Journey with us once more to the dork side of the farce.

This one was more or less dreamt up while, you guessed it,
waiting in line to see the new SW film. It's a little tangential
to the current line of stories in TDF, but damn the continuity,
full story ahead (actually, it's closer to being a series of
vignettes rather than an actual story, but I digress).

In part this story is experimental, in that segments of it are
told through the use of ASCII art rather than ordinary text. The
art should be very easy to understand. In any case, you have
been forewarned. Also, this story does have two WARNINGS: 1) a
FOUL LANGUAGE WARNING, for one particular scene that may offend
more sensitive readers (are there really any here?); and 2) an
EXTREMELY MINOR SPOILER WARNING, for those who have not yet seen
_Episode One: The Phantom Menace_ and have somehow managed to
avoid all the other spoilers out there.

As always, comments and criticisms are appreciated, flamers get
to find out first hand the dietary habits of the Sarlacc.
Copyright stuff at the end.

2 June 1999


19 May 1999
A This Time Round fiction (with some shades of TDF)


The Doctors insisted on being at the head of the line, of course.
It was only proper.

This was just fine with everyone else. Chances were, that also
meant they'd end up sitting together as a group, which hopefully
meant they'd also be out of everyone else's earshot. Then they
could spend all the time they wanted to in making snide comments
between themselves about this, that and the other thing --
pointing out to each other all the historical inaccuracies,
laughing at the no-doubt abundant scientific errors, shaking
their heads at the lousy special effects. They always did that,
and it frustrated the rest to no end; that wasn't the _point_ of
going to something like this, after all. The Doctors just didn't
seem to get that.

So the rest of them just stood in queue and talked among
themselves, waiting for the moment when the theater doors would
open and they would be ushered inside. Of course, that would
only mean another long wait in the lobby; but heck, it would also
mean they were one step closer to actually getting into the
auditorium, and that was considered progress in most of their

Several had decided to go with the spirit of the moment and come
in costume. Mel had donned a black cape and a red-and-white
horned mask, and insisted on being addressed as "Darth Mel".
Peri stood dressed as if in the entertainment employ of Jabba the
Hutt, but did so proclaiming that it wasn't the costume she'd
ordered (no one believed her). Ace had somehow gotten a hold of
a full set of Mandalorian battle armor, and periodically buzzed
the line at high speed. Ben had donned an Imperial Navy
officer's uniform ("Wanted to know what it felt like." was the
only answer he gave Polly), while Mike Yates came as a Storm
Trooper (complete with Minnesota accent, a touch which baffled
Benton and the Brigadier). Both Romanas, while strictly speaking
not in costume, had nevertheless arranged their hair in a pair of
buns to either side of their heads.

Most of the others, though, were not in costume, although the
current subject was very much in evidence. Chang Lee discussed
"Rebellion" and "Dark Forces II" strategy with Jamie, who
pretended to understand what the other was talking about. Behind
them, Tegan and Turlough were trying to learn the intricacies of
some strange-but-topically-related card-game that two of Adric's
friends had pulled out and were busy trying to teach (at least,
that was what they claimed. They were huddled very close and
tended to talk in whispers, so it was hard to know for certain).
Meanwhile, Adric was keeping a wary eye on the Trakenite girl
standing next to him, who was absent-mindedly activating and de-
activating a blue-beamed light-saber, which incidently kept
solidifying perilously close to his head (neither of them were
entirely certain how it came to be that they were standing next
to each other, but to varying degrees both put it down to random
chance and/or bad-luck). Susan, Vicki, Dodo, Victoria, and Zoe
were holding a surprisingly detailed debate concerning Qui-Gon,
young Obi-Wan, and speculative attributes each may or may not
have. Fitz, Ian, and Barbara were wondering what all the fuss
was about; Bernice, Roz and Chris were telling them what all the
fuss was about. Sam and Emma discussed weird make-up and
elaborate hairdos. Liz, Jo and Sarah-Jane were patiently trying
to explain to Harry who the 9-year old boy was (without much
success). Grace was using the children's novelization to teach
Leela how to read. The K-9's were all downloading the latest
tidbits from Ain't-It-Cool-News and TheForce.Net. Kamelion and
Frobisher were trying to outdo each other by morphing into
increasingly obscure characters. Sara, Katarina, and Steven were
just happy to be getting a mention.

Back behind them all, the PMEB stood between the ADF and WANKER,
hoping to keep distance (and hopefully, peace) between the two
groups. The writers, fan and pro alike, formed their own special
clique (you could tell it was a clique by the noise their laptops
made as they typed). Added to this mixture were a number of
other fans, a few Cybermen (busy trying to hide their CCD cameras
and recording equipment); a Terileptl in a Chewbacca T-shirt; the
Gods of Ragnorak (sitting in lawn chairs; they claimed to have
been waiting in line for a VERY long time); the movie critic for
the Sunday Skaro Times (sample review: _Titanic_, Four Blasts,
"Exterminate!"); and the entire High Council of Gallifrey (Borusa
looking over the latest additions to his action figure
collection, Flavia on a cell phone talking to Amidala's
dressmaker, the others in a heated debate concerning collectible
card game rule interpretation -- Wesley had already passed by
earlier). Oh yes, there was also a minotaur that claimed to be
Darth Vader, but no one believed him.

The only regulars not present where the Masters and the Valeyard;
who'd all scalped their tickets to some gangly fan at twenty
times the original price, ditched everyone, and were presently on
their way to some seedy gentleman's club on the other side of


"Glad you could make it, old boy." 3Doc said to 60's-Movie-Doc,
shaking the other's hand. "We don't see enough of you, you

"Yes, well, I don't seem to get around as much as I used to." The
gaunt, crotchety old man smiled. "But still... I thought it
would be inappropriate for me to miss this one, all things
considered." He looked around at the others. "I see we have
some new faces at this end of the line..."

3Doc nodded. "Yes, products of a comedy skit, I'm afraid.
Still, they seem nice enough. A few of them are even starting to
get fanfics of their own."

The gaunt timelord's gaze settled on someone, and one eyebrow
cocked in surprise. "A woman? Is she...?" He asked curiously,
indicating a person standing nearby: a blonde-haired lady that
stood pensively and seemed to be looking for someone.

3Doc turned in the indicated direction, and then coughed. "Yes,
ummm... Her as well."

"Oh." 60's-Movie-Doc shook his head, unsure as to the merits of
the idea. Imagine! A female Doctor... "I'm glad I retired when
I did..." he mumbled.

A few steps away, the Lumley Doctor tapped one high-heeled foot
impatiently, wondering where the hell the Pryce Master had gotten


Elsewhere in the queue, WANKER were trying to keep an eye on
their object of affection. One of their number had come with a
pair of binoculars, and insisted on holding to the fallacy that
his foresight meant that he had the exclusive right to use them.
The others had already corrected him of his error.

"Maybe we should just go up and serenade her." Eric ventured,
trying to grab at the pair of optics.

"Nah." David noted. "She's got a lightsaber today. Remember
what happened the last time we tried that?"

A few of them shuddered.

David adjusted the focus and concentrated on the black-haired
dork standing next to her. "You know, its funny. I wonder why
she doesn't just lob off his head."

Behind them, another patron in line -- a Dalek with the highly
unusual color scheme of white -- silently shuttled its eyestalk
between the speakers. A long, thin tendril of vaguely tobacco-
smelling smoke wafted from underneath one side of the Dalek's

At that point, Darren arrived at the group, a few small pieces of
printed paper in hand. He began to hand them out to the others.

"How much did you pay for these?" Tyson asked, as he took his

The WANKER leader shrugged. "Hey, we were lucky to get any
tickets at all. It was a good thing I found some people willing
to sell us their's!"

"Yeah, but how much did you pay for them?" Tyson insisted.

Darren mumbled an amount.


The focusing iris on the Dalek's eyestalk became a thin slit.

"Well, they _were_ very persuasive on the price they named..."

"But... but... where did you get the money?"

Darren spread his hands in a fair imitation of a used car
salesman. "Relax. I took it out of petty cash. If Number One
asks, we'll just tell him we needed it for ammunition or
something. He'll never know."

The tendrils of smoke coming out of the Dalek suddenly became
quite thick.

"Besides..." Darren continued, with an odd look in his eyes, "we
get to sit in the same auditorium as Her Holiness. That's gotta
be worth any price!"

The eyestalk iris became quite small and point-like, focusing on
the one speaker. If a Dalek could look long and hard at
something, this one was doing so.

The others, oblivious (indeed, as they usually were) to all but
their devotion, took no notice of such an obviously unconverted
gentile. Instead, with the mere mention of the object of their
veneration, all turned as one in supplication, and sighed.

"You know..." Darren opined, making a hand sign to ward off the
influence of the Evil One. "she ought to just chop the little
creep's head off with that thing."


"You know, I should just chop your head off with this thing." she
said conversationally. "It would be so nice to put you out of
our misery right now."

"I'll haunt you." Adric threatened. "I can do that, you know."

"I'll perform an exorcism."

"In a room full of _Star Wars_ fans on opening day of the new
movie? I don't think so."

"Hey,." Tegan interrupted, as activity began at the front of the
line. "It looks like they're letting us in."

"Finally." the Alzarian and the Trakenite responded,
simultaneously. They then each glared at the other.

"You first." Adric offered.

"If you think you're trying to be..."

"I'm not. I'd just rather not have to keep looking over my

She leaned towards him, her eyes pin-pricks of something next to
hate. "Even with the warning, you wouldn't stand a chance."

He responded by leaning towards her, his eyes in a similar glare.
"Go ahead. Do it now. Then I'll get in for free, and you'd have
to clean up the mess and miss everything."

Their eyes locked. They probably would have stayed that way, if
it hadn't been for the increasingly noisy grumblings of the
beings in line behind them. "Move it, will you two?" Sarah-Jane
demanded. "Or go carry it on someplace else. Some of us do want
to see this movie, you know."

Grumble. Snarl. Hmpf!

"Weasel!" she whispered as she passed him.

"Loony!" he retorted.


"Maybe he's stuck back there somewhere." Atkinson-Doc suggested,

The Lumley Doctor frowned, but remained silent as she peered in
the distance, looking for a particular face. The others decided
to let her be, and go on in without her.

"Or maybe he got lost in the sodding sewer." 2Doc chuckled, in a
voice just loud enough to be heard by the others but not by her.


In the lobby of the theater:

"Ow!" blurted Turlough. He rubbed the area on his arm where the
fist had landed. "Why did you do that?"

"Because you were getting distracted." Tegan retorted.

"I was only admiring the workmanship of her costume."

"No you weren't. There isn't enough costume on her to admire."

The words "That was the point." came dangerously close to parting
from his lips, but at the last moment were shot down by a timely
intercept from Common Sense. No need to make the arms even more
black-and-blue than they already were, he reasoned.

"So... where are they?" he asked, hoping to change the subject.
As soon as he said the words, a young woman in brown Trakenite
dress appeared at the ticket-box, and handed the collector her
admission. Exactly behind her was a young-man whose yellow-green
attire could be described as, at best, garish, and at worst, an
eyesore. Both had distinctive grimaces on their faces, a
contortion which evaporated the moment they stepped away from
each other.

From the other side of the lobby, Wesley Crusher gave a quick
thumb's up in their direction.

Tegan grinned. "It's show time."


"Hey... I thought it was Lucas' turn to get the snacks."

"Nope." Lucas Wolencek pointed out, using one finger for
emphasis. "I got them for _Matrix_, and Wesley got them for _The
Mummy_. Your turn."

Adric grumbled, but started to take their orders.


"Is that _everything_?" she said, managing to put a fair degree
of exasperated emphasis on the last word.

Tegan, Turlough, and several others all nodded. "We'll save a
place for you." the Australian woman added.


The last group of movie-goers were being ushered in, and the
Lumley Doctor was still standing outside.

He must have gotten delayed, she thought. It was the only
logical explanation. After all, he knew how much she was looking
forward to seeing this movie. This theater had the best THX
sound in town, the largest screen, the largest auditorium (and
you really couldn't go to a movie like this on opening day with
anything less), and best of all, it was _dark_. All the
ingredients she wanted for the perfect movie-going experience.
Except, the most important ingredient was nowhere to be seen.

He'll be along any moment now, she thought. Any moment.

Above her head, the clouds began to take on a particularly
ominous look to them.


The White Dalek began to consider his options.

He'd already powered up and powered down the gun twice, each time
stopping at the last moment by reminding himself of the fact
that, as much as he hated to admit it, the idiots really were
important to his plans. But even so, it was so tempting, oh so
tempting. The second time he tried to convince himself that he
could find others to do his bidding, that he could easily work
around their absence, and wouldn't it feel just Damn Good to
point in their direction and spew some nice therapeutic death and
destruction? But it was all to no avail; he _had_ to let them
live, he _had_ to keep them around, or his plans would all fall
hopelessly behind schedule.

But he couldn't let such a grievous lapse of discipline go
unpunished. No, they actually thought they could get away with
it. They actually thought he wouldn't know. But most appalling
of all, they actually thought evil overlords had an unlimited
amount of funding to access from. God, didn't they understand
the simple concept of liability insurance premiums? Had they no
clue as to the cost of _good_ 7.62mm ammo these days? Were they
even aware of the fees decent legal counsel demanded, especially
considering around there he had to pay for Solicitors AND

So, what to do about them was now the question. He couldn't do
anything permanent, just enough to frighten them toward the true
and narrow (or, at the very least, the meandering-the-right-
direction and broadly-speaking). That left out killing them, of
course. Also left out shooting off various limbs. He'd dock
their pay, if they had any; as it was he still had to shell out a
large portion of his budget just to keep them fed and housed.
What else was there?

A visit from UNITarians, perhaps? Or maybe an ambush in a dark,
soundproof alley? No, they had to understand why it was being
done to them, and by whom. They had to know the purpose to their
suffering. Hmmm. What about his favorite production of _Richard
III_? But no, again, nothing that would cause permanent damage.

The last thought triggered another. Hmmm, maybe...

Yes, yes... That should do it. On the test subjects he'd
indentured previously, none had come away with any real
_permanent_ damage, just a few days of quivering gibberish and a
certain aversion to anything with the number "5" or "V" in the

Yes, that should do perfectly. Enough to threaten the very
foundations of their sanity, but not enough to rock them to the
core. Yes, yes...



"Next, please." the young man behind the counter said.

He was beginning to really hate this shift, what with all of
these SF weirdos running around to see a stupid, over-budgeted
piece of hollow corporate celluloid pap. He wanted to scream at
them all, to tell them to not waste their time, and to instead
direct them to that hole-in-the-wall theater down the street that
was running Fossbinder films all week. _Year of Thirteen Moons_
and _Berlin Alexanderplatz_, now those were movies that deserved
serious attention. Not this stupid, mindless, bourgeois drivel.
These people had absolutely no taste.

But instead of screaming film theory at them, he merely said
"What can I get for you?" to the person that stepped up to the
counter. Such were the realities of life in the movie business.

The brown-clad young woman looked uncertainly at him, then at the
items underneath the glass. "I don't know." she said finally,
after a moments consideration of the concessions in the case. "I
don't quite see what I was looking for." She looked up. "Do you
have any Crunchy Frogs left?"


"Crunchy Frogs? Or maybe Spring Surprise? No? What about
Anthrax Ripple?"

"Um, no, I'm sorry. We don't carry any of those." He indicated
a display above their heads. "We do have fudge ripple ice cream,
though. In a cup."

"Does it come with salmonella? E-colli, perhaps?"

"Uh, no."

"Pity." The young woman looked genuinely disappointed.

She looked once more into the concession case. "What about
poisons. Do you have anything with cyanide? Strychnine, maybe?
Sulphuric acid?" She noticed something on the counter. "Ah,
mustard! Do you have any in gas form?"

"No. Just what comes in the little packets."

The Trakenite frowned, still undecided. "Then I don't know what
it is I want, right now. Hmmm. Could you please tell me what
those are?"

"M&M's. Look, ma'am. Would you wind if I took care of the
person behind you while we waited for you to come to a decision?
The line is growing rather long and...."

FWOOM! A blue blade of plasma death suddenly solidified not
quite in his face.

"Yes,." the young woman said, in a clear, even voice. The stare
coming from his eyes sent chills down his spine. "I do mind.
It's my turn, and I do require some assistance."

"Now, then. What exactly do the M's stand for?"


Mel sat down in her seat, but not before producing a small
plastic bag and a water bottle from underneath her cloak. Once
seated, she removed her mask, and breathed a breath of fresh air
-- or at least as fresh a breath of air as an indoor room with
barely adequate circulation would allow.

Liz Shaw looked curiously at the plastic bag and water bottle.
"You brought your OWN popcorn?" she asked, incredulous.

Mel opened the bag and threw a kernel into her mouth. "Uh huh.
Air popped, no butter, no salt. The perfect food."

Liz shook her head, confused. "But... why not just buy one and
ask them to not salt or butter it?"

Mel looked aghast. "Are you kidding? Do you know how much _fat_
is in movie theater popcorn? They use coconut oil to cook it

It didn't take long for Liz to regret ever having raised the


Adric struggled with the armload. Of course, it wouldn't just be
the other two that would ask him to make the munchie run; it
would have to be all the other guys as well. He had to draw the
line when he calculated it would be physically impossible for him
to carry everything he was being asked to get, but even so what
he did end up being volunteered for was almost more than enough.

Walking very carefully and trying not to run into anyone or
anything, he entered the massive auditorium. He only hoped
they'd been good enough to save him a decent seat.


The counter-slave was cowering now. That look she was giving
him, the one that seemed to penetrate like laser beams, was
tearing at his id and cutting pieces of it away like so much

The buzz of her lightsaber was also very close to his ears. At
first he thought it was some goofy-ass SF-fan toy; that is, until
she sliced the soda dispenser in half with one quick stroke.
Pressurized CO2 and syrup were still hissing from the exposed

Several trays, each loaded with cups of soda, popcorn, and boxed
candies, sat in front of the patron. She seemed to find the
pile... acceptable.

She was also consulting a list of some kind. "Let's see, Tegan,
Turlough, Peri, both Romana's... hmmm... nothing for Him,
unfortunately. Guess I'll just have to use the torch, as it
were. Let's see, Sarah-Jane, Harry... yes, that should take care
of everyone. Thank you, you've been most helpful."

"My pleasure." he said, his teeth so firmly set that his jaw
threatened to crack. Then, when she picked up her items and
turned away, he fainted.

She heard the thud, but didn't look to see what had caused it.
Such a pleasant person, she thought. And so helpful, which was
especially good because she'd been having such a difficult time
finding helpful people lately. Still, he did seem to be a pre-
occupied with something. After all, he never once asked her for

Oh well.

She entered the massive auditorium, and hoped they'd saved her a
decent seat.


A few more minutes, Lumley-Doc thought again. The trailers
probably haven't even started yet, so chances were she had at
least five minutes more to spare. If he came within the next
couple of minutes, they could still reach their seats before the
opening crawl.

The distinctive sound of thunder rumbled in the distance.


He picked out Wesley in the crowd. Wes and Lucas were staked out
amid seats almost exactly in the center, and Wes was waving his
arm slowly above his head. There were still a pair of empty
seats beside him, but at the rate the auditorium was filling up
they wouldn't last. Resolutely, he walked down the right aisle
to that row and began to slowly make his way toward the others.

"Excuse me, excuse me, sorry, coming through..."


She picked out Tegan in the crowd. Tegan and Turlough were
staked out amid seats almost exactly in the center, and Tegan was
waving her arm slowly above her head. There were still a pair of
empty seats beside her, but at the rate the auditorium was
filling up they wouldn't last. Resolutely, she walked down the
left aisle to that row and began to slowly make her way toward
the others.

"Excuse me please, pardon me, I'm so very sorry, pardon me but I
simply must go through there..."


He glanced down at his armful of munchies.

"Let's see, Coke, Coke, Barqs... Wes, large popcorn extra


She glanced down at her armful of munchies.

"Let's see, Diet Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite... Peri, small popcorn
no butter..."


"Lucas, Milk Duds..."


"Tegan, Jujyfruits..."


"I forgot, who wanted the Sno Caps?"


"Um, who was it that ordered Raisinets?"


"You'd better take your seat." Wes pointed out. "The show is
about to start"



"You'd better sit down." Tegan pointed out. "The show is about
to start."

"Oh, all right."




"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..."

"Pardon me, I just need to..."

They stopped, turned around, and stared just long enough for the
recognition to sink in.

( o) ( o) (o ) (o )

( 0) ( 0) (0 ) (0 )

( o\ / o) (o \ /o )

"Wes, move over one." the Alzarian demanded angrily.

"Tegan, could you please..." the Trakenite demanded insistently.

The lights dimmed, the curtain slowly receded, and an image began
to appear on the screen.

Tegan tossed a piece of green candy into her mouth. "Oh, just
sit down, will you? The trailers have started."

Wes munched on a piece of fat-laden popcorn. "C'mon, take your
seat, will you? People can't see through you, you know."

"But I am _not_ going to..."

"I will simply _not_ sit next to..."

In the darkness from the rows behind, a dozen patrons went
"Shhhhhhhh!" simultaneously, which was followed rather quickly by
a very old and venerable voice.

"Young lady, young man. Would you mind taking your seats, hmmmm?
It's very hard to enjoy the show when you are standing in front
of us."

The two combatants huffed, puffed, but ultimately sat down. Next
to each other.



A pause, as the Coca-Cola ad on the screen finished.

"Swamprat!" she whispered in his direction.

"Psycho!" he retorted, just as vehemently.

( o \ / o ) ( o \ / o )


(Trailer playing on screen)

>"The name is West. James West..."

"Sara," Steven whispered. "Isn't he a friend of yours?"

"Uh, no. The other one."


(Another trailer on screen)

"I heard _Parting Shots_ is awful." 5Doc commented.

"Looks it." Peri agreed, tossing another popcorn kernel into her


"Uh, ma'am? Are you in line for the 8:45?"

"No, the 7:15. I'm waiting for someone."

"Oh. You know that show is about to start, don't you?"

A flash of lightening, a rumble of thunder.

"Yes," she said, with a very odd tinge to her voice. "It is,
isn't it?"


>"A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away..."

"Actually, on the cosmic scale of things it wasn't all that long
ago and..."

"Oi, Perfessor... SHUT UP!"


( o \ / o ) ( o \ / o )

( o } { o ) ( o } { o )

( o ) ( o ) ( o ) ( o )


TAAAAAAA, da-da-da, da-da-da, ta-da-dum-ta-da-dum-dum-dum, dum-
ta-da-dum-dum-dum, ta-da-da-da-TAAAAAAA!



"Movie has started, ma'am."

"Thank you. I'll go in in a moment."

The first part, she'd been told, was pretty boring. The movie
supposedly didn't start to pick up until about a half-hour into

A drop of moisture landed on her head.


>"I have a bad feeling about this."

The Doctors all wondered why their companions were laughing.


>"If the droids take control of the surface, they'll take control
of you."

Peri's eyebrows furrowed. That king. Where had she seen him


"Ma'am, may I suggest you at least step inside the lobby? The
rain is beginning to come down rather hard now."


>"Oh... I'm Padme..."

( o ) ( o ) ( o ) ( o )

( o ) ( o ) (o ) (o )

( o ) ( o ) ( o ) ( o )


>"This spaceport is not going to be pleasant."

"Oh, but the cantinas are excellent." Benny mumbled.


"Um, would it be possible to exchange this 7:15 ticket for the
8:45 show? I think the person I'm waiting for got their times
mixed up."


>"My name is Anakin Skywalker."

( o ) ( o ) ( o ) ( o )

( o) ( o) ( o ) ( o )

( o ) ( o ) ( o ) ( o )


(Pod-racer crashes spectacularly)

>"That's gotta hurt..."

"It did." the first Doctor whispered to himself, then ate a piece
of popcorn, grinning in remembrance. Ah, the days of wild


>"Can I go, mom?"

"Oh, please," Atkinson-Doc said in a low whisper, "say 'No'. Do
it, I dare you. Put your foot down, just this once. Come on,
say 'No'. You'd save us all a whole lot of trouble if..."

>"The choice is yours alone."

"Madam, you've just doomed your entire galaxy."


>"Anakin Sykwalker, meet Obi-Wan Kenobi."

( o ) ( o ) ( o ) ( o )

( o) ( o) (o ) (o )

(o ) (o ) ( o) ( o)

( o ) ( o ) ( o ) ( o )

( o ) ( o ) ( o ) ( o )

( o) ( o) (o ) (o )


>"You refer to the prophecy of the one who will bring balance to
the force?"

"...mutherfucker?" Zoe added, in a whisper. The other girls

"Does Jabba the Hutt look like a bitch?" Dodo suggested a heart-
beat later, in a mock urban accent.

"What, you're sending in the Fett? Aw shit, Hutt, that's all you
had to say!" Susan responded, in a similar tone.

"These aren't the mutherfuckin droids you're looking for."
Victoria added.

"Bocchi, mutherfucker! Do you speak it?" Vicki contributed.


( o) ( o) (o ) (o )

( o) ( o) (o ) (o )

( o) ( o) (o ) (o )


> "Honorable representatives of the Republic, I come to you under
the gravest of circumstances..."

"I forgot," 4Doc whispered to Romana II. "Where were we at that

Romana stared carefully at the screen, and searched her memory.
"I think down below and to the left. Remember, we were guests of
the Bothans..."


>"Fear is the path to the dark side..."

"Turlough," Tegan whispered, with some degree of concern, "is
there something wrong?"


( o) ( o) (o ) (o )

( o ) ( o ) ( o ) ( o )

( o ) ( o ) ( o ) ( o )

(o ) (o ) ( o) ( o)

( o ) ( o ) ( o ) ( o )

( o ) ( o ) ( o ) ( o )


>"Your highness, Senator Palpatine has been nominated to succeed
Valorum as Supreme Chancellor..."

4Doc looked thoughtful. "You know, the thing is, even without
ol' Palpy's behind the scenes manipulations, the old boy was
exactly right: Naboo's problems _were_ a direct result of
Valorum's policies, or lack of as the case may be."

8Doc thought that one over. "Are you sure? After all, the Trade
Federation would not have acted on their own without prodding
from Palpatine."

7Doc disagreed. "Yes, they would have. The Trade Federation was
looking for any excuse to challenge the Republic..."

"True," 2Doc allowed, "but it was the Sith that controlled them."

"Exactly my point..."



>"I have decided to go back to Naboo."

( o ) ( o ) <-o-> <-o->

( o) ( o) <-o-> <-o->

<-o-> <-o-> <---> <--->


>"We have a plan which should immobilize the droid army."

"Oh, lets see," 5Doc whispered, "they'll send in the pilots to
destroy the droid ship..."

>"We will send what pilots we have to knock out the droid control

"Knock out communications..." 7Doc added.

>"We can sever communications and their droids will be

"Kidnap the Viceroy..." 3Doc forecast.

>"That is why we must not fail to get the Viceroy..."

"And Evil Jr. over there will be asked to stay out of the way."
6Doc predicted.

>"You stay close to me, and do as I say."

2Doc took a long sip from his straw. "I believe the correct
phrase is, Been there, done that, got the T-shirt."


[Music cue: "Duel of the Fates", by John Williams]


"Broadsword... broadsword... claymore... broadsword again..."
Jamie muttered underneath his breath.


<---> <---> <---> <--->

(End credits start)

( O ) ( O ) ( O ) ( O )

( o ) ( o ) ( o ) ( o )


"Damn." Mel cursed, as they began the exit from the auditorium.
"It's so dark in here, I can't see a thing."

"Thank the Keeper." another voice whispered.


6Doc took a moment to contemplate. "Actually," he decided, "I
think I still prefer the Special Edition version."

Frobisher, in Linux penguin form, nodded in agreement. "I'm not


"The movie sucked." Tyson said to his WANKER buddies. "Sucked,
sucked, sucked."

"Yeah." David agreed. "The acting was lousy. The music boring.
The writing pathetic..."

"And Her Holiness was no where in sight." Eric added, for

"Yeah." Tyson agreed. "At least _The Mummy_ had someone who
looked like her. A little."

The underwhelming foursome had by now exited the theater. A damp
mustiness permeated the air, as if a recent rain storm had
passed. The sky was clearing, though, and the first stars had
begun to peak through the cloudy cracks. Even at that late hour,
a purplish haze could still be discerned in the west, a signal
that they were entering the longest days of the year.

As they stepped outside, they started to pass by a rather
strikingly beautiful woman, who stood in moderately damp clothes
and whose blonde hair looked to have been recently wetted and
dried without the benefit of a towel. She seemed to be watching
and waiting, but for what none of them had any real desire or
concern to find out. Instead, they simply went on with their

"Hey, who cares?" Darren finally interjected. "We got to see it
in the same room as Her, AND we didn't have to pay for it. Not
really, that is. So, why complain?"

Tyson nodded in agreement. "Yeah, I guess you're right. So long
as Number One doesn't find out what we really spent the money

"Uh huh. And none of us are stupid enough to let him know,
right? Remember, we used the money for ammo and supplies, NOT
buying tickets off all the Masters..."


The sound was very subtle. Most would not have heard, unless
they were paying attention especially for it AND were standing in
very close proximity. Even then, it might not have struck them
as anything important.

It was the sound of a long, lacquered fingernail breaking under
the tremendous pressure of a fist suddenly clenching.

The deep growl issuing from the fist's owner, though. Now THAT
was audible.


"So very nice for the Supreme Chancellor to take such an interest
in the boy." Harry opined. The crowd they were with had just
left the exit to the world outside. "After all, he seems like
such a nice chap."

Sarah-Jane rolled her eyes, and decided to just give up.


A few meters away, the outside crowd was almost as thick as that
on the in.

"OK," Wesley was saying, "better than _Jedi_, but not as good as
_Hope_ or _Empire_."

Lucas was shaking his head. "Naaa. Fourth in line, all the way.
The acting wasn't as good, and the writing could have been a lot

The Starfleet wunderkind grinned. "Well, I guess you'd certainly
recognize those traits when you saw them, wouldn't you?"

"Hey, Wes. Three words for you: Encounter At Farpoint." Lucas
did an almost about-face toward his other friend, who seemed
strangely subdued and preoccupied. "Adric, what did you think?
Better than any of the others, or not at all?"

"Hmmm? Oh..." The Alzarian looked up from the concrete he was
contemplating. "Very good, yes, very good. Highly enjoyable."

"But how would you rank it?" Lucas pressed. "Better than any of
the others, or worse?"

"Um.." For a moment, Adric looked genuinely panicked. Than, his
face took on a blank, non-committal look. His answer was vague,
but safe. "Better than... um, middle I should think. Yes,
about middle of the pack."

He went back to contemplating the ground intently while his
friends continued their debate.

There was a clicking of footsteps behind him, then the sound of a
fuming familiar voice. "Out of my way, Jar-Jar." the voice said.

He stiffened, but turned to face her anyway.

She stood directly behind him, one hand to the lightsaber at her
side, her forehead ridged in that piercing glare of absolute
disdain known as The Look, one foot tapping impatiently as if his
mere presence was enough to take up the entire sidewalk. She
appeared as she always did around him: cold, menacing, ever so
subtly deranged.

Except... that eyebrow. Was it his imagination, or was it not
just a tad out of line? And maybe, just maybe, was there a
slight upturn at one corner of the mouth?

He couldn't help it; he felt the smirk form to one side. And
oddly, his spirits seemed to have abruptly risen.. "Oh, let me
guess. Jar-Jar, because I come from a swamp, is that it?"

"And because you're annoying, incomprehensible, and always in the
way." she confirmed.

He nodded, and stepped out of her way. "Anything you say,
Threepio." he said as she passed.

That actually stumped her. She stopped and spun towards him.
"Threepio?" she said, not quite understanding the connection.

"Uh huh. Prim, proper, and not quite there in the head."


As his head arced through the air, he had just enough presence
left to stick his tongue out in her direction.

A few of the less-aware patrons looked decidedly sick; the
majority, however, gave it no more than the usual pause, then
returned to their business. Except for the Alzarian's two
friends, who suddenly thought it best to go meet their friend at
the usual post-resurrection spot.

Another exception was one specific blonde-haired woman, who
immediately took a series of long strides in the Trakenite's
direction. "Pardon me, but... are you quite finished with that?"
she asked, as soon as she came within earshot of the younger

The blue beam collapsed with a buzz, and the Trakenite looked up
into a face that had suddenly taken on a very familiar, cold,
_nasty_ look to it. "Um, yes. Why do you ask?"

The Lumley-Doctor's mouth curled in a truly demonic grin. Yes, a
very familiar look.

"Would you mind if I borrowed it?"


The four members of WANKER were already ensconced in their
command post/party pad/flea-bag hotel room when it happened.

They had just found out that, after having FINALLY obtained a
voltage and electrical plug converter for their VCRs, they now
had to contend with the realization that NTSC signals do not show
up very well on PAL television sets, especially when the
television set in question was somewhere around Season Eight
vintage. So, after hours of fruitless effort, the group had
decided to break-up into their own little worlds and continue on
oblivious to each other. Darren was reading _Goth Opera_ for the
umpteenth million time, Eric likewise the "Black Orchid"
novelization, David was fooling around with the VCRs (unwilling
to admit defeat), and Tyson was snoring.

None of them noticed the hearse that pulled up outside. Or the
tall, gaunt, grimly dressed man that stepped out of the vehicle.

They did notice the white gas coming out of the keyhole, though.
For about ten seconds. Then they all collapsed, unconscious.

Except for Tyson, of course. But at least he stopped snoring.


Darren came groggily to his senses. He tried to move, but found
his whole body had been strapped tightly into a chair. His head
was braced, and was aimed directly towards a large, blank screen.

"Wake up, shit-for-brains."

The slow, drawling voice was enough to snap him awake. It was
also having a similar effect on the others.

"Uh, Number One... Errr, what a surprise. Fancy meeting..."

"Cut the crap, kid. This ain't a social call."

The Evil Overlord took a long drag from his Marlboro, then eyed
the others carefully. They too had gone from complete
unconsciousness to sharp awareness in record time. "Let's see...
Earl... Darryl... Tyler... Shit-For-Brains..." The Southern
accent seemed to be getting thicker as he continued.

"Uh, that's Eric, David, Tyson, and..."

"Whatever." Number One took another long drag, then aimed a
smoke cloud at Darren. "Seems you boys wanted to go to a movie

"We used our own money!" Eric shouted, fearfully.

"Shaddup. I know what you used."

"No, really, honest. We used our own cash and..."

Number One pressed a button on a small control he carried in his
hands. From speakers all around, Darren's voice suddenly boomed:
"I took it out of petty cash." the voice thundered. "If Number
One asks, we'll just tell him we needed it for ammunition or
something. He'll never know."

"...bought concessions with it." Eric ended, meekly.

Number One began to slowly pace in front of the young men. "You
know, boys. If you had told me you wanted to go, something COULD
have been arranged. But you know, ya'all had to take the easy
route, didn't ya'? Ya'all had to just go ahead and do things on
your own, without letting me know what the hell you was

The man paused, then gave them a look that roughly equated to a
water hygienist gazing at pond scum. "I'm afraid, boys, that
what we have here is a failure to communicate."

"Now boys, such a lapse of discipline cannot... and I mean,
_cannot_... be tolerated. Ya'all stole from me. By extension,
you stole from Her Holiness. That is a sin, boys. That is a
grievous and terrible sin. And sinners cannot..." (his voice was
beginning to rise, betraying his cultural roots) "...repeat,
_cannot_ be tolerated in our midst. They must be cleansed, boys.
They must be cleansed by spending a spell in teeeeeerrible

He pushed another control, and an image began to appear on the
screen. At first it was nothing but blackness, but soon that
gave way to a picture of a lone figure amid utter desolation.
"You wanted to see a movie, boys? Well, now you've got one.
Fitting punishment, I think. Something for you to contemplate on
the tree of woe."

The four knew this movie. Indeed, it was sometimes part of
their nightmares. In fact, it was also part of a large number
of other people's nightmares.

"Oh god, no! No! Anything but this, no!"

"Please, no! Show mercy! God, please show mercy!"

"ARGH! Please, no more! Pleeeaaassseeee..." The last was said
in a voice that was quickly degenerating into a whimper.

On the screen, the title appeared:



"Can anything be worse than this?" Eric groaned.

Then another title appeared below:


"Enjoy the next three-and-a-half hours, boys..."

Number One whistled "Duel of the Fates" on the way out, in a much
better mood than what he had on the way in.

Sometimes, he reflected, he really did love his job.

2 June 1999


"Doctor Who" characters and concepts copyright the British
Broadcasting Corporation and their respective creators and
owners. "This Time Round" created by Tyler Dion; copyright is
his, to the extent that it does not interfere with the Beeb's
copyrights. WANKER created by one Bradley Keith Willis, aka "El
Jeffe". "Star Wars" characters and concepts created by George
Lucas and copyrighted by Lucasfilm, Ltd. "Star Trek" copyright
Paramount Studios and a whole evil cadre of suits. "Seaquest
DSV" copyright Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment.

Original story copyright 1999 by Douglas B. Killings, all right
reserved. This story was written for the pure, unadulterated
hell-of-it, and does not represent a program of mind control
being instituted on the masses in an effort to drive up ticket