Cici Connors is losing her mind—or is she? She has vague memories of living another life where she time traveled and explored the universe accompanied by an alien with psychic abilities, but these memories can't be real, can they? Losing her job doesn't make her life any easier, so Cici decides it's time to grow up and give up Doctor Who fandom once and for all.
Alien time traveler John Smith had to leave Cici on Earth for the sake of clearing up Earth's muddy timeline. Now he vows to return to his adopted world—and return Cici's memories as well. But nothing is ever easy or simple where John is concerned. With the aid of his alien partners-in-crime, Captain Mac and Babbling Brook, John devises a clever plan to gain Cici's attention. Will hiring Cici to run John's sci-fi convention attract another invasion of Earth by artificially intelligent life forms?
Cici Connors awoke with a start—along with the worst headache ever.
What have I been drinking? Well, nothing really. I haven’t had any good reason to party recently. Cici massaged her aching temples and forced herself out of bed and to the bathroom. It wouldn’t do to be late to work. Times being what they were, they could use any excuse against you to downsize you out of a job in seconds flat. To be employed these days meant you had to be perfect or else.
Time being what it is. Somehow time had something to do with why her head felt like it was about to explode. She didn’t know the how or why, but it did. A strong feeling of déjà vu washed over her as she stepped into the shower and turned on the tap, blasting tepid water into her face. It felt like she had lived six months in the last twenty-four hours, and she had actually lived through the coming days before. Odd that. She rubbed her temples some more. She couldn’t recall doing anything particularly strenuous yesterday. The stress of being a working stiff in this limping economy must be taking its heavy toll. Why can’t I just win the lottery and say goodbye to the day job, huh?
Cici hopped out of the shower, dried off, dressed, and grabbed a cup of coffee to take on the road. Gradually, the headache lessened. Her boring commute, along with the inane chatter of morning DJs on the car radio, eased her sense of foreboding. Somehow, she sensed something significant was going to happen today. But what? There was no use fretting about it. It would happen or it wouldn’t.
At ten-fifteen her foreboding meter went off the scale.
“Mandatory meeting in the break room in ten minutes,” her supervisor called out to the assorted cubicles in his department.
Uh-oh. Their supervisor wasn’t one to call a meeting unless one of his higher ups instructed him to do so. They didn’t call him Email Memo Man for nothing, but he was easy enough to get along with most days. Something serious was up. One by one her co-workers prairie-dogged out of their cubes and headed toward their fate with destiny.
A half hour later they shuffled, heads down, back to their desks and collectively sighed.
Now I know why I woke up with such a headache. Today is the start of a nightmare. Cici stared at the paper in front of her. Possible downsizing of our department. Dwindling income streams. More details to come.
She tore her eyes from her notes and stared at the wallpaper on her computer monitor. A cheerful-faced Matt Smith in bow tie as the Eleventh Doctor posed with his trusty sidekicks Amy Pond, and her handsome, if skinny, hubby, Rory. A fellow fan promised she’d emailed Cici a wallpaper file with pictures of the Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi and his sidekicks soon.
Escape—run away! Leave the tension and headaches behind you, the Doctor's companions beckoned. If only she could leave her professional life as a glorified bookkeeper and dwell in the fantasy realm of Doctor Who fandom for the afternoon. She could go online and read the forum discussions, BBC articles, fan-fiction, and what-all, and forget her job was on the line. What the boss didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him, right?
She knew it would hurt her, though. She sighed and started the accounting spreadsheet she’d been working on before the emergency meeting. Time to knuckle down and act like a grown-up her mother always said whenever she caught Cici’s attention wandering from her studies and into reading comic books and sci-fi novels. Time to stay in the mundane world and put the fun world of fantasy aside for another day.
Her cell phone ringing an hour and a half later reminded her she was hungry. Cici picked up. “Hello. “
“Sorry to interrupt your lunch,” Jessie said, “but I thought you’d want to hear the good news.”
“Good news?” Cici grabbed her brown bag out of the bottom desk drawer and headed out of the office so she could eat her measly sandwich on a nearby park bench under a tree. She could use some good news today of all days, and her fellow Doctor Who fan, high school English teacher Jessie Erikson, usually didn’t disappoint. “What’s up?”
“I was told this in strictest confidence, but I know he wouldn’t mind me sharing it with others in our group.” A dramatic pause had Cici wondering if her cell phone signal hadn’t been compromised. “Sammy’s test results came back this morning. He’s in total remission.”
Cici smiled and sighed. “Oh, that is good news. Thanks for telling me, Jessie. Will we be starting on the fan film shoot this weekend as planned then?”
“No, not yet. Sammy’s still feeling weak, and his mom pretty much told me they thought it better if we waited another month or two until he has his full strength back. But The Haunted Fairgrounds is one step closer to becoming reality now that our writer-producer is able to do the directing himself. I was never really sure Milo was up for the task.”
“I don’t know about that. I think Milo would have done a great job.” Cici plopped onto the park bench and dug her squished ham sandwich out of the bottom of the bag where her apple had crushed it. “You underestimate your husband’s photographic abilities. He’s a natural behind the camera.”
Jessie laughed. “More than I am in front of it. Besides, in another couple of months, I should have all the time in the world. The school district is hinting at laying off all the more experienced teachers and consolidating classrooms in an effort to save the taxpayers’ money.”
Not more bad economic news. Cici ground her teeth. “As if teachers aren’t taxpayers as well?”