A Minor Misdemeanor

Chapter 9

The insistent ringing of the phone dial was everything Strax needed to know: Madame Vastra was trying to make a phone call.

Normally, this was one of the many duties fulfilled by Jenny, on the basis that she understood how to operate a phone, dial a number, ask the operator to put her through to it, and then hand over the phone to Vastra, once all of the tricky bits were out of the way.

"[Person of low birth and immoral demeanour] thing." Vastra hissed, before yelling; "Strax, do you know how to operate the phone?"

The sontaran butler appeared at that point.

"Let's see…" I think you pick up the handset, and talk into it."

"Give me that." Vastra hissed. "Hello, operator, could you get me…" she looked down at a card on which the number she was trying to call was written. "Buckingham Palace 8638."

"One moment, Madam." The operator replied. "Connecting you now."

Mars, 3576, the large comet observatory.

The insistent ringing of the TARDIS phone brought the Doctor out of a state of wonder, while he was looking at the various objects that had been filmed in the last month. Even for a Time Lord, beauty could still be found in the universe in surprising places.

After hoping whoever was trying to ring him would give up, (it sometimes worked) he finally gave in, and answered the phone, taking it inside the TARDIS and placing it on the console, just before he stole one of Clara's chips.

"This is the Doctor." he said.

"Doctor, it's Vastra." He heard, in the breathy Scottish accent of the Silurian detective. "We've had a setback."

"What kind of setback?" he asked, leaning over the console and pulling several levers, before swiping another chip.

"Jenny has been arrested."

"What did she do?" the Doctor asked, curiously.

"She punched someone." Vastra replied. "I forget she is still a warrior cadet at heart, despite her skills."

"I see. And this person made a complaint?"

"I had to." Vastra replied, layering her voice with guilt. "If I hadn't called the police, people would wonder."

"I see. What sort of help will you be needing?"

"I need someone who can operate ape kitchen appliances, for a start. I also need a person who won't object to the occasional chase through London, or helping to tackle a criminal."

Clara spun around at that point, glaring at the Doctor.

"No. I am not going." She hissed.

"I'm sure Clara would be very happy to help you out." He replied, grinning, before making another chip vanish.

"Doctor!" Clara hissed. "I need to be in the classroom in a few hours."

Another chip vanished with the reply. "You're not going to miss your lesson."

"And you can be sure of that, can you?" she demanded. "I remember sending you for coffee, and you delivering it three weeks later after I'd had to make my way back from Glasgow."

"Relax, I just took a detour." He explained, before she slapped his hand away from her chips.

"Have you ever had to explain to a police officer why you don't have anything to prove how you travelled to Glasgow, after being randomly detained at the train station because someone saw the size of your rucksack and thought it was full of drugs?"

"Never mind that, Clara. I promise that I will get you back to the school, in time to deliver your lesson."

"Right…" She said, somewhat unconvinced. "I'll be holding you to that."

"I know you will." He replied, before pulling the lever that would send the TARDIS where he wanted it to go, having plugged in the co-ordinates for Vastra's stable yard.

When the doctor opened the doors, he looked out onto a scene of war. Roman legionaries, in a massive line, were drawn up opposite a horde of Celts, each group gathered around their tribal banners. There was a lot of pointing, along with a group of cavalry scouts riding up to take a look, before the romans seemed to come to a rather unpleasant conclusion.

"I wish people wouldn't do that." The Doctor muttered, noticing the subtle redirection of several nearby pieces of light field artillery. "Clara, inside, now." He snapped, noticing her having darted outside with her camera-phone, before taking some footage of the scene.

At the sight of her, however, several groups of Celts had begun to advance.

When the rest of the army noticed the forward creep of a few elements, they charged towards the romans, screaming incoherent war-cries that promised all sorts of nasty fates.

About the time they reached the TARDIS, and Clara was back aboard, the Doctor pulled the lever again, and the TARDIS vanished.

When they opened the doors again, Clara thought at first that they were in a forest during an earthquake. Massive limbs moved past the TARDIS, accompanied by subsonic booming noises that shook the time machine like a washing machine.

"Wow!" Clara breathed, before darting outside to take a photo. "David Attenborough, eat your heart out."

"Titanosaurs." The doctor said, stepping out of the TARDIS himself. "Some of the largest organisms in history… Don't do that!" he said, as Clara held out a handful of fronds to a curious juvenile. A subsonic rumble quickly hurried the small dinosaur on its way, tucking in under its mother without a backwards glance. "If you want a dinosaur for a pet, I'll get you a Magyarosaurus. They're just about small enough to fit in your house."

Clara glanced back at him, before reluctantly stepping inside the TARDIS again.

"Victorian London, or cretaceous Hungary?" the Doctor asked, back at the console.

"I'd have a hard time explaining a six metre sauropod, so let's go for London." She replied.

"You sure?"

"London." She repeated, before the Doctor pulled the lever to transport them.

While the TARDIS was making the journey from the thirty-sixth century to the nineteenth, Clara busied herself changing.

The massive wardrobe room belonging to the TARDIS was always an interesting place to visit, especially when you needed to dress for an occasion in which modern clothing would most definitely be out of place, and would lead to complications involving stakes and accusations of witchcraft.

She crossed to the console that controlled the massive clothing racks, before entering her requirements; 'Victorian servant’s uniform, 1890's, and appropriate undergarments.' The clothing rack whirred and clanked for a few moments, before a set of clothes arrived on the conveyor belt that transported the machine's output.

The garments that the machine had chosen were a long sleeved white collared shirt, with a row of simple buttons along the front, a sea green woollen tunic, designed to go over the shirt, along with a plain black dress, made from a surprisingly smooth fabric. There was also a supply of undergarments, made from large amounts of fabric, but comfortable enough to wear. There was also a pair of simple ankle boots, with wooden soles.

Unbidden, the machine had also provided her with a carpetbag, containing several changes of clothes, along with a small bag, which contained, when examined, fifteen shillings, five thrupenny bits, and a small mound of pennies and ha'pennies.

The garments took several minutes to don, largely because of the sheer number of buttons, and the Victorian undergarments took even longer to initially attach, although they fitted perfectly, thanks to the TARDIS. The shirt fitted similarly well, providing ease of movement, comfort and the appropriate uniform in one single garment, with the tunic covering the buttons and providing warmth. The dress was made of heavy wool, and was surprisingly warm, although the fact that it came down below her ankles was disconcerting when she first practiced walking in it.

Once she was dressed, and has gathered up the carpetbag, she headed back through to the control room. Hearing the wooden footwear on the metal floor was more than slightly disconcerting, but ultimately she knew that it wasn't going to cause her any problems.

Inside the control room, the Doctor was busy at the console.

"Ahem." She said, before spinning around as he turned to face her.

"It looks good on you." He said. "Very servanty."

"Thanks." She replied. "I'm glad that you approve." Her tone wasn't going to etch metal, but it was more acidic than normal conversation.

"Keep away from brothels, don't drink too much, and stay on the right side of Vastra." He growled, unamused. "Watch out for serial killers, don't drink anything a client offers you, and never share anything Vastra has cooked for herself."

"Yes, dad." She chorused, smiling.

The time Lord spun to face the console, muttering something too quiet for her to hear.

A moment or so later, the TARDIS touched down cleanly, before she opened the door.

"Behave yourself." The Doctor told her, before she scampered out of the TARDIS.

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