Oh yes, that was a very fraught time. That was when they took all the Doctor’s friends off him and sent them home. It was like they were saying, ‘That’s your lot. You’ve had your fun.’ It was most upsetting, that whole thing at the end of the adventure I found myself labelling ‘The War Games’ when I came to write it up in my 500 year diary. They were ruthless, the Time Lords and I suppose no one could blame them really, for he'd made quite a fool of them, hadn't he? Running rings around them so to speak. So off went Jamie and off went Zoe and they weren't allowed to remember their Doctor after that and all the time they'd shared together.
No one would remember the black and white years. That was the Time Lords’ plan.
No one, except for me. Because they’d all forgotten me, hadn’t they?
I, who'd been stuck in a cupboard for ages. For goodness knows how many years. Ever since Stephen Taylor left, all that time ago, at the end of the adventure that I’d named ‘The Savages’ in my 500 year diary (I was much better at filling up the pages of my diary than the Doctor was. But then, stuck in the TARDIS locker, I had more time, didn’t I?)
Oh, even the all-seeing, all-knowing Time Lords forgot (or ever even knew!) about Hi-fi in the TARDIS locker. The lost little Panda and former companion of Stephen, Vicki and the old Doctor. And no one cared, did they? There I sat, on the shelf, absolutely furious.
Well, I wasn’t being sent anywhere. I wasn’t going to be exiled. I wasn’t going to have my mind probed by anyone. And I wasn’t going to forget the black and white years. How could I? A Panda?
So – before they could mess about with the TARDIS, and while the poor old Doctor was arguing for his life at his trial – out I nipped. I hopped out of the cupboard, through the massive, gleaming, oddly quiet console room, and outside. I toddled very quickly out of that particular bit of the Capitol. Somewhere high up in the Tower of Canonicity, I believe. Rather chilly place.
No one noticed a rather small Panda take the elevator to ground level. I scooted out quickly and ran through what appeared to be a busy shopping mall, and then a railway station. Except they weren’t trains that everyone was rushing to catch, they were strange things that looked like a cross between a jellyfish and a Rubik’s Cube. Anyone tell you Gallifrey is a sedate and boring place, don’t believe them. It all looked pretty busy to me that day. There was a parade of antedeluvian beasts through the streets of the city. Hand-plucked from alternate dimensions by some kind of rabble-rousing political group.
I went to the under-city, where things were even wilder. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, or where I was going. I wasn’t sure at all what I was going to do with the rest of my life. You must remember that I had spent many years in a cupboard, amongst a whole load of old junk. Electronic stuff and beach balls and umbrellas and stuff. I was thrilled with excitement, being set free upon the world.
Gallifrey stood at the nexus point of all time and space. It was terribly exciting in those days. But no one seemed to know that there was a trial going on, somewhere up in that needle tower right underneath the jewelled dome. No one had ever heard of the Doctor, and no one cared.
Except for myself – and for one drunken old woman in a bar somewhere deep in the under-city. When I hauled myself up onto a stool beside her she was already seeing double. She looked very much like a bag lady, dressed as she was in a variety of clashing styles. She was smoking pink Sobranies with golden filters and this warmed my heart. Gallifrey had always been no-smoking. She looked marvellously sophisticated in her peacock hat. I realised she was looking at me beadily.
‘So who are you when you’re at home, lovey?’
I stood up hopefully on top of my glass stool and adjusted my cravat. ‘But that’s just it, my dear. I’m not at home. I’ve never had a home, you see. Being a wanderer in the fourth and fifth dimensions.’
‘Oh yes?’ she beamed. ‘That’s what you are, are you?’
‘Indeed!’ I said hotly. And then I remembered I’d left my 500 year diary behind me in the TARDIS, just as I was writing up ‘The War Games.’ Ah well.
‘As it happens, chuck,’ said the old woman. ‘I’m a bit of a wanderer, too...’