The Little Things (short story)

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The Little Things was the thirteenth short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: A Christmas Treasury. It was written by Paul Beardsley. It featured the Fourth Doctor, First Doctor, Romana II, K9 Mark II and Susan Foreman.


The Fourth Doctor receives a message that the TARDIS shell room is full. This is strange because he never uses it. He checks the exterior of the TARDIS — still a police box. He and Romana check the shell room and discover that the last shape the TARDIS took before becoming a police box was a post box. Inside is a Christmas card; someone thought the fake post box was a real one.

The Doctor decides that it is important that this card, which is now about four hundred years old, be delivered to its intended recipient, Helen Thompson, who the Doctor remembers became a noted biologist. Since the card is too old, they will have to make a facsimile.

The Doctor remembers that in his first incarnation, he and his granddaughter visited 1990s Britain, with the TARDIS disguised as a post box. He gets K9 to confirm the date based on a comet that the Doctor remembers. The Doctor and Romana head for 1996 and shop for a card. The Doctor uses a chrono-historical stress gauge to determine the timeline deviation, which is 1.377. After they post the card and the mail is collected, the reading climbs to 1.401. They retrieve the card, after having to avoid police scrutiny, and K9 confirms that there was also a comet in 1997 Britain, so they head there. After posting the card, the gauge jumps to 27.999. Romana notices that the Doctor had dropped another letter, so they repost it, and the reading returns to 1.377. Romana reads the instructions for the stress gauge and performs a hard reset, and the gauge now reads zero. Suddenly the Doctor remembers that the famous biologist is actually named Helen Thomson, without a "p".

Helen Thopmson receives a Christmas card. She is old and lonely, with all of her friends and family having died, but receiving a card from someone she worked with forty years ago means a lot to her.




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