Split Infinitives
A TTR fiction-thingy


Pelleas looked up from his hand at the first crack of distant
thunder. The loud boom was soon followed by a slight jolt of
rolling concussion, which rattled the 'Round's walls and caused a
few glasses to fall to the floor.

Yellow-clad Adric jerked up from his hand, his eyes darting
across the room in pure survival reflex. The knight, however,
put a hand on the younger one's shoulder. "Relax." Pelleas
reassured him. "I took the liberty of inviting another friend

Suit-Adric considered for a moment, then came to a conclusion.
"Let me guess." he said, carefully regarding the evidence and the
distant but distinct engine-roar that was steadily growing in
intensity, "That was just a hyperspace transition in atmosphere,

Pelleas nodded. "I thought it would be appropriate to invite him
along as well, all things considered."

"Thought so. He'd be the only one of us crazy enough to do
something like that."

Coyote looked at the others, not quite following. Being the
newest of the bunch and having a far different background story
than the others, there were still some frustrating gaps to his
knowledge base. He was about to ask who it was they were talking
about, but the roar from outside had by now grown so loud that
any further conversation would have been futile. So,
regretfully, he held his tongue.

Outdoors, the parking lot was becoming bathed in lights, and the
ghostly outline of what looked like the landing-gear extended
underside of a starship slowly began to settle. As it came down,
the engines roared one last time, then declined to a low,
receding hum as hydraulics and gear groaned under the weight of
the vehicle above. The back-lit, ominous outline of a quad-
barrel gun-turret, making one last check that no unfriendlies
were present, rotated from one periphery to the other as the ship
settled and the dust came down. Finally, the turret stopped it's
circuit, and a ramp descended from the belly of the ship to the
ground below.

Four people stepped down the walkway.

The first to enter was a short, blonde-haired woman wearing a
dark-navy jacked emblazoned with a blue-star-on-red-shield
shoulder patch. From the pub doorway she looked furtively around
the establishment, but then seemed disappointed about something,
as if someone she had expected to be there was strangely absent.
Behind her and on her heals was a man, brown haired and about a
head taller than she. Like the woman, he too wore the same style
of dark-navy jacket with the same stylized shoulder insignia.
The two paused in the doorway, looked at each other uneasily,
then stepped forward toward the bar. Behind them was a third
individual, a sandy-haired young man of no more than late-teens;
upon entering the pub he opened his mouth as if to say something,
but was cut short by a swift crushing of the toes by the blonde-
woman's foot. All three of them settled in bar stools while
Harry began to take their orders.

The fourth member, however, entered a few steps and several
moments behind the previous three. He wore an outfit which
fairly approximated a ribbed flight suit but which was all black,
with no insignia whatsoever except the twin gold pips on his
collar indicating an owner-captain. His facial features were
similar to the four now sitting and playing cards, although he
tended more toward the older, weathered look of Pelleas rather
than the younger smooth-faced look of the youths. Like the
others, his hair too was jet black, but cut very short. Unlike
the others, an old scar ran from forehead to chin-and-below on
the right side of his face.

He took one long, emotionless glance around the room, noting
carefully many of the faces present, before fully stepping

As they all finished up the hand, Pelleas raised his arm in a
slow wave, marking their spot for the black-clad man. "Friend
tel-Varesh!" he shouted. "Over here!"

Coyote looked the newcomer over from head to foot as he
approached. "So who the hell's his tailor?" he sneered. "Leiji

Tel-Varesh returned with a cold, Eastwood-like glare. "So who
the hell's your tailor? Christopher Walken?"

Coyote grinned an evil smirk, and turned to the others. "Hey, I
like this guy..."

Tel-Varesh dropped a small leather money pouch on the table and
took a chair that had just been reluctantly vacated by Turlough.
He eyed the others at the table as carefully as he had eyed
everyone else, but seemed to linger for a moment on the banana-
suit clad version of himself. Then he smirked. "What's the
game and what are the stakes?" he asked, as the others made room
for a fifth at their table.

Suit-Adric pushed a deck of cards across the table to him.
"Dealer's choice. Since you've just joined, it's yours."

Tel-Varesh nodded. "Something simple, then." he said, taking the
cards and shuffling "Five-card stud, Ace high."

"She certainly is." Yellow-Adric muttered, watching the girl
sitting in the corner with a glazed look to her eyes. "I wonder
what Jason dropped in her drink..."

As the cards were dealt, Pelleas spoke up. "So, Captain. We've
all been catching up on what our respective authors have been
inflicting upon us. What about you? Is that the _Twice_ or the
_Thrice_ parked outside?"

"The _Thrice_." tel-Varesh confirmed. "I've only got Kal and Vik
this time. No Brian, no Sharla."

"So who's the kid, then?" suit-Adric asked, nodding his head
toward the bar. The sandy-haired boy was busy trying to strike
up a conversation with Zoe, but was doing so totally oblivious to
the kilted lad standing directly behind him, whose hands were
starting to ball in increasingly tighter fists. Other than that,
said kilted-lad was showing remarkable restraint.

Tel-Varesh grimaced. "His name is Kyril, and I get stuck with
him in _Walking In Exile_" He pointedly looked at his cards. "I
rather wish I hadn't, but Doug's adamant about sticking me with
the character."

"_Walking In Exile_?" Suit-clad Adric murmured. "Isn't that,
like, a year over-due now?"

"Uh huh. Doug's still working on it, but says he keeps getting
waylaid by everything else going on in his life."

Pelleas nodded, knowingly. "We heard about that. He was here
the other day, handing out cigars and inflicting baby pictures on

Yellow-clad Adric sighed, annoyed. "Yes, and I wanted to see
those but missed it, thanks to that stupid psycho..."

"You could always go to Doug's website." Suit-Adric suggested.
"He has some of them up at

(Tel-Varesh turned to Pelleas. "Do they always give directions
in URL's?" he whispered questioningly.

"It's traditional for the sub-genre" Pelleas confirmed.)

Yellow-Adric threw a coin into the pot and asked for two cards.
"What about that threat of his to take the _Phoenix_ storyline
out of the _Doctor Who_ universe entirely and write it as an
independent work?"

"He's still toying with the idea." tel-Varesh affirmed. "He
knows how he'd do it if he had to. The characters and situations
would remain basically the same, but their names and background
would be different. Sort of an alternate-universe scenario, so
to speak."

"Why the hell would he want to do that?" Coyote asked, finally
finding a entrance into the conversation again. "What's wrong
with keeping it as fanfiction?"

"Not very saleable." Suit-Adric pointed out. "He says he likes a
lot of aspects to the storyline he's dreamed up, but isn't sure
fan fiction is the proper venue for it. And since the odds of
BBC Books accepting _Phoenix_ as a PDA or 8DA submission are
practically nil, he thinks it might be better to strike out on
his own with that story."

Yellow-clad Adric nodded. "Not to mention the riot on RADW that
would ensue if someone did officially resurrect me... us..."

"I thought RADW was already basically a riot." tel-Varesh

"More like Beirut." Pelleas opined. "Of course, resurrecting us
might just be the only thing that would unify them. In
opposition mind you, but still unified..."

Coyote shook his head. "Has anyone ever done that? I mean, take
something that started out as fan fiction and rewrote it as
original fiction?" Pelleas coughed. "Ok, rewritten it as
original fiction and then actually _sold_ it?"

"Lois McMaster Bujold." Suit- and Yellow-Adric's said,
simultaneously. They both glanced at each other, waiting for the
cue for one of them to continue. After a few false starts,
Yellow-Adric took the lead.

"According to Miles," Yellow-Adric explained, "the whole
Vorkosigan universe started out as _Star Trek_ fan fiction that
`sort of got out of hand'. Aral was originally a Klingon,
Cordelia a Federation officer, and the Cetagandans were
originally the Romulans. Bujold decided she really liked the
characters but knew she couldn't use _Star Trek_, so she simply
deleted everything Trek from her stories then rewrote and rebuilt
her universe."

"Probably other authors have done the same, but many won't admit
it." Suit-Adric continued. "Certainly David Gerrold and Timothy
Zahn. Barbara Hambly, too. Heck, Philip Jose Farmer once wrote
a novel that starred Doc Savage and Tarzan, but never once called
them by those names because of the copyright issues."

"Even Asimov said fan fiction was a good place to start writing,
and that many fan writers have gone on to write professionally."
Pelleas added.

"So, there is precedent." Yellow-Adric finished.

"Well, I wish he'd just hurry up and finish writing something."
tel-Varesh opined. "I'm getting tired of dragging that kid
around everywhere."

Behind him, a sandy-haired young man was being flung like a kaber
through the pub's window. None of the card players so much as
looked up.

"What about you?" tel-Varesh asked Yellow-Adric. "Last I heard
he still had you chasing the loony."

"Not by choice, and yes he's still boxed me in that particular

"So, why...?"

"He says he's waiting for B.K. Willis to finish up `The Feminine
Mistake' before continuing on."

Suit-Adric smirked. "That may be awhile..."

"Maybe not. Last I talked with him, he mentioned something about
movies with the number `five' in the title and being hoisted by
someone's own petard."

Coyote turned to Yellow-Adric. "So, you've agreed to do it,

Yellow-Adric looked confused. "To do what?"

"You know... go out with her."

Yellow-Adric froze, his face suddenly contorting into the oddest
amalgamation of fear, loathing, helplessness, and wistful
dreaming that any of them had ever had the misfortune to witness.
Even the veins in his forehead were visibly throbbing. "Err,
umm, uh, k-k-k..."

Suit-Adric shot Coyote a withering glare. "See what you've
done?" The sartorial Alzarian leaned across the table toward his
banana-suit clad counterpart, then gave the other a swift slap
across the face.

Yellow-Adric stared blankly for a split second as if stunned,
shivered, then took a deep breath. "Thank you." he said to the
other. "I don't know what came over me there..."

The others all let that one pass.

At that moment the door to the pub opened, letting in the cool
night air. Pelleas looked up and watched two people enter.
"Tel-Varesh." he said, in a low voice. "Your enemy has arrived."

Captain tel-Varesh stiffened, but did not look around. "Is

"Lady Le Fey is with him, but I do not think she would

"Good." All four of the others heard the distinct sound of a
leather strap unbuckling from underneath the table. Then, tel-
Varesh stood, executed a smart about-face, then slowly began to
make his way toward the bar.

"What's that all about?" Coyote asked Pelleas.

"Unresolved personal issues from adolescence."

At the bar, the Master had just finished ordering two gin-and-
tonics when he felt a finger at his shoulder. He turned around
to see who it was.

"Hello." tel-Varesh said, simply.


The gun at tel-Varesh's side went immediately to the Master's
temple. "Goodbye." he said, then pulled the trigger.

For a few seconds, activity in the pub actually came to a
complete halt. But only for a few seconds. Blood and brains
sprayed across the table top. Several watched as tel-Varesh's
finished the task with a couple of shots to either side of the

timelord's chest `just to make sure', but for the most part
everyone was back to their previous conversations within moments.
The only notable exception was a brown-clad Trakenite, who
watched the whole exchange with a fair degree of interest and was
busy scrawling notes on technique into her notebook.

Tel-Varesh turned toward Francois, who had come over and was
about to start disposing of the body. The space pirate tossed
the ogron a couple of coins. "Sorry about the mess." he said,
then simply returned to his table, sat, picked up his cards,
looked at them, and chose one to discard.

"Was that really necessary?" Yellow-Adric said to his older

Tel-Varesh looked at him carefully, then nodded. "Yes. For two

"Which are?"

"One. It felt good."

Coyote nodded in understanding. "And the other?"

"Doug couldn't come up with any other way to end this spiel than
to have a random act of violence."

30 March 2000

The nature of the "Unresolved personal issues from adolescence"
can be found in my stories "Phoenix" and its sequel "Sicilian
Opening", both of which are on my website and are archived at

Although the character of Adric was originally created by
Christopher H. Bidmead, the character variations above have been
created by B.K. Willis (Suit-Adric and Coyote), Paul Gadzikowski
(Pelleas), and me (tel-Varesh), and are the intellectual property
of their respective authors in so far as that property does not
conflict with the original copyrights of Bidmead and the BBC.
This Time Round created by Tyler Dion. Original "story" (if you
can call it that) copyright 2000 Douglas B. Killings, all rights

PS -- Boo! I'm back!