“Professor, why is it dark in here?”
“Quiet, Ace. I'm working.”
“Oh, is that why it's dark?”
“Well, this can’t be right,” said a new voice, making Ace jump.
The Doctor was unperturbed by the mysterious newcomer. “No, you are in the right place.”
“Fantastico!” the newcomer said in Spanish. She went over to Ace, who could make out ginger hair and vivid turquoise eyes in the dark, and offered her hand. “I’m Lilith.”
“Ace.” Ace shook her hand.
“Ace.” Lilith grinned. “You’re with the Seven, right? With the question mark sweater vest and the hat?”
The Doctor sighed. “Yes, I am the Seventh Doctor.”
“Granted, he also wore a hat as Four and Five. Tried wearing a fez as Eleven, too. He claimed fezzes are cool. I’ve heard all about you. Ace McShane and her famous explosives. You know, it’s my sister Darkel’s dream to learn your recipe for Nitro-9.”
“Where did you hear about me?”
“From Dad, of course,” Lilith said, waving a hand at the Doctor. “He tells us about all his companions.”
Ace frowned. “The Professor is your dad?”
“In a manner of speaking,” the Doctor replied.
“I haven’t been born yet,” Lilith clarified before Ace could ask. “Not in his timeline, anyway. It’s hard to know how soon, though. He starts lying about his age somewhere around 1000.”
Beeping noises came from the console. “What's that noise?” Ace asked.
“A cry in the dark,” the Doctor said.
“A distress signal?”
“A cry for help,” he corrected. “Perhaps a summoning.”
“Where's it coming from?”
“Earth. Rippling out through the cosmos, forward in time, backwards in time and sideways in time.”
Ace frowned. “Sideways in time?”
“Yes, sideways in time, across the boundaries that divide one universe from another.”
Lilith tensed. “Are you saying that it’s coming from a different universe?”
“No, this universe. Earth. A few years in your future, Ace.”
“It's giving me the creeps.” Ace shuddered. “What does it mean?”
“We'll know in a moment, once we've deciphered it.” The Doctor continued to work at the console.
Lilith peered over his shoulder. “So long as it’s not an advertisement from the Slitheen, it should be safe to check out.”
“Slitheen?” Ace questioned.
“Have you ever been to Raxacoricofallapatorius?”
“Can’t say I have.”
The Doctor pushed both Lilith and Ace out of the way and pressed a few more buttons. A speaker grill on the console emitted a sound similar to Darth Vader breathing.
Ace looked at the Doctor. “Wherever it is it's coming from, I don't think we want to go there.”
“Too late,” the Doctor said. “We've already arrived.”