MSTed: SELA 3/4
by PAUL GADZIKOWSKI
MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATRE 3000 series characters and concepts copyright Best
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION series characters and concepts copyright
DOCTOR WHO series characters and concepts copyright BBC tv
THIS TIME ROUND conceived by Tyler Dion, after Kielle
SHOCK VALUE characters by BKWillis
BOOK OF TALIESIN by Helen Fayle
KING ARTHUR IN TIME AND SPACE is mine.
[SCENE: This Time Round. ADRIC is behind the bar. It is a slow night
and there are only a few patrons, all lined up at the bar: DOCTOR THREE;
PERI; Space KING ARTHUR at about fifty in sort-of Captain Kirk's movie
uniform; Space KING ARTHUR at about twenty in sort-of Captain Archer's
uniform; the Bradleyard's sidekick LYDIA; and VIVIENNE of the Book of
[All have been reading off of a bigscreen tv presently in use as a
computer monitor. But right now there's a progress bar on it, while
ADRIC types uselessly at a keyboard behind the bar.]
ADRIC Looks like the next chapter's going to take awhile, guys.
VIVIENNE So, there's no KING ARTHUR IN TIME AND SPACE version of this story?
OLD ARTHUR No. The analog to Picard in my universe is a much more obscure
character whom the authors believes less interesting to a general
readership, or at least finds less interesting himself.
YOUNG ARTHUR Which is why he gave Jonathan Archer's lines to me, instead of
to an historolegendary figure from a century before Arthur that he had
been thinking of.
OLD ARTHUR Exactly.
LYDIA Now how's this time anomaly thing work again?
DOCTOR THREE In the TNG episode 'Yesterday's Enterprise', Tasha Yar -
LYDIA Not Sela's time anomaly! Why are there two Space Arthurs now? In words
that actually appear in a dictionary, please.
OLD ARTHUR The KING ARTHUR IN TIME AND SPACE premise was created when
'crossover guy' globally replaced my name for Kirk's, and Merlin's for
the Doctor's, and so forth, in one of his WHO/TREK crossovers. Then
Hercules for Superman, Robin Hood for Captain Sisko, Achilles for
Hawkeye and so forth in other crossovers.
YOUNG ARTHUR Then ENTERPRISE came along, to be set a hundred years before
Kirk. Now our guy had to decide how he could meet the Doctor with Archer
without blowing his fanfiction crossovers' continuity, which had always
stated that Christoper Pike was the Doctor's first Enterprise captain.
OLD ARTHUR On the other hand, *screen* continuity was already out the window
with ENTERPRISE. E.g., Klingons with forehead ridges. That greased the
way for the conclusion that ENTERPRISE is set in an alternate history.
YOUNG ARTHUR Which conclusion is only reinforced by this 'temporal cold war'
story arc in the ENTERPRISE *screen canon*.
OLD ARTHUR Given all this mucking about with canonical history - or
historical canon - onscreen and behind, once the first WHO/ENT crossover
was drafted there was no reason *not* to make the KAITAS version an
alternate history, not of a new set of characters, but of the very
characters for love of whom the universe was created in the first place.
YOUNG ARTHUR So in his "imaginary screen canon notes", the series EXCALIBUR
is a remake of the series KING ARTHUR IN TIME AND SPACE rather than a
prequel of it as ENTERPRISE is to STAR TREK. But, in the "fanfiction",
EXCALIBUR is an altered history that Merlin and his people are trying to
repair or even revert.
DOCTOR THREE I'm awash with nostalgia. It used to be that promos for his
other posts were all the TTRs this fellow wrote.
PEERI Or - the kind I was usually in - 'sexual innuendo like an alt-drabble'.
DOCTOR THREE [nods] Of course that was back in the day when he wasn't the
only regular adwc poster remaining who remembers what an alt-drabble
LYDIA What's an alt-drabble?
ADRIC In one of the first round-robin IAs there was an alternate universe
where, for example, the Roberts Master was a crossdresser, and Mel was a
megalomanic dominatrix, and so forth.
PERI My counterpart died on Androzani because that Doctor was a selfish pig.
VIVIENNE I don't remember whether we ever saw Sarah Jane there.
LYDIA Oh, you do just fine. You had a tumble each of the first two chapters
in 'Invisible City'.
PERI The hero *and* the villain.
YOUNG ARTHUR Both? You're a bloody Mary Sue, you are.
[Everyone else freezes where they're sitting, VIVIENNE with hooded eyes
on young ARTHUR.]
YOUNG ARTHUR [not unrattled] What?
OLD ARTHUR Er, Adric?
ADRIC Story's back up, guys.
> SELA 3/4
> by PAUL GADZIKOWSKI
> STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION series characters and concepts copyright
> Paramount Pictures
> DOCTOR WHO series characters and concepts copyright BBC tv
> Chapter 3
> Personal log, objective-displaced stardate 36939.1: Trying
> if at all possible to avoid a predestination paradox at Narendra
> III while yet preserving Commander Sela's history, I witnessed
> several brutal prisoner executions. Unfortunately, Tasha Yar would
> apparently require some persuasion before she would cooperate in
> that history - for she seemed determined to be the next prisoner
> "NO!" cried Picard, breaking cover and charging the tableau.
> He was halfway to the formation before the soliders reacted. The instant
> they started running at him he pulled up short and raised his hands in
> surrender, but one of them clubbed him with a rifle butt anyway.
LYDIA [Romulan] If it weren't for you I wouldn't be in this story!!
> They dragged him to Toranus without troubling to discover whether he'd
> be willing to cover the distance unassisted. The Enterprise-C officers had
> recognized him, but even Tasha hadn't called out his name. Or, more
> importantly, his rank - if the Romulans knew they had a starship captain,
> there would be no offer of options for Picard. Especially if they discovered
> he was from the future. That must be avoided at all costs (but the Doctor
> must know this as well as Picard, so Picard wasn't unduly worried about it).
> At least he wasn't in uniform.
> But Yar was obviously more affected at the sight of him than the other
> officers, and Toranus didn't miss it. "A civilian carried into battle? That's
ADRIC Is it? How else would a civilian go?
> Who is he, my dear?"
> "He's - a scientist, taking passage to Starbase 105," Yar stuttered,
> then blurted, "He's my father." A masterful lie, Picard realized - an
> apparent attempt at a protective half-truth, and then a cover story that
> sufficiently explained her reaction to Picard and his interest in her,
> without telling Toranus the truth they didn't want him to know.
> "A very good scientist, I'll warrant," said Toranus, turning to Picard,
> "if he has intelligence enough to avoid my patrols. Tell me, scientist, how
> did you get off your ship undetected?"
> "I - er, panicked." Picard allowed his horror of the executions to put a
> tremor in his voice. "I set a transporter so that the beam would be masked by
> phaser subspace disruption."
> "You would make a fine addition to Romulan society," Toranus purred;
> "that is, of course, if a certain person's recalcitrance were to yield and
> permit it." He looked back at Yar. "But then, your sudden presence here with
> her, when she must have thought you lost on the ship,
PERI [Picard] I wasn't lost! I was just taking a walking tour.
> must add an entire new
> dimension to the situation for her." When neither Yar nor Picard responded he
> sighed. "I really can't allow such a family tragedy, if it can possibly be
> prevented. I will give you an hour to discuss it. These two," he said to the
> petty officer, "find some hovel that's still standing and lock them in."
> Two of the mop-up squad remembered a still standing, small, one-room
> building near the compound perimeter. The magnetic lock on the door was,
> without power, useless, but it was the only door. When the guards shut it on
YOUNG ARTHUR ... he opened it again a moment to let them through this time.
> Picard noted that all exterior noise was cut off. There was one window,
> and the only illumination was indirect light from the setting sun.
> "Permission to speak freely?" Yar wouldn't have asked that if she hadn't
> also noticed that the building was soundproof.
> "Always," said Picard, as he always said the first time each of his
> officers asked. For some reason it threw her - but only for a second.
> "What the hell are you doing here? Sir?" she exploded. "I thought you
> weren't all that happy that *I* was going."
> Noting that Yar *had* volunteered to board the -C, Picard said, "I'll
> explain what I can. I'm here to make sure you're safe."
> "Why me? Why let those other people die?"
> "Well," said Picard, "you had temporal mechanics at the Academy, didn't
LYDIA [Yar] No, they tended to go for brunettes.
> Picard had meant it as a rhetorical question. "It's required!"
> "Not when I was there. I don't even remember whether it was offered."
> Of course. That recently in this Yar's timeline, Starfleet Academy would
> have devolved into basic training camp. "Well, that will make this a little
> more difficult. You're aware that sending the Enterprise-C back through space
> and time will have created a new history between this time and that?"
> "I thought that was the idea."
> "I'm not the Captain Picard you knew. I'm from the other history."
> Suddenly Yar was breathing heavily. "Did it work?"
> "Yes." Lightly as he needed to tread, he thought it was safe to say
> that. More than safe, necessary: Yar would need to know that there were
> Yar loosed a long breath. In the failing light Picard saw her lean
> backwards against the table that was the room's only furniture. "No Klingon
ADRIC Not till DS9 anyway.
> Picard shook his head. "An alliance. A Klingon serves on the
OLD ARTHUR In the galley.
VIVIENNE And he has to sit in the back.
> That startled her. Then she laughed. "Why not? ... So are you here to
> take me home?"
> Of course that would be her first thought. But Picard hadn't realized.
> When he said, "No," it came out choked.
PERI I'd'a thought she'd'a started choking him *after* he said that.
> She went perfectly still. He could barely make out her silhouette,
> certainly not her face. When she spoke next it was emotionlessly. "What,
> "You must go with General Toranus," said Picard in a low voice.
> "What does he want with me?"
LYDIA You don't know? Isn't it obvious?
> Yar asked, and now she couldn't keep the
> emotion from her voice. "Why is he so determined to have me?"
LYDIA "Have" you? You *do* know.
> "I don't know. But it's part of the history of the event, and deviating
> from that history in any way could unravel that history."
> "Can you tell me what happens to me?" Her voice almost, but not quite,
> "I may not. I mustn't risk influencing your future actions one way or
> another. Tasha ..." He trailed off, only now realizing the enormity of what
> he was demanding of her. In five years she would be executed - what would she
> think of Picard on that day?
> "You're not my Jean-Luc Picard," Yar said, her voice strong again. "You
> let yourself feel." Nothing he or the Doctor had extrapolated about the
> alternate history had told Picard of its harshness as effectively as this
> simple statement. "I'll do what you want. I know the history you come from
> needs to be. That's why I came."
> "Thank you," said Picard simply. She came out of the now complete
> blackness and put her arms around him. He hugged her back.
> Picard realized he was exhausted. "I hope you won't think it rude of me
> if I take a nap. It was just bedtime when the Doctor brought me here through
> "Beverly's here too?"
OLD ARTHUR Like daughter, like mother.
> "Uh, no - someone else."
> "Oh. Well, all right. I could use forty winks myself."
> "On one condition," Yar said.
> "Condition?" Toranus didn't appear surprised.
> "You were prepared to kill us all when I'd chosen to die. Fair's fair:
> If I've chosen to live, we all live." She motioned to the other prisoners,
> still in formation.
> Toranus looked at her a long moment in the beam of his handlight -
> all the Romulans were carrying them, against the night - making up his mind,
> or trying to make her squirm, or both. Finally he nodded. "Load them into
> the shuttle," he ordered the petty officer, "all but the scientist."
> "No!" Yar shouted. That was how Toranus would expect her to react,
> though Yar didn't actually know what was supposed to happen to Picard next.
> For that matter, Picard wasn't exactly clear in his mind on it either.
DOCTOR THREE It might have something to do with that THIS IS A DOCTOR WHO
YOUNG ARTHUR Oh hey, I'd forgotten.
> "Now my dear, I want my engineers to learn how he masks transporter
> beams, and what else he can tell them." Toranus' patience cracked just a
> little, and the man who had unconcernedly killed defenseless prisoners
> showed through. Yar quieted. "Your new position, as you must have realized,
> is not of a technical nature."
> Abruptly Picard realized he had *seen* Romulans use the transporter
> trick he'd described to Toranus: two years before/twenty-two years from now,
> at Easter Station.
VIVIENNE Let's hear it for author self-reference.
> If that was an element of the predestination paradox - if
> the Romulans had developed the methodology because a civilian engineer off
> the Enterprise-C had told them it was possible - then Picard *had* chosen the
> correct course through the minefield of this temporal paradox, at least as
> far as until his interview with Toranus.
> Come to that, both Sela and twenty years' rumors had said that there
> were many prisoners taken at Narendra III. And Yar had just successfully
> negotiated for the lives of the others, without any coaching from Picard.
> This too suggested that Picard's interference here and now had ensured,
> rather than overwritten, the history he'd come from.
> So he was able to give Yar a genuine smile as he said, "Don't worry
> about me, Tasha. You've already saved me, and all of us."
> She smiled at him, and at his double meaning. "You have the soul of a
ADRIC Told you he was a poet.
> "I've been told," he called after her as the guards began shoving her
> toward the personnel shuttle.
> "'Saved' us from an honorable death!" complained a Klingon as the other
> prisoners were marched off. Several of the Klingons seemed to be trying to
> goad the guards into accomodating Klingon honor, but the guards had their
> orders. What finally happened to the other Enterprise-C officers Picard never
> knew, but he later learned from Worf that the Narendra survivors were sent to
> a secret mixed Romulan-Klingon colony, founded partially by survivors of the
> attack at Khitomer that had killed Worf's parents.
> Through kindness or cruelty
VIVIENNE They're so similar.
> Toranus allowed Picard to watch the boarding
> until Yar was out of sight. Then he said to an aide, "Call for beamup."
> "Not quite yet," came a soft voice from the darkness. Picard had been
> expecting it. The Doctor strolled into the Romulans' lightbeams.
> "Doctor!" said Toranus, bowing and looking pleased. At least Picard's
> universal translator rendered the exclamation as "Doctor"; context making it
> obviously this being, known to the u.t. as Doctor, whom Toranus addressed.
> But Picard recognized the the actual Romulan title the general had uttered.
> It was their word meaning 'sorceror' or 'wizard'.
> "I am General Toranus." The Romulan introduced himself as the Time Lord
> came to a halt in front of him and Picard. So they were not personally
> acquainted - yet Toranus had recognized the Doctor, and the Doctor had known
> he would. "Be pleased, Doctor. Today the Tradition of Dorek has made more new
> Romulan patriates than on any other single occasion in the two hundred years
> since you persuaded Dorek to it.
OLD ARTHUR So that's how the Doctor knows Romulans don't execute all
> Excepting only those occasions as you
> personally have been present, of course."
> "Wonderful," said the Doctor. "I hope the record still stands without
> that one." He pointed at Picard.
> "I don't understand," said Toranus with undisguised disingenuousness.
> "He's with me," said the Doctor, his tone uncompromising almost to the
> point of threat.
> Whatever hold the Doctor had over Toranus - over Romulans - was
PERI But what is it?
DOCTOR THREE As yet unwritten.
> Liking it or not, the general instantly turned to Picard to dismiss
> him. "Scientist, you have friends in high places. Farewell." He bowed to the
> Doctor and nodded to his aide, and the officers beamed out quickly - making
> good their escape, Picard imagined, before the Doctor could demand any more
YOUNG ARTHUR A shrubbery!
DOCTOR THREE And two scrambled eggs.
DOCTOR THREE Make that three scrambled eggs.
> The Doctor ignited a lightbeam of his own as the sound of the shuttle's
> takeoff roared and then faded in the night. "Let's get out of here," he
> "'Scientist'?" the Doctor asked when they were again safe in the TARDIS.
> "'Sorceror'?" asked Picard.
> "'Alchemist' is a better rendition, actually," said the Doctor, hooking
> his umbrella on the coatstand and dropping his hat on the flat top of the
> console central column, "with its connotations of manipulating physical
> properties rather than exclusively supernatural ones. Romulans are brothers
> to Vulcans, you know."
VIVIENNE Oh, yes: Vulcans are neurologically predisposed to logical thought
as of 'Who Watches the Watchers' 1991 - notwithstanding their millenia
of pre-Surak history of unfettered emotion and violence that the
Romulans broke away in order to continue.
> Trying not to sound accusatory, Picard went on, "Doctor, Starfleet is
> unaware that you're on such good terms with the Romulans."
> "Human ethnocentrism can still surprise me," chuckled the Doctor by way
> of dismissing the subject. "Well, did you learn what you came to learn?"
> "Yes. Sela was right," said Picard, "though she misunderstood, or
> misspoke, or misled me on the detail. I didn't send Tasha onto the
> Enterprise-C as Sela said three months ago - but I sent her along with
> Toranus. Sela's existence *is* my responsibility."
> "I did try to warn you," said the Doctor. Picard had long since
> identified this as the Time Lord idiomatic equivalent to 'I told you so'.
> "Well, back to the Enterprise."
> "No," said Picard.
> That took the Doctor a moment to register before he looked up from his
> controls. "Pardon me?"
YOUNG ARTHUR What part of 'no' didn't you understand?
> "According to Starfleet Intelligence, Sela's treason trial for her
> failed plan to invade Vulcan ought to have been going on at the same time as
> I boarded the TARDIS. That's where we're going now."
> The Doctor reacted to Picard's announcement with less than aplomb. "I'm
> a Time Lord, not a taxi service!"
OLD ARTHUR Ought've said, "I'm a Doctor, not ..."
> "And in your capacity as a Time Lord you warned me that I must accept
> the consequences of my responsibility," Picard reminded him. "That means
> acting on my responsibility, and I intend to act on it."
> "You don't need the TARDIS to get you there -"
> "Oh, but I do. To the Romulans I'm a high-ranking representative of an
> unfriendly power. There's no way to get to Romulus through proper channels
> before it's too late. Blasting my way there with the Enterprise is
> unacceptable and, even if it worked, still might not be fast enough.
> "But with the TARDIS I can arrive at the precise time and place I need
[ALL but DOCTOR THREE burst into laughter.]
> without any interference. And under the protection of 'the Alchemist', I
> daresay I can say my piece and leave without being locked up as an enemy of
> the state."
> "But -"
> "And while we're on the subject of responsibility, surely the originator
> of the Tradition of Dorek has as much to do with this situation as I."
> "But what do you hope to accomplish?"
> "I intend to plead Sela's defense and clear her of treason," said
> END OF CHAPTER THREE