The TARDIS lands
in a dark railway station.The Doctor and her two companions emerge into the
air.The Doctor is a woman with a mission, a mission of revenge.She’s a traveller, an adventurer.A free-lance expert
on the universe and a been-there escaped-that look in her eyes.She wears a bright
red lipstick but in her hearts it’s a disguise to cover up the dark red she wants to wear.She’s dressed in a beige Mac but underneath it is a dark grey trouser suit.Her purse is big enough to hold a magnum .45 but she never touches guns, she’s never needed one before.Her fiery red hair cascades down her shoulders like a classic femme fatale, but the
only thing fatal about her is her ability to bring down a giant space empire in 100 minutes.She wears big heels to emphasise her stature because at 5’ 2” she’s recently lost a lot of height.She’s a dangerous woman; because no one quite knows how she’s going to
act, she could kiss someone in the cheeks in friendly recognition one minute or let them walk into a monumental trap of horrific
consequences the next.Everyone she meets underestimate her and hardly any of
them are alive now to say how wrong they were.
Mickey Smith has
been around a bit.He’s a mechanic by trade, but unofficially he’s
a monster killer and a defender of the planet.He’s taken the hard decisions
most would baulk at.He’s risked everything to do the right thing and he’s
lost a lot too.He’s a hard man, not one of those bullies who thinks he’s
hand because he uses others to do the things he cannot, but hard because he’s been forged in the heat of battle and
sacrifice.He’s mentally tough and hardly runs screaming from psychotic
killer amphibians anymore.
Andrea Long is the
newbie, wide eyed and curious.She’s got a witty putdown for every occasion
and she’s not afraid to use them.She’s still getting used to the
whole extreme danger but she’s survived things that would make most embittered psychotic space bitches wet their knickers
in fear.She’s also got an intense aversion to laddism and had been known
to scream loudly at laddish behaviour.Some think it’s a personality disorder,
others think she just needs to get a bloke.Either way she’s not her to
meet a shrink or find a bloke, although if she did find a bloke that’s her business and no one else’s.
Elsewhere the mysterious
Mr. X is smugly waiting for a rendezvous he thinks will allow him to gain the necessary details to dethrone the king and seize
the throne himself.However his contact is lying dead in a public bathroom in
Leeds and the only footprints found exiting the convenience were those of a woman in big heels.
The nightclub is
smoky, mainly cigarette but also cigars and even a few pipes.This is an exclusive
club where people come to be seen not to be seen.Membership is highly limited
to a few discreet individuals.The Doctor has been a member for so long she can’t
remember when she applied; she may even have established the club herself.She
signs in her two companions as her guests and takes her usual seat, it’s been sat in by the Doctor recently but never
before by her.She orders a martini for herself and her companions see to themselves.She lights a cigarette she’s no intention of smoking, the brand new gold holder
clamped in her hand like an old friend.
Mickey orders a
lager and dry roasted peanuts, but they’ve never heard of that.Instead
he makes do with a single malt whisky and a packet of plain crisps.He’s
Andrea plays it
safe and orders a glass of the house red, even though she prefers white wine spritzers or a banana daiquiri if it’s
a special occasion.
The Doctor sits
back on the padded red leather of the fitted bench and lets out a sigh of contentment.“We’ve only got to wait a few hours, five tops.Our target
should be here soon, we’ll wait until he leaves before we make our move.”
no space invaders machine.”Mickey complains.“You wouldn’t even let me bring my PSP.I’m
so bored already.”
a dangerous anachronism in this time.”The Doctor replies softly.“Here we pass the time with the lost art of conversation.”She looked at Andrea.“Why don’t you start?”
“Me?I’m with Mickey.I was expecting
a few bevies and a bit of a dance.”
not that sort of club.”The Doctor replies.“This is the most exclusive club on the planet.You don’t
get people who dance in here.”
“Except us.”Mickey replies in return.“I’ve
seen you on the dance floor, remember?”
The police in Leeds
find no DNA evidence on the body, at least nothing human.They only find threads
from a beige Mac and bright red lipstick traces on a paper tissue in one of the bins.
The Doctor lights
up another cigarette, the appearance is for effect only.In here every member
smokes something.Once upon a time she’d shared Cuban cigars with Fidel
Castro, swapped roll ups with Roosevelt, both incarnations of him, and also swapped the brown weed
with Marlene Dietrich in a dingy singing club in pre-war Berlin.Now though she only uses it as a diversion to mask her true self.Like a lioness stalking her prey on the hot savannah of Africa or a man-hungry temptress getting
ready to let Mr. So-very-wrong put his best moves on her.
Mr. X however realises
that the meeting was not going to take place.He gives up waiting and goes to
a local club he knows, very exclusive and the perfect place to hide for a few hours in case the police were on to him already.
we at least play darts?”Mickey points towards the dartboard.It looks brand new.He quite fancies himself as a darts player,
he has the gold bracelet and he is good at subtraction.He’d won a gold
star for subtracting in junior school, pity he only scraped a C for maths on his second resit.
played darts here for as long as I can remember.It’s just a decoration
“I was nearly
a darts widow.”Andrea casually says to Mickey.“Thankfully I dumped him before he passed twenty stone.”
horrible.”Mickey feels right off his crisps, even though he’s nursed
them carefully for the last hour.
The police in Leeds
call for an immediate lockdown of the city when the corpse of the murder suspect vanishes mysteriously and a naked man is
seen walking away from the police station.This thing doesn’t happen very
often, although future reports of something similar will be recorded in San Francisco on New Years Eve 1999 when John Smith,
a British tourist, is mugged and killed and El Paso, Texas, in August 2002 when an elderly nun, Sister Rani, collapses and
dies and hours later a young woman causes a twenty car pile up on the turnpike and claims to be the same nun before escaping
police custody by unknown means never to be seen again.
Mr. X is taking
quick gulps of his brandy.Already on his third he is drinking to dull the rising
feelings of panic and terror inside.He doesn’t normally drink but right
now he has no concept of stopping, as he fears if he stops then he’ll be caught and hanged for his treason.
The Doctor waits
a few minutes longer to make her move.She has a plan, it is forged from a thousand
years of experience and refined by the hidden knowledge and arcane lore of various peoples and secrets conceived on lost worlds
and the forbidden technologies that had eliminated all traces of them from the Universe.She’s written the plan down on what has just become the most dangerous napkin in the world.
No-one notices the
large red telephone box vanish from a certain street corner in Leeds, indeed no one could remember
seeing it, especially as the design of it will not become popular for another twenty years.
The Doctor sits
down next to her target.“Good evening.”She speaks softly, so as not to startle him.“Do you
have a light for my cigarette?I’m afraid I’m all out of Lucifer’s.”
Mr. X reaches into
his jacket pocket and withdraws a book of matches.He tosses them onto the table.“Take them, I have no need of them.It’s
funny.To come so far and realise how little you actually want anything.I wanted it all though, once.I wanted
back what was rightfully mine.I wanted back what was stolen from me, my birthright.”
“Golly.”The Doctor says casually.“You
sure sound like an important man.Are you a lord or something?”
Mr. X laughs.“I should have been far more than just a lord.I should have been king, the king of England, the king
of Great Britain, I should have had an empire to rule, instead
all I have is a lifetime of bitterness and hate.”
“Do you want
to talk about it, your majesty?”
“Talk?Talk?I’ll be lucky if I make it
through the night with my life intact.They’re onto me, I know they are.That’s why he never met me.That’s
why he didn’t show.They found him and he’ll have given them my name.He’s not a man of loyalty that one.Money
bought him quite cheaply, his sort aren’t motivated by good and honour.”
The red telephone
box appears as if by magic and a perfectly attired handsome man in a tasteful cream tuxedo with a black shirt and white silk
tie emerged.He sports a small gold sun badge on his lapel with matching cufflinks
on his jacket and has an expensive silk kerchief tucked precisely and perfectly into his breast pocket.He pauses to shut the door and lock it.Which, if someone
who knew the model of phone box was observing, would remark upon as unusual because they were never fitted with door locks.
Mr. X is feeling
more and more relaxed talking to the young woman.They don’t trade names,
it doesn’t feel right and it adds a little something to have her think of him as some sort of mysterious stranger with
an unspecified past and an agenda that speaks of secret dangers and unimaginable crimes.He’s read that certain impressionable young women get quite romantically caught up in that sort of thing and
she is very beautiful and does seem easily impressed with his false tales of derring-do.“I imagine all of Scotland Yard is looking for me.”
The Doctor tries
to give the impression that she is a simple-minded floozy with a romantic passion for dark and mysterious men.Meanwhile she hopes Mickey and Andrea were behaving themselves and not playing strip poker, as they were
talking about doing, to annoy her.She puts on a sweet smile.“Mercy, all of them?You must be so smart to avoid them
so easily.You must be so charming and dashing, just like the characters in that
book that made my heart flutter so much.I’ve always had a secret longing
to meet a man like that in real life and marry him.”
Mr. X freezes a
little at the word ‘marry’ but he reckons that he can fawn her off when he is tired of her, and she is not without
her obvious charms and perhaps a place to stay with a telephone he can use.“Alas
I am in town with no lodgings, do you know a place I could call upon at this time of night?”
“Mercy, no.”The Doctor exclaims with a fake tut.“A
man of your skill and bravery deserves a warm house for the night.I have a spare
room, you can stay there, I’ll sort out the linens while you take a relaxing bath, there should be just enough hot water
left for a nice long soak.”She is just about to suggest they leave when
she spots the newcomer in the club and then she sees Andrea take off her blouse, they ARE playing strip poker!
Man approached Mr. X and his cheap floozy, he speaks with an out of place American accent.“The plan is off.”
“Do I know
you?”Mr. X asks.
“I am the
Doctor.”The Man replies.“I
was killed and I regenerated.”
“Oh, you spoke
of that happening.”Mr. X is relieved.“What do you mean the plan’s off?”
“As much as
I was for it in my past life, this life, I’m not so much a Kingmaker as a thief taker.”
“Oh Mercy.”The (real) Doctor exclaims.
“Shut up you
stupid trollop!”Mr. X shouts and grabs the ‘Doctor’ by the
jacket lapels.“Don’t back out on me now.I need that information to claim what’s really mine.”
“It was never
yours.”The ‘Doctor’ declares.“I merely used you as bait, to draw out my real target.”He
looks over at another table.“Is that couple really getting undressed?”
“I am so embarrassed.”The Doctor mutters to herself.
the real king of England.”
a nobody.”The ‘Doctor’ draws a sonic blaster and shoots Mr.
X with it.The anti-sound silencer muffles all but a quiet whisper of the blast.“Now, shall we get down to business, Doctor?”
The Doctor smiles.“I hoped you would, although was that necessary?I was just going to move him to another time, where he’d be safely out of your way.”
my predecessor. I had to fake a regeneration, make it look like I was one of
“My lot?”The Doctor sighs.“My lot are gone,
dead, burned in flames.”
“Time is a
relative dimension, stay before a time war and you won’t get burned, that’s why you can’t sense them, they’re
dislocated from you, in a temporal orbit.”
“Oh please.”The Doctor gets angry.“Don’t
you think that occurred to me?I looked everywhere.They’re gone.You’re a time agent, from the 51st
century, a very boring time if you ask me.You think you can control time, rule
it, shape it, you haven’t begun to realise the dangers you’re putting yourself in.You treat time like it was a known quantity, two bags of sugar and a side of time, a box of time, a jar of time, it’s
not like that, time is like fire and it will burn you unless you’re wearing flame proof underwear.You cannot control time, no one’s meant to.I was the
ruler of the High Council and I never once considered myself the ruler of time.If
anything time rules us, it gives us purpose, being, a reason to go on.”
over there is taking her bra off.”
it you two.”The Doctor glares at Mickey and Andrea’s faces.“Get dressed and get back in the TARDIS.You’ve ruined tonight for me.”The Doctor turns around and
stalks back to the other table like death herself, but in better shoes.“Where
was I?”The Doctor takes out a packet of mints from her bag.“Time, ah yes.It was a good friend of mine, Ford I
think his name was, who said time is an illusion, he said some more but I had to leave as the world was about to end.My point is time like control isn’t real, not like you think it is.It’s like light, you can see it’s effect if it hits something but otherwise it’s invisible
and untouchable.Stop trying to control time and simply keep it safe.If you don’t then the Universe will collapse and you’ll die and then I’ll be most annoyed.”The Doctor stands up.“Oh, by the
way, I didn’t kill your associate.I never kill anyone, unless I have to
and then I feel really bad about it.I can’t defeat an enemy if they die
before I can make them see my point of view.Murder just isn’t my style.”The Doctor pays her bar bill, gets her coat at the door and walks out of the nightclub
for possibly the last time in this life time.She doubts she’d be welcomed
back, not after this and if she really is the owner then she wasn’t the sort of person she wanted in her own club.
As for the time
agent, well after losing 2 years of his memories he goes rogue and starts doing self-cleaning cons in Pompeii…
I wanted this story to be a sort of spy thriller but it turned out a bit different but I think the
surprise ending makes up for it...
Also after reading the first draft of the story I was horrified to discover that I'd unconciously lapsed back into past
tense instead of the present tense (to make it more immediate and personal)
The feel of the story was very much inspired by the Goldfrapp album Felt Mountain which I was also listening to as I
wrote this story...