Friendly Fire
A not-so-quick lunchbreak fic.
A This Time Round: To Die For fiction.

Tegan Jovanka looked up at the scheduling board, and felt her jaw
drop in astonishment. "What the..?"

The board, as always, was divided up by levels of perceived
canonicity. The top level, in blue, represented television and
movies, stories which unquestionably belonged to the universe
they all shared (sadly, it was currently vacant, as it had been
for far too long). The bottom level, in orange, represented
fanfiction, stories which few if any considered canon but which
still had to be scheduled all the same. In between the two
extremes -- from top to bottom -- were yellow (audio dramas, the
newest category, which now had a few entries), green (the
official novels, which were booked solid for quite some time into
the future), violet (sanctioned video spin-offs, a few scattered
here and there) and red (defined as "officially sanctioned but
non-canonical" pieces; this category had recently been used and
had managed to produced about a half-dozen new Round denizens,
most of whom currently sat in one dark corner quietly waiting for
an opportunity to present themselves.) (Except for the Lumley
Doctor and the Pryce Master, who were told quite categorically
that if they were going to be doing THAT in a dark corner, they'd
best go upstairs).

It was the orange area that had sparked Tegan's surprise.
Activity on that part of the board had always been horribly
erratic and notoriously prone to scheduling difficulties. Still,
even in chaos, there were always patterns of some kind that one
could reasonably rely upon. Star Trek crossovers, for instance,
had become a given ever since Paul Gadzikowski had started to
contribute; Jerri Massi was always keeping 3-Doc, Jo, Liz, and
UNIT busy; and Clive May usually had something going, which was
especially good because those somethings usually involved her.

None of this was on her mind, though. She was staring
incredulously at the entries on the board, and at the name that
was appearing with increasing regularity. Disbelieving, she
walked over to the computer beside the board and examined the
display, which currently had Netscape Messenger open and set to a
certain creative-fiction newsgroup. The display merely confirmed
what the board had already told her.

She wandered confusedly to where the Fifth Doctor was reading the
newspaper, specifically the cricket finals for India.

"Doctor," she asked, "what's going on with Adric?"

The Doctor looked up from the paper. "Oh no, what's she done
this time?"

Tegan took a seat beside him. "Oh, not that. I meant the story
board." She indicated the board hanging at the back of the room.
"Why is Adric's name suddenly appearing everywhere on the

"Oh, that." The Doctor went back to reading the newspaper.
"It's the Adric-fans. They're in rebellion."

Tegan's look became even more confused. "The Adric-what?"

"The Adric fans. There are a few of them out there, you know."

"You mean... fans who actually _like_ him?"


She stared at him for a beat. "Doctor... April first was last

He looked back up at her. "Oh, no I'm quite serious. They're
starting to come out of the woodworks now, so to speak. They
appear to be fans who are tired of always seeing Adric getting
blown up or tortured or otherwise abused, and have decided to
rectify matters by writing stories with him in a generally
positive light. Hence..." He indicated the back wall board.

Just to emphasis the point, Zoe chose that moment to step out of
Mel's LAN-room, walk over to the board, and calmly place another
orange card into the appropriate docket slot. Under the
circumstances, Tegan had a sinking feeling she knew whose name
would be on the card.

The very idea sent shivers up and down her spine.

"I don't believe it. 'Adric fans'? That ranks right up there
with neo-luddite websites." She grimaced. "What kind of people
are these losers?"

"Well, certainly not losers. All the ones I've met appear to be
quite sane, well-adjusted individuals. Computer geeks, mostly.
Also, a fair number of gamers." The Doctor shrugged and suddenly
looked thoughtful. "I'm not certain what the connection there
is, but I've a feeling there must be one." His attention went
back to the newspaper. "Mind you, they also seem to have one
other thing in common. Body language."

"What, they're all awkward and clumsy?"

"No, they all seem to be a little... twitchy, jumpy, almost like
they expect to be attacked at any moment."

"Well, that's certainly appropriate..."

A sudden explosion in the distance, then the rapid staccato sound
of automatic weapons fire. Something whooshed over head, and was
heard to impact nearby. The pub shook.

"What was that?" Tegan exclaimed.

The Doctor didn't even look up. "What time is it, Tegan?" he

"Um, about ten-to-four."

"Well, then I believe that would be Adric."

Tegan looked out the front window of the establishment. Sure
enough, she could see the yellow-and-green clad Alzarian running
towards the pub, his friend Wes a few steps behind in his
Starfleet red uniform. Just behind _them_, though, were two
others she couldn't identify; they were dressed in fatigues, and
were busy standing and firing off their weapons to give the other
two cover while dashing for presumed safety.

Tegan had a good idea who it was they were firing at, a suspicion
confirmed by the brief glimpse she had of a white-and-blue
metallic figure about the size and shape of a certain Trakenite.
The figure fired several rounds toward the group from a gun
loaded in the mechanized arm, then dashed sideways under

"Who the hell are those people?" Tegan asked, pointing at the
spectacle outside.

The Doctor glanced at them briefly, then returned to the box
scores. "Oh, that would be the ADF, I should think."

Tegan looked at him, utterly confused. "The Australian Defence

"Uh, no. The _Adric_ Defense Force."

"The WHAT?!?"

"It's the militant wing of the Adric fans. A small number of
fans who have decided to thumb their nose at the rest of fandom
and take up arms in Adric's defense. Remember that hardcore wave
of Peri supporters awhile ago? Well, imagine the same fanaticism
but armed with machine guns, and you should get the idea."

Tegan felt her jaw slacken. "And I thought the PMEB were a bunch
of loonies..."


The door swung open with a loud crack, and two young men charged
into the pub. They immediately turned one table on its side and
ducked behind it. Seconds later, two fatigue-clad individuals
followed, falling back onto the doorway and still firing at the
mech-clad figure. Then one of the fatigued people -- a thin,
blonde-haired woman of about medium height -- threw a duffle-bag
from her shoulder to the floor and immediately began rummaging
through it.

A familiar female voice sounded from outside, crackled and
distorted as if by a mic in bad need of replacement. "Oh,
Aaaadric! Come out, come out! Come on, don't be afraid! I
promise I'll make it quick!"

The other fatigue-clad individual -- tall, with a pony tail and
about three days worth of unshaven face -- peered around the
corner, then let loose a volley from his Mac-10. A stream of
empty shells flew from the weapon. "Beat it, lady! He ain't
play'in today!" He turned to the woman. "Di! Give me some more
ammo, quick!"

The woman called Di tossed her friend two clips from the duffle
bag. Then she fished out two baseball-sized objects, pulled the
pins from their caps, and tossed them out the door.

There was a muffled pair of explosions, followed by what sounded
like a choice curse word or two -- which everyone quickly decided
must have been misheard, because the very idea that the person in
question was capable of swearing was ludicrous in of itself.

"You don't have to do this, you know!" Adric yelled from behind
the upturned table and at the fatigue-clad pair. Rounds
ricocheted all around as the Trakenite outside returned fire, and
one edge of the table disappeared in a shower of splintered
toothpicks. "We're in the 'Round! She's not suppose to be
killing me any more when I'm on duty!"

"What time is it, kid?" The fatigued man yelled.

"Uh, 3:53..."

"You get on duty in seven minutes. Until then, you're still fair

Adric and Wes exchanged looks. "This is all your fault, you
know." Adric grumbled. "We could have avoided her all together.
But no, you just had to go set up some way for me and her to
'randomly' meet..."

Wes shrugged. "Hey, how was I to know these idiots would show
up?" A few more rounds blasted the table. "We're only trying to
help, Adric..."

"Yeah, well why don't you go ask her, then?"

"Because she isn't my type..."

More gunfire. A mirror behind the bar shattered, and several
glasses exploded in a shower of shards. From behind the bar,
Harry Sullivan merely looked up from his medical journal, picked
up a broom, and started to sweep up the mess, unconcernedly
whistling some anonymous tune.

"Dear gods," Adric groaned. "I've brought a firefight to the
'Round. Tyler is going to KILL me!"

"Adric, come on!" pleaded a sweet-sounding, pouting voice. "This
is so unfair! You can't enlist others to fight for you!"

The blonde-haired woman let loose a defiant volley. "All's fair
in love and war, sister!"

Adric winced and pounded his head against the upturned table's
underside. "I really wish she hadn't said that..."

The woman turned to the man. "Doug, where the hell did she get a

"Don't know, stole it maybe." He replaced the clip. "I think
I'm going to have a long talk with Priss when this is all

"Adric, listen to me!" the voice from outside demanded,
insistently. "If you do not come out here right this very
moment, I'm afraid I shall be very cross with you!"

Adric sighed. He had a sneaking suspicion he knew what _that_
meant: company on the other side. "Oh, bollocks." he murmured,
not relishing the thought of trying to explain to them all the
intricacies of postmortem civil (mis)management. On the other
hand, there were quite a number of people in the 'Round it would
be a pleasure to see on the receiving end for a change...

_No, no... I can't wish that on anyone, no matter how much they
deserved it._

He stood up. "Look, she's right... I'm the one she wants, and
it isn't worth it for all of you to risk..."

The man called Doug shook his head. "Nonsense! It's not just
you that's at stake, it's the principal of it all!" The man's
eyes started to take a peculiar glaze. "We can't give in to
them, not once! Not once, I tell ya! We have to keep up the
good fight..."

The woman patted him firmly on the back. "Easy, Doug... easy...
this isn't RADW..."

"Sorry, Di... It was just a flashback."

"Look," Adric said carefully, walking slowly and keeping a wary
eye on his two erstwhile fans, "why don't you all just calm down
and let me go outside and calmly accept my fate..."

Suddenly, the front window to the 'Round shattered, and several
of the denizens scrambled to avoid the flying debris (were they
not already underneath some other available piece of cover)
(Interestingly enough, the safest place in the pub turned out to
be the very same dark corner where the Atkinson Doctor and the
other newbies all sat, most of whom were wondering just what
sort of a mad house it was they'd signed up for).

"All right, Adric!" shouted the voice from outside, sounding
rather peeved. "I was willing to be reasonable, I was willing to
be compassionate, I was willing to let you off with a short,
painless shot to the head. But you're making it difficult, so
now I'm just going to have to make it long and painful..."

Adric felt selfless sacrifice suddenly give way to selfish
practicality. "On second thought... five minutes isn't too long
to wait." He dove back to the cover he had just left.

The one called Doug fished a Palm Pilot and a cellular phone from
one of his voluminous knee pockets. "Diane, cover me!"

The woman looked at him questioningly. "What are you doing?"

"Calling for back-up." He glanced at an entry on the Palm Pilot,
then quickly dialed a phone number. "Ryoko's been itching for
some attitude re-adjustment since Christmas." he explained,
"Now's the perfect opportunity."

The white-and-blue metallic shape made a quick run toward the
door, but was dissuaded from getting any closer by the sudden
appearance of a pair of thermal detonators fished out of the
duffle bag. The figure applied thrusters and jumped upwards.

"Hello, Sasami? It's me, Doug. Yeah, I'm fine. Megan's doing
wonderful... listen, I'm in a bit of a rush. Can I talk to Ryoko
for a moment?" There was a moment's silence. "Hello, Ryoko?
It's me, Doug. Listen up, girl! Red alert! Psycho Bitch has
got us pinned down at the 'Round. Yeah, yeah... Adric is with
us... yeah, he's still alive. Ok, how long? Great! See ya'
then!" The man pressed a button on the cellular phone to kill
the connection, then shouted to the other one. "Diane!
Arclight! Two minutes!"

On the other side of the room, the Brigadier's eye's bulged at
the mention of the words "arclight" and "two minutes". With
uncanny calmness, he inquired as to the state of the pub's
bombshelters, then made a general opinion that now was probably a
good time to use them.

The room was well on its way to being emptied when a new noise
was heard. It sounded much like the hum a starship would make
under power, but was permeated with an odd, cat-like mew.
Outside, the blue-and-white female-shaped mech was busy
exchanging fire with the other two. She was too pre-occupied
with them to notice the interloper; her first inkling that
something was amiss was when the immense shadow crossed over her.

The two gung-ho fans dove for cover when they saw the ship,
issuing competing cries of "Incoming!" and "Cover!" to those that

There was a flash of light, and a terrible crescendo which
blotted out everything. The pub shook violently; any and all
pieces of unsecured glassware became that many more pieces of
sharp debris, and the Fifth Doctor turned the page of his
newspaper to read about how well the Indian National Team was
expected to do against Team New Zealand.

Silence, sudden and ominous. The stench of burnt something
permeated the air.

Then, the clock on the mantlepiece rang four times.

Adric and Wes pushed the remains of the table off of them, and
looked around. Several of the others (who hadn't made it to the
shelters) likewise did the same. They all stood, and looked
around at the carnage that used to be a pub. Curiously, the only
area that didn't seem affected was the table the Fifth Doctor was
sitting at, which still looked as polished and undamaged as it
had been moments before. Even the cup of tea still sat
undisturbed, steaming away.

Harry walked up to Adric, still whistling that nameless, annoying
tune. Wordlessly, he handed the Alzarian the broom.

Diane and Doug looked through the door. Outside could be seen a
huge, smoldering crater where the parking lot used to be. They
were exchanging victorious high-fives when Adric came up to peer
outside of the doorway.

"Uh, you didn't, I mean, is she...?" he asked hesitantly.

Doug nodded. "Relax, kid. Don't worry, we won!"

Adric was about to mumble a clarification, to the effect that
that wasn't what he had meant, when a mechanically-gloved hand
appeared at the lip of the crater, followed immediately by
another. Then a head appeared, its face blackened with soot and
its hair a disheveled brown mess. After a few seconds the figure
pulled the rest of herself out and onto her feet, then stood.
Parts of the hardsuit were dangling; and some pieces fell to the
ground. Whispy tendrils of smoke rose, and at least one panel
was open and exposed wiring was sparking.

She took a few heavy, slow steps toward the This Time Round.

She gave them The Look when she entered, so everyone decided it
was probably a good idea to just let her pass.

She stopped in front of Adric, who for some reason appeared to be
the only one immune. She did not look at him. "Eight hours."
she snarled. "You have eight hours to write your will."

"I'll make sure you're mentioned in it." Adric quipped, without
missing a beat.

The Trakenite limped away without a further word.

Almost as soon as she was gone another figure entered. She had
light aqua-colored hair and wore a body suit so tight that it
gave Chris Cwej a nosebleed. Behind her, a small, brown furry
creature with big, floppy ears and a cat's meow hopped merrily in
tow. "My, this place looks as much a dump as I thought it would
be." Ryoko opined.

"You should see it after Competition Night." Wes responded,
dusting himself off.

A part of the ceiling chose that moment to cave in next to the
group. Ryoko watched it for a moment, just to make sure it was
not going to come down on her, then turned to Adric. "So, did
you ask her?" she asked, nonchalantly, with another mischievous

Adric rolled his eyes. "No, and I'm not going to, so would you
please quit asking."

"Uh huh. Sure you aren't."

There was a loud rapping from the bar, and Adric turned to its
source. They were already lining up, impatiently waiting for the
opportunity to drown their most recent experiences. And it was
now his shift. And they were always more nasty to him when they
got drunk. And there was a helluva mess to be cleaned up. And
there was who knows what fate awaiting him at shifts end.

Adric sighed, and wondered if this really was hell after all.

"It can't possibly get any worse than this." he mumbled.

So he turned to step toward the bar, not looking where he placed
his foot. A few spent shells just happened to be resting where
his foot landed. As soon as he applied weight, the shells rolled
and shifted his stance.

His leg went flying up. Correspondingly, he went falling back.

His head intersected the lower end of the upturned table, which
decided to return the compliment by falling upon him. This was
particularly bad, because the sudden jolt was just enough to snap
his neck forward.

As the table fell, it jostled the arm of the man called Doug, who
had been standing against it. The arm just happened to be
holding the man's Mac-10. Doug was too surprised to keep a hold
of it.

The gun fell to the floor, and went off. Still set on full
automatic, still with about half a clip left in the magazine.
The gun emptied itself into the logical target.

Then the ceiling collapsed. With lots of concrete and brick. At
only one place. On only one person.

When the dust cleared, they all stood looking at the pile of
rubble that had quite suddenly become a grave.

Then the silence was finally broken by Doug.



The spectral Adric was burying his spectral head into his
spectral hands.

"CHEER UP." a nearby voice told him. "THEY'RE ONLY TRYING TO

"That's what I'm afraid of." he muttered. "I'm beginning to
think things were actually safer when I didn't have any

Death punched his card. Again.


1) The hardsuit used here is a wimpier version of the kind used
by the Knight Sabers in "Bubblegum Crises". Priss is a character
from this series.

2) The ADF does not, repeat, does not really exist and is a
complete figment of the author's imagination. Really. Any
similarity between it's members and any supposedly real person
living or dead is entirely coincidental. Also, there is no truth
to the rumor that it receives funding from a certain U.S.
Government Agency. This is absolutely, repeat, absolutely false.
No Such Agency would ever provide funding for such a laughable
reason, would they?!

Doctor Who characters and situations copyright the British
Broadcasting Corporation; This Time Round created and nominally
owned by Tyler Dion; Wesley Crusher (ST:TNG) copyright the evil
Paramount empire; Space Pirate Ryoko (Tenchi Muyo) copyright
Pioneer Entertainment.

Original story copyright 1999 by Douglas B. Killings, all rights
reserved. My wife says I should be saying this in all my works.
Well, she's the lawyer.

This is a work of fanfiction. No attempt has been made to
infringe upon copyrights already held by the previous copyright
holders. This work was written for the fun of it, and no money
has ever changed hands and nor is it ever likely to change hands
because of it.

As always, comments and criticisms are appreciated. You may
email me at the following address: