As the wagon began to roll...
"I don't understand. Why is moving the party to Titan Three going to help matters?" he asked.
"It's the climate," replied Zoe. "Apparently the atmosphere of this planet, though hospitable to humans, is very hostile to Typo Gremlins and other annoyances."
"Well I'll be.... Here I thought it was just a remote planet with a few Jocondans running about."
"Everyone makes that assumption. That's what makes it such a good planet to escape to in events like this one."
"So what now? I haven't exactly been following events."
"Neither do I. Be a dear and freshen my drink, will you?"
Bokman headed to the bar, listening for any news of what the avocado troll had planned.
"So," he asked the bartender, as he handed over two tall glasses for a refill of True Millennium Time Bombs, "What's the lowdown so far?"
"Well," the bartender said, with a casual drawl, "The guy we thought was a flame bringer is actually Lord Gallifrijan (a real character the party met up with last year when they accidentally got transported to Gallifrey -- I wasn't there, myself, but I've heard the rumors), he brought an urgent message from the Valeyard, who (so I understand) is here for the hermitage that Six never got around to. Apparently, there's real trouble brewing, that only Pro-Fun trolls can handle. So Our Hostess brought us here so we could sniff it out."
Bokman nearly choked on his drink. "The Valeyard?! Why would pro-fun trolls want to have anything to do with him?"
"As I understand it, they saved his hide last year when he got tangled up with the Black Guardian, and almost became a tool in the destruction of all of cyberspace. The story goes that this lot here --" and he indicated the whole milling crowd with a nod of his head, "tickled, danced, and water ballooned all the nastiness right out of him. He's on our side, now."
"Well, I'll be..." Bokman said, trying to get his mind wrapped around all this information. His efforts were interrupted, however, by a call from Zoe. He quickly picked up the two drinks and headed back in her direction.
"Oh, and one more thing --" the bartender added before he left, "whoever is trying to disrupt our story and causing all this trouble has dropped a wild west outlaw into our reality. Real shady character named Kid Curry... wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him, myself. He's milling around here, somewhere."
Meanwhile Cameron was still at the Buffet Table, where the suspicious yellow dip remained untouched, trying to decide between Creme Chocolate Cheesecake or Chocolate Creme Cheesecake.
He heard the commotion.
"Should I join them?" he wondered. "Should I help them?"
And making up his mind, Cameron grabbed a slice of each cake.
A groovy troll with a plush Gengar strapped to his head quickly took hold of each of Cameron's wrists and slapped his cake filled hands into his face, leaving Cameron covered in much Chocolate, much Cream and much Cheesecake...
[Gordon:] "I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!"
Cameron started licking himself like a cat.
When he was finally clean, he exclaimed:
"Great! Now how am I supposed to decide which cake is better? Guess I'll have to grab another slice of each!"
And headed back to the Buffet Table for another slice of each cake.
Bokman, noticing the commotion, asked "Where can I get one of those plush Gengars?"
"£4.99 from Tescos..."
One swipe of a debit card later, and Bokman handed one of the adorable extradimensional plush toys over to Zoe. "Thanks!" she exclaimed. "Normally I don't collect stuffed toys, but I just can't resist this!" The accumulated cuteness of Zoe cooing over a plush toy made Bokman dizzy, and he promised himself that next year he'd tone the self-indulgent companion seduction fantasy down a notch.
"Hope your Muse is refreshed. Things are going at a fair clip now." :)
Gordon looks over at the bouncy castle, where his muse is running around and bouncing like a six-year old on a massive sugar rush. Think Tasmanian Devil then multiply by ten.
"Yeah, I suppose 'refreshed' would be one word to describe it..." :)
"Woohooo!!! It's great to see you back." :)
A distant rumbling could be heard from the cul-de-sac, soon a purple and green camouflaged tank pulled in and ran over a Daihatsu Midget then came to a halt. The hatch opened and out popped a head wearing a furry purple top hat. He looked around the cul-de-sac seeing if he could recognise any of the myriad of vehicles surrounding him. A large smile formed as he spotted a camouflaged u-boat on monster truck wheels parked in a driveway across from him.
"I'm in the right place, come Barry we have work to do"
The purple-hatted man hoisted himself out the tank and jumped to the ground below him, a black cat soon followed. He was dressed in a baggy pair of combat trousers and trainers. In one hand was a plush Gengar.
Barry hoisted himself out muttering something about a rope. He was heavily built with a red vest and a ginger beard, he stumbled out of the tank and proceeded to follow his associate. They both approached the house with caution trying not to look suspicious watching as others entered. Suddenly the purple-hatted man stopped and motioned Barry to his side.
"Okay our mission here is to infiltrate the facility without attracting any attention to ourselves. We have no idea what may be inside, god knows what kind of vile experiments are being conducted in the vast underground laboratory facilities hidden below this house."
"There must be a backdoor somewhere. Maybe we should find it first," suggests Barry.
"No," says the mysterious man, "I have a better idea."
The attentions of the occupants of the TARDISbarn are suddenly grabbed by a large bang at the entrance. They turned to see a large pyrotechnic display go off at the barn door. Purple and green fireworks shot all over the barn and two rows of flares lit up from the doors. Inbetween the flares walked two men to the sound of heavy music, one with a purple hat, the other with a ginger beard. The music died down and the mysterious hatted man produced a microphone out of nowhere. He raised his hand to the crowd as if to speak--
A voice is heard from the back of the barn. "Bloody 'ell...it's him!"
"--Have no fear," he said, "Saville is here."
Silence followed, nobody knew who this man was or what he was doing here. Nobody but...
"Saville? Why the flip is he calling himself Saville? Maybe he thought there would be some Simons here already?"
Gordon walks up to the newcomer, carrying a frying pan in one hand and dragging an unconscious Voord by the flippers with the other. He points the frying pan accusingly.
"You're late. I cuss you bad. What took you so long? You been messing around with Mr. T's bins again? Why did you bring Barry? You looking for zombies again?"
"Well, I see you're missing the cuddly Gengar from your head..."
"Yeah, Yartek ate it..."
Simon....sorry, Saville whips his other hand from behind his back to reveal a replacement Gengar which he proceeds to stick on Gordon's head.
Gordon drops the frying pan and Voord, and the two figures start grooving mightily.
"Funkier than the Mario brothers!" shouts Gordon
"Groovier than the Blues Brothers!" shouts Saville (the artist formerly known as Simon)
They both shout together, "We are the magnificent Super Dempster Brothers! Ready to save the paramultishiftyverse!"
They both grin in an endearingly loony fashion...
Barry and Igor look at each other and shake their heads in unison.
The black cat that was following Saville and Barry sneaks in and makes itself at home on one of the comfy chairs beside the fire.
"So what's going on?" Saville asks.
"I'm only just back myself, I believe there's some sort of crisis and we both know what to do when there's a crisis, don't we?"
"Well, yes. But this is a pro-fun hoedown, so we take the crisis and turn it into an entertainment opportunity!"
"How do we do that?"
"No! They're getting too close!"
Sailor Gallifrey allowed herself a small smile, despite her fetters.
"You can't defeat the Writers, you know. You take something away from them and it makes them want to fight all the more. You of all people should know better by now than to try and destroy creativity in any of its forms."
She screamed as pain coursed through her, blue flame crackling as it licked at her skin. It stopped as suddenly as it began. Her eyes hardened as she glared at her adversary.
"You can't kill me. Not while the spirit of Creativity lives. And it will survive!"
"I may not be able to kill you, Senshi, but I can make you suffer..."
Through the torture, she fixed her gaze upon her staff, out of her reach across the room, held by a forcefield. If only she could get to it, get out of this infernal contraption...
She summoned her energy, and sent her thoughts out to the motley band of people currently travelling in what appeared to be a circus wagon...
The air was cold and thin, and sharp enough to take a man's breath away as the wagon gathered speed. Kid Curry let the wind blow the last of the sleep out of his eyes, urging his horse up to run parallel with the team leaders as the dust swirled out round the gaily-painted wheels. He glanced back at the swaying wagon, then round at the wide horizon, his mouth unconsciously crooked in what was almost a smile of disbelief. This sure wasn't the way things had looked when he'd ridden in - but it suited him just fine. Out of habit, he leaned back to check that his bag was secure in place.
But the worn leather was gone. For a moment, the horse swerved sharply as his other hand tightened unthinking on the reins, and he jerked its head back with a scowl. Of course, he'd left his gear back in the barn along with his coat and hat -
Barn? He blinked and shook his head, half-grinning despite himself, and swung the horse wide to steal another glance over his shoulder at the circus wagon. It sure did look real, right down to the curving gold in the riotous tumble of letters on its side, and that green troll was one wild driver. She had the fancy white horses racing flat-out across the plain, bouncing in her seat at every lurch like an india-rubber ball, both hands full of reins and the whip-handle wedged tightly between her large bare toes. Despite the jolting of her perch, he glimpsed through the dust the broadest of trollish smiles.
Automatically, Kid Curry pressed the horse further out from the wagon, narrowed eyes scanning back along their trail, until the vehicle was all but shrouded in the following plume, faint carnival music unreeling through the air betwen them. No-one in sight - nothing in sight at all, in fact. Maybe the folks round here lived like gophers, down in the ground, or maybe this territory wasn't exactly inhabited... It wasn't much to look at, and that was a fact. Just bluish dirt that flew up in a fine spray under the pounding hooves, clinging to the horses' legs like a night-time shadow. Blue dirt... He shrugged, not even letting himself start to think about that one.
Spurring forward again through the dust, he rode up close to the box and leaned over towards the avocado troll, who looked round as the hoof- beats drew level. "You sure there's nothing round here can hurt us, Miss? We're leaving a trail you could follow all the way from here to yesterday, if you get my drift."
"Well," she shouted, over the calliope music, "There's not many people here to follow us, except maybe a few atoning hermits, and perhaps a few scientists. At least, that's who're supposed to be here... as for those who're not supposed to be here, well, I'm tired of them playing hide and seek with us. If they want to chase us down, then at least we'll finally get to meet face to face, and get to do something about all the trouble they're causing!"
The Sixth Doctor came out from the back of the wagon and sat down next to the troll on the driver's seat. "Are you sure this is Titan Three?" he asked.
"Positive," the troll said. "Why?"
"Well, for years, it's had the reputation for being the most depressing place in the universe... And I'm not feeling depressed. Are you?"
She shook her head. "No, I'm not, now that you mention it. Hm. The APMFP, you suppose?"
"No, it feels more general than that -- as though there's been a change in the air...."
"You don't suppose it's the dimensional instability?" she asked, worried. She knew how important it was to stop the disruption of stories, perhaps more than anyone there. But she hated the idea that doing so would replace hope with glum morbidity.
The Doctor didn't answer, he was staring straight ahead, shielding his eyes from the sun with one hand. "Good lord," he said. "What's that?"
The troll looked where he pointed. Far in the distance, she could see bright flashes of color that flitted and danced like tiny moths caught in a butterfly net. Reaching into a vest pocket, she pulled out a miniature telescope and put it to her eye. When the image came into focus, all she could do was let out a long, incredulous whistle. She handed the scope to the Doctor.
He looked through the scope for a long time without saying a word. Finally, he handed it back to her. "Someone," he said, with the tone of someone trying to make sense of a flying elephant, "has decorated that cave with flags and whirligigs!"
The troll nodded at him, her grin wider than ever.
"The Valeyard?!" the sixth Doctor asked, incredulous. "Him?"
"It seems that our pro-fun attack on him last year really stuck with him. Come on!" she said, urging her android horses even faster, "we have an appointment to keep!"
Just then, the second Doctor poked his head through the wagon TARDIS doors. "Put your team on auto pilot," he said, "and get back in here! The readings on your scanners are all going haywire!".
The troll flipped a switch embedded in the reins and followed the second Doctor back inside. "Going haywire?" she asked, following him to the water trough. "How?"
"I'm not sure," he said. "... It's not exactly the same, of course, but it gives me the same odd feeling I had that one time I used the Emergency Unit."
Jamie, who was at the Doctor's elbow, as usual, nodded. "Aye," he said, "I felt it, too!"
The troll looked from one to the other. "You don't mean..." she said, her voice trailing off.
But the Doctor confirmed her fears. "The same alien intelligence we thought we'd destroyed when we all got hijacked to the Land of Fiction!"
Thus, inside the TARDIS...Previous chapter Next chapter