Creatures at an Exposition
Author: Metaldog

Chapter 4
Escape into the Past

-=Chapter Four=-

A tall, fit black man followed the troops into the room.  He was dressed in an immaculately tailored suit, and walked with a bit of a swagger.  At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me, what with the bright lights and all, but after a few seconds I was sure that I recognized him.

"That's Barack Obama!" I whispered to the Doctor, our hands in the air.

"No, it isn't." he whispered back.

"Yes it is," I replied, my voice approaching the audible range.  "That's the President!"

"No, it isn't," he replied.  "It just looks like him.  And when I say it, I mean 'it'.  That's not even a human.  None of them are."

"Very good, Doctor!" the Obama look-alike called out.  Obviously he had heard us, despite the distance between us and him.  "We can, uh, see now why our, uh, first attempts at invasion were so easily defeated.  They had you to identify us.  But, uh, that won't happen again, will it?"

"Who are you?" the Doctor demanded.

"You know who we are.  And, uh, now we know who you are.  Time Lord."

"I don't know who you are.  What first attempts?"

"Perhaps you don't recognize us, this time."  Obama's features melted grotesquely, and then re-formed into the face of Theodore Roosevelt.  "We assure you, good sir," he now had the voice of a New York socialite from the 19th century, "There is nobody else on the planet Earth who can recognize us for what we are.  We shall rule this world, and its people will not realize it, until it is too late.  For we speak softly, but they shall discover that we carry a very big stick."

The fake president strolled out of the big room, through the gigantic door.  His agents quickly surrounded us, and with a few simple gestures, instructed us to leave the room in the same way.  As they drew near, I could feel my hair standing on end, like there was way too much static in the air.  It also got very cold.  It was a long walk to the doorway, and as we walked, I noticed the Doctor counting his steps.  I also noticed him slipping his sonic screwdriver up his sleeve.  When we reached the door, more agents met us, and led us down a hallway.  They stopped in front of a metal door with very large locks on it.  The Doctor took a good look at the locks as we were ushered inside, and as it closed behind us I heard all of those locks click shut.

"Don't worry, Metal," he said, trying to sound confident.  "I'll get us out of here.  By the way, did you notice how they smelled?  Lots of ozone in this place."

"I noticed that all of the Secret Service agents had the same face.  Weird, huh?"

I looked around the room.  There were no windows, but there was a single vent in the ceiling high above us.  The walls were made of smooth metal, with tiny grooves running from top to bottom.  Where the walls met the floor, there was a tiny groove, with hundreds of tiny holes regularly spaced along it.

"This isn't a jail cell," I said.  "It isn't made for holding prisoners."

"What?  Of course it is."  The Doctor had his screwdriver out, and was trying his best to open the locks on the door.  He wasn't having any luck, so far.

"We have a room like this in the warehouse where I work.  Of course, our door doesn't have a lock on it.  That would be silly."

"What kind of room is it?" he asked.

"It's a freezer," I answered, coldly.

---

Some time passed, and the Doctor eventually gave up on his attempts to open the door.  His frustration turned to anger, and he put several fist-shaped dents in the walls, but to no avail.  I re-evaluated my chances against him in a fight, and decided to never find out just how hard he could punch.  He didn't complain about my smoking, though, so I tried to judge time by how many cigarettes I had smoked.  The battery on my phone was dead, so I had no other way to tell the time (I've never liked wearing a watch).  By my reckoning, about three hours passed before a hidden speaker crackled to life.

"Matthew Schoaff," the voice said.  The voice sounded like Obama again.  I looked in the direction the voice seemed to emanate from, and discerned a small cluster of tiny holes high up on one wall.  "Matthew Schoaff, we are, uh, prepared to offer you a deal."

"What's the deal?" I asked.  It couldn't hurt to ask, after all.

"You can, uh, leave right now.  Go home and see your family."

"Uh, huh.  And what do you want?"

"Just walk away.  Never seek out the Doctor again.  We, uh, have a pill that you can take, that will make you, uh, forget everything about the Doctor."

I looked at the Doctor.  He was looking at me.  "You should do it," he said.  "Just walk away, like he said.  I'm sorry I brought you into this mess.  You should just forget all about me."

"Listen to the Doctor, Matthew.  Just walk away.  Go home."

I thought about it for half a second.  Really, I did.  But then I yelled, "I ain't goin' nowhere!  Can't believe I ever voted for you, you scum-sucking alien.  I should've voted for the other guy!"

"Doesn't matter, they would have just copied him, instead." the Doctor chimed in.  "Well, except that right now you'd be in a bigger war."

"Very well, Matthew," the Obama-like vocie continued.  "You will die with the Doctor."

"STOP CALLING ME MATTHEW!" I yelled, at the top of my lungs.  It echoed about in the small room, and hurt my ears.  More quietly, I continued, "Only my mother calls me Matthew, and you're not my mama, Obama!"

That's when the vent started blowing cold air.  It started getting very cold in there.

---

I lowered the earflaps on my hat, and put my gloves on.  Then I zipped up my parka and pulled the hood over my head.  The Doctor had renewed his interest in making dents in the wall, but all he managed to do was tire himself out.  He slumped on the floor, seemingly defeated.

"I'm so sorry, Metal.  There's nothing more I can do.  I guess we're done for."

I lit a cigarette, fumbling with the lighter in my thick gloves.  The pack was empty, so I pulled a full pack from one of my parka pockets.  Then I lit the empty pack on fire.  The plastic burned with a nasty smell while the thin cardboard was consumed quickly.  As it smoldered, I threw on the butts from all of the cigarettes that I had smoked.

"What are you doing there?  That won't keep us warm!  And it smells terrible!"

"Do you find it annoying?"

"Yes, most definitely."

"Do they find it annoying?"

"I'm certain of it."  The Doctor thought for a moment.  "Metal, you're a genius!" He started pulling various items from his pocket, and added them to the fire.  A yo-yo.  A deck of playing cards.  A pair of 3D glasses.  A stuffed teddy bear.  A waxed-paper bag filled with some kind of sweets (I snatched one and ate it.  It wasn't too bad.  He said they were Jelly Babies, whatever those are).  Then I made a sacrifice and threw in the full pack of cigarettes that I had planned on saving.  The smoke from my little fire became more and more noxious, and we stepped away from it to stand by the door.

"Whatever you do," the Doctor warned, "don't touch them.  They're electric."

We heard the locks turning, and readied ourselves.  Two of the look-alike agents walked straight into the freezer, holding fire extinguishers.  They didn't seem to notice us at all, but rather rushed straight to the little fire to put it out.  We slipped into the hallway.  It was empty.  We ran down the corridor as fast as we could.  The Doctor seemed surprised that I was able to keep up with him, and we soon found the end of the hallway.  A quick wave of his screwdriver unlatched the gigantic sliding door, and we slipped through, slamming it shut behind us.  He pointed the screwdriver at the door again, and a puff of smoke came from the latch.  I think that he fused it shut somehow.

"Quickly!" the Doctor commanded, "Find that trap door!"

I ran towards the center of the room.  The toppled cage had vanished, as had the cigarette that I had snuffed  Was it that one?  No.  That one?  No.  I feared that the aliens had swept away all traces, but then I spotted a few flecks of tobacco.  The Doctor ran over to join me.

"Which one is it?" he asked.  "Is it this one?"

"Yes, I think so.  Wait..."  I ran over to the next trap door.  "This one!  Look, there's a bit of a scuff from my boot heel on the concrete."

The Doctor pointed his screwdriver at the trap door, scanning.  "Yes!  The TARDIS is close!"

Just then, the wall exploded.  Several of the agents poured through the newly created opening, with the Obama replica close behind them.  "Stop them!" he yelled, his famous face contorted in anger.  He no longer sounded like Obama, though.  His voice sounded more... alien.  Like it was bubbling out of him.

The Doctor and I stood atop the trap door.  He pointed his screwdriver down, and activated it.  Nothing happened.

"Wood," he explained.  "I'm not that good with wood."

---

The alien agents pointed their weapons at us.  Although they looked like regular handguns, they fired beams of energy that narrowly missed us.  My heart pounded with fear, and my hands were sweating.  Then, suddenly, I heard the bolt click back, and we were falling.

The chute was lined with metal, but it was very smooth.  I landed on top of the TARDIS, narrowly avoiding the beacon on its roof.  The Doctor was already standing at its doors, trying frantically to open them.  "Where's the key?" he cried.  He stepped back and snapped his fingers, which accomplished nothing.  He growled and pounded on the doors again.  "C'mon old girl!  It's me!  Let me in!"

"Wait!" I said.  "Look over there!"

He looked to where I was pointing.  A laptop computer sat on a desk, about a dozen yards from the TARDIS.  He ran over and snatched it up, yanking off a power cord and an ethernet cable.  I took off my gloves and carefully lowered myself from the roof of the TARDIS.  I pulled the key from my pocket; the key that I had found on my time-twin's keyring.  It fit the TARDIS lock perfectly, and we tumbled inside, just as dozens of aliens started to fall from the various chutes in the ceiling.  (I assumed that each chute connected to each of the trap doors, so it really hadn't mattered if we found the right trap door or not, but it was just as well that we had because the underground room was just as large as the room above.)  Moments later, the TARDIS was in flight.


 

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