by Paul Gadzikowski
DOCTOR WHO series characters and concepts copyright BBC tv
THIS TIME ROUND concept by Tyler Dion, after Kielle

"Clever," conceded the Master.
The subject of his remark sat at the center of a table in This Time
Round. It was a Personal Intelligence Gathering device, an automaton of
oblong shape with three legs on wheels. On top were two triangular sensor
arrays. Protruding from its front was the front inch of a laser weapon snout.
At its back was a metal rod curled in a loop.
Its owner beamed at the compliment.
"Weapon and I/O jack on *opposite* ends," the Master went on, indicating
the snout and the curly tail, "so it can defend itself even as it hacks into
a villain's mainframe. Of course the Doctor never thought of that."
The face of the owner - Merlin, of "King Arthur in Time and Space"
( - fell. "I thought you
meant the allusion to _Hoianau_."
"Oh. Didn't see that right off. That's good too," said the Master with
no attempt at conviction. "So tell me - what are you doing here?"
"I thought you might like some sociable company," grumbled Merlin,
placing his second-best friend back on the floor.
"I meant here in This Time Round," said the Master, "not here at my
table. You're not a DOCTOR WHO character, 'Battlefield' notwithstanding.
You're not even really an adwc character. I thought your author was
disappointed with the KAITAS story he posted here and wasn't planning to post
any more of them." Fancy that one being disappointed with *anything* he
"He hasn't decided yet."
"He hasn't started on any new ones."
"It's summer. He takes summers off. Anyway, to answer your question,"
Merlin interjected hastily before the Master could argue the worth of his
sourcework any more, "I like it here. There's no where else just like it in
The Master raised both eyebrows, a clear condemnation to the seven rings
of Hyperbole for Merlin's statement. "How not?"
Merlin gave him a withering if-I-must-belabour-the-obvious-then-I-shall
glare to rival Doctor Six's. "Well," he said, "where else do people gather
who all have certain knowledge of the process by which they were created?"
"Try any fundamentalist Christian church."
Merlin rolled his eyes. "I mean, certain knowledge of their existence as
fictional characters."
"Leaving aside the obvious answer to that," said the Master, "- which is
of course the Subreality Cafe, of alt.rec.comics.creative.fanfic or whatever
it's called, on which Tyler based this place - there are countless examples
of fictional characters who make the acquaintence of their creators. John
Grimes and A. Bertram Chandler. Superman and Julius Schwartz. Any of
Heinlein's heroes who appeared in his last six novels ... which is all of
"This place is still unique," Merlin insisted, leaning forward and
pounding on the table for emphasis.
"But how?" the Master goaded calmly.
Merlin was left to grasp for a response to that only a moment before
there was the sound of a small implosion from the direction of the bar.
Noting unsurprised that the time was shift change plus five seconds, the
Master, turning to look with all the other patrons, beheld the remains of
Adric - specifically a mound of blackened bones and flesh - on the floor of
the tavern about halfway between the bar and the door. Nyssa was standing at
the far end of the bar, emitting an unabashedly orgasmic sigh. There was no
indication now of how she'd done it this time except a cracked flower pot
full of petunias sitting at the apex of the charred mass.
At the table he was sharing with the Master, Merlin got to his feet. "We
have a man," the sorceror declaimed, pointing at the small pile of Alzarian
ashes, "who is constantly being destroyed in more and more imaginative ways
and yet against all reason always returns."
"Ha," scoffed the Master. "I do that all the time in the *screen