TTR: Three Way Smackdown

[Inspired, shall we say, by Alan Taylor's "Bar Brawl". Minor spoilers for
33x07, "The Bells of Saint John".]

On the screen of the portable television, one flickering sprite dragged
another across the finishing line. The computer's speaker squeaked out its
familiar victory ditty.

"Yes!" Zoe raised her clasped hands in triumph. "Should've stuck to COBOL
and punched cards, grandma!"

"That's not fair!" Mel protested. "My finger slipped. These rubber keys--"

"No excuses." Clara poured out a shot of tequila and pushed it in her
direction. "You lost, you take the hit."

"At least I learned my skills honestly." Mel downed the glass. For a moment
she swayed, then recovered her balance. "You lazy script kiddies just had them
downloaded one morning. I'll get you both, believe me."

"Not before I've wiped the floor with Sparkles here." Clara took Mel's seat
beside Zoe. "Ready for a pasting?"

"In your dreams," Zoe retorted, slurring her words a little.

As the antiquated computer bleeped out the tune for the start of the next
round, Adam Mitchell gave the trio a puzzled look. "What on earth are they

Clara's Doctor shrugged. "Some kind of hacking competition, I think."

Adam took another look at the screen, which was now split horizontally.
In each half, brightly-coloured rowing boats were jerking across a cyan
background, to the accompaniment of muted slurping noises.

"But that looks like a sports simulation," he protested. "And all they're
trying to do is hit the keys as fast as they can. What's that got to do
with hacking?"

The Doctor tapped his nose. "That *is* hacking. Take it from me: that's all
there is to it."

John Elliott

Thinks: This is what a nice clean life leads to. Hmm, why did I ever lead one?
-- Bluebottle, in the Goon Show