The arena shook with cheering as the crowd favorite made his
entrance, fireworks going off and Bonnie Tyler's 'Holding Out
for a Hero' blaring from the enormous speakers. Reaching the
edge of the ring, he slipped in through the ropes and nodded
pleasantly to his fans as he waited.
A few seconds later, his entry music faded out and a more rauc-
ous, almost belligerent beat started playing. The crowd let out a
roar as they recognized the opening notes of 'Redneck Punk' by
Jackyl. They knew whose trademark that theme was, and knew
they could expect a Hell of a fight.
There was another burst of cheering, as well as plenty of booing
and cat-calling as the new fighter strolled casually down to the
"And the challenger makes his entrance!" the ring announcer
blared redundantly. "We can expect a worthy match tonight, as
these two bitter rivals square off for the World Fighting Federa-
tion Championship belt! Remember, people, this is no-holds-
barred competition as our top fighters slug it out to determine
once and for all just WHO IS THE BEST!!"
The bell rang.
Things were not going right.
Number One ducked away from a high kick and spun in close for
a sweep at Doug's leg. Doug jumped aside, but only dodged by
the barest margin and landed awkwardly. Number One followed
closely with a straight punch to the ribs that sent the taller man
into the ropes.
This just wasn't right at all. Doug should be putting up a much
better fight. Ordinarily, the two men were an even match. Doug
had the advantages of height, reach, and a high degree of martial
arts skill, while Number One held the edge in strength and mean-
ness. As much fun as it was to be winning so handily, there was
no way he should be able to push Doug around the ring like this,
unless something was very wrong.
He pondered this as Doug extricated himself from the ropes. No,
this wasn't the same Doug that had taken the Championship title
in a gruelling thirty-minute slugfest. Whatever it was must be
pretty bad if it was causing him to get beaten like this...
"Not that I'm concerned about him, or anything," Number One
reminded himself. "He's still the enemy and all. It's not like I
consider him a friend or anything just because we have a lot in
common and stuff..."
He sighed. "End program," he said aloud.
"Program ending," a disembodied voice replied. "Save game?"
The arena, crowd, and fighting ring all melted away into nothing-
ness, leaving only the two men and the spartan room that housed
the Artificial Reality generator. Number One turned the machine
off and ejected the 'Ultimate Fight' CD from the computer.
"What's wrong with you, man?" he asked Doug. "You sick or
"No, nothing's wrong," Doug replied listlessly.
"Don't give me that!" Number One snapped. "You've been mop-
ing around all day, and when I try to liven you up with a little
brawl, you don't even halfway try. So, just what is your deal?"
Doug just looked at him for a moment, then let out a long and
miserable sigh. "I've just... been homesick... I miss my little girl
and my wife." He shook his head sadly.
"It's sad... I even... I took one of Siobhan's pictures and scanned
it to a disk and put it in the AR machine just so I could see her
for a while... It was like having a mannequin that looked like my
wife. Pathetic, aren't I?" He gave a bleak, hopeless laugh.
Number One sighed. It looked like it was _that_ time, the time he
had hoped wouldn't come, but that he knew eventually would. He
clapped Doug on the arm reassuringly. "I've been expecting some-
thing like this," he said, "and I've been holding something... in re-
serve, you might say, against this day. Let me find some cold
water, then just follow me..."
"Aahhhh..." Doug let out a long sigh as his whole body quivered
with ecstasy. "That was fantastic." He looked down at the girl
kneeling on the floor. "You really are amazing, you know?"
The redhead could only nod slightly, her mouth too full to talk.
"Where did you ever learn something like that?" Doug asked.
Number One finally swallowed the last of it and sighed herself.
"It's a family tradition, you might say. My momma used to make
a good living at it, in spite of the law."
Doug laughed. "Funny, isn't it, that you can give it away, but it's
illegal to sell it?"
Number One nodded again as she set another jug under the end
of the copper coil. Rising to her feet, she refilled Doug's glass,
then her own.
"My uncles cook up better mash than this, but this ain't too bad,"
she mused. "Considering how little there was to make this still
out of in the first place, I'm glad to be able to make any at all."
Doug took another sip of the corn liquor, and felt another all-
over shudder. "It's got a kick," he said hoarsely.
The girl nodded again. "Like a twelve-gauge. It ain't much for
polite social sippin', but it does wonders for gettin' shitfaced in
About an hour later...
Doug pointed a bit unsteadily at the whiskey still. "That," he
said with some effort. "When did you put that togetherrr?"
"The shtill?" the redhead asked fuzzily.
She giggled, for reasons no sober person would understand.
She and Doug were sitting slouched against the wall, glasses
in hand and a mostly-empty jug next to them. By the time it
had occurred to them to go someplace more convivial to get
drunk, they were too far gone to make that practical, so they'd
just stayed in this abandoned storeroom.
"I shtarted on it 'bout the time I realizhed that I wassh shtuck
up here. Figgered I'd be needin' shome homemade Prozhac to
help deal, y' know?"
Doug nodded slowly. He was having a hard time following her
words, not only because they were both three sheets in the wind,
but because her accent thickened as she drank, to the point where
it sounded almost like a foreign language.
Number One eyed her companion as appraisingly as one could
with a gut full of white lightning. He seemed a little cheerier
now, which was the whole point of this exercize. It wasn't that
he was a friend or anything like that, it was just that having him
mope around was depressing. Yeah, that was the ticket...
Doug nudged her slightly. "Gotta 'nuther queshtion," he said.
"Why'd you hafta be a girrrl for thish? Don't unnershtand that
"Aha!" the redhead declared, holding up a finger. "Th' reashonsh
very shientific. As a chick, I gots a lower body-weight. Takesh
lessss booze t' affect me. An', I c'n shober up shome jusht by tur-
nin' back into a guy again. Shee?"
Doug nodded in a wobbly fashion.
"Thatsh one of th' compensh-- compu-- compent-- good thingsh
'bout bein' a chick part-time."
"Cooooool," Doug said. "What'sh th' othersh?"
Number One began giggling. "I shouldn't oughtta tell thish..."
she said, but then couldn't remember why she cared if she told
or not. She leaned over and whispered in Doug's ear.
Doug's eyes widened as she spoke. When she had finished, he
looked at her with something very like awe. "That many timesh?"
he asked. "In a row?"
Number One nodded. "You betcher asssh. The firsht time, I
thought I's dyin'. Heeheehee..."
The two started giggling hysterically, and were still doing that
when they passed out a few minutes later.
In the back of This Time Round, Adic watched on his viewscreen
as Doug and the female Number One snored drunkenly in the
floor of the Satellite.
"How cute," he mumbled, smirking. "I wish I had a picture-post-
card of them." He frowned suddenly, thinking of the low ratings
and lost revenues that would result from having a mopey, dep-
ressed cast on his show. Plus, the Doctors were bugging him
about how the 'therapeutic' aspect of the exercize had been set
aside in favor of the 'make Adric some money' aspect.
He looked at the snoozing ADFer, thinking about how the crazy
Chicagoan still clung to his belief in all things Adric, in spite of
"Perhaps...," Adric muttered. "Perhaps a new approach is in
"You're doing what? Would you repeat that?"
Adric smiled at them from the viewscreen. "I said that I have
decided to furlough one of you. In other words, one of you
gets to go home for a few weeks. A vacation, if you will."
Nyssa shook her head in disbelief. "There's a catch. There has
to be a catch."
"No catch. No strings. No nothing," Adric replied smoothly.
"One of you gets sent home. In a couple of weeks or so, I Time-
Scoop you back up again. As long as you don't make a move
against me while you're on furlough, you can do as you like."
Nyssa, ever-suspicious of anything to do with Adric, remained
unconvinced. She looked at Diane, who merely shrugged, then
at the two men, who were both rather rough-looking this morning
and fairly reeked of alcohol. Neither seemed inclined to offer any
opinions, so she turned back to the screen.
"Okay, then," she said. "Why? What do you gain?"
Adric chuckled in a smug way that made Nyssa want to crucify
him. "Aren't you overlooking the main question?" he asked.
"I'll get to it. Now tell me why."
Adric shook his head in mock-sadness. "To be so cynical so
young... Ah, well. Would you believe me if I said it was out of
the goodness of my heart?"
"I'll take that as a 'no', then. Very well. How about if I told you
it was to get the Doctors off my case over the way I've been
treating you lot?"
"That sounds more plausible."
Adric gave a curt nod. "I thought you'd say that. Now, don't you
have something important to ask me?"
Nyssa regarded him through slitted eyes, giving him the same
look that a cotton farmer gives to a boll weevil.
Diane sighed. "I'll do it, then. Okay, Adric, who gets to go
"I'm glad you asked me that, Diane!" Adric said, clapping his
hands. "You see, several factors had to be calculated into my
decision about who would be the lucky winner. First of all, there's
the question of behavior. I had to decide who was the most fit to
rejoin normal society. Then there's job performance. Who has
done a good enough job for me that I should reward them? Then,
of course, there was the fan poll..."
"Will you just tell us, already?!" Number One shouted, then
winced as his headache reminded him not to be so loud.
"I'm getting there, Futaba-kun. Be patient. At any rate, the per-
son that I decided was my best 'employee', who is the most ratio-
nal, who deserves to be rewarded in both mine and the fans' eyes
is..." He paused and pressed a button on the console.
The foursome on the Satellite looked up to see the spinning black
shape of the Time-Scoop hovering over their heads.
Adric beamed a fake-looking smile on the viewscreen. "That
person is... Number One!"
"Huh?" the man in question asked. "Me?! Really?!"
"No, not really," Adric laughed. "I was just kidding."
Had this been an anime, Number One would have facefaulted. As
it was, he settled for grinding his teeth and muttering, "Funny li'l
bastard, ain't you?" under his breath.
"No, no," Adric continued, still chuckling. "Actually, Doug, I
Nyssa covered her eyes and shook her head, mumbling, "Great.
Now he thinks he's Ash Ketchum..."
"Me?" Doug asked, startled. "For real? You aren't kidding this
"Yes, really," Adric replied as he began working the Time-Scoop
controls. "You're probably the sanest of the lot, you don't give
me any nonsense, and you're popular with the fans. You've earned
"The fans like me?"
"Uh-huh. According to the poll, you're the second-most-popular
member of the crew. Now, hold on a moment..." The Alzarian
fine-tuned some settings on the console. "Chicago, Illinois, USA,
"Very well. Have a nice vacation!" Adric pressed a flashing blue
button and the Time-Scoop began its descent.
"'Bye Doug! I'll miss you!" Diane called. "Have a nice trip!"
"Bring us back something!" Nyssa yelled teasingly. At least
someone was getting to leave, which was a good sign.
"Later, man," Number One said simply.
Doug looked at the three. "I'll--" he said.
Unfortunately, the Time-Scoop caught him just then, so whatever
he was going to say would have to wait until his return. The
tumbling shape engulfed him, then vanished from existence.
"My work here is done," Adric said, and reached for the screen
"Just a minute, Adric!" Diane called out.
"Before you go -- you mentioned the poll. I was wondering what
the results were."
Adric eyed her with some amusement. "Do you really want to
"Very well, then. According to the audience poll, the most pop-
ular member of the crew is Number One..."
"Him?" Nyssa and Diane asked together.
"Me?" Number One added a split-second later.
"Yes, you. I might also add that you received 100% of the
female vote. Inexplicable, but true." Adric shrugged. "Second
was Doug, of course. In third place is Nyssa..."
"I guess the audience isn't _entirely_ Philistine," the Trakenite
said with a supercilious toss of her head.
"...while fourth place was taken by Nega-One. Diane, you were
dead last. You failed to receive a single vote. I suggest you try
a bit harder from now on."
As Diane slowly began to wilt, Nyssa put a consoling arm around
her. "There, there, Diane," Nyssa cooed, "don't be sad just be-
cause no one loves you or even likes you a little bit..." Had she
been positioned differently, she might have seen the smoldering,
dangerous light that was building in Diane's eyes.
"By the way," Adric continued, "speaking of Nega-One, whatever
happened to him?"
Number One's face took on a grim, hard look. "Three words for
you, Swampie: 'Uncontrolled atmospheric re-entry'."
The Alzarian's face twisted in a pained wince. "Been there, done
that," he said. "If there's nothing else, au revoir." He gave a little
wave and signed off as Number One turned his attention to the
"Perhaps you could join a convent," Nyssa was saying. "Things
like looks and personality don't matter there..." Diane, meanwhile,
appeared to be turning a really interesting shade of red.
Number One's finely-honed battlefield instincts told him that
now would be a good time to run away like a terrified chihuahua,
that something was about to start that he _really_ wouldn't want
to be in the middle of, or indeed even near the outer perimeter of.
He slipped quietly off the bridge just as the slapping and scream-
Adric was doing something he hadn't done in quite a while: sec-
"Should I have sent Doug off like that? What will having only
three cast members do to the group dynamic? Should I bring him
back and cancel the whole 'furlough' concept? I'm not going to
lose money on this, am I?"
In view of Adric's recent purchase of a Porsche 928, the last
question's importance was all too obvious.
He paced. He fidgetted. He would have smoked, except that cig-
arettes made him throw up. He did pretty much all the things
that nervous and indecisive people do.
"What to do? Maybe I should get a replacement. But, who?
Tegan? Nyssa'd kill her right now. Francois? He'd kill me
when he came back. Harry's still in therapy..."
Behind him, the door opened. "Oh, excuse me, sweetie," said
a very sultry and very British voice. "I was looking for the stair-
case." Adric turned, and saw, and blushed.
The woman was tall, made moreso by 3-inch stiletto-heeled boots,
built like a Norse Valkyrie, and dressed like the Devil's personal
disciplinarian. A mass of artfully-tousled auburn hair swept past
a pretty, somewhat haughty face and down past her leather-clad
shoulders. The leather catsuit itself was having a hard time of it,
as it strained to hold back a more-than-ample bosom, at which
Adric spent so much time looking that he completely failed to
notice the whip until she lashed out and snipped away a lock of
his hair with it.
"Naughty," she husked. "Little boys shouldn't drool on them-
selves like that." With a laugh and a toss of her head, she turned
Adric's brain unfroze, and made a sudden logical leap. "Wait!"
he called. "I have a proposition for you!"
"Most men do," she replied airily, "and quite a few women."
Better and better. "Not that sort of proposition," he said slyly.
"How would you like to be on television?"
She turned her smoky gaze back to him. "Tell me more."
"Well, you see Miss--"
"Helen. _Mistress_ Helen."
Dollar signs began ringing up in Adric's brain. "Well, Mistress
Helen, it's like this..."
TO DIE FOR: MYSTERY PSYCHO THEATER 3000
[cue Theme Song]
o/~ In the not-too-distant future
Not too far from This Time Round
There was a girl named Nyssa whose
Sanity was not-quite-sound.
She and some others used to fuss and fight
And destroy the pub almost every night.
So the staff and patrons of that place
Used Borusa's Time-Scoop to stick them up in spaaaaace...
"You'll regret this!!"
"We'll send them crappy fiction
The worst we can find. (la-la-laaa)
They'll have to sit and read them all
To drive the violence from their minds." (la-la-laaa)
Now keep in mind only Adric controls
When the session begins or is through
As he tries to force some sense into
This completely unhinged crew.
PSYCHO ROLL CALL!
NYSSA! ("Beauty _and_ brains!")
HELEN! ("Hello, sweeties!")
NUMBER ONE! ("What, me evil?")
DIAAAAANE! ("No respect!")
If you're wondering how they eat and breathe
And other science facts,
Just repeat to yourself, "It's just a 'fic.
I should really just relax."
'Cause it's Mystery Psycho Theater 3000!
[Interior bridge of the Satellite of Love]
[Once again, the couch, TV and VCR are on the bridge. On the
couch sits NUMBER ONE (a short, brawny man wearing jeans,
a sleeveless 'National Rifle Association' t-shirt, and sunglasses),
intently watching something on TV and smoking a cigarette.
After a few moments, he looks up at the screen.]
NUMBER ONE: (to screen) Oh, hey y'all. Welcome to the Sat-
ellite of Love. Y'all can call me Number One. The ladies should
be out in a minute, assuming they ain't killed each other yet.
[NUMBER ONE resumes watching TV, laughing occasionally.
A few moments later NYSSA (a petite, beautiful, teenaged bru-
nette wearing a white sundress) and DIANE (an attractive blonde
wearing jeans and a 'Blake's 7' t-shirt) enter from the right.]
NUMBER ONE: (to OTHERS) Ah. I take it you two finally
DIANE: We had to.
NYSSA: We ran out of synonyms for 'bitch'.
NUMBER ONE: I can see how that would put a damper on
[NYSSA sits down on the couch, while DIANE leans on the back
DIANE: (to NUMBER ONE) What are you watching? I don't
think I recognize this anime.
NUMBER ONE: It's 'Slayers: the Motion Picture'.
NYSSA: Cool. [points at TV] So, who's that?
NUMBER ONE: The little redhead is the sorceress Lina Inverse,
and the guys are a bunch of bandits she blew up earlier.
DIANE: It's nice to see an anime where the women _aren't_
drawn as huge-breasted floozies.
NUMBER ONE: (nervously) Well, actually...
[NYSSA and DIANE both go wide-eyed and point at the TV]
DIANE: I take back what I just said.
NYSSA: Who, or what, is _that_?
NUMBER ONE: [sighs] That's Lina's friend and rival, the sor-
ceress Naga the White Serpent.
NYSSA: More like 'Naga the Over-Endowed Serpent'.
NUMBER ONE: She's been called that, too.
DIANE: Pitiful. As if huge-breasted women in skimpy black
leather existed anywhere outside of pathetic fanboy fantasy!
[Without warning, HELEN (a large breasted, auburn-haired
woman in a skintight leather catsuit) tumbles out of thin air and
lands on her butt off to one side.]
NUMBER ONE: (to DIANE) You were saying?
DIANE: I'm going to shut up now.
[A light on the console begins to flash]
NYSSA: (to OTHERS) Barney, Betty, and Bam-Bam are call-
ing. You two go check on the bondage queen while I see what's
up. [presses light]
[Interior back room at This Time Round]
[The room is filled with a mixture of electronic command-and-
control epuipment, computers, and pub supplies. Behind the
control console stand ADRIC (a black-haired teenager in an ugly
yellow-and-green outfit) and TEGAN (a pretty, short-haired
woman in a blue minidress). BOTH are smiling pleasantly.]
ADRIC: Good morning, Jack, Janet, and Chrissie! I see your
new playmate has arrived intact.
[NUMBER ONE and DIANE escort HELEN over to stand with
NYSSA at the screen]
NYSSA: (to HELEN) Your name isn't 'Naga', is it?
HELEN: (to OTHERS) The name is Helen. _Mistress_ Helen.
And I like my lovers shaken _or_ stirred.
NYSSA: (to HELEN) Whatever. I'm Nyssa, the guy is Number
One, and the unpopular girl is Diane.
HELEN: Oh, I know who you all are. I watch you little sweeties
every week. (to NUMBER ONE) Especially you! Nameless
mystery men really rev my motor.
ADRIC: Now, if I could just have your attention for a moment...
[HELEN points an accusing finger at the screen]
HELEN: (angrily) You! You tricked me! You told me I'd be fill-
ing in for Harry, and then you Time-Scooped me as soon as my
back was turned!
ADRIC: (calmly) No, I didn't.
HELEN: Yes you did! You said--
ADRIC: I said I needed you to take over for a missing cast
member. You just assumed I meant Harry, when I actually
HELEN: But, I didn't know Doug was gone!
ADRIC: [shrugs] Read the fine print next time, sister.
[TEGAN eyes the screen suspiciously for a moment, then turns
TEGAN: (to ADRIC) Adric, did you pick her as the new cast member based
solely on her appearance and sexual proclivities
in an effort to boost ratings by appealing to the immature,
hormone-driven desires of the male, age 18 to 34 demographic?
ADRIC: (to TEGAN) Yes. Why?
TEGAN: [shrugs] Just curious.
[FRANCOIS the Ogron (a large, brutish-looking humanoid)
enters from the left, carrying an envelope]
FRANCOIS: Hello, boss-boy. Hello mouthy girl. Friendly post-
man Francois bringing mail and making token cameo appearance
which is all Francois seem to get anymore.
[FRANCOIS hands the envelope to ADRIC, then regards the
screen with a critical eye.]
FRANCOIS: (to ADRIC) More cast change? First smiley-man
replaced by mouthy girl, now crazy ponytail man replaced by
dominatrix. Apparently, Francois have to shave legs and grow
massive hooters if want to keep job around here. Francois's
sense of artistic integrity is _much_ offended.
[As ADRIC and TEGAN stare at him, FRANCOIS walks off to
the left, shaking his head sadly]
FRANCOIS: (muttering) Is all about sex, now. Pop-culture
nothing more than pandering to lowest common denominator...
[ADRIC and TEGAN continue to watch as FRANCOIS exits. A
moment later, there is the sound of a slamming door from off-
ADRIC: I didn't realize he was so highbrow... (to screen) So,
anyway, let's see what's in the mail today. [opens envelope and
scans letter] Hmmm... Today's letter is from Carlos G. in San
Antonio, Texas, who writes: [reading] "Dear Adric. I am a
huge fan of 'Mystery Psycho Theater', to the extent that I have
bought every piece of MPT3k merchandise, and am the main-
tainer of the 'Unofficial MPT3k Website, Fan Shrine, and
Rhyming Dictionary'. I thought I knew everything about the
show and its cast, from the number of head-whaps per episode
to female-Number One's bust size. However, something has
been asked of me that I couldn't answer. A friend of mine lives
in an area where the local cable service, being run by Godless
pinko liberal neo-fascist swine, doesn't carry your show. My
friend therefor reads the program in transcribed form off the
Internet. He says that the text-format episodes all have the
line 'BKWillis presents...' right before the theme song. Please
make my life complete by telling me who, or what, 'BKWillis'
is. Thank you."
DIANE: (disbelieving) People have _web pages_ about this
show? Do they not have lives?
NYSSA: (to DIANE) At least they haven't made a Usenet group.
ADRIC: [puts letter in his pocket] To answer Carlos's question,
BKWillis is the person who transcribes the television episodes
into text format for purposes of distribution on Usenet. He is a
furnace repairman from Alabama who obtained the transcription
contract by virtue of having submitted the lowest bid, which was
'ten bucks and a case of Pabst' per episode. He has no involve-
ment whatsoever in the actual production of this program, and
is not considered part of the MPT3k staff. In fact, we'd really
prefer that he not attach his name to us in any way, as we hear
that he has a rather unsavory history, but what the Hell? At least
HELEN: Speaking of contracts, at least I'm getting paid for this.
I do have _that_ much in writing.
NYSSA: (to HELEN) He's paying you?
HELEN: (to NYSSA) Five hundred per episode.
NUMBER ONE: (to HELEN) Pounds or dollars?
HELEN: (uncertainly) Pounds, I assume. He just said five hun-
dred, and I didn't really read the whole contract...
DIANE: (to HELEN) Apparently not, or you wouldn't be here.
NUMBER ONE: (to screen) Which is it, Fen-crawler? Dollars
ADRIC: Japanese yen, actually.
HELEN: (to OTHERS) Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
NUMBER ONE: (to HELEN) Let me put it this way: You
_might_ be able to buy a meal at McDonald's for 500, if you
don't get a drink.
HELEN: (evenly) I see. I'll have to throw a tantrum over this
later, when the cameras are off and I can afford to look uncool.
ADRIC: Well, the idle pleasantries have been exchanged, the
mail has been read, and the newbie has been suckered. Now
it's time to get down to business. Your session for today marks
the return of an old favorite of mine...
NYSSA: No. Dear Keeper, don't let it be...
ADRIC: ...David E. Woon's 'Stories of Nyssa' series.
NYSSA: [looks up] Keeper, why do I even _talk_ to you?
ADRIC: You've read the first two episodes, and I was going to
send you the next two, a two-parter called 'The Attic of Eternity'.
But, I thought about it and decided that I've been pretty easy on
you lot of late, so I decided to go right for the jugular with the
fifth episode, 'Confluence'. (to TEGAN) Send them the fanfic,
TEGAN: (to ADRIC) Right on it! (to screen) Remember, Nys:
What doesn't kill you can only make you stronger!
[TEGAN presses a large and conspicuous button on the console.]
[Various alarms, lights, and sirens go off as general chaos ensues.]
ALL: Aaaaah! We've got fanfic sign!
[ALL run off.]
[Door sequence: 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...]
[SOL, Theater interior]
[The four enter the theater from a door on the right, all carrying
popcorn and drinks. NYSSA takes the aisle seat, with NUMBER
ONE on her left, HELEN on the other side of him, and DIANE
to HELEN's left.]
HELEN: Actually, it might be fun being up here with you swee-
ties. I mean, how bad could reading crappy fan fiction be?
NUMBER ONE: (grimly) Famous last words.
[A screen in front of the four lights up and words begin to appear
>Response to the first four Nyssa episodes was pretty
NYSSA: Meaning that no actual explosives were received in the
mail, just threats against his property.
>I'm going to post the next group. These are a bit less connected
>than the first four and start to focus much more on Nyssa.
DIANE: This comes as a total surprise, what with the series being
called 'Stories of Nyssa' and all.
>Some people are going to hate the new plot twist, but I think
>others will enjoy it.
NUMBER ONE: I bet I can predict which category we'll fall
>I learned from my first series of postings that getting some
HELEN: ...is pretty unlikely now.
DIANE: (to HELEN) Not bad, newbie! Not bad at all!
NYSSA: [snickers] As if 'getting some' were ever a real possibil-
ity for a fanfic author, anyway!
NUMBER ONE: [looks uneasy]
>thing out to the network can be rather hit or miss, so I hope
>someone will tell me if these episodes are being received.
NYSSA: Received 'em.
DIANE: Riffed 'em.
NUMBER ONE: Recovered from 'em. Sort of.
HELEN: (to OTHERS) This sounds ominous...
DIANE and NUMBER ONE: (singing) ...One toke over the
line, sweet Jesus/One toke over the line...
> This is the FIFTH episode in a series. Please address
>comments or requests for further information or the previous
> email@example.com (or) firstname.lastname@example.org
HELEN: Fan fiction. Our tax dollars at work.
NYSSA: Which government agency is responsible for this?
NUMBER ONE: (sourly) I'm guessing the KGB.
> -- David E. Woon -- Molecular Science Research Center --
> -- Alumnus of Michigan Tech University --
NUMBER ONE: Michigan Tech! Where the men are men, and
the women are, too!
DIANE: (to NUMBER ONE) You're an alumnus, then?
DIANE: (traffic reporter) It's bumper-to-bumper gridlock in the
downtown area this morning, due to a stalled fanfic plot blocking
the eastbound lane of I-20.
OTHERS: [make helicopter sounds]
HELEN: The opposite of 'flatulence'?
> by David E. Woon
NYSSA: You know, in all these sessions we've gone through,
that word is the first genuinely creative thing I've read.
>A new series of stories begins with this premise: suppose
DIANE: ...there was a world where magic worked, dogs could
talk, 'Suddenly Susan' was funny, and lawyers weren't all in
league with Satan.
> our world and that of Doctor Who could interact.
NUMBER ONE: Been there, done that, suffered much.
>We're fortunate that none of the deadly creatures (Daleks,
>Cybermen, Sontarans, Rutans, Nimons, Vervoids, Silurians,
>Sea Devils, Krotons, Zygons, Tractators, Terileptils, etc.)
HELEN: Why the 'etc.'? He was only about three short of nam-
ing them all.
> or villains (Master, Rani, Davros, Borad, Valeyard, etc.) exist
>in our universe, but the good people and "mosters" don't exist
NYSSA: But, it's a tradeoff, you see. Our Universe has Daleks
and such, while yours has Dennis Rodman. I consider us even.
>I consider this a great loss.
>It would be nice to pretend.
NUMBER ONE: Indeed. I'm going to pretend I'm actually read-
ing Robert E. Howard instead of this.
NYSSA: (enthusiastically) That _would_ be cool! I could be
the savage barbarian queen! [makes wild sword-fighting mo-
tions] Yaah! Yaaah! Die! Heads and limbs everywhere! Yah!
DIANE: (nervously) Then again, maybe it _wouldn't_ be nice
> If the Doctor Who universe were real, I would be very glad to
>run into some of its kindlier inhabiants. I wouldn't have
>written the first four stories about Nyssa if I didn't
HELEN: ...have a massive and pathetic crush on her.
DIANE: Yup. Such is the way of fanfic authors.
NUMBER ONE: [fidgets badly]
>think she was an interesting person who deserved some further
DIANE: ...of the psychiatric kind.
NYSSA: (to DIANE) In the words of a certain gold-plated robot,
HELEN: (to NYSSA) If she won't, can I? [bares her teeth]
NYSSA: [eyes HELEN warily]
>If it were real and I was allowed my preference, I'd want to know
HELEN: ...Davros. Biblically.
OTHERS: [make dry-heaving sounds]
>more about the people involved than to always find myself beset
>The story will carry on with Nyssa alone
NUMBER ONE: (softly, to self) Lucky story...
NYSSA: (to NUMBER ONE) What was that?
NUMBER ONE: (hurriedly, to NYSSA) Nothing, nothing!
>(the Doctor will appear in the second episode). The other main
>character (David Ramsey) will be introduced in Scene 1.
DIANE: Oh, no. Could this be...?
NYSSA: Please, anything but...
HELEN: Wait. You don't mean...
> I have patterned this individual after myself
ALL: (shouting) Aaaaaaaah!! We've got self-insert character
DIANE: Well, we all know what that means.
HELEN: (to DIANE) Actually, 'self-insert' has several interesting
connotations... [toys with whip handle]
NYSSA: (flatly) So, how many episodes until I marry him, I
DIANE: (to NYSSA) Probably a little ways off. First, we have
to learn what kind of cool god-boy superpowers he has.
NUMBER ONE: (to audience) What the ladies are referring to
is the rather cheesy cliche of fanfic authors putting themselves in
their stories and having the main character fall in love with them.
In addition, the author-character generally has some kind of
awesome powers that are not understood by the other characters.
Hence the nickname 'god-boy'. Although, to be honest with y'all,
not _all_ author-characters work out that way--
NYSSA: (to NUMBER ONE, interrupting) Quiet. We've got a
fanfic to suffer through. [elbows NUMBER ONE in the gut, hard]
NUMBER ONE: Ooof. (to audience, muttering) Some end up
as mere targets for slapstick humor and pointless violence...
>(the prerogative of authorship). I can hardly be blamed for
>wanting to be the person from Earth who meets Nyssa and ends
>up travelling with her.
NYSSA: Flattering... But, I think I'll blame you just the same.
>The settings are real, and most of the things about myself are
DIANE: Only the names have been changed to protect the pitiful.
>Toward the end of this first episode you will encounter my idea
>for a new type of TARDIS which would solve all the
>unfortunate circumstances that accompany fictional realities
>such as the Who universe.
HELEN: It's equipped with a device that hunts down Pip and
Jane Baker and blasts them into their component molecules.
>In the meantime (while I work out the physics which currently
NUMBER ONE: ...getting a date...
>technological miracle), here is the beginning of the new Nyssa
NYSSA: Well, I suppose I'd best enjoy these last few moments
of free will, before I succumb to the author-character's invincible
Aura of Extreme Smoothness.
DIANE: (to NYSSA) Oooh... cynicism.
HELEN: Side view of Jo Grant on her back.
>Nyssa has begun her lifetime of travelling through the universe
>as a perpetual observer (and tourist).
NYSSA: (brightly) I'm goin' to Disneyland!
>She has no particular aim yet,
NUMBER ONE: Much like an ADF sniper.
DIANE: (to NUMBER ONE) Hey! We're getting better!
NUMBER ONE: (to DIANE) Y'all sure couldn't get any worse.
>no career. She is just curious to see what's out there.
>This is how she comes to Earth and makes it to the hinterlands
>of Michigan's upper peninsula.
ALL: [look at screen, then begin laughing]
NYSSA: Great. The fanfic isn't even properly started, and already
I've done something stupid.
HELEN: (to NYSSA) So, with the chance to go to any point in the Universe
at any time in its history, you go to Michigan?
DIANE: (to HELEN) Sure! Forget witnessing the birth of
Christ, or visiting the bazaars of Byzantium, or watching the
formation of a galaxy. None of those compare to the thrill of
hanging out with a bunch of lumpy Midwesterners who talk
about hockey all the time.
NYSSA: (to OTHERS) Actually, I was trying to go see the Big-
gest Ball of Twine in Minnesota, and missed by a little bit.
NUMBER ONE: At least this 'fic is on the level. Heh heh...
NYSSA: [punches NUMBER ONE on the arm]
>SCENE 1: David Ramsey, present at his desk
>(It's been a hard week, though successful. An annual report
>went out and a paper was rewritten.
DIANE: (announcer) THRILL to the pulse-pounding CLERICAL
>He has also finished the four episodes that make up the big
HELEN: (puzzled) He did a story about a 'big Nyssa'?
NYSSA: (Tom Servo) I'm huge!
DIANE: (announcer) Rachel Weisz stars in 'Attack of the 50
>[and he is now writing about himself in compellingly self-
>referential third person, but he is going to attempt to stop doing
>that after this aside].)
NUMBER ONE: Aaargh! [grasps head in pain] The cuteness
is dissolving my brain!
DIANE: (to NUMBER ONE) That shouldn't take too long.
>(It is now Friday night and he comtemplates his next project.
HELEN: (Ramsey) Vaseline, check. Inflatable Sally, check...
>There are serious stories to be written, but he is not ready for
NYSSA: I'll second that.
>Instead, he thinks back over what he's written about Nyssa and
>the Doctor and how it came about --
DIANE: ...the rubber bands, the Cuisinart, the potato daiquiris.
Who'd have thought that the right combination of these could
inspire a fanfic?
>out of the impossible notion of running into Nyssa of Traken
ALL: [make car-crash sounds]
>and seeing that her life didn't end on Terminus, and from
>wondering how she dealt with the death of her father.)
NYSSA: I use Misplaced Aggression. [backhands NUMBER
ONE in the chest]
>(In order to portray these things, we will watch in silence as he
>files the report and paper and pulls out the manuscripts for the
>Nyssa stories. He will then type at his terminal, first trying to
>work on something serious
NUMBER ONE: 'The Socio-Economic Impact of the Crew-Served
Urinal on Indo-Chinese Culture', by David Ramsey.
>and then changing to this. It would, in fact, be interesting to
>see him typing this very line.)
DIANE: I dunno. I see that line right now, and I can't work up
a bit of interest.
>(After which we can cut to Scene 2.)
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
NUMBER ONE: (singing) Because you're mine/I walk the line...
HELEN: [whaps NUMBER ONE on the head] No country music!
>SCENE 2: Nyssa, in her TARDIS, on the approach to earth
>(The placer circuit has brought her to Houghton, Michigan.
NYSSA: And for that, I shall modify the circuit with some Nitro-9
and a large mallet.
> Nobody ever said that Time Lord technology was perfect. On
>the other hand, perhaps it has brought her to this place for good
DIANE: I vote for the first one.
>(We see that she has been hovering in invisible partial
>dematerialisation for several days.
DIANE: (Dilbert) No fair! You're hovering!
NYSSA: (Dogbert) It's just the illusion of 'hang time'. I learned
it from Michael Jordan. It's a combination of great leaping skill
plus the way I move my legs.
>She has been studying Dave while he works during the day,
>and when he comes back in the evening.
HELEN: (HAL) What are you doing, Dave?
>She is aware of the project to which he has been devoting his
>free time. One night he left the unfinished drafts on the
>bookcase rather than take them home, and she read them.
DIANE: (Nyssa) I think there's enough here for a lawsuit...
>How has he captured the events of her recent life when he could
>not possibly know them?
NUMBER ONE: (to OTHERS) Ladies, I believe we've just found
our new hero's keen superpower.
>Maybe it is this anomaly which has brought her here.)
>(We have now reached the Friday night mentioned in the
NUMBER ONE: Huh? Did we just start over or something?
What's the deal?
DIANE: (to NUMBER ONE) It started, then backtracked, and
now we're at the point we started at. It's kind of like the plotting
of 'Pulp Fiction', but without the action or charm or characteriza-
tion or drama.
NUMBER ONE: (to DIANE) So, it's like 'Pulp Fiction', only
completely different in every way?
DIANE: Erm... yes.
> David has already looked at the corner in which Nyssa's
HELEN: It's been a very _bad_ TARDIS and needs some... [licks
> invisible and has wondered if Nyssa has been watching him
>from that vantage.)
NYSSA and DIANE: (singing) I always feel like/Somebody's
>(David looks over the last bit which he has just typed.)
>D. I can't believe what I'm writing.
NUMBER ONE: And yet, the audience is supposed to?
>(He says these remarks to the empty corner.)
>D. I'm daft, simply daft.
NYSSA: Do you hear me arguing that point?
>(After a pause and some wandering.)
>D. One reality might intrude into the other.
DIANE: Some realities have no manners at all.
>The medium of the word and the mind could meet the world
NUMBER ONE: Yeah, whatever.
>(Nyssa decides that the time has come.)
NUMBER ONE, DIANE, and NYSSA: (singing) The time has
come/To stand again and fight!/The struggle goes on and on and
HELEN: (to OTHERS) What the Hell?
NYSSA: (to HELEN) It's an otaku thing.
>(A TARDIS materialises in the corner in question. Nyssa has
>chosen to adopt
DIANE: ...two young orphan boys from the ghetto: Arnold and
his brother Willis.
NUMBER ONE: (Gary Coleman) Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Nyssa?
>a blue police call box for this one instance for the sake of its
> familiarity to Dave.)
>(The door opens quietly and Nyssa steps out. Dave doesn't
>know how to
NUMBER ONE: ...speak to a girl, never having been able to get
this close to one before.
> feel. After all, he isn't surprised, but he is disturbed.)
DIANE: So true. So very, very true...
>D. Nyssa of Traken... How can you be here?
NYSSA: By virtue of a higher power, Dave. The power of fan-
>N. How can you, David Ramsey, be where I am? Which of us
HELEN: (Nyssa) Is anything real, or is life nothing more than
some badly-plotted fanfic?
NUMBER ONE: I fear the answer to that question...
>D. Is that a safe question to ask?
>N. Only if the answer is reasonable.
> (A moment ticks by, and then a few more.
DIANE: (singing) A momentary lapse of plotting...
> The conversation must now switch tones.)
NUMBER ONE: Just like Michael Jackson's skin!
>D. So what brings you to Houghton?
NYSSA: (goofily) A TARDIS, silly! [rimshot sound effect]
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen! I'll be here all week!
>I don't think the Doctor has ever made it
HELEN: And I'd like to remedy that.
>this far out.
NUMBER ONE: Fab.
>N. I don't think he has either. I've been watching
DIANE: ...'Friends', and got so bored that even Michigan seems
interesting by comparison.
>you and decided to introduce myself to you.
>D. I'm honored.
NYSSA: As well you should be.
>Is there a reason?
>N. The placer ciruit chose that location (she points at the
>corner with the TARDIS).
NUMBER ONE: Eh? She pointed with the TARDIS? How could
she even pick it up? Ain't it awful heavy?
NYSSA: (Dan Hibiki) I am... NYSSA! And I am... MIGHTY!
[raises fist] OYAJIIII!!
HELEN: [eyes NYSSA worriedly] (to DIANE) Is that...?
DIANE: (to HELEN) Yeah. An otaku thing. Don't sweat it.
>I didn't believe it was working correctly, but then I began to
>observe you. I was puzzled.
HELEN: (Nyssa) What is that thing you do under the covers?
It looks rather tiring.
>This can only mean that my new ciruits really work.
>D. Did you come to Earth just for me?
DIANE: (Nyssa) No. Actually, I heard there was a sale on
brown velvet at Macy's.
>N. Not entirely. I let the placer circuit choose the final location.
>D. Most people would look at me in strange ways if I told them
NYSSA: ...that evil lemurs were plotting to seize control of the
>that Nyssa of Traken, of Doctor Who fame,
DIANE: I don't know that I'd call it 'fame'...
NYSSA: (to DIANE, sweetly) Did you say something, Miss
>had visited me one Friday night. There are only two or three
>people I know
NUMBER ONE: ...who don't call me 'Spazzy'.
>I'd even dare mention this to.
DIANE: I can relate. I'm ashamed of my association with her, as
NYSSA: (singing softly) ...least popular/Diane's the least pop-
>N. Don't worry about it. If you can write my story as if it were
NUMBER ONE: ...a Pauly Shore movie...
>a work of fiction and hit the details and conversations with
>almost complete accuracy, you probably aren't going to have
>much trouble explaining it to other people, if that time ever
HELEN: (Nyssa) If I let you live that long.
>D. It would appear that you're right.
NYSSA: Of course I'm right. Don't argue with the Big Dog.
>But maybe this means I'm just crazy?
NUMBER ONE: (singing) Mama he's craaazy...
HELEN: [whaps NUMBER ONE on the head] I _said_ no
>N. I don't think you're crazy and the facts don't support it.
NYSSA: Crazy people are _interesting_, after all.
>D. Maybe from your perspective.
>N. Well, just don't worry about it.
>D. OK, you've convinced me.
NUMBER ONE: Wow. That was quick. Even Scientologists
aren't _that_ credulous.
>Now, why are you here?
NYSSA: (Roddy Piper) I have come to chew bubblegum and
DIANE: (interrupting) ...but I'm all out of ass.
HELEN: [eyes DIANE appraisingly] I wouldn't say _that_.
DIANE: (to HELEN) Excuse me?
HELEN: (to DIANE) You've got about the right amount, and it
looks nice and firm... [licks lips]
DIANE: (to HELEN, hurriedly) Never mind. Forget I said any-
>N. I'm here because of what you know about my TARDIS.
NYSSA: And I can never let that information become public
knowledge. That is why I've come to kill you, David.
NUMBER ONE: (Nyssa, sarcastically) No, your great-aunt
Rhoda. Who do you think I mean?
>N. You know how to use the new circuits.
HELEN: (Nyssa) The ones that let me get the Playboy Channel.
>D. I'm suppose to know how to use them, and you don't, but
>you know I know how to use them?
DIANE: (Nyssa) Yes, but it's strictly on a need-to-know basis.
>N. That's how it is.
NYSSA: ...when you're stuck in a lame plot.
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
DIANE: The above graph charts the excitement level of today's
> SCENE 3: Saturday night at Dave's desk
>(The story begins again.
NUMBER ONE: AAAAAAAAH!! I knew it! It's the Never-
Ending Fanfic! It just starts over and over and over and over!
NYSSA: It appears that Adric has discovered the 'Castrovalva'
of prose. An endless, recursive loop of pain. I'd admire his sad-
ism, if I weren't wanting to disembowel him just now.
>Dave has not met Nyssa yet, in fact has no idea that there even
>is a Nyssa. In fact, the words "Doctor Who" do not mean much
DIANE: Nor do the words 'epigram', 'importune', 'azimuth', or
'verdure'. He went to school in Michigan, after all.
>Of course, this also means that Dave did not write any episodes
NUMBER ONE: Salvation! If he never wrote them, then Adric
never got them, so we never had to read them!
HELEN: (to NUMBER ONE) So then, what are we reading
NUMBER ONE: (conspiratorially) A clever forgery, Helen. A
clever, dastardly forgery of a Woon-fic.
HELEN: But, how could it be a forgery if the original never ex-
NUMBER ONE: Aha! I _said_ it was clever, didn't I?
NYSSA: (to NUMBER ONE, annoyed) You're raving again.
You need to cool off. [takes NUMBER ONE's drink and pours
it on him, changing him into a cute, buxom girl with red hair]
DIANE: (sarcastically) Gee, that wasn't predictable at _all_.
NYSSA: (to DIANE) 'Least popular', Diane. You might want
to think about why that is...
HELEN: (upset) Waaah! You got rid of my hunk of Bama
[DIANE and NYSSA glare at each other, while HELEN gives
NUMBER ONE (Female) a looking-over. HELEN's face bright-
ens as she stares at NUMBER ONE (F)'s chest.]
HELEN: Oooh! On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for
cheesecake, too... [licks lips]
NUMBER ONE (F): I don't know whether to be turned-on or
HELEN: (to NUMBER ONE (F)) Both, sweetie!
>(I said that the story "begins again." I do not mean that it starts
> over: the first two scenes are still an integral part of this tale or
>I would have deleted them from my file.
NYSSA: Well, there's our explanation, then.
HELEN: But it didn't really tell us anything.
NYSSA: [shrugs] I didn't say it told us anything. I just said it
was an explanation.
>And so, we begin again.)
NUMBER ONE (F): (brightly) Just like poor old Michael Finn-
HELEN: (to DIANE) Another 'otaku thing'?
DIANE: (to HELEN) No. An 'American-public-school-music-
>(Dave is working at his desk. He works with only a desk lamp
NYSSA: I'll bet it's hard to write reports on a desk lamp. He
should get a computer, or something.
>and leavesthe overhead fluorescents off. He has been setting up
NUMBER ONE (F): ...with the dead?
DIANE: ...Jim McDougal to take the fall for Whitewater?
>what quantum computationalists call "a third-order many-body
>perturbation theory calculation."
DIANE: Sounds kinky.
HELEN: (to DIANE) Yes. We'll have to try it sometime.
DIANE: [eases away from HELEN]
NUMBER ONE (F): (to NYSSA) So, what does that really mean?
NYSSA: (to NUMBER ONE (F)) Welllll... the explanation is
rather involved and technical, and I don't know that I could ex-
plain it in layman's terms...
DIANE: That means she doesn't know.
NYSSA: [scowls at DIANE]
>The uninformed reader would probably prefer to remain that
NUMBER ONE (F): He ain't telling us what that... theory thing
DIANE: [laughs] That means _he_ doesn't know, either!
>(A TARDIS materialises in the corner, its appearance being
NYSSA: ...its primary concern. It was a shallow, self-centered
>that of a computer cabinet. Dave has been downstairs topping
>off his coffee cup.
NUMBER ONE (F): ...with a generous amount of Jack Daniels.
>The oddity of the cabinet strikes him immediately.)
HELEN: Nothing gets past Sherlock Ramsey, does it?
>D. What is this doing here?
>(He tries to open the access door, but it is locked. He sits in his
> chair and turns to face the cabinet. He is clearly very curious,
NUMBER ONE (F): Be not curious in unnecessary matters: for
more things are shewed unto thee than men understand. Eccles-
NYSSA: It taketh not a whole lot to be more than a _man_ under-
standeth. Nyssa 3:16. And that's the bottom line, 'cause Stone-
Cold Nyssa says so.
>but hasn't a clue that it is a Type-43 Time and Relative
>Dimensions in Space vehicle.)
DIANE: (Bugs Bunny) What a maroon!
>(After a minute or so the door opens and Nyssa steps out. Dave
>sees behind her
HELEN: (Ramsey) Nice butt! Rrrrowl!
>into the open space which is the control room. It is clearly not
>the room which is behind the wall against which the TARDIS
> is standing.
NYSSA: (to OTHERS) Ready? On three. One... two... three...
ALL: (shouting) Well, duh!
>Nyssa closes the door.)
>N. Hello, my name is Nyssa.
ALL: (singing) I live on the second floor...
>Can you tell me about this place?
DIANE: (Ramsey, as John Cleese) Can do... but won't.
>D. I'm David Ramsey. Do you want to know about the
>Houghton or about the university?
NYSSA: (singing?) I'll tell you what I want/What I really, really
DIANE: (singing) I want to kno-o-ow/Have you ever seen the
HELEN: (singing) I want to know what love is... [looks at
DIANE] I want you to show me...
NUMBER ONE (F): (singing) You want it all/But you can't have
>N. I knew the place was named Houghton, but I didn't realize
>that this was a university.
NYSSA: The lack of anything resembling books threw me off.
>D. Just a small one,
ALL: (shouting) That's what _she_ said!
>Michigan Technological University.
DIANE: That name carries the same faintly oxymoronic irony as
'Irish Sobriety League'.
>I'm here doing postdoctoral work
NUMBER ONE (F): (Ramsey) I'm working on a degree in 'Ap-
plied Thuggery'. The United Auto Workers' Union gave me a
>for my Ph.D. advisor and trying to find a real
> job. What brings you here and what is that cabinet you came
>out of? You must be from off-world.
NYSSA: (Conehead) I come from France.
>That doesn't fit any of our technology.
DIANE: (Ramsey) Our technology is a size seven.
>N. You saw inside of it, didn't you?
HELEN: (Ramsey) I didn't mean to. I was trying to see up your
>D. Yes. We can't do that yet, although I've thought about how
> convenient it would be.
NUMBER ONE (F): ...if people had eggbeaters built into their
>N. You aren't surprised to encounter someone from another
DIANE: (Ramsey) Nah. We've had visitors from Wisconsin
>D. One hears rumors about alien invasions, mostly landing in
>and around the British Isles.
NUMBER ONE (F): Apparently, aliens consider gristly sausages,
fog, and soccer hooligans to be Earth's most vital strategic res-
HELEN: [swats NUMBER ONE (F) on the head with her whip
handle] No cracks about the UK!
>Someone has quite a bit of control over the media,
DIANE: Aside from Rupert Murdoch, you mean?
>but the news slips out. Where are you from?
NYSSA: And the first pick-up line rears its ugly head. Next
he'll ask me what sign I was born under.
HELEN: (to NYSSA) What sign _were_ you born under, any-
DIANE: (snidely) 'For Rent'.
>N. A world called Traken.
>D. I'm only from Earth, from a place in this same state.
NUMBER ONE (F): Denial?
>I haven't been around much.
HELEN: (Nyssa) With a face like that, I'm not surprised.
OTHERS: [shiver] Brrrr... cold.
>N. I've been to Earth before, and I've travelled with one of the
>people from your planet.
NYSSA: A whiny, big-mouthed tart who's completely self-
absorbed and won't hesitate to stab her friends in the back to
further her own pathetic career aspirations.
NUMBER ONE (F): (to NYSSA) Not that you're bitter or any-
>We both travelled with another man from a different world,
DIANE: (Nyssa) He also guest-starred on 'The Cosby Show' a
couple of times...
>someone called the Doctor.
>D. Sounds interesting. So, what brings you here this time?
HELEN: (Nyssa) I'm on a scavenger hunt, and item number six
is 'testicles of a nerd'. Stand very still, please...
>N. I'm out exploring, and the Doctor always liked the Earth.
>I've decided to spend some time here.
>D. You're welcome to spend some of it with me.
NYSSA: Oh, no. He's turning on the Aura of Extreme Smooth-
ness. My defenses will collapse just about...
>N. All right, if you don't mind.
HELEN: (to NYSSA, confused) Umm... That line didn't seem
all that smooth to me. How could you give in so quickly?
NYSSA: (to HELEN) The Aura of Extreme Smoothness disables
the target's brain.
>(Dave would hardly mind. When a miracle materialises in the
>corner of your office, you put everything else out of your mind.)
DIANE: That's all well and good, but what about when _Nyssa_
>D. Not at all.
>N. Would you like to see my TARDIS?
NUMBER ONE (F): (Ramsey) Never heard it called that before,
but if you show me yours, I'll show you mine.
HELEN: (to NUMBER ONE (F)) I'll take you up on that.
>(She helps him to connect "TARDIS" with the box in the
>(They enter it.)
NYSSA: (evilly) Welcome to Mistress Nyssa's House of Pain!
HELEN: (to NYSSA) You're treading on my turf there, sweetie.
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
DIANE: A swarm of anorexic honeybees.
>SCENE 4: Saturday night, the first Nyssa and Dave
NUMBER ONE (F): ...discover that it's all right for fightin'.
>(Call me fickle if it will make you feel better.
NYSSA: You're fickle. Hmm... I don't feel any better. I think
stronger language might be required.
>The story now reverts to the first pair of characters.)
>D. Is there another reason why you're here besides this thing
HELEN: ...in my pants?
>about me knowing how to use your TARDIS? We aren't about
>to be invaded by Daleks, are we?
NYSSA: (nervously) No, no. No Daleks. There are no Daleks
at all scheduled to land at 3:00 tomorrow near the edge of Otter
Lake. And they certainly aren't going to conquer the Upper Mid-
west in a space of nine days, completely shattering the might of
the US military and slaughtering thousands of inhabitants in
what will become known as 'the Culling'. Heh heh heh... No
chance of that...
>N. Not that I know of.
>D. That's the Doctor's line of work.
DIANE: What is? Not knowing?
>I'd guess that you're more inclined to listen and watch.
HELEN: (to NYSSA) Oooh. Voyeur, huh?
>(She is nodding her head.)
NUMBER ONE (F): As opposed to nodding her toes.
>Of course, there really aren't any monsters on Earth.
DIANE: Then, what is the Japanese Army for?
>N. There were monsters on the Earth I've seen.
>D. Do you happen to believe in alternative realities?
NYSSA: You mean worlds where everyone has pierced eyebrows
and silly haircuts and listens to bands that lack all understanding
of the word 'melody'?
>N. You can't have a time stream split up unless the two parts
>have only the net energy which was in the pre-split universe. If
>there are such splittings, then they must either keep splitting
>until there is only a tiny fraction of energy in each one, or they
>might recombine later with another substream. It's a necessary
>outcome of Dal Santo's Corollary to the Law of Conservation of
NYSSA: (to OTHERS) Did everyone get that? Does anyone
have any questions about today's lesson?
DIANE: [raises hand] I do.
NYSSA: Yes, Diane?
DIANE: Will this be on the test?
NYSSA: Yes, so take notes.
NUMBER ONE (F): [raises hand]
NYSSA: Go ahead, One.
NUMBER ONE (F): Wasn't the Law of Conservation of Energy
passed during the Carter administration?
NYSSA: No, and you get extra homework for asking.
HELEN: [raises hand]
HELEN: Did you ever have sex with Tegan?
NYSSA: Do you really want to know?
NYSSA: Do you _really_, _really_ want to know?
NYSSA: Are you really just completely dying to know?
HELEN: (anxiously) YES!
NYSSA: [smirks] Too bad. I'm not telling.
>D. Sounds vaguely familiar.
>N. I'd like to explore with you.
DIANE: ...my budding sexuality. Do you have any baby oil
HELEN: (to DIANE) I do!
>D. Do you want to know some of the history of the area?
>N. Yes, and I'd also like to know your own history.
NYSSA: (very flatly) Being bored gets me hot.
>After all, you already know mine.
>D. That IS unfair. What do you want to know?
NUMBER ONE (F): (Nyssa, as Peter Graves) Have you ever
been in a Turkish prison?
>N. Everything. Oh, I know... If you had a time machine, what
>would you use it for?
HELEN: (Ramsey) I'd try to become my own Grandpa.
NYSSA: To try and prove or disprove the paradox?
HELEN: (Ramsey) No. My Grandma was just really hot-looking.
>D. That sounds like a question you've asked before. It's like a
>question we ask here: what do you want to be when you grow
NYSSA: Incredibly sexy.
NUMBER ONE (F): (to NYSSA) You already are, dear heart.
NYSSA: [blushes] Awww... How sweet of you. [pats NUMBER
ONE (F) on the shoulder]
DIANE: (to NYSSA and NUMBER ONE (F)) Cut it out, you two.
It's bad enough watching one Nyssa get mushy with someone.
>N. I'd like to answer that one myself. You're right, my
>question is one that adults ask children all the time on Traken.
HELEN: (child) Ma, would you knock it off with the questions!
For the last time, I don't _know_ what I'd do with a time machine!
Sheesh! Give it a rest, already!
>Then adults keep asking it as adults.
DIANE: So, Trakens never grow out of their annoying habits?
>D. It's the same with, What do you want to be when you grow
>up? Did you keep asking it of yourself all those years on
NYSSA: No. I kept asking myself, "Why did I move to a place
where the most popular pastime is watching other peoples' limbs
>N. I kept thinking what I could do for my father if the Doctor
>came back and let me use his TARDIS for anything I wanted...
NYSSA: I could get him those golf clubs he'd been eyeing for so
>But it's your turn.
NUMBER ONE (F): (Nyssa) Just spin the cylinder, put the
muzzle to your temple, and squeeze the trigger like I did.
DIANE: (to NUMBER ONE (F)) Getting dark already?
>D. I'd use a time machine to go back and meet my father. He
>died when I was only four, and I wish I could have known him.
>When I was growing up, it was just because everyone else had a
>father. But I've learned a few things about him in recent years,
>and I think it would have been good for us both to have known
>each other. He and I may have had some things in common.
NYSSA: That's sad...
HELEN: Yeah... [sniffles]
NUMBER ONE (F): He may have had things in common with
his father? (sarcastically) Wow. What are the odds of that?
DIANE: (to NUMBER ONE (F)) Hey! This is supposed to be
an emotional moment!
NUMBER ONE (F): [shrugs] So? You said yourself I'm a bas-
tard. Although, maybe 'bitch' suits me better right now.
>N. So you also have tragedy in your past over your father.
>D. Not like yours -- your pain is a sharp one.
DIANE: (Nyssa) I could make it sharp. Where'd I put my bay-
>Mine hardly seems like pain most of the time. It's the
>knowledge that something is missing that could have been
NUMBER ONE (F): I have a similar feeling right now. [looks
down at crotch]
DIANE: (to NUMBER ONE (F)) You can't worry about the
>N. We could go back and find him.
>D. No, we can't. I can't do it. It wouldn't be right.
>N. I think I understand. I know that I shouldn't have gone
>back and watched the Master kill my father.
HELEN: Somehow, I don't think it takes a Psychology degree to
figure out that that was a bad idea.
NYSSA: I don't remember any of that. It must have been in one
of the episodes we skipped.
>D. It helped you to decide what you should do. If you hadn't
>gone back you may have always wondered if you should have
>done it anyhow.
>N. But I shouldn't have needed to.
NUMBER ONE (F): (sourly) We've discovered a new type of
fanfic: the group-therapy-fic.
NYSSA: Should we make that a sub-genre of angst-fic?
DIANE: (to NYSSA) I don't think so. Angst-fics are basically a
sub-genre of darkfics, and this one isn't dark, just mildly depress-
NUMBER ONE (F): (to DIANE) True. It's more of a dimfic.
HELEN: That's true in so many ways...
>D. Maybe you did need to. The people of Earth don't have the
>same level of technology as you do --
HELEN: We still think digital watches are a neat idea.
>we have to depend on our memories and try to deal with them
>knowing that the past is irrevocably receding ever further into
DIANE: How sad is the human condition! Woe is us!
HELEN: Woe! Woe!
NUMBER ONE (F): Yeah. [shrugs] Woe.
NYSSA: (to OTHERS) Heh heh. _Suffer_, monkey-spawn!
>You're a Time Lord, and time is different to you. We have only
>the moment, you have it all.
NYSSA: And we're not sharing, either! So neener neener
neener on you!
>N. It may all be accessible, but little is really open to us. There
> are too many places we don't dare go.
DIANE: ...because they're icky and dirty and minorities live
there who carry knives and steal your hubcaps.
>I asked the Doctor recently
NUMBER ONE (F): ...if he knew what ever happened to that
kid who played Eddie Haskell on 'Leave it to Beaver'?
>why he never went back to visit Rassilon.
HELEN: Too painful. They were together for so long, and the
breakup was so unexpected, the Doctor still hasn't gotten over
being dumped for that tramp Omega.
>It seemed like such an obvious thing to do. He shuddered and
>told me that I had better
NUMBER ONE (F): ...boobs than any woman on Gallifrey.
DIANE: [snorts] Gallifrey must be Flat City, then.
NYSSA: (to DIANE, coldly) Bigger is not necessarily better.
HELEN: Big ones are nice, but as long as there's at least a
> spend a lot of time thinking before I wandered off anywhere in
>the time stream. Later I asked again. I had no idea why he had
>reacted so strongly. He said, "You're not of Gallifrey, so
>perhaps that explains your mental block over this.
DIANE: (Doctor) Or, perhaps you're just dim.
>What do you think would happen if I went back in my TARDIS
>and met Rassilon?
HELEN: Torrid, turgid man-to-man sex, if _I_ were writing it.
NUMBER ONE (F): [looks ill]
>He had an incredibly
DIANE: ...nice butt.
>fundamental role in defining the future of Gallifrey and the
>Time Lords. It would be unlikely that I could avoid disturbing
> some future event and undo thousands upon thousands of years
>of my own people's history."
NYSSA: Yes. I can see how someone might go back and alter
history in such a way that the Time Lords evolve into a bunch of
narrow, spineless, self-centered, manipulative prats with-- Hey,
wait a minute...
>D. I can see how a Time Lord could be paranoid about
>something like that.
NUMBER ONE (F): I'm not paranoid, but the people who are
after me are.
>N. Most of the time it isn't really paranoia, just extreme
NUMBER ONE (F): ...cowardice?
NUMBER ONE (F): Same thing.
>and common sense. But true paranoia does happen, often
HELEN: ...after doing a bunch of meth.
>in waves. A group of Time Lords will try to have all TARDIS's
>recalled and destroyed.
DIANE: The group's leader is the mysterious Time Lord known
>D. That doesn't sound good.
NYSSA: Courtney Love needs to hear those words...
>N. We survive. It sounds like you don't want to go anywhere
>in my TARDIS with me.
>D. You've phrased that in a way... Ask me again.
DIANE: (Nyssa) Let me rephrase the question. What I mean is,
is that your face, or is a possum crawling down the front of your
>N. If you had a time machine, where would you go?
NUMBER ONE (F): (Ramsey) Last Tuesday, so I could pay my
phone bill on time.
>D. Anywhere, anytime, as long as you're driving.
NYSSA: And, the Aura of Extreme Smoothness kicks in again,
which means I should be saying something like...
>N. All right. We'll go somewhere. But I'd like to listen to
>more of your memories.
NYSSA: [sighs] Well, at least it wasn't "Yes! I'm all yours!
Take me now, my ferret of love!"
DIANE: (to self) "Ferret of love?"
HELEN: I'll be someone's ferret of love!
>Who needs a time machine when there are memories?
NUMBER ONE (F): (to OTHERS) I call no singing 'The Way
> Let's go find a comfortable room in my TARDIS and talk.
DIANE: [laughs] The premise for many a porno-movie scene!
HELEN and NUMBER ONE (F): (porno music) Bomp-chicka-
NYSSA: (to OTHERS) I'd be embarrassed, except that this fic
is so dull that the idea of a porn-story is an improvement.
DIANE: (to NYSSA) Suuuuure it's because you're bored...
HELEN: (announcer) John Holmes _is_ David Ramsey in
'Nyssa Does Upper Michigan'!
NYSSA: [snickers] Those squareheads couldn't survive the ride.
>D. Fine. I'll tell you what I know about my father.
>(They enter her TARDIS. The door closes and it dematerialises.)
DIANE: Thus, David Ramsey joined the ranks of UFO abductees.
HELEN: (to NYSSA) Use the anal probe on him!
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
NYSSA: (U-Boat Captain) I haf zee Allied freighters in sight!
>SCENE 5: Sunday (A blue Monza,
HELEN: "Monza"? Is that some kind of cheese?
NUMBER ONE (F): (to HELEN) No, it was a little car that GM
used to make twenty or so years ago. It was the car for people
who weren't wussy enough to drive a Vega or redneck enough
for a Camaro.
DIANE: (to NUMBER ONE (F)) Don't like GM?
NUMBER ONE (F): Nope. Always been a Chrysler man. In fact,
I was conceived in the back seat of a Plymouth Duster.
>heading north on US 41), the first Dave and Nyssa, partly
NYSSA: I wasn't feeling my usual sunny self.
>(but with large, well-defined
DIANE: I would say 'breasts', but this is Nyssa we're talking
>(Dave and Nyssa are driving out to Dave's cottage.
HELEN: (Ramsey) Gas, grass, or ass, baby! Nobody rides for
>Nyssa has not had much experience in ground vehicles.
DIANE: Not in the _front_ seat, anyway...
NYSSA: (to DIANE) You're _trying_ to provoke me, aren't you?
DIANE: [grins and nods enthusiastically]
>She is a little bit nervous whenever a car approaches from the
>other direction. She's already asked,
HELEN: "Can I get out?"
> "Why don't you have an anti-collision computer on your
>control panel?" and she looks at pedestrians as if they were mad
NUMBER ONE (F): At least _they_ aren't in a Monza.
>(They have decided to take Dave's car because the TARDIS
>would simply jump the distance, and he wanted her to see the
HELEN: (Ramsey) See, it doesn't move around and fall over
like the scenery you're used to.
>She's enjoying it.)
>(They pass one of the several abandoned shafthouses
NUMBER ONE (F): It's a bad mutha--
OTHERS: Hush yo mouth!
NUMBER ONE (F): Just talkin' 'bout shafthouse.
OTHERS: We can dig it!
>from the copper mining era.)
>D. There's another one.
> . I like the feel of history this place has.
DIANE: Huh? What happened there? Who said that?
NYSSA: I have apparently become invisible.
NUMBER ONE (F): Good thing for someone in a Monza to do.
>D. But it's recent history by your standards. A hundred years
>must seem like a trivial amount of time to you.
NYSSA: Well, the trivial amount of time I've spent with you
seems to have taken a hundred years.
>N. On Traken we don't have much of a feel for history. Our
>culture is thousands of years old, but it is stable.
HELEN: _Was_ stable, maybe.
>Things don't change very much.
NYSSA: (slightly bitter) Unless you count the whole Empire
being snuffed out like a candle as a 'change'. We know Woon
never watched 'Earthshock', and I guess we can add 'Logopolis'
>You need change in order to feel the history of life.
>D. Earth certainly had that, especially in the last 500 years.
NYSSA: A mere 500 years ago, you humans were a bunch of
greedy, stupid, illiterate barbarians who were gleefully killing
each other over minor philosophical differences. But now, many
of you can read. Hurrah for progress!
>N. In that period of time you've discovered the limits of your
>world and started to make efforts to leave it.
>D. I'm enjoying these talks, Nyssa.
NYSSA: That makes one of us.
>It's good to meet someone with a different prespective.
DIANE: So go hang out with some Expressionists.
>N. It's good for me, too.
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
HELEN: (singing) Lines, lines, eveywhere lines/Blocking out
the scenery/Breaking my mind...
>SCENE 6: Dave and Nyssa, mark II
NUMBER ONE (F): (announcer) The Nyssa Mark II, now with
European styling and a 150 horsepower V-6 engine. Available
at your local dealership.
>(Oddly enough, we also find them driving north.
NYSSA: (excited) Maybe we're finally going to see the Biggest
Ball of Twine in Minnesota!
>However, on their Sunday, it happens to be overcast and
NUMBER ONE (F): (to DIANE, puzzled) But, doesn't it _always_
snow up where you Yankees live?
DIANE: (to NUMBER ONE (F)) Not always. Chicago, for ins-
tance, has two seasons: winter and the Fourth of July.
>N. It looks like wonderful country, but it feels dark.
HELEN: (Ramsey) First-time visitors to Mordor often say that.
I've never really felt it, myself...
>D. The Keweenaw is a very moody place.
NYSSA: A grim and moody place really should have a less-
>There can be periods of bright sunshine, but it is often smothered
NUMBER ONE (F): ...in lifeless prose and dull, pointless plots.
>in heavy clouds. It's hard to believe, on a day like today, that
>the place could ever feel cheerful.
NYSSA: I know _I'm_ not likely to ever again.
>(They come out of the woods and begin driving along the lake
>shore pastthe Great Sand Bay.)
>D. This is the Great Sand Bay.
DIANE: (Nyssa) I know. I read the narration.
>The northern coastline of the peninsula is full of hidden
>navigational hazards, mostly sandy shoals and basalt reefs.
NUMBER ONE (F): Why do I suddenly feel like I'm ten years
old again and watching a filmstrip in Geography class?
>A Coast Guard buoy tender ran aground off Keweenaw Point
HELEN: James Cameron is already writing the script for the
movie they're doing about it, and Leonardo diCaprio has signed
on to play the poor-but-plucky Buoy Maintenance Technician.
>N. It's especially bleak today, isn't it?
NYSSA: Or is it just my damned and lost soul?
>I can easily picture a small vessel going down in these cold
HELEN: (Ramsey) And I can picture something else 'going
>D. It is dark today. I don't think anyone would be out there in
>the winter, but numerous ships did go down along here. The
>most notable incident would be the wreck where Douglass
NYSSA: (to DIANE) Something wrong?
DIANE: (to NYSSA) Nah. I was just kind of missing Doug.
HELEN: (to DIANE) Who...? Oh, you mean the married guy?
NUMBER ONE (F): It is kind of... different... not having him
HELEN: (to DIANE) Poor baby. I'll cheer you up! [licks lips]
DIANE: [eases away from HELEN] Now I'm _really_ starting
to miss Doug...
>Houghton drowned. He was the man who did most of the
NUMBER ONE (F) and HELEN: ...local women...
>earliest geological surveys of the region. He was the one who
>brought back word of native copper, but eventually Lake
HELEN: I like 'Titicaca' better.
>took him. That happened about eight miles back, at Eagle River.
>N. That was when it started getting dark.
>D. You're right.
NYSSA: I'm always right.
>(They drive on past the dunes of sand and snow in silence.)
DIANE: What, aside from the Geography lesson, was the point
of that scene?
NYSSA: [shrugs] What's the point of this whole fic?
[The screen fades out and the lights come back on.]
ADRIC: (voice-over) Break time! Enjoy it while you can.
ALL: About freaking time! Yay!
[All four get up and leave the theater]
[Door sequence: 1... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6...]