science!"
"Same thing, Doctor," she called back up to him, reveling in the waves of irritation washing over his face.
As she taunted the Doctor, Indy couldn't help but notice how strangely she was dressed. The soles of her shoes were unusually thick, four inches thick, making her almost as tall as Indy. She also wore bell bottom pants and a flower power t-shirt which was tied off at the midriff. She caught Indy in his ogling and defiantly crossed her arms before her.
"Is this how everyone dresses on your planet," Indy asked.
"We were just at Woodstock."
"Woodstock? Isn't that in New York state? They don't dress that way in New York, honey."
She regarded him quizzically for a moment.
"Oh, I guess that hasn't quite happened for you yet. Just wait about 40 years. You'll understand."
As they watched the Doctor scramble around the controls, a smile crept across Vranea's face.
"You were right about one thing, you know," she said.
"He really is quite mad."