The members of Gordon and Saville's act have wandered off vaguely into the night...

"We've kind of lost the zombies (not due to any sort of attack, just bumbling incompetence) but we have a plan -- "

"Honestly, who'd be unobservant enough to let the zombies out?"

"As I understand it, Auntie Krizu walked past and Saville and Igor were distracted long enough by her cleavage of evil(TM) for them to slip by..."

Saville and the Voord found the zombies at the edge of the web. For a second they looked like a bizarre line of mime artists, all doing the invisible wall routine, but if you looked closely, unfocused your eyes slightly, you could see the faintest glimmer of static where the web stood.

Saville was still slightly unsettled by his meeting with Justine and her friend. He hadn't recognised the man, yet he had recognised him. He shivered. He just hoped this didn't complicate things. "Shigeru, Jarvey!" he called to the two Voord. "Help me organise this lot into some semblance of an orderly line and we'll head back to the circus."

TIme Lords almost always recognise each other on sight. Unless of course, the other one's wearing a silly mask or disguise of some sort. But in the everyday course of the universe, two Time Lords meeting will always recognise each other.

But when the stylish, dark skinned figure walked into the backstage area, the Doctors all had to look twice. The figure seemed familiar, but was completely unrecognisable to them.

The fifth Doctor walked up to the newcomer, extending his hand. "Hello, I'm the Doctor. I don't believe I've had the pleasure, although you seem familiar somehow."

The figure smiled, a warm, gentle smile that lit up his face. He looked round at the other seven incarnations. "Likewise. I see a bit of him in all of you, yet you are all so completely different."

He turned back to the fifth Doctor. "I am usually known as the Master."

The Doctors looked surprised. "I thought we had all but one of you chaps tied up in one of the tents?" pondered the third.

"Yes, we're only missing one that we know of." the first said, pointing a finger at the Master. "And you, my fellow, are not he..."

The Master walked over and sat down at a table. He propped his elbows on the edge and arched his fingers before him.

"I suppose I owe you an explanation?" he said, quietly, as the Doctors sat around the other sides. Justine walked in and took up a chair behind him, not interrupting.

"Have you ever seen a universe die? Just give up? Until the Day Of Ragnarok, our universe operated pretty much as normal. With occasional....glitches. But then it happened. Things that everyone took for granted just stopped. Depending on where you were, the sun didn't rise, night didn't fall. The only thing that kept going were the people. Within a few hours, the cold began to bite. Ponds, lakes, seas and oceans all froze up. The air hurt to breathe. Everyone should have died, but they didn't. Death came to time.

"Ragnarok wasn't meant to happen for billions of years. Something, or someone released the Gods Of Ragnarok early. Oh, we tried to send them back to where they came, but we failed. Then we tried to send them into one of the dark dimensions, but I miscalculated. They managed to create a conduit, a gateway and escape into this universe. If one of you were to check where you trapped the Gods in this universe, you will find them still there. These are false gods from outside your realm."

He indicated himself and Justine. "At the last minute we managed to follow them in TARDIS. But he and his companions are still trapped there, at the edge of a dead universe."

"And he is?" asked the fifth Doctor.

"Your equivalent in that universe. He used his TARDIS to hold the gate open long enough for us to follow the Gods."

He shook his head sadly, "I can only hope that my old friend has managed to find safety there..."

~ What was that? ~ Silence signed.

Katherine shook her head to clear it. "Who were those people? Where were they?"

The Doctor just stood there, silent.

"The circus...of course." he said quietly.

"I believe we are seeing echoes of wherever it is the Gods have gone. I recognised the tents and paraphernalia of a circus, the Gods were linked to such a circus many, many centuries ago."

He scratched his forehead. "There's some sort of link, some sort of link between us and someone there. Someone who's fighting against the Gods."

~ Someone is fighting them? ~

"Yes, foolhardy as it might seem. But you just never know, there may just be a chance..."

"Have you got any dice on you?" Gordon asked Saville as he walked back in, with zombies.

"Er yeah..." he answered, bringing out a small pouch filled with dice of every shape and colour. Gordon rummaged around inside, before pulling out a simple six-sided dice. It was dark blue, with white spots.


"What do you need it for?"

"Just a contingency plan. Something to give us a chance..."

"We found the zombies."

"Ah, good. We can incorporate them into the new act."

"The new act?"

"Yes, I'm a bit worried about how things are going, we're doing a panto now."

"It's not Christmas..."

"Doesn't matter, pro-fun rule #273 You can hold a panto whenever you like."

"You just made that up..."


"Just be careful, stay alert, stay frosty."

"I will."

"6031769 bottles of beer on the wall, 6031769 bottles of beer..."


"Sorry, I'm just getting a bit edgy and fidgety here."

"I understand, but at the moment all we can do is wait. TARDIS is out of power, and I'm not sure there's enough energy left in this universe for her to draw upon anymore."

Silence ran her finger through her short hair, frowning in concentration.

~ She sleeps. ~

The Doctor looked at her. "That's good to hear. All hope is not lost."

"What about this link with someone over there? Can it help us?" asked Katherine.

"I honestly don't know, my dear. It all depends on if the person on the other end realises what is happening. Until then, all we can do is wait..."

"So how can we defeat these other Gods?" asked Second.

"I honestly have no idea anymore," said the Master. "Although, from what I've seen you are doing a rather good job so far. Who knows? Perhaps it will be enough. I certainly hope so."

A bell sounded, indicating the next act was about to be announced The Master stood up. "The least I can do is be a witness to the proceedings." He walked up to the curtain, to watch the entertainment about to start.

The Master muttered darkly to himself, "This could be this universe's last chance..."

Ok, in case anyone needs to know who the Nth Doctor, Katherine and Silence look like, photos of who they're based on. Hopefully have some artwork up there soon.

Meanwhile, the avocado troll is worried about the effects of the black energy from the gladiator act on those outside the tent...

Our ringmaster gave a brief nod to Imran and Curry, and ducked back out the tent.

The horses were clearly spooked. Mags and Kingpin, along with a man she hadn't seen before, someone who appeared to be a fish-woman, and a twelve year old girl, were moving among them, trying to calm them down, and not having much luck.

"Is everything all right?" she asked, somewhat afraid of the answer. "That last attack from the Gods of Ragnarok didn't hit any of you, did it?"

The twelve-year-old ran up to her, not caring about looking cool. "Is Allie all right?"

The troll smiled. "You must be 'Xephy'" she said. "Yes. She's fine. We all managed to duck in time. Go on in. I'm sure she'll be glad to see you. I just decided to check on things out here, and make sure you were all all right."

"We're fine," Mags said. "The gryphons sensed the attack coming before we did, and three of them shielded us with their wings, deflecting the energy away."

:::The other three must've gone out to protect Gordon, Igor and the zombies, she thought, gratefully:::

"But the explosion," Mags continued, "when their un-energy finally hit the web, was very loud, and the team got spooked."

The avocado troll went up to the leader. "You got spooked, Sweetheart?" she said, patting her on the shoulder. "You're a TARDIS, remember - not a two year-old thoroughbred filly. You've witnessed whole galaxies go up in a mass of supernovas. Why should a little bit of noise from a set of wannabe gods get you so upset?"

Sweetheart lowered her head, and butted against Our Ringmaster's chest, nearly lifting her off her feet.

A flood of telepathic emotion swept over the troll, registering in her mind as though they were a picture whose resolution was reduced to vast fields of muted color, light and dark: Memory, Danger, Uncertainty, Empty, Silence, Loneliness, Sleep. And she realized that she was glimpsing her TARDIS's final memories of the loss of her Timelord pilot, before Eloise found her. She swallowed hard.

"I'm fine," she reassured Sweetheart, her voice a little shakier than she would have liked. "We will be fine. We'll win this. You know we will. Fun always wins out in the end."

The leader nickered softly, and the twelve horses calmed as one.

The troll smiled. "Now go in there and show them why you are the most spectacular TARDIS in all of the eleven dimensions!"

And she hurried back inside the Big Top to get ready to announce what promised, quite frankly, to be her favorite act.

Meanwhile, Allie is about to receive a pleasant(?) surprise...

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Story by members of rec.arts.drwho / HTML layout by Igenlode Wordsmith, modified by Imran Inayat
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