The Thing In The Corner cackled. Things were coming along nicely.
Although those two mice were not part of the plan, they could not hurt
it either. They were just mice, after all, right?
Then again... it thought. Its last attempt to manipulate them had
worked... but those two were always a danger, while they were still
around. They might... disrupt things. It needed something to distract
And then it noticed something in the other continuity...
"Oooh. That tickles."
It vanished to the source.
"Ah. _There_ you are..." Q said. "I've always said you can't beat a good
"What do you want?" the Thing asked grumpily. "Come on, come on, I've
got plans to watch..."
Q smiled. "The same thing you want. The complete breakdown of fiction
and reality... and the destruction of This Time Round."
Back in This Time Round, Benny was swaying drunkenly. As she wavered to
the left, she just managed to avoid the figure who flew through the
door, almost horizontally, still clutching a drink in his hand.
He skidded to a halt and slowly picked himself up off the floor. "Last
time I ask if the barman has monkey nuts..." he said to himself, looking
"Ooh, this looks like a nice place. Never been here before..."
Polly walked up to the newcomer with her clipboard, "And you are?"
The figure took a sip of his drink and looked up at her. "I'm Gordon,
I've just been thrown out of my usual drinking establishment." He
scrabbled about in his pockets "I am allowed in here, you know," he
pulled out a scrappy computer printout, "See, I'm an author, I wrote a
story about Benny!"
Polly looked at the bit of paper carefully, "Oh alright, then," and
walked away. Gordon felt something painful poking him in the bum. He
moved slightly and picked up a small device from the floor, where his
rapidly decelerating posterior had crushed it. He read the little label
on it, "Author Avatar Incapacitator...wonder what it does, or rather
The Thing smiled.
"I see. What do you propose?"
"It's already started. It just needs a little... boost, shall we say?"
The laughter echoed into infinity...
Cameron stared in abject terror as the small mouse with the big head
waved the copy of Divided Loyalties in his direction. Again.
"I don't have the Incapacitator! honest. Please don't make me read it.
Pleeeeaaassseeee!!! I'll do anything?!?!"
"Anything?" asked the mouse
Cameron double-took as he realised what he had said, "Well, I say
"Are you pondering what I'm pondering, Pinky?"
"But Brain, what if the Nimon don't like Britney Spears?"
Brain fwapped Pinky. "That's not what I meant..."
"YES!" exclaimed the mouse, with great enthusiasm. "We can send you back
to the tawdry little drinking establishment to distract the customers
while I search for the device! Your current resemblance to Adric will
only add to the effect!"
"No!!! Don't send me back there!", Cameron gibbered, his voice suddenly
changing to a hushed whisper. "Nyssa's there...."
"Enough! Begone, rubber-pyjama clad lookalike!"
As if by magic, Cameron disappeared...
Death looked about dejectedly. YOU KNOW, I COULD MURDER A CURRY.
Q walked around the Thing. "This Time Round is a paradigm shift gateway
between what is real and what is not. It is only the bizarre writings of
the authors that prevent the catharsis of dubious continuity from
spreading throughout not just this multiverse, but all others."
He stared straight into the Thing's eyes, "Both you and I have set
events into motion to disrupt the narrative causality of that little
pocket pub dimension. Left alone, things would eventually snap back into
some semblance of normality," he smiled. "Or at least, whatever passes
for normality there. But if we just give one or two little pushes in the
wrong direction, the entire thread will tear itself apart, loosing the
powers of certain people onto reality."
"C'mon, get on with it," the Thing grumped, "Who are you on about?"
Q stood back. "Those who have the power over all, those who worship
retroactive continuity, their leader, Uncle Terrance, their name..." he
threw his arms wide in an overly-dramatic gesture. "Fiction Paradocs!!!"
Just as Gordon finally dragged himself off up the floor, the Doctor,
Fitz and Alryssa bundled through the door, sending him sprawling onto
"Right, so what exactly do we have permission to do then, Doctor?"
The Doctor dove over the bar and began rummaging among the glasses.
Francois woke up at the tinkling.
"Hey, I told you about the Guinness keg last time!"
The Doctor hushed him, blushing slightly.
"I'm looking for something... Here!"
The others crowded round the bar to see it. Imran couldn't see, so
extended his sensor.
"Ooo! Watch where you're putting that thing!" yelped Izzy, flapping.
"Sorry..." he replied. If it was possible for a tin dog to blush, Imran
Alryssa stared at the artefact.
"That's what she gave you permission for?"
The Doctor sniffed.
"It's very powerful. Really."
He placed it on the bar for all to see...
As Gordon picked himself up, he looked at Benny, their eyes met,
something almost electric passed between them...
...it was the malfunctioning Incapacitator. There was a flash of light,
a bizarre whooping noise.
Benny looked down at herself.
Gordon looked down at himself.
"Whose breasts are these?! Oh...bollocks! Or rather no bollocks..."
The Doctor looked round "Oh no, as if we didn't have enough to worry
about. Now a This Time Round newbie, and the character he's desperately
(and somewhat sadly) in love with, have had their minds switched. What
else could possibly happen?"
In the middle of the room, a strange, swirly orange thing appeared in a
blaze of sound. From it came the most terrifying sound the customers of
the Round had ever heard and from within the vortex emerged...
"I love you, you love me. Let's sing this song eternally..."
It was debatable whether the chanting was more blood-chilling, or the
foul, fetidly cheerful voice that led it. What's more, they were all
The patrons shrieked in terror as the soul-destroying rhythm poured
mindlessly from the depths of the strange orange swirly thing. And
then, there was movement, as something vast and purple and seemingly
coated with a saccharine slime stepped through, its squamous head and
hooded eyes defying classification with any of the more conventional
forms of life in our Universe.
Benny-in-Gordon's-body screamed and pointed. "Ia! Shub-Barneyrath!
The Purple Dinosaur of the Woods with a Thousand Young! The Great Old
Purple One who dreams in the depths of Daytime-TV'lyeh!"
"That I did not expect," said Q.
"I did," the Thing from the Corner surlily replied.
"You did _not_. Liar."
"Did, too. Stupidhead."
"Did not, doofus."
"Did, too, buttboy with a one-letter name."
"Did not, git. And, at least I _have_ a name, instead of a definite
article, an impersonal pronoun, and a prepositional phrase." Trump
_that_, the semi-omnipotent being thought in a highly un-omnipotent and
very petty manner.
"Oh, yeah, well, uh..." the Thing floundered weakly for a moment, then
sneered. "At least _I_ didn't start out playing a dopey inventor on
'Days of Our Lives'!"
"NEVER MENTION THE 'EUGENE' THING AGAIN!!" Q shrieked as he began
pummelling the Thing about what might have been its head.
"Will you be my friends?" hissed Shub-Barneyrath at the cowering people
around him. "Let's play make-believe. I'm going to pretend that I have
an army of Spamites..."
Before the horror-stricken eyes of the fearful pub-goers, a horde of
pinkish, one-eyed, tentacle-armed creatures came shambling out of the
orange swirly thing. A rancid, spicy odor overrode even the reek of
Shub-Barneyrath as the beasts began to fill the room. "Build your own
Cable Descrambler," they growled. "Make money fast. Nieman-Marcus
cookie recipe. Hot young coeds just 4-U!" Each Spamite added his own
sibilant message to the clamor.
"Spamites!" Lucas Buck and Catbert cried out in horror from the corner
booth. "I thought they were all dead!" Catbert shakily hissed, his fur
standing up straight and his ears flat against his head.
At that moment, the door opened and Number One stumbled inside, female
and walking on crutches, with a bandage swathed around one leg. "Buck!
Catbert! The Spamites are back!" She blinked and stared at the horde
of monsters in the middle of the room. "But, I guess y'all already know
that, huh?" Shrugging, she turned and limped back out.
Just then, someone who looked like Adric but was actually Cameron
appeared on the floor amidst the bestial Spamites. He looked up into
the slavering, one-eyed faces around him and just shook his head.
"Bloody typical," he muttered.
"Let's play a new game," Shub-Barneyrath grunted. "Let's play Devour
the Souls of the Mortals!"
The Fifth Doctor sighed and put aside his teacup and the cricket scores
he'd been reading and walked over to where Nyssa had been tied up to
prevent her from commiting manslaughter when she'd discovered the pub
had run out of celery sticks to go with their spicy chicken wings. With
Tegan's help, he untied the bloodthirsty Trakenite, then slid a small
gym bag over to her. Inside were several 9mm pistols, some grenades, an
MP-5 machine pistol, a sawed-off shotgun, a pointed stick, a .44 Magnum,
a Desert Eagle .50 caliber automatic, some lawn darts, Longinus's Lance,
that two-shot crossbow from the movie 'Ladyhawke', an Exocet missile, a
Carcano rifle she'd picked up in Dallas at a school book depository,
Excalibur, two bricks, and a change of panties.
"Yay! Carnage!" cheered Nyssa, her eyes glowing slightly as she
snatched up a handful of weaponry.
"You take care of the Spamites," the Doctor ordered, "while I deal with
"Okay!" the psychotic girl giggled happily, a gun in each hand, several
more in her belt, and the pointed stick in a sheath on her thigh. "Yay!
I get to show everyone my Chow Yun-Fat impersonation! Nifty carnage!"
Cameron looked at the hulking Spamites on his left. He looked at the
deranged, gun-toting Nyssa on his right. With a heart-wrenching sigh,
he sat down and bowed his head. "Why am I not surprised," he mumbled to
no one in particular. "I crukking give up..."
_That_ was when the hurricane hit.
"Faster than a speeding poster! More powerful than Justin Richards! Able
to leap deep plotholes in a single bound!"
The green-faced lunatic stood in the middle of the 'Round, grinning
insanely. A grin so insane that it made all who had gone before tremble.
Nyssa took notes.
He dropped something.
"Ooof!! Cameron-" Izzy trailed off, as she looked around her. "This is
getting _really_ overused, but... Oh *pants!!*'
Death felt that familiar tugging sensation deep inside, and sighed. He
gave the Brain a hopeful look, which, with his lack of anything but a
skull for a face, was indistinguishable from every other look he ever
gave. I THINK I'M ABOUT TO HAVE SOME WORK TO DO. I
SUPPOSE THERE'S NO CHANCE OF YOU LETTING ME GO, IS THERE?
"Absolutely not," Brain replied stiffly. "Your services will be
required for the furtherance of my next great plan."
Death shrugged. THOUGHT NOT. ANY CHANCE OF A CURRY, THEN...?
Meanwhile, in the Creche...
"Hey! How come 'Barney and Friends' isn't on today?"
<Time for some of that 'omniscient perspective', if you'd be so kind...>
The Cameron-Mask has just arrived in the 'Round, dragging Izzy along
Cameron-_Adric_ has _also_ just arrived in the 'Round, in order to
distract its denizens. Unfortunately...
Shub-Barneyrath has _also also_ just arrived in the 'Round, woken from
its sleep in Daytime TV'yleh. And _it's_ intent on devouring all the
mortal souls it can get its hands on, armed with its legion of Spamites.
Psycho Nyssa is about to demonstrate her Chow-Yun Fat impression on the
The Fifth Doctor is about to tackle Shub-Barneyrath.
The Eighth Doctor, Fitz, Compassion, Alryssa-Compassion and Imran-K9
have just returned from the library with permission to do
The _other_ continuity's adults, a five year old Imran, a giant Brain
(carrying Pinky), and one version of the Thing in the Corner are heading
for the Creche.
In the Creche itself, Baby Alryssa and Baby Alryssa-Compassion are
trying to merge back into the original Alryssa. With the Baby Eighth
Barney and Friends isn't on (to the great acclaim of all those with
Gordon and Benny Summerfield have switched bodies, thanks to the Author
Avatar Incapacitator, which _someone_ (with the initials LM) left on the
floor of the 'Round (this being the detail Francois didn't notice).
Nivet is searching for someone before _everything_ stops.
Q and the _other_ version of the Thing in the Corner are plotting the
destruction of This Time Round, and the complete breakdown of reality.
They just need to give one or two little pushes _there_...
...and the powers of those who worship retroactive continuity, Fiction
Paradocs, will be unleashed on reality, breaking the boundaries of
what's real and what's fictional.
_Why_ is a question no-one's answered.
In the meantime, Q and the Thing are having a slap-fest. Sooner or
later, _one_ of them is going to realise someone's tried to bind them
with a spell.
Doesn't mean they can't see what's going on, though...
The _other_ version of Pinky and the Brain have Death captive in order
to further _Brain's_ great plan to rule This Time Round, using the
Author Avatar Incapacitator and the Doctor's biodata. Of course, Brain
doesn't know Gordon sat on the AAI...
<We're in *deep* doo-doo, aren't we?>
"Right... just let me get this calibrated..."
The Baby Eighth Doctor looked up. "If you two could just stand
Baby Alryssa and Baby Alryssa-Compassion stood together. Neither of them
was at all sure about this...
Especially since the Doctor was using what looked like a cannibalised
Fisher-Price My First Camera....
"This is a cannibalised Fisher-Price My First Camera..." the Doctor said
absently. "Not what I'd have worked with, but there you go..."
He aimed the camera at the two girls. "Say 'Dalek cheese smells!'."
"Dalek cheese smells!" the two Alryssas chorused.
There was a flash.
All hell broke loose.
The Alryssas screamed. The smoke filled the air. The Doctor toppled over
As the smoke cleared, he looked up to see a large figure looming over
"Jings Doctor!" cried Baby Jamie "Look at yon big skellington!!!"
I'M NOT A SKELLIN...SKELETON!
"Aye you are, you cannae fool me, ya sassenach!"
I'M A...ER...MR JONES, THE MILD MANNERED JANITOR!
"Och, awa with ye, youse a skeleton!"
The Baby Eighth Doctor looked around the creche, "Hold on, where are the
Baby Alryssa and Baby Alryssa-Compassion looked around the bizarre room
they had found themselves in.
"Wires?" said Baby Alryssa.
"Multi-coloured plastic?" said Baby Alryssa-Compassion.
They looked at the big round window at the front of the room, only to be
greeted by the sight of the creche, now extra-large size.
The two Alryssas looked at each other.
"He cannabalised the mini-scope, didn't he?" cried Baby Alryssa.
Baby Alryssa-Compassion slumped in a heap on the floor. "Yep!"
They looked at each other again... "Bwaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!"
"Enough of this."
An eerie stillness fell over the 'Round. Even the Spamites fell silent.
The Eighth Doctor stood up from behind the bar, holding something in his
"By the permission granted me by the Author Mafia..."
He closed his eyes, and looked down. Then he looked up, eyes burning.
"...I claim the power of the Editor."
All hell broke loose.
The thing in the Doctor's hands glowed. It was a teacup. A regular,
china teacup. But not an ordinary one, by all accounts.
Alryssa drew in her breath.
"Uh oh," she muttered, "Whoever is responsible... look out... he's
"And when he gets angry... things start happening..." Sam followed up.
The two looked at each other, before the light filled the room, and
nobody could see anything anymore. When it faded, two figures were
standing in the middle of the 'Round, blinking.
"Oh, bugger," said Q.
"Oh bugger indeed," said the Doctor, darkly.
"Oh bugger," said Lawrence.
The Doctor glared at him.
"I should've known..." he mused. "Not content with messing with my
biodata, you thought you'd rewrite everyone else's and destroy this
place as a side-effect. Well, guess what? I have in my hands the power
to erase you both from existence as we know it."
Q snorted in derision.
"Ha! You? Goody two-shoes? You don't have the nerve!"
"Doctor, wait - "
The Doctor concentrated. He opened his hands, and suddenly the room was
full of butterflies. Q flapped at them ineffectually.
"I can't let you destroy this place. There are too many dreams here. Too
many hopes, too much creativity. Too much beauty."
"Too much sugar!" spat Q. "All this silliness is going nowhere! It needs
to be destroyed before it kills itself on sweetness and light!"
Alryssa watched as the butterflies fluttered around them, and smiled.
Compassion blinked as one landed on her nose.
The Doctor yelled back at Q, his blue eyes infernos.
"Let you take apart a place of joy and fun? Allow you to prevent freedom
of choice and expression to the writers who create us and perpetuate our
memory long after we've gone?"
His voice softened suddenly, but everyone could still hear him.
"I don't think so. Not today. Not ever."
Q and Lawrence screamed...
"Benton, put that away!" Benny (in Gordon's body) shouted, "Your
elephant impersonation wasn't funny the first time..."
Q and Lawrence stopped screaming...
The Doctor scowled at Benton, "If I may continue?"
"In all my drinking in This Time Round, I have battled against boredom,
against no-fun fan-fictioners. I should have drank beer. The maddest
fan-fiction, deviant, degenerate and retconned to the core. Power-mad
authors, fanwank, references, continuity, they're still mind-numbingly
boring compared to us. Ten million bytes of absolute power. That's what
it takes to be really corrupt."
Gordon (in Benny's body) suddenly grinned. "Actually, this isn't so
Alryssa fwapped Gordon, "Get a hold of yourself..."
"That's exactly what I was thinking of doing..."
Alryssa fwapped Gordon again.
"Ok, ok. I'll try and figure out someway of reversing the switch. But
first..." Gordon reached over to Benny and removed something from his
coat pocket, "I'm going to shove this copy of Planet Of The Spiders
right up Mad Larry's arse!!!"
Lawrence's face took on a look of abject, complete and horrific
Q looked around wildly, actually worried for once, "Just one push in the
right direction..." his gaze locked upon the Green-masked visage of
"You're too late Q. I'm the guy with two hearts, I'm the editor, I'm in
control here, I AM THE DOC..."
"Green!" said Q, "Cameron has turned into a monster. He is green. You
lose." he smiled.
"What? No, it can't be..."
Two hugely obese individuals appeared as if from nowhere. A chant of a
thousand anoraks echoed around the room. "Gween! Gween! Gween is the
cowor of munshtas!!!"
"Allow us to introduce ourselves, I am Cousin Walsh, this is Cousin
Venables. We are Fa..."
"Oi, what about me?" said a small, thin figure from behind them.
"Oh yes...this is Cousin Towelling. He's on work experience."
The small figure waved. "Hiya!"
"Anyway, we are Fiction Paradocs, prepare to be retconned out of
Cameron-Adric raised a hand. "Umm... actually, we've got pink and purple
monsters," he pointed out, shying away from Shub-Barneyrath and the
"And you guys have a _seriously_ warped view of the colour green..." the
Izzy on the ground said.
"Yeah. The Mask's an _anti-hero_, not a monster," the Izzy at the bar
said. "What, you think the Hulk's a monster?"
The members of Fiction Paradocs looked at each other. "Yes." they all
The Izzys rolled their eyes. "_That_ explains a lot..."
"Okay... huff...Okay...huff... Where's Alryssa?" the five year old Imran
panted, as they burst into the Creche.
Then he blinked.
A baby skeleton in a hooded robe, and a Nerf scythe, was pulling at the
robe of the adult Death, and complaining about something which sounded
suspiciously like 'job demarcation.'
The Baby Eighth Doctor ahemmed. And pointed to the camera he was
holding. "They're... in here."
Anji stormed over and picked up the little Doctor. "That's _it_! I have
had _enough_ of this craziness! So how the _cruk_ do you get them out?"
She paused. "Hold on... F- Crukcrukcrukcruk. Why can't I say the
"Fendahl?" Allie suggested, to be rewarded with a dark look from Anji.
"Basic law of Out-Of-Continuity," the adult Eighth said. "No F-word."
At _that_ point...
...Lawrence Miles, along with a giant Brain (carrying Pinky) burst into
the day care centre.
And stopped, when they saw the assembled adults and children already
Fitz double-took, then advanced on Lawrence. "I want a _word_ with
And leaped for him.
Nivet burst into the day care centre
"You _utter_, _utter_... You stuck me in the _Cold_ for _600_ years,
_then_ you turned me into a member of the *Faction*, and _then_..."
The toddlers were cheering Fitz on as he proceeded to pound the living
daylights out of Loz.
"*Yes*. Quickly..." Nivet panted. "We need you... *now*. Before it's too
The one he'd pointed to *gawped*.
"No! You can't... I'm in the middle of... DAMN YOU!!"
Fitz protested as he was dragged off Loz, kicking and yelling.
And in the baby Eighth's contraption, the two mini-Ryssas were banging
on the walls.
"Hey! Did someone forget about us?"
"I think so," mumbled the other, flopping to what seemed to be the
Then, everything lurched, and the two tumbled around like clothes in a
"Someone's picked us up!"
"Best line I've heard all day. Shame about the context."
The mini-AlryssaTARDIS snorted.
"What... *huff*... Oh...*huff*...Allie?...*huff*"
"What my out-of-breath writer is trying to say is... what do we need
They were back on the road to the 'Round. With a good number of toddlers
in tow (they'd wanted to see what had happened next.)
Compassion was currently carrying Mad Larry. Literally.
Pinky and the Brain had slipped into the chaotic crowd. . "Narrative
Causality..." Nivet said. "The thread's been pushed too far... Too
much, in a short period of time, in a confined space... The 'Round's
about to go critical..."
"And... *huff*... Fitz?"
"He knows how to stop it."
"You peeked. You peeked at the end of that book!" Nivet yelped, as Fitz
glared at him. Fitz blinked.
"Oh... you mean... So that... Ah. OK... right. Um. I think."
"Get on with it!" came the chorused reply.
They piled into the 'Round.
"Excuse me. I've got some Spamites to massacre...' Nyssa pointed out,
"No." Cousin Venables said. "You _will_ be retconned... Now, how to do
it? Make it a dream Imran's having in the 'Round? Make it so that
Lawrence's plan never began? No... I think a good, old-fashioned War of
the Daleks retcon will do..."
"You can't beat the classics.' Cousin Walsh said.
The Eighth Doctor stepped forward.
"No. More. Retcons." he said coldly, his voice coming from the chilly
slopes of Hell. "I have had _enough_ of having my life rewritten, and
rewritten, and rewritten over and over again, simply to satisfy the
needs of the plot of the month. My life is my own. So is my past. And
_you_' he pointed to Fiction Paradocs. 'will _never_ know just _what_
parts of my past are and aren't true."
He smiled. "Especially since _I_ no longer know anymore..."
"You chose the wrong time, and the wrong place. Your time is gone. _You
have no power here._ And as the Editor, _what I say, goes._"
The denizens of the Round applauded.
"Umm... Doctor..." the Izzys said. "We've still got the stonking great
purple thing and the Spam from Hell to deal with..."
The Mask-Cameron was... playing... with Loz. "Wedgie!!!"
The Doctor smiled, and gestured to his Fifth self. "I believe you had a
"Ah. Yes. That one?"
Compassion glanced at Alryssa. Alryssa looked at the Doctors.
"What did you have in mind?" she asked. Everyone turned to look at her.
The Eighth brandished the Editor's Pen.
"Here, my good man. If you would do the honours..."
*and so I don't get beaten to a pulp afterwards...* he added silently.
Fifth stepped up to the huge floating book that had appeared in the
middle of the 'Round, and began writing furiously.
"Doctor..." Nyssa hissed. "*I* get to take out the Spamites!"
The Fifth nodded furiously as he wrote. "Yes, I know. Change of plan.
Since he's tapped into the Editor... Withdrawl of sponsorship from
Barney & Friends, originally... Now... Nyssa, _get to work._"
The psychotic Trakenite grinned as she started doing what she did
"You know. I feel funny. Like I should be... " she trailed off. "Wait.
"It's the secret weapon we talked about the other night," he offered.
"ARRRGGHH!! I... can't... stop... myself..."
Everyone moved away from her like a wave.
"What on Ganymede is going on?" asked Imran.
"You'll see," sniggered Compassion.
"I'm going to *kill* you... "
White light filled the room.
"Gallifrey.... starrrr... POWERR!!"
Imran headbutted the bar as best he could, hoping he could knock himself
out. Nyssa blinked.
The light dissipated. Alryssa had... changed. She was wearing a Japanese
schoolgirl outfit in purple and white. At least, what there was of it.
She brandished a staff that bore the ancient representation of the Eye
Fiction Paradocs wailed.
"Bugger," said Q.
The Eighth couldn't stifle his grin.
"Now you're all in trouble," he said. "Meet Sailor Gallifrey."
Compassion debated leaving for sanity's sake...
Unfortunately, Alryssa still looked like _Compassion_. Which was enough
to cause cognitive dissonance in Fiction Paradocs in itself.
They started dribbling.
Alryssa blinked. "Wow. That was easier than I thought. Now... " She
turned to Shub-Barneyrath. "Now, sub-Cthulhoid monster! Taste the
Infinity-Chambered Strike!!... what am I *saying*?!"
"Never..." Shub-Barneyrath hissed. "Daytime TV'lyeh will rise... and
there is _nothing_ that can stop it..."
"Oh yeah?!" Alryssa said. "Taste the power of *Anime*, foul fiend!!... I
will _get_ you for this, Doctor..."
The Eighth and Fifth grinned.
"So..." murmured the Eighth, "Who gets the backlash for this one?"
"Speak for yourself," muttered the Fifth. "I took the blame last
"Think she'll go for her regular approach?"
The Fifth considered.
"Considering what we just did to her... I think she might have something
special for you tucked up her sleeve. Or what she has of one..."
"Wonder what the Council would make of this..."
Between them, Imran-K9, Cameron-Mask and Psycho Nyssa had managed to cut
a swathe through the horde of Spamites. The unthinking creatures tried
to advance over the bodies of their brethren.
"Uh uh." Imran said. "Eat _blaster_, pit-spawn.... _Finally_. I've
always wanted to do this to a spammer..."
"I'm _worried_ about that boy..." Nyssa murmured.
She threw another morning star at a Spamite who was attempting to make
an unsolicited sale of pumice stones to Sam. The Spamite dropped deader
than his stones.
On the edge of the orange vortex...
"I shall arise once more..." Shub-Barneyrath hissed. "And I shall bring
naught but sugar-sweet songs, and mind-numbing lessons, and empty
acting, as this world bows before me..."
"*NEVER!!*" Alryssa yelled. "There'll be drama, and fluffiness, and
comedy, and dramatic complexity, and romance, just so long as I fight!!"
Energy crackled in the air around her. "Get _gone_, you horrible
"*STAR ANIME NOVA!!!*"
And when Alryssa's burst of power faded, Shub-Barneyrath, and its horde
of Spamites, were gone.
The Eighth looked mournfully down. "He'll be back. You can never really
destroy something like that..."
"Cheer up," the Fifth said. "We've driven him back... this time."
The Eighth nodded. "Now... Oh, of _course_. I should have realised. Two
Izzys, two Camerons..."
"Two continuities..." the Eighth finished. He checked his pocket-watch.
"The others should be here about... now!"
The other continuity burst in.
And there was much confusion.
In the confusion, Brain (the little one) popped into existence, snaffled
one continuity's Author Avatar Incapacitator, and popped back to his
Doctor's biodata? Check.
Pinky? Unfortunately... Check.
"Right... Better see about getting you lot back to normal..." one of the
Eighths said. He fiddled with the Author Avatar Incapacitator. "There.
Should get you all back to normal... and without Q's influence, it
_will_ work. Just needed a narratively plausible explanation..."
Then he examined the camera. "Ah. *That's* what went wrong. A
transdimensional netastasis...There, _that_ should do it..." He handed
it over to Alryssa. "You do the honours..."
Alryssa snapped a photo.
There was a flash.
And the original Alryssa appeared.
She looked at her other self. "Nice sense of fashion..."
"Get lost..." Alryssa-Compassion said. "Okay, Doctor... _do it!_"
One of the Sixths raised the AAI, and fired.
When the dust cleared...
...there were two identical Alryssas, two identical Imrans, Gordon and
Benny were back in their original bodies, and there was one normal
The other was still wearing the Mask.
"Gonna be hard to get it off him...' one Izzy observed.
Gordon looked down. "Ah. Bollocks."
The Alryssas looked at each other. "Umm..."
The Eighth frowned. "You know, I think I've overlooked something..." He
winced. "Ah. I was afraid of this. _No_. I will _not_ keep it...
Tempting, so tempting... Go. Before I fall..."
Alryssa glared at him.
"I hope what I thought I caught you thinking wasn't what you were
Eighth blushed. Fourth snickered. Sam glared.
"Of course not."
One of the Izzys raised an eyebrow. "Oh, I don't know..." She smiled
innocently at the Doctor. "Or do you want to explain the photos in your
The Eighth ducked another glare from Sam. "Now -" He paused. "How did
_you_ find out about them?"
Izzy looked at Alryssa, blushed, and mumbled "Just looking for your
"I've _told_ you about looking for those Romana pictures..." Eighth
"Ahem." Fifth said. "Could we stop this before it gets any _more_
And the Editor's Pen was gone.
He looked at the others. "Did you ever believe I would keep it?"
Nivet reached the Doctor, Fitz in tow. "Doctor... must tell you..."
The Doctor turned. "*Yes*, Nivet?"
This Time Round *rumbled*.
"This Time Round's about to tear itself apart." Nivet said. "And take us
Everyone grabbed hold of anything stable to prevent themselves falling
over. Cameron grabbed something soft.
"Er, sorry, Izzy..."
Nivet shoved Fitz towards the bar.
"You know what it is, Fitz!"
Fitz wobbled, as the floor heaved in waves. Eighth looked at Fitz.
"That!" Fitz yelled above the noise, pointing behind the bar. "When did
Everyone looked behind the bar. There was nothing untoward... the
glasses, the drink bottles, the large Louis XIV mirror...
The Louis XIV mirror?!
"Break it!" yelled Fitz. "Break it now!"
Before the Eighth could scramble over the bar, the 'Round lurched.
Everyone slid to one side.
"Argh! It's like being in the TARDIS again!" shouted Nyssa, as she held
onto a pillar.
"EXACTLY!" yelled the Fourth. "Fiction Paradocs was trying to merge
their TARDIS with the 'Round! The vortex winds will tear the 'Round
"I think that was the idea!" answered Eighth, scrabbling for a purchase
on the slanting floor. He climbed over the bar, and picked up a bottle
that was still intact. "I hate to waste a good vintage, but..."
He threw the bottle at the mirror, and ducked to avoid the flying
shards. As the mirror shattered, he could have sworn he heard
Slowly, the rumbling ceased. Everyone sat up and looked around at the
debris. The two Alryssas had became one, Imran found himself on his
hands (hands! Joy!) and knees (Double joy!), and Cameron found himself
no longer wearing pyjamas or a green mask.
Alryssa looked at Cameron and blushed.
Cameron looked down. He was no longer wearing pyjamas, a mask, or
anything else for that matter.
Fitz looked smug, and with good reason.
"Don't look so smug, yours isn't much bigger..." Compassion said, rather
too loudly for Fitz's comfort.
Imran looked at Alryssa, and blinked. Rapidly. Somehow, _she'd_ managed
to stay in her Sailor Gallifrey outfit...
"Just a few loose ends to tie up, don't you think?"
"Just a few?!" Alryssa replied, looking at the Eighth, as if to say, "I
haven't forgotten that..."
I EXPECT THIS IS A GOOD TIME TO SAY, LOOK OUT.
A giant seagull with a ten foot wingspan smashed through one of the
windows. It turned swiftly, whilst dropping a quick load on Lawrence
Miles' head. It came to a stop in front of the ducked masses.
The Seventh Doctor started peeing over the table he hid behind.
"I *do* hope that was just a typo!" said Sailor Gallifrey. "Otherwise,
someone is in trouble..."
The seagull looked the Eighth Doctor straight in the eye. "Hi, I'm
Philip Seagull. I've just bought up all the rights to this Round Robin
and you are all currently violating my copyright!"
Gordon wandered up next to the Fifth Doctor. "There's way out of this,
if you could just write something in that book..." He whispered
something into the Doctor's ear.
"Oh dear, I don't think I can really do that, you know."
"Would you like me to tell Psycho Nyssa about the cameras in her and
Tegan's rooms? I know you wouldn't even *think* about using them for
dubious purposes, but I'm sure Nyssa would think otherwise..." he
"Oh, alright then." The Fifth Doctor turned and scribbled something into
the book. Which, oddly enough, hadn't vanished with the pen...
Of course, this meant the Doctor had to use his own pen...
Gordon walked in front of Seagull. "Right," he thought, "If it can work
for Alryssa, it can work for me."
"Marinus! Star! Poweeeeeeeeerrrrrrer!!!!!!!!"
A flash of light, a whoosh of blue flames, a squirgle of white noise...
In front of Seagull now stood a six foot Voord in a Japanese
schoolgirl's uniform. It looked down. "Bugger..." It managed to scowl at
the Fifth Doctor despite having a rubber helmet on. "I'll deal with you
The Fifth winced. "Oops. We _really_ should have kept the Editor's
Sailor Marinus turned back toward Seagull and started making hand
"Burning Acid Sea Att....erk?!?!"
The effect was somewhat spoiled as Sailor Marinus tripped over his own
flippers, crashed headlong through a door, turned into a cardboard
cut-out and rapidly bundled his way down the stone stairs leading to the
This Time Round wine cellar.
"We have a wine cellar?!?!" excalimed Benny, far too enthusiastically.
Francois looped a shepard's crook around her neck to stop her traipsing
off. "Oh no you don't. Not after the incident with the bouncy castle..."
Seagull looked at the book, and with a swift peck, skewered it on the
end of his beak. "We'll have none of that. I'm the only one allowed to
change facts and reference continuity now!"
"Just say the word," said Nyssa "I'll bite his head off..."
Imran and Cameron slowly worked their way behind Seagull. "Right," Imran
whispered, "I've got Gordon's copy of Planet Of The Spiders. I'll whack
him on the back of the head with it, while you hit him with that copy of
Divided Loyalties you were using to cover your modesty..."
"Can I at least keep a few pages? I don't want to scare anyone..."
Fitz popped up from behind a table, with Lawrence Miles in a headlock.
"I could throw Mad Larry at him?"
"Good idea." Imran started to make surreptitious hand gestures to those
in front of Seagull in a vain attempt to explain what they were going to
Alryssa frowned "He's going to what?!?!"
"There we are me old flower. I won't hurt you."
"EH?!?!" cried Gordon as he woke up. "You'd have to chloroform me
As he looked up he realised: one, he was back to normal, and two, the
man in the polo neck jumper wasn't talking to him, but to a biscuit tin
with an alarm clock, three sticks of dynamite and a detonator gaffa
taped onto it.
"Captain Fallon, UNIT SB division."
"Silly buggers. We get called out when you lot are playing it..."
He turned his attention toward the biscuit tin.
"Look at this, what a pitiful little bomb... Would you like a biscuit?"
"Erm, not at the moment, no." Gordon said woozily.
"I can't stand enthusiastic amateurs."
"This is the *last* place you want to be then, mate..." he managed,
before passing out in a heap on the floor.
The polo-necked man looked down at Gordon's prone form. He tried to
resist, but it was impossible. He pulled a large, permanent marker pen
out of his pocket and wrote "Kick Me!" on his forehead.
Then he finished the dematerialisation circuit he was working on, and
stuck it on the bomb...
As Seagull necked down a couple of dead Spamites, Alryssa whispered to
as many people as she could, what Imran and Cameron were planning. Or at
least, what she thought they were planning. Cameron could only signal
with one hand while keeping the copy of Divided Loyalties in place, so
some of his gestures had been a bit unclear.
"Alrighty then," said Alryssa "On the count of three..."
IT'LL NEVER WORK, YOU KNOW!
"But, Alryssa? Where are we going to get a pair of Malcolm Terris'
underpants at this time of night?" asked Pinky.
Seagull looked up, suddenly aware that something was going on.
Seagull's eyes began to glow a virulent green.
Imran hit Seagull over the head.
Unfortunately, thanks to Alryssa's understandable confusion, everyone
else hit _Cameron_ on the head.
Which meant he was safely unconscious when Seagull's beams passed
Seagull turned to face Imran.
At _that_ point, Allie shoved the E-Space Boxed Trilogy up Seagull's
Or _tried_ to.
Unfortunately, she missed. But as Seagull turned...
...The bomb in the Round's wine cellar dematerialised.
And reappeared, thanks to its Randomiser circuit, inside Seagull.
"Everybody _down!!_ " Imran screamed, diving behind the bar.
The bomb went off.
And, suddenly, there were chunks of seagull _everywhere_...
"Ew," Imran said.
"Seconded," Alryssa said.
Imran sank down behind the bar. "Thank God _that's_ out of the way."
WELL, ACTUALLY... THERE'S JUST ONE LITTLE THING...
Imran peered over the edge of the bar.
Brain was standing on a still-upright table.
And from the expression on Death's features, it was obvious who'd lifted
him on there.
_Then_, Imran noticed the device Brain was holding.
Cameron, Alryssa, Gordon, Benny and Imran started beating their heads
against the nearest hard surface.
Brain was wielding the AAI. However...
...there was a cartridge containing a golden fluid attached to it.
"Hello. Now... what was it... Oh yes. Surrender This Time Round to me,
otherwise I blast the authors."
"And...?" the Doctor asked.
Brain smiled. "Your biodata, Doctor, is very interesting. With my...
associate's help," he gestured to Death, who looked unhappy. "I have
been able to map out each and every link to your writers - every story
you've ever had written. When I fire _this_ at an author, _their_
biodata will be altered. They will never have written for you... and
no-one will have taken their place. They will no longer _care_ about
you... and you will have had _no_ writers. You will never have existed."
"You _bastard_..." Imran hissed.
Brain waved it away. "Compliments, compliments... So. Surrender."
Imran stood up. "No. This stops _now_. You _won't_ take this away from
us. No matter _what_ you try, you will _never_ kill him..."
"And what can you do to stop me?" Brain asked. "*You*, after all, are an
author... and vulnerable to the AAI..."
Allie stood next to him. "But _I_ am not..."
"So?" Brain said. "One move, he gets blasted... and _you_ never inspired
him. No false moves, please..." he added, pointing the AAI at Alryssa.
Alryssa blinked. And ducked behind the bar.
"This _ends_." the altered voice said. "Hmm... I wonder what mouse
The silver-grey cat stalked towards Brain. Who started looking panicky.
"Get her... him... them... _whatever_..'
NO CAN DO, Death replied, pulling out two hourglasses from his robe and
examining them. NOT THEIR TIME YET, I'M AFRAID.
"Right..." Brain raised a trembling arm. "Prepare to mutually cease to-"
The silver-grey cat licked its whiskers. Then grimaced. 'EEEUUUWWWW!!!
That was _disgusting_...' Its voice changed pitch, becoming higher,
"I _did_ apologise..."
"_I_ didn't know that's what you were apologising for..."
Brain looked around him. "Where am I? What happened? The last thing I
remember..." His voice trailed off, as he saw the small skeletal rat in
a hooded robe.
"What ... do we do... now?"
Which meant "The same thing we do every night, Brain. Try to take over
Brain patted the Death of Rats on the shoulder. "I _like_ the way you
"Narf." Pinky said. "Poor Brain." He looked up at Death. "Oh well... You
don't know where I could get a curry, do you?"
Death smiled. Of course, he couldn't do anything else. I KNOW THIS NICE
"Well, all well that end well..."