This Time Round, the Doctor Who pub outside continuity.
...the bartender's an Ogron...
...Q lives in a mirror over the bar...
...the Doctor and Peri are learning the course of true love never _did_ run
...and many other strange and bizarre events happen on a daily basis.
What's just _about_ to happen, however, is stranger than most.
Hard to believe as that sometimes is...
Late night in the computer room.
And Mel, being the good systems operator she was, was making sure that the
system files were properly backed up.
Which _can_ be a problem when the computers span several galaxies and time
...and _all_ of them use Windows 3000.
She'd just finished working on a Matrix terminal, when...
The scream reverberated throughout the 'Round, breaking several glasses and
all previous companion records.
Mel made a small note to give Harry her record.
Wait a minute. Wait *just* a minute.
Harry? But Harry practically _never_ screams...
...He may wanna make _us_ scream in frustration, but Harry _never_
Mel dashed into the 'Round's main bar.
Harry was standing behind the bar, polishing a glass. No sign of anything
that would have made him scream like that...
Hold on, hold on... His hand hasn't moved. When you're polishing a glass,
your hand keeps moving.
In fact... _he_ hasn't moved...
She waved her hand in front of Harry's face. "Harry? Harry?"
Nothing. No response.
She looked around, a bit embarrassedly. There was no one else in the bar.
She tapped Harry on the forehead.
And winced. Her finger felt like she'd stubbed it on stone...
She took a closer look. Harry's skin seemed to have taken on the texture of
In other words... It _looked_ like someone had turned Harry into a statue.
Well, either that or someone had lugged a full-size stone _statue_ of him
in. Which would explain the scream... but not much else. And... Harry looked
a little bit too _good_, too _exact_ to be a replica. It _was_ him, down to
Which was when she noticed the piece of paper lying on the bar. Curious, she
picked it up.
"Well, turning *him* to stone wasn't much of a challenge, was it?" (the note
said)."Honestly, I thought you so-called 'companions' would put up more of a
fight. I _do_ hope the rest of you will make this interesting..."
Mel bristled. Whomever this was, they were just that particular shade of
'arrogant' *designed* to get up Mel's nose.
"Oh well. Already have one; might as well complete the collection. See ya
Mel crumpled the piece of paper.
He wanted all the companions... as _statues_?! Why not get replicas? Okay,
so it'd be _disturbing_, but at least they wouldn't have their lives in
What _was_ this person up to? What did he _want_?
And could she find a way to get Harry back?
Mel sat down in a chair and looked at the Harry statue.
Hmm. Where should she start?
Getting Harry back. _That_ should do for starters.
Only, she realised, she had no way of knowing how he'd _been_ turned into a
statue in the first place.
Oh dear. But she had to find out... _before_ it happened to someone else...
In an alcove in a quiet corner of the 'Round, a group of figures are sitting
at a table. Not regular customers, yet there is something strangely
familiar about them. That man with the beard and the ruff, for example, or
the large Scotsman with the moustache, or the others. Where have you seen
In fact they are all historical authors who have appeared in the canon,
people like Shakespeare, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, etc. And they've gathered
in the 'Round to watch the Round Robin, to compare our work to their own.
Just as they are thinking of giving up and leaving, two more people
"Sorry we're late," says Graham Greene, as he joined the others around the
table, "but *The Turing Test* took much longer than we thought."
"Yeah," adds Joseph Heller. "That author insisted on carrying it on up
until our real-life deaths. Hey, maybe he should pay us overtime for that."
The other authors all nod their sympathies.
"We are glad you made it here, anyway." say HG Wells. "And you needn't
worry, you have not missed much. In fact the Round Robin has been quiet."
"Shall I compare it to a winter's day?" adds Shakespeare, "It is as frozen,
cold, and lifeless,
Imran made his post to start the story,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say 'Behold!'
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things fade into silence.
Less than a tale told by an idiot,
Sans sound, sans fury. 'Tis truly nothing."
"I say, old chap," snorts Doyle, "There's no need to be so gloomy. All it
takes is one more post to get the story moving again. Or maybe..."
"Maybe what?" asks Greene.
"Well, maybe we could solve the mystery ourselves. I do have some real-life
experience of this sort of thing you know; the case of Mr. Edalji, for
example, or that of Oscar Slater."
"I say, that sounds like a corking wheeze," replies Wells. "Count me in."
The others all agree, with only two exceptions.
"Sorry," says Heller, "but after that business in Dresden, I just wanna
relax, in safety. You guys go on without me, and I'll stay here keep an eye
on *him*." He points to the far corner of the alcove where William Blake is
slumped across the table in an opium-induced stupor.
"Suit yourself," says Kipling, "but you're missing out on all the fun."
Heller watches as the other writers split up and start questioning the
various inhabitants of the Round. Shaking his head, he turns back towards
"That's 'fun'? They can..." He stops suddenly. The far corner of the
alcove is now empty.
After looking under the table, and all the chairs, he admits defeat. There
was no way Blake could have left the alcove without Heller seeing him, and
yet he simply isn't there...
Meanwhile, in the teleport area on board the recently captured
Liberator, Servalan is far from happy.
"You fool," she snarls at the Federation Stormtrooper
holding the sleeping poet, "You've got the wrong Blake!"
"Never mind," she sighs, putting a teleport bracelet on her wrist, "just
beam me down to the 'Round and I'll fetch him myself."
"It's her! I don't believe it! It's _her_!"
Chris waves his hand in front of Benny's eyes. "Umm... Benny?"
"It's really _her_!" Benny gasps. "Maximum power!"
The tall, dark-haired woman who's just entered the 'Round looks in their
direction. "And who might you be?"
Benny isn't listening. "You're Servalan, right? Who does those mega _frocks_
Chris covered his eyes. "Uh-oh..."
Servalan smiled. "Oh, darling, I couldn't _possibly_ tell you that... not
unless you do a little something for me, first..."
Since our esteemed fan-authors have seen fit to announce themselves, I can
do no less.
I am Arthur Conan Doyle, spiritualist, writer and also, (in this version of
history, as I imperfectly understand it, though Mr Wells seems to have an
almost instinctive grasp of it), ghost-writer for the consulting detective
whose privacy I protected under the name 'Sherlock Holmes'.
'When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever is left, no matter how
improbable, must be the truth.'
This maxim of Holmes', whose pseudonym I retain here, to avoid the potential
bafflement of my readers, has, in my own efforts at detection, served me
In the case of Dr Harold Sullivan, I fear, it was tested to its limits.
Miss Melanie Bush had shown an admirable grasp of this principle when she
discovered his 'body'. A scream from the bar! She rushes in, and finds
Doctor Sullivan there, apparently turned into a statue... and a note there,
too, apparently threatening the same to all those brave souls who travel
with the Doctor.
The obvious conclusion would be easy to draw: that Dr Sullivan had, indeed,
been turned into a statue for a collection.
Whomever did this claimed to want a 'collection', to misabuse the word, of
the Doctor's travelling companions.
If so, why did they not take Dr Sullivan's 'statue'? Why not simply leave
No. The miscreant who did this sought to leave a false trail, to misdirect
us as we sought Dr Sullivan's 'cure' elsewhere, while he pursued his own
It was with that in mind that I sought out Miss Bush, in the hope that she
might throw some further light on Dr Sullivan's kidnapping.
However, before I could do so, I made a most disturbing discovery...
There was much chaos afoot in the 'Round. Understandable, when you're
being threatened with 'a Borusa' as the Sixth Doctor had termed it.
"A whosiwhatsit?" blinked Fitz.
"Er... long story. Same thing, basically, only that chap is
permanently stoned. Heh." He chuckled at his own joke. "Er - not to
say that Harry will be, of course... " Sixth saw he was losing the
battle as he felt everyone's gaze on him. He shuffled his feet and
mumbled, "oh, never mind."
The tension in the bar was tangible enough to cut with a blunt object.
Most of the companions were quietly contemplating the threat. The
questions most on their minds right now were, "Who was next?" and,
"Damn, there's so *many* of us... that'll make a lot of statues...";
"Do I qualify as a companion? I never went anywhere really..." "If I
disown that Doctor bloke, will I be reprieved?" and, "Where's my teddy
Er. That would be the creche lot. Sorry.
Or maybe not.
At another table, the authors, including the author avatars and
various other crossover characters, pondered Harry's predicament and
tried to come up with some plausible explanation... or at least, they
would be if they weren't so busy arguing amongst themselves.
In the middle of all this was the Doctor - all eight of him.
And right now, he had a splitting headache.
Eighth wandered over to the noisy authors and tried to get a word in
"Excuse me..." he began, but found himself drowned out. "Um, folks, if
you wouldn't mind... hello? People, please... if you wouldn't...."
The din continued. Eighth became understandably irritated.
"WOULD YOU PLEASE SHUT UP FOR TWO MINUTES??!!!"
A sea of faces turned towards him, silent at last; a mass of blinking
eyes and half-open mouths. Eighth sighed.
"Thank you. Now." He brandished the threatening note and spread it on
the table. The companions herded around, trying to get a look-in.
"What we need is a good old-fashioned analysis."
Producing a magnifying glass from his frock coat pocket, the Eighth
examined the note closely for several moments. He then pursed his
lips, scratched experimentally at the paper, then turned the paper
over and scribbled on it.
He turned it over, and inspected the writing of the villain again.
Then a glance at the other side. Then back at the other side.
Everyone waited anxiously. Fitz chewed his nails. Compassion slapped
his hand accordingly.
Eighth paled as he straightened up, letter in hand.
"This handwriting is mine," he declared.
The 'Round erupted into mayhem.
"Benny, are you _crazy_?! You can't do *that* for a _frock_!"
"My dear Chris," Benny said. "You can do _anything_ for a good frock."
She smiled at Servalan. "So when did you want it?"
Servalan shrugged. "Let's say... now?"
"Yes... but which _one_ of you?"
The Eighth peered out at the assembled 'Rounders. "I'm sorry?"
"Which Eighth Doctor?"
Sam sighed. "Big secret time, guys..."
"Do we _have_ to?" Charley protested.
"It _is_ relevant... if we're talking about _that_ secret." Compassion said.
The others eyed her. Compassion looked smug. "Which secret did you think I
There was some blushing going around among a few of the female author
avatars and mumbled phrases of, "Oh, I don't know..."
"_WHAT_ SECRET?!" came the chorus from the 'Rounders.
Izzy took a deep breath. "Okay... there's only _one_ Eighth Doctor."
'Mmhmm's from the 'Rounders.
"One ...for _all_ the continuities..." Izzy completed.
"There are different versions of the other Doctors for each continuity,
correct?" Compassion said.
The others nodded. Basic continuity physics. They all knew this.
"There's only _one_ version of the Eighth. For the comics, the IAs, the
books, the audios... for_all_ of them, it's only him." she continued.
"How's he manage to _do_ all that?" Grant asked.
Compassion shrugged. "Good time management."
Thomas glanced sidelong at him.
"Good time management? If he's got good time management, then I'm Paul
Everyone looked at Thomas instead, as if waiting for something to
happen. Which it should, this being the 'Round. But it was ominously
Alryssa sighed with relief.
All the girls who'd travelled with the Eighth started staring at him. He
Just then, a loud commotion was heard from outside and a gaggle of
females - not all of them human - rushed in the door.
"Did someone say 'Paul McGann'?!" gasped a girl with a nametag on her
shirt ("Hi, my name is Elsa Frohman").
Alryssa frowned at Thomas before she responded. "First of all, Paul
McGann is _not_ here, so CALM DOWN!. Second, can't you read the
sign?" She pointed to a sign on the door that read "Only three members
of the PMEB allowed in at one time."
Elsa turned to the rest of the group and called out, "False alarm,
grrrls. Let's get out of here."
Right after the last one stormed out, the Eighth Doctor poked his head
out from under the table, where he had dived right after Thomas's
impulsive remark. "Are they gone yet?"
Alryssa hauled him out. "It's safe now, as long as _someone_ watches
Izzy ignored the entire incident and replied to Compassion's remark
"Well, that's not the _whole_ truth..." she ahemmed.
"I should think not..." said a familiar voice.
The Infinity Doctor stepped forward.
Everyone looked from him to Eighth.
To all intents and purposes, the two were identical. Bar the fashion sense.
"Oyy... and I thought we had problems _before_..." Fitz groaned.
"Oh, now we get to have some *real* fun," came the giggle.
A raised eyebrow from the pair.
Both Doctors tensed to dive back under the table, but relaxed -
slightly - as they realized it would be an exercise in futility
"Any other secrets you'd like to tell us about, *before* this gets out
of hand?" Alryssa asked them.
"Well, there *was* the bouncy castle incident on - " began the
The Infinity Doctor staggered backwards, clutching his nether regions.
"Sorry, foot slipped..." explained the author avatar walking over to pick
up a steel toe-capped Doc Martin boot.
"Gordon!" cried Alryssa, "Where have you been?"
"I just got out of the hospital after the last rollicking adventure..."
"If we could get back to the matter at hand?" interrupted Shakespeare.
"Ah. Yes. Sorry," Eighth mumbled.
"This is your handwriting, you say."
"But you have no recollection of turning Squire Sullivan into a
Everyone turned to the Infinity Doctor, who looked nonplussed.
"It's our handwriting, all right... but then, anything's possible
here. For all we know, it could be an interdimensional version of
ourself, or another person entirely, who can replicate our handwriting
to a T. Um... excuse the pun."
"Could be your evil twin, the one with the satanic beard and the
TARDIS with an oscillating red light on the front?" a voice piped up.
Everyone turned and looked at the figure in the corner.
"I'll get me coat..."
"So we're still at Square One, then," Izzy sighed.
"Not exactly," he replied. "There's still one very important question
that needs answering."
Everyone leaned closer.
"Where are Chris and Benny?"
Benny woke up, her head felt like Slipknot had held a gig inside it. She'd
obviously had a bit much to drink. She said obviously because the only
thing else that could have caused such a headache was a large bonk....
...on the head.
Where am I? In a bed. A nice big comfy bed. Goody.
She rolled over and felt a large lump beside her. Eh? Whazzat?
She lifted up the blanket to discover a large, muscly, blonde man with
no clothes on in the bed with her. With a rather large smile on his face.
"Oh no," Benny moaned. "We didn't? We couldn't? We shouldn't? Oh...
Meanwhile, while the Eighth Doctor made his unexpected revelation...
...I had made a further, disturbing discovery.
There was a door in the back wall, with a sign proclaiming that whomever
lived within was first, 'THE UNIVERSE'S GREATEST MAD SCIENTIST!', and
second, that they were not to be disturbed.
This was not the disturbing discovery.
The disturbing discovery occured when the door opened.
"Hi! I'm Washu-chan, and _you're_ just in time to witness the first use of
the Mark Four Dimensional Remover, Reconfigurator, and Universal Remote
Control!" the most _disturbing_ twenty year old woman with spiky red hair
said. "Now, I'll need a test subject..."
I tried to make my excuses and leave, but was apprehended most
objectionably. She had a remarkable strength that belied her frame.
I just had time to register much advanced equipment that I could not
name if you gave me a hundred years, before I was strapped to a table
and the next thing I knew I was swimming in a sea of colours....
"So... _which one of you petrified Harry_?!" Sarah shouted.
The two Doctors looked at each other.
Then they looked at everyone else.
Both of them opened their mouths...
...but before they could say anything, a man burst in, screaming and waving
an inflatable plastic banana.
_This_ was unexpected, to say the least.
But not as unexpected as what happened next.
He stopped at the sight of several hundred 'Rounders glaring back at
He threw the banana at them before he could get lynched, and ran back
out the doors.
It hit Adric in the side of the head and exploded....
...Splattering warm, gooey matter all over the room.
Nyssa looked concerned, after all, the torture and hurtage of Adric was
*her* job, the last thing she needed was a bunch of enthusiastic amateurs
trying to muscle in.
She ran up and dipped a finger in the goo. She tasted it. "Mmm, banana
flavour!" she grinned.
Adric stood in the centre of the room, still as stone. Actually, he *was*
stone, he'd turned into a statue just like Harry. Nyssa gave him a kick in
the bollocks just to see if there was any sort of response. There wasn't.
Nyssa looked disappointed.
"No, no, no, no, NO!" spluttered the Eighth Doctor, "This won't do at
all! You," he said, pointing at the Infinity Doctor "Definitely should
*not* be here! We've only just recovered from the last 'event' in TTR
and the last thing we need is people from unregistered continuities
popping in and making things worse!"
"Unregistered continuities?!?!" cried the Infinity Doctor. "You do realise
that from my point of view, every single one of you is an abberation
against the fine running of the universe!"
He smiled, "But let's not dwell on that at the moment, we have someone
going round turning TTR regulars into statues, which is definitely not
the done thing, so why don't we put out heads together and try and
work this problem out?"
They shook hands vigorously.
"By the way?" asked the InfDoc. "Why is Alryssa staring at me like
The banana throwing man ran into a nearby, darkened alleyway. He kept
looking behind him, expecting to be followed, but no-one came.
He had run headlong into a tall, dark figure. He was a shadow against the
fog that had suddenly filled the alleyway. A red light seemed to be
moving back and forth several feet behind him.
"You should never spend all your time looking behind you. Not
everything chases their prey. Some of us just wait."
"Oh, it's you." the banana throwing man said, "I did what you asked, I
threw the banana at the young lad in the rubber pyjamas. He looked a
"Ah, good work. This is just the start. The statues will keep them
occupied. The arrival of the Infinity Doctor will only help me finish
what I started thirty-seven years ago."
The figure stepped forward into the light. The banana throwing man
gasped with surprise. Standing in front of him was the spitting image of
the Infinity Doctor, the only difference being a dark goatee beard and
"Who, who are you?"
"Why, I'm the Infinity Doctor's evil twin brother..."
The Infinity Doctor's evil twin brother stared at him. "Why the Hells does
everyone keep calling me that? My name is..."
The banana-throwing man looked around. "What was _that_?!"
The Infinity Doctor's evil twin brother ignored him. "...the Infinity
The banana-throwing man couldn't help himself. "Ace!"
"Some people say it's utterly gratuitous violence. _I_ say it's utterly
justified violence..." the Infinity Professor said.
Somewhere, in the shadows, a voice echoed his sentiments.
"Did you hear that?" frowned the maniac - er, the Infinity Professor.
"Never mind. I need to continue with my plans. Now, my next target
will be..." He wandered over to a wall that showed the faces of every
companion the Doctor had ever had. Picking up a dart, he stepped back,
aimed, and *threw* it....
"Err... _why_ are those on a street wall?"
"The heating in my TARDIS is broken... Now, let me see..."
The Infinity Professor frowned when he saw who the dart had landed on. "Oh
"Is that a good 'oh dear' or a bad 'oh dear'?"
"Depends on your definition of bad, I suppose. Well, here's your next
target. Have fun." He handed the picture to his marksman and