Murder in This Time Round

Wil looked up from his ale when he heard the scream.

'Okay, everybody keep calm,' said a cultured female voice
from the other end of the bar. 'I'm sure that there is
nothing whatsoever to be alarmed about.'

He harrumphed and looked back down at his pint. "Typical,"
he muttered.

"Typical of what?" asked the young man sitting next to Wil.

"Typical of Bernice to get herself involved in these things.
Every time the Doctor's not around, and there's some sort of
emergency, she'll just leap in there and try to assume
control. Not that I mind, of course, but I'm not in the
mood for it. I just want a quiet pint. I'm sure you
understand, Adric"

"They won't serve me alcohol," was Adric's reply.

Bernice, meanwhile had left the bar to investigate the
screaming from the back rooms of the inn.

"You see," continued Wil to an attentive Adric, "the problem
is that she thinks that just because she's got a whole book
series to herself, that she's, like, a better companion.
But she's not. No more validity than the rest of us. No
more validity at all."

Bernice returned to the bar, flanked by two of the Aces -
one in tight leather, the other in the uniform of the
provisional wing of the Prydonian army. Behind them, Mel
followed, sobbing.

"Oh! It was Mel screaming. I should have guessed. She
probably saw an amusingly shaped vegetable," suggested
Adric. Wil snorted.

"Okay," said Bernice, "I'm afraid to say that there's been a
rather brutal and un-necessary murder and nobody gets to
leave here until I find out who did it."

Wil checked his watch. "Better make it quick," he shouted.
"I'm due back in Revolutionary Russia!"

"And I've got to change back into a penguin later," said a
small, oval headed gentleman that Wil didn't recognise.

"Ace and Ace will take statements from everyone," continued
Bernice, unperturbed. "And maybe later you can go about
your business."

"I wonder who's dead," said Adric, idly sucking the cherry
on a stick out of his Shirley Temple. "I hope it's not
Nyssa. Her exotic cabaret's due on later."

Mel had fallen into the comforting arms of Barbara Wright,
and Polly was fetching an extra-strong carrot juice to help
calm her nerves. Bernice stood by the door, arms folded,
looking very stern. The Aces worked their way gradually
around the room, taking statements. The leather-clad Ace
was using a gun and a notepad to ensure co-operation while
the other Ace was using a portable mind probe.

"Hello," said the Doctor as he arrived. He surveyed the
scene with a cautious air, one hand rubbing the cat badge on
his lapel as he did so. "What's going on here?"

"Someone murdered Peri," explained Bernice. "Shaved her
head, took over her mind, and shot her a lot. The mess is
through in the ladies washroom, and it's not pretty."

"Oh!" said the Doctor. "I wouldn't worry about that. She'll
get over it. Happens all the time."