His head was bigger on the inside...


"I'm telling you, Jo, it's entirely true. A pivotal event in Time Lord history, and you don't believe me!"

"Well, you have to admit, Doctor, it is a bit hard to believe, even coming from someone so...serious as yourself," Jo replied, shrugging and setting the ruff of her coat waving in the wind. "I mean, how do you know the fellow who told you that wasn't lying?"

The Doctor sighed, looking out over where they stood. The landscape was a rather interesting shade of purple, and below the hill the TARDIS had landed on roamed a flock of decidedly large sentient birds in garish colors, decked out in any number of bead necklaces and bracelets of gleaming silver. They were engaged in a ceremonial nest-building, which would soon be followed by an equally ceremonial bonfire involving the nest and a large statue of a phoenix, a myth that had spread to several other planets as a result. The purple wood burned a brilliant shade of pink edged in turquoise, and it was said to be an amazing sight to behold.

"The 'fellow who told me', as you so put it, was one of my teachers at the Academy and a good friend of mine. I would trust his word with my life." The Doctor crossed his arms, the picture of indignant innocence. Jo could accept all this, and not a basic truth of science?

"But you're expecting me to believe," Jo said, "That this scientist, way back when, was figuring out the dimensional stuff for TARDISes, and he mis-focused the first successful field?"

A slight smile crossed the Doctor's face. "Quite right," he said. "And he made a minor error in the calculations involving the polarity of the reverse neutron flow, directing the field back towards him instead of the test chamber, resulting in—"

"—his head becoming bigger on the inside than on the outside. Splat!" Jo rolled her eyes, putting her hands on her hips. "Come on, you're pulling my leg!"

The Doctor didn't answer, instead pretending to focus on the birds below, their shimmering green and orange feathers sparkling in the fading light as they danced with torches carried in beaks. They flung them down, finally, flames roaring across the dried reeds and grass before setting the nest and phoenix ablaze.

Jo couldn't stand it any longer. "Is it some old Time Lord scientist joke, then? Come on, tell me!"

"I should have stuck with the bug on your shoulder for April Fools, shouldn't I?" The Doctor looked almost sulky, the light from the fire turning him wild shades of flickering fuchsia to match the grass.

"I bet the Brigadier would fall for it," Jo said after a minute, grinning what could have been evilly if she didn't look so happy. "Especially if you and I both were in on it. And Benton, I'm sure he'd help."

"A wise plan indeed, Jo," the Doctor said. "Shall we bid farewell to our friends, then?" He gestured down to the birds (their fire had burned down to smoldering violet embers as they all finished dancing, squawking excitedly and arguing over who would be first to the pub) and offered Jo his arm.

"Certainly," she giggled. "Do you think 'splat' sounds convincing, or should we go with something more scientific like...I don't know, BOOM?"


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