Sunday, March 11, 2007

Back to Reality

Transcribing into prose bits from the audio stories from BTR productions, starring Matthew Kopelke.

The Doctor pulled open the tattered wooden door, and blinked in the different light. As he emerged from the TARDIS, he realized he had bumped into a young bespectacled woman with freckles and long curly hair. ‘Oh, I do beg your pardon,’ he apologized.

The woman seemed to take a moment to focus on his face. Instantly, she had an expression of confusion and annoyance. ‘You’re not Ashley!’ she cried in an accusatory voice.

The Doctor glanced down at himself, then at the woman. He smiled. ‘Not the last time I checked, no. But how do you define identity, anyway?’ he asked, with a shrug.

The woman shook her head. ‘Are you always so philosophical?’ she asked, slightly weary, as though it were merely a boring formality.

‘Well, at the moment, anyway,’ said the Doctor, slightly taken aback at the question.


The Doctor cocked his head. Why be dishonest? On the other hand, she did seem very disoriented by his arrival. Too much of the truth wouldn’t get him anywhere. ‘I’m going through what you might call an identity crisis, of sorts,’ he said, finally.

‘How sad,’ said the woman in a tone of voice that had absolutely no sympathy in it. ‘Look, just who are you? Or don’t you know?’

He frowned at the accusation. ‘Of course I do – I’m the Doctor.’

The woman folded her arms, unimpressed. ‘Doctor... what? Don’t you know?’

‘Just Doctor,’ he said, wondering why she was being so aggressively curious.

‘And that’s your name?’ she asked. Skepticism, now.

‘It serves in most places,’ said the Doctor airily, wondering if he should simply re-enter the TARDIS and land in a more agreeable location for the search.

‘And where would they be?’ the woman was demanding.

The Time Lord sighed. ‘Not here, obviously.’

from Darkness Falls by Witold Tietze

The Doctor and Chloe filed into the tunnel. Chloe’s hand brushed against the green slime on the wall and she gave a little sound of disgust. She reached out and grabbed her friend’s arm. The hairs on the back of her neck were standing up. ‘Doctor,’ she whispered, ‘I don’t like this. Something’s wrong. I can feel it.’

The Doctor looked at her for a moment, then nodded. ‘Yes, I must admit I agree with you. Come on, let’s get out of here. There must be another way out of this station.’ They’d gone hardly any distance when they heard an echoing metallic clang. The Doctor whirled around, aiming the torch behind them.

The iron door had swung shut.

The Doctor spun back around until he was facing the tunnel again, and the flashlight illuminated something which made his stop dead in his tracks.

A harsh, grating, mechanical voice ahead of them commanded, ‘Stand where you are. Do not move.’ The voice and the creature it belonged to were unmistakable. It was a Dalek. And behind it – three more.

‘Daleks!’ hissed the Doctor, a mixture of fear and hatred in his voice. ‘Chloe,’ he murmured, ‘when I say run, run. Run!’ he shouted, and shone his torch straight at the lead Dalek’s eye-stalk. The powerful beam momentarily blinded the creature.

However, the others were not so impeded. Before the Doctor and Chloe had even broke into a run, their stubby fun barrels came up and fired. The tunnel was lit by the blue-white glare of the neutronic charge. There was the crackle of high energy discharge and the duo felt the muscle-numbing pain as the rays jerked through their bodies like a violent electric shock. Chloe’s head ached and her legs buckled under her as a dark blanket wrapped around her. She slumped to the ground, followed seconds later by the Doctor.

from Invasion of the Daleks by Terry Nation, ripped off by Matthew Kopelke

It is now time to plan the Cybermen’s greatest triumph – the eradication and cyber-conversion of this entire spiral arm of the galaxy,’ stated the Leader in its rasping hollow voice. ‘We are now the superior force,’ it added with a satisfied hiss.

The Commander’s black eye-scanners, complete with a strange teardrop design, studied the Leader for a long moment. Finally, it seemed to shake its head. ‘You are incorrect,’ it grated with an exhalation of rubbery breath. ‘We are the superior force. You are inferior.

In response to its words, the Alternate Cybermen hissed into life and lumbered heavily forward. ‘That is not true,’ insisted the Leader, an almost human hint of panic creeping into its throaty gasp. ‘We are equals in this war.

The Controller raised a blunt, three-fingered hand and indicated the Leader, the Lieutenant and the other Cybermen. ‘Your logic is flawed,’ it buzzed emotionlessly. ‘You are not like us. We are superior and you must be destroyed to allow the master plan to function at peak efficiency.’ It stepped back, allowing its personal guard to form a row facing the Cybermen.

What is this?’ The Leader emitted a sharp, oily sigh. ‘They are defective. Eradicate them.

The Cybermen obediently raised their weapons and a fusillade of sickening, invisible bursts thudded into the advancing enemy. Burst after burst of ultrasonic waves slammed into the other-dimensional automatons, all useless. A few sparks crackled off their armored silver carapaces, but no other affect. ‘They resist our firepower, leader,’ reported the Deputy.

The Controller’s calm voice whirred from behind the wall of invincible warriors: ‘Destroy the hostile units,’ it commanded.

Instantly, the Alternate Cybermen aimed their chest units at their cousins and strobed with blinding blue light. The Leader spun back, reeling as thick black smoke began to pour from its ventilator unit. The oily smoke was followed by thick brown liquid erupting from its chest a second before it exploded in a messy hail of splinters. The Lieutenant, also struck, managed to lurch forwards before a spectacular shower of sparks left it a buckled wreck. The other Cybermen crashed to the floor beneath a pall of greasy smoke, black oily oozing from shattered joints. The long and devastating salvo finally ended.

The stark silver shape of the Controller scanned the melted, unrecognizable remains of their former allies. Its blank smooth face rose. ‘Secure all essential areas of this station and destroy all surviving enemies,’ it ordered finally. ‘We must bring the rest of the fleet through the wormhole.

from Sentinel by Matthew Kopelke

I found the source of the noise: a strange upright booth, every surface smooth and blank, the colour of purest milk. The tall man standing outside it was dressed in very odd clothes of strange fabrics – a dark green coat of some smooth furry material, a thick silk tie and a patterned waistcoat, all looking as though he’d thrown them on in a hurry and couldn’t care less. His long brown hair blew in the breeze, his figure rail-thin beneath his clothing. The impression he gave was of a man, formerly of property, but now down on his luck. A gambler, I suspected. I took an instant dislike to him.

‘Oi!’ I shouted, and the man looked up, surprised. ‘Where do you think you’re leaving that thing? You want to put a stall up, you’ve got to pay in advance – it’s five pandaxes a day. I’ve paid for this plot!’ I added, putting as much force as I could muster into the last phrase.

The man’s hand crept for the odd lenses he wore over his eyes. ‘Out of my way, peasant!’ he snapped. His voice was soft and shy, but still carried an alarming amount of contempt.

I was so taken aback by this attitude, it was several seconds before I could form a reply. ‘Who are you calling a peasant?’ I demanded, and waved my cane under his chin. Not once did he flinch. ‘You young people have no respect nowadays! In my day…’ I began, knowing just how much a rant could depress you. I’d been subjected to the same in my youth.

The stranger cut short my voice with a sharp cry of ‘Old man!’ and then pursed his lips and pulled away his lenses. Beneath them, his eyes were closed. ‘Look into my eyes…’ he said in a gentle, persuasive voice, which fueled my anger further. How dare he speak like that to me after calling me a peasant beneath his notice!

‘And what’s so special about your eyes?’ And then I noticed. His left eye was yellow and the iris slitted like a cat. The left was green, almost glowing, with a fractured pupil at its heart. An unnerving experience, I freely admit. But not enough to throw me from my course. ‘So what?’ I demanded. ‘The freak show left town two weeks ago!’

‘I am the Master!’ shouted the young man, so loud that even the hubbub of the market was silent for a moment in which he bellowed, ‘And you will obey me!

I didn’t know what to say to that, so I settled with ‘Master shmaster! I don’t care if you’re related to Morga Lindus himself!’ The look on his face – mortified disappointment mixed with a blind anger – will warm my hearts for years to come.

from The Gallifreyan Recommencement by Scott Marshall

Reality vibrated to the point of collapse, time and space shimmering like a reflection of a lake. The Doctor was being sucked into the heart of the maelstrom, and the pressure built. Finally, fragmentation. A billion thoughts, smells, sensations, tastes, sounds and sights washed through him. He fought against them, but the memories resonated with his own. He was being swept away, faster and faster and faster...

Confusion and fear, as a strange voice began to pester him. Stupid word joke. Shame now, as he could feel Thomas shout for release, beg for mercy, then whimper and die by his hand. Mindless fury replaced with sudden cold realization, then blinding white light. New body, new mind, new face, new life. New companion? Anxiety over Thomas’s replacement, pushed back by a sudden whirlwind of faces, all familiar, none welcome. Davros, the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Master, Chloe shouting at him that he didn’t care for her. Hurt, loss. Too much, too fast. Oh, poor K9. Can’t go anywhere. London, Centauri 7, Blackpool, Brisbane... What’s this? A break from the action? A new companion? A friend, one who can cope with his life? Jenny... Relaxation... Try another holiday... Who’s that?

The Doctor opened his eyes and sat up, gingerly rubbing his head. He was in a huge white expanse of undreamed of thoughts and blank pages. ‘Oh, very good,’ he mumbled. ‘Now that I’ve been brought up to speed, do you mind showing yourself?’ he snapped, slightly sharper than he’d intended. Then, he was no longer alone.

Someone in a velvet tuxedo and a ribbon tie was staring upwards, entranced. The Doctor cleared his throat. The newcomer tore his gaze away from the void and smiled sheepishly. ‘Sorry,’ said the man awkwardly. ‘Got a bit lost back there.’

from A Cause for Carolling by Aaron Toman

Guy watched in horror as the next spasm ran through Fullsbrake, this time, rolling him over onto his back. If he’d been alive, Guy would have put it down to some kind of epileptic fit. The green crest, one Guy had assumed to be some kind of tattoo, was throbbing angrily. The green pigment was slowly but surely spreading across the dead man’s face, followed at a slacker pace by an eruption of smooth green scales that grew out from the crest.

Rowko and Fullsbrake were backing away, even though the distance between them and the strange occurrence put them in a safer position than Guy.

Another spasm and Fullsbrake seemed to jerk into life. In a strange semblance of movement, Fullsbrake assumed the position of a push-up, and then opened his mouth. Then Guy realized: his mouth was forced open by his teeth, which had grown into massive needle-tipped fangs. The young man’s fluttering eyes finally snapped open, their surface smooth and white. A dead moan of agony crept from the zombie’s lips, followed by the shredding of material. His clothing was bursting at the seams as muscles expanded and tightened beneath the flesh, now covered in a green scaly hide. The hands were now horrid green claws and tufts of hair were falling out of his head as it slowly, painfully elongated.

Another moan, more gutteral and throaty. Fullsbrake undulated, now more lizard than humanoid, and began to crawl towards the open doorway. Guy realized that a thick reptilian tail had sprouted and matured in moments. The hideous mutation lurched drunkenly out of sight, and then another cry was heard. It was terrifyingly familiar to Guy.

So when a fully-formed apotheus crawled into the next cell, he wasn’t at all surprised.

from The Magical History Tour by William Billingsley

Guy slowly struggled to sit up, the rope around his wrists chafing the skin. ‘Oh,’ he groaned, peering through streaming eyes, ‘why didn’t I see that bus coming?’

He realized a blur was sitting next to him. ‘Actually, it was a phase-modulated energy beam set to stun,’ the blur said casually, and Guy blinked rapidly. The Doctor swam into focus, looking up at the overcast sky. ‘The result is very much the same,’ he said, sighing.

Guy winced. His head ached and the technobabble was not helping. ‘What happened?’

The Doctor tore his gaze from the sky. He smiled. ‘Well, it seems like we’re not the only ones hiding out on Decalia,’ he said, and nodded towards the two figure striding towards them through the swirling mist.

Guy noted their drab, untidy clothes and the large guns they were sporting. The smell of unwashed bodies rose above the ash in the air and Guy wrinkled his nose. ‘Criminals, do you think?’ he asked the Doctor, whose hands, he noticed, were also bound.

The Doctor’s brown gaze focussed on the man and the woman as they covered the two metres separating them from the prisoners. ‘Well,’ he said in a conspiratorial tone of voice. ‘They look more like deserters. I…’ He broke off as the man, a bearded, uncouth man in his thirties stopped a short distance from them.

The Asian girl beside him smiled cheekily. ‘Awake at last, eh? Needed to catch up on your beauty sleep, did you?’ she mocked cheerfully. The man remained silent.

Guy scowled. ‘Get lost!’ he shouted.

The Doctor gave the girl a winning smile – at least, what he thought was a winning smile. ‘Oh, don’t mind him,’ he said with equal cheer. ‘He just becomes very unfriendly when people shoot at him without provocation.’ He managed a bewildered shrug. ‘I’ve no idea why.’

from Smokescreen by Peter Grahan

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