Rating: All ages
Word Count: 1,082
Author's Summary: Something is missing in Zoe’s mind.
Recced because: I love Zoe, but the ending she got onscreen is terribly upsetting. Here, Inkfire takes the first steps towards rectifying that: even if Zoe has lost all her memories of traveling with the Doctor – and all her character growth to boot – she knows something has been lost, and wants to try to recover it. "Vacuum" is a brief and meditative character study with a genuine feel for how unsettled Zoe must have felt after "The War Games," and if you're a Zoe fan, I think you'll appreciate that this story ends on such a hopeful note.
Her heart hammers, nightgown clinging to her back with sweat. Mindlessly, she reaches for the heavy tome of advanced quantum physics on her bedside table. The weight of it feels familiar across her lap–embarrassingly cumbersome when all serious scientists use feather-light data pads that can hold an infinity of volumes hanging between two fingers, but for all of her clear-cut and icy-cold rationality, Zoe must have her little fetishes and the great ancient thing feels good to her. She opens the book, yet her eyes do not instantly home in on the exact line where she last stopped. The text is familiar, but feels faraway somehow.
This is all growing alarming. She does her best to concentrate, yet her brain feels sluggish, like it has lost all of its bearings, its instantaneous reflexes. Even when moving back to some old project after a while of working on more advanced features, she usually snaps back to it way faster than this. She is a neat little robot, Zoe is, yet here she scrambles in the dark and it feels wrong. Like she shouldn’t be this way. Like she is being sent back to something she’d left behind, something stifling small, when the very notion is laughable–what could she ever have but knowledge, and what could there be that’s wider and more fulfilling?