Drabbles are word excercises, challenging the author to compose a scene or narrative in but a hundred words, and for reasons too tedious to go into, I've found myself writing quite a few for the SCADs (spit) but they should be as easy to digest and diverting as... I dunno. Peanuts?
The Only Way Up Is Down
When he’d got the phone call from the Prime Minister’s office, politely telling him he was being dismissed as Head of the Pharos Project for gross negligence and being hungover during a terrorist raid, Henry Davenport was speechless. But he hadn’t got to where he was today without recognizing an opportunity when he saw it and, pausing only to finish the Alka-Seltzer, he climbed the top of the satellite tower.
“A new start,” Henry whispered. “It worked for the other fellah in the scarf!”
But this time, it really was the end and nothing had been prepared for.
The Greatest Form of Flattery
The Doctor ran down the alleyway to where the redhead woman was guarding the doors to warehouse. “My lord Doctor!” she screamed.
“Don’t worry, I’m here now!” the Doctor grinned.
“Who art thou?” she asked.
Suddenly another man ran into the alleyway, with a mane of dark hair and handlebar moustache. “No need to panic, Christine, I’m here now!” He regarded the man in the pinstripe suit and trainers. “And who might you be, sir?”
“John Smith,” he replied quietly. “I’ll leave it to you, then... Doctor.”
And as the imposters dealt with the CyberShayde, the Doctor made his plan...
All irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension. Transuranic – heavy – elements, may not be used where there is life. Medium atomic weights are available. Gold, Lead, Mercury, Jet, Radium, Sapphire, Silver and Steel. But Sapphire and Steel could not be assigned. The transuranics had rebelled. Time boiled, the frozen lake of the past reduced to liquid future.
Only one element was left and so she fled the ruined cosmos, searching for more irregularities.
And she found one. The ultimate irregularity.
Over Kirakis, she attacked the spinning blue box, but it was too quick for her to grasp.
The bar was noisy and crowded. She threw the last 100 Imperial Coin she had at the Gundan robot mixing drinks with its chain-mail digits, and in moments another plikta martini was sliding down the table towards her. It tasted as bad as the others.
“You want anything, K9?” she asked.
She hadn’t thought resolving the problems of E-Space would be so ridiculously simple, or how tedious this universe could get. Still, at least she wasn’t short of company.
“And another drink for my new friend,” she called, waving across the pub at Romana and her own K9.
Incident At Hanging Rock
“Miranda?” called the lost girl in horror. Why were her friends acting so strange? Why had their watches stopped? Why were the three girls climbing higher and higher up the orange mountain? What was happening? Why couldn’t they hear her?
Terror gripped the dumpy schoolgirl, she screamed and ran down the hill out of sight.
A moment later a tall blue box appeared before the three remaining girls. The door opened.
“I suppose you three will be wanting a lift?” asked the Doctor with a smile.
The three girls were never seen again. Their disappearance a mystery till this day.
The Doctor fell back and knocked his head on a roundel.
"I think I know what's wrong..." he said, wiping his brow and removing his top hat. He took a sonic lance out and zapped a wire. Lights began to flash and the console burst into flames.
"Uh oh. That's not good..."
Grabbing a fire extinguisher, the Doctor doused the console with suds of foam, putting the fire out. He wiped it away and examine the burnt circuitry. Suddenly a green light on the console blinked.
"There," he said. "I knew that'd fix it."
He finally awoke lying on a couch. A figure in long robes watched. “So I have survived?”
“But at cost,” the figure said quietly. “The War Lord’s weaponry has devastated your cells. You will never again regenerate.”
Panic it turned to hate – hatred at the friend who had betrayed him, to the War Lord, the Time Lords, in every way that mattered. His new face twisted under a neat black beard. He would have his revenge on the Doctor, the Time Lords, the whole universe.
The War Chief had been a slave. From now on, he would be the Master.
You Make A Stand
The spinning tornado hovered at the end of the walkway, casting shards of blue light onto the stone cloisters. The Time Lord’s his mind was racing to establish what it was, and whether they could communicate.
All across the Capitol, alarms chimed, klaxons wailed, Time Lords screamed in terror. The one man who could save them was nowhere to be found as the death toll rose and rose. He had faith the Doctor was working on a solution, but right here and now he had to face the invaders himself.
Landon didn’t so much as flinch when Antithesis consumed him.
Fancy Meeting You Here... And I Do...
The space shuttle tumbled and froze in the cold of space. Inside, Sarah Jane Smith huddled among the corpses and waited for death. On Earth, Nat and the others would be trying to organize a rescue, but they all knew it was too late. The air grew thinner and frost formed.
No sooner had she lost contact with ground control, the police box materialized in the cockpit. The man who emerged was a stranger, even though the outlandish clothes were familiar.
“Hello, Sarah,” said the man in the endless scarf. “I haven’t caught you at a bad time, have I?”
Welcome to Earth
The sky vanished, replaced by a golden nebula. The moon was gone, but thirty-seven new planets appeared to replace it. The media went crazy, there were riots on the streets and for the fourth time that year people waited for the end of everything.
It was only when the golden saucers opened fire on Big Ben and Prime Minister Aubrey Fairchild was exterminated live on television, that they realized that this time, things were serious.
Mark Triyad looked at his wife. Serena grinned back.
And they prepared to make the Daleks regret they ever came back into the couple’s lives.
The Sin of Vanity
Mark took the Time Lord to one side. “Doctor, remember that being I told you about, just before we came here?”
“Maybe,” he replied doubtfully.
“I saw him again. In the Prison Complex.”
“What? Here? On Gallifrey?!?”
“He was just standing there. Watching.”
“Watching?” the Doctor gasped. “Watching us?”
Mark pointed at the Doctor. “You,” he said solemnly.
The Doctor shrugged happily. “Oh, he's probably just another one of my many admirers. I'm a sort of Marilyn Monroe figure in this part of the galaxy, you know...”
“Doctor?” asked the soldier with a weary sigh.
“Get over yourself.”
Too Little Too Late
“The TARDIS is malfunctioning again!” Mark shouted.
“Quick!” the Doctor called, “Hand me that book over there!”
“Type 40 Time Capsule Owner's Manual?” Dara checked the cover.
“That’s it! Now... ‘Congratulations on your purchase of the AZ99/35D Type 40.6-1 time and relative dimension in space travel capsule. If problems should occur or should you have any complaints in general, please contact our home office...’”
“Skip a bit!” Mark cried as the console caught fire.
““Chapter One: So, You Want To Travel In Time? Stek deinen cop en den houten, an hashen nak den den...” Oh no! It’s all in French!”
Power to the People
“Why should we obey you?” the Doctor challenged their captor.
“I don’t have to answer that. I run the place.”
“Of course you have to answer it,” Moira protested.
“Because you don’t run the place. We do.”
“Yes, we are the voting public,” Moira pointed out.
“And we didn't vote for you!” added the Doctor smugly.
“So you don't run the place, we do.”
“And we don't have to obey you.”
“...So then why am I running the place?”
“I was kind of hoping he’d vanish in a puff of logic at this point,” the Doctor sighed.
After The Fact
The Doctor shone the torch around the apartment. “I know what happened here.”
“Well?” asked Kevin.
“This man went to Portugal to investigate an apparent demonic possession. He brought her back here, but she wasn’t possessed, she was infected. A disease that drove her into homicidal fury and altered her DNA. He made an attempt to create a vaccine, but that caused the virus to mutate. It became contagious.”
“So,” Kevin concluded, “he sealed the room off and tried to carry out an exorcism?”
“Unsuccessfully, I fear...”
Something thin, pale and bloody crept out of the dark towards the pair...
The Price of Fame
The Doctor was on his way out of the hotel when the manager dived in front of him. “Just before you go, Doctor,” he said with a forced grin under his moustache, “I don’t suppose I could get an autograph?”
The Time Lord confirmed the piece of paper wasn’t a blank cheque. “Autograph?”
“Yes, it’s for my nephew,” the manager explained. “A wonderful boy. Totally blind, you know.”
The Doctor fumbled in his coat pocket. “I’m afraid I don’t have a pen.”
An awkward pause.
The manager shrugged and wandered off. “Oh well. I’ll just TELL him you signed it...”
Cutting the Gordean Knot
The Doctor all but shoved Christine into the TARDIS. “We’ve got to leave now!”
“But we are not responsible!”
“I have a horrible feeling he won’t believe us...”
The Space Commander watched at the body terrorist leader turned into green slime. An alien bodysnatcher, manipulating the rebel forces. And if there was one shape-shifter, there would be others, on all sides of the law. And no way of telling which ones were aliens. There was only one solution.
“Kill them all,” he told his troopers.
Two days later, every native inhabitant of the planet was executed.
Only fourteen bodysnatchers were found.
The wood was a dark and mysterious place rarely visited. Christine could hear scratches, but the Doctor was listening to the hollow, empty sound of air escaping something. A dark shape shifted among tall, threatening trees to their left.
They were not alone here.
And then it crashed into the sunlight, a huge shape saddled in long dark rags, its pale face twisted and distorted by the huge gaping mount lined with jagged brown fangs. It tiny button eyes were peeled back in deranged anger. From deep within its torso came a huge, rolling scream.
“Chris,” the Doctor breathed. “...RUN!!”
“I used to work as an apprentice in a concept shop, back on Gallifrey. Everyone thought she was just a kindly old woman... but I knew better. One night, I crept into her quarters... when I heard her hearts beating... So I killed her and buried the body under the house. Then, one night I was sitting at home and then I heard her hearts beating again, coming up from the floorboards, getting louder and louder... I fled in terror, and stole the TARDIS the next day. That’s why I left Gallifrey.”
“Really?” asked Dara, horrified.
“Gotcha” the Doctor laughed.
...In A Built-Up Area During the Hours of Darkness
“Doctor!” Moira was shouting at him. “What do you think you’re doing?”
The Doctor looked up. He’d thought Moira had gone to bed, but now she was back. And Charlie was there too, in his pyjamas. He was shouting too.
“Stop the noise, Doctor!” he wailed.
The Doctor couldn’t hear them. “Sorry?” he raised his voice.
But it was no good. He couldn’t hear them.
The Time Lord switched off the industrial drill he was using on the console pedestal and was nearly deafened by the screams from his companions that he could suddenly hear.
“There’s no need to shout!”
Body Count Redux
The Doctor’s hearts fluttered then stopped.
How many times had he done this? He remembered the Pharos Project, twice; the giant spiders; the exploding warehouse; Grace Holloway trying to heal him; the scarecrows coming to life; the energy drain of Mondas; Androzani Minor; the Cybermen in the Vortex; that nasty bang on the head...
Eleven down. Two to go.
But... he remembered he remembered the Daleks on Karn. Zectronic energy on Terserus. The DEEP. Belphegor. Tranta. The waterfall. The Bad Wolf. Four knocks. Alixion...
Eleven? Not even close!
This was insane. This time had to be the end!
Aliens and Predators
The swamps of Klom reeked of decay. The Slitheen hunting party were here to give the children of their next generation, only five years of age, their first blood. In the low gravity they leapt and bounced from marsh to tree to rock, too fast for their prey – with its primitive eyesight – to follow.
On a stony outcrop, the leader of the pack hissed a warning.
A warning too late.
Something dropped from the branches above him, purple body hair against thorny green skin.
The Slitheen children screamed in terror as the Absorbaloff made the first kill of the night.
“This is utterly ridiculous!” Gonji-Yered-Flo-Potch Slitheen cried.
“You can take your plea to the Shadow Proclaimation if you must,” twittered the lawyer. “But I doubt it could help your case. Green reptiles with a proclivity for nudity who disguise themselves in the discarded skins of human beings to help fund your clandestine and illegal crime syndicate? Not to mention your language is so pretentious hardly anyone can understand? No, the whole Slitheen family are being sued for breach of genetic copyright.”
“Get the lawyers!” the Raxicoricofallapotorian commanded.
“We ARE your lawyers,” the Foamasi reminded him patiently. “See you in court.”
Infiltrating Central Control
Parton shifted uncomfortably in clothing now slightly too tight for him. “The gas exchanges are playing up again! There must be more effective equipment than this!”
Stott was patting down the skin covering the zipper in his forehead. “We’re running on a budget, remember? We need to keep things cheap and simple.”
“But there are too few of us! Who’s going to replace Lurena?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Stott shrugged. “Dump those bodies in the closet and began deactivation of the mine field. And if anyone asks,” he called to the other Slitheen, “we’re all Andromedans. Understood?”
Star One was theirs.
Coup de Grace
“Bulic!” the Doctor roared as he stormed around the corner. In his singed and stinking combat suit, looking like he had two black eyes, the Time Lord looked like retribution incarnate. “I told you to TURN OFF THE GAS!”
The orange-garbed soldier was slumped beside the hissing canister. He did not look up or react in any way to the Doctor’s fury. Finally his eyes spotted the small disc of soot on Bulic’s tunic, the discarded Sea Devil blaster, and the slime-caked armor sprawled nearby.
The Doctor still didn’t say anything when Tegan and Turlough finally dragged him away.
Beside The Seaside
“The beaches, Dara!” the Doctor enthused. “They have intelligent sand that dries you off when you’ve been swimming, clears away the litter by night and remembers your sandcastles in the morning. Of course, exactly once a year the beach gets hungry, dissolves all the living matter into a protein slime and drinks it... but you can have fun as long as you keep your eye on the date... and talking fish! I mean, they’re underwater so you don’t have a clue what they’re saying – mostly sounds like ‘Beware the Hunger of the Beach’, but you know what fish are like...”
More Pressing Matters
The TARDIS bucked and then lurched, throwing the Doctor to the floor before it steadied. He blinked in confusion, and looked down at his companion. “Christine, are you all right? I can’t feel my legs!”
“Well, thou certainly can!” Christine replied with a wince.
“Feel your legs?” asked the Time Lord, baffled.
“Feel YOUR legs, you dolt!” she hissed, spelling it out for him. “You’re lying on top of me!” she explained with a sob.
The Doctor thought for a second. “Am I really?”
Christine decided the time for diplomacy had passed.
“GET OFF THEE YOU FAT FOOL!” she roared.
The Master sprinted down the rocky slope, but there was a Dalek waiting for him. He turned to retreat but three more blocked his path. Their golden leader glided forward. “THE DRACONIA STRATAGEM HAS FAILED!”
“But I served you well!”
“YOU SERVED YOUR PURPOSE!”
The Daleks fired at once. The bearded figure was flung across the quarry and crumbled to the ground. As the Daleks turned to leave, a strange glow suffused his features, burning and coiling away, leaving a hideous skeletal creature in the ruins of the Master’s suit.
Ogrons in the next valley heard the screams it made.
And Who Do These Belong To?
The Doctor grinned broadly as Romana returned to the TARDIS. It had been weeks since they’d been forced to part company on Zaggon Six. Since then he’d managed to repair K9, fight Daleks and Sontarans, flown through a black hole and aged four years. But he didn’t tell Romana, he would have hated to imply he’d been having any fun without her.
No, he kept quiet about it all, especially having temporarily replaced her with another companion. She would never know.
His confidence lasted until she found the underwear (with “SHARON DAVIES” name tag sewn in) left in her room.
We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties
“We’re being told to... evacuate... I can feel the place moving under my feet now...”
Light flickered as the presenter’s voice became a horrid, guttural rasp. Somewhere a woman screamed. The whispering began.
“We’re coming to hurt you...”
A chaotic selection of images were dredged up from the depths of memory. Faces, shapes, voices, crosscutting insanely. A vague, indistinct shape shimmered in the dark, its pale, skull-like face torn apart by static.
The Doctor raised the remote and switched off the TV.
“I never did like live broadcasts,” he concluded.
Head held high, he strode out of the Green Room.
View From Above
It was night on Gallifrey when the two friends exchanged scary stories.
“These things are hideous ripe humanoids – they come in different colours – with useless body hair and redundant quirks like nipples and navels, overactive hormones, sweat glands and a violent temper, ridiculously obsessed with reproduction. happy to use knives, guns, bombs and even their bare hands and bacteria builds up in their mouths and nasal passages, with those teeth designed to tear flesh apart. And do you know what the worst part is?”
“What?” the other student asked.
His friend grinned through his beard. “They look just like us!”
They’d sentenced the Doctor to execution, but he had a plan. Well, half a plan. It was the middle of World War I, there was bound to be enough confusion for him to bluff an escape. Get Jamie and Zoe back to the TARDIS and leave. Easy.
Then he spotted the words scratched in the stone.
SENTENCED TO DEATH
TRIAL A FAKE
WE ARE ALL BEING USED
So. He wasn’t the first to suspect the truth.
But would he the first to live to do something about it?
He thought of all those before who had been silenced.
The explosion was followed by a sound that couldn’t be described, a noise that was simply pain and despair. The doomed inhabitants of the world stared up at the boiling white light of the apocalypse. Hot, wet lava was spilling out, erasing everything in its path, destroying every trace of the civilization that had summoned it.
He was running away. Again. From people who needed his help.
Maybe he could save other worlds, other people.
But it would never be enough to balance out those he’d abandoned.
And if he seemed pompous, irritable and patronizing, there was a reason.
Change of Direction
After Cambridge, the Doctor changed. Romana and K9 didn’t mention it. He’d always been moody, but there was more to this than merely not getting his way. He’d thrown away his colourful scarf, feeling it was mocking him.
For in facing Skagra, he remembered his crime. He’d built the Ultimate Weapon. He’d used it without mercy.
No wonder he’d wanted to forget. But now he was aware of every horrible detail.
He chose a new shirt with question marks on the collar, question marks asking him “What will you do now?”.
He didn’t know.
So they went to Brighton Pavillion.
Adric destroyed. Gus dead. Nyssa rejecting him. Tegan fleeing. Turlough choosing exile. Kamelion begging for death.
So many friends.
And he’d failed every one of them.
He pocketed both vials of bat’s milk. His constitution could keep him going a little while longer. If Peri required two vials to survive then he was going to make sure she got every drop. He was going to get her out of this mess he was indirectly responsible for. Even if it killed him. Even though he’d only known her for a few days.
Because even that was easier than losing another friend.
After The Smoke Has Cleared
The Doctor finally had found the courage to return to Thoros Beta. The citadel of the Mentors was deserted and in ruins, everyone having long since fled. He took his time as he wandered along the beach, into the caves. The stench of rotting marsh minnows was choking.
He finally came to Crozier’s laboratory.
The BTU was a blackened wreck. There were the corpses of the two Kivs, and the pulverized remains of Crozier, Kani, Sil and others. Of Peri, Yrcanos and Tuza, there was no sign.
He wasn’t yet brave enough to go back and see what really happened.
The moment Ace was settled into her new room, the Doctor dropped the act. And tried not to panic.
The time he’d half dreaded was here at last. He’d heard the rumbles of the approaching storm for centuries, but now he was caught in the middle of it without an umbrella. Figuratively speaking. He still had his umbrella, thank goodness.
But not Mel.
She’d gone, leaving him alone. Not that she knew he was alone. She thought Ace was just a normal girl.
And not a wolf of Fenric.
He was going to have to play this one VERY cagily.
Without The Company of Friends
The Doctor studied his face in his rebuilt TARDIS. The Victorian Gothic theme was long gone, leaving raw coral and wires. The regeneration had gone well too, leaving him looking exactly the same as that trip to 1999 San Francisco. The residual energy had been bled off before he could change. A neat trick, but where would he find a chunk of his own living DNA to pull this stunt twice?
The younger Eighth Doctor had been a fluke. A carefree fluke.
He didn’t know he was going to start a Time War.
Or be the one to end it.
What were they doing? They didn’t try to destroy the station, they gave him all the time he needed to complete the wave. They even took time to exterminate civilians and bomb the Earth. Almost like they were trying to provoke him.
Unless... they wanted him to!
Yes! These insane half-human Daleks wanted to die. Their god-emperor was convinced he was immortal. Using the wave would destroy the suicidal Daleks, annihilate mankind, and prove the Emperor’s divinity once and for all. And prove that the Doctor was just as bad as them.
The Great Exterminator.
The Bad Wolf?
Good intentions pave the road to hell.
High ideals do the same.
He’d saved three lives that day. Because he should? Maybe. But when he’d succeeded, that had changed. He didn’t care about the humans and the brief extension he’d given their stunted lives. He didn’t even care if they weren’t grateful, if they were scared of him, if they were horrified at his actions, at the power he could wield without restraint.
“The Time Lord Victorious!” he’d sneered at the stupid apes.
Yes, no mere useless Doctor. Not any more.
Now the Valeyard...
And then he heard the gunshot.
So, Doctor, We Meet Again
The Doctor was flabbergasted. To an extent, he’d never believed the Daleks were truly gone, even when Kaan had let loose destruction. He wasn’t truly surprised to find more survivors, but to find them here, now, London in 1941?
The grey colour and the “Ironside” labels didn’t matter at all. What mattered was the Daleks hadn’t recognized him. They thought him just another human.
“I sent you into the void,” he shouted. “I saved the whole of reality from you! I am the Doctor and you are the Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaleks!”
“WOULD YOU LIKE A CUP OF TEA?” the lead Dalek asked.
The Means Justify The Ends
The Doctor went straight to the Volmer household. It wasn’t like he had anywhere else to go. His TARDIS was lost in the DEEP, cut off for the next quarter of a century. Perhaps forever. And he did have a debt to pay the wife and child of the late Professor Volmer.
He met with Volmer’s wife, told her she was a widow, held her as she wept, played with her daughter. He helped the pair every way he could think of. Because he needed them.
Not guilt for being the one to murder Volmer in cold blood.
The Doctor blinked, puzzled at the stiffness of his neck, the beard on his face, the way his nice frock coat was far too tight for his bulky frame. What had happened? Had he changed again? Yes, that was good. The last one had gone far too wrong. He couldn’t remember what he’d done, but maybe that was for the best. At least now he could start to make amends.
He looked up and saw a crying teenage girl with a gun standing over him.
“Hello,” he said sleepily. “I’m the Doctor. Who are you?”
“Ruth,” was the reply.
It was the least professional behavior Garkbit had witnessed. For a start, the trio did not arrive on time. Then they chose to arrive by means of teleport via a blue object marked “police box”. On top of that they were out of costume and character – the man was too old, the woman brunette and underdeveloped and the girl too light a skin tone. They were woefully briefed as well, and didn’t even seem to realize they were the judges for the Brad Pitt, Pamela Anderson and Queen Latifah lookalike competition.
Garkbit never used that particular celebrity impersonator agency again.