Title: “Miss Austen and Dr. Smith”
Fandom: Doctor Who (Tenth Doctor)
Summary: At the age of three-and-twenty, Jane Austen was not a young woman anyone would have supposed destined for a remarkable life. And then she met the peculiar Dr. Smith.
Spoilers: None, really
Hurstbourne Tarrant, England
It was a fine night. Better than fine, actually. It was a splendid night. The weather was precisely the right sort of brisk and the air just the right sort crisp, without too much in the way of damp or fog.
It was exactly the sort of night made for enjoying a nice drink round the fire with your mates, thought Cyrus Foote. If only he had a nice drink. Or a fire. Or any mates, for that matter.
He shivered and stared glumly round the stables where he lived and worked. Mr. Blount’s prized Thoroughbred gazed back at him haughtily.
It was a good bit warmer up in the sleeping quarters above the stables, but it was also a great deal noisier. The senior stableman snored like a consumptive ox, and the other groom who shared their living space had recently developed a tendency to talk in his sleep. Well, not talk, exactly. It sounded rather more like —
Let’s just say it was off-putting and leave it at that.
At least down here with the horses a man could find a bit of peace and quiet, Cyrus thought as he fetched his pipe and a pouch of tobacco from his pocket.
It was at this precise moment that a loud percussion not unlike cannon-fire sounded overhead, badly startling Mr. Blount’s prized Thoroughbred and causing Cyrus to spill tobacco down the front of his shirt.
He threw open the door of the stable and watched in open-mouthed wonder as an enourmous streak of fire cut across the sky and struck the ground somewhere in the vicinity of Hurstbourne Hill.
“Bloody hell,” he said, to no one in particular, and set off at a run.
Precisely 4 hours, 8 minutes and 15 seconds later, and not half a league away, the stillness of the night was once more disturbed by an unusual sound, though this one was nothing at all like cannon-fire. By then there was no longer anyone awake to hear it — other than a family of very alarmed rabbits — and likewise no one to see when an odd blue box materialized among a stand of trees just north of Hurstbourne Hill.
“My apologies,” said the man who emerged from the box to the perturbed rabbits. “Do carry on.”