An Eighth Doctor & Dr. Grace Holloway Story
By Rebecca Dowgiert

They were setting out to explore a tropical forest on a seemingly uninhabited planet when it happened. They were gazing around in wonder at the giant trees, the creeping vines and lianas, the gorgeous flowers. Even the Doctor, seasoned and potentially jaded time and space traveler that he was, was impressed. Doctor Grace Holloway, his companion from the end of Earth's twentieth century, was simply awed. Such a diversity of lush biomass she had never seen before, and she reflected sadly for a moment upon the destruction of Earth's similar if less spectacular rain forests.

One instant, they were there, the next, they were -- gone. Something had snatched them away.

The blue police call box that was the facade of their time-traveling ship, the TARDIS, stood forlornly in the suddenly empty glade.


The Doctor came to first, as befitted his Gallifreyan physiology; he seemed to be quicker than Grace was to recover from episodes of unconsciousness. Of course, he wasn't necessarily quite 'all there' once he did awaken -- with the stored memories of seven previous incarnations in his mind, he sometimes Reverted temporarily.

But not today, probably due to the fact that his loss of consciousness had not been due to a physical trauma. He opened his eyes and found himself lying on his back, fully clothed, on a comfortable surface. Turning his head to his right, he saw Grace sprawled next to him, still asleep.

Then he blinked. Although she was still wearing the clothes she'd exited the TARDIS in, her shirt was turned inside-out.

Interesting. He sat up and examined his clothing more closely. Nothing seemed to be out of place, but he had the definite feeling now that someone had been examining them...

The T'zun? There were no records of them having been anywhere near the planet he and Grace had been on. He couldn't recall any other race that operated with such similar intrusive methods being in the time period they were currently in. Then again, they'd gone pretty far back in time, compared to where they usually roamed. The information in his TARDIS's data base was much scarcer for eras such as the one they were currently in, so they could well be dealing with beings from a short-lived civilization that had escaped the history books.

He looked interestedly around at their surroundings. The surface upon which he sat was light yellow and comfortably yielding. When he glanced around for walls, he found none. A uniform blackness surrounded them at a radius of about fifteen feet. The area in which they lay was illuminated, but the source unrevealed.

"Neat trick," he commented.

Next to him, Grace stirred. She rolled over on her side, then opened her eyes and blinked, startled.

"Wha-?" she muttered, finding herself staring at dark green velvet. Then she looked again and realized that it was just the Doctor's coat. Sitting up abruptly, she glanced around, wincing.

"Aahgh," she commented, succinctly. "How long have I been out?"

"Only a little longer than me. I only just woke up, myself."

"Bleagh. I feel like I've been drugged," she declared. Suddenly, she noticed her shirt. "What in the world?" She gave her friend a bemused glance.

The Doctor decided to check something. Getting to his feet, he carefully moved forward, towards the limit of the pool of light that surrounded them. As he had suspected, upon reaching the 'border', his out-stretched hands met an invisible wall of tingling resistance.

"Force field," he declared, turning his head to look at Grace.

She looked up from where she still sat. "We're trapped? What a surprise."

"Yes, well, this is several orders of magnitude better than where we usually end up."

"Oh, I'm not complaining -- just wondering when whoever-it-is who abducted us is going to get around to telling us why."

As if on cue, several voices came from out of the darkness surrounding them, and began to hold a discussion.

"They do seem to be reasonably intelligent, these bipeds."


"We have already derived much valuable data from them.


The Doctor stood, hands on hips. "I hate it when people talk about me as if I weren't even there," he muttered, miffed.

"Hallo," he said, loudly. "Are you going to get around to introducing yourselves to us, or are you just going to keep talking about us behind our backs?"

There was silence for a moment. Then:

"Definitely intelligent hominids. I think we can chance direct communication," one of the voices decided. There was a pause, and then the voice addressed them directly, sounding a little hesitant.

"Greetings, bipedal beings. Do not be frightened -- we mean you no harm."

Grace looked around a little gingerly. "Well, that's a load off my mind," she muttered. Getting to her feet, she walked over to where the Doctor stood, staring expectantly towards the voice.

He glanced at her with a smile as she drew near his side. "Always exciting, eh, meeting a new species?" he commented.

"Uh-huh," she replied, dryly. "But if they're so harmless, why'd they kidnap us?"

He stared back into the stygian darkness. "I expect that's what we're about to find out."

The voice spoke again. "We merely wish to study you, to learn about you. When we are done, you will be returned to where we took you from."

"All well and good," the Doctor replied. "But tell us, who are you? Where are you from?"

The voices conversed eagerly among themselves again. "Such curiosity! A true sign of sentience!" one exclaimed.

"Not necessarily," another of the voices cautioned. "It could merely be a reflexive response..."

The Doctor was beginning to look a little annoyed. "Reflex, indeed! I'll have you know that sentience runs on both sides of my family -- and right up the middle, too!" He winked at Grace, and she rolled her eyes. That Doctor. What a kidder.

Fortunately, their captors didn't seem to mind. Which was nice, for a change; she and her alien friend seemed to run into a disproportionate number of humorless beings.

Or maybe it was just the Doctor's jokes.

Grace stepped forward a little; it was time to get the conversation back on track.

"Why don't you let us see you?" she inquired reasonably.

There was a moment of silence, which somehow took on a startled quality.

One of the voices spoke. "It is doubtful that you would be able to comprehend us, if we were to reveal ourselves to you," it informed them, with an air of arrogant finality.

Now it was Grace's turn to frown. "Well," she said, piqued. "Excuuuse me."

She and the Doctor looked at each other commiseratingly. Yup -- Omnipotent Alien Syndrome, again. They ran into it from time to time.

They looked back towards their unseen captors. "Well, if you're quite finished with your data-gathering," the Doctor said, politely, "we'd like to be on our way."

They stood, waiting patiently. Then the voice said, "We have not completely finished, yet. As you are reasonably intelligent hominids, and do not appear to have been too traumatized by our examination, we will require that you demonstrate the typical mating behavior of your species before we return you to the planet."

There were several moments of silence.

Grace blinked. "Excuse me?" she said.

"We will require that you demonstrate your typical mating behavior," the disembodied voice repeated, patiently.

She shook her head a little, as if clearing it.. "No, I heard what you said -- what I mean is, you want us to...mate? Here? Now?" she said, gingerly.

"Yes; as typical examples of your species, we will require a demonstration of your method of reproduction for our records."

Grace looked sidelong at the Doctor. "They examined us, and they can't even tell that we're not the same? What kind of scientists are these, anyway?" she muttered out of the corner of her mouth.

"If they're an extremely different type of life form, they may not have found our physiological differences, such as the differing number of hearts, remarkable enough to label us as different," he whispered back to her.

"They actually think that we'll front of them?" she whispered back, looking alarmed.

The Doctor gazed at her, his face inscrutable, then abruptly tutted.

"Oh, Grace," he said, shaking his head. "It's high time you overcame those quaint Earth taboos." He looked in the direction of the mysterious voices. "Far be it for us to stand in the way of scientific knowledge," he told them, cheerfully. "We'd be happy to oblige."

Grace's jaw dropped. "Doctor!" she hissed. "What are you--"

He shushed her, and knelt down, drawing her with him. He looked at her for a few moments -- she had the strangest expression on her face... Then he leaned forward and began to whisper into her ear.

She listened for a few moments. "Well, yes, but what does that have to do with--" she said, suddenly frowning. After a few more seconds, she swiveled her head around to stare at him, caught between disbelief and laughter. "You're crazy!" she exclaimed. "They'll never--"

He quickly shushed her again before she could complete her statement, and put an arm around her shoulder. "Oh, come on, Grace -- it'll be fun!" he said, smiling broadly as he squeezed her shoulder encouragingly.

She smiled, shaking her head. "Oh, you--. Oh, all right," she conceded. "Just this once."

The Doctor looked up from where they were kneeling, and grinned mischievously. "All right; watch closely, now!" he told their hosts. "This is how we do it..."


Several pan-dimensional beings were gathered, discussing the data they had gathered from the two hominid bipeds.

"Fascinating, this reproductive behavior that they displayed," one of them said, examining once again the record that had been made of the process.

"Yes. It will take us some time to analyze it all."

There were a few moments of silence, as the scientists happily surveyed their accumulated data.

"They have been returned to the planet, to the exact spot from where they were taken?" one of the voices inquired.

"Yes. Near the blue artifact."

"Good. They were good subjects. Very cooperative. For hominids."

A few more moments of silence.

"A most curious process, this 'mating'. The putting together of the bare feet... And such an intriguing name for it -- 'boku-maru'..."*

"Indeed. But what else would we expect from such corporeal beings?

"What, indeed?"

Somewhere, a couple of smart-ass time travelers are laughing their heads off...


* With apologies to Mr. Vonnegut Jr.... For more about boku-maru (woo!), read Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., natch...

FanFic | Home