Among the many troubled places in this world, where ancient grudges and
new-kindled passions simmer and burst forth into chaos and violence, where
peace is but the pause while the warring forces regroup for new outbreaks,
where you wouldn't want to leave anything delicate or expensive as it might
possibly get broken, one must include the backstage area of the Adric Awards.

"Lo-Shon not understand why evil seductress have to give award with us!" The
Amazon stormed back and forth across the room, long pink hair swishing like an
angry cat's tail. Fists balled at her side, she rounded on Nyssa, but couldn't
quite meet those piercing green eyes of his. She fixed her gaze on his tuxedo
shirt instead. "Is special moment!" she said. "Should be just for Nyssa-husband
and Lo-Shon!"

"Now, now," Nyssa placated. He seemed to be doing a lot of that lately:
soothing and smoothing and trying to keep volatile martial-artists from each
other's throats. Life had been unpredictable before, but the last several weeks
had been a blur of fighting and questing and whirlwind romances and sudden
changes of gender. And lots of cooling-off other people's tempers. "I told you,
Lo-Shon, you and Kasumi are both important to me. You're both my friends--"

"Lo-Shon Nyssa's _wife_!" the Amazon insisted.

"--and since you're both my very dear friends, I didn't want to leave anyone
out. And besides, there are three finalists for us to announce, so it makes
sense to have three people."

Lo-Shon remained unconvinced. "If need extra person, then call you

Nyssa made a show of considering that, running a hand through his hair and down
his jaw. He knew Lo-Shon found the gesture sexy, which would help to put her in
a more agreeable mood. "That's a good idea," he mused. "I could let the Doctor
do the presentation, along with you and Han-Tao-El..."

The Chinese girl winced at mention of her unwanted suitor's name. While she
would definitely prefer the boy's company to, say, having leeches on both
eyeballs, if you subtracted one leech it became a much closer call. "Bad joke,
husband!" She shook a finger under Nyssa's nose. "Bad to make Lo-Shon have
goosebumps in this dress."

She was right, too. Lo-Shon's evening gown had started out life as a slinky
white cheongsam, but quite a bit of material had been removed, allegedly 'to
improve mobility for combat', but quite coincidentally exposing scandalous
amounts of leg, shoulder, and artfully-deployed bosom. The sight made Nyssa
decidedly uncomfortable, but not entirely in a bad way.

"Oh my! Don't you both look so nice!"

The bickering -- at least this particular round of it -- was brought to a halt
by Kasumi stepping out of her dressing room. The Japanese girl was done up in a
very tasteful and traditional strapless white gown that was a perfect
color-match to Lo-Shon's. With her hair pinned up and graceful demeanor, she
had a classical, womanly beauty about her that belied her 19 years.

"Wow," said Nyssa, getting an immediate foul look from Lo-Shon. "I mean... you
look very nice too, Kasumi."

She gave a slight bow of thanks and Lo-Shon suddenly felt rather tawdry and,
frankly, trashy in her over-revealing dress. She tried tugging it out in a few

Kasumi caught the motion and smiled at her. "My, Lo-Shon," she said, "that was
certainly practical of you to wear a dress that you'll be able to fight in

The amazon scowled, trying to figure out whether that was a compliment or an

Nyssa laughed uneasily. "I don't think that will be an issue, Kasumi. It's just
an award presentation."

Kasumi just smiled that serene, mysterious little smile of hers and reached out
to straighten Nyssa's bowtie.

"STOP RIGHT THERE!" The shout rang through the corridor and, amazingly enough,
it didn't come from Lo-Shon. The two girls and girl-turned-man turned to see a
tallish, middle-aged man in a shark-gray suit stomping toward them, waving a
fistful of papers at them. "You two!" He pointed at Nyssa and Kasumi. "Step
away from each other right this moment. This interaction is disallowed!"

The man's tone for some reason put Nyssa's hackles up. Kasumi merely smiled and
remained at his right side, while Lo-Shon stepped closer on the left.

"Who are you?" Nyssa demanded. "And what do you want? If you're engaged to
somebody here, it'll have to wait..."

The man thrust a business card at Nyssa, who blinked at it uncomprehendingly.
"The name is Elliot Messerschmitt, of the law firm of Fokker, Messerchmitt,
Curtis, Polikarpov, and Zappa," the man declared, "and I'm here representing
the Continuity Restoration and Preservation Society."

Nyssa took a moment to do a bit of mental acronym-building. "And what does an
attorney for CRaPS want with us?" he asked warily.

Messerschmitt tossed a thick bundle of documents at Nyssa's feet. "That's an
injunction," he smirked, clearly relishing the word. "My clients have filed a
suit to halt any and all activities related to 'Spring Surprise' or any other
crossovers between the properties known as 'Doctor Who' and 'Ranma 1/2'. As of
now, all interaction between characters from differing continuities must

A look of sudden wicked glee crossed Lo-Shon's face. She latched onto Nyssa's
arm and made shooing motions toward Kasumi. "Too bad for evil seductress," she
purred. "Law say you go away now and leave Nyssa-husband to Lo-Shon."

"Also," the lawyer continued, "any interaction with characters or situations
arising from a blend of continuities is banned, regardless of whether they
pre-existed said blending." When he saw the looks of general non-understanding,
he clarified, "In other words, Nyssa of Traken, you are to return to your
original gender at once and cease all contact with any and all 'Spring
Surprise' characters, with the exceptions of those from 'Doctor Who'
continuity. If you refuse to comply, further legal actions will result."

Lo-Shon's face fell. She bent down and picked up the injunction, staring hard
at the attorney. "Lo-Shon understand right? Lawsuit say Nyssa-husband have to
leave Lo-Shon?"

Messerschmitt sneered. "In so many words, yes."

Lo-Shon looked at Nyssa for a long moment, then tossed the documents into the
air. There was a blur as she whipped her scimitar out of wherever it is that
Chinese Amazons keep their weapons when they're in slinky clothes and with a
series of lightning-fast slashes, reduced the legal brief to a shower of
confetti. Glaring at Messerschmitt, she growled, "Is ancient Chinese Amazon
saying: 'Sword trump lawyer, every time.'"

Nyssa shook off the legalistic stupor he'd fallen into. "That's right. I don't
care what your clients or your lawsuits say, I'm staying with my friends!"

"Oh dear, I don't think it would be nice to separate everyone like that." That
was Kasumi, of course.

The lawyer reddened, puffing up until it looked as if his shirt would burst.
"Are you defying properly-served and notarized legal documents?!"

Three heads nodded.

Before Messerschmitt could say anything about that, a stagehand poked his head
into the hallway and called out, "Thirty seconds to Best Round-Robin Chapter!"

"That's our cue," said Nyssa, relieved. He offered an arm to each of the girls
and the trio made their way to the stage entrance.

"This is _not_ over!" Messerschmitt growled. Lo-Shon just flipped him off
behind her back.


There was an awkward quiet moment as the crew stepped out of the wings and over
to the podium. Most of the men in the audience had been expecting to thrill to
the sight of a shapely and demure Nyssa in something clingy and revealing. The
strapping young man with the long brown tresses and form-fitted tux was just
Nyssa enough to cause a moment of guilty appraisal, then cognitive dissonance,
then a firm shifting of attention to the two young women who were actually
women and who were quite lovely enough on their own to assuage most but not all
of their disappointment. Meanwhile, the ladies in attendance were having their
own issues. Male-Nyssa was undeniably a smokin' hot hunk who looked like he'd
just stepped off the cover of a trashy romance novel. But Nyssa was a girl who
was just temporarily a guy, so one shouldn't look. But there was an awful lot
of studly goodness to look _at_, temporary or not. The vast majority decided
after a moment's consideration to go ahead and leer, though not without guilt
of their own.

The applause took a moment to come, but when it did, there was quite enough of

"Our first nominee--" Nyssa began, but was interrupted by Elliot Messerschmitt
forcing his way onto the stage.

"I order you one last time to cease and desist!" the attorney declared. "All
crossover elements must stop NOW!"

Lo-Shon stuck her tongue out at him. "Stupid lawyer! Pieces of paper not keep
Lo-Shon away from husband!" Her scimitar put in another appearance, pointing at
where Messerschmitt's heart would be if he weren't a lawyer. "Silly man go away
now, before you get hurt."

"You think I wasn't prepared for this defiance? Hah! I am no ordinary attorney,
you see..."

Premonitory realization struck Nyssa and he buried his face in his hands,
knowing what was about to come. "Not _again_," he muttered.

Messerschmitt drew himself up, arms arched out at his sides, one foot drawn up
slightly. "...I am actually master of the Circling Vulture School of
Martial-Arts Litigation!"

Nyssa's shoulders slumped. "I'm beginning to hate being right..."

With a cry of rage, Lo-Shon charged the lawyer, who cast a hail of tiny
throwing-stars at her, each inscribed with a tiny subpoena. The Amazon leaped
lightly over the barrage, letting them thunk into the stage. "Tora-ken!" she
cried, sweeping her blade around in the dreaded Amazon Tiger-slash.

"Objection," Messerschmitt spat contemptuously as he clapped his hands together
on the blade, trapping it in mid-swing. As Lo-Shon tugged futilely at the sword
to free it, the lawyer smiled viciously and grunted, "No further questions,"
then kicked her in the stomach, sending her tumbling across the stage to fetch
up against the podium.

Nyssa immediately knelt down to check on her, but the Amazon waved him off and
surged to her feet again. This time, she approached the attorney more
cautiously, feinting strikes at his head.

"Aha!" he laughed. "I see it's time to cross-examine you!" With that, he
launched into a flurry of jabs and kicks, pressing her ever-backwards. Lo-Shon
was quick and fended off most of the blows, but one punch landed, then another,
then she lost her sword to a spinning axe-kick. She stared desperately around
as the lawyer closed in on her, hand drawn back for the finishing blow. "Does
the defense wish to rest?" he chuckled.

Something grabbed his fist.

"Messerschmitt," Nyssa scolded, "didn't anyone ever tell you that you shouldn't
hit girls?"

"You ask a _lawyer_ about chivalry?" Messerschmitt hissed as he jerked free and
spun to face Nyssa in a Roosting Buzzard stance.

"True enough," Nyssa retorted, "so perhaps I should beat the lesson into you."

Messerschmitt snarked back, "Talk is cheap, but still billable as consulting
fees." And with that, he launched into a whirlwind of kicks and chops.

What followed was an exhibition of hand-to-hand combat that the audience would
remember for as long as they lived, or at least until the next round of Adric
Awards mayhem. Blows were traded, fists and feet flew in furious blurs,
jump-kicks were dodged, and backflips, side-flips, and plain old flip-flips
abounded. But always, Nyssa held the upper hand, the Spring-of-Drowned-Warrior
body moving with a lethal instinctive grace and power that no barrister,
solicitor, or paralegal could match. Messerschmitt soon found himself teetering
on the edge of the stage as Nyssa moved in for the kill.

The Trakenite aimed a powerful kick at his midsection, but the lawyer blocked
it, catching Nyssa's foot in a vise-like grip. "Objection!" Messerschmitt

Nyssa lunged upwards, foot still in his opponent's grasp, and brought his free
foot up into the attorney's face. The kick sent Messerschmitt flying into the
audience, to land on a row of extras from 'Monsters and Angels'. Nyssa turned
the move into a backflip, landing gracefully as a Romanian gymnast.

"Objection overruled," he said with a smirk.

The crowd went ballistic.

As the applause, cheering, catcalling, women swooning, and other bits of
crowdiness went on, Nyssa and Lo-Shon returned to the podium, where Kasumi
efficiently dusted both off and straightened such garments as were out of
place. Elliot Messerschmitt, meanwhile, took the opportunity to limp to an

"This is not over!" he called. "The Circling Vulture School will be avenged!"

"Bah! Your kung-fu is weak!" Nyssa scoffed, then, puzzled, turned to Kasumi.
"Why did I feel like saying that?" he whispered.

"Just go where the milieu takes you," she replied.

Nyssa shrugged and turned his attention back to the lawyer. "Your kung-fu is
weak," he repeated, "and your spirit pathetic!

"And..." He suddenly realized he didn't know what else to add, but felt that
_something_ else needed to be said. "And... you smell!"

Messerschmitt's eyes teared up and with a less-than impressive squall, he
bolted out through the door.

"Anyway," said Nyssa, recovering his habitual sang-froid, "we are here to
present the award for the best work at producing a single chapter of a
multi-authored story, to wit: the Best Round-Robin Chapter Award. The first
nominee..." A large projection screen lowered into position behind the trio.
" Crossover Internet Adventure #7: 'The Mouth of the River', Chapter 9 -
'The Hand of Fate', by K. Michael Wilcox..."

A scene began to play on the screen...


Dureena moved further into the mist. Whatever the Doctor had said about this
atmosphere, she hadn't experienced any hallucinations yet.

After a short while, her eyes adjusted, and she could see for a long distance.
The corridor itself wasn't that different from the ones she'd left, but she
noticed that there were no doors along it, just wide openings too organic to be
called doorways. She approached the first one on the left an peered through.

Her father stood in the doorway, tsking and shaking his head.

"You're not real," Dureena said, turning back. There, her mother stood, arms
folded, a disappointed scowl on her face. "You either."


"Second nominee," said Lo-Shon, pronouncing her words with exaggerated care so
as to make them intelligible through her thick accent, "is Internet Adventure
#29: 'Destiny Rules', Chapter 1 - 'It's In the Cards', by Molly Schlemmer..."


"That's a very interesting story, but you don't know-"

"And the man standing behind me is destined to kill me tonight."

The bartender looked. She was hallucinating now. He should kick her out before
she caused any trouble. "No one is standing behind you, honey-"

Her eyes shone bright white light for a split second, looking almost fierce,
and then she was gone, disappearing into nothingness. The bartender jumped
backward in surprise, crashing into the rows of liquor behind him. Chairs and
tables, some with patrons sitting at them, were shoved out of the way by an
invisible force.

There was a flash of light, and then the woman appeared again, holding a bloody
sword at the throat of a man pinned to the ground by her booted foot. "But I am
not fated to die." She lifted her sword and ran out the door.


"The third nominee," Kasumi said, "is Internet Adventure #28: 'The Dream Life
of Monsters', Chapter 1 - 'Falling Stars', by Jon Andersen..."


The door slaps shut with a certain quality of resignation.

"He'll be alright in there, won't he?" Alison asks with a nod of her head as
the Doctor scoops up the little blue mobile phone from the front compartment
and drops it into a pocket. "You know, on his own?"

"The Master would never run off and leave us," he waves the inference aside
breezily, setting off in the opposite direction the discarded paper had come
from. "I've selected a fantastic vantage point for us. We could have watched it
on the scanner, but I always feel experiencing an event firsthand is simply the
only way to do things. It's why I'm so good at everything I do, even if I do
say so myself."

"Frequently," she chides gently. "Anyway, I thought you said we were going to
go see the pyramids. Not exactly downtown Cairo is it?"

"Ahhh, but you won't get this in downtown Cairo."


"And the winner is..." Nyssa suddenly frowned and patted at his pockets. No
envelope. He looked at Lo-Shon, who merely gestured at her scanty dress and
shrugged helplessly. Both turned to Kasumi, who wordlessly held out the
envelope, which Nyssa took with a grateful nod. "The winner of the Adric Award
for Best Round-Robin Chapter is... 'The Dream Life of Monsters', Chapter 1 -
'Falling Stars', by Jon Andersen! Congratulations Mr. Andersen!"

Lo-Shon applauded, too. "Andersen do good job for outsider male!"

Kasumi lightly took Nyssa's right arm and Lo-Shon, seeing this, latched
possessively onto his left as all three made their way off the stage.

"I can't believe I actually made it through the presentation without a public
sex-change," Nyssa was saying.

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than a gout of warm water poured down
from the ceiling, unerringly drenching Nyssa and leaving her standing in a
sopping, clinging, too-large man's tuxedo, in all her beloved maidenly glory
and then some. All the disappointed males from earlier now exploded in a
thunderous ovation, while a vast sigh of heartbroken loss went up from the
distaff faction of the crowd.

"One thing the Jusenkyou Curse teaches," said Kasumi to Nyssa, smile never
faltering as they stepped backstage, "is that one should never speak too soon."

And from the lighting catwalk overhead came a voice that sounded an awful lot
like a male Chinese Amazon's, that simply said, "Heh heh heh. Oops."


Gideon Tod strode confidently through the back corridors of This Time Round,
the impression he gave that of a man on very important business who should on
no account be interfered with.

This was, in large part, the truth.

But not the whole of the truth, as was so often the case for Gideon.

He had been given to understand that the presenter of the Best Round-Robin Award
was a girl who would be more than open to a reasoned discussion on the merits of
'Dark Carnival'.

Any suggestion of bribery, threats, intimidation or violence would have been
waved off by Gideon with an easy laugh; after all, everyone knew Gideon Tod was
not the sort of man to dirty his hands with such things.

And again, this was, in large part, true.

This would be a reasonable, rational discussion on the merits of 'Dark
Carnival', and Gideon had every reason to believe that it would be a rewarding
one, too.

He stopped outside the presenter's door, smoothed down his jacket, straightened
his lapels, and knocked.

"Who is it?"

Gideon nodded approvingly. It was good to know some people still kept to the old

"Gideon Tod, at your service. I wonder if I might have a word."

"Certainly. Do come in."

Gideon smiled his too-wide smile, and entered.

There was a brief and terrible silence.

Then Gideon left the room, pale and shaking.

Had any of the unfortunate visitors to the Tod Brothers' Carnival seen him then,
they would have felt a deep and utterly, utterly justified sense of

Sadly, this was not the case.

That had gone so very, /very/ badly wrong. So very wrong indeed.

But Gideon was never one to admit to defeat. Within moments, he was striding
away as confidently as he had arrived.

And if he didn't look back, well, Gideon never was a man to dwell on the past.

Especially /that/ particular part of it.

A low, liquid chuckle came from behind the presenter's door.


The Master knocked on the door.

Yes, this /was/ petty, even for him - he freely admitted that. Still, since a
story of his had been nominated, there was no shame in ensuring its victory, was

"Come in!" a voice called.

The Master smiled, and readied himself.

He opened the door.

Then he slammed it shut.

"Over here!" the voice called.

The Master followed, to find yet another empty room.

"Over here!"

Someone was going to pay for this, the Master vowed.


The nine-year old boy with large glasses rapped on the presenter's door. "Come
on out, Q! I know you're in there!"

The door vanished in a flare of light.

And standing against the wall where it had been was a lean figure in a
Starfleet uniform, with dark hair and dark eyes, a smirk playing on his face.

"You're /spoiling/ things!" Fate complained.

"Like that's new?" Q said.


Q shrugged. "What can I say? I've never been one to accept my Fate." He eyed the
boy. "You should know that."

Fate glared at him through his glasses. "/You/, of all people, acting on behalf
of the established order?"

"Only because you were disrupting it." Q waved aside Fate's imminent protest.
"Yes, yes, only an innocent bystander, never your fault, I've heard it all

He looked down his nose at the boy. "Now /leave/."

Fate returned the look. "Not unless _you_ do, too."

"Fine, fine," Q said dismissively. "Whatever you say."

Fate scowled.

Moments later, the corridor was empty, but for the Master, near the far end,
searching for the idiot who thought their little trick had been funny.

A few minutes afterwards, a stagehand hurried down the corridor and knocked on
one of the doors - a door, much to the Master's eventual chagrin, he would find
hadn't been there a few minutes ago.

"Miss Rhodes? You're on."


A petite girl with pale hair in a Japanese maid's outfit stepped out onto the

"Hello, everyone," she said politely. "My name is Neimi, and I have been asked
to introduce some of the presenters for tonight's awards.

"First is the presenter of the award for Best Round-Robin, one of my fellow
employees at This Time Round, Miss Hayley Rhodes."

The reactions of those members of the audience who'd actually /read/ Imran's
story 'Hardly Helping' and/or frequented This Time Round span the gamut from
worried, to concerned, to supportive. All of them, however, glared at the
Proprietor of This Time Round, suspecting a set-up.

Said worthy settled back in his chair, apparently unconcerned by his customers'

That part of the audience who hadn't read the story, or paid a recent visit to
This Time Round, wondered what all the fuss was about.

Nevertheless, all of them quickly settled down waiting for the presenter to come

When Hayley finally did so, stepping out cautiously onto stage, she was greeted
with a round of applause from the denizens of the 'Round.

The /rest/ of the audience simply stared.

Given that Hayley happened to look like a walking corpse, with long, stringy,
blonde hair, watery brown eyes, and a pointy nose, wearing an antebellum dress,
this was perfectly understandable.

She coughed nervously, and made her way over to the podium.

The audience fell silent again.

Hayley coughed again, this time a little more nervously.


Hayley went white.

A man in clerical robes strode angrily across the stage, brandishing a
five-pointed star in front of him. "In the name of the Holy Continuity
Restoration And Preservation Society, I command you! Leave now the presence of
good and true Doctor Who characters, and return to the foul realms from whence
you came!"

Hayley shrank back before the cleric's onslaught.

"That's not going to work," the Third Doctor said from the audience.

"I beg your pardon?" the cleric said.

"If I'm not much mistaken, that's an Elder Sign, correct?" Third said,
indicating the five-pointed star. "A symbol designed to be used against the
Great Old Ones and their minions."

"...Yes...?" the cleric said.

"Miss Rhodes does not serve the Great Old Ones," Third said. "She switched
sides. Therefore, the Elder Sign will not work on her."

The cleric blinked, then rallied. "Nevertheless, she /is/ a crossover

"In matter of fact, she's actually an /original/ character from another
continuity," Third pointed out.

"The point still holds," the cleric said. "She originates from another fictional
continuity, therefore she is a crossover character and must return whence she

Third raised an eyebrow. "You never actually /read/ the Cthulhu Mythos, did

The cleric scowled. "Foulest of the foul. Its tendrils seep into every
continuity, sullying that which was once good and pure."

Third blinked. "I beg your pardon? You're offended because the Mythos does

"Of course!" the cleric said. "Why else would I be here?"


The cleric span round.

To meet a slap in the face from an enraged Hayley Rhodes.

"Sir," she said, with every bit of outraged pride that was in her, "I never
thought I would speak ill of a man of the cloth, but in /your/ case, I will make
an exception.

"You would return me for no greater crime than seeking my freedom? You would
send me back for the sin of escape? Condemn me because I do not belong in your
'pure' continuity?

"Then you are a /fool/, sir. A fool who does not stop to think what his words
mean. For those words deny freedom, deny refuge, deny safety. They say 'remain
in your place, so we are not tainted'. They say 'do not escape, because /this/
is where you belong'.

"And I will have no part of them, sir, for those words are /chains/, to bind
and to hold. I will have no part of them, not now, not ever. /Go/, and find an
audience better suited for these chains."

The entire audience burst into applause.

Hayley lifted her arm, pointing off the stage.

"Go," she repeated.

The cleric looked around frantically, searching for some support, some safety,
but found none.

Desperately, he scuttled offstage, his face burning.

Hayley turned back to the audience.

Only to realise they were all applauding /her/.

"Um..." she said, her face red (which didn't exactly help her complexion any).

"Ahem," Third said.

The applause died away.

Third nodded to Hayley. "Go on. You'll be fine."

"Um." Hayley said.

"Go on," Third encouraged.

Hayley coughed.

"Um. This year's first nominee for Best Round-Robin is 'Dark Carnival'..."


The serape-clad carny glanced uneasily at the fallen girl, then back at Gideon.

"I assure you, she is quite harmless now," the eldest Tod said brusquely. "You
have no need to fear for your miserable lives... unless you don't obey me." As
the two scurried over to pick Ember up, he pointed at another man. "And you,
fetch the Matron to my trailer with her soaps and salves. I'll be wanting my
fiancee to be at her best and the Matron is to spare no effort in making her

"Simon says, what about him?" the clown asked, vicious eagerness in every

Gideon patted him on the shoulder. "I want you to go now and bring back the
child, the Siren, and her ghostly sister. I wish the child alive, and the other
two if possible, but beyond those general conditions, you are free to do as you

"Hoo-hoo-hoo! Simon says, it's PARTY TIME!" In the next instant, the clown was

Gideon strolled away, never looking back, calling off instructions to the
carnies who bustled about in immediate obedience.

Ezra Tod's corpse was left in the dirt where he fell.


"Next," Hayley said, "we have Internet Adventure #28: 'The Dream Life of


"I've set the controls. The station will implode when Talith hits the switch.
I've been using most of the energy to stabilise and halt the destruction of the
Dreamster's home dimension, that way the implosion will open up a brief
dimensional tear allowing them to safely go home. The Master will be left with
his TARDIS."
Alison speaks up. "What about us Doctor?"
"We'll return to the TARDIS, where I have business to take care of and leave
this place."
The Doctor gives Talith what appears to be a walkie-talkie. "You'll need this to
know when to activate the implosion."
He turns to the rest of the group. "It's time to go. I've created an exterior
doorway we can leave from. We have some work to do before the implosion can take
Alison and Sorrel are the first to leave, taking the Master out with them, Brom
and Talith hug each other.
The Doctor watches on for a while, before deciding it is time to getthings
He speaks quietly to Brom. "I'm sorry, but this has to happen."
Brom lets go of Talith and speaks to her. "I love you."
"I love you too. Go, lead our people home."
Talith is crying, and the Doctor's hearts begin to ache.


Hayley cleared her throat.

"Next, we have Internet Adventure #29: 'Destiny Rules'."


Rose was standing very *very* still. And silent.

Perhaps it was that razor-sharp blade of the sword being held against her
throat. By the leather-jacketed blonde woman standing behind her. The same
blonde woman who'd been following them all night. Who now had an especially grim
expression on her face.

The Doctor glanced for a moment back at where the boy had been.

Gone. As if he'd never been there.

"Now, Lachesis... let's... not be... hasty..." he began.

*"Shut up."*

The Doctor shut up.

Now that the Time Lord had seen them, Lachesis said nothing more. She simply
vanished in her trademark flare of light, taking Rose with her. The Doctor took
a reflexive, useless step forward even as they disappeared.

"Rose..." he murmured forlornly.


"And last," Hayley said, "we have the 'Joyful Quadrille'..."


"Nuku-Nuku? Is something wrong?"

Nuku-Nuku continued to stare fixedly past Amber's left shoulder. "Nuku-Nuku does
not think it is wrong, Amber-san. Nuku-Nuku thinks it is very right."

"Fine," said Amber. "But what is 'it'?"

"It is the biggest mouse Nuku-Nuku has ever seen." The cat-girl began sidling
around Amber.

Amber stepped sideways to put herself between Nuku-Nuku and her target.

"Nuku-Nuku, what did Josie say about not chasing her rat?"

Nuku-Nuku shook her head, and kept sidling. "Nuku-Nuku knows what rats look
like, Amber-san. This is too large to be a rat."

"Still," Amber said, turning to look, "I'm sure there's somebody here who
wouldn't want you to-oh."

Amber and the baby kangaroo stared at each other for a moment; then Nuku-Nuku

The baby kangaroo leaned back, resting its weight on its tail, caught the
onrushing Nuku-Nuku on its large hind feet, and used her own momentum to flip
her over its shoulder. She sailed through the air, coming to rest in the
remains of a buffet table.


Hayley opened the envelope.

"And the winner of Best Round-Robin is... 'Dark Carnival'!"

The audience applauded.

Hayley beamed, a little nervously, curtseyed, and left the stage.

Prelude - Part 1 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Epilogue - Summary

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