TO DIE FOR: THE KNIGHTS WHO SAY "NYSSA"
High on a wooded and badly cratered hill overlooking This Time
Round, something sinister was going on.
The man swung the muzzle of his rifle in slow, short arcs, tracking
back and forth across the pub's entrance. Catching a blur of move-
ment, he set his scope on something fast-moving and yellowish.
Just a cat.
The man set down the big Remington .30-06 with a sigh, and lit up
a cigarette. The afternoon sun warmed his bare arms as he stretch-
ed and popped his back. Overhead, a single stray cloud wandered
past. He looked at it thoughtfully for a moment, then took up the
rifle, ejected the chambered round, and slung it over his shoulder.
It was just too nice a day for religiously-motivated assassination.
"All present and accounted for!"
"Excccellent," hissed the young man in the tie-dyed shirt. He liked
saying that word, and saying it _that_ way. It reminded him of the
Cyberleader, which was mondo cool. The Cyberleader _rocked_!
Not like those rip-off Borg...
"Excccccellennnt," he hissed again, because he'd liked it so much
the first time.
One of his companions, a chubby teenager with a fifty-cent haircut,
burst into applause. "Way cool, Darren! You sounded just like the
Cyberleader in 'The Five Doctors'!"
"Actually," Darren sniffed, "I was doing the Cyberleader in 'Rev-
enge of the Cybermen'."
"Yeah, David," snickered a third man, tall and thin to the point of
emaciation. "Any newbie could tell the difference. Maybe you should
stick to 'Babylon 5.'"
David's pudgy face reddened. "Trekkie!" he spat.
The tall man leaned in until his face was mere inches from David's.
"Care to repeat that?" he snarled.
David gave not a bit. "I said that you're a Shatner-worshipping,
DS-9-watching, Seven-of-Nine-lusting _Trekkie_!"
"Well... Your Mother watches 'Voyager'!"
"David! Tyson! That's enough!" Darren stepped between the two,
then smiled coldly at each. "Save it for the heathens."
"Stay _down_, Adric!" The fatigue-clad man pushed him behind
the bar and drew a pair of 9mm automatics as he dove after the
Alzarian. "Diane!" he yelled. "Try to work around for a flank shot!"
"Here she comes!" called Diane as she cocked her M-16. "Stand
The patrons began slipping underneath tables or towards the pub's
cellar. Generally, Nyssa was a crack marksman who seldom hit any-
thing other than her target. It was the 'Adric Defense Force' that
had a tendency to get a little over-enthusiastic with their firearms.
Whistling a happy song, Harry went off to get his broom and dust-
pan, suspecting that they would be needed soon.
"What's she got this time?" Doug called. "Another hardsuit? A
chain gun? A tac-nuke?"
"No, it looks like... a towel?"
"Huh?" said Doug and Adric together.
The man with the cigarette slipped the rifle into the bed of his pick-
up and prepared to leave. It was _way_ too nice a day for gunfire,
and he was getting thirsty, besides. That was it. A little drink, a
little recreation, a little break from the routine of being a sinister
nameless figure who shot people occasionally.
Something nagged at the back of his mind, something that could
spoil everything. _Them_. It would be just like _them_ to show
up and ruin a relaxing evening. But they couldn't, could they? They
were all the way over in America, and there was no way they could
get here anytime soon. Could they? Of course not. There was an
ocean between them and this place. Still, _he_ managed to get here
from America. They might, as well. Except that they were idiots.
Right, they were idiots, and would _never_ find this place.
"So, Darren, how do we find this place?"
Darren grinned and continued draping the 20-foot scarf around his
neck. "Tell 'em, Tyson."
Tyson fished around in a pocket of his frock coat and came out with
what looked like a garage-door remote control. He held it up proud-
"This little device," he said, "creates an opening in the Panreality
Logarithmic Oscillation Template that we can navigate to any point
in the Universe." He shrugged. "I got the idea from a 'MacGyver'
"Ah," said Eric as he stroked his beard. "We're using a PLOT de-
vice to go through a PLOT hole. Cool."
David nodded. "That's from 'MacGyver', all right."
"Umm, excuse me, but why is everyone hiding behind the furniture?"
Nyssa asked from the doorway.
Adric peeked cautiously over the top of the bar. It was only 3:15,
so he was fair game for another 45 minutes. If he got killed now,
he'd miss the first hour of his shift while he reconstituted.
Nyssa peered curiously at the cowering patrons, and didn't see Diane
sneak around behind her. The fatigue-clad woman jabbed her with
the rifle muzzle and ordered, "Hands up! Now!"
Nyssa complied as Doug leapt over the bar and rushed over. He
snatched the towel out of her hand and retreated out of her reach.
"Now," he snarled, "let's see what kind of little 'present' you
brought, shall we?" He unrolled the towel with a flourish, reveal-
"Neat!" said Zoe. "A Marvin Martian beach towel. I've been look-
ing for one for _ages_."
"I got that one at Wal-mart," Nyssa replied pleasantly. "They've got
Yosemite Sam, too."
Adric came out of hiding as Di kept Nyssa covered. Together, he
and Doug checked the towel for hidden pockets or devices. But
there were none to be found. The towel was just a towel.
"Maybe she meant to strangle me with it?" Adric asked doubtfully.
"We'd better search her..." said Doug, then stopped. For the first
time, he and Adric noticed what Nyssa had on.
The Trakenite was wearing a man's chambray workshirt, with only
a couple of buttons fastened, and apparently not much else. Her
shapely legs were quite bare as far as the eye could see, which was
pretty far, and her raised hands caused the shirt to gape in places,
showing her bellybutton.
"Yeah. Definitely gotta search her..." Doug's eyes glazed slightly
and a bit of drool hung on his chin. "Thoroughly... no telling what
she's hiding... or where..."
"Hey!" Adric smacked him on the arm. "Snap out of it, already!"
"Oh, sorry," said Doug, still not looking at him. "You want to do
the search yourself?"
Adric's neurons began to burn out as the idea worked its way
through his brain. His sense of decency warred with his hormones
at the thought of frisking the half-dressed girl. The hormones were
winning, until his sense of decency brought up the fact that Nyssa
would likely seek a _very_ nasty revenge if he groped her.
"No," he sighed, "that wouldn't be right. I guess Di could do it..."
"Oh, for Keeper's sake!" Nyssa said, rolling her eyes. "Here! I'll
do it myself."
She swiftly unfastened the buttons and opened the shirt wide.
Underneath, she wore a skimpy, white, two-piece bathing suit. She
turned slowly around, with every male eye in the place locked onto
her. There was a thud as Jamie passed out, his nose trickling blood,
and another as Tegan gave the rapt Turlough a piece of her mind in
the form of a piece of her fist.
Nyssa completed the turn and stood once again facing Adric, shirt
still held open. "You can see for yourselves that I am quite unarm-
ed," she said. "Does that... satisfy you?"
Every male head nodded.
"Last check before we leave," said Darren. "Knights, sound off!"
"One," muttered Tyson.
"Two," Eric rumbled.
"Three, sir!" piped up David.
"Excccellent. Eric, are the weapons systems operational?"
"You bet!" Eric called, proudly gesturing at the weapons cache: two
baseball bats, a bamboo sword, and a croquet mallet.
"David, is the TAURDUS operational?"
"Fueled and ready to go, sir!" The TAURDUS was, in fact a crump-
led-looking Ford Taurus with a paste-on letter 'D' stuck in its emb-
lem, that sat idling at the curb. The long-expired Ohio tag bore the
letters, 'NYSSA-1', while the whole rear end was festooned with
bumperstickers in various stages of unreadability. Prominent am-
ong them was one that said, 'MY OTHER CAR IS A TARDIS'.
"Tyson, is the PLOT device operational?"
"Ready for action," called Tyson, brandishing the instrument.
"Everyone in uniform?"
The three proudly stuck out their chests, displaying rather cheaply-
made T-shirts that bore the picture of a pretty girl with curly brown
hair. Beneath the picture, each had the words, 'Alien With An Att-
itude!' crookedly printed.
"Very well, then." Darren gave them all a last looking-over. "Let's
go kick some heathen butt!"
"I give up, Nyssa. What's the plan?"
Nyssa blinked up at him. "What 'plan'?"
"That," said Adric, "is what I'm asking."
"Well, right now my plan is to get something to drink." She looked
over at the bar and called , "Harry! A banana daiquiri, please!"
Adric arched an eyebrow. "No Adric's Demise?"
"I've been sunbathing, and a banana daiquiri would do very nicely
to cool me off," she explained.
Nyssa propped her chin cutely on her fist and stared up at him pens-
ively. "What, are you disappointed or something?"
"Why would I be disappointed?!?" he spat.
"That," said Nyssa, "is what _I'm_ asking."
Adric shook his head. "All I want to know is what you're up to. No
weapons. No murder attempt. No Adric's Demise. Not even a death
threat. You've got _something_ planned, that's for sure."
Harry brought her drink, and she sipped demurely at it while Adric
began to fidget a little. When she looked back up at him, her eyes
sparkled with a sort of dangerous playfulness. It wasn't the infam-
ous Look, but it was unsettling all the same.
"Maybe you're right, Swamprat," she said at last. "Maybe this is
part of a plot to get you off your guard so I can eliminate you later
in a singularly painful and surprising fashion involving a hay baler,
a keg of nails, some kerosene, and this straw." She pointed at him
with the straw from her drink. "Or maybe I'm just taking a little
break today. Maybe my life doesn't revolve around you the way
you seem to think." She toyed with the straw idly. "Maybe I'm
bored with hunting you down and sending you into the arms of
oblivion. Maybe it's all gotten rather old. Maybe I've even given
up on you. Maybe you're safe, now. Or maybe not--"
Her movement was a blur, and there was no avoiding the thrust.
Adric staggered back in surprise and shock, while Doug and Di
surged to their feet, weapons drawn.
Adric looked down at his chest. The thrust had gone unerringly
for his heart, and Nyssa still held the straw there where it had
crumpled on striking his ribcage. He blinked at her curiously as
she tossed the straw aside.
"Maybe you'll just have to wait and find out which it is," she said
mischievously. She called for another straw while Adric, more
puzzled than ever, returned to Doug and Di's table.
"This sucks, man!" Eric blurted. "How can there be so little room
inside such a big car?"
"Easy," said Tyson from the shotgun seat. "The TAURDUS is
"So... what's that mean?"
"It means that it's smaller on the inside than its outward size would
tend to imply," responded Tyson knowingly. "Of course," he added,
"it would probably help if we threw out some of these fast-food box-
es, and beer cans, and magazines, and stuff."
"No time!" Darren shouted. "Tyson! Ready the PLOT device!"
Tyson shrugged and pointed the little device out the window.
"You don't have to yell, you know. I'm right here."
Tyson pressed the button, and a swirling vortex appeared in the
middle of Red Plum Road. "Activated," he said unnecessarily.
"Into the PLOT hole!"
"Aye aye, sir!" David called. He punched the accelerator, and the
TAURDUS rattled forward into the luminous whirlpool.
A small boy on a bicycle watched the vortex close up behind them
and vanish with a pop.
"'Sliders' rip-off," he mumbled as he pedaled away.
Harry Sullivan walked over to where one of the semi-regulars, that
odd-looking white Dalek, had trundled into one of the corner booths
that had been set up to accomodate Dalek travel machines by hav-
ing the seats removed. As a general rule, Harry found Daleks diffi-
cult to get along with, but this one had always behaved reasonably
well. He never said much, but just watched the goings-on without
getting involved and drank an impressive amount of Dos Equis
Amber. He tipped well, too, although Harry never saw where the
money came from or, for that matter, where the lager went.
Harry set the Dos Equis on the table and smiled happily. "Haven't
seen you around for a bit, Old Chap. Taking a break today?"
The eyestalk swivelled up to him and bobbed up and down in affir-
mation. "Just a short day off," said the Dalek in a low and strange-
ly pleasant voice that reminded Harry of that actor bloke, James
Earl Jones. "Everyone needs a break from murder and mayhem ev-
ery now and then. Don't you agree?"
"Absolutely. Maiming and butchery get rather tedious after a while,"
Harry said without a trace of sarcasm. "You're not the only one who
feels that way today, either."
"Indeed. I hear that Miss Nyssa is taking a day off from her Adric-
slaying today, as well. Must be the warm weather."
"Indeed?" replied the Dalek. "How very... interesting."
Harry stepped away to take care of the other customers, while the
white Dalek turned his eyestalk thoughtfully toward the Trakenite.
"How very, very interesting."
"Maybe I've even given up on you."
The words echoed back and forth in Adric's mind, triggering a var-
iety of confused responses.
His Intellect got hold of the idea first, examined it, and said it was
a good thing, if true. It passed the concept on to Hope, with a note
saying to consider it for possible use.
Intellect was therefore shocked when Hope sent the idea back, say-
ing that it wanted Emotion to have a look at it first. Intellect grum-
bled a bit about this, saying that Emotion's judgement was unreli-
able, but sent it along when Hope insisted.
Emotion checked the concept from all angles. It seemed something
to feel good about, no more pain and death and looking over his
"Maybe I've even given up on you."
That somehow seemed so... final. And finality was not usually a
good thing. Emotion decided to consult Intuition, just for good
Intuition pondered the statement for a moment, before giving an
advisory opinion that it was not something to feel good about. In-
tuition was unable to say why this should be so, beyond the vague
statement that it was 'just a hunch'.
Emotion was unable to reach a conclusive answer, so therefore sent
back the idea with a recommendation to feel neither good nor bad
about it until further developments. Intellect was not pleased by
this, and enlisted Self-Preservation to argue the merits of the idea to
Hope listened attentively and conceded that Self-Preservation had
made many valid points and was obviously very committed to its job.
However, Hope said, it had been given a firm directive by the Sub-
conscious to avoid using the idea that Nyssa was giving up. No ex-
planation. No details. Hope was sorry, but there was no point in
This news was duly spread throughout Adric's mind, causing Intell-
ect and Self-Preservation to wail together at the stupidity of the Sub-
conscious, while Emotion got into a confused dither, and Intuition
merely nodded sagely as if to say, 'Told ya so!'
Intellect and Self-Preservation eventually decided to blame the
whole thing on Libido, which had been sulking ever since losing
the argument over searching Nyssa. They would get even, they
"Got any aspirin, Doug?" asked Adric. "I've just got the _worst_
In the parking lot outside the pub, a battered Ford Taurus limped
its way among the various Police Boxes, spaceships, and a hand-
ful of actual cars.
"Whoa! Monster pothole, dudes!" David exclaimed as he twisted
the wheel to avoid the huge crater. "Somebody ought to patch that!"
"There," said Tyson. "Park right there by the front."
"That's a handicapped space," David protested.
"Yeah," Tyson replied, "well, show me a car more handicapped than
David glared at Tyson. He took insults to his TAURDUS very per-
sonally. "Well, if they try to ticket us, we can just tell them that
you're retarded. They'll buy that."
"You're both about to buy a head-knocking!" shouted Darren from
the back seat. "Just park! Eric's gonna hurl!"
"I'm _not_ carsick," Eric insisted a little fuzzily.
"You're _green_. You're either carsick or a 'Lost in Space' villain."
"Uuurk," was Eric's only reply.
Inside the pub, things were oddly quiet and oddly tense.
Everyone kept glancing furtively at the clock. It was 3:45. In a few
minutes, Adric would be clocking in, and so would be safe from be-
ing slaughtered for another eight hours. This also meant that, if
Nyssa was waiting to spring some surprise plan, it would have to
The staff were nervous. If something happened to Adric, it would
throw schedules off as someone would have to cover for him until
he reconstituted. Many of them had already made plans for the eve-
ning, and dates would be cancelled and dinners delayed.
The patrons were nervous. If Nyssa waited too long, and got press-
ed for time, she might get sloppy. Or perhaps she was going to use
some area-effect weapon. She _had_ been acting strangely, after all.
But, surely she wouldn't just blow the place up. Would she?
Adric had been nervous up to a few minutes ago, but Intellect and
Emotion had both been overruled by Fatalism, so he'd quit worrying.
'Que sera sera' is a powerful force.
Doug and Diane of the ADF were not nervous. They were sulking
because Adric had made them pledge not to attack Nyssa unless she
attacked him first. The boy was obviously blind to the tactical real-
ities of the situation, but he had been insistent. The two tried to
console themselves with the thought of what they would do _after_
the Cute Cutthroat showed her hand, but the missed opportunity
The white Dalek was not nervous, merely curious. All he had to go
on was Harry's cryptic remark about Nyssa taking a break and the
visible evidence of Nyssa, Adric, and the Adric Defense Force in the
same room without shots being fired. Something was up, but he did
not know what. He just sat and pondered, but every few seconds, his
eyestalk tracked back to the gentle curve of the Traken girl's thigh.
Harry was not nervous. But then, he never was.
"Knights, assume battle formation!"
David, Eric, and Tyson shuffled around to their leader's command,
forming into a sort of skirmish line behind him.
"Yes sir!" the three cried. Tyson set his bat on his shoulder, Eric
drew back his bamboo sword, and David tightened his sweaty grip
on his croquet mallet.
"Exccccellennntt," Darren hissed.
"I _still_ say 'Five Doctors'," whispered David.
"Trekkie," hissed Tyson back to him.
There are odd moments that occur every so often, when people with
little or nothing in common, all thinking different thoughts about dif-
ferent things, all suddenly come up with precisely the same thought
at precisely the same instant. A very strange phenomenon.
Take, for instance, certain occupants of This Time Round at 3:50 PM.
Adric was quietly pondering the futility of resisting whatever fate
Nyssa had in store for him. The question uppermost in his mind
was not, 'Am I going to die?', but, 'How long will this take?'
Nyssa was wondering whether to stop by a video store when she left.
Movie Fortress had just gotten the new 'Faces of Death XXIV' in, but
the Fonda Network was showing Sam Peckinpah movies all night.
Decisions, decisions... All the while, she watched the clock.
The white Dalek alternated grim and Daleky thoughts of massacre
and destruction with decidedly non-grim and non-Daleky thoughts
about what was under Nyssa's baggy shirt as thin tendrils of smoke
wound from under his dome.
The two ADF fighters were considering whether to 'accidentally'
trigger off 20 or 30 rounds in Nyssa's direction, just to pre-empt
whatever she was planning.
Five utterly different people, with five utterly different trains of
thought. And yet, when four strangely-dressed individuals burst
into This Time Round, waving blunt instruments and ranting about
'protecting Her Divine Holiness', all five had precisely the same
thought at precisely the same moment:
Nobody ever said these moments were profound.
Lethal. Intimidating. Stone-cold. Mad, bad, and dangerous. Nat-
ural-born killers. Human wolves. Bad mo'-fo's. Death on two legs.
All of these phrases would be wholly inaccurate if used to describe
the four young men who stood in the middle of This Time Round,
no matter how they brandished their wooden sporting gear in an
effort to terrify. It just didn't quite come off. Perhaps it was the T-
shirts, nasty-looking things with a blurry picture of Nyssa and the
words 'Alien With An Attitude!' printed crookedly underneath.
Perhaps it was the long, long scarf draped fanboyishly around the
leader's neck. Perhaps it was their general air of awkwardness.
Perhaps they just came across as a bunch of twerps.
Okay, no 'perhaps' about it. They quite definitely came across as a
bunch of twerps.
"We have come to smite the unrighteous in the name of our Holy
Mistress, the Goddess Nyssa!" their leader cried, waving his bat so
wildly that he barely missed bashing one of his own men on the
nose. "Beware, heathens, lest the wrath of Her Knights fall upon
you like... like... a large, wrathful thing!" All four then banged their
weapons twice on the floor, then raised them to port arms while
chanting, "N! Y! S-S-A! N! Y! S-S-A!"
Reactions to this scene were mixed, to say the least.
Adric smirked, thinking, "Man! I thought _my_ fans were bad!"
Nyssa hid her face in her arms and began to moan, "Why me?" over
The white Dalek, oddly, merely thought, "I _knew_ it," and began
powering up his weapon.
Diane looked on in disbelief, thinking, "Man! I thought _we_
Doug thumbed the safeties off his pistols, suddenly beginning to
enjoy the day a lot more.
Harry examined the four with a professional eye, then got out a list
of the pub's American beers.
"N! Y! S-S-A! N! Y! S-S-A!"
"Look," called Adric over the din of off-rhythm chanting, "just who
are you lot?"
The leader stopped the chanting with a gesture and forked the two-
fingered sign of the Evil Eye in Adric's direction. "Ah! The Incar-
nation of Evil speaks. Know, Alzarian cur, that I am Darren Ullman,
and these are the loyal and hand-picked Knights who serve Her
Adric fought down the urge to laugh. Or, more accurately, the urge
to roll around in the floor cackling his head off and kicking his feet
until he couldn't move. This was _too_ good. Nyssa was obvious-
ly mortified by the arrival of these apparent fans, with her face bur-
ied in her arms and cursing (rather daintily) under her breath. He
decided to play it up.
"Hand-picked, eh? Hand-picked by who?" he asked, already sus-
pecting the answer.
"By the Goddess Herself, infidel! The Lady Nyssa set Her eye upon
us, and, seeing that we were worthy, bestowed upon us Her blessing
and our illustrious name!" Ullman thrust out his chest, causing the
rather cheap printing on his tie-dyed Nyssa T-shirt to crack. "We
are Wondrous and Adorable Nyssa's Knights-Errant Regiment!"
"Wondrous and Adorable...?" Adric did a bit of mental acronym-
building. "So," he said, "you lot are all WANKERs, then, are you?"
"You've got _that_ right," muttered Nyssa.
"WANKER?" asked Diane.
"WANKER," answered Doug.
Diane blinked several times, then shrugged. "Wow. Talk about
"So, Nyssa," Adric said from the vicinity of her left elbow, "these
are the guys you 'bestowed your blessings' on? Oh, Nyssa! And
here we thought you were so _chaste_!"
"Shut up, Swamprat," the embarrassed Trakenite growled. "What
do _you_ care, anyway?"
"So you're saying you _did_--"
"No, I didn't! I went to a Convention in Cleveland to see what my
fans were like, and I ran into this lot. I talked to them for a minute,
then left when they tried to get me to do the strip scene from 'Ter-
minus'." She glared at the foursome, who were currently in a shout-
ing match with Tegan. Something about 'thou shalt not hog all the
good scenes', or something. "I didn't 'set my eye upon' them. I
didn't 'bestow any blessings', either, you pervert." She turned the
glare back to Adric. "The only thing that's true is that I gave them
"Yes. I said, 'Get away from me, you bunch of wankers!' How was
I to know they'd _like_ it? And you can _stop_ smirking!"
"At once, Your Holiness." Adric mock-bowed.
Nyssa began to rub at her temples. "Why me?" she groaned.
"You know, it's extremist types like them that give us regular 'Doc-
tor Who' fans a bad name," Doug said as he put on his 'Adric Def-
ense Force' cap and hefted his pistols.
"Yeah," Diane agreed with a sigh. "Too bad Adric made us swear
not to attack anyone first..."
"He did no such thing," Doug said firmly.
"What he made us promise was, not to attack _Nyssa_ first."
Diane's eyes lit with sudden understanding, and she reached for her
M-16. "Cool. I didn't want to carry all this ammo back to the apart-
The white Dalek was the first to notice the two ADF fighters mov-
ing into position with weapons drawn.
"I could intervene," he thought. "I could stop this right now with a
couple of shots. Do I want to?" He tracked the movement of the
female, gunsight centered on her chest. "I could kill or stun these
two and save the WANKERs' sorry butts. But, do I have the right?"
He glanced over at the four WANKERs who, oblivious to their per-
il, were once again chanting 'N! Y! S-S-A!' with enthusiasm but no
"Nope," he thought. "Natural selection. Mother Nature's harsh
but fair culling of the weak and stupid to improve the gene pool.
Sorry, guys. Darwinism's a bitch, ain't it?" He powered down his
weapon and began to look about for some pretzels.
"Look around you, David, and witness the righteous terror that we
have spread amongst these heathens!"
"Actually, sir, it looks like they're all laughing..."
Darren cast his subordinate WANKER an irritated glance. "Yes.
Obviously, their abject fear has become total hysteria, wouldn't you
David saw the way his leader was thumping the bat in his hand and
choked back his initial response, saying instead, "If you say so..."
"Excuse me? Gentlemen?"
The foursome turned to find Harry confronting them, a slightly re-
gretful smile on his face. "I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to advise
you chaps to leave. It seems there's been a breach of the House
Tyson stepped smoothly in. "Uh-uh. We checked, and the entry
requirements only cover crossover characters, _not_ fans. We have
every right to be here."
Harry's smile wavered not a bit. "You are absolutely correct, Old
Chap. However, I was referring to a different rule."
"Which one?" asked Darren suspiciously.
"Why, the one that goes: 'Never bring bludgeons to a gunfight.'"
Harry directed the WANKERs' attention to the two ADF members,
who were advancing slowly toward them, weapons drawn and each
wearing a grin that would not be out of place on a coyote in a hen-
"Oh...," said Tyson.
"Uhh...," said Darren.
"Eek...," said David.
"We're screwed," added Eric.
"Surrender!" Doug called.
"Never!" Darren brazenly replied.
David tapped Darren on the shoulder and whispered, "With all due
respect, sir, are you out of your friggin' _mind_? They'll _kill_ us!"
"They wouldn't dare. Not in front of all these people..."
The bony, black-robed figure of Death walked by, waving. "I'M A
BIT EARLY. JUST CARRY ON, AND I'LL BE WITH YOU IN A
"Aheh heh. Then again..."
"Come on," Diane said reasonably. "We'll give you to the count of
three to give up."
"What do we do, sir?" David whined.
"Die?" answered Darren.
"What about Plan J?" Tyson hissed.
Darren's eyes suddenly took on a fierce glow. "Of course! Plan J,
The four WANKERs all hefted their weapons as menacingly as they
could manage. Darren stepped to their front, while the other three
shook into a skirmish line behind him. "You shall now witness the
true courage of WANKER in this, our final act! Glory to Nyssa and
Her--" He suddenly stared just past Doug's shoulder. "John Nathan-
Turner!?! What are you doing here?"
"Thr-- huh? JNT?" Doug stopped and spun around, pistols ready
to fire. Nor was he the only one. Diane was already tracking her
rifle across the rear of the room, a snarl of savage hate twisting her
face. Adric, Nyssa, indeed practically everyone in the 'Round turned
an ugly glare to the area Darren had indicated. Many were reaching
for weapons. But, of course, it was a trick.
"Hey! Come back here, you!" Doug and Diane charged after the
Futile Foursome, who were fleeing through the front door with sur-
Adric listened to the sounds of gunfire and squealing tires that came
from outside, and shook his head. At least it was someone else on
the receiving end for a change. That made it something of a rarity,
and thus a moment worth being savored.
Through the cacaphony of the one-sided battle being waged out
front, he dimly heard the pub's Grandfather clock strike. So caught
up in the gunfight was he, that he failed to catch the significance of
this until Harry thrust an apron into his hand.
Four o'clock. Safety at last.
He grinned lopsidedly at Nyssa. "Ironic, isn't it?"
She blinked owlishly at him for a moment. "What's that?"
"You know. Your plans being disrupted by your own fans. That
must really be a downer for you." He had expected to gloat a bit
while Nyssa gnashed her teeth and made dire threats, but it didn't
seem that Nyssa was going to play her part. She still regarded him
with that air of dangerous mischief that had so discomfited him ear-
"And what plans of mine were these?"
"Oh, you know. The hay baler. The nails. The kerosene."
She just kept smiling playfully at him.
"Oh, come off it, Nyssa! I saw you watching the clock!"
"So you were waiting to spring some surprise deathtrap on me at
the last second, but those idiot WANKERs showed up and threw
everything off." Adric had been certain of this a few moments ago.
It completely fit Nyssa's modus operandi, and would explain why
he'd been so long in her presence without joining (temporarily, of
course) the Choir Invisible. But now, confronting her with it, with
her looking at him as if he were a lab mouse that was getting tragi-
comically lost in a maze, uncertainty and confusion began to assail
him. Dammit, just what _was_ going on behind those twinkling
"Maybe!?! What else _could_ it be?"
Nyssa chuckled softly as she stood up and stretched. This act made
the baggy shirt tighten a bit in front, which, in turn, caused Adric's
eyes to bug out a bit in front. Her stretch also had the unfortunate
effect of raising the shirt in back. This was unfortunate because it
gave Turlough a very nice view of the Trakenite's bikini-clad bot-
tom, a view he wasted no time in appreciating. The misfortune arose
from the fact that Tegan caught him staring, and was soon using
her heel to explain to the arch of his foot the error of his ways, in
hopes that the concept would spread to the rest of him via his pain
"You seem to have a very high opinion of your place in my life,
Swamprat," Nyssa said as she began to head for the door. "Maybe
I was watching the clock because 'The Wild Bunch' comes on in a
half-hour, and I don't want to miss the bank robbery at the begin-
ning. That's the best part, you know."
Nyssa paused at the door and looked back at him. "By the way,"
she said, "tell your pet fanboy I'd like my towel back sometime
Adric stared at her for a moment. Standing in the open doorway,
with the afternoon sun turning her hair into a halo, bare legs and
feet beneath the loose shirt, and a mischievous gleam in her eye,
she had never looked more beautiful and alluring to him. Such a
change from his recent views of her glaring, half-mad, down the
barrel of some weapon or other. It took him a moment to remem-
ber what he wanted to ask her.
"Have you... I mean, did you... are you, you know, really... giving
up on me?"
"Maybe," she said. "Maybe not. Maybe you'll find out tomorrow."
With that, she skipped lightly out the door, laughing. "And don't
forget my towel!"
"Well," the white Dalek thought, "I can't say it hasn't been surreal."
A small hatch opened on his casing and enough money to cover his
seven lagers and a healthy tip for Harry was spat onto the table. He
then left in a hurry, with things to ponder and people to see...
"Man, we got _creamed_ back there!" Eric repeated for the third
time. "We were so outmatched!"
"How was I to know they'd have guns?" Darren demanded.
"This _was_ your idea, Fearless Leader," Tyson said. "Just how
much _did_ you know about what to expect?"
"Ah, well, you see, it's kinda like--"
"Hey, guys," David interrupted. "Looks like trouble up ahead."
"What's up?" Darren craned his neck to see.
"A pickup parked across the road, and a guy sitting in it."
"Can we go around?"
"No. He's got the whole road blocked."
"Oh, Hell. What about the PLOT device?"
Tyson held up the remote-control-looking device, which now look-
ed like a remote control with a bullet hole through it. "Smashed,"
he said simply.
"Crap. Crap crap crap. Okay, let's just try and bluff our way
The TAURDUS wheezed to a halt, and a bullet-weakened piece of
the back bumper fell off. The four got out and approached the truck
nervously. A man sat in the open doorway, expressionless behind a
pair of mirrored sunglasses. He was not a physically imposing fig-
ure, being shorter than the four WANKERs, but more muscular. He
was smoking a cigarette, and wore a large revolver in a shoulder-
holster over a sleeveless 'Allman Brothers' T-shirt, black jeans, and
"Excuse me, Mister," Darren began. "Is there--"
"That was quite a show y'all put on back there," the stranger said.
His voice was low and slow, with a soft Deep-South accent.
"Er, thanks. That--"
"--wasn't a compliment, Darren," the stranger finished.
"You know my name?" Darren's rather slim wits began to crumble.
"No, I've got a jackass named Darren and saw the resemblance," the
man answered sarcastically. "Yes, I know you, and you know me,
too." He paused, then added, "Shit-for-brains."
"I know that insult..."
"You ought to. I've been calling you that for four years, now."
"Number One?" Darren asked apprehensively.
The stranger flicked away his cigarette and began to applaud. "Very
good! Now, do you want to keep your winnings, or try the $64,000
"Never mind," said Number One. "The important thing is that y'all
are here, and that y'all survived that fiasco in the 'Round."
"How did you know...?"
"I can find out anything I have a mind to find out. Remember that,
David examined Number One curiously. "Who is this guy?" he ask-
"He's one of the Brethren of Nyssa, is all I know. He calls himself
"'Number One', eh?" David smirked at the man in question. "How's
Doctor Crusher, then?"
Fast as summer lightning, Number One yanked the revolver from
beneath his armpit and thrust it into David's face. "Make a 'Star
Trek' joke again, asshole!" he screamed. "Come on! I dare you!"
David handled the situation manfully by closing his eyes and fain-
ting dead away.
"Pitiful," muttered Number One. "Just pitiful."
"So, what do you want with us?" Darren timidly asked.
Number One looked the three standing WANKERs over for a mo-
ment before answering. "There are strange things going on around
here," he said. "Strange and _important_ things. I'll be needing
some good, reliable help to protect Lady Nyssa's interests." He hol-
stered the pistol and fished out a cigarette.
"Unfortunately," he continued, "there's no reliable help to be found,
so y'all will have to do."
"So, you want us to work with you," Eric surmised.
"No. I want you to work _for_ me. Big difference. As in, I give
orders, and you take them."
"Why should we do that?" Tyson asked. "Why can't we just fight
for Her Holiness on our own?"
"Three reasons, boy. One, I know what's going on, and y'all don't.
Two, I have a Plan, and y'all don't." Number One paused and drew
the revolver again. "And, three, I have a gun, and y'all don't." He
pointed the pistol in the WANKERs' direction and thumbed back
"I'll give y'all until the count of three to decide. And don't even
_think_ of saying that John Nathan-Turner's behind me."
"No need, Number One," Darren said hastily. "We'll help, won't
"I guess..." said Tyson.
"Whatever," said Eric.
"Uunnng," said David as he began the return trip to consciousness.
Darren proudly gestured at his loyal cohorts. Eric picking his teeth
morosely. Tyson wiping his nose on the sleeve of his Edwardian
frock coat. David lying in a puddle of drool. "We are yours to com-
mand!" he pronounced. "Know that you have enlisted the elite of
all WANKERdom into your cause!"
Number One surveyed the scene and shook his head. "I can see that,"
he said. "And yet, strangely, I feel no joy..."
Doctor Who is owned by the BBC.
This Time Round is the creation of Tyler Dion.
The ADF is the creation of Douglas Killings.
'The Wild Bunch' is the most kick-ass Western ever filmed. Nyssa was
wrong, though: the bank robbery at the beginning is actually the
_second_ best part.