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 VIETNAMESE WALLFLOWERS
Text © VIETNAMESE WALLFLOWERS 1997 & 1998
Email us at B5Bekkah@CompuServe.com or SHERTOGENSBOSCH@hotmail.com
CHAPTER V: STRANGERS
The Doctor’s holding place was easy enough to find.
As a smuggler Hux Carvitch found it easy enough to climb to where the renegade Time Lord hung. He looked at the bolts that had pierced the Doctor’s hands and feet.
“Brace yourself, this is gonna hurt, pal.” He muttered and yanked the bolts from out of the Doctor’s flesh.
The time traveller hurtled through the air and collided against the cold, unfeeling floor. The Mondasian princess helped him to his feet but already he could feel his face beginning to change, alter it’s own structure.
“No.” He whispered weakly. “Not yet…too soon to change.”
Ligustrum took one of his arms while Ferr’all took the other.
“Don’t worry, buddy, you ain’t going nowhere.” He said and smiled. “Besides we still need you.”
“TARDIS.” He groaned. “TARDIS.”
The doors slid open.
“Your TARDIS is probably the last place you’re going to.” The Rani smiled smugly.
“Get outta my way, lady.” Carvitch said, pointing his blaster at the Rani’s chest.
The Rani laughed coldly.
“No, not just quite yet. I want to see my Cybermen rip your precious Doctor limb from limb.”
“But you can’t do that.” The princess cried, tears running down her cheeks. “It’s wrong.”
The Rani threw her head back in laughter.
By the time Vader returned the Cyber-army had amassed to near on a hundred fully functional Cybermen.
Vader looked them up and down, the machine element in him analysing every single one of them. With the Jedi Knights vanquished and the Senate in near disrepair nothing could possibly stand before the Empire.
Nothing at all.
The young man in the crimson robes sat upon his throne of rubbish and mused upon his teething problems. His first batch of Cybermen had failed and now the Empire were forcing the people of Mondas into conversion for their own purposes.
“This was not the way I intended.” He said slamming his fist down on the arm of his withering throne.
He cursed himself for being so shortsighted, now he would be forced to help that pathetic Time Lord, the Doctor. This was not a prospect he relished but then on the other hand he had nothing really to fear from him, not if the Empire had shown him their unique brand of hospitality.
He smiled at the idea and rose from his throne, heading for the surface.
The Doctor and the stranger conversed in a corner of the control room leaving Jennifer and Grace to make uncomfortable conversation.
“So, ah, do you come here often?” Grace asked.
“Not to this part.” Jenifer said looking at her feet.
The room was silenced as the TARDIS’s two enigmatic owners returned to the fray.
The Doctor smiled.
It was the calm, warm smile that Jenifer remembered from when she first met him in Tokyo.
“Jennifer,” He said in a voice that was tinged, just slightly, with a hint of the Mersey. “I’m so sorry, things have been rather hectic of late.”
“Oh Doctor, you do remember.” She cried.
He held his arms wide open and embraced her as she began to sob, gently yet indiscreetly into his chest.
“Now, now,” He whispered. “Things have to change, if they didn’t we’d all be stuck in a state of perpetual stalemate.”
She looked up at his kind face with her puffy, red eyes.
“I thought I’d never get to say goodbye.” She said between sobs. “I thought you’d gone just like Ed and all the others.”
“No, I haven’t gone, I’ve just changed.” He said in a tone so soothing it almost lulled her to sleep. “I’m a Time Lord, it’s my nature and I’m afraid you must try your best to adapt.”
“But…but you’re so different. I mean the other you, he’s…he’s just not like you.” She protested.
“Just try.” He said, looking at her with his puppy dog eyes. “For me.”
“Blasting me won’t save you.” The Rani stated. “Think about it, pirate boy, there must be near on a hundred Cybermen outside of here plus Imperial stormtroopers not to mention Vader, Tarkin and those Star Destroyers.”
Hux lowered his blaster.
“You’re right, blasting you won’t help.” He said, a cruel smile formulating upon his dry lips. "But it will make me feel better.”
The blaster discharged a single red bolt of energy and knocked the Rani to the ground. The princess rushed to Carvitch’s side.
“Is she dead?” She whispered in awe.
“Not yet, princess.” He said. “How let’s get the fuck outta here.”
Ligustrum smiled at Carvitch’s odd sense of humour.
“Don’t suppose you’ve got room for a third crew member?” He asked Ferr’all.
“The more the merrier.” He replied, helping the wounded Doctor along the corridor.
The Doctor heaved suddenly, doubled over and vomited as he hit the floor.
Without warning the clank of metal on metal filled their eyes.
The princess looked up in time to see three prototype Imperial Cybermen heading towards them.
“Nothing can save us now.” She whispered, weakly.
Carvitch, Ferr’all and Ligustrum opened fire with their blasters but to no avail.
“It’s no use!” Ligustrum shouted. “I’ve seen what the Cybermen can do, I came here to stop their inception.”
“You mean you’re a time traveller?” Hux shouted back.
Ligustrum’s smile was grim.
“A very inexperienced one.”
The man in crimson strode the royal corridors of the Technocratically Advanced Cathedral of the Sovereign Le Trévisan in a manner that suggested he owned the place which wasn’t entirely untrue.
Tarkin’s Imperial stormtroopers seemed not to notice him, either they were too concerned in shuffling Hux Carvitch and his comrades off this mortal coil or it was something else, something stronger.
The first part of his plan had failed but he would be damned before he let the Empire have his secret. He came to the doorway that was blocked off by stormtroopers combating the intruders and he waited.
The Doctor ushered Jennifer and the oddly dressed stranger back through the doorway from whence they emerged.
To Jennifer he was all sweetness and gentlemanly charm yet to the other who had brought her he just glared coldly as if the man were encroaching upon his own personal space.
They soon found themselves back in the company of the griffin.
“Did your journey prove fruitful, Professor Soloman?” The griffin asked through a half yawn.
“Yes, well to the young lady at least.” He smiled.
Jennifer felt that the other’s smile was somewhat poignant. There was something terribly sad about it. Then she remembered.
The smile that the other wore was the same smile that Ed had worn just before he was taken away in the ambulance.
She also remembered how even then her fucking father hadn’t moved his arse from his beer stained chair to help.
“Bastard.” She cursed under her breath.
The griffin looked quizzically at her.
“Don’t worry about it.” She said waving her hand in the air.
It wasn’t very long before Ferr’all discovered that a Cyberman without a head was a Cyberman that didn’t pose much of a threat.
As soon as their heads were removed their shoulders seemed to erupt in puss and other vaguely Mondasian substances but at least they were easily dispatched with .
Now they only had the stormtroopers to contend with.
A small Imperial craft guarded by a group of TIE Fighters headed back towards the super class Star Destroyer. Inside resided Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin.
“Are you sure this is wise, Vader?” Tarkin asked, looking back at the small planet of Mondas.
“The Cybermen are no threat to the Empire especially not with the Death Star under construction.” Vader replied confidently.
The Grand Moff watched as a craft passed them on it’s way down to the planet. It was not Imperial. He turned to Vader.
“Did you authorise this?” He asked, his eyebrows forming a high arch.
Vader nodded. Slowly.
The crimson man held his peace until the last of the stormtroopers had been dispatched and then coughed politely.
He caught the attention of Ferr’all who immediately took aim with his blaster.
“You have no reason to fear me.” The mysterious man replied, raising his hand.
“We don’t fear you, we just don’t like unexpected visitors.” Carvitch parried.
The princess’ eyes narrowed till they were almost slits.
“Aldous.” She whispered in a grim tone.
The robed figure bowed.
“Your highness.” He smiled.
It was a crocodile’s smile.
“I should have known you’d be involved in this.” She said.
“Then you will be equally pleased to know that my Albion has failed and I am left clutching at straws.” His bitter voice snapped.
“Look I don’t care about the past between you two but as soon as we get off-world you can fight as much as you want.” Carvitch said, his voice an impatient rumble.
Behind them the Doctor clutched his throbbing head.
“Must not change…must not change.” He kept repeating to himself.
Aldous stepped forwards and placed the palms of his hands over the Time Lord’s temples.
“Fret not, my dear Doctor, you’re not changing…not for all the worlds.” He whispered.
Jennifer looked at her two companions and reflected on what odd company she was keeping now days.
The strange man who continued to ply her with cups of tea seemed somewhat preoccupied about something she thought to herself as he paced up and down.
But still maybe the other Doctor would be back soon and she could introduce the two of them. They might even be friends.
The group had made it’s way outside when they suddenly heard the landing thrusters of a craft in the sky above them.
Hux Carvitch looked up at the craft, he had had nightmares about this moment for years.
Yes, Hux Carvitch knew the craft.
It was Slave I.
CHAPTER VI: SLAVE I
By the time Slave I had descended upon the cold Mondasian surface the Doctor had hit the ground in a river of his own blood and other assorted Gallifreyan bodily fluids.
The vibrations gave him the impression that the whole sky was on the verge of falling on his head and the city was eating itself away, just as the acids in his stomach were doing to him.
Soon he felt Aldous at his side again and suddenly the darkness descended on him…
The bay doors to Slave I opened, painfully slowly and no one dared fire. They knew who the figure in armour that slowly emerged was and none of them wanted to cross him.
On an almost morbid note Huw Carvitch registered that the figure had upgraded his blaster, jet pack and armour since last he saw him.
It provided little comfort.
“Bobba Fett.” Ferr’all whispered in awe.
If the figure’s masque could have grinned it would have, instead it simply offered an open ended and rather ambiguous statement.
“Jabba’s bounty on you is big.”
His voice was cold and emotionless to the point that Ferr’all imagined he felt the hair on the back of his neck rise.
No one dared to reply.
No one had anything to say.
The room, not unlike the TARDIS, was full of books, sketches and other such food for thought. For a moment the Doctor forgot his pain as he balanced himself against a delicate oak desk.
“Not the most pleasant of places.” Whispered a voice from behind him.
He turned to face the blonde haired yet somewhat Oriental looking Aldous.
“Where are we?” The Doctor whispered weakly as he removed his soaked shirt and covered himself with a robe that had been draped over one of the room’s multitude of chairs.
“Loosely speaking we’re in your sub-conscious. This is a memory of ancient Gallifrey I’d say.” Aldous smiled like a Cheshire cat. “I mean Metebelis III is far more pleasant from what I’ve seen of your memories.”
The Doctor looked at the intruder.
“I’ve never been to ancient Gallifrey, it’s prohibited.” He said, gasping for air. “And if you knew my memory like you claim to you’d know that.”
Aldous frowned, yet the Doctor held his glare.
“Tell me, sir, seeing as you have me at an advantage and you seem to know, or rather think you know so much about me, would you please answer a simple question?”
The blonde haired man nodded gracefully.
“Have I regenerated?” He asked in a self-conscious tone.
Aldous threw back his head in laughter.
“Regenerated?” He exclaimed. “No, I don’t think so Doctor.”
“What do you mean by that?” The Doctor frowned.
Aldous’ grin widened.
“Let’s just say I’ve thrown a biological spanner in the works.”
“How?” The Doctor asked, arching an eyebrow on his blood spattered face.
“This is only if you can still regenerate,” Aldous warned. “Your body and mind will reach an ultimate and irreversible state of decay and then…then you will die.”
“What have you done?” The Doctor demanded hoarsely.
Aldous smiled yet again.
“You’re infected, Doctor. Infected with Mondasian DNA.”
“Well, young lady,” The stranger announced as he slapped his knees. “This has all been very entertaining and enlightening but I think we should return you to your own neck of the woods.”
“But what about you?” Jennifer stuttered.
“Oh, I have a young assistant to pick up and some Vervoids to defeat.” He proclaimed.
Cheiri tutted and the stranger glanced at the huge creature in disapproval.
“You can’t just leave us in the lurch like this.” Jennifer protested.
“I’m afraid I have to.” Replied the stranger. “I’ve already done more than I should.”
Jennifer turned away from him and began to sob quietly.
“Go ahead, leave me like all the others. I’m jus’ Jennifer the fucking doormat.”
The stranger put his arms around her.
“Now, now,” He said. “It’s not like that.”
Jennifer pushed him away.
“Yeah, well what is it like?” She shouted. “You don’t mean that, just fuck off and leave us alone.”
The stranger stood still for a brief moment and then began to search for something. Eventually he dug out a small, plastic case and handed it Jennifer.
She looked down at it. It was a CD.
“Nirvana Unplugged In New York.” She read out loud.
“I know what it’s like to go through bad patches too.” He said in a sympathetic tone. “But they don’t always stay bad, Jennifer, just remember that.”
Bobba Fett pushed the four unlikely companions into the cargo hold of Slave I. He turned his head to face Ligustrum and the princess.
“I don’t know who you two are but hopefully you’ll double the price for Carvitch.” He said in his cold voice and headed towards the cockpit.
London had become a disgraceful cesspool of humanity’s filth and excrement.
High above the city, alas not high enough to block the stench of corruption and vomit, rested two figures; one young and spritely, the other old and aged with a long flowing grey beard making him look not entirely unlike an ancient Jewish prophet.
The first person, a young girl in blue jeans and a Greenpeace T-shirt walked barefoot across the small room to the old man.
“What ya thinking about?” Samantha Jones asked in a hushed tone.
The old man turned to look at her with a grave expression on his face.
“London is worrying me, Miss. Samantha.” He replied in a German accent. “This continual struggle between the rich and the poor, where will it end? Have I changed anything?”
He was pleading now, tears in his eyes.
“Of course you have,” Samantha said and then tugged at her T-shirt. “Do you think any of this could have happened without you? You shaped the future, I mean of course it’s not perfect but at least you tried and you did a fucking good job of it too.”
Through his wise and old face Karl Marx smiled and hugged her as if she were one of his daughters.
There was a terrible explosion from within the Technocratically Advanced Cathedral of the Sovereign Le Trévisan came an army of fledgling Cybermen and at their head was the Rani.
Bobba Fett looked back at the advancing army.
“Shit.” He muttered. “I didn’t get paid for this.”
Like a sea of silver, the Cybermen marched across the moonlit Mondasian surface.
“March! March my beautiful instrument of destruction.” The Rani cried, her voice insane with laughter.
The doors to Slave I slammed close and it blasted off into outer space and beyond their reach.
The Rani didn’t even notice.
He could feel his feet blistering and bleeding. It seemed like an eternity since he had seen the TARDIS and poor, young Jennifer.
He removed his shoes and socks and in his dirtied trousers that had once been white and the thick robe wrapped around his shoulders he moved over to the desk and looked down at the diary.
It was Rassilon’s.
“Temple and Arch.” The Doctor exclaimed. “What have you done?”
Aldous waved his hand in the air.
“I can’t take all the credit for this, Doctor. You’ve done it all.” He grinned.
“Explain yourself.” The Doctor said with a fierceness that was not becoming of him.
“These are your memories ergo you must have been alive during the time of Rassilon.” He stated.
“Preposterous.” The Doctor exclaimed. “I wasn’t even out of the Loom.”
Suddenly the Doctor doubled up in pain and fell to the ground.
“Feel the pain, Doctor.” Aldous cried. “Relish it.”
With that the Doctor and Aldous faded back onto Mondas.
The Other stood in the doorway to Rassilon’s study. He had thought he heard voices.
The theft of the experimental Time Scaphe had infuriated Omega but there were worse things on the horizon.
He played with the tarot cards in the palm of his right hand and selected one from the pack.
He held it up and looked at it.
“Earth.” He muttered. “Nineteen eighty six.”
Things had a way, like his cards, of being constantly altered, constantly changed whether you believed in Jehovah or Osiris, Satan or Sutekh, fate, Destiny, whatever it all ended up the same.
Same cards, same table yet the hand that held the hanging man varied from person to person but still, when it came down to it, it was all the same bag of bones.
The Other reflected on the concept of the Cybermen and foresaw how Gallifrey would produce it’s own kind of Cybermen.
True, they were not cybernetic but both races were becoming equally heartless and bastardised.
He tore the Earth card into two equal pieces, dropped it onto the floor and turned, leaving the study behind him.
Five months had passed. Jennifer was intact physically, she had eaten well and done all the things that Ed had told her to do but spiritually she was a wreck.
In five months she had not once changed her clothes. She kept pacing up and down the corridors of the TARDIS hoping to find Cheiranthus Cheiri again but she didn’t.
Every night she sat in the Doctor’s armchair and every night she cried and wished he would come back.
Outside a figure with long greasy hair and a beard that had been growing for five months, torn and dirtied trousers that had once been white and a fading robe around his shoulders walked barefoot over the surface looking and pleading for a safe passage home………
Jonathan Hibberd – for all the mis-information about Jen(n)ifer
Aldous Huxley – for the dystopian blueprint and handbook
Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere, Sandman, Miracleman 4, Signal To Noise need I go on
Grant Morrison – for lessons in being invisible
Alan Moore – for producing the most influential anti-hero; John Constantine
Ben Aaronovitch – for his insights into the ways of old enemies
Andrew Cartmel – for novels that weren’t just about the Doctor, oh and Casualty
Marc Platt – for beginning the Process
George Lucas – for the worlds in which so much imagination flourishes
Stephen Fry – that’s a lovely wash-pot you’ve got there!
La Tristesse Durera
A bastard December in ‘97