Arcade in Space
The Tardis landed with a rough thump! The engines died down, sending silence throughout the control room. The two timelords looked at each other. If the Doctor’s beam got any bigger, his jaw would dislocate.
“Well, here we are! Your first official trip in the Tardis!” He announced.
“Where are we exactly, Uncle Doctor?” Piper finally asked.
The Doctor motioned to the door. “Why don’t you go and find out?”
Without a second thought, she dashed towards the door.
The first thing she saw was a row of glass windows. Beyond it, was the black sky with warm white dots. Piper could see multiple parked spaceships, with passengers going in and out of them. Piper and the Doctor were actually on a tourist observation deck. Connecting the observation deck to the massive parking deck were stairways and escalators miles wide, with many peoples of all different colors, shapes, and sizes walking up and down them. The Doctor locked the Tardis door and met up next to her, his hands in his pockets.
“This is really a space station! We’re on a real space station!” Piper gasped.
“Does that mean you like it?” The Doctor asked.
“Oh, yes!” Piper hissed, ecstatically, “It’s so…fantastic!”
Then, she noticed the large gap between the deck rails and the mass of space beneath them.
Piper pointed and inquired, “If there’s nothing but galactic space below them, how are they still breathing?”
“There’s an invisible protective shield so the ships can smoothly enter through and have clean air, allowing the station’s visitors to breath” The Doctor explained.
“Ooh” Piper remarked, then she turned to him and smiled, “Amazing!”
Piper continued to look around, observing the station’s layout from a bird’s eye view. The observation deck had a few tables and chairs, at least the area they were standing in, indicating they had landed in the relaxation area. About a few feet away, there was reasonably sized café, currently desolate. “Lunch time must be over” Piper thought.
On the other side of the parking deck, were entrances to three other areas: one had a colorful pink, neon banner, one had a theater style steel banner, with the letters lit with fusion light bulbs, and the last one had a clear holographic banner.
Piper strained her eyes to look and see what was inside each area. The first thing she noticed were rectangular, black boxes with old, Earth computer screens, lined up neatly in rows of over a dozen or more.
“That’s an arcade” Piper stated, pointing.
The Doctor nodded. “Yeah, the whole station’s like this. This was built in 2188 when the human race began to expand across the galaxy. This station is a showcase of Earth’s finest games, arcade games, card games, and more physical games alike. This was one of Earth’s many showcases for their new allies.”
“Well let’s not goof around any longer! Let’s go, let’s go!” Piper exclaimed.
She placed her hand in the Doctor’s, and they took off.
They walked over to the first area, where the retro, pixelated arcade games were located. Beside it was a humanoid with odd looking red eyes and bald head, wearing navy-blue overalls and a conductor’s hat, selling playing permits to play the games.
He smiled warmly at the two timelords.
“Welcome, my friends!” he greeted, with a strange accent that sounded like a hint of Italian.
At first, Piper was a bit off-put at this man’s appearance. He looked so strange. She had never seen another alien species other than gallifreyans and humans. To see something so inhuman…
“No. I can do this” Piper thought, “It’s just a…friendly alien!”
She put on a polite smile as she was first to walk up to him.
“Hello sir! How are you today?” she asked, civilly.
“I am doing just fine, thank you young lady!” the ticketer responded, with a delighted smile on his face, as if he had never been asked that question before.
“May I have two bracelets, please?”
“Just one, actually,” the Doctor interjected, “I’m just observing.”
Piper turned a whole 90 degree angle to her uncle and gave him a look.
“You don’t want to play the games?” she asked.
The Doctor shook his head.
“Nah, but don’t let me stop you from having fun.”
Piper was still a little shocked that the Doctor wasn’t going to participate.
Weren’t they supposed to travel together? As in, doing things together?
“Well…Then, j-just one then.”
The man ducked down behind the desk area and opened a steel door, with rows of smooth, round, thick silver bracelets with three lights.
“All three sections, ma’am?”
The man took out one, and slowly turned on all the lights.
“If I may ask, are you on a…father, daughter outing today?” the man asked.
“Oh, no no, no!” said the Doctor and Piper in unison.
Piper added, proudly, “No, he’s my uncle. He’s taking me traveling until school starts.”
“Oh, I see. I apologize. I was confused for a moment. You look so much alike!”
The Doctor and Piper glanced at each other, observing how the other looked. They shrugged.
It was rather debatable.
Finally, the ticketer handed Piper the bracelet.
“There you go madam! That’ll be 50 cre-”
Before he could finished, Piper pulled out forty euros, and handed the two bills to him. The ticketer stared at the bills for a long moment, stunned at the sight of them. Piper was puzzled.
“What’s wrong? Is it not enough?” she asked.
“I-I…! I can’t possibly take these, ma’am!” he stammered, “They’re too valuable!”
The corners of Piper’s eyes wrinkled. She turned to her uncle for help. The Doctor stepped forward and leaned in to whisper in her ear.
“It’s 2086. No one uses euros. They’re considered collectables” he explained.
Once she heard that, she immediately snorted.
“Oh, I’m very serious.”
Piper giggled. She would never have imagined ordinary currency, one she had seen so much in her life on Earth, would suddenly become so much more valuable and scarce. Then, she smiled.
“I can trade then! Seriously, I don’t need ‘em, and if they’re really valuable, then…”
There was another moment of silence. Then, slowly, the ticketer took them from her hand. He said nothing for a moment. Then, he shook off the surprise and warmly smiled.
“Well, thank you very much ma’am. Enjoy your visit!”
Piper was getting more awkwardly uncomfortable, than amused.
She politely nodded. “Thank you.”
And with that, the Doctor gently took her hand, and they started off.
“So, how come you didn’t want a bracelet?” Piper asked the Doctor as they walked inside, “I mean, surely watching me play all the games would be rather boring!”
“Oh, I’ve been here before” he replied, “Many times, actually. I find that surprisingly, when others with you experience it for the first time, you discover it for the first time yourself.”
Piper looked away. “Hmm, that’s an interesting way to put it…”
The Doctor could see she wasn’t satisfied with that answer.
“I’m fine with skipping out this time, really. Just watching you experience it for yourself is enough pleasure for me” he reassured.
Piper smiled, a bit flattered in that comment. She looked up at him, “Okay. If you say so…”
Yay! Chapter one is finally out! If you’ve enjoyed reading this, leave a like and comment to let me know! I enjoy reading your feedback!