All Star Wars characters owned by LUCASFILM
All Doctor Who characters owned by BBC WORLDWIDE LTD.
Jennifer McLain created by JONATHAN HIBBERD, owned by VIETNAMESE WALLFLOWERS
All other characters created by REBEKKAH MILNESTEIN, owned by VITENAMESE WALLFLOWERS
Text © VIETNAMESE WALLFLOWERS 1997 & 1998
Email us at CALOHAN2@aol.com or SHERTOGENBOSCH@hotmail.com
CHAPTER III: SITH
He crossed the sea of marble green, drugged and dazed.
The Mondasian shield generators were easy targets for the Imperial Star
Destroyers and their campaign of virus bombing the population into servitude
was paying off.
Ligustrum Ovalifium had seen enough of revolutions to last him the rest of his life. Gallifrey had been painful but this was like open-heart surgery.
He paused and hid behind a large marble column as he heard voices approaching.
“Play it smooth, Ferr’all,” Whispered a silky smooth voice. “If Jabba finds out we had to drop our cargo because of a few Star Destroyers he’ll have us fed to the Rancor!”
Ligustrum peered round the corner of his relatively safe hiding place and saw a man, faced cracked with experience and a week’s worth of facial hair walking alongside a squat Devaronian, his hands gleaming in the twilight.
Ligustrum Ovalifalium’s hiding place was not as secure as he had originally supposed. The red skinned Devaronian named Ferr’all whirled round and pulled him into the dim lights. His fierce eyes met Ligustrum’s for a brief moment and then dropped him to the floor.
“Well, he’s not Imperial.” The man with the wise face smiled. “Too young and clumsy.”
Ferr’all laughed along with his companion.
“Who…who are you?” Ligustrum stuttered.
The man leaned closer and helped pull him up.
“The name’s Hux Carvitch.” He grinned with yellow teeth. “This here’s Ferr’all. We’re freelance agents if you get my meaning and it looks like you’re in the same boat as us, kid.”
The Doctor looked down upon a fake, leopard skin fur coat with utter disdain.
“Susan?” He shouted in his authoritarian voice. “Is this your doing?”
The young girl with the short black hair appeared in the arch of the doorway wearing a top hat that resembled that of the Mad Hatter’s from Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.
“Grandfather?” She enquired in a sweeter than sweet tone.
The Doctor held up the offending article of clothing.
“I specifically told you only to bring what was essential, not this fanciful type of clothing.” He said briskly.
“It was already here when you brought me to TARDIS.” She protested.
“Well, all the same…” The Doctor began only to be interrupted by a subtle coughing from behind him.
The Doctor turned to face a huge griffin with looming eyes like setting suns. Susan instinctively grasped her grandfather’s arm.
“I didn’t bring that with me, grandfather.” She whispered.
The griffin smiled softly and then began to speak in a gentle tone that sounded almost as if it was nothing but the sound of echoing winds.
“Well, well and my, my,” The griffin announced in a smooth voice. “If it isn’t the prodigal son of Lungbarrow and his,” It paused as if embarrassed. “Grandaughter.”
The Doctor straightened up to his full height but Susan remained cowering.
“I don’t know who or what you are but I demand that you leave our home this very instant.” He said sternly.
The griffin’s smile widened.
“That’s all very well for you to say, good sir, but alas this Time And Relative Dimension In Space unit is the only home I have ever known.” It replied.
“And what do you mean by that, hmm?” The Doctor questioned, seeming unafraid of the beast’s mighty stature.
“Like your grandfather found his way into your previous Scaphe I too have been admitted as a sort, how shall we put it, guardian.” The griffin stated.
The Doctor frowned. He disliked having his past escalated. By now Susan had managed to pluck up some courage and she opened her mouth and began to speak in a soft, yet inquisitive tone.
“You mean you’re part of the TARDIS?” She asked.
“In a round about way.” The griffin replied enigmatically.
“And I assume you have a name, eh?” The Doctor interrupted before the girl who presumed him to be her grandfather became attached to the beast.
Before the creature really had a chance to reply the Doctor turned his back and headed back to the large, candle-lit control room.
“Well as long as you’re here you might as well make yourself useful.” He exclaimed.
Susan leaned closer to the griffin.
“What did you say your name was?” She asked in a rather timid tone.
The griffin smiled.
“My name is…”
“Cheiranthus Cheiri what have I told you about interfering in the future?” Demanded a theatrical voice.
Jennifer and Cheiri turned to face a man with a mop of unkempt blonde, curly hair and then the same brightly coloured patchwork coat Jennifer had seen earlier.
“Sorry, Do…” The griffin began but the man put a finger to the creature’s beak.
“Soloman will suffice for now.” He sighed and paused, catching Jennifer’s gaze. “At least will we’re in the company of strangers.”
The expressionless and emotionless mask of the Dark Lord of the Sith bore down upon the Doctor.
“Your presence here was foresaw, Doctor.” Said the looming figure in the black cloak.
The Doctor smiled uneasily.
“Well, one aims to please.” He replied somewhat tongue in cheek.
The Rani stepped forward and glared at the Dark Lord with distaste.
“You have disrupted my experiment,” She stated. “I shall make sure the Empire suffers for this.”
Vader assumed his full height and turned upon the woman.
“You are in no position to make idle threats, Time Lady.” He announced. “My master knows of the experiments you plan and be assured that they will take place but not under your jurisdiction.”
The Rani shrank in his presence. The Doctor leaned over her shoulder and grinned widely.
“I bet the Master never has to put up with this.” He said, all white teeth and sarcasm.
“Shut up.” The Rani snarled.
The Doctor removed his bloodstained jacket, folded it and hung it over the edge of the throne, the princess remained clinging to his side.
“I don’t know who you are but you must help me.” She whispered.
“I really don’t think it’s my place to save you.” The Doctor whispered back. “If your peoples hadn’t been so arrogant about their technologies maybe they would have been in a position to help themselves.”
A man in a starched grey uniform with coloured symbols along his breast entered the decaying throne room.
“Is everything in place, Vader?” The man asked.
“Yes, Grand Moff.” The shadowy figure replied. “The conversion tubes are in place.”
The Grand Moff nodded and then caught sight of the blood spattered Doctor. He moved forward until he was face to face with him.
“And who is this?” He asked, obviously not directing the question at the Doctor.
“I’m the Doctor,” The Time Lord purred. “Gallifreyan emissary.”
The Grand Moff turned his head to Vader.
“He is the one the Emperor has foreseen?” He asked.
Vader nodded, a silent form of agreement that suited him most comfortably.
“Then have him interrogated.” Grand Moff Tarkin instructed.
Two stormtroopers seized the Doctor by the arms and began to drag him from the room.
The heartbeat grew louder every minute. Louder and stronger.
“Brother Lyman is dead.” Announced a crisp, calculated voice.
A Mondasian in crimson robes stepped forth from the shadows. His face looked young yet somehow it contained a secret wisdom, something almost eternal in it’s age.
“The Empire has arrived. It seems that they information about our,” He paused as if he found the following words of the utmost distaste. “Cyberman project.”
Around him were a group of figures dressed in silver and white. The man in crimson smiled.
“So it appears we must work fast before this becomes an Imperial side-project and the people of Mondas it’s slaves.” He paused and grinned the kind of grin that wolves grin just before the kill. “Still, it’s nice to be important enough to be considered a threat. Begin the conversion process before the Empire gets down here.
When next the Doctor woke he found himself mid-way in the process of being crucified.
It was not a nice crucifixion, he reflected. No, nice crucifixions appeared on West End stages during Andrew Lloyd Webber productions of Jesus Christ, Superstar.
The kind of crucifixion he was experiencing was the kind that hurt. It hurt a lot.
He strained his head and managed to catch a glimpse of his bloodied palms. With difficulty he snatched his next breath from the thin Mondasian atmosphere. His shirt cuffs were torn and bloodied. Another vain attempt to save the universe ended in yet another ruined suit and yet more shattered dreams for the people who got caught in the middle.
He was sure this kind of thing never happened at the BBC.
THX-1128 and THX-1139 hit the ground like bricks, their hard white helmets clattering on the ground.
Ligustrum stood above them with a smooth, shiny black blaster.
“Your shooting ain’t so bad, kid.” Carvitch said strolling causally over.
Ferr’all was soon at his shoulder.
“Forget the ballistics, Hux.” He whispered. “Let’s get in that throne room, grab a gem or something equal to the cargo we lost and get to Tatooine before Jabba gets us.”
Very soon they were soundly, if not safely inside the walls of the ancient building.
“Who’s Jabba?” Ligustrum whispered.
“One of the last remaining Hutts, big gang boss with big money.” Carvitch replied, creeping along the side of the wall.
“And you work for this…Jabba?” Ligustrum questioned, trying out the name.
“Only ‘cause any smuggler who doesn’t gets disintegrated!” Ferr’all added.
“Usually by Bobba Fett. God, that guy loves his work.”
Suddenly the ground beneath them began to shudder and crack open.
“What on Corellia?” Carvitch exclaimed.
Huge, metallic limbs began to flower from out of the ground, writhing like metal serpents until they finally assumed the forms of five metal platted humanoids up and looked coldly at the uninvited guests.
“Don’t just stand there gawping, blast ‘em!” Hux exclaimed letting a volley of blaster bolts loose as he made a run for the throne room doors.
Just before the three rogues were at the doorway, the doors were yanked open revealing Grand Moff Tarkin, Darth Vader and a handful of stormtroopers.
Shackled behind them and on their knees were the forms of the princess and the Rani. The Doctor was nowhere to be seen.
Darth Vader pushed past the three intruders and in a liquid motion drew his blood red lightsaber. The darkness had finally fallen over Mondas.
CHAPTER IV: SOLOMAN
The man with the curly hair poured out two cups of lapsang souchong tea into delicate china cups and passed one to Jennifer, who now resided in a large comfortable chair.
Cheiranthus Cheiri had curled himself into a tight ball and slept in one of the room’s corners.
“So, tell me about this Doctor fellow.” The man Cheiranthus had been instructed to call Soloman, asked.
“You mean you’ve never met him?” She questioned.
He smiled gently.
“Oh, I’ve met him.” He mused. “Yes, I’ve met him indeed but I tend to find he has the unnerving habit of a changing so much that I find it hard to keep up with him.”
“Tell me about it.” Jennifer sighed.
“You seem unsettled.” Soloman said. “Do you want to talk about it?”
Jennifer McLain turned the proposition over in her head, deciding whether on not she could trust this oddly dressed man.
After a few minutes of thought she figured she didn’t have much to lose, life with the Doctor, or rather Doctors was pretty hard at the moment and could do with someone to talk to, not to mention some good old fashioned tender loving care.
She took a deep breath, picked up Wolsey and began.
“Well, you’ve probably lived here longer than me so I guess you know the Doctor more than I do but it's this changing business, y'know?” She paused, Wolsey purred his content and nestled into her lap. “I mean before he was a really good mate, or even a guardian angel but then all that stuff happened with the girl ,what was her name…?”
“Susan.” Soloman prompted.
“Yeah, that was her name and he like just changed his face. Just like it was something he did every day but that wasn’t all that changed. Suddenly it seems as though he doesn’t want me around anymore, you know, I kinda feel like excess baggage.”
The man moved over to her and put his arm around her shoulders.
“There, there Peri.” He said soothingly. “Things change, they evolve. They have to, if they don’t they become extinct.”
Jennifer looked up at him and frowned again.
“Why did you just call me Peri?” She asked, doubt creeping into her voice.
The man shook his head, looking somewhat irritated with himself.
“I’m sorry.” He said in a calm tone. “When you get to my age you start to get your names and faces mixed up.”
“So who was Peri?” Jennifer asked, still somewhat uncomfortable.
He turned away from her.
“A friend.” He said quietly. “A good friend who died because I didn’t make the right decision.”
Jennifer sensed genuine sorrow in the man’s voice.
“Oh, but you can,” He said, glaring at the TARDIS floor. “It’s just that you’re not allowed.”
He could block out the pain to a certain degree but a certain degree wasn’t good enough in this case.
“Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer.” He whispered to himself. “I’m so sorry, I never wanted to leave you like this.”
He remembered all his previous incarnations and the evil he tried to fight.
Daleks, Sontarans, Zygons, Yeti.
It had all been for nothing. All he had done was postpone the inevitable. Suddenly there was the odd patter of footsteps upon metal. They were not Vader’s nor were they the Rani’s but they were oddly familiar.
He shook his head and his eyes began to clear, the blood forming in pools beneath him.
He thought he saw a ragged man in a stovepipe hat standing beneath him.
The man looked up at him and the place where he hung on the ceiling.
“My dear boy,” He said in a gentle tone reminding him of the voice his father had employed when he told tales of the things that lay in store for Gallifrey. “And I thought fancy-pants’ wardrobe was distasteful.”
The Doctor looked down at the scruffy form and coughed up his wake up call of fresh Gallifreyan blood.
It was then that he realised that he was looking down at himself.
“Am I…I mean, are we regenerating again?” He questioned weakly.
“Oh no, well at least I should hope not.” The scruffy looking, younger Doctor said as he wiped his brow with an old hanky. “But there is someone I’d like you to meet.”
He stepped back into the shadows and a thin, delicate female shape emerged, though she was older than Jennifer and sported torn and faded jeans and a white Greenpeace T-shirt.
“Samantha?” He asked, barely audible.
“In the flesh.” She smiled. “Well, not really but still it’s better than nothing, innit?” She paused. “By the way I don’t like your new face.”
The Doctor smiled, it was a smile full of pain and doubt. Sam was dead, just like Peri, Adric and all the countless others that had been caught in his futile crusade.
“Just wanted you to know that we’re all gunning for ya up here, we know you’re gonna pull through. Shit, you’ve gotta pull through. Remember Jennifer, she’s only a kid, she needs you, Doctor. She needs you.”
With that the ghosts lost their physical forms and the Doctor lapsed back into a deep sleep.
Whilst Vader and his Imperial stormtroopers dispatched of the fledgling Cybermen, Hux Carvitch, Ligustrum Ovalifalium and Ferr’all made their way into the throne room.
“Close the doors, damn it, Ferr’all. Close the doors!” Hux shouted as he reached the two imprisoned females.
Ferr’all played with the flashing lights by the door’s right side and they glided shut, blocking out Vader and his troops…for now.
He moved over to where the others stood and then he caught sight of the Rani. He leant forwards and with his highly sensitive nostrils began to sniff her.
“What do you think you’re doing?” She shouted.
Ferr’all turned to his companions.
“Leave her.” He stated. “She’s bad news.”
“That’s good enough for me.” Carvitch said. “Lig, grab the rich looking one and let’s get outta here. I’ve got more than I bargained for with Vader being here.”
Ligustrum pulled the princess up and threw her over his shoulders.
“Wait,” She pleaded. “We have to find the Doctor.”
“You can’t leave me here!” The Rani screamed in anger.
Carvitch flashed a smile.
“Course we can.” He stated.
“The Doctor, we have to rescue the Doctor!” The princess continued.
Ferr’all leaned over Hux’s shoulder.
“If this guy’s so important he may have a big bounty on him.”
Hux looked at him.
“You’re right. Okay, gal where’s this Doctor guy?” He grinned, showing his full set of teeth.
What was left was barely Mondasian after Vader and his THXs had finished with them.
He turned to face the stormtrooper commander.
“I want the Mondasians responsible for this found at once.” He stated coldly, emphasising the last two words.
The commander nodded and headed towards the exit.
Tarkin turned and gave Vader a foul look.
“I will not tolerate this, Vader!” He said in a dangerous voice.
“Of course not, my Lord.” Vader replied and turned to face the closed blast doors.
It was not a sight that pleased him.
Jennifer scrutinised the man in the patchwork jacket in a way she had reserved for the Doctor, the old Doctor – the one that was dead, the one she would never see again.
“Um, Mister Soloman?” She said quietly.
He turned and looked at her. In the corner the large griffin yawned as he awoke.
“What is it, young lady?” Soloman asked in a gentle tone.
“I was just, erm, wondering if, er, you could like take me back to see the Doctor. You know, before he changed.”
The man’s eyes were full of compassion as he shook his head.
“I’m sorry.” He said. “I just can’t meddle with time like that.”
Jennifer cupped her face in the palms of her hands in an attempt to disguise her tears.
The man who called himself Soloman looked down on the poor girl. She was hardly out of puberty and for some reason he began to feel like a grandfather again. Maybe it was his human half playing up again.
“Then again,” He added. “I always liked playing the iconoclast.”
Hope swelled in her young, teenage face.
Cheiri gave the man an alarming look.
“Surely you can’t be thinking what I think you’re thinking.” It asked.
The man with curly hair smiled.
“I do like it when the TARDIS’s time fields are unstable.” He said to himself and then looked at the girl and opened a doorway. “This should grant your wish, young Jennifer.”
The stormtrooper commander crumpled beneath Vader’s feet, quite dead. Through the hollow pits that served as eyes he glared at the fragile form of the Rani.
“I can help you,” She bargained. “I can help you create perfect Imperial Cybermen…and led you to the fugitives you seek.”
Vader bore down upon her…
Jennifer stepped through the doorway with a certain amount of trepidation and found herself standing in yet another identical control room.
Chang Lee had already made good his quick exit from the Gallifreyan time machine and a beautiful figure with neatly kept auburn hair, surprisingly neat seeing as in the past twenty four hours she had both died and been resurrected, stood beside the console along with a figure Jennifer knew, or felt she knew, incredibly well.
“It’s time, Grace,” Came a familiar voice. “Time is pressing on.”
Jennifer stepped forward into the dim candlelight.
“Doctor?” She whispered.
He turned with a puzzled frown.
“I’m sorry,” He said politely. “I don’t recall meeting you.”
The man in the patchwork coat stepped out of the shadows and the Doctor raised an eyebrow.
“You?” The Doctor said annoyed, annoyed at the intrusion.
The curly haired man stepped up to him.
“Yes.” He said. “And if I were you, which I am, I’d show the young lady a little more affection than that.”
Grace looked confused.
“Doctor, who are these people and how did they get into the TARDIS?” She questioned.
“Temporal time displacement from within the TARDIS.” He said and sighed. “And now it looks like I’ll have to deal with it.”
Slowly flesh bonded with machinery like some unholy birth, industria making love to the shattered remains of emotion.
The Rani stood besides Vader and Tarkin and watched in awe as the first of the Imperial dynasty of Cybermen began to emerge from their mechanical wombs.
“Round up the Mondasians.” Tarkin commanded. “The Cyberarmy must be prepared by twilight.”
The Rani looked at him in awe and returned to gaze at the fresh Cybermen.
“Now, Doctor,” She whispered to herself. “Now is the time for me to dance upon your grave.”