Before going on, let me say that any similarity between stories,
situations and/or writers mentioned in this fic with actually posted
stories or real situations and/or writers is ENTIRELY COINCIDENTAL.
Really! Honest! I'm not trying to hit anyone!

A usual, written on my lunch-break when I had nothing better to do.

== DBK
18 February 1999

A Quick Lunch-break Fiction.
A This Time Round story.

The 5th Doctor sidled up to the bar as Adric was carrying on a
conversation with a patron. He took a stool next to the customer, and
tried to suppress the accompanying shiver up the spine.

"Morning, Doctor. What can I get you today?"

"Tea, please." the Doctor asked, and carefully watched the youth as a
saucer, a cup, and a tea bag were produced, and hot water poured.

"So," the Alzarian asked, "How was the con?"

"Oh, fine, fine. Everyone was wonderful, as always." The Doctor took a
sip of his tea, but continued to gauge the person on the other side of
the counter.

"You know..." the Doctor said evenly. "I heard some interesting stories
over the weekend...."


"Yes..." The Doctor took another sip, his eyes not leaving the
bartender. "Do you remember an ADWC post from a few months back, the
one that had you, umm, being sacrificed to Aliens?"

Adric suddenly became rather stiff. "Uh, yes..." he said, his voice
noticeably colder.

"Well, um... I ran into the author at the con, and he said that a couple
of weeks ago someone broke into his house and destroyed his computer."

"Oh. I'm sorry to hear that."

The Doctor continued to watch him. "I didn't think much about it at
first, but as soon as he mentioned that two others spoke up and said
they'd recently had similar experiences."

Adric shrugged. "Well... I suppose these things do happen..."

"Yes, quite..." The Doctor took another sip. "And on Saturday night of
the con, a fourth author's laptop disappeared... and was found the next
morning in pieces."

Adric looked thoughtful. "Perhaps it fell?" he suggested helpfully.

"With bullet holes through the hard drive and CPU?"

"Oh... I suppose not, then." he responded, in an utter deadpan.

"It was almost as if someone was trying to send a signal."

"I can't imagine what."

There was a pause as Doctor and companion eyed each other carefully.

"You wouldn't, by any chance, know anything about these... incidents...
would you?"

"And what makes you think I might?"

"Well... the authors in question all seem to be, ahem, among your
harshest critics."

Adric's face suddenly changed. "Doctor..." he said, somewhat agitated.
"I'm surprised you'd even suggest that I'd..."

"Well, you are the only common denominator."

"But, Doctor..." Adric whined, "You know me. I'm callow, ineffectual,
bumbling, naive, and incompetent, not to mention easily misled, having a
degree of misplaced arrogance, and rather low self-esteem. I could
never do what you're suggesting; it would be so completely out of
character... and no one ever goes out of character around here, now do

To his credit, he said the last part with a straight face.

The Doctor continued to watch the young man carefully. "No, they
don't." he said after a moments consideration, his voice trailing off.
"No one ever does..."

"Besides..." Adric said, choosing that moment to nonchalantly clean some
glasses. "I was here on Saturday night, playing cards with Wes and
Lucas. I believe they call that an alibi, don't they?"

Once more, the two eyed each other carefully.

"Adric," the Doctor said evenly, finally, picking up his tea cup and


The Doctor continued to eye him, his voice quiet. "Be careful." he
said, and turned back into the environs of the establishment.

Adric silently watched the Doctor walk away, then turned back to the
being he had previously been having a pleasant conversation with. "More
scumble?" he asked.



A few hours later, Adric took a break from bartending and went out the
back entrance, ostensibly to get some air.

He met them just outside of the This Time Round, as they leaned against
a wall along one side of the establishment. As usual, the two were
loitering in that manner of frenetic indifference that had made them the
bane of mall security the continuum over.

"Yo! Adric, dude!" the more talkative of the pair said as the Alzarian
approached. "Mission accomplished, man!"

Adric flashed a wicked grin. "Good." he said, and handed them a six
pack of beer, a carton of cigarettes, and a thick envelope. The other
man, bearded and heavy set but much more silent than his partner,
immediately opened the carton and extracted a pack.

Adric glanced from side to side, just to make certain no one was
watching. Satisfied, he produced a sheet of paper and handed it to the
blond-haired man. It proved to be a print-out of yet another ADWC
post. "Jay, Bob..." he said, his voice suddenly a little lower. "I've
got another job for you two..."