"We are going to need to create a reverse negativity feedback loop to
change the authors back into themselves."
The Third Doctor's eyes gleamed with delight at the thought of
constructing such a device.
"Can I help with the construction of such a device, old chap?"
"Of course. The more of me, the merrier!" the Eighth Doctor replied to
his former self.
"Excuse me, young lady." the Third replied, taking his sonic screwdriver
back off Jeri.
A moment later the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Doctors joined in the
huddle at one of the empty tables, construction work already beginning
on the device.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the 'Round...
"Can't I just play with Cameron for a little while?" purred Nyssa with a
hint of malice in her tone.
Imran trundled around to face her.
"Bloody uneven floors. You lay one fingernail on Cameron, and I'll blast
And to reinforce the point, Imran extended his blaster.
"I won't even have to lay a fingernail on him to have fun." mocked
Nysssa, and with that, she leaped towards Cameron.
Meanwhile, in the drinks cabinet, Pinky had nibbled through a cork into
a particulary fruity Skaro '98 and was sipping at the green liquid
inside the bottle, while Brain was struggling to repair the device.
"Damn you, Pinky!" Brain exclaimed. "Thanks to your meddling, my plan
has momentarily failed. But after making some delicate repairs, I can
recommence my ambitious master plan! But, first, I need one vital part
Brain hopped out of the cabinet and crept along the shelf, grabbing a
cork screw before staggering back to the cabinet.
However, inside the cabinet, Pinky was not feeling well.
"Cor blimey, what's in the Lime Juice? Narf!" Pinky staggered across to
Brain's device and "Blurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp!" vomited inside of it, before
Brain arrived back in the cabinet.
"Good, the fool's asleep. Now to get on with some real work!"
And so absorbed was he in his task, Brain did not notice the splashes of
green inside his prized device.
The Thing in the Corner witnessed this and laughed. A long, menacing
Nyssa sprang at Cameron, Izzy and the others struggling to hold her
Alryssa looked up, her forehead not even bruised "Quick, Cameron, get
Alryssa opened up "Bloody hell, this smarts!" she exclaimed, and Cameron
tripped inside her, just as Nyssa broke free.
"He's mine!" she complained.
"Not any more." Alryssa countered smugly.
Inside Alryssa, Cameron shivered. "Can you put on the heating?" he
"Sorry!" It started getting warmer.
The Doctors had finished their task.
"We only have one chance to use this, so we'd better use it now!"
exclaimed the Fifth, not noticing that one of the trio was missing.
"As we'll ever be!" chorused Imran and Alryssa.
The Fourth Doctor aimed the barrel.
Inside the cabinet, Brain prepared to fire. "This time, the world shall
be mine!" he exclaimed.
Inside Alryssa, Cameron watched the scene on the scanner.
"Wait! You've forgotton about me!" he whined, and was ignored by
He zoomed in on the drinks cabinet and saw a tiny barrel pointing in
"Shit!" he exclaimed, and hastily started setting controls.
Brain pulled the trigger on his device, dreaming of global domination.
The Third Doctor pulled the trigger on the Doctor's device, confident of
Cameron threw the switch to dematerialise.
The Thing in the Corner burbled with delight.
Two beams struck Alryssa and Imran, as Alryssa started dematerialising,
Cameron inside of her...
When the brilliant flash of light faded...
"Oooofff... Hey. What happened? That worked, right?" Imran looked at the
denizens of the 'Round.
Sam coughed. "Well, sort of..."
"Sort of? What now-" Imran looked down at himself.
"AAAAARRRGGGHHH!!! I'M FIVE SMEGGING YEARS OLD!!!"
"Look at it this way," Allie grinned. "At least you're back to
"I'll _get_ you for that, Allie..." Imran threatened.
Fitz looked around. "Hey! Where're Alryssa and... and whatshisname?"
"Cameron," Imran supplied.
"By the laws of Narrative Irony," Allie said, grinning. "if what
happened to my author here happened to them, I know _just_ where they
Anji put her head on the table. "Oh my Gods..."
The Doctors gathered around the device.
The First spoke up. "Hmm, there you see, hmm, you misaligned the focus
of the reversal beam, reversing the temporal age of the physical body."
Second replied. "We need something to align it properly..."
Second saw the Seventh about to pick up his spoons and...
"Perfect!' Second exclaimed, "These spoons will realign the beam, and
with a bit of luck, the device should work this time. Now, where have
your friends disappeared to?"
Imran looked up into the Second's eyes. "The creche."
"Well, we'll just have to go there then." the Eighth spoke up, "Come
Cameron looked up, into Alryssa's scanner. "Could you... turn on the
Alryssa did so in silence.
It hadn't worked then, Cameron thought. Otherwise, Alryssa'd be her-
He looked down at himself. "Hey! I'm me again!"
"Bully for you," Alryssa muttered.
"But why didn't it affect -"
"I was hit by two rays," Alryssa's voice was flat. "I'm not... used...
to this. I tried to distribute both of them equally. It didn't work. You
got the full blast of one. I got the other."
"What was the other one? And where _are_ we?" Cameron asked tremulously.
Alryssa's scanner came on.
"It looks like... Hey, that looks like a day care centre..." Cameron
"It is. Out."
There was a crack of darkness, and-
Cameron was in the day care centre.
He turned around, to see -
- a year old version of Compassion.
"Alryssa...?" he asked nervously.
"Yes." Alryssa said.
Cameron didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
Then he looked around. And the feeling amplified.
A toddler, looking disturbingly like the Eighth Doctor, tugged on
Cameron's leg. Cameron looked down. "Oh, *no!* They got turned into
The baby Eighth shook his head, curls bobbing. "Uh-uh... You're in the
day care centre outta' continuity, actually.... We're the _baby_
versions of the Adults over at This Time Round..."
"Uh-oh... " Cameron said.
Which was when the _real_ baby Compassion arrived. Along with the
...Cameron blinked. It looked like... looked like... Baby _Alryssa_.!
Only one response seemed appropriate.
"The process must have split me in two, Compassion me, and me me." both
Alryssas explained as one.
"We must construct a device to combine the two Alyrssas, and restoring
her to her full age." burst out the Eighth.
But then Izzy entered the room. "Not now, it's nap time." she told the
"Oh pants. I can't wait!" vocalised the two Alryssa's.
Izzy was firm. "Nap first, then restoration. Besides, the adults will be
The toddlers accepted this, and headed off to the nap room.
"But what about me!" complained Cameron.
"I need some help in the staff, monitering them." Izzy explained, "Come
They left the room
In a shadowed corner of Look Who's Talking, the day care centre outside
continuity, where the baby versions of fictional characters meet,
(where'd that exposition come from?), the baby Thing in the Corner
gurgled to itself. Yes! Perfect!
But somewhere deep inside, it had the vague feeling that all was not
going as planned...
But it fell asleep before it could ponder on that thought any further...
In the drinks cabinet in This Time Round...
"Pinky, I'm going to have to hurt you now."
"Narf! Okay, Brain!"
Then Brain's device exploded...
"Hey you, mouse men, get out of my bar!" yelled Francios.
Brain shook his head. Everything seemed much smaller. Then he
remembered. The device exploding, now...
"Yes! Yes!" Now that he was taller, his plans would be so much easier to
Grabbing Pinky, he left the bar.
And the Thing in the Corner grimaced. Something was wrong. The Thing got
up and moved silently after the two mice.
Francois sighed. The bar was now quiet, after so much fuss, so quiet,
and he fell asleep, not noticing one important, critical detail...
Another important rule: Never leave a Time Lord unconscious on the floor
of a pub.
Nivet is just about to discover the truth of this.
Mental space. _Nivet's_ mental space. Here, his consciousness is
(metaphorically) twiddling its thumbs, while his body flushes the
alcohol out of its system.
"Ten million Klein bottles, sitting on the wall..."
There was a flash of white light. And a stranger appeared. He looked
"For a so-called higher race, you have spectacularly dull mindscapes...
Not as dull as _ours_, but you were just getting the hang of it..."
"Thankfully, you all got wiped out before they _could_ become as dull as
ours..." the stranger continued.
"Oh, that's right," the stranger said dismissively. "You still need
introductions. I am Q. And _you_ are Nivet."
"They already did that joke," Q whispered conspiratorally. "I am a most
valued and important member of that group of omnipotent beings called
the Q continuum."
Nivet raised a mental eyebrow.
"Well, actually, I'm the most _interesting_ member of those dull,
hidebound, omnipotent, apathetic, boring entities you'll ever hope to
"Don't stint on the flattery much, do you?" Nivet remarked.
Q shrugged. "Self-worship is the best kind, I find. _Now_, little lord
of time, there are matters we must deal with. And soon."
"Yes, really..." Q mocked.
And Nivet suddenly found himself falling through the air.
Q appeared, seeming perfectly unruffled. "Now, you're probably saying to
yourself 'Why does such an omnipotent entity need my help?' And the
truth is, I don't. However... Occasionally, there are times when I need
...amusement. Pleasure. And so, I turn to your little universes to find
"AAAHHHH!!!" Nivet screamed.
"Now... this place, this... pub, seems to proffer much amusement," Q
said. "However... as I looked, I discovered certain ...plans... afoot.
And I thought 'What better way to make myself known, then by throwing a
very big spanner in the works?' ."
"Now, the Doctor, in the normal course of events, would have found about
such plans in due course, and he would have intervened, putting things
right in that do-gooder, maverick, oh-so-heroic way of his." Q frowned
momentarily. "He reminds me of someone..." He shook his head. "So... I
decided to stir things up. I apported the Cameron boy to the 'Round,
altered the effects of certain devices, poked ideas in the right
direction, for the maximum chaos..."
"Don't say much, do you?" Q observed.
There was a flash of light.
And they were floating in the void.
"Listen to me, Nivet. Understand me when I say things are reaching
crisis point. And it is my choice to throw another spanner in the works.
The adults, Pinky, Brain and the adult Thing in the Corner were on their
way to Look Who's Talking, where something surprising was about to
In the playroom...
Izzy wiped the sweat off her brow. "Brill. They're all asleep."
"How'd... how'd..." Cameron stammered. He got a hold on himself. "How
did you get here so fast? You were holding off Nyssa, last I saw..."
Izzy grinned. "This." She showed Cameron a ring on her finger. "Lets me
get around anywhere... so long as I can imagine it. And it _was_
beginning of my shift..."
Baby Alryssa opened one eye. Good. No-one else awake.
She reached over, and shook the shoulder of the baby Alryssa-TARDIS,
still in Compassion's form. "C'mon. While the adults aren't looking. We
can wake up the Doctor, get him to restore us..."
The duo crawled over to the baby Eighth.
Who opened one eye, and said "What kept you?"
Neither of these was the surprising thing.
The surprising thing was just about to happen.
A creaking sound came from the side of the playroom.
Cameron turned around. "What was _that_?"
"The toybox," Izzy whispered. From her position, she could see the
toddlers' toybox. And it had just opened. Of its own accord.
"What's so-" Cameron began.
The toybox rumbled. Then with a *whump*, something flew out of it.
Izzy blinked. A wooden mask? Had she really seen it spit out a wooden
And it landed...
...on Cameron's face.
The resulting transformation was... a surprise, to say the least.
Nivet woke up. Cold, chilly knowledge filled his mind.
He noticed the detail Francois had left unattended.
And he knew who he had to find. Before Time ran out.
For all of them.