Deep below the grey dusty surface, Clinton Seymour checked the readings on the controls he was monitoring. He reached for a microphone.
‘Professor Dollund? We have an arrival. Just turned up in Sector 8.’
The Professor’s gruff voice echoed through a speaker in the control panel. ‘Why didn’t you warn me?’
‘Sorry, sir. Didn’t see him coming. It’s like…’ Seymour gave a short laugh. ‘It’s like the ship just faded into existence up there. Funny looking craft, actually.’
Professor Dollund was not amused. ‘Well, don’t keep them hanging around. They could be important. Especially if they’ve got shielding – that suggests military. Give them a bubble.’
‘Doing it now,’ Seymour confirmed as he adjusted a control. The main screen in front of him showed a graphic of the lunar surface. An empty rectangular box rested on the landscape. As Seymour worked, a new line bulged up from the landscape, arcing upwards in a semi circle as it formed a large bubble over the box.
‘OK, whoever you are,’ Seymour said quietly. ‘You’ve got air.’
The Doctor stood outside the TARDIS and looked up at the Earth.
‘Well, I was close,’ he said. ‘Wonder what drew the TARDIS off course.’ He took a deep breath of impossible air and smacked his lips together in appreciation. ‘Loads of questions,’ he told himself. ‘Absolutely loads.’
He turned in a full circle, his feet kicking up dust and his trainers coated in grey. ‘This way,’ he decided. He walked carefully, in a bouncing, skimming motion. The Moon’s low gravity meant he only weighed a sixth of what he did on Earth.
The Doctor had gone about twenty paces when he hit the wall. It was hard, and smooth, and invisible. ‘Or maybe not this way,’ he said indistinctly, rubbing his nose. He stepped back and kicked a smattering of dust in the air, watching as the line of the wall was picked out in grey particles.
‘Force bubble,’ the Doctor decided. ‘Might be for my benefit.’ Just in case it was, he shouted, ‘Thank you – much appreciated!’
As if in reply, a square of black opened in the ground a few metres away. He could just see metal steps leading down into the darkness.
Lights snapped on as the Doctor started down the steps. His feet clanged on the metal, and he could feel himself getting heavier. He must be walking down into an artificial gravity field.
By the time he reached the bottom, the Doctor was back to his normal Earth weight. He was not surprised to find that there were people waiting for him.
There was a middle-aged man with grey hair, and a young woman whose long blond hair was tied in a pony tail. Both were wearing dusty overalls.
‘Welcome to Survey Four,’ the man said.
‘Thanks.’ The Doctor grinned.
‘We weren’t expecting you,’ the young woman confessed.
‘That’s all right. Unannounced inspection,’ the Doctor said. ‘You’re not supposed to expect me.’ He flashed his wallet of psychic paper, knowing it would tell them he was some important official.
The man swallowed as he read what he saw on the paper.
‘Doctor Smith, from the Bureau of Alien Technology.’
‘How did you know?’ the woman asked nervously.
‘We know everything,’ the Doctor told her. He tapped the side of his nose and winked. ‘Absolutely everything. So you’d better leave nothing out when you tell me all about it. Start at the beginning, go on to the end, then stop. And assume I know nothing at all about who you are or what you’re doing here on the Moon.’
The woman's name was Bobby (short for Roberta) Goodman, and she was an archaeologist. The man was Professor Dollund, and he told the Doctor he was in charge of Survey Four.
'Surveying what?' the Doctor asked. 'Assume I know nothing, remember,' he added quickly.
Dollund led the Doctor through narrow metal-lined corridors as he explained. 'With such a shortage of minerals and metal ores back on Earth, the big corporations think it's worth mining the Moon.'
'So you're surveying possible sites for the mines,' the Doctor realised.
'And turning up some interesting stuff,' Bobby said. 'Though nothing alien. At least, not until now.'
'Bobby's here to keep you people happy, really,' Dollund said. 'They wanted an expert ready on site, just in case.'
'You can never be too careful,' the Doctor agreed cheerfully. He noticed that Bobby and the Professor exchanged glances.
'You'd better come into the main control room and see what we've found,' Dollund said.
He led the Doctor and Bobby along another corridor which ended in a large circular door. There was a big locking wheel in the middle of it. An airlock.
'Just a precaution,' Bobby said. 'There's some minor seismic activity in this area. If we get an earthquake it might rupture the seal on one of the tunnels.'
'You should call it a Moonquake. Why not use force bubbles, like you extruded on the surface for me?' the Doctor asked as he stepped into the large control room.
There was a young man sitting at the main control desk. He stood up as the Doctor entered.
'Force bubbles take too much power,' the young man said, hearing the Doctor's question. 'I've already deflated the one round your ship and recycled the air into the main tunnels.'
'Good idea,' the Doctor said cheerily. But he knew that meant he couldn't get back to the TARDIS. He was stuck here, until Goodman and her friends decided he could leave. Hopefully, that wouldn't be a problem.
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