With apologies to Paul Gadzikowski...
THIS TIME ROUND: SPLIT PERSONALITIES
Chris Cwej took a long gulp from his drink as he turned to see
who had just come in, then promptly spat most of it out. With a
quick rub at his eyes, he turned back to Harry.
"I think that's enough for me," the ex-Adjudicator rasped, pushing
his glass away. "My vision's going all screwy on me. I just
thought I saw four Adrics."
Harry refilled the glass and slid it back to him. "Not to worry,
Old Son. There _are_ four Adrics in here, so drink up."
"Yup. Four Adrics, three Number Ones, two Francoises..."
Chris gave Harry a blearily menacing look. "If you say anything
about a partridge, I shall have to get violent."
Across the pub, four identical young men took seats around a
table. Well, not entirely identical. All were the same height and
build, and all had identical facial features and narrow black eyes,
but there were significant differences in modes of dress and the
way they carried themselves. The first to sit was wearing a
rather ugly yellow and green outfit and kept looking nervously
around and cringing at every noise. To his right, the second
young man had on an expensive tailored suit, accessorized by
a flashy Rolex watch and a cocky grin. On his left was an alert-
looking man in bright armor, while across from him sat the odd-
est of the group in a battered old denim jacket with badges and
medals all over it and a coyote's tail tied to the back of his jeans.
As he took his seat, he had to take care not to sit on his own hair,
which was tied into a thin ponytail that fell to well past his waist.
The one in yellow watched warily as his denim-clad twin began
rooting around inside his jacket for something, then sighed.
"You know, you lot really know how to make a guy feel inade-
"That's what I'm best at."
"Oh, leave him alone, Coyote," the suit-wearing boy chided. "He
has it much tougher than you."
Coyote replied with a snicker as he pulled a deck of cards out of
his jacket and began to shuffle. "Oh, please, Adric. Save the
sob-stories for somebody with a conscience, like Pelleas here."
He jerked a thumb at the armored knight, making it into an al-
most obscene gesture. "Anyway, what do you know about hard
The well-dressed Adric regarded Coyote with cool contempt.
"I'll have you know," he said, "that I worked very hard to make
'Mystery Psycho Theater 3000' into a success. And, at any rate,
I had the same life as Adric, here, before our timelines split, so I
know exactly what he's gone through."
"Oh, you're exactly right!" Coyote wailed, eyes glinting with sad-
istic mirth. "I guess I should have more respect for the dead..."
"Shut up," the two Adrics hissed together.
Pelleas sighed and rubbed at the bridge of his nose. "Will you
just deal, please? And no hiding cards in subspace, either..."
"So, let me get this straight. In other Universes, I'm a _guy_? Is
that what you're telling me?"
The two men nodded.
"Weird. And, so, you two are basically _me_?"
"Yep." "You got it, sister."
The redhead eyed the two warily from behind her mirrored sun-
glasses, considering. "But, okay, if that's the case, how come we
don't look anything alike?"
"We do," the two chorused.
"Y'all two do, but I don't," she said firmly. "If I'm the female
version of y'all, there should be some sort of physical resemblance,
at the very least."
The man on the right -- the one in the sleeveless 'Mistress Helen
Fan Club' t-shirt -- picked up his glass and turned to his twin.
"Shall I show her?" he asked. The other nodded.
"Okay, Ember. Watch carefully..."
"So, Other-Francois is having good job?"
"Is okay, be better, maybe," the Ogron grunted to his doppel-
ganger over a mug of something that looked like road tar and
smelled worse. "Pay is much good, but could have more lines.
Francois just being mail-bringer, mostly. Not having good
scenes like in 'Feminine Mistake'."
"Well, long as pay okay, yes?" The second Francois chugged
his own drink left-handed, his right having a sock puppet on it.
"After all," he added, "is like Mr. Moggie say: Is all about Ben-
"How many cards, Moneybags?"
"Three," the suit-wearing Adric replied. "And don't call me that."
"Whatever you say, Moneybags," Coyote replied with his habi-
tual smirk. Three cards promptly levitated off the top of the deck
and floated over to the appropriate Adric.
"Show-off," snorted Pelleas.
The Adric in yellow considered, then set aside some cards. "I'll
have three as well."
"There you go, Dead-boy." Yellow-Adric scowled as the cards
drifted to him.
Pelleas took two. "C'mon, Coyote. Don't pick on them," he
chided as he took his cards.
"Who's picking?" Coyote replied lazily as he dealt himself a
single card. "Since they're both named 'Adric', I'm just trying to
keep 'em straight and avoid confusion."
"And, of course, _your_ real name is also Adr-- URK!" Pelleas
was cut off in mid-sentence by the sudden appearance of a very
large and pointy knife at the tip of his nose.
"My advice to you is, not to finish that thought," Coyote said
from the knife's other end. "That isn't my name anymore, so just
don't even bring it up. I _detest_ that name. Comprende?"
Pelleas nodded, while suit-Adric just rolled his eyes. "Sheesh,
get a grip, Dog-boy."
Coyote made the knife go away and turned to suit-Adric, grinning
merrily. "'Dog-boy'?" he giggled. "I like it! Dog-boy! You must
have made enough money to buy that spine you've been needing!"
Yellow-Adric gave the others a miserable look and muttered,
"Enough with the naming problems. Can we just play, already?"
"And I thought _my_ world was weird," Ember Ashe mumbled.
Seeing two brawny, dark-haired men turn into buxom little red-
headed heartbreakers before her very eyes was not something
she'd ever run into before, and wasn't sure she wanted to again.
It didn't help that, except for hair length and clothing, they could
have been her mirror images.
The one on the left grimaced. "Trust me, this Curse wasn't my
idea." She nodded at the other transformed girl. "It was _his_
The girl in the Mistress Helen shirt sighed. "He's talking about
our writer, Willis. You see, we originally started off as what
might be termed an 'Author Avatar', sort of a representative of
Willis's. Or, a self-insert character, if you will. We started evol-
ving out of that role and into a full-fledged independent charac-
ter, when my timeline split off from Homeboy's here. He got to
keep developing in the 'To Die For' series as a major character,
while I became Willis's representative more than ever in 'Mystery
Psycho Theater 3000'. That's why he says I'm Willis's buddy."
"Uh... huh." Ember tried to wrap her brain around that, but
another question popped up. "So, where do I fit into that?"
"Well, the way you cropped up was when Willis first started
working on the idea for 'Badlands'. Originally, we were going to
be sort of the bad guy and had a lot of Coyote's characteristics.
That was back when the idea was still influenced mainly by
'Vampire Hunter D' and Stephen King's _Dark Tower_ novels.
Then, he started watching 'Slayers' and decided he liked the idea
of a cynical, smart-mouthed, destructive..." She wound down as
she noticed Ember charging up a fireball. "...but very, very
pretty and talented heroine," she finished rapidly.
"There be third Francois soon?"
"Is what stupid hillbilly author say. Francois mentioned at end
of last 'Badlands' story and be seen in next one, whenever stupid
hillbilly get to finishing."
"Hope third Francois know to demand good pay if main charac-
The other Ogron grinned hugely. "From what Francois see, new
Francois not have much to complain about."
"Money that good?"
"Not money." The MPT3K Francois whispered briefly in his
TDF counterpart's ear.
Had anyone been watching, they would have seen the third-rarest
occurence in the Universe, right behind the formation of a mag-
netic monopole and Al Gore telling the truth. They would have
seen an Ogron blush.
The red-faced Francois leaned back, eyes wide. "Wow," he
grunted. "Who ever think such thing happen? To Francois?"
"So, how'd you end up with the new outfit?" Adric asked his
better-dressed counterpart. "You've been dressing just like we
always did, so why the change now?"
"It's sort of a preview of MPT3K's next episode. I have enough
money now, to where I can start to live a little. You ought to see
my new Porsche!"
"_Had_ enough, you mean," inserted Pelleas with a wry grin as
he tossed more money into the pile in the center of the table. "I
raise another fifteen."
"And I raise _that_ another ten," Coyote said as a handful of
greasy-looking silver coins appeared atop the pile.
"Call," said suit-Adric, adding his own money.
Yellow-Adric considered his options for a moment, doing a
quick analysis of the odds, and then set his cards down. "I
Pelleas laid out his cards. "Two pair. Kings and fives."
"Well, that knocks me out," suit-Adric said. "Pair of jacks."
Coyote grinned like his namesake as he spread his own hand.
Smugly, he said, "Looks like I win, then," as he raked in the pile
of coins and pound notes.
"Looks like you cheated, then, you mean," Pelleas snorted dis-
Coyote tried to look hurt. And failed. "Why ever do you say
such hurtful things, dear Pelleas?" he pouted.
Pelleas rolled his eyes. "Considering you work for one of the
Lords of Hell, I find it difficult to believe that you got three sixes
by pure luck."
"Doesn't make any difference," muttered yellow-Adric bleakly.
"I just had a queen-high. Story of my life, really."
"What life? I thought you were dead?" Coyote asked with mal-
icious innocence. This earned him dark looks from Pelleas and
suit-Adric, which he ignored.
"I always get dealt the crappy hands," the depressed boy was say-
ing. "I mean, just look at this. Here you three have all got things
going for you in your Universes. Adric has wealth and fame,
Pelleas has Nimue and all kinds of heroic stuff to do, and Coyote's
got cool powers and never has to take crap off of people."
"Well, sometimes I do," Coyote confessed. "But I usually end up
killing them for it."
"And what have I got? A job in a bar, a continuum full of people
who hate my guts, and a girl whose idea of 'quality time' is watch-
ing me bleed to death..."
Whatever he was going to add was cut off by an obnoxious blast
of noise. Coyote had pulled a harmonica from wherever it was
he kept stuff and blew several tuneless chords on it. "Yeah,
yeah," he sang in an off-key bass. "He got dem Swamprat
"Coyote, you are an absolute bastard," Pelleas said with great
The ponytailed Champion of Hell waggled a finger in reply.
"Aha! Somebody's been reading my job description!"
Chris stared hard at the various groups around the room, deep
suspicion vying with extreme inebriation for control of his ex-
pression. "Something is very, very wrong here," he hissed to
"Not really, Old Son. Inter-continua crossover meetings are
what This Time Round is all about," Harry replied easily.
"No, no. Not that," Chris insisted. "It's more like deja-vu..."
He looked moderately thoughtful for a moment, frowning. "It
reminds me of something... I know! Scarfman!"
"Perhaps you _have_ had a few too many--"
"No! I've got it! Scarfman! You know, whatsisname... Gadzi-
kowski! The self-referentiality! The hints about coming attrac-
tions! Even the bloody poker game! This whole setup reads
like one of Gadzikowski's TTR pieces, only not nearly as good.
Tell me, Harry," Chris said in a low, serious voice. "Is Willis
trying to rip off ideas from Paul Gadzikowski?"
Small beads of sweat appeared on Harry's forehead as he replied,
"'Rip-off' sounds so harsh, don't you think? We prefer to think of
it more as 'homage to a fellow author'. Aheh heh... Yes, that's the
ticket. 'Sincerest form of flattery', and all that..."
'Doctor Who' is property of the BBC.
This Time Round created by Tyler Dion.
'King Arthur in Time and Space' created by Paul Gadzikowski.
'Badlands', 'MPT3K', and original characters created by BKWillis.
Regular Characters: Harry Sullivan, Chris Cwej, Adric (TDF and MPT3K),
Adric/Coyote (Badlands), Adric/Pelleas (King Arthur in Time and Space)
Other Characters: Francois the Ogron (TDF and MPT3K), Number One (MPT3K),
Number One/Ember Ashe (TDF), Ember Ashe (Badlands)
Categories: This Time Round; Humor; Crossover within various DW fanfic
Synopsis: Various characters meet their counterparts from other fanfic
Universes to help sort out some things.