It was the year 2772, the fourth year of the Soil Wars, and Dr Who was building a special machine.
"Are you going to talk to me?" asked Peri, Dr Who’s friend.
"Busy," muttered Dr Who.
"You talk and talk and talk. But not now. Not now, when I -"
Peri was feeling sad and angry at the same time. She hated Dr Who, she hated the Soil Wars, and she hated the special machine.
Except, of course, that she didn’t hate Dr Who at all. He was the most wonderful man, ridiculous and silly and ever so arrogant, but also kind and good and probably quite caring in his own funny sort of way.
"I’m not going to ask you to bring him back," said Peri.
Dr Who coughed.
"If you could, you’d already have done it."
Peri’s face was stinging because of the air poison and also because of maybe tears.
Dr Who didn’t answer, and Peri turned away.
She walked back into Dr Who’s time machine. She went into her bedroom - which was cold and white and smelled like oil - and tried reading her book, which was about an orphan girl who joined the circus.
Outside, Dr Who finished his special machine and saved the world.
It didn’t make him feel happy.
Dr Who hated not feeling happy.