<Run analysis of situation>
<Three random authors transformed into the characters they most hate:
Cameron into Adric, myself into K9, and Alryssa into... *ahem*...
<Probability that Doctor master's plan will succeed: 0.00001 %>
<Probability of this unit going along with it, based on prior
experience: 99.999999 %>
<I _hate_ my life>
"What are _you_ looking at?!" Alryssa moaned.
"You know, the aesthetics of that form are fascinating..." Compassion
began. "For example..."
"I _don't_ wanna hear it..."
Imran trundled over to Allie. "Thanks _so_ much for your support..."
"You're welcome," Allie said, a sadistic grin on her face.
"You know, it's times like this I remember why I give you hangovers..."
Allie's grin vanished.
"Scumble... Made from apples. Well, mostly..."
It's hard for a robot dog to sound smug. Imran managed it.
Back at the drinking contest:
Benny looked down at Nivet, who'd passed out.
She shook her head. "Time Lords. Just can't hold their drink. And in the
first round, too..."
The Thing in the Corner grinned. Or tried to.
Excellent. Things were falling into place.
Now, if it knew where that Cameron boy had come from...
"You fool, Pinky! Why didn't you tell me?"
Pinky sniffled. "I said, 'Brain...' I said..."
"Oh, it doesn't matter, Pinky..." Brain dismissed it with a shrug.
"Things may not have worked out according to plan, but the Author Avatar
Incapacitator still worked... Three Author Avatars, turned into
fictional characters... Now, if we could only get the _other_
Brain turned back to his contraption.
It was gone.
Somewhere, someone laughed. A gurgling laughter that struck fear into
Brain's heart. Pinky gulped.
"Pinky... I think we may be in trouble."
"Narf...So what do we do now, Brain?"
"I... I don't know, Pinky."
"Come on, Brain... You _always_ come up with an idea...."
And an idea popped into Brain's head. It wasn't particularly _bright_,
"Yes. Yes, I do, Pinky. Come. I will need three small sticks and a
"A syringe? What for?"
"For the blood, of course."
"Narf..." Pinky said worriedly.
--- Having gathered his supplies, Brain produced a gadget and started
scanning for his target.
He promptly stalked off after his prey, Pinky tottering along behind
"Who are we hunting, Brain? Narf!"
"Quiet, Pinky! I have a fix!"
Several minutes later, they popped out of the woodwork into a very
brightly lit room, littered with toys. Brain saw his target and darted
over to the sleeping figure, then stabbed it with his needle.
The Baby Sixth Doctor sat bolt upright and burst into tears. Brain had
disappeared already, dragging Pinky with him. He cackled to himself.
"This should contain just enough information... and then... then, I can
take over the 'Round!"
"Narf! Er... why?"
"Why not?" he replied, fwapping Pinky. "Now come on! To my lab!"
"Pieces of wood?"
"Good. This should work..."
And Brain began the Rite of AshkEnte.
"First," Eighth began. "does anyone know how to get in touch with the
Author Mafia?" He looked around. "Ah. I see." He took a deep breath. "In
that case... into the library!"
"This Time Round has a library?" Alryssa asked rhetorically.
"_This_, I have got to see," Alryssa muttered.
The Doctor led the way into the 'Round's library.
Alryssa looked up. And up. And up.
The shelves of accunulated books, fanfics, comics, scripts and computer
games stretched to the ceiling.
"Now..." The Doctor smiled enigmatically. "Now we wait for an old
"Ah. Here he is now."
Alryssa put her head - Compassion's head - in her hands. "Oh...
"An orang-utan," Imran repeated. "An orang-utan is going to help us..."
"Yes, of course! Orang-utans are excellent organisers, didn't you know?"
beamed the Doctor.
Imran blinked, as only a metal dog can.
"So what are we looking for?" asked Sam, perusing the spines.
"The Author Mafia, if you would, old chap," the Doctor said to the
"Oook!" The Librarian made hushing gestures with his long arms.
"It's vital! A case of life and death." He looked at Alryssa and Imran,
"Well, maybe not technically in their case, but for Cameron's sake..."
"Cheers. Come alone, chaps!"
The procession straggled through the many mazelike rows of shelves.,
until they reached a door. The Librarian produced a set of keys from
nowhere (Imran postulated briefly if he'd taken lessons from a certain
Time Lord), then opened the room.
The door swung open rather loudly. Everyone held their breath.
Nothing happened. Everyone (except the Doctor) sighed, disappointed.
"What were you expecting?" he asked of them, puzzled. "We're not there
He tutted and led the way into the room. In the centre of the room was a
small pedestal. On the pedestal, suspended by some sort of force field,
illuminated by candlelight, was a large book....
Alryssa *blinked*. "What was _that_?!"
"Continuity divergence." Compassion shrugged. "Happens all the time
"You're *sure*?" Imran asked.
Compassion nodded. "Perfectly. This has nothing to do with the Sacred
Alryssa and Imran winced at the memory.
The Doctor was tapping his foot. "Could we get on with _this_ one,
"Oh, keep your curls on," Alryssa shot back. He raised an eyebrow in
"Continue," Compassion said.
"Thank you." the Doctor said icily. "Now..."
He went up to the pedastal. As if sensing his presence, the book opened.
The book's pages were blank.
"You know who I am." the Doctor said. "Tell the Don I want an audience."
On one of the book's blank pages, a line of writing appeared. "The
Eighth Doctor wants an audience."
Then it flared up, and vanished.
The lights came on.
Everyone blinked, adjusting to the sudden glare. When it died down,
Imran-K9 trundled forward. Several people had materialised in front of
them. They were all dressed formally. The Don appeared to be...
"Uh oh...." he mumbled.
From behind her desk, the Don eyed them carefully.
Alryssa's jaw dropped. The Eighth grinned.
"Who were you expecting? This is the *author* Mafia, after all..."
The Don Orman put her feet up on the table. In one hand she held a large
glass of root beer, in the other, a very elaborate pen. On the desk
rested a pile of manuscripts, in various authors' handwriting. A
half-written page lay in front of her.
"So... " she said, regarding their appearance. Some of those assembled
shuffled their feet, and found themselves suddenly incredibly interested
in the floor. "What have you gotten yourselves into this time, kids?"
The Doctor strode forward. "Don Orman..."
The Don raised an eyebrow. "Bit formal, wasn't it, Doctor? You _have_
"And don't think we don't know why..." Fitz murmured.
The Don sighed. "Please, don't bring that up again. I made my thoughts
on the matter clear when it happened..."
The Doctor glared at Fitz. "Not *now*. Don Orman... three of those under
your..." He appeared to consider for a moment. "...protection, have been
transformed into the fictional characters they most hate. One,
admittedly, is dead. Or alive. Or... "
The Don rested her elbows on the table. "I know the rules, Doctor. My
predecessors built up quite the body of law. The three, knowing the
novels, _are_ under my protection, and this _does_ transgress the
boundaries between author and character..."
"But..." the Doctor prompted.
"But..." The Don thought. "This matter reaches into the other Families'
purview. _All_ the Families are watching each other. Things are...
"So you won't help?" Fitz muttered.
"You know me better than that, Fitz... Doctor. You have my permission.
Use it wisely."
The Doctor nodded.
The Don grinned. "Oh. One more thing... Doctor, Fitz, Alryssa.... Look
forward to seeing you at the 'Tigers' read-through..."
And with that, she was gone.
"_That_ was a fat lot of good..." Imran moaned.
"No. It wasn't." the Doctor said. "We have her permission. _That_ was
the easy part."
"Permission to do what?"
"You'll see. Back to the 'Round..."
"I hate it when he does that," Alryssa muttered. "Can't you stop being
obtuse, just for a minute?"
The Doctor glanced back over his shoulder as they made their way back.
"What, and spoil the plot? Never!"
She would have hit him, if he hadn't chosen that moment to run.
"Nyssa....NO!! He only _looks_ like..."
Izzy looked down at Cameron's dead body. "As someone very wise once
said: Oh *pants*!"
Cameron looked up. And up, into the grinning visage that loomed over
Then again, it _was_ a skull, Cameron thought. It didn't really have any
other facial options.
Apart from the glowing blue eyes.
"Umm... Have we met?" Cameron asked.
QUITE A FEW TIMES, Death assured him. NOW, WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE
"Er... Ibiza, if you wouldn't mind. I need a holiday," he replied.
NICE PLACE. WENT CLUBBING THERE ONCE. COULDN'T GET A DANCE ALL NIGHT
*Why am I not surprised?* Cameron thought.
NO! NOT NOW! NOT NOW!
"What? What is it?"
THE RITE OF ASHKENTE CALLS. I MUST ANSWER.
And with a *whumph*, Cameron and Death ended up...
...somewhere else entirely.
Two lab mice were seated outside, watching them.
"Narf! It _worked_, Brain!"
"Of _course_ it did, Pinky... Now. Answer my questions."
BUGGER. I WAS RATHER LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT TEQUILA AND A LAP DANCE.
"Tell me about it," moaned Cameron.
"Quiet!" snarled Brain. For such a small entity, he had a large voice.
"Who the *hell* are you?" He looked around. They were in a cage of some
kind, barely big enough to sit in. Death was folded up rather awkwardly
into the small space. Cameron decided he didn't really want to be on
such intimate terms with him.
"I am Brain. I will be your interrogator for today... "
"I deny it all..."
"You deny *THIS*?" roared Brain, revealing....
...a copy of Divided Loyalties.
Cameron screamed. "NOOOO!!!! i'llbegood, i'll tell you what you want..."
Death looked at him. WHAT'S _HIS_ PROBLEM? IT'S A BOOK...
"But it is a book feared and loathed throughout the Net..." Brain told
him. "Even the toughest fans crack under its influence..."
YOU EXPECTED HIM. AH. Death looked at Brain. THIS IS GOING TO BE ONE OF
THOSE MEGALOMANIAC RANTS, ISN'T IT.
"My rants are _not_ megalomaniac," Brain harrumphed. "Using this author
and a stick of wood, I shall regain my Author Avatar Incapacitator,
then, with my restored AAI and the Doctor's biodata, I shall rule This
AND HOW DO YOU INTEND TO START THIS?
Brain shuffled his feet in embarrassment. "Errm. I was hoping you could
tell me who took my Author Avatar Incapacitator...."
Pinky double-took. "Oh, narf..."
"I don't know!" wailed Cameron.
I THINK HE MEANS ME.
"Oh. Do you?"
NOT IF MY LIFE DEPENDED ON IT.
Cameron thought better of asking a followup to that...
BUT I HAVE MY SUSPICIONS.
"Care to share them with us?" asked Brain.
I THINK IT'S SOMEONE WE KNOW. IT'S AN INSIDE JOB.
"Someone who knows us too well..." mused Cameron.
SOMEONE WITH THE INITIALS....