The Doctor was met with Javis’ usual wit as he entered the console room. It was similar to his blue suit, but this time in verdant hues. A dark green tweed jacket and tie met with matching trousers, but this time the Doctor avoided Javis’ teasing and wore the pant legs full to the ankle, pressed and neatly cuffed. The shirt remained crisp and white, and the waistcoat was a dark taupe. He wore the same tan overcoat and newsboy cap, along with brown loafers.
“Yes, Green, Javis. I thought a trip to the Emerald Isle might seem appropriate, they were big fans of classic Roman ideals.”
“I hope not as big of fans as those wackos we met a while back.”
“No no, more of an appreciation than emulation,” the Doctor said, adjusting his lapels.
“Like you then?”
“I beg your pardon?!”
“All dressed up like you belong, but you really never will.”
The Doctor was sobered by Javis’ keen judgment.
“Quite right, Miss Nine.”
“Oh, you used the ‘Miss.’ Did I say something wrong?”
The Doctor was uncharacteristically silent, staring at the TARDIS console, his eyes suddenly far away and misty.
“I’m sorry if I upset you, Doctor, I didn’t mean to. I just start talking sometimes and–”
“It’s all right, Javis, it’s all right,” the Doctor looked up, cracking a sad smile, “I do enjoy our exchanges, and in order to keep them lively and sparkling I can’t very well impose restrictions.”
“Well I don’t want to hurt you, that’d hardly be fair,” Javis sat back in a chair near the console, “you take me across the blinkin’ universe, and here I go pokin’ at ya.”
“Quite all right, Javis, really!” The Doctor hated when people made a fuss over him, “I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if I couldn’t handle a critic or two in my time, now could I?”
“…guess you’re right.”
“Of course I’m right!” the Doctor expounded, then added a wink and a smile, “now, go get your green jacket on, I’ve got in cleaned and pressed for you!”
It was useless to argue in these situations, Javis had found out. She got up and moved toward the door leading inside the infinite expanse of the TARDIS, exasperated. “I have to wear green too?”
The Doctor looked back over his shoulder.
“My dear, we’re landing on March 17th, 1847! St. Patrick’s Day! Now, go and get some green on you, or you’re likely to get pinched!”
Javis stopped at the door. “1847, eh? That a good year, Doctor?”
The Doctor turned back to the console, letting his eyes cloud over again.
“Oh yes,” he intoned, “a very good year.”
The rolling green hills of Ireland proved an odd contrast for the blue TARDIS upon landing. Javis was the first out, stopping short to take in the beauty. Unfortunately, the Doctor was already bounding out of the TARDIS door and collided with her, sending them crashing into a clump of heather. Javis got up quickly, brushing herself off.
“Geez, Doctor! Always in such a damn hurry…” she helped him up, “you can see the whole of time, but you don’t think to look in front of you?!”
The Doctor hopped to his feet, brushing himself briskly.
“Why look in front of you when one can look forth into eternity?” he said with a grin, producing a makeshift bouquet of the ornamental plant, “a heap of the heath, Miss Nine, welcome to Ireland!”
Javis shook her head as the Doctor pinned a sprig to her jacket.
“You’re just happy because you actually managed to pilot the TARDIS correctly, aren’t you?”
The Doctor took on a face of mock indignation. “What if I am? It’s either that, or Heather’s ability to work as a hallucinogenic intoxicant.” he added with a grin. He continued to dust himself off thoroughly and Javis looked out upon the landscape. Within minutes, Javis heard a faint tootling and turned around to see the Doctor sitting upon a nearby rock and fiddling with a well-worn tin whistle. Sighing and rolling her eyes, Javis turned back to the horizon. The high sounds of the whistle soared over the heath, but a strange undertone came up from the bottom of the hill they stood on.
“What is that?” Javis muttered, a cool breeze blowing a few errant strands out of her ponytail, “sounds like…moaning…oh…oh…Doctor…Doctor!”
Javis began a stumbling run back to the Doctor, tripping in her trepidation over clumps of earth. The Doctor had stood up by the time she arrived, but was strangely not as fearful.
“I’m glad you’re happy, Doctor,” Javis gasped, “because they sure don’t look it!”
Four peasants, or at least they looked like peasants, stumbled over the hill, moaning a frightful din. Their clothes were haggard, their faces gaunt, their walks shuffling and broken. They looked for all the world like the walking dead. Javis made to ready her famous fists in confrontation, but she found herself hauled bodily behind the Doctor.
He spoke very rapidly. “You can’t hurt them, Javis, they’re not human anymore! They’re not…alive…”
“And how would you know?! You’ve only just gotten here! Why do you seem to be followed by–wait! You knew this was coming didn’t you! You came here on purpose!”
“Temporal fluctuation, I came to investigate. Something’s not right.”
The peasants came closer. “You said this was a good year!”
The Doctor grabbed one of the peasants necks, wrenching it to its knees. Javis set about punching and kicking the other three to the ground, only to find them distressingly getting back up and sallying forth.
“No one gets up from my punches!” Javis snarled, cracking her knuckles.
“They don’t feel pain, Javis!” The Doctor said, prying open a peasant’s eye and gazing inside, “they’re not human anymore…but what are they…?”
The peasant on his knees began a terrible rasping, gasping sentence. It dragged out horrifically, grating into the ear.
“You…will be…like us!”
The Doctor’s eyes opened wide.
The peasant kept on its rasping until the Doctor finally threw it aside. Reaching into the ground the Doctor pulled out a clump of heather and jammed it into the peasant’s chest. The Doctor’s hand easily penetrated the thin layer of flesh and found its way into the body. Releasing the heather inside, the Doctor pulled out his hand, noting that it was now covered in putrefying flesh. The peasant twitched and writhed upon the ground for a few moments before finally coming to a halt, blue sparks emitting from the open chest cavity.
“Deactivated.” the Doctor proclaimed, then proceeded to relieve Javis by doing the same to the other four. Javis was flummoxed at the turn of events, and rightfully so.
“What the hell–?”
“I’m glad the heather worked,” the Doctor said, pulling a green handkerchief from his coat pocket and wiping his hand, “I didn’t have any gold on me.”
“What are you talking about?” Javis screamed, her voice echoing across the field.
“These peasants have recently died, but have been temporarily re-activated through technology not of the 19th century. The fiborous nature of the heather, combined with the short life span of putrefying flesh, were able to deactivate them by clogging intake devices. If you were to rip each and every one of these bodies open you would find robotic replacements of vital organs, but crude ones. This is not the ideal time period for these conversions to be taking place…”