Aventuri cu Doctor Who

by - decembrie 20, 2010

Zilele trecute am descoperit nişte cărţulii noi. De fapt e o serie întreagă, de peste 200. He... E vorba de Doctor Who, celebru personaj de serial sf britanic produs de BBC între 1963-1989 (26 de sezoane şi un film în 1996) şi apoi între 2006-2010 (5 sezoane). Programul a intrat in Cartea Guiness a Recordurilor drept cel mai longeviv serial science-fiction de televiziune din lume, dar şi cel mai de succes, având în vedere ratigurile, vânzările de dvd-uri şi cărţi, precum şi numărul de downloaduri ilegale. Ideea e că oamenii aştia au făcut un serial de succes cu resurse limitate şi fără ajutorul efectelor speciale de acum; intriga era originală, poveştile erau pline de imaginaţie şi au inclus pentru prima dată muzica electronică (care sună atât de ciudat, că ţi se face pielea găină). E ceva... Mai multe, aici. Mai jos, muzica electronică de intro din '63.


Dar eu nu vorbesc de serial, pentru că nu l-am văzut, deşi a fost difuzat şi la noi pe TVR1 şi Axn Sci-Fi. Eu vorbesc despre cărti. Care sunt peste 200 şi nu sunt legate numai de serialul iniţial. :D Lista completă, aici.

Pe scurt, povestea urmăreşte aventurile unui Stăpân al Timpului, un fel de om de ştiinţă excentric pe nume Doctor Who, care călătoreşte în spaţiu şi timp cu ajutorul unei maşinării numită TARDIS (de la Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) care, din exterior, arată ca o cabină telefonică a poliţiei. Personajul şi aventurile sale uimitoare i-au marcat atât de mult pe britanici, că au rămas în cultura lor ca un reper.

Aşadar, mă bag ieri noapte binişor în pat, deschid laptopul şi încep să citesc. Prima carte, Doctor Who and The Daleks. Primul capitol. Nu am mai stat aşa cu sufltul la gură şi nu mi-a mai fost atât de ”frică” de când am văzut Jeepers Creepers. Presupun că asta înseamnă să fie bine scrisă o carte.

En fin, pun mai jos primul capitol - dupa [Citeste mai mult].
Enjoy!




1
A Meeting on the Common

I stopped the car at last and let the fog close in around me. I knew I was somewhere on Barnes Common and I had a suspicious idea it was the most deserted part as well. A warm fire and the supper my landlady would have waiting for me seemed as far away as New Zealand. I wondered how long it would take me to walk home to Paddington and the possible answer didn’t do anything to cheer me up. A fitting end to an impossible day, I thought savagely. For a start, before breakfast, I’d torn my best sports jacket on a loose screw on the door of my room. It didn’t help that I’d been putting off tightening it for weeks so I had nobody to blame but myself. Then later, after I’d driven all the way to Reigate for a job I was after as Assistant Research scientist at Donneby’s, the big rocket component firm, I found that a nephew of one of the directors had got the post and I’d made the journey for nothing. Now the fog and the prospects of a long, weary walk. I looked at my watch, delaying the decision as long as possible. Nearly nine o’clock.

Just as the second hand completed its minute, I heard the sound of running footsteps. Probably somebody as lost as I was, I told myself, welcome for a delay from the final decision to begin walking. Suddenly, into the pallid glow of my headlights, a girl appeared. She stopped and I saw her hands moving slightly, and I could see her mouth opening to speak. I tore open the door and ran to her, catching her before she fell to the road.

She hadn’t completely fainted and I could just make out the name she was saying—Susan—as I lifted her up and put her in the front seat, then her head rolled back on the seat-rest and she passed out altogether. She was in her early twenties, I guessed, and she had one of those deceptive sort of faces; attractive, yet with strong character. Her clothes were covered in mud and her stockings hung in ribbons about her legs. There was a big rip in the jacket of her suit
on her shoulder and I could see the blood spreading over the material. I opened the bonnet and dipped my handkerchief in the radiator. This put an end to any idea of walking, I told myself. The cut on her shoulder didn’t look too good and might even need some stitches in it. I went back to her, wringing out the handkerchief, wondering why she didn’t have a handbag. Had somebody attacked her and stolen it? The obvious solution didn’t occur to me.

She began to move her head a little as I bathed her forehead. Her lips quivered slightly.

‘Susan... Susan...’

All I could think about was how strange it was that she should want to tell me her name and I suppose I was so preoccupied with this line of thought that it was almost startling when she opened her eyes and looked at me. There was a pause of a second or two and then I laid the
handkerchief against her forehead.

‘Rest quietly for a minute. You’ll be all right.’

‘Susan...’

‘Yes, I know. You started to tell me your name before—’

She shook her head and I rescued the handkerchief and started to refold it.

‘No, Susan is on the road,’ she said, ‘she was in the car with me.’

‘I’ll go and have a look in a moment.’

‘No, now. Please!’

I heard the urgency in her voice. I nodded.

‘All right. Is it straight ahead?’

‘I’ll come with you. I must. She’s hurt.’

‘What happened?’ The answer came to me almost as soon as I asked. ‘Car crash?’

‘Yes. Thank heavens you pulled up. You’d have driven right into it.’ She started to get out of the car.

‘You’ve hurt your shoulder, you know.’

‘It’s all right.’ I helped her out, pretending I hadn’t noticed the agony on her face as she moved her injured shoulder.

‘You’d better show me. But say if you don’t feel up to it.’

We began to walk along the road and we had taken only a few steps before the fog swallowed up the headlights of my car and the fog pressed in around us.

I said, ‘How badly hurt is she?’

‘I don’t know. There was a lot of blood on her face. It was a big lorry. An army one, I think.’

We groped our way forward, inching our way, but still I nearly tripped over the shattered wing of the lorry that had been wrenched away from the main bodywork. I guided the girl around it and broken glass began to crunch under our feet. It was a strange, eerie sound in the silence of the night. The outline of the lorry appeared and we circled round it cautiously. It was lying on one side and sprawled half in and half out of one of the driving cabin windows was the upper half of an army corporal. I climbed up as far as I could on the twisted metal and it looked as if the man had been hurled sideways at the moment of impact, the glass of the window shattering but holding him from being thrown out into the roadway. I stared at him for a second
or two and then stepped back on to the road.

‘Is he all right? Hurt badly, or what?’

I looked at her, wondering what state she was in to hear what I had to say. The pause seemed to be sufficient for she turned her head and peered through the eddying mist at the body.

‘He’s dead.’

‘I’m afraid so.’

The fog was beginning to line the back of my throat and, for the first time, I became aware of the strong smell of petrol. One of the lorry’s headlights still glared out into the night and I thought the less chance the petrol had the better. I felt a sudden anxiety that there would be a short circuit and the whole wreckage would explode in our faces. I climbed up again.

‘I’ll have to turn the lights off but don’t move for a moment. We’ll never find each other again.’

It was an unpleasant business. I had to engineer the dead body back into the cabin before I could wrench open the door and then scramble over to reach the light switch. The smell of petrol was stronger than ever inside the cabin and it was becoming more and more difficult to breathe, but I managed to reach the switch at last and my world plunged into impenetrable blackness.

Fear had always been a thing that I’d read about, a condition of the mind that was a total mystery to me because I’d never experienced it. I suppose every person has the odd moment of fright now and again, like the second between tripping and hitting the ground; but I had never felt fear so deeply before. It flooded through me, damping down my mind from logic or reasoned action and making the cold sweat stand out on my forehead.

Someone, somewhere, struck a match. I heard it quite clearly, the long scrape of the sulphur head against the short strip of sandpaper, the brittle flare of ignition. I banged my head as I scrabbled to get out and away from the lorry and the petrol all around me and, hearing a ripping of cloth as my coat caught in a piece of protruding metal. I felt the girl’s hand on my arm steadying me as I raced to get down.

‘Did you hear it?’ I said breathlessly. She stared at me.

‘Somebody’s here. Striking matches! The petrol...’ I swallowed and tried to get control of myself.

‘You must have imagined it,’ she said quietly.

‘No, I didn’t. I heard it quite clearly. On the other side of the lorry.’

We stood there shouting for a while, straining to hear some reply or movement. There was nothing but the cold, deadly silence.

She said, ‘Perhaps it’s Susan.’

She started to lead me away from the wreckage and up the road and I had a feeling I’d disappointed her in some way. I apologized for frightening her and she turned and looked at me steadily.

‘I should be the one to apologize for involving you in all this.’ As we groped our way forward, I thought about what she’d said and it seemed to me that there was something else in her words other than a reference to the crash.

‘I couldn’t very well sit in my car when you were fainting all over the bonnet, could I?’

‘I didn’t mean that.’

I didn’t go on asking questions but I knew I’d been right. There was something else behind the accident itself. It was the appearance of her car through the wreaths of mist that put an end to conversation. Its nose was buried into a tree and the familiar sound of broken glass began to
crunch under our shoes as we picked our way around it.

‘Can you possibly get the boot open? There’s a torch in there.’

I turned the handle and wrestled with the bent metal for a few moments. Eventually it gave and I was able to force it upwards. I felt around and found the torch, hoping it was in working order. The light flashed on and I heard the girl give a little exclamation of relief. I picked it out carefully, not bothering to close the lid of the boot. Her car was a complete write-off anyway.

‘You’d better show me where she is.’

‘I managed to get her out of the car to the side of the road.’ She led me round and then stopped so sharply that I almost cannoned into her.

‘Susan,’ she said quietly, and then louder, ‘Susan!’

I flashed the torch about. Apart from the ever-present broken glass, there wasn’t a sign of anyone.

‘Perhaps it was her. The match-striker, I mean.’

She shook her head. ‘She had a terrible cut on her forehead. Quite a lot of blood. It was on her face and her pullover. I’m sure she was unconscious.’

‘But no stranger’s going to just come along and move her,’ I argued. ‘Move her where, anyway? We’re in the middle of Barnes Common.’

‘She told me she lives here. Very near here.’ If she felt me looking at her curiously she gave no sign. ‘I was just pulling up when the lorry skidded across the road and hit us.’

‘But how could she live here? The nearest house must be over a mile. It must be.’

‘I know. We—argued about it. She hadn’t wanted me to drive her home at all but I simply wouldn’t let her travel alone in this weather. I insisted.’

‘And she told you to drive her to Barnes Common?’ The girl nodded. I thought for a moment.

‘When I told you about hearing the match striking you said then you thought it might be Susan. Now you tell me that she was definitely unconscious and couldn’t have moved.’

‘Oh, I don’t know,’ and I heard the weariness in her voice. ‘It couldn’t have been the Doctor. I know this part of the Common. There isn’t a house near here.’

‘What doctor?’

‘Her grandfather’s a doctor.’

I leaned against her car.

‘I wish you wouldn’t let things out a bit at a time,’ I said as carefully as I could and suppressing the irritation I felt. I knew she must be somewhere near breaking point.

‘If her grandfather’s a doctor, then he must have moved her. It was probably he who struck the match too. The thing is, what we’re to do next. There’s no doubt that he’ll come back here as soon as he’s settled Susan in bed and start looking for you.’

She said, ‘There’s every doubt in the world.’

After the silence while I digested what she’d said, I must have moved my hand in exasperation. The light from the torch picked up the shine of something other than glass about five yards away. I crossed and picked up a small brass ornament with a broken piece of black tape threaded
through the hole at one end. I showed it to the girl.

‘It was Susan’s. She wore it round her neck.’ Her voice was flat and emotionless and I suddenly began to feel angry.

‘It’s no good standing about here talking!’ She looked at me sharply and I suppose I had spoken rather loudly. I shrugged.

‘You can’t blame me for losing my temper. You keep on hinting at things, as if this weren’t just a terrible road accident but something more. A girl who lives in the middle of a Common; too unconscious to move and disappears as soon as your back’s turned. This doctor, the grandfather. Why all the mystery?’

‘I can’t tell you much because I don’t know very much.’

‘But this is just a road accident, isn’t it? What else is there, for heaven’s sake!’

‘There’s her disappearance to worry about.’

In the silence, I offered her a cigarette. She refused and I lit one for myself. In the glow of my lighter flame I saw the tears on her cheeks. The only logical thing I could think of was that she was suffering from shock but even as I toyed with that idea I realized it didn’t seem to fit. There was nothing nervous or hysterical about her at all, no signs of extreme panic. One or two curious things had happened and she had made a couple of strange comments. I decided
the exchange of cigarette smoke for fog didn’t help and flicked the cigarette away. It gleamed briefly for a moment and disappeared, and as I turned to start asking the girl some questions my whole body suddenly froze into a complete stillness.

The footsteps I heard were cautious ones. I could almost imagine the owner picking his way carefully and not just because of the poor visibility either. This sort of walking was deliberately quiet. I felt the girl’s fingers touch and then hold my arm. We both pressed ourselves back against the wreckage of the car and waited. I switched the torch off.

The dim outline of a man became clearer. He was wearing a cloak and under his fur hat I could see his silver hair, surprisingly very long on the back of his neck and touching the collar of his cloak. His head was bent down, peering at the ground and in his hand he held a lighted
match. He stopped suddenly, so near to us that I could have taken three steps and stood next to him. I saw him bend down on one knee and pick up something from the pavement. It was my cigarette.

All my concentration was directed towards the match he was holding. The strength of its light never altered and the quality of it was far whiter than any match I’d ever seen before. The other thing that puzzled me was that it didn’t seem to be burning any lower.

Slowly he turned his head and the girl’s hand gripped even harder on my arm. He saw me first and then he looked at the girl beside me.

‘What are you doing here?’

It was such an extraordinary question in the circumstances that I nearly burst out laughing. He got up and stepped over to us, holding the match higher in his hand. I felt it was up tome to say something.

‘A girl’s been hurt. We were looking for her.’

He nodded slowly. ‘A tragic business. The soldier in the lorry has been killed. You’ve been hurt, too, young lady, by the look of you. You should be in bed.’

‘Not until I’ve found Susan,’ she said quietly, and the old man gave her a sharp, almost startled look.

I couldn’t stop myself any longer. ‘What is that match thing? It never seems to burn down.’

‘Just a little invention of mine,’ he said easily and turned his attention to my companion. ‘What did you say happened to the girl?’

‘She was hurt. I told you. I left her here on the pavement and went to get help. When we came back she’d gone.’

‘Made her own way home, perhaps?’

‘That isn’t very likely, is it?’ I said. He waved a hand in the air, a gesture of bewilderment.

‘The young are so thoughtless.’ I saw his eyes glinting with malicious amusement. ‘Perhaps one of her family found her and took her home.’

I didn’t understand why he should be amused and, what was worse, his whole attitude was adding another layer of mystery to the business.

‘Perhaps you’d like to help us look for her,’ I said coldly. ‘Better still, take us to your house. We ought to ring for the police. All this wreckage on the road can cause another
accident.’

‘I wouldn’t worry about the girl. I’m sure she’s in safe hands. As for a telephone, I’m afraid my little nest doesn’t possess such a thing.’

I tried to muster up all my patience. ‘Then perhaps you could offer a hot drink and a chair for this lady. She’s been hurt too, as you said yourself.’

He looked at her and clicked his tongue in sympathy. It was the most insincere sound I’ve ever heard in my life.

‘The trouble is, I’ve lost my key. That’s what I was looking for.’ He shot a look at me of such intense directness that I blinked. ‘You haven’t seen it, have you? Picked it up, perhaps? It’s brass. There may even be a piece of black tape attached to it.’

I pulled it out of my pocket. ‘Yes, I picked this up.’ His hand stretched out for it but I closed my hand around it and looked at the girl.

‘But you said it belonged to Susan.’ She nodded. I turned my attention back to the old man again.

‘Apparently, she wore it around her neck. Now I’ll tell you what I think. You’ve found the girl, haven’t you? And now for some reason or other you want this. Never mind about anybody else being hurt or injured or anything.’

‘Are you trying to give me a lecture on human behaviour, young man?’ he said sharply. ‘I won’t tolerate anything of that kind. You possess something that belongs to somebody else. Please give it to me.’

‘Yes, it does belong to someone else. And that someone doesn’t happen to be you. Have you taken that young girl somewhere?’

I spoke the last three words into the fog for the old man turned quickly and was swallowed up. I could hear his running footsteps. I glanced at the girl and saw the indecision in her eyes, but I wasn’t in the mood to leave it all to speculation. I took her hand firmly and she came
with me without protest as we ran up the road after him. After a few seconds I couldn’t hear his footsteps any more and slowed down. I flashed the torch about me and made out the square shape of what seemed to be a hut set back from the road on the Common itself. I walked towards it and then both the girl and I stopped and stared at a police telephone box.

‘Now we’re all right,’ I muttered. The trouble was, I couldn’t get the door open. I banged my fist against the double doors in frustration.

‘But these things ought to open,’ I said angrily. ‘What are they here for but to help people in trouble.’

She said, ‘What’s it doing on the Common?’

I turned the light of the torch full on her face.

‘I don’t care about disappearing girls, strange old men or where the police choose to put their telephone boxes.’ I took a deep breath, struggling to control myself, and managed to speak more reasonably. ‘All I want is to finish with this business and get home.’

‘Yes, I’m sorry.’

I shut up for a minute, ashamed of losing my temper with her. It wasn’t her fault after all. In the pause, I heard a twig crack and I wheeled round, shining the torch in an arc. The old man stepped forward.

‘I see you’ve found the police box, young man,’ he said cheerfully.

I stared at him for a few seconds, collecting my thoughts.

‘And if I could open it, I’d have a squad car round here and let them get some sense out of you.’

‘Now, now, you mustn’t lose control of yourself, you know. Locked, is it? How extraordinary.’

His whole attitude was so friendly that I doubted my own memory of our first meeting. He stepped over and looked at the girl beside me carefully.

‘This appalling weather isn’t helping you at all. And there’s blood on your jacket. Most distressing. You have a car, of course?’

I nodded, completely speechless at his change of manner. He rubbed his chin reflectively.

‘What I suggest is this. You take the young lady back to your car. Try and make her comfortable. Then come back here with a crowbar or a jemmy or something and we’ll try and force open this door. Isn’t that the wisest thing to do?’

‘All right,’ I said reluctantly and turned to the girl. ‘If you agree?’ She nodded. The old man rubbed his hands together and beamed at us.

‘Capital! Order and method, young man, there’s nothing like it. Off you go now and don’t be long with that jemmy, will you?’

I turned to go, helping the girl as she nearly stumbled over the uneven ground. I couldn’t get rid of my suspicions of him and the more I thought about it, this sudden geniality made it worse. I stopped and felt the girl’s eyes on me. She must have seen something in my face, a growing conviction that we were being fooled. She turned and looked back. I heard her catch her breath and I turned as well.

The old man was holding up his lighted match, which still hadn’t burned any lower down the stem, and his other hand held a little sliver of metal which glittered. He put the metal into the lock and the door started to swing open. At the same moment he turned and looked at us. It was a look of malevolent cunning and triumph suddenly mixed with concern that he had been caught out. I ran back towards him and caught him by the shoulder. The doors continued to open slowly and a fierce, glowing radiance began to emanate from behind them. I leapt at the old man
and we fell heavily to the ground. I could hear him snarling at me to let him go and not meddle in his affairs, but the words didn’t make too much impression on me because all I could think about was that whatever it might look like from the outside, I knew perfectly well that this
was no ordinary police box on Barnes Common. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the girl go past me towards the opening doors.

‘Stop her! Don’t go through the doors,’ the old man shouted desperately.

I heard another voice calling. ‘Grandfather,’ it said. The girl stopped at the open doors.

‘Susan! Susan, are you in there?’ She turned and looked back at me and I held the old man quiet for a moment. ‘He must have put her in here.’ She went through the doors.

The old man sobbed with anger and tore himself away from me, and then as we both scrambled to our feet the scream echoed out from the telephone box and stopped us both. He was the first to move but I gave him a sharp push and he staggered away and fell again on one knee. I raced over to the box and ran through the doors.

The light closed around me and I screwed my eyes up in agony and threw my hands up to my face. Almost at once, I tripped over something and fell headlong forward, hitting my head with a sickening crash on the floor. Weary and half dazed, remaining conscious only because of the memory of that pitiful scream, I tried to lift myself up on my knees and gradually opened my eyes, hoping the blinding light might have lessened. What I saw gave me a clarity greater than a bucket of freezing water tipped all over me.

The terrible glare had diminished down to the ordinary electric power of a well-lit room, although I could see no evidence of any bulbs or fittings anywhere. The first real shock was the immense size of the room around me. This is a police telephone box, I kept repeating to myself. Just a small box big enough to hold two or at the most three standing people. I relaxed on my haunches and stared around and above me. I was in a room about twenty feet in height and with the breadth and width of a middle-sized restaurant. I calculated there would be room for at least fifty tables. In the centre was a six-sided control panel, each of the six working tops covered with different- coloured handles and switches, dials and buttons. In the centre of this panel was a round column of glass from which came a pulsating glow. The walls were broken by serried ranks of raised circles, this pattern itself being interrupted by banks of machines containing bulbs that flickered on and off. In one corner I spotted a row of at least twenty tape-recording spools spinning round furiously, while beneath them a similar number of barometric needles zig-zagged uneven courses across moving drums of paper. To make this nightmare even more unbelievable, dotted about the room were what looked to me like excellent copies of antique furniture. Here was a magnificent Chippendale, there a Sheraton chair. A most elegant Ormulu clock stood on a carved stand and beside it was another stand of marble upon which was a bust of Napoleon.

I hit my head, I told myself. I’ve fallen in the telephone box and I’m imagining it all. I tried closing my eyes and opening them again but it didn’t make any difference except that I became aware of the figure of a young girl staring at me. Her eyes were very dark and she looked
frightened. I noticed that her clothes were normal enough, dark ski trousers and boots and a cherry-red sweater, although she was wearing a most extraordinary scarf tied closely around her forehead. It had thick red and yellow stripes on it and made her look like a pirate. I tried to smile, although the pain was back in my head where I’d hit it on the floor.

‘Now I know this is a dream,’ I said weakly. I heard a buzzing sound behind me.

‘Close the doors, Susan.’ It was the old man’s voice. I saw the young girl move to the control panel obediently and turn one of the switches. The buzzing increased and I swung myself round on the floor. The double doors closed behind the old man. In front of him I saw the body of the
girl I had met in the fog. She was lying full length on the floor and one of her shoes had come off. The old man examined her briefly. The young girl who had answered to the name of Susan walked past me and knelt beside the body.

‘Is Barbara all right?’

The old man shrugged.

‘Fainted. Her pulse is steady. We must do something about that injury to her shoulder.’

‘And who’s that one?’ That one was me. They both regarded me thoughtfully and then the girl went on, ‘He wasn’t with us in the car.’

‘Your teacher met him on the road after the accident,’ replied the old man. ‘I’m extremely cross about this, Susan. You should never have let Miss Wright bring you out here.’

‘I couldn’t help it, Grandfather. She insisted.’

‘Then you should have stayed the night at her flat. I’m sure she would have offered you a couch and a blanket and you know I wouldn’t have worried about you.’

The girl said, ‘But I would have worried about you.’

The old man walked over and stood in front of me.

‘Well, now we have someone else to worry about.’

I felt consciousness slipping away from me. The bang on the head must have been worse than I thought. A black cloud was beginning to roll over my brain. My eyelids were as heavy as lead and my head started to fall. The old man bent down on one knee, put a hand under my chin and
held my face. All the power was draining away from my arms and legs and I couldn’t have lifted a finger to stop him, even if he’d started to hit me.

‘He’s going under. There’s a bump the size of a golf ball on his head.’

The black cloud was blanketing down now and I had a terrible sensation of falling slowly into a bottomless well. I heard the old man speaking as if from a long way away.

‘The point is, can I let you go now? I don’t think I can. I’ll just have to take you both with me.’

Then I blacked out completely.
 ____

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