A short while ago, as the TARDIS flies...

"What's up?" Alison Chaney asked, as she entered the console room.

"/I'll/ handle this, thank you so very much," the Shalka Doctor said, cutting
off the Shalka Master before he could open his mouth.

He turned his attention to Alison. "Paul Gadzikowski's chosen the Master as his
avatar to present the Best Comedy Short at this year's Adric Awards."

"Hold on a moment," Alison said. "Aren't /we/ nominated for that?"

"Oh yes," the Master said. "Which is something of a problem, given that the
/theme/ of this year's Adrics is 'The Fix Is In'. Apparently, it involves
everyone and their brother trying to fix the Adrics /their/ way."

"...Oh /crap/." Alison said.

"I am perfectly capable of presenting the award without twisting it to suit some
personal agenda, thank you." the Master told her.

"How'd it happen?" Alison said.

The Doctor scowled. "There was a breakdown in communications. Apparently, the
details of what this year's Adric theme actually /was/ never got sent to Mr
Gadzikowski - everyone who was /supposed/ to have done it thought everyone
/else/ would do it. So it never got done.

"And given Mr Woodland's toon-centred prelude, along with the absence of any
other information, the guest presenters made the perfectly reasonable assumption
that the /show/ would be toon-centred - so Mr Gadzikowski chose /him/ as his
presenter." The Doctor jerked a thumb at the Master.

Alison winced. "Owch."

"We can avoid our would-be fixers as long as we remain in flight until the
ceremony," the Doctor went on. "But that's not the main problem."

"What /is/ the problem?" Alison asked.

"We must remain above suspicion, Miss Chaney," the Master said. "Above even the
/appearance/ of suspicion. And given my past reputation, that will not be easy."

"But we /can/ do it," the Doctor interrupted.

Alison raised her eyebrows. "I've seen you do a lot, Doctor, but pulling off
/this/ one's going to take a miracle."

The Doctor raised his head, looking directly into Alison's eyes.

"Alison..." He stopped, sighed. "Look. Even if you don't trust him, trust /me/.
It can be done."

"...All right," Alison said. "All right."


[As is traditional Gadzikowski has sent an avatar in his place: the
MASTER(_Shalka_), Gadzikowski's Best Character nominee this year. He
ascends to the podium coolly and addresses the audience.]

The nominees for the 2004 alt.drwho.creative Adric Award for Best Comedy
Short Fiction are:

"A Burns Night Poem/To the Doctor" by Daibhid Ceannaideach.

[The MASTER removes his left hand. From the truncated wrist a lens extends.
The MASTER aims it at the screen, where is projected an eighteenth-century
Scot performing a work of his own composition.]

Is there that, owre his tapes o' Trek,
Original or latter drek,
Cud bring hissel, at least a speck,
Or mair than zero,
Tae look, wi' less than fu' respect,
On sic a hero?

Poor devil! See him, Trekkie berk,
Sneering aneath his cut-oot Kirk.
Nonconformity he wud shirk,
The Starfleet drone,
Although his sae-cried friends dae smirk,
At him alone.

[The picture fades and the MASTER addresses the audience again.]

"Dehumanization" by Paul Gadzikowski.

[The MASTER's arm projects a scene of himself, the DOCTOR(_Shalka_), and
ALISON at the TARDIS console.]

Of the two of them, the Master seemed oddly the less uncomfortable with
the situation. "Instead of imprisoning me in a mechanical body and
making me your pet," he told the Doctor, "you could have turned me over
to Time Lord justice."

"And have your mind wiped for your crimes? That's not true reformation,"
said the Doctor, fiddling with the console instead of meeting anyone's
eyes. Was reform that much of an issue with him? Or was it not just
anyone's reform - but the Master's? Why might that be? "Better to have
your evil impulses governed while you observe the worth of compassion
and true responsibility firsthand."

The more awkward the Doctor became, the more amused the Master became.

[The picture fades and the MASTER addresses the audience again.]

"Hardly Helping" by Imran Inayat.

[The MASTER's arm projects a scene right here in This Time Round, with the

"Francois?" the Proprietor sighed.

"Yes, Bossman?" Francois said, in the tones of someone who /knows/ he's
not going to enjoy this.

"You want to know something?"

"Francois think not." the great Ogron rumbled. "But Francois think
Bossman going to tell him anyway."

"I've just hired a fugitive catgirl, an alien wannabe, and a Tainted
refugee - and the worst part of it is, they were the best candidates!"

"Cruk." Francois muttered.

The Proprietor stared at him. "Why do /you/ care?"

"Francois not win pot, that why." Francois harrumphed.

[The picture fades and the MASTER addresses the audience again. A wisp of
smoke is rising from his right ear.]

"In the Cafe of Reasonable Comfort" by Paul Andinach.

[The MASTER's arm projects a scene in a charming sidewalk cafe. DOROTHEE(NAs)
and EMMA(_Curse_) are having a bit of girl time.]

"So what's it a duplicate of this time? A lunch bar? A cinema?"

"A person."

Emma stared at her.

"Oh, it's not completely unheard-of. I remember the Doctor telling
me once about this alien whose hyperdrive exploded when he tried to
use it to take off from a planet... but anyway, I first ran into
this guy in France; he was fighting with the British Army in the
First World War. Didn't think anything of it at the time, but then
a few weeks later I ran into him again - in England, one hundred
years earlier."

"Another time traveller?" Emma suggested. "Or just a coincidence -
we met a blue avian last month on Sivana that sounded just like the

[The picture fades and the MASTER addresses the audience again. The smoke is
still coming and he's developed a twitch in the nearer cheek, but despite
chuckles from the audience he himself seems oblivious.]

"Miyuki-chan in TARDIS Land" by BKWillis.

[Projected on the screen is a scene in a young girl's bedroom. The resident,
a Japanese girl of about sixteen in her pajamas, is confronting
scantily-clad versions of Tegan and Nyssa while the TARDIS looks on.]

She bowed politely, then gave the two a puzzled
look. "But why are you two running through my house? And why
are you grabbing my arms?"

"Don't be silly, Doctor," said the smaller woman, a very beautiful,
petite brunette whose bustier-and-panties ensemble were made from
color-coordinated brown velvet. "It's time for us to be leaving here."

"You've regenerated again, haven't you?" said the other woman,
whose lively face and short auburn hair were nicely set-off by a
burgundy stewardess's hat, and not much else in the way of clothes.
Her vest and miniskirt matched the hat for color, but it was hard to
tell for sure, since there was so little material to look at. "I have to
admit, Doctor, that I like this new look of yours. Don't you agree,

"Absolutely, Tegan," the first girl smiled, "though something seems
to be lacking. But I'm no expert on Telebiogenesis."

[The picture fades.]

[still smoking and twitching]
And the winner is -

[There is a flash and a pop. A cloud of smoke rises into the air, and when
the MASTER is no longer obscured he is standing rock-still with his faceplate
hanging open.

[After a few moments of awkward silence onstage - and giggles or applause
from such as Adric and Nyssa - the DOCTOR(_Shalka_) pokes his head onstage
from the presenter area. He issues a few pointless 'pssst's at the MASTER
before advancing onstage himself.]

I told him second-hand duotronics couldn't stand the strain. Alison, a little
help here.

[ALISON joins the DOCTOR onstage. The DOCTOR takes hold of the MASTER's
shoulder from behind and tips him backwards, and ALISON picks up his feet.]

[as she and the DOCTOR carry the MASTER offstage]
Oh, and the winner is "In the Cafe of Reasonable Comfort" by Paul Andinach.

[picks the Eccleston Doctor out of the crowd]
One year! One year! Ha!

[Eccleston Doctor is just about to give him the finger, before Rose manages to
hold his hand down]


"It is a sad state of affairs," the Master reflected, "when one has to die
before being believed."

"Yes..." the Doctor said thoughtfully.

The Master raised an eyebrow. "Another bright idea, Doctor?"

The Doctor shrugged. "Perhaps. We'll have to see."


His name was Cam Elion, and he didn't exist.

Or at least, he didn't exist in the records of the Central City bureaucracy.

Which was, in large part, the point.

Cam was one of Central City's 'deniable assets'. His role was to perform various
illegal acts on behalf of the City's political machine, acts that could never be
traced back to anyone in the bureacucracy. No matter who was in charge at City
Hall, Cam would be there, willing to serve.

Unfortunately for City Hall, that wasn't entirely the case. Cam had had qualms
about what he did ever since he started working for the City. As of yet, he
hadn't had cause to act on them, but if he did, there would be quite a few
worried people at City Hall.

His current assignment was a minor one; some high-up at the Hall had caught wind
of the Adric Awards, and had decided it would be Good Publicity if one of the
awards went their way.

Therefore, they'd sent Cam to ensure this happened. With an [airquote]
"unlimited expense account" [/airquote].

Hence why Cam was currently making his way through the corridors of This Time
Round, looking for the presenter of the Best Comedy Long Fiction award.

As he turned a corner, he felt a faint tingling sensation on his neck-

-before everything went black.


Adric of Alzarius strode through the corridors of This Time Round.

This wasn't the Adric most patrons of the 'Round were familiar with. This was an
Adric who moved with confidence and assured ease, who wore expensive tailored
suits, drove expensive cars, and ate expensive meals.

This was, in short, an Adric who'd made a lot of money from a little cable show
called 'Mystery Psycho Theater 3000', and had every intention of seeing that
continue into the future.

Hence his presence here. If 'MPT3K' happened to win the Best Comedy Long Fiction
award, then that meant more publicity for the show, which meant a bigger
audience, which meant more suck- er, customers for MPT3K merchandise.

The fact this meant more money for Adric, of course, went without saying.

So he and his reluctant bodyguard Francois the Ogron were on their way to have a
productive talk with the award's presenter.

It was a short while before Adric looked up from his Personal Digital Assistant
(the term PDA having multiple meanings in this particular set of realities) to
realise Francois was no longer beside him.

He turned to see where the large Ogron could be-

-and his world went dark.


Remus was a desperate geek.

Well, that went without saying, really.

Using his undoubted mathematical genius, he'd managed to get some money
together, with the intention of using it to bribe the presenter of the Best
Comedy Long Award.

And then, when 'El Trakenachi' won, he could capitalise on the fame from his
starring part in the story, using it to establish a fanatical group of fans who
would help him take over the world.

The fact that this had even /less/ chance of success as a plan for world
domination than even the Master's loopiest schemes had not, as yet, occurred to
Remus, nor was it likely to.

It was, therefore, something of a relief for all concerned (except Remus), when
someone knocked him unconscious and dragged him away.


Candy of Swevyn (a.k.a. Candia Harcourt and Candie HarDDD) had absolutely no
intention of bribing the Best Comedy Long presenter.

Well, not with /money/, at any rate.

/Her/ intention was simply to show the presenter just exactly what Candie HarDDD
could do, and then casually mention that there'd be even more where /that/ came
from, girlie, thank you so very much!, when 'Dancing on the Darkside' won. And
it /was/ going to win, wasn't it, puss?

It could, therefore, be taken as something of a tragedy that certain
unscrupulous personages saw fit to render Candy and the good Captain unconscious
and whisk them away before they could begin to put anything into action (ahem).

Then again, perhaps not.


"And now," Neimi said, "here to present the award for Best Comedy Long Fiction,
another of my co-workers at This Time Round, Miss Mia."

This drew further suspicious glances towards the Proprietor, but again, he was
content to shrug them off.

This time, it included suspicious looks from that part of the audience
previously unaware of the Proprietor's hiring policy, as the revelation of
Hayley's hiring had alerted their suspicions.

Mia's entry on stage was met with a round of applause from the entire audience
(as well as a certain amount of drool from those of the appropriate

Her appearance wasn't going to assauge any worries about a certain animated
theme to this year's proceedings, though.

This was because Mia happened to be a catgirl.

An attractive one, at that, clad in a long, slinky evening dress that showed off
an equally slinky body, with long brown hair, golden eyes, two furred ears, and
even a tail, poking out from somewhere behind her. That part of the audience not
busily involved in drooling craned to see exactly where.

Mia set the envelope down on the podium, cleared her throat-

-and stared.

"Excuse me," she said. "Could we have a camera over on that table?"

Everyone, including the camera, turned.

Mia was pointing at a table in the middle of the hall.

Sitting at the table was a group of catgirls.

When they saw the camera was on them, they cheered and waved, brandishing a
banner that said "MIA ROCKS!!"

Mia groaned.

"Oh *frell*..."

She managed to scrape together some remaining shreds of composure, and cleared
her throat.

"Ladies and gentlemen," she said. "Before I begin, I'd like to introduce the
members of my extended clan, the crew of the starship _Mwyrr_, who've come to
see the show tonight."

The catgirls cheered.

The audience applauded (some of the more susceptible members having to staunch
nosebleeds before they could do so).

Once Mia was fairly sure the applause had died down, she cleared her throat

"And now, the nominees for Best Comedy Long Fiction.

"First up is B. K. Willis's 'Busted! Episode 3: Judge, Jury, and Execrationer',
an Alternate Universe story set in Central City, as the members of its police
force try to crack the case of the Justice Man..."


"So, _anyway_," Tegan said loudly -- _painfully_ loudly -- "whether
we're dealing with a hypnotist, a superhero, or a garden-variety loony,
the question is, what do we do about it?"

"Given what we know, the next step _should_ be obvious," Nyssa said,
smug amusement filling her voice like creme in a Twinkie.

After a moment of quiet, Tegan mumbled, "You couldn't make it a bit,
er, _more_ obvious, could you?"

But Adric spoke up first. "We... set a trap, right?" He blushed scarlet
at the approving look Nyssa vanTraken gave back as she nodded.

"Fine and good," Turlough sniffed, "but if Justice Man is so good at
spotting cops and cameras -- or is getting tipped-off about them -- how
do we stake out the trap without him finding us?"

Nyssa looked at her watch. "The solution to _that_ problem should be
here just... about... now."

And, just at that moment, something dramatic completely failed to

Nyssa blinked and glanced at her watch again. "Um, now?"

Sudden, shocking events continued to not occur.

"You," said Turlough, pointing at Nyssa, "have clearly been around Jo
for too long."

Nyssa tapped on her watch, frowning. "I could have sworn..."

There came a pounding on the door that led into the main corridor just
then, followed by Dr. Smith's voice politely saying, "Could someone
get this open for me? I'm having a bit of trouble, as my hands are full
of squirrels."


"Ahem," Mia said. "Next up is another story from B. K. Willis, this one another
installment in his 'Mystery Psycho Theater' series, as an accident with an
Artificial Reality machine lands the Satellite of Love crew with a new member,
in 'MPT3K Episode 10'."


DOUG: Oh, we're on, aren't we? (to MUTSUMI) You should probably
introduce yourself to the viewers at home.

MUTSUMI: (confused) Introduce?

DOUG: You know, tell them about yourself so they'll know what kind
of person you are.

MUTSUMI: Ah! I see. [waves] Hi! I'm Mutsumi Otohime, from
Okinawa. I'm 21 years old and have just started to attend Tokyo
University after failing the entrance exam three times straight. I like
watermelons, hot springs resorts, and kotatsu tables. I speak three
languages -- or five if you count all the dialects of Turtlese. [rummages
in pockets] I have a card with my measurements on it here somewhere,
since people are always asking about them... My turn-ons are--

DOUG: (interrupting) I think that will cover it, Mutsumi.

NUMBER ONE: (annoyed) And it was just getting to the useful part,

HELEN: Anyway, it seems Mutsumi will be our guest while Diane--
[stops and sniffles] --while my poor sweet Diane is missing somewhere
in Mutsumi's world. I miss her already! [lowers face and bangs fist
repeatedly on console]

NUMBER ONE: [sighs] Since Helen's got issues, I'll take over. We've
been filling Mutsumi in on what it is we do here and why. [looks
dubiously at MUTSUMI] Frankly, I'm not sure how much of it is
getting through to her. But, hey, at least she's a hottie.

MUTSUMI: I must admit, it all sounds _very_ interesting and I'll do
my best to help out.

DOUG: [grins] That's the spirit. [raises fist] Go team!

MUTSUMI: [raises fist] Go team!

[MUTSUMI freezes in that pose, then slowly falls over, being caught

MUTSUMI: (weakly) Did I mention that I'm kind of anemic?


MUTSUMI: (weakly) Oh, well, I'm kind of anemic.


"Next," Mia said, "we have the completion of a story long thought unfinished -
Kenneth Andrews' 'To Die For' fic 'El Trakenachi', the story of Evil Adric's
attempt to take over the world."

She eyed the camera. "Don't look at me. /I'm/ not the one who wrote it.

"Roll story."


Tasha looked tearful, a trick she had often found effective
around oddly-dressed men of a certain age.

"In a few hours, Adric's going to destroy the financial
records of this whole planet and make himself richer than
Microsoft! Can't you do anything?"

The seventh Doctor looked up from where he had been trying
to work out in which of three identical flasks he'd imprisoned
some evil from the dawn of time.

"He's going to make money?" he asked sharply. Tasha and
Denzil could only nod.

"This is serious," said the third Doctor, folding his
newspaper and draining his claret.

"If he gets his hands on any cash we'll never get him back
behind the bar where he belongs," agreed the fifth Doctor.
"Is he armed?" he added.

Denzil nodded, and the fifth Doctor hefted his cricket bat.

"Come on, boys! Saddle up!"

Waving sonic screwdrivers, cricket bats, umbrellas and
pocket watches, the Doctors marched towards the exit.
Denzil rushed after them.


"And last," Mia said, "we have Graham Woodland's 'Dancing on the Darkside', his
filk of Bruce Springsteen's album 'Born in the USA', telling the story of one of
the presenters of tonight's ceremony, our very own Candy.

"The song we've selected as an excerpt is 'I'm on Fire at Will (Set Phasers to


Hey Boskone boy do you want a screw
Turned in your head till your dreams come true?
I'll light your dark desire.
Ay, ay, ay, I'm on fire!

Say bad baron shall I blow your fuse
Shall I tweak your tale shall I be your Muse?
I'm rarin' to inspire --
Ha, ha, ha, hearts on fire!

Sometimes it hurts when your mind and meat are
Sparkles and stone, oh won't you shoot hot spirit
Through the marrow of my bone?

In the ink-drowned night when you wake up dead
I'm the perfect match to
Warm your clay-cold bed.
Only you light my spicy pyre --
Ah, ah, ah, souls on fire!
Ah, ah, ah, souls on fire!


Mia opened the envelope and raised her eyes.

"And we have /two/ winners for this year's Best Comedy Long Fiction Award."

Shocked whispers from the audience.

"Our first winner is 'Busted! Episode 3', by B. K. Willis, whilst our second is
'Dancing on the Darkside', by Graham Woodland."

"You /bastards!/" Candy screamed, as she burst into the hall, the Captain behind
her. "You utter absolute /bastards!/. I got knocked out, tied up, and locked in
a cupboard, and I didn't even get to see any action!"

"Hrrruh?" said Mia, nonplussed. And, "Oh!" said Mia, shocked. And, "Errrrh..."
said Mia, with the dawning of what was not so much a horrid suspicion as a
horrid enlightenment.

"_Nemo me impune coldcockit_!" howled a porky big boy named Captain B. Leader,
playing an emphatic air-guillotine in a frankly menacing manner. "You do not
rule me! Clouds of blood will come! Clouds of hot ionised avenging -- "

Sensing from the übernyssalich pychosis of his aspect and the stirring amongst
her crew that Kevlar Lad was all too apt to be speaking prophecy on this
occasion, Mia made haste to spread oil on troubled Mad Dog 20/20. She drew in a
deep breath and explained, "CANDY?!?"

"Oh no, Missy; you don't get round me like..." Candy's eyes refocused, surveyed
Mia appraisingly, and... brightened... into a dazzling and lovely electric

"...hell you don't," adwcly ailurophilia's poster-girl swept on without break
or shame. "Do you come here often? Would you like to?!"

Happily she was interrupted at this juncture by yet another cat-girl, this one
of the Toonly and black-pantherly persuasion, sneaking up behind her and
stuffing coffee-beans up her nostrils with the hand whose activities we see fit
to describe. "Wakey-wakey, Plenotype! You won the award! Jointly with Nyssalish
and Emberication!!"

"The bastards! Get out of my way!"

"Won... won... *won*!"

"Gerroff!... Nnnngh!... You're *me*! You're no faughing challenge at all!"

"W-O-N, won won won!"

"We... Oh, wait, say *what*???"

"Won," said Captain Leader hollowly, his blaster drooping in amazed confusion.
"Is this, then, glorious victory? Ah... ahhhh... the bittersweet guerdon of the
conqueror... the tragic waste of money and worry... the... the..."

"We *won*?" Candy extricated herself from her oppo's python grip with a single
lithe twist, normally available only to ten-year-veterans of Raks al-Sharqi and
guys who get thirty days for trying to dance like Snaker Ray -- all the better
to jump up and down in a nosebleed-inducing Tiggerish ecstasy. "Holy
Cantharides! YAY ME!!!"

"MY devoted fans, admirers, and willing slaves!" Kinki began grandly.
"Accustomed as I am to public performance, it's with pride and pleasure that
I -- myaaarggh!"

"*My* speech, I think," objected Candy, re-priming her charming elbow.

"Uh-uh, Lumpty-Dumpty." Kinki's tail waved negatorially in time with her
shaking head. "You're one of the main presenters, remember? *I'm* supposed to
accept on your behalf..."

"Doesn't doesn't doesn't *count*! I've hardly done a stroke yet!"

Kinki made an offhand gesture rather explictly conveying that strokes a- plenty
had been sufficiently prominent in Candy's repertoire this evening to date.
"That's not how Happy told it... so anyway, fantabulosi, *as* I was saying
before I was interrupted by Ms Intercontinual Spam Warehouse Three Years
Running, I'm..."

Candy shoulder-barged the preening panther half-way across the stage. "Whom are
you alluding to?"

Kinki retaliated with a magnificent feline spring that sent Candy staggering no
less spectacularly. "Where are you intruding to?"

Eye of cat met eye of nymph, and broad bad grins spread over two bad broads'
faces. The Magical Mechanical Musical Box, belatedly detecting the trend of the
conversation, launched thunderously into the Statutory Duel song from _The
Grand Duke_ (Karaoke Mode). Candy sang enthusiastically,

_"Big whips, small whips, plain whips and studded ones -- "_

"Stop," said Amber quietly from the back; and suddenly everyone did. "G&S&M is
a very... *interesting* concept, I'm sure; but this isn't the time or place.
May I suggest that you come up with some nicer way to share the presentation?"

Kinki bowed her head to the inevitable. "As is said by my old guru the Pink
Panther: always be nice. Well, Can-Can, what d'you say? We *could* do it
together, I guess..."

Captain Leader inclined his head in sagely majestic agreement, an effect
slightly spoiled by the concurrent necessity of wiping the drool from the side
of his mouth off on the back of his gauntlet.

Candy returned a yet eviller and more manically inspired grin than any
hitherto. "What you mean by that, bitch?"

"Yeah, bitch," Kinki responded with equal gusto, "that's *just* what I mean!"

Our happy heroines slapped hands in a glorious high-five; and then, because
they were who they were, faces just for the form of it. Kinki pulled out of the
air a rather regrettable microphone for her own use; Candy picked up the
principal one and waved it about on its stand in the manner of a less
aristocratically restrained Mick Jagger; and with one voice they let the world
have it but good, crying,

"It's Karafilke time! Take it away, mechamaestro!!"

"Hoo-rah-hoo-rah-hoo-rah-EH!" vroomed the Magical Mechanical Musical Box.
"POWerrrr BALLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!" Lights flashing fit to shame a pinball
machine on which the plucky punter is just scoring a Triple Extra Buck Rogers
Black Hole Refuel Jackpot Promotion with Bonus Ball and Extra Onions, that box
of unearthly delights (Pandora & Co. plc, patent pending) launched full steam
ahead into that Meredith Brooks standard already adumbrated by its
pulchritudinous performers; and that performance went, let the record show,
like *this*:

CANDY (sniffling): I hate the show today.
You're so good to me --

CAPTAIN (throatily): I am?

CANDY: -- Not you. Down! Stay!

KINKI: Tried to tell you, but you yell at me like I am just some crazy nympho

CANDY (recovering): Why would I think that?

(to Audience, sensuously):

Seems today I won.
You're gonna be... relieved... when I get you alone --

(Kinki restrains Capt. from imminent berserkergang by twining self sensuously
around him and tickling his throat lightly with her long claws.)

CANDY (to Capt, draping herself over him from the other side:)
I can understand why you feel so abused...

KINKI (busy exploring her pop-eyed prey):
I don't envy you...

CANDY: I'm a little into everything --
All over everyone!

I'm a bitch --

KINKI: I'm a panther.

CANDY: I can blow every anther
Off each bad B-movie plant --

KINKI: Don't ever think she can't!

CANDY: I'm your bounce, I'm your zest,
I am seldom very dressed,
You know you wouldn't want me any other way!
So take me, if you can.

KINKI: This may mean assassination by her man.

CAPTAIN: Rest assured that when my jealous blaster's twitching, I don't mean it
for a joke!

(Shoots beam of ravening incandescent destruction into Audience, reducing
handsome vampire at one of guest tables to grease and ashes.)

BUFFY: The bastards! They killed Angel!

(Great billowing clouds of bittersweet Odour of Tormented Sanctity arise from
Angel's remains, preventing the vengeful Slayer and others around her table from
doing anything more effective than rushing out into the car-park for a
desperately-needed breath of air.)

CANDY: Holy faughing smoke!

I'm a Muse --

KINKI: I'm a moggy.
I'm on heat --

(Begins to rip at Captain's armour and Candy's costume in erotic frenzy. The
Ninth Doctor rushes in from stage R, throws a bucket of cold water over her, and
runs away chuckling, the chasteness of his franchise successfully protected.)

CANDY, KINKI, and CAPTAIN (watershedding): Now we're soggy.

CANDY: I've been broke, I've been heeled.
I don't know how to yield.
I raise Hell -- Heaven too --
I like my vindaloo --

CAPTAIN (gallantly): And you deploy it in the most delightful way!

CANDY: Just when you think you've got me all redeemed
My stone heart's grinding and turning:
Cry my name, and get shot down in flames,
But you'll love the burning!

I'm AI --

CAPTAIN: I'm an Author. (Smacks self in mouth with considerable force.)

KINKI: They do lots they don't oughter.

CAPTAIN: Unlike you, 'Kinki Qt'?

CANDY: I play the Devil's flute.
I am rap, I am rock,
I am Paris in a frock,
I am everything your Shadow longs to lay!

You gave me! an award!
I am chuffed out of my gourd:
This is thanks, this is utter,
From your goddess from the gutter!
I've been palmed on my songs,
Can't say it feels too wrong,
Even if we have to share it with BK...

Candy and Kinki bowed deeply and immodestly as the audience made riotous
demonstrations of a mostly plauditory nature. The plauditory nature became
especially unambiguous after the first wowsabow. Captain Leader, maintaining
the aloof dignity proper to a macho super'hero' under such circumstances as
these, occupied himself by stuffing the various hurled bouquets, smallclothes,
tomatoes, brickbats, Dalek plungers, and address-bearing pictures of sad
desperate fanbeings and the odd redheaded alien public schoolboy in the
altogether, into his capacious swag-bag for later. As the fights caused by
various over-enthusiasts' punching the air too inaccurately began to subside,
Candy lowered her glittered-up eyelids coyly, and thoughtfully snogging her
toontype uttered the following sacred Musing:

"La, sirs, when a girl finds herself saying she has to share it with BK,
certain gallant thoughts simply come thronging into her brain and *will* not go
away!" Those manically-gleaming optics scanned the audience intently for signs
of the Doyen of Dixie and his merry crew.

"Nyssaias," sighed the elegant Miss ShaLaLaLa Kincaid, assisted no little by
the fact that the name in question is rather aptly practically a sigh in
itself. "Embericles!"

"Huh-huh," nodded Captain Leader intelligently, his tongue hanging out the
better to dissipate the fierce heat of the spotlight or something. "Babydoll.

"Dashing young Southern gentleman with a massive gun and well-versed in its
usage," breathed Candy. "And an imagination that positively shouts -- "

"WAAAAH!" wailed the bold Captain, with such utter horror that Kinki performed
an instant triple backflip and crashed into the wings in a cloud of stars, not
so much because Toon physics remained locally in force as out of ingrained
reflex. "Strumpet! Jezebel!! Do you think I'm some kind of *pervert?!?!* Just
because I happen to like _I'm in Love with My Car_ and appreciate the manly art
of greased hog wrestling, must even my own Mu--- mutinous female associate draw
tiresome decadent cosmopolitan-type conclusions which can of course in no way
impact on one so casually secure in his red-blooded space-marlin-slaughtering
manhood that he laughs at them more in disappointment than in anger?"

"Huh? 'Pervert'?" Candy blinked in malicious amazement. "'Course I don't! I
know you like to play with this 'bad boy bigoted monosexual' kick; but when we
were catching that Round Robin presentation, don't tell *me* you weren't
reacting to all the gender-bendy goodarama-ousness like polymorphous ol' Ma
Nature intended, 'cause *you* were standing behind me, and I -- "

"And *you* were standing in *front* of My Eternally Straight Desirousness!"
shrieked Captain Leader, winning for eminent logic as many points as he lost
for unnecessarily hysterical delivery. "QED! RIP! HMSO! Away, wench! for I must
discipline your wayward imagination with celerity, lest it dwell too long upon
My Proximate Supremacy in unacceptably close juxtaposition with strapping young
heroes oiling their guns in -- in -- in -- *great Gharlane, give me strength to
bear the indignity!!!*" And suddenly scooping up a startled Candy in his
mighty-thewed arms, he legged it like a bad 'un (we wonder why, not!) for the
safety of the backstage area, carolling _Whole Lot of Woman_ in a suddenly
basso profundo voice and balancing a convenient Jack London book on the end of
his nose. A stunned silence momentarily overhung the proceedings.

Kinki whistled, and her eyes scanned the audience for incoming
tribadonymphomaniac Muse-couples more searchingly than ever before. "*Some* of
us are still here," she purred, pointedly.

"Never mind, never mind," cried Marchie Marchant-Ivory from the bar, with
pachydermal jocularity. "They're not too late for my round! Didn't I hear
somewhere that Bombay Sapphire is a girl's best friend...?"

But over by Amber's table, Good and Evil Willow and Genuissa were still looking
backstage and shaking their heads in a rare moment of total accord.

"_Issues,_" they opined in unintentional chorus, "_much???_"

Prelude - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Epilogue - Summary

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