THE 2003 ALT.DRWHO.CREATIVE
ADRIC AWARDS CHARITY TELETHON
[The lights come up on the TV studio, as the AUDIENCE applauds.
[The camera PANS across the assembled characters, authors, lurkers, muses, and
the significant segment not covered by any of the above categories, then pulls
back to reveal the stalls either side, where a number of denizens sit ready next
to the telephones.
[The lights dim a little as AMBER walks on from backstage and up to the podium,
looking almost ethereal in her shimmering soft green dress.
[As she looks out over the audience, the applause gradually falls away to
AMBER: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the 2003 ADWC Adric Awards Charity
Telethon. My name's Amber, and I'll be hosting the ceremonies tonight.
Before we get started, I'd like to clear up something that might be causing some
confusion. Despite appearances, I'm not Tara Maclay, the witch from 'Buffy the
Vampire Slayer', or Amber Benson, the actress who plays her. Any resemblance is
purely coincidental... at least, that was the answer I got the last time I
[She raises an eyebrow at that, before continuing.]
AMBER: I'd also like to give a big shout-out to my little sister Ana and her
author Danel, who're in the audience tonight. [waves] Hi, Ana!
[The camera PANS over to ANA and DANEL in the audience. ANA is a girl in her
mid-teens, with long dark brown hair, a high forehead, and almost impossibly
green eyes, who bears a striking resemblance to DAWN from "Buffy" as drawn by an
anime artist. DANEL is a young man, also in his mid-teens, wearing a T-shirt and
[Both are looking extremely embarrassed.
[The camera lingers /just/ long enough to make sure before turning back to
AMBER, blissfully unaware of ANA's total embarrassment.]
AMBER: Anyway, on with the show.
This year's ceremony is a very special one, for a number of reasons.
First of all, this year's ceremony is a charity telethon helping to raise money
for Look Who's Talking, the day care centre outside continuity. Any and all
money pledged tonight will go directly to help support and maintain the day care
centre. The phone number, and methods of payment, should be coming up on your
screen as I speak.
Second, this year has been a very good one for alt.drwho.creative, showcasing
some excellent performances by both authors and characters, building on its long
history of diversity and innovation whilst preserving its atmosphere of
civility, co-operation, and respect. Together, these factors have helped make
the newsgroup what it now is.
Third, this year is the tenth anniversary of ADWC's creation.
[AMBER waits for the applause to die down before continuing.]
AMBER: Alongside this year's normal awards, the members of ADWC were asked to
vote for some special tenth anniversary awards, to decide on the best stories -
and authors - of the decade. Tonight, we'll find out who they've chosen to
represent the very best of ADWC's history.
But let's start at the beginning.
What's all this about? What's this in aid of? What is Look Who's Talking?
Roving reporter Sarah Jane Smith has been to investigate.
[SCENE: A well-appointed playroom. A number of toddlers are crawling by on the
floor - many of them bearing a striking resemblance to characters from 'Doctor
Who', 'Buffy', 'Star Trek', and various other series. Some of them are talking,
some of them are squabbling, some of them are playing with toys that, upon
further examination, are either far in advance of 21st century Earth technology,
or magical, or both, and some are watching 'Ghost In The Shell' on DVD.
[SARAH JANE SMITH is standing near to the centre of the room.]
SARAH: Thank you, Amber. I'm standing in Look Who's Talking, the one and only
day care centre outside continuity. Here, the baby versions of characters - not
just 'Doctor Who' characters, but _any_ fictional characters - can meet, can
talk, and can play, while the adult versions of their parents can be secure in
the knowledge that their children are in safe hands.
But Look Who's Talking needs _your_ pledges to help supply the basic
necessities, to maintain the high quality of care, and to provide the little
things that make a toddler's life worthwhile.
Without you, these children...
[SARAH crouches down to pick up a BABY LIZ SHAW, cradling her in her arms.]
SARAH: ...would be stuck at home, unable to go outside, to play with their
friends, to make new friends, or even just talk to the other toddlers, deprived
of social interaction.
And without you, their parents would lose the only place where they could be
sure their children were being properly looked after while they had to work.
[BABY LIZ gurgles.]
SARAH: With your pledges, however, you can help keep this essential lifeline for
the toddlers - and for their parents - alive.
So please, give now, and give generously.
[SARAH registers a sudden dampness on her clothes, and carefully lifts BABY LIZ
away from her.]
BABY LIZ: ...Um, I needed to go potty?
SARAH: [closes her eyes] Back to you, Amber. And not a word of this, Jeremy...
AMBER: Thank you, Sarah. There'll be more from Look Who's Talking throughout the
evening. For now, it's time to present the awards.
Meanwhile, in the audience...
"Okay," Xander said. "Did anyone else think those baby uses look really, really
cute, or was it just me?"
"It's just you," Anya informed him.
Buffy frowned, looking back and forth between Tara and Amber - and between Dawn
Tara was looking slightly freaked, but otherwise seemed to be handling her
lookalike with equanimity.
Dawn's eyes, on the other hand, were wide as saucers.
"Dawnie...?" Willow tried.
"YES!!" the teen declared, pumping her arm. "YES!! _Finally!_ I've got a
Xander and Willow _blinked._
"Er, Dawn... Are you sure that's a good idea?" Giles said.
"Hey, lay off the Niblet." Spike said. "I mean, if even the _whelp_ can get a
double, is it any wonder the girl wanted one of her own?"
Xander opened his mouth to protest, but thought better of it.
"Um... so, any ideas, Buffy?" Willow said. "I mean, she _did_ point out she
"...So why does her sister look like Dawn?" Anya asked. "It _is_ a rather large
coincidence, even by our standards."
"An Alternate Universe, perhaps?" Giles suggested. "Those _are_ rather
"Could be..." Spike mused. "So what was that business with her sister's
"Later, guys." Buffy answered, her eyes never leaving the stage. "They're just
about to start..."
AMBER: Our first presenter has been a mainstay of the newsgroup for the past
eight years. A proven Fifth Doctor fan, he's the author of such well-regarded
stories as 'A Dance With The Dark Stranger', 'Adric's Children', and 'Bride
Quest'. Returning to present the 'Best Drabble' Award for the second year
running, Mr Clive May!
[AMBER steps aside, clapping.]
From stage left, emerges a large motherly looking woman wrapped in an ankle
length black over coat. She has a tall black hat crammed down on her head.
The head-gear bears the legend: "Aunty Spamm - Official Net Administrator" in
large red letters.
The grand old lady strides purposefully to the podium, carrying a half full
sherry glass, a little finger crooked soooo elegantly. Her face is round and
homely, framed by wispy grey hair. Two bright blue eyes nestle in a nest of
cheery laugh lines. Reaching the podium, she takes a sip of sherry, and sets
the glass down on the lectern. She favours the audience with a merry
"Hello there. Spamm's the name," she introduces herself. She points at the
hat. "Aunty Spamm, Official Net Administrator, Flames Dosed, Trolls Trounced
and Spams Spiked....Now I know you were expecting to get a glimpse of that
shy beggar, Clive, tonight; but he is busy, and has sent me along to present
in his place."
She glances at her script. "However, before we get down to dishing out
prizes, there's a little matter to deal with beforehand... to whit, the matter
of raising money for tonight's charity telethon to help out the little darlings
at the Creche Outside Continuity."
Aunty Spamm pauses to whet her whistle with a delicate sip of sherry,
before continuing. "Which brings me to why Clive asked me to stand in
for him. Apparently, the silly beggar's gawn and volunteered to be...to
be..." She breaks off to goggle at the script. She puts a hand over her eyes
and groans. "Good Grief! It says here that he has agreed to being fired
from a cannon, and is being sponsored for every yard travelled. And it seems
that before we get the Best Drabble presentation rolling, we are able to go
over live for the launching."
The lights in the auditorium dim. Aunty Spam looks back up at the big Video
Screen, which comes to life. Centred in the frame is what appears to be a
twenty foot length of three foot diameter sewer piping pointing hopefully
skywards. The elevated end is propped on a trestle. The tube is bedecked
with some tatty shreds of gaily coloured bunting.
At the back end is a large ammunition locker. The box is prominently marked
with the legend: "DYNAMITE - HANDLE WITH CAUTION". Sitting on the box is a
cheerful looking Bob the Pterodactyl, Kool Shades shoved up on his crest, as
he peers at a sheet of instructions.
Clive's voice, sounding a tad concerned, issues from the muzzle of the "Heath
Robinson" lash-up. "Ummm? Bob? I'm not so sure this is such a good idea
after all. Shouldn't there be a net or something?"
"Net, Boss? What for?"
"Well, to catch me."
"Don't worry about it, Boss," Bob says distractedly, turning the instructions
over to try and make sense of them. "There's nothing to worry about. It's
all been scientificallicallically worked out."
"Now why doesn't that make me feel better? Ummm? Bob? Do I really have to
wear this ridiculous costume? I thought we agreed I could wear the Superman
"I got a better deal going with the punters - provided you wear that costume,
Boss," Bob says, rotating the sheet again. He shrugs, and leans over to peer
at the words stencilled on the box, then back at the sheet. He mimes a grand
arc in the air with a wing, and nods his head in satisfaction. "They've
agreed to throw in an extra cod for every yard, if you wear that
costume...And it's all in a good cause, Boss."
"Don't fret yourself about it, Boss. It's just a little side deal I've got
running. Everythin's gonna be just fine."
Bob jumps up and selects a stick of dynamite. He contemplates the box a long
moment, then grins, shrugs in a "what the heck" and gathers up a half dozen
more sticks, which he carefully stacks in the end of the pipe. He pantomimes
a bigger arc, grins at the camera and scuttles off stage right.
A red number 10 appears in the bottom right of the screen. The audience
begins a countdown. The scene cuts to where Bob stands behind a detonator
box in a sandbag bunker. Dramatically, he raises the plunger. Pellucida
Pelican, garbed in a white nurse's apron, and clutching her trademark plastic
carrier bag with a putrid chartreuse and pink design, reaches up and pops a
World War One British Tommy helmet over Bob's crest. She slips one over her
head, and gives a thumbs up at the camera.
The count-down reaches zero. Bob grins into the camera, and leans on the
plunger. There is an expectant pause, which rapidly becomes awkward when
nothing happens. After a moment, Bob grins apologetically, and scampers out
of shot towards the primed cannon.
Trailing smoke and flames, Bob streaks through the frame, heading
heavenwards. A second later, the view somersaults crazily as the cameraman
is blown off his feet. For a fleeting instant, another "something" is framed
in the shot, streaking away into the sky, trailing a sparkly con-trail,
before the scene is shrouded in smoke.
The screen goes blank.
Aunty Spamm turns to face the audience. "Well, that's Clive's little charity
stunt launched. So, I suppose I'd best get the Adrics 2002 Best Drabble
Award rolling. As ever, the standard has been high; and it is, therefore,
with great pleasure that I present, in alphabetical order, this year's
finalists. And first up, by Paul Gadzikowski, we have..."
The lights go down; the screen lights up.
GO FORWARD AND PROVE 1/1 Challenge response drabble by Paul Gadzikowski
"And that is an order." Lieutenant Scott herded his last charge into the
freighter's lift, headed for the shuttlebay. Then, "Of course, that's it!" -
and the lift door cut off Scott's view of the black-haired head.
"It may be of some small consequence to know that we've traveled back in time
some sixty-five million years," said the Doctor. As the revelation unraveled
between his companions aboard, he could've sworn he saw the self-satisfied
Cyberleader's face fall. "You've failed! Earth is safe!" When the radio
sputtered to life the Cyberleader crushed it, but not before Scott's fateful
report: "Susan's on board."
Aunty Spamm raises an eyebrow. "You can always rely on Paul for a twist in
the tale... And for our next finalist, by the Drabble King himself, no less, we
Heathrow or Bust
The Doctor looked across at Tegan in her colourful uniform, then back at the
console panel in front of him. Soon, he thought. Soon he'd have her back on
her way to Heathrow and out of his hair.
"Shouldn't be long, now," he said aloud.
"Thank you," she replied.
She did seem to get along with Nyssa so well, though, and the flowers had
made the TARDIS seem really homey. On the other hand, Adric would
certainly be happier to see the back of her.
Me too, he thought as she grabbed her tambourine and started chanting
again. Me too.
Aunty Spamm shudders. "Good Grief! Tegan as a Flower Child! It doesn't
bear thinking about! Ahem! Our next drabble is yet another exquisite piece
by the Drabble King..."
Oh, the Things You'll Do
"Doctor," Jo asked, "have you seen Captain Yates?"
"He went with the Brigadier down to Geneva again to try to get funding."
Yates peered through at the row of faces. "Do we really have to do this,
"Like it or not, Captain, almost two months' budget depends on the next
few minutes," the Brigadier told him. "How's my moustache?"
"A bit crooked. Oh, I hope the lads back home never learn of this."
"Have faith," the Brigadier said. "The ministers have made me perform in
this panto for their children for four years now, and nobody's found out
Aunty Spamm chuckles. "Hmmmm? Must get a print of that one - a private
"auction" at UNIT HQ should bring in a nice little bundle...For the Appeal,
of course...And what's this? Our next finalist is yet another offering by
the Drabble King!"
Ian paused in the corridor when he heard voices inside the console room.
"Chess," Susan said. "You like chess, right?"
"Of course, my dear," the Doctor replied. "I like chess very much."
"Perfect, and we're already a third of the way there. Next comes ter," Susan
said, emphasizing the last syllable.
"Correct. Chess, then ter, and finally there's a ton."
"Ton," the Doctor repeated.
"Now put them together. Chesterton."
"Chesterton, Chesterton, Chesterton."
"By Rassilon," Susan said with an affected accent, "I think you've got it!"
Ian entered, and the Doctor looked up. "Ah, Challerton, there you are!"
"By Gerald! he's not got it at all! But has this cheeky little drabble got
it? We'll soon see, after this last little double scorcher from Mr B K
THE FIRES OF FAITH
"So, this is the famed Library?"
"Indeed, my caliph," answered young Ali. "It is said that here in Alexandria
is gathered the wisdom of the ages of man."
"There is no wisdom apart from Allah," Omar's advisor reminded with a snap.
"Praise be to Allah," Omar intoned, picking up and idly examining one of the
many scrolls. "But what is to be done with all of this?" The caliph's
gesture swept in the whole of the great structure.
"It would seem to me," purred the advisor, staring hard into the caliph's
eyes, "that either these works are in concordance with the Koran, or they are
not. If they are not, then they are heretical. And if the are, then the
Koran is sufficient without them. Do you not think it so, my caliph?"
"It is so," Omar replied with a slight thickness to his voice. But he
sounded more himself as he went on. "It is indeed so, good advisor. This
building we shall put to good use. And as for this..." He flung the scroll
from his hand. "Have the men bring torches, Ali."
"As you command, my caliph."
And in the shadows beneath his turban, the Master smiled.
The screen goes dark; the lights come up; and Aunty Spamm turns to address
the expectant throng; but before she can utter a word...
"Look out! Fund raising stunt inbound...TAKE COVER!"
Aunty Spamm ducks behind the lectern. As an afterthought, her hand reaches
up to snatch the sherry to safety.
What looks like a balding, overweight man in his late forties, dressed in a
smoke smutted Sailor Moon Fuku embellished with a pair of wings made from
bent coat hangers covered by clear polythene, zooms into shot from the right.
The shabby Moon Princess is clutching a wand with a tatty tinsel crescent on
He makes positive contact with the lectern. There is a very unhealthy
keeerrrr splaaatttt. A great puff of fairy dust billows in the air over the
lectern. The human projectile, wings bent and wand broken, hurtles from the
cloud, exiting stage left, trailing a scream of:
Aunty Spamm pops up. A twinkly snowstorm from the cloud begins to settle on
her tall hat. From stage left comes a cry:
"Watch out for the punch bowl!" This is followed in short order by a splash,
and the crash of breaking crystal glassware. A few drops of punch splashes
onto Aunty Spamm. She dips a finger and tastes, grimaces and shouts off: "an
extra bottle of rum in the next batch, if you please, my man?"
Aunty Spamm turns back to regard the audience creeping out from under the
chairs in the auditorium. She waves away the cloud of twinkling dust and
leans on the lectern. She says:
"Before we announce this year's winners, Violent Elizabott will come among
you to take donations for the appeal. However, before she does, anyone in
the audience named William would be well advised to leave a suitable donation
on their seat for collection and vacate the hall before Violent Elizabott
makes her round." She eyes the electrified cattle prod clutched in Violent
Elizabott's chubby hand. "I feel sure that you will be moved to give
Violent Elizabott, an animatronics actress fleeing from the film set of
'Trussed William', with her programming jammed in the part of a pretty six
year old girl, smiles sweetly at the audience. Her brown curls are tied with
yellow ribbons; and she is wearing a bright yellow summer dress.
Violent Elizabott gives a merry salute with her electrified cattle prod,
picks up the bucket for the donations, and steps down among the crowds. As
she goes about the task of collecting donations, she occasionally inquires:
"Is your name William? William's been a bad, bad, bad boy - and must be
punished!" Generally, this little speech is followed by the crackling of the
prod, and the squealing of an unfortunate personage.
From the wings stage right, a small procession shuffles onto the stage. It
comprises a stooping and somewhat singed looking pterodactyl, who is
measuring out lengths on the ground with a foot long ruler, and a pelican
clutching a clipboard. She is wearing a nurse's uniform from the First World
War. She notices the audience, freezes in panic, then grins shyly and waves.
"Three thousand and fifty eight," Bob chants as he plonks the ruler down
again. Pellucida Pelican starts violently and recalls her task. Goes to
make an entry on the clipboard. She frowns.
"Erhm, Bob? Dearest? I seem to have lost count."
Bob freezes in the act of plonking down the ruler. He stares up at Aunty
Spamm, who is watching the proceedings with a bemused expression. He turns
to look at the audience, shrugs, and shuffles off stage left. Pellucida
gives the audience a final wave and scampers in pursuit of her Beau.
"Right," says Aunty Spamm. "I think we can get on now." She consults her
script, and smiles at the expectant group of authors and their muses.
"In third place we have..."
'Pronunciation Guide', by K. M. Wilcox.
"Second place goes to..."
'The Fires of Faith', by B. K. Willis.
"But the winner of the Adrics 2002 Drabble Award is..."
'Heathrow Or Bust', by K. M. Wilcox.
"A worthy winner, indeed. So, if The Drabble King would like to come up and
claim his Adric?...Do watch out for that cattle prod......Oh Good Grief...
Does anyone have a pair of rubber gloves?"
[AMBER sighs, a rueful, crooked smile on her face, and pulls a pair of rubber
gloves out of the air.]
AMBER: Here you go, Aunty.
"...Spike? Are you okay?"
"...Whoa. Reminds me of Dru, that 'bot does. The things she could do... Hey,
AMBER: Our next presenter is a man who's inspired intense passion throughout the
Universe to the point where he has his own brigade devoted to covering him in
chocolate sauce - and personally, I wouldn't mind joining, either.
His hobbies include "model train sets", "playing the spoons", "looking enigmatic
and mysterious", and "outwitting Evils From The Dawn Of Time while making it
look as if I had it planned all along". Here to present the Award for 'Best
Round-Robin Chapter', it's the Seventh Doctor!
[The SEVENTH DOCTOR comes up to the podium. Tonight, he's outfitted in a Panama
jacket and trousers, with a small brooch attached to the jacket's lapel.
[He doffs his hat to the assembled audience.]
SEVENTH: Grrreatings, one and all! I'm here tonight, hotfoot from a virtuoso
performance at the Intergalactic Song Contest-
ACE: [offstage] Yeah, pull the other one, Professor!
MEL: [offstage] He won, didn't he?
SEVENTH: [ignoring them] -at the personal rrrequest of our charrrming hostess,
to present the Award for Best Rrround-Rrrobin Chapter - a chapter being an
individual installment of a wider Rrround-Rrrobin story, wrriten by a single
author. It's an award with two nominees, but only one eventual winner. Or
perhaps, looked at the right way, they're both winners...
[Suspicious looks from the AUDIENCE.]
SEVENTH: [blithely ignoring them] With that said, let's take a look at them,
[The video screen behind him clicks on.]
SEVENTH: Firrrst, we have the final chapter of 'Goodnight, Sweetheart', by Ann
Florestan dropped to his heels beside her, still holding the book. "You
*really* think I came here to tell you to leave?" he asked.
The words collided, in her head, with the ones she expected to hear, and she
couldn't quite make sense of them. All she managed to say as an answer was a
nearly wordless stutter: "I -- ah -- wh..."
"Do you really hold Beloved in such low regard," he asked, his voice edged with
pain, "that you think she's only been *using* you -- as a poor substitute for a
pilot -- after all you've been through together, after all you've accomplished?
Do you really think she is so faithless?"
"Well, no... not that -- I ... I just ..."
"Eloise, I came to *thank* you."
SEVENTH: And then, we have 'Desert of Fear: Zero Room Interlude', by Clive May.
The suppression collar had an unsettling quality of slickness as she turned
it around and around and around in fearful fingers. He had removed it from
her neck against all good sense and in casual defiance of the strictest
prohibitions of the law. She recalled the way it imparted a tingle to her
fingers - a stinging counterpoint to the flutter of panic in her heart as she
asked: "Jason? You do love me? Don't you?"
She remembered the way his head turned to regard her...And the way his
beautiful face fell into shadow while the sunlight crowned him with a halo of
golden curls...And his voice, the beautiful voice...And the words, the ugly,
"Love? Good Lord! What a naive little trollop you are! No, my dear child,
not love...Nothing more than a mildly exciting way to pass a few idle hours."
[SEVENTH now has the envelope in front of him.]
SEVENTH: And our winner is... 'Desert of Fear: Zero Room Interlude', by Clive
Now, as my own contrribution to tonight's proceedings, I shall proceed to play
Queen's classic 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.
[He whips out his spoons, and begins playing.]
SEVENTH: o~/I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouche, scaramouche, can you do the fandango...
BENNY: [offstage] ...Oh /cruk/! That thing's *seven minutes long!*
ACE: [offstage] Plan Sixteen, guys?
MEL: [offstage] Plan Sixteen.
[The SEVENTH's companions burst on stage, lift him up, still playing the spoons,
and bustle him off-stage.
[BENNY pauses before she leaves.]
BENNY: Um... sorry about this, Evil From The Dawn Of Time afoot again, you know
how it is, thanks, you've been a great audience. Bye!
AMBER: Oh, that's a shame. I was looking forward to the rest of the song...
[AUDIENCE suddenly has a massive coughing fit.]
AMBER: What? I liked it. Besides, he'd taken pledges on how long it'd be before
he got carried off.
[AUDIENCE facefaults as this sinks in.]
AMBER: Anyway, next up, we've got a brief theatrical presentation by two of This
Time Round's finest. Take it away, guys!
[ADRIC, wearing what appears to be a toga and an extremely nervous expression,
comes on, followed by NYSSA, a javelin in hand.]
NYSSA: Hello, everyone. Tonight, the Swamprat and I have elected to do a scene
from one of my favourite Terran classical plays, 'Lysistrata'...
[She hefts the javelin in a meaningful fashion.]
[Mercifully, we CUT to commercial.]
[Insert pause of choice here while home audience stocks up on assorted snacks
and drinks, and flips around to see what's on the other channels, before
flipping back to this one.
[Oh, you mean you actually wanted to see some adverts? Oops...]
[We return from commercial in time to hear a gurgling scream.
[The curtain drops and a bewhiskered elderly gentleman wearing a virulent purple
tuxedo steps in front of the podium.]
Mr. G: Now, let us give a big round of applause to Adric and Nyssa for that
rather ... strenuous ... interpretation of 'Lysistrata'.
[During the applause, Eric and David of the WANKER appear onstage, carrying a
yellow-clad body on a stretcher. Mr. G stares at them coldly and gestures from
them to leave the stage. They comply sulkily, but disappear back behind the
Mr. G: Many of you know me as the proprietor of 'The Temple of the Printed
Word', your neighborhood source for all that is good in literature. I am here
today for a good cause. We are raising funds for 'Look Who's Talking', the day
care center outside continuity.
[Behind Mr. G, the video screen springs to life. The scene displayed is the
kitchen of This Time Round. A section of the kitchen is cordoned off. From
behind a curtain comes the sound of a chainsaw. Fragments of ice spray over the
top of the curtain.]
Mr. G: As part of our effort to reach out to the deaf community, translation
services for this segment will be handled by This Time Round's very own
Francois, the Ogron bartender.
[Francois, stuffed into a tuxedo at least three sizes too small for him,
gestures vaguely at the audience.]
Mr. G: Before we move on to the presentation of the Best Round Robin award, we
have a special treat for all our viewers. We would like to present a rare
exhibition of the feat of chainsaw ice sculpture by famed Chef Georges-Auguste
Escoffier, brought to you by professional staff of the Mortality Deferment
Office. ["Brought by working stiffs," signs Francois.]
[A penguin waddles onstage and hands Mr. G a note.]
Mr. G: Oh dear. It appears that our featured chef has met an unfortunate
accident involving a truckload of tripe, a gallon of gasoline, and a carelessly
discarded cigar. Luckily, we have a suitable replacement, one Chef E. Tod, who
is dedicating this piece to telethon organizer Amber. ["Blah blah blah," signs
[On the video screen, the curtains part just enough to allow a bald, rotund man
with a red Van Dyke beard to exit.]
Mr. G: Are you ready, Chef Tod?
[The man grins somewhat evilly, makes a thumbs-up sign at the camera, and walks
briskly out of the shot.]
Mr. G: Without further ado, we present Chef Tod's latest masterpiece. [Mr. G
pushes a button on the podium. On the screen, the curtains begin to part.]
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present ... [Mr. G consults the note] ... 'Love is a
Many Tentacled Thing'.
[The curtains part. There is a collective gasp from the audience. Mr. G stares
for a moment at the gigantic ice sculpture, a slow flush creeping from behind
his beard, before reaching out and pushing a button on the podium. The video
screen goes blank.]
Mr. G: Thank you, Chef Tod, for such an ... anatomically correct piece of art.
[Quickly] Moving right along to the segment you've all been waiting for, it's
time to present the Adric for Best Round Robin.
More than any other type of story, Round Robins epitomize the community nature
of alt.drwho.creative. At times both collaborative and combative, these serial
narratives give our newsgroup residents the chance to spin stories together, the
best of which are even greater than the sum of their own parts.
[Mr. G pushes another button on the podium. The video screen behind him begins
displaying appropriate scenes from notable Round Robins.]
Mr. G: The first nominee is Internet Adventure #25: 'Twenty-Five Pieces of
Even though the envirosuit is working perfectly, I still feel the cold.
Still feel its long savage teeth sinking through skin and muscle and
sinew and deep into the marrow of my bones. Feel the way each breath makes
my lungs ache beyond belief as they struggle for enough oxygen to sustain
me and enough heat to remain functioning.
Or perhaps it's only my mind telling me I'm cold. I wouldn't be
surprised, but if I'm right it means we've leapt a generation ahead of
schedule and I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or not.
Mr. G: The second nominee is 'The Time The Stories Went Dark'.
For Kid Curry the Contessa does not fear; not in that way at least. He
has long since found his feet here, learned how to survive -- she
smiles -- never dreamed of playing by the rules.
But he carries deep within him the bones of lost reality. The memory of
a time that was more -- as well as less -- than story would make of it.
She laid her hope in that strength when she chose to send him South when
the fading began; trusted him to win through where dash and daring
alone could not hold.
He has learned to fight the stories to survive. Learned to fight and
win. And so now -- now, with the City itself under siege, shaken and
weak -- she can feel the threads pulling apart around him. Where the
shadow of reality falls, Fiction changes. And every change drains more
of the strength she can no longer spare.
Mr. G: The third nominee is 'Desert of Fear'.
Bella crouched behind the grill in the half darkness of the air duct. She was
naked, emaciated and filthy. Her brown curls were a matted tangle. In her
right fist, she clutched a prize beyond price. Though the Masters were
close, she could not resist any longer, and bit into the haunch of meat.
Tearing off a bloody gobbet of the half cooked flesh, she chewed ravenously.
The humming of a Master drew closer. She froze in terror, meat juices
dribbling down her chin. The machine creature glided past her hiding place,
halted, backed up and rotated to face the grill. Its weapon came alive.
Mr. G: The fourth nominee is 'Goodnight, Sweetheart'.
"Okay," Xeffy said. "You take the lemon meringues, and while they're
distracted, I'll run with the chocolate sauce and raspberry syrup.
That should buy us enough time..."
#Why don't we use the whipped cream?# Ayna suggested. #A whipped
cream/tomato sauce pincer movement's going to throw them off...#
Xeffy considered. "Nah. Let's save the divebombing until we need it. Treacle
sponge still in position?"
"Then let's do it!"
Ayna unfurled her wings - and leaped for a hoop.
As she leaped, Xeffy crouched down and ran for one of the sirens' goals - then
froze at the sight before her.
"Oh Hera. Oh Hera, you have /got/ to be kidding. _Moshed_ potatoes?"
Mr. G: And the fifth nominee is 'Dark Carnival'.
Number One could tell she was getting close. Ahead, she could
see the trees beginning to thin out, although the grim murkiness of
the shadows did not seem to lighten. The faint rustlings and
footfalls of people at unhurried work carried to her and the sugar-
scents of cheap candy drifted with them, tickling her nose with
sickly sweetness. She winced slightly, but kept walking.
Of course, it was at exactly the moment that she stepped out into
the clearing that the discordant notes of the calliope had to ring
out, crow-taunts made large as a house. And of course, it was at
exactly the moment that she stepped out into the clearing that the
carousel lights had to begin flashing their endless coded nightmare
messages. And of course -- of _course_ -- it was at exactly the
moment that she stepped out into the clearing that the too-tall man
in the black suit who was waiting for her had to turn around and
[The penguin waddles back out onto stage to hand Mr. G an envelope. The old man
rips it open and pulls out a card.]
Mr. G: Tied for third place are 'Dark Carnival' and 'The Time the Stories Went
Tied for second place are 'Desert of Fear' and 'Twenty-Five Pieces of Silver'.
And now the moment you've been waiting for, the Award for Best Round-Robin goes
to... 'Goodnight, Sweetheart'! Congratulations to everyone involved and good
[AMBER's voice is unnervingly calm.]
AMBER: Thank you, Mr. G. And may I say that Mr Tod's sculpture was... a
remarkable piece of work... especially as regards the juxtaposition of myself
and certain... appendages, in positions I had not previously considered to be
possible within the bounds of three dimensions. Rest assured, I shall have it
dealt with as it most deserves.
Sandra winced. "Ye _gods_. He didn't spare on the detail, did he?"
Katarina shook her head, eyes _safely_ downcast.
Sandra clenched her fist.
The sculpture collapsed under its own weight into a mound of ice fragments.
"What do you intend to do with them, milady?" Katarina asked.
"I was thinking of having them Time-Scooped to Telos, myself." Sandra said.
"What do you think?"
"I think I shall prepare the Scoop." Katarina said.
AMBER: And as for Mr Tod... well, what more need be said? I'm sure he'll be
properly recompensed for his time...
Ezekiel Tod sauntered down the lane from This Time Round. A lot of trouble to
set up such a ...petty jest... but still, one took one's pleasure where one
could find it.
"Now, is that any way to treat a lady, I ask you?" said a deep Welsh voice from
behind him. "Especially one so pretty as our hostess?"
Ezekiel span around, to be confronted by a pair of sea-green eyes and a nacreous
frown, framed by a mass of thick black curls.
"Gwyn ap Nud's the name," the stranger said. "The Welsh Wonder, Lord of the
Great Abyss... ah, I see you've heard of me, then?"
"Well then, that makes things simple, doesn't it?" Gwyn said. "You see, now...
she's gone to all this trouble to set this up for the kiddies, and you repay her
like this?" He shook his head. "Where I come from, a fellow treated a lady's
charity like that... well, he wasn't long for this world, that's all I can say.
But I mark you're made of tougher stuff than that, a big, strong man like you.
"So I'm sure you won't mind helping me find a way to help her out, will you?"
Ezekiel felt a strong hand rest on his shoulder, and looked up into Gwyn's
And he realised that his "petty jest" was about to cause him rather _more_
trouble than he'd anticipated...
Amber's smile was forced. "Anyway, on with the show. Without any further ado,
here to present the first of tonight's special tenth anniversary awards is -- I
hope I'm saying this right -- the drolific prabbler simhelf, Way Ec Kilmox!"
A thin, bespectacled man wearing a dark green shirt with a red and grey tie ran
out from behind the cameras. "Pust jerfect, Amber. Get's live a hig band for
our embee Amcer, madies and lentlegen!" Once the applause track was turned back
down, he continued. "I've een basked to seprent this feautiwul abard for
tifelime amievechent! And it preally is retty, innit?
"Yome of sou ask, 'Oh, gleat and grorious preator of crose,' - prell, wobably
ithwout pat thart - 'dat moes it whean when sou yay "Tifelime Amievechent"?
Tare you albing akout a wreat griter, a chevicated ardidist, or bayme the
seseloper of a deries or vetting hat thas inthired ospers. Examles of pall were
moninated, and they prould be shoud, ince it sis huly an tronour, or to I'm
sold." He frowned briefly, then grinned wider than before.
"Cof ourse, this feautiwul abard is an chonly ild, so sere to hing a bitrute to
wour inner, crought atoss brime, is Man Mottro!"
A portal shimmered into view, and the crooner stepped out of it.
"For stories we love, our cheers to you,
The thanks of your fans for years to you.
We've read all your tales,
Each word about the Third,
In stories we love.
"We've read drabbles, dribbles, and laughed for a moment,
But your fics never let go.
With their glue-knit UNIT,
Liz Shaw, and let's not forget Jo.
We want you to know...
"Your stories we read, and then once more;
Wonderful indeed, tales we adore.
Now without further ado,
We all thank you...
For stories we looooooooove!"
He bowed, blew a kiss, and stepped back into the portal.
"As gou've yuessed, wour inner is Meri Jassi, er, Jeri Massi!"
[Much confused thumbing through dictionaries in the AUDIENCE.]
AMBER: A big round of applause for Mr. Motto, there, and also a big thanks to
Mr. Kilmox for his innovative presentation. Stay tuned, because we've got more
coming throughout the night.
But now, let's see how much we've raised for the kids so far.
[The current total flashes up on the screen: £2, 843, 382.
[AMBER's eyes widen as she repeats the total.
[The AUDIENCE whoops and applauds.]
AMBER: [composing herself] And it's all been down to you. Keep those donations
coming in, and who knows, maybe by the halfway mark we'll break five million.
But for now, it's over to our own Sarah Jane Smith to investigate just what this
whole evening is about...