When Wolsey the Hunter was still Wolsey the Kitten, he found himself a new game to play. It called for courage, strength and guile, thankfully qualities that the young kitten was sure he possessed in abundance, despite recent experiences to the contrary. The rules were very simple: explore his bright new home and mark each new territory with his scent. The challenge came from the fact that the TARDIS would do its damnedest to stop him, often eradicating his scent the second it was sprayed, or even shifting itself around so that the corridors no longer led to the rooms they had the day before. Wolsey was not perturbed: he had courage, strength and guile. He would prevail.
His explorations had already taken him to many strange and wonderful rooms: there were the vast halls lined with papers bound in animal hides (where he marked his scent along the row marked “G”); the giant pit of cracked tiles with the mystical incantation “No Ducking, No Diving, No Petting, No Pushing” printed by it (and, in an angular scrawl, the words “No Water” added below it); the room with the winged mice swooping around its ceiling (which - no matter how hard he tried - he had yet to taste). But none of these were his goal this morning. Today he would go where no-one had gone before, perhaps not even the Doctor-Father. Today he would go deep into the heart of the TARDIS.
So it was Wolsey spurned his usual goals, pushed on down the roundelled corridors until dusty red brick faded into their place. He followed what appeared to be rotting leaded pipes, but which had the same crisp scent as the rest of his new home, until he was led down crumbling stone and rusted metal staircases. And still he pushed on, satisfied with nothing less than the corridor’s final destination. Had he been an older and wiser Wolsey, he would have perhaps spurned the idea entirely, and would definitely have accepted defeat once the dust became so thick it caked his paws like slippers. But he was Wolsey the kitten, the hunter who would never rest, never stop until he could taste his prey in his mouth.
After half-an-hour’s more trudging through ankle deep dust, without an end in sight, Wolsey decided that whilst he was still Wolsey the Hunter who wouldn’t give up, he might take a little rest whenever it was absolutely necessary. Pushing on through the grime, he found an arched doorway leading away from the corridor and pushed his way through it.
The change was, to say the least, drastic.
As soon as he passed through the doorway, the dust vanished. As did the walls, the floor and the doorway itself. They were replaced by a thin covering of sand, rolling away far into the distance on every side, and a gentle breeze. High above him, Wolsey could see an expanse of tiny, twinkling stars gazing back down at him, aloof. To Wolsey, they seemed like the reflections from a thousand cats’ eyes, each one a challenge to his territory. He gave them all a haughty sniff, and turned away. And spotted the figure.
It was stretched out on the sand like a corpse, arms by its side, eyes closed, chest not moving an inch. The figure’s body was clad in some kind of fabric armour that glistened in the starlight in a way that appealed to Wolsey, somehow. He tipped his head to try and make the light dance some more, and purred softly to himself. He paid no attention to the corpse’s bulbous head with its inflated features and greying skin, completely entranced by the free light show he had discovered. A light show - it stood to reason - that must be his and his alone.
His head dipping to the soft sand, Wolsey carefully padded forward on velvet paws, his eyes alert for the slightest sign of movement. He drank in the body’s scent - a dusty and grey smell that could barely be distinguished from the sand around them. The scent was too dry, that much was sure: Wolsey felt confident that whatever the creature was, it wasn’t alive. It was that deduction that gave him the confidence to bat the shining armour with a clawless paw, and - when that failed to get a reaction - it was that deduction that gave him the confidence to spray his scent over the glistening black fabric.
With a deep-throated hiss that Wolsey instantly recognised as anger, the body threw itself to its feet, its tiny black eyes glistening in the starlight.