The Odd Muses have their act all planned...

A spotlight switched on.

'Introducing a girl group like no other. A trio who sing like angels and dance like demons. Who can make you feel like you spent a day on Olympus and a night in Hades. A trio who give a whole new meaning to the term 'Girl Power'!'

'We are...' Allie announced proudly. '...TYA!'

'The what?' Gordon said.

Alryssa put her hand over her eyes. 'T. Y. A. Tessa. Yokoi. Allie. Oh my Gods...'

'This is gonna get cheesy, isn't it?' Imran said.

'You have no idea...' Allie reassured him.

Yokoi looked over at the hostess. 'She's worried. Too worried. And... she has a point. There's no way one Hoedown can generate enough energy to restore what's been drained.'

'And I don't think even Sailor Gallifrey can generate that kind of energy..' Tessa added.

Alryssa's eyes narrowed. 'You three know more than you're letting on.'

',' Allie said. 'We know about as much as you.'

'Then why are you saying it can't be done?'

'We didn't.' Yokoi said.

'Catalysing...' Imran murmured. 'The energy the Hoedown releases will act as a jumpstart...'

'Exactly.' Allie said.

'So... the energy we release will spark off a chain reaction, leading to the creation of more energy... wait, we're fighting one of the basic thermodynamic laws!' Imran said. 'Entropy increases.'

'In a closed system,' Allie agreed. 'But bring in energy from outside...'

Gordon clicked his fingers. 'Oh, I get it... The energy the Hoedown releases will open an extradimensional hole outside the omniverse...'

'Which will let the energy we need in...' Imran realised.

'Then we direct it where it needs to go, restore what's already been drained...'

'And entropy gets reversed.' Alryssa concluded. '...Hold on, what lies outside the omniverse?

'I know.' Imran said. 'And we can do this.'

'But how can we reverse the damage?' Gordon said. 'We get the energy back no problem. But what about the damage?'

'Trust us.' Yokoi said. 'We know what to do.'

Seventh slipped out of the room where he'd gone with the others and whispered in Eighth's ear, while the Odd Trio tried to overhear the conversation.

Imran grinned as he overheard one part of the discussion in particular.

'What are you so happy about?' Gordon asked.

'Because I've just remembered something.' Imran said. 'I know who that sigil's meant to represent.'


'Well... the Gods of Ragnarok are bound. Bound by the rules laid down by the Guardians - and those above the Guardians.' Imran suddenly grinned. 'Hey, reading The Quantum Archangel came in handy after all... '

'And Kingpin's amulet is one of those rules,' Alryssa realised.

'Exactly. And since the charm has an affinity for the amulet...'

'But...' Gordon looked over at the Seventh and Eighth's conversation. 'I'm sure I heard the Sisterhood of Karn mentioned.'

Eighth broke away from the conversation. 'Well, they did make it. And their knowledge of the mystic... hmm. Their knowledge of the mystic could have made it a conduit to those who laid the rules down in the first place. But someone overrode those rules, coerced the Monitors. Someone on a par with - or above - the Powers That Be.'

'And,' Allie said. 'TARDISes are a lifeform in their own right. The ultimate embodiment of mathematics given life - linked to the Sisterhood's expression of the mystic.'

Imran gasped.

'Oh no. Oh no... No. No way...'

'Imran?' Alryssa asked.

'Oh. My. God.

'Embrace the Glory. Embrace the Glory. I see it. I see it... I see them... So that's it. That's who... Things are falling apart. The parts are being divided. Someone's dividing the parts, dividing the mystical and the rational. At the centre of things. The charm, the TARDIS... they're reacting to this as the embodiment of that division. And I know who's doing it...'


The cartTARDIS materialised.

'We're here!' the deputy called.

'You've worked it out. You know who's doing this. Who's making the omniverse - not just this universe, but all the universes - fall apart. Who's separating the parts.' Alryssa said.

Imran looked at her. 'I hope I haven't. I truly hope I haven't.'

'I'm rather afraid that you may just have...' Eighth said. He closed his eyes for a moment. 'Because to me, the Sisterhood and the Time Lords /were already reunited/. They rejoined, when I went home to the House of Lungbarrow. The two sides of Gallifrey are already back together. This is not when they rejoined, because it's already happened. That's not what needs to be put back together. Someone is forcing the omniverse apart...and you may just have realised who.'

Imran shook his head as if trying to clear it.

He was babbling, as if he'd realised something, something terrifying. 'Not now. Not now. Face the Gods first, stop them feeding first... then we'll face who's behind this...'

Alryssa looked sidelong at her friend, worry evident on her face.

"I'm beginning to understand," she said. "Divide and conquer. That's the best way to destroy an enemy. They're dividing the elements of the universe - Creativity, Fun, Science, Magick... and intending to pick each element off, one by one. They almost succeeded..." she thought back to earlier, "But now they've been foiled at one part, they're going to move faster to destroy what's left before we can stop it."

She thought.

"The separation of Science and Magick, specifically... has been going on for centuries. One refuting the other. Take both elements out simultaneously and... there's no method of understanding."

"Hit 'em where it hurts," Gordon murmured.

"We need them to comprehend... to understand. Yokoi, Allie, Tessa... we can bring this energy in, but it's highly dangerous. We need a conduit..."

The Muses looked at each other, then at Alryssa again.

"Um... we're not capable, even together, of doing that, but maybe with Sailor Gallifrey's help...."

"You have got to be kidding."

Eighth's face was deadly serious.

"No. It began with the attempt on your life, as well as ours. It has to end through us. What would be more frustrating to them than a being who combines not only logic and mathematics but creativity and fun as well? It's only fitting they should meet us all face to face, so to speak, for the final showdown."

Alryssa sighed.

"It might kill us all. Me at the very least."

"I know."

"Poor Kid," she murmured, "Thrown in with a bunch of strangers, and about to encounter even stranger things than the last day or so have ever brought...."

The avocado troll covered her face with her hands and sighed. She could feel that they were working against themselves, playing into the hands of whoever was doing this, and doing it with such conviction that they were saving the omniverse itself. Was this what happened with the Monitors? she wondered.

She hurried over to the stage, and, hopping up before the microphone, picked up her fiddle and played one, long discordant note.

The chatter stopped (except for a few "Ow! Please"'s).

"Imran and Alryssa are right," she said, when her guests had settled down again, "entropy does increase -- within a closed system.

"But The Omniverse Is Not A Closed System!!

"It's like, like..." she struggled to find the words. "It's like each individual universe, fictiverse, parallel dimension, alternate reality -- they're connected to each other, like soap bubbles floating in a dish of water: sharing boundaries, interconnected. All the bubbles together -- that's the omniverse."

She paused, scanning the faces of those looking up at her. Several people were nodding. They had each had their own experiences confirming this idea -- there was no denying that the worlds of fiction and history met, or the realms of cyberspace and three-dimensional space. Still, she took the time to make eye contact with each of her guests, noting their faces, their bearing. It was absolutely vital that they understood what she was about to say next. When she was sure that she had each of them, she continued.

"But," she said, "the surface of that water in which those bubbles are floating is not a flat plane... It curves back on itself, at least metaphorically. Like a Klein Bottle. There is no 'Inside' or 'Outside'. No 'Us'. No 'Them'."

'May I say something at this point?' Eighth said.

Our hostess nodded.

'We are talking about multi-dimensional relationships at this point.' Eighth said. 'However, contradictory as it may seem, the Omniverse does have a centre - a place you can see the whole Omniversal spectrum. A single point, where all the dimensions meet.'

'I should know,' he added. 'I've been there.'

The audience gasped.

'The Omniverse is interconnected.' the Doctor continued. 'But there is something outside it. A gateway to the first truth. A solution to all the mysteries and secrets, the answer to every question that has ever been asked.

'When the gateway opened, the last time... I was there. But I didn't look. I wanted to...but I did not. There are still so many secrets and mysteries to learn, to discover...'

'You are right,' he told the hostess. 'The Omniverse does only have one surface - it's closed and open. But equally... there's somewhere outside. It's neither closed or open - and it's both closed and open. It has a centre, but no edge. Open and closed, closed and open... encapsulating all contradictions within itself. Infinite and finite.'

'It's not a paradox.' the Doctor added. 'Paradox - and confirmation - are both part of the Omniverse. Everything is - even entropy and creativity. That's the wonder of it all. And it's something Faction Paradox never understood. But it's being pushed out of balance...'

"Then where is the energy going?"

"Good question," the hostess said, "with an important answer. Energy can flow from one universe, one bubble, to another. The Logopolitans," she reminded them, "siphoned off energy from our surrounding universes when the structures of our own universe were growing weak. That, naturally, created an imbalance, a weakness -- like poor circulation of blood. I suspect," she said, "that someone in one or more of those surrounding universes -- mathematicians like Logopolitans, or mystic entities like the Guardians -- are siphoning the energy back, either as an act of revenge, or blindly, trying only to keep their own universe, their own small bubble, whole, without realizing that lives are being lost here."

She took a deep breath, grounding her worried mind, preparing to project her idea as well as her voice. "It is possible," she said, "for us to strike down the forces siphoning off our energy. But, in the long run, that would only further weaken the structure of the omniverse -- destroying our interconnectivity, and destroying our spirit of fun. When we leave this TARDIS, to meet up with Kingpin and Mags, we must do so with the hearts of healers -- of peacemakers. Even if we are being deliberately attacked," she said, "if we approach our upcoming ... challenge ... as a battle, with thoughts of revenge on our minds, then we are no better than an army of robot clowns!"

Her audience gasped as one.

"Entropy is a real force," she conceded, "but so is synergy -- the impossible coming together of different things to create something new and unexpected, unpredictable. This Hoedown," she said, with a smile, "is an example of synergy -- who among you could have predicted, when you came through that ordinary blue front door on an ordinary cul-de-sac, that you would end up here, preparing to dazzle the omniverse with the wonders of magical milkshakes and Mexican masked wrestling armadillos?" She smiled as a chuckle spread from one listener to another. "We have already," she assured them, "created a vast amount of energy, and we've barely even started. Now our job is to apply that energy to heal the wounds around us."

Just then --

A noise from outside the wagon TARDIS alerted the crew. Fifth was already trying to determine what was going on, as the avocado troll hurried to check her console readings....

As they did so, Imran grinned. 'Hmm. So... Would it help any if I mentioned that I have a mad scientist's coat and a magician's cloak?'

His grin got still wider. 'Mad scientist and magician. Science and magic. And Who manages to combine 'em both. Well, apart from the Third's line in The Daemons.'

Third managed to look offended at this.

He put on the mad scientist coat. Then the magician's cloak over it.

Gordon's mind flashed back to previous echoes of himself.

The 19th Century scientist, who used a pack of cards to tap into some unknown source of inspiration for his unbelievable inventions...

The Son Of The Ether, who disguised his magic as technology, or was it the other way around?

The university student, who attended a university where the only difference between science and magic was the colour of the explosions...

And his first real creation...the last warrior from a doomed world, who dared to try and mix the arts of science and magic in an attempt to save it. Who created battle armour of amazing technology, then in her last rites, imbued it with her own spirit and hidden on a faraway world. Found by an ordinary human. Merged, bonded in symbiosis to stop an evil spreading throughout the galaxy...

"I've always mixed the two, never quite been able to keep them apart." he grinned. "I believe my past experiences may be of some use."

He smiled at the avocado troll. "Don't get mad, get creative..."

The troll grinned back. "Ooh," she said, "I like that!"

'Hmm... Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold...' Imran mused. 'It occurs to me that by forcing the ways we explain the Omniverse apart, the explanations of the Omniverse are affected - and stress is placed at the centre...'

'The centre cannot hold.' Alryssa breathed. 'The centre of the Omniverse will be unable to hold the multiverses together.'

'Remember the Doctor mentioning Kid saying something about tornadoes? Tornadoes draining the energy of whatever they came up against?' Allie said. 'What if...?'

'...the energy they're draining is being used on the centre of the Omniverse. And when it cannot hold...'

'...The Omniverse falls apart.' Gordon whispered. 'You know who's behind this.'

'I hope not.' Imran murmured quietly. 'I hope our hostess is right - that it is someone from another universe, tapping into our own. But if I'm right... It may be instinct, it may be deliberate. But it's no accident.'

"We'd better get our acts together then..." said Gordon.

"Yes, well, that's easier said than done."

"I meant for the circus!" grinned Gordon.


"Still," the hostess said, "that's easier said than done, too! Excuse me while I go change into my Ring Master uniform... How do you think a three-foot tall, avocado green troll would look in a red Ring Master's uniform -- too Christmas-y? Yes, I think so... Royal blue with dark purple trim would look so much better, with silver buttons and a big, white carnation in the lapel...

"Handkerchief in the breast pocket, you say, Imran, instead of a carnation in the lapel?"

Imran nodded.

"Probably a good idea," she conceded. "I can be prone to ridiculous sneezing fits, and a flower right under my nose certainly wouldn't help matters."

She ducked back to the wardrobe room, singing to herself:

"The story of how I got this hat,
it really is quite funny.
My grandfather died and left to me
His property and money.
But when the will was read out
it stated plain and flat:
If I should have his money,
I must also wear his hat!

"'Where did you get that hat,
Where did you get that tile?
Isn't it a marvy one, in just the proper style!
I should like to have one, just the same as that!'
Wherever I go,
They shout: 'Hello!
Where did you get that hat?'"

The hostess came back grinning.

'You're never going to believe what's outside...'

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