[Door sequence: 1... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6...]
[SOL bridge interior]
[HELEN is alone on the bridge, propped against the back of the
couch and listening intently to a low murmur of voices from the
right. DOUG and DIANE enter from the left.]
DOUG: Hey, Helen. What's going on?
[HELEN shushes them and quietly motions for them to join her.]
DIANE: (softly) What's the deal, Sadie Masochism?
HELEN: (softly) I think Nyssa and Number One are about to
have a 'moment'.
DOUG: (softly, confused) A 'movement'? As in bowels? Gross!
HELEN: [whaps DOUG on the head] (softly) No, a 'moment'. One
of those tender touchy-feely things that comes right before people
DIANE: (softly) Ugh. And I just ate, too. [looks sick]
HELEN: (softly) Uh-oh. It sounds like they're coming this way.
Let's hide here and eavesdrop.
DOUG: (softly) Let's not. I'm going to go and see if I can pick up
this alleged meteor on the scanner. [exits to left]
DIANE: (softly, to HELEN) And I don't want to be in here with
you if something sexy does happen. I'm going with Doug. [exits
HELEN: (softly) Your loss, darlings. [ducks behind couch]
[NYSSA and NUMBER ONE enter from the right, talking.
NUMBER ONE has a dejected look on her face. They stand
near the couch.]
NYSSA: ...but I know that no apology I can say will make up to
you for what I've caused. The words just aren't there.
NUMBER ONE: [shrugs] Whatever.
NYSSA: [sighs] Look, I know how angry you must be with me and
I don't really blame you. I can't undo it and I'm sorry about that.
But I can try and make it up to you.
NUMBER ONE: (bitterly) How?
NYSSA: [smiles gently and takes NUMBER ONE by the hand] I
can give you something very precious. Something that I know
you've been wanting from me since we met. It won't replace what
I've taken from you, but it might be the first step of a new start for
you. [blushes] And, well, to be honest, I can't think of any person
I'd rather give it to than you...
[HELEN, still crouched behind the couch, has a look of lascivious
glee on her face.]
NUMBER ONE: [blinks rapidly] Wait, Nyssa... You don't mean...
You'd really give me...
NYSSA: [nods] Yes, I would. I want you... to have my Megumi
Hayashibara CD! [pulls CD out of coat and hands them to
[HELEN facefaults to the floor]
NYSSA: Hey! Who's behind the sofa?
[A light on the console begins to flash.]
NYSSA: Oh, nevermind, the Jerky Boys are calling. [presses light
as HELEN stands up]
[Interior back room at This Time Round]
[ADRIC stands behind the console, with his helmet and bandoliers
still on over his suit. HARRY stands in the background, cranking
an air-raid siren which wails throughout the conversation.]
ADRIC: Greetings, Wenches of Eastwick. Are those looks of
profound existential despair on your faces, or are you just
disheartened to see me? It was bad, wasn't it?
NYSSA: You could say it was bad, much like you could say
Daleks are a bit assertive.
NUMBER ONE: Even in the depths of my despair, I was still able
to feel the hurt of that one.
HELEN: Three words: death by fanwank.
ADRIC: Well, it's really only fair, isn't it? We're going to get
pasted with a meteor and suffer a new Dark Age down here, so
you lot get pasted with a fanfic and suffer an aesthetic Dark
Age up there. And to be honest, when you read the next fanfic,
you'll wonder who's getting off more lightly!
[HARRY enters from the left.]
HARRY: (to ADRIC) Francois says impact will be within the hour.
ADRIC: Thank you, Harry. Well, gang, it looks like it's time to
hunker in the bunker. And in case I never see you again, let me
leave you with this thought... [blows raspberry at screen]
THHHBBBBBPPPPTT! Now drink your fanfic to the bitter dregs!
[presses a large and conspicuous button on the console]
[Various alarms, lights, and sirens go off as three-fifths of the
normal chaos ensues.]
NYSSA and NUMBER ONE: Aaaah! We've got fanfic sign!
HELEN: (softly) ...and no sex.
[ALL run off]
[Door sequence: 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...]
[SOL Theater interior]
[All five enter the theater as usual and take their accustomed
DOUG: (to HELEN) So, did you get to see a 'moment'?
NYSSA: (to HELEN) What were you doing hiding behind the
HELEN: (nervously) Well, you see, aheh heh... Oh look, it's
[A screen in front of the five lights up and words begin to appear
>Yo kids -
ALL: (Mouseketeers) Hi, Mickey!
>first time I've posted here. I've had a request to put this
>Pre-prologue to -D_Gobs-
DIANE: Am I the only one who thinks '-D_Gobs-' sounds like a
gangsta rapper's name?
NYSSA: (to DIANE, puzzled) What I want to know is how you
pronounced an underscore...
>which first appeared the Nick Cooper's
DOUG: Not just any Nick Cooper, _the_ Nick Cooper.
>UK Fanzine "Soft Targets" in April, up on adwc ... There is a very
NUMBER ONE: ...plot.
HELEN: (to NUMBER ONE) Now, now. It isn't even started yet.
>chance that some of the info herein may constitute a spoiler for
NYSSA: The butler did it.
>(I don't think it does, though it gives away a couple of surprises
>about when it's set, for instance),
NUMBER ONE: Namely, in a leather bar just outside Little Rock in
the late afternoon of February 30th, 491 BC.
>so, if you haven't read the novel yet,
DOUG: ...you haven't made me any money, in which case eat shit
and die, you Philistine plebs.
>and don't want to know that it's set in 1970 then stop reading...
>oh damn... Look, here's the stroy...
NYSSA: A stroy! Just what I always wanted! The last one I had
DOUG: [whaps NYSSA on the head] That was just... bad. Even
by my standards.
>The Devil Goblins From Neptune
HELEN: Certainly one of the most unfortunately-chosen novel
titles ever devised.
NUMBER ONE: It's better than their original title.
HELEN: Which was...?
NUMBER ONE: _Big Boogers from Uranus_.
>By Keith Topping and Martin Day
>Blackness, as dark as ink.
DIANE: Y'know... black.
NUMBER ONE: An NBA expansion team?
DOUG: (to NUMBER ONE) No, no. All NBA teams have at least
one token inept white guy.
NYSSA: Actually, there's a theory out now that the reason why
Caucasians seem so clumsy at basketball is because all their racial
basketball-playing ability ended up concentrated in Larry Byrd.
>The occasional brilliance of a celestial body only intensified the
>shroud-like cloaking dark of space.
HELEN: Or the cloak-like shrouding dark of space. Or the dark-like
shrouding cloak of space. Or the--
DIANE: [whaps HELEN on the head]
HELEN: Thanks, I needed that. Plus, I like to feel you touching me.
[leers at DIANE]
DIANE: Yuck. [wipes hand on seat back]
>The lights sometimes seemed as if they had formed themselves
>into patterns, arbitrary and haphazard - a higgledy-piggledy
>cascade of shining dots.
NYSSA: Then, um, it wasn't really much of a pattern, was it?
NUMBER ONE: Say what you like about this story or its author,
but I admire any man who can use the term higgledy-piggledy with
a straight face.
>But it was all an illusion, created by the vast loneliness of the
DOUG: So, that means the stars are just an illusion, or what? I'm
starting to feel lost, and it's not from the 'majestic' imagery.
>But lonely, only for the time-being.
NYSSA: Some friendly roving commas were coming to keep it
>For here, hanging wordlessly in the vacinity
NUMBER ONE: 'Vacinity'?
DOUG: Yeah, vacinity. It's the place where you go to get
>of a sad-faced satellite, orbiting a blue/white planet, close to an
>insignificant star, on the spiral arm of a distant galaxy
HELEN: ...at the edge of a low-rent Universe, in an unfashionable
dimension, in a really seedy part of Creation that was supposed to
be getting some Urban Renewal projects as soon as the grant
money came through...
>something odd was about to happen.
NUMBER ONE: James Carville and Newt Gingrich were about to
perform a nude duet of 'I Got You, Babe'.
OTHERS: [try to keep from retching]
NUMBER ONE: You gotta admit, that'd be pretty damned odd.
>'Are we in time?' asked one of the travellers.
DOUG: No, you're in Iowa.
> 'Indeed,' replied her companion. 'Time being relative'. From
>the scanner of their shimmering craft, they looked out onto an
>isolated patch of space.
DIANE: It was South Sheepshag, New Zealand, to be precise.
>'There,' the male traveller.
NYSSA: I agree, fanfic. Dialogue tags are for wussies.
>'That is the place'.
NUMBER ONE: (male traveller) Now scratch.
>He paused. 'Perhaps we should not be here?' The female shook
> 'Nothing will effect history.
NYSSA: ...not even the Mis-Chosen Homonym of Rassilon.
DOUG: (to NYSSA) You do realize that you're being exceedingly
pedantic, don't you?
NYSSA: [shrugs] Can I help it if I'm smart as well as gorgeous and
>Our observations will merely confirm what has been, and what is,
>and what shall be...'
DIANE: So, if nothing can 'effect' history, and you know what's
going to happen, then your point in being there is what, exactly?
DOUG: They're in the Gallifreyan Cub Scouts and are trying to
get their 'Cryptic Pronouncements' Merit Badge.
>She gave him a look of detached curiosity,
HELEN: ...in a nicely-wrapped box...
>inclining her head slightly to one side. 'You're not normally so...'
>She paused, looking for the right word,
NUMBER ONE: Sober?
>'I have nightmares about this sometimes' replied the male.
NUMBER ONE: (male traveller) In it, I'm back at Patrexes, about
to take my final exams, when I suddenly realize that I'm naked
except for the Nipple Clip of Rassilon. Then Borusa turns into a
big Rottweiler and chases me into this tunnel made of glazed
>'If anything should go wrong...'
> 'Nothing can or will go wrong, Drax.
DIANE: ('Jeopardy' contestant) I'll take 'Famous Last Words' for
>What was was, what is is...'
DOUG: File that one under 'Profound Three Bong-Hit Revelations'.
> 'You scare me, Flavia' said Drax harshly.
HELEN: He's seen her without makeup.
>'There are elements to this game that are bigger than you, me, or
NUMBER ONE: Rosie O'Donnell's head, just to name one.
>Flavia laughed, dismissively. 'You're a melodramatic clown.
DIANE: That's the next grade after 'sad clown' in Clown College.
>The universe is pre-ordained, every mewling time-tot knows that.'
DOUG: Wow. Who'd have thought the Time Lords were all
>Her eyes moved, suddenly, sensing movement in the thick
NYSSA: The first of the wandering commas had arrived.
>'Ah,' she said lightly, 'an arrival.'
>From the outer reaches of the Solar System, alien eyes surveyed
>the swirly splash of blue/white before them.
NUMBER ONE: A starbird had crapped on their windshield as
they emerged from Hyperspace.
>Eyes as cold and cruel as
NYSSA: [grins at DIANE] Flattery will get you nowhere.
>the methane ice that shrouded their distant world.
HELEN: A world locked in an endless tundra of frozen farts...
>'If the Waro should gain a foothold on Sol 3, the entire future
>history of this quadrant would be violently effected' said Drak
DOUG: When did Drak show up?
HELEN: [shrugs] Maybe he's the one who just came in from the
>indicating towards the oddly-shaped mother ship heading slowly
>towards the blue/white world. 'You've never seen a slash in
DIANE: (Drak) They save nine, for your information.
>I have - it's horrific,
NUMBER ONE: He _has_ seen some slash, then...
HELEN: [whaps NUMBER ONE on the head] There's nothing
wrong with a little slash fiction...
NUMBER ONE: True, but there's a _lot_ wrong with _most_
>the ripples it creates can destroy worlds, solar systems,
DOUG: That'd be a neat trick, seeing as how the stars in a given
constellation may not be in actual proximity to one another at all,
being that constellations are defined based on the view from a
given fixed point--
NYSSA: (to DOUG, interrupting) Who's being pedantic now?
>He bit his lip,
NUMBER ONE: ...then told everybody he felt their pain.
>angry that his words were falling on the deaf ears of his senior
>colleague. 'Flavia listen...'
> She finally dragged her fascinated attention away from the tiny
>scenario developing outside the TARDIS.
DIANE: The Smurfs and the Borrowers were battling it out for
>'Your just a pusillanimous, faint-hearted sheboogan
DOUG: That's a Shobogan from Wisconsin.
>when all is said an done, Drax, aren't you? A craven wretch who
>should be thrown to the dogs in the outlands.'
NUMBER ONE: (Flavia, as Franz) You ahre a little girlie-man
HELEN: (Flavia, as French knight) Your mother was a hamster and
your father smelled of elderberries! I fart in your general direction!
DOUG: (Flavia, as Gunnery Sergeant Gerheim) Are you a homo,
Private Drax?! Are you a peter-puffer?! You look like you could
suck a golf ball through a garden hose!
>Her face screwed up into a sneer. 'Coward.'
> 'You wound me, Flavia. I've seen things you'll never see.'
DIANE: (Drax) I've seen England. I've seen France. I've seen
> 'And it has made you weak. The Panopticon has no time for
NYSSA: (Flavia) It has pickle jars that must be opened and
furniture that needs rearranging.
> She turned back to the scanner just as a sleek white projectile
>moved into frame from the direction of Earth. 'These humans,'
>Flavia continued with a delighted giggle,
NUMBER ONE: Yeesh! If she was an animal, she'd be a bipolar
>'they really are developing.
NYSSA: [glances at HELEN's chest] And some have developed
a bit _too_ much.
HELEN: [winks at NYSSA] Jealous, darling? You know I'm willing
>Given them a couple of hundred thousand years they
>might even have reached our level. That's if they don't blow
>themselves up before then.
NYSSA: Dr. Streetmentioner was right. Time travel really does
play Hell with verb tenses.
DOUG: Shifting tenses without a clutch...
>Interplanetary travel! Ha, what next?!'
DIANE: (bitterly) And thirty years after we set foot on the Moon,
we have... the Clapper, self-flushing toilets, and 'Waterworld' on
> 'They're reaching out to the stars, Flavia. And, meanwhile, the
>stars are coming to them.
DOUG: It's the auditions for 'Celebrity Boxing'.
NYSSA: (to DOUG) One thing that never ceases to amaze me
about you humans is that for every step your technology takes
forward, your taste in entertainment takes two steps back.
DIANE: Case in point, this show...
>In great numbers. They know, Flavia. They know how important
>Earth is to the programme.
HELEN: The whole UNIT arc depended on it.
DOUG: There is. A season. Turn. Turn. Turn.
>Every race with a penchant for megalomania this side of
>Andromeda knows that too. We've a moral duty to warn
NYSSA: [snorts] Since when has _Drax_ had morals?
NUMBER ONE: He's always had them. They're bright and shiny
and still in the box where they've never been used.
> 'How? Arrive in the burning bush and say 'Take me to your
NUMBER ONE: (TV evangelist) And the people of Moses replied,
"Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!" Yes they did, brothers and sisters!
>Flavia laughed again. 'That's been tried before.'
> 'So what do we do then?' asked Drax forcefully.
HELEN: Aww, Mummy bought Little Mr. Cringey-Whingey a
spine for Christmas.
> 'We let them look after themselves. With a little bit of outside
>help, of course.'
NYSSA: Then, um, you aren't really letting them look after
themselves, are you?
>She nodded towards the screen as a tiny shape from the mother
>ship, broke off heading towards the Earth-rocket.
NYSSA: ...knocking the comma back two places from the recoil.
DIANE: (to NYSSA) How many of those comma gags are you
going to make?
NYSSA: (to DIANE) How many line jokes did we do when we
riffed 'Stories of Nyssa'?
DIANE: [thinks for a moment] Er, never mind. Carry on.
>'Isn't it fascinating.
NUMBER ONE: Not really, no. Oh, were you talking to Drax?
>They're such 'evil' little creatures. So much hatred.
DOUG: (announcer) Next on the Fox Network: 'When Midgets
>So much anger, so well channelled.'
> 'I'm pleased you find them so entertaining,' said Drax
NUMBER ONE: I'm pleased somebody finds something here
>turning away, disgusted, from the screen as the tiny shape
>impacted with the rocket, causing a soundless explosion.
DOUG: (astronaut) Houston, I think we just hit another chunk of
the Mir station.
HELEN: The Mir station -- proof positive that you can fix
_anything_ with duct tape.
> 'I shall report your insolence to the Lord President at the next
>Prydonian assembly' said Flavia arrogantly,
NUMBER ONE: (Flavia, as child) I'm going to tell! I'm going to
tell! Neener neener neener!
>'I'm sure he will devise a punishment suitably inventive and
NYSSA: (Lord President) Cardinal Zorac, put Drax in... the Comfy
OTHERS: (muttering) The Comfy Chair...? The Comfy Chair...!
> 'I'm sure he will' replied Drax, crushed.
DIANE: Man, what is with these two?! Their moods swing like
Helen backstage with the band!
HELEN: (offended) Hey! I just like to spread a bit of joy, is all!
NYSSA: (muttering) Joy's not all she spreads...
HELEN: [pouts] I'm hurt! What makes you think I'm that kind of
OTHERS: (in chorus) Because you tell us you're that kind of girl.
HELEN: (embarrassed) Um, oh yeah... Heh...
>'What happens now?'
> 'Now? Now?' said Flavia.
DOUG: Hell of an echo in that TARDIS...
>'Now, my dear Drax, we leave this situation to the Doctor to do
>what he was sent to do.
NUMBER ONE: You mean wander around aimlessly for 150 pages
while providing convenient unsubtle places to make references to
the various people in fandom that the author either likes or hates,
before finally pulling a plot device out of his dimensionally-
transcendent posterior to save the day?
DIANE: (to NUMBER ONE) ...not that you get bitter, or anything,
>Protect the planet.' She paused as the TARDIS's communication
>relay crackled with static. 'Interesting...' she continued.
> 'What is?' asked Drax through gritted teeth.
DIANE: (Flavia) The way your mood changes every time you get
to say a line.
> 'The Earthmen on that primitive space vehicle, they appear to
>be sending a distress signal. I imagine the Waro explosive device
>had caused considerable damage to their life-systems.'
NYSSA: The blast was severe enough to knock verb tenses out of
alignment for miles around.
> 'What are we going to do?' asked Drax.
> 'We? We?
HELEN: (Drax) You should've done that before we left.
>we shall do nothing. This is no concern of ours. Maybe
>your CIA friends...'
DOUG: Jack Ryan?
DIANE: Felix Leiter?
NUMBER ONE: Darius Jedburgh?
NYSSA: (to NUMBER ONE) You're really going for obscurity
points today, aren't you?
> 'But they'll die,' screamed Drax, red-faced with frustration.
DIANE: [applauds] Way to go, Draxxie! He's actually kept the
same approximate mood across two consecutive paragraphs!
> 'Do you show such concern at the helix-beetle you step on
>each day in the Capitol?
HELEN: He stomps a bug every day? Sounds like he has some
issues to deal with.
NYSSA: That, plus his mood swings... Next thing you know, we'll
be seeing police tape around his apartment and his neighbors on
telly talking about how quiet and unassuming he was.
>What was was, what is is...' She looked back at the screen, as the
>rocket and the Waro mother ship continued in opposite
DOUG: If a rocket ship leaves point A travelling at 20,000 miles per
hour and a Waro mother ship leaves point B travelling at 35,000
miles per hour and points A and B are 200,000 miles apart, at what
point will the readers decide to give the whole story a miss?
>'Another problem for the Doctor to justify his continued
>existence, perhaps,' she said brightly. 'He has evaded his
>responsibilities for too long.'
DOUG: (Drax) What's this I hear about you not letting your
stepdaughter go to the Prince's ball?
NUMBER ONE: (Flavia, angrily) What was that, you pathetic
DOUG: (Drax) [cringes] Nothing, Mistress Flavia...
> From the communication relay came the muffled voice of
>those on the rocket. 'We've got a problem here.'
DIANE: Two words for ya: Tang vomit.
> 'Say again 13?'
> 'Houston, we have a problem'.
NYSSA: (astronaut, as child) Swigert keeps looking at me and
Lovell won't stay on his side!
> 'We shall leave them to it' said Flavia, flicking
NUMBER ONE: ...a booger...
>off the device. 'We have more important things to worry about.'
HELEN: You know, it's bitchy martinets like her that give all us
dominating alpha-females a bad name.
DIANE: (to HELEN) You already have a bad name. I've given you
HELEN: (to DIANE, giggling) You're so cute when you're playing
DIANE: [hands HELEN a coin] Here's a quarter. Use it to buy a
NUMBER ONE: Well, that certainly made me want to go buy the
DOUG: That made you want to go buy a copy of _Devil-Goblins
NUMBER ONE: No, a copy of Kevorkian's _Final Exit_.
[The lights come back on and ALL get up and leave the theater.]