[Still having to use Google. I just hope it doesn't mangle the
TTR / SPOCS
Trouble in Store
Isobel Watkins looked up. The Roberts Master, dressed in full if
rather idiosyncratic Time Lord regalia, was standing at her table,
accompanied by Beatrice Eliott and the obliging saleslady -- Julia,
that was her name -- from A Passion For Fashion.
"Yes?" Isobel found it easy not to sound enthusiastic. Whatever the
Master wanted from her, it wasn't likely to be pleasant. The best
scenario she could envisage was that he wanted her to take his
photograph, and it was a toss-up whether his taste in clothes would
break her camera or her sanity first.
"We've come to you because we believe you may be able to help us,"
the Master said. "Or put us in touch with someone who can be of
assistance. Or pass the message on to those in a position to act. But
I see from your face that you understand me already."
He smiled, showing his fangs. Isobel looked blankly from him to the
"What's he wittering on about?" she asked.
"You're involved, somehow, with these people who go around blowing
up restaurants," Beatrice said.
"You are, aren't you?" Julia added. "I saw you when you were
rescuing your sweetheart from that KFC."
"Oh." Illumination, of sorts, dawned. "Has one of your shops turned
into a fast food outlet?"
"Not precisely." The Master extracted an envelope from an inner
pocket and laid it carefully on the table. "Don't open this until
Isobel shrugged. "OK. I won't. Was that it?"
"That is all. We now leave our fate in your hands."
"Fine. By the way, before you go... I always thought Prydonians wore
scarlet. Did you wash that outfit on the wrong number?"
"I think M. Bruce needs to keep a watch on his temper," Bea remarked
to Julia, as they walked back in the direction of Nameless.
"Oh, don't mind him," Julia reassured her. "He's just refusing to
admit the obvious."
"Whatever do you mean?"
"If he's going about in pink robes I think that's a fairly reliable
sign of his preferences." Julia nodded sagely. "Anyway, now we've
spoken to Isobel, and when she tells her friends I'm sure everything's
going to be sorted out in no time."
- * -
The Second Doctor looked up at the building.
"An ArnCo department store," he said. "And the fashion retail
industry in Nameless feels that this is--" He checked the briefing
papers that the Master had given Isobel. "--An abomination to be
destroyed at all costs."
"That's right," Isobel said. "They were very insistent."
"Well, of course a department store will be selling clothes, so I
suppose it might cut into their market. But is that really so
"If they're like the ones on that poster, yes," Samantha said.
Rather than dummies, the front windows of the store merely contained
large posters advertising its wares, and the one which had so offended
Samantha showed a fashionably scruffy and unshaven gentleman posing in
an ill-fitting suit. His expression suggested that he believed himself
irresistible to the opposite sex, a belief which Samantha obviously
didn't share. "Is that price supposed to be for his suit, or for him?"
"Would you want to buy him?" Isobel asked. "Personally, I'd pay to
have the dustmen take him away."
"Anyway," Jamie said. "How're we going tae knock it down? This is a
wee bit bigger than those greasy spoon places."
"That's a good point," the Doctor said. "I think we'll have to be a
little careful on this one. We don't want to damage any of the
"And we'll need to be sure it's evacuated properly," Gia pointed
"That's another good point. So, I think you and Zoe should come with
me and we'll work out a plan of action."
Zoe looked at her watch. "Sorry, I've got to be going now. I'm on
the morning turn in the flower shop, and Mrs. Baynes will never let me
hear the end of it if I'm not there to open up on time."
She dashed away.
"But you haven't said when you finish..." Isobel tailed off, as it
was obvious she wasn't going to get an answer.
"It looks like it's just us two, then," Gia said.
"What about us?" Samantha asked. "Do we just get told to to run
along and play while you decide what to do?"
"I think we should find out more about this place," Isobel said.
"Let's go in and take a look around."
"Aye, like scouting before a battle," Jamie added.
The Doctor thought for a moment.
"Why not?" he said eventually. "It's only a department store. You
shouldn't come up against anything worse than overpricing."
"Right, then," Gia said. "See you lot back here later."
"Say, at half-past one," the Doctor said. "Zoe should have finished
by then. If not-- well, she'll just have to miss the fun. Enjoy your
He set off in the direction of the Round, with Gia.
"Right," Isobel said. "Shopping time. Coming, Victoria?"
Victoria nodded. "Don't forget we're supposed to be keeping our eyes
open," she said. "And I don't mean for bargains. Not that there'll be
anything we want to buy, if everything's as cheap, nasty and immodest
She indicated another poster, the female counterpart of the one
Samantha had disparaged earlier.
"Oh, get a move on," Samantha said. Taking Isobel by the hand, she
set out for the shop. Jamie and Victoria were close behind.