The TARDIS came tumbling like a gambler's die across the dark baize of the night. Its wheezing salute sounded through the sky and the light that crowned the police box shell shone out. An unearthly golden glow pulsed and broke through the clouds. The TARDIS flew into it. And screamed. 'Whoaaaaaaaaa!' The Doctor pirouetted away from the smoking TARDIS console, blowing at her fingers. 'She did not like that. The TARDIS did not like that.' 'Yeah, I noticed!' Graham clung to a crystal outcrop as the whole control room listed sharply. The usual warm orange lighting had become a demented wash of reds and purples, plunging the cavernous space into shifting shadows, and a bell was clanging somewhere, deep and dolorous, like the end of the world was coming. Graham stared round wildly to check that Ryan and Yaz were all right, saw a tangle of limbs flailing against the mushroom shaped console and breathed a sigh of relief.
'What's going on?' Ryan yelled. 'We ran into something, thirty thousand feet above the surface of the planet below.' Walking against the wind as she slowly fought her way back to the controls, the Doctor looked like a mime artist, except her blonde hair really was blowing all about her face, her blue coat-tails flapping like they wanted to take off. 'A belt of energy. Ask me what kind.'
'What kind?' Yaz shouted.
'I have no idea! None! Isn't that brilliant?' The Doctor's grin was wide enough to swallow them all as she reached the console at last, twisting and tickling the controls into submission. The buffeting grew calmer, the floor began to level out. Graham let go of a long, shuddering breath. 'Jeez, Louise, I thought we'd had it then.' 'We've landed.' The Doctor stared at the controls as if daring them to disagree, her tone somewhere between accusation and wonder. 'One day I'll get the hang of flying this thing . . .'
'You think?' Panting for breath, Yaz helped Ryan to his feet, letting him lean on her. But Ryan, unhappy accepting help from anyone, pulled away and tottered against the console. Smoothly he propped himself up on his elbows, as if the stumble had always been part of the plan.
Graham pretended not to notice so as not to embarrass him. 'Everyone all right?'
Ryan nodded, and Yaz pushed long black strands of hair back from her face. 'So, belt of energy, not good for the TARDIS . . .?'
'Not good for anyone in close proximity.' The Doctor was taking in whatever weird information her machine was prepared to divulge. 'Luckily this is ad 451 and human beings can't fly, so your ancestors should be OK.'
'History time!' Ryan grinned. 'Hey, Doctor – love saying this – where on Earth are we?'
She beamed. 'Gaul.'
'Gaul? What's that?'
'It's a place, mate,' Graham told him. 'Asterix came from there. In the comic strip.' Yaz and Ryan looked at each other blankly, and Graham frowned. 'You must know! Asterix the Gaul, feisty little fighting hero by Goscinny and . . . thingie?'
Ryan shook his head.
'I was Goscinny's and Uderzo's inspiration, you know.'
The Doctor pulled her hair over her lip to make a blonde moustache and winked at Graham. 'Almost definitely.'
This is a preview of Doctor Who: Combat Magicks. Want to read on? Grab a copy here: https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/1116663/doctor-who--combat-magicks/9781785943690.html
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Doctor Who: Combat Magicks by Steve Cole (Preview)Science Fiction
How do you win a battle when the dead fight on? The TARDIS arrives in Gaul in 451AD, on the eve of battle between the forces of Attila the Hun and those of the crumbling Roman Empire. But the Doctor soon finds that both sides are being helped by sin...