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|Part of:||Short Trips: Companions|
|Short Trips short stories|
|Hearts of Stone||Qualia|
Barbara Chesterton is in the hospital. She had an ultrasound and is scheduled for more tests. As she prepares to leave, she runs into Karen Ellis, daughter of Frank Ellis, who had worked with Ian on the Hubble space telescope some time back. Karen tells Barbara that her father is dying, and asks Barbara to come see him. She squeezes Barbara's hand, and Barbara notices that Karen's hand has a pattern of freckles that make a malformed W.
Barbara sees that Frank is very frail and doesn't seem to be aware of his surroundings. He mutters words like "space" and "one" and "lost" and "mono" and "unicorn." Karen tells Barbara she drives eight miles here and eight miles back every day to see her father. She starts acting strangely and her eyes appear black. Startled, Barbara leaves them.
On the way home, Barbara feels some kind of warning. Her car stalls as she almost blacks out. She has five tiny bruises on her hand where Karen squeezed it.
At home, Barbara and Ian talk about the Doctor. Ian imitates the Doctor but Barbara's attention is caught by a picture of a constellation. Ian tells her it is Monoceros, the Unicorn. Barbara tells Ian about Frank, and learns that when they worked on the Hubble, it had been trained on Monoceros.
That night, Barbara dreams that the Frank in a picture in the study has come alive. He tells her his soul has been captured by the Hubble camera and grabs her hand. His eyes are black. He begs her to release him. Barbara then wakes, afraid to go to the study to see if the picture is there.
The next day, Ian and Barbara go to the hospital to visit Frank. However, Karen tells them that Frank has died. Karen reaches for Ian's hand but Barbara stops her. She sends Ian to fetch a sister while she keeps an eye on Karen. Karen wants to show Barbara what happened. Karen leads her to a laboratory to show her something, then Barbara finds herself in a car with Karen. They arrive at the Ellis house. Barbara goes to the cellar, but realises she has been tricked. She hears a voice that wants to be set free. Karen is upset that she can't hear the voice, and she tries to kill Barbara with a knife. Barbara escapes to a room filled with scientific equipment. Suddenly Ian walks through the door. He thinks something is hiding here, inside a metal box. He throws the box and it shatters, freeing whatever was trapped inside.
Ian tells Barbara he saw the thing in the laboratory, which was a dermoid cyst containing nerve cells. Ian realised that something formed inside Frank Ellis, having travelled along the infrared wavelengths of the Hubble. He thinks something was trying to invade, but Barbara says it was trying to get back home. Ian tells her he had to strike Karen, but she has returned to normal.
Barbara begins to tell Ian what is wrong with her.
- Ian imitates the First Doctor, grabbing his lapels and pretending to mispronounce someone's name.
- Barbara drives an Audi.
- This story was written by Tara Samms, which is a pseudonym for Stephen Cole.
to be added