writer

doctor who fan fiction

Alone in the Dark

Posted on May 10, 2010

This story was written recently, as a submission to Big Finish’s Short Trips competition. I was not among the winners. So you get to read it here. It was formless, and infinite. It was sentience, and pure instinct. It was isolated in its void, the only being in its own small, unbounded universe. It was eternal, and needy as an infant. It was ever on the search for a way out of the aloneness… *** The TARDIS shuddered like a wet dog shaking itself off — again! — upending Tegan’s hot chocolate all over her jeans, her blouse, and the tattered paperback of Jackie Colllins’ Hollywood Husbands. “Ooo, Doctor!” Her cry echoed around the cavernous, empty room. She calmed herself with a sigh, plucking at her wet clothes. “He has got to snap out of it,” she growled to herself. Tegan had never been a girl to hang out in libraries. But this was one of the beautiful things about traveling with the Doctor: Hollywood Husbands hadn’t even been published yet, from Tegan’s perspective. The library had been a godsend, she’d quickly discovered, after she’d accidentally wandered into the TARDIS on the Barnet Bypass with no more reading material than the copy Princess Daisy by Judith Krantz that she’d happened to have in her purse. And there was no way a 1980s working girl could possibly survive without Sidney Sheldon, Harold Robbins, and Judith Krantz: even life in the TARDIS wasn’t as exciting as Mistral’s Daughter. Wandering into the TARDIS library had been just as accidental — if she’d even considered the notion of a library of paper books on the TARDIS, she’d probably have figured that it would be crammed with boring technical journals and dense history books and the Venusian scientific poetry the Doctor liked. But there was, it turned out, a whole section of real books, the kind of wonderfully trashy stuff Tegan loved — the tri-gender romances of the twenty-second century were her favorite new discoveries so far. Even more fortuitous was the discovery that The Brat Turlough never came here, which made it a perfect refuge… especially these last few days, with the Doctor moping and being such an all-around grump that even the TARDIS was getting annoyed with him. Sure, Tegan missed Nyssa too, and yes, it was obvious that the recent events on Getty Prime had upset the Doctor a lot more than they ever could have bothered Tegan or Turlough, but still… This was getting ridiculous. *** “Go away!” A quick change out of her hot cocoa-soaked clothes later, Tegan was rapping gently on the door of the Doctor’s workshop. “I’ve brought you a nice cup of tea, Doctor,” Tegan said. It was a chore to keep any hint of irritation out of her voice, but she could be gracious if that’s what it took. “I don’t want any tea.” It was a sorrowful mutter, and the lights in the corridor flickered with his misery. “You have to come out sometime…”...

Read More

Fish Story, Part 2

Posted on Apr 12, 2010

[Part 1] I squeezed into the cramped cockpit and wedged myself between the back of Ayren’s seat at the navigation console and a locker labeled WEAPONS. (I’d checked it already — it was locked, of course.) Ayren leaned back against the headrest and looked up at me. “You’re all right?” she whispered, and I nodded as another laser blast rocked the little craft. “I was afraid you were getting tossed around back there.” “I was.” We were getting shaken up like beans in a tin can, and I had banged every extremity against metal bulkheads in my little sortie from the cockpit. “They’re just shooting across my bow.” The pilot, in front of us, stretched forward to peer out the cockpit window, speaking not to us but simply thinking aloud. “Close enough to knock us around. Man, that is some precision shooting. Why aren’t we dead?” The fat chef, overflowing the copilot’s seat next to her, gripped the armrests with white-knuckled fingers. “Can’t this thing go any faster?” “This is it, pal.” The pilot scowled at the chef. “Maybe your employer doesn’t have the inside track you think he does. How could he get that transporter information and not know my ship’d be no match for those cruisers?” Another scarlet laser blast seared past the window, jolting the ship in its wake. “Did you find a replicator?” Ayren whispered. “Yes.” I crouched down till I was face to face with her. “It’s gumblejack, all right. But you won’t believe this–” “Oh, here we go. They’re moving in for the kill,” the pilot announced, slumping back in her seat and turning to the chef. “I can’t exactly say it’s been nice knowin’ ya, Von Muon.” The chef whimpered. Out the window, we could see several of the immense cruisers passing us to surround us, matching our speed and holding a steady distance of perhaps a kilometer. Ayren’s eyes were wide as she stared at me. “If they were going to kill us, they’d have done it already, wouldn’t they?” “I don’t know, sweet,” I whispered. “I hope so.” I kissed her mouth quickly. “I love you.” She smiled nervously out of the corner of her mouth. “I don’t want to die,” she said, a mere murmur. A tingly wave of electricity passed through us, and my hearts stumbled over a couple of beats. Me either, I thought, and clutched Ayren’s hand. But we were still alive moments later when every console in the cockpit spit out a shower of white sparks and systems whined as they shut down. Lights overhead and on the consoles flickered out, and the air-recirculating fan above Ayren’s head sputtered to a stop. “Some kind of electromagnetic pulse,” the pilot said. “We’re dead in the water.” Something was approaching from one of the cruisers: just a moving dot of light at first, heading directly for the cockpit window, and as one, it seemed, we all four leaned back as if we could escape it and then...

Read More

Fish Story, Part 1

Posted on Apr 12, 2010

This story was written in the early 1990s, and was intended to appear in a zine I was to publish called ‘A Single Soul,’ which would collect all of my Ayren stories. It was never published, and this story appears for public consumption here for the first time.    “The last time I fished this particular stretch, I landed four magnificent gumblejack in less than 10 minutes… The finest fish in this galaxy, probably the universe. Cleaned, skinned, quickly pan fried in their own juices till they’re golden brown… ambrosia steeped in nectar. The flavour is unforgettable” –the sixth Doctor in “The Two Doctors” “What’s the matter, Doctor?” “I’m hungry.” I was whining, and Ayren was getting irritated with me. I was standing at the refrigerator door in the TARDIS galley, bent at the waist, staring in at the overladen glass shelves. Zaurakian treefruits, cheeses from Habar and Mira, leftover Algenib mountain-steer steaks, sliced boarham from Bellatrix, the fresh grainbread we’d picked up the day before on Cebalrai… None of it called to me. I closed the door and stretched, sighing. “You’ve been like this for days,” Ayren said. I thought the bowl of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia she was eating whispered my name… but no. “Snap out of it. Have a sandwich or something.” I slumped down at the table next to her and propped my chin in my hands. “No, no, no. That’s not what I want. I want… Oh, I don’t know,” I groaned. My head lolled down to my folded arms on the table. What was this inconsolable longing? Was my body crying out for some vital nutrient I wasn’t getting? Were my taste buds bored? Was there something absolutely exquisite I hadn’t eaten in decades? … Gumblejack. “Gumblejack,” salivating at the mere thought. “By Rassilon, that’s it.” “What’s gumblejack?” Ayren asked. I lashed out and grabbed her wrist so tightly she jumped. “Sweet, it is the most incredible thing that will ever pass your lips.” Oh, how to describe it? “Remember Deneb? Remember how awful the food there was, how dull and bland and tasteless it was? How wonderful it was to get back here and have real food?” She nodded. “I remember Deneb.” “That’s how everything, everything” — I squeezed her wrist — “will taste after you’ve eaten gumblejack.” She cast a doubting look at her ice-cream bowl — she’d scraped it clean. I lifted her wrist and kissed her pulse, gazing into her eyes. “Gumblejack is better than sex,” I promised with a grin. With a laugh she said, “Well then, you’d better not have any without me,” and glanced sidelong at the refrigerator. “I don’t think any gumblejack will have materialised there. You’ll have to use the replicator.” She knew I disliked the replicator and the metallic tang of everything it dispensed. But it wouldn’t give me gumblejack anyway. “That won’t work, I’m afraid. There’s only one place in the galaxy you can get gumblejack…” *** Muon Von Muon squeezed...

Read More

Father Figure

Posted on Apr 12, 2010

This story was written in late 1990 or early 1991, and appeared in the fanzine ‘Faithful Friends/Agreeable Companions,’ published in June 1991. The mirror sucks me in. The Routine — I do it every evening — takes me just a few minutes now. It’s a little dance I choreographed myself. One long, slow turn in front of the cheval in our quarters, to examine the splatter of freckles and moles that’ve appeared on my face and along my arms and across my chest and back over the past five years. So far, just shades of brown — nothing black, nothing bleeding. Then, arm in the air, my fingers press careful circles into my breast and up into my armpit. Then the other side. So far, no lumps. And I thank the Keeper for another day. But this mirror snuck up on me — mirrors have a habit of doing that. I pulled a stack of books off the shelf to pack, and there it was, the engraved looking glass Olvir gave me last year. “Is that a new mole on your cheek?” it asks. Terrified, I turn my head toward the light — but no, it’s just a shadow. I breathe again, and take the little mirror and place it face-down on the pile of packing cloth. I’ll wrap it later — I can’t look at it again yet. The door alarm shrieks, and I call, “Come in.” “Nyssa!” Olvir cried, squeezing through the doors as soon as they slide open. He’s out of breath and red faced from running. “The doctor…” he gasps, gesturing for me to follow him. My life has ever been like this, it seems, since I came to Terminus, and even now, having passed the torch on, I am still at its beck and call. I follow Olvir through the wide, white corridors — he’s leading me to the storerooms. What could be so urgent outside the infirmary? A team of orderlies, dressed in protective gear and dragging two empty stretchers behind them, beats us to the only open door in the corridor. As Olvir and I approach I catch a glimpse, just past the blur of the rushing orderlies, of a particular shade of blue, and I realise that what Olvir said was “The Doctor.” The TARDIS! I push my way past the orderlies into the closet — the funny old ship is squeezed in among shelves of crisp white bedsheets. My heart races at the sudden rush of memories… and then stops when my eyes fall on the Doctor, sitting on his heels before his ship, his hands on his knees. Sweat mats blond hair to his head and drenches his shirt — his hearts flutter visibly through the thin fabric. He makes soft fretting noises over a prostrate woman in front of him. A nurse, bent over her, checking her vitals, hides her face from me — my first thoughts are: Is she dead? Is it Tegan? The Doctor’s sodden senses...

Read More

Tristan’s Father, Part 8

Posted on Mar 31, 2010

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7] Paranoia was a concept I’d learned here, on Earth, yet one more cultural oddity I’d had to assimilate from the late twentieth century and the early twenty-first. We hadn’t even had a word for it, not just because the language we’d been bequeathed was an odd mixture of English and Spanish and Japanese and Arabic squeezed through an apocalyptic bottleneck, but because the culture my ancestors — the ones still in the future, and now in an alternative timeline to the planet Earth I was now living on — created in the aftermath of what they’d survived had consciously rejected such notions. But I’d learned about paranoia fast, at the mercy of UNIT, and in the suspicious and mistrustful atmospheres of the political and media circles of London and New York. And I’d become paranoid myself, and still couldn’t decide whether that was a healthy response to an environment that — as Tegan had once characterized it when I’d tried to describe for her a culture that did not inspire paranoia — “menaced you with threats you weren’t sure were real wielded by people you weren’t sure existed.” I could have written anthropological papers about how current events are shaped by mass psychosis that no one would understand for a thousand years. The watered-down versions of my future-historian perspective on now that I posted anonymously on the Internet caused consternation enough among those who were moved enough to comment on them. But Nate Steele was real, and the New York Post was real, and the smirk he’d thrown my way in the media room at Midtown South had been real. I’d accompanied Peter to his impromptu press conference on my way out of his HQ, without any sense of urgency to stay and watch — I’d learned that what was important, in the larger scheme of things that UNIT charged me to keep an eye on, was not what Peter said here but what version of what he said ended up on TV and the Internet later… and I would watch for that on TV and the Web later. But Steele was there, among the mob of TV cameras and newspaper reporters and respected bloggers, and when he saw me enter behind Peter, an unpleasant grin lit up his face, and when he caught my eye, the grin became that slimy sneer of his… with a lot more spine behind it than it usual had. Steele always fancied he’d happened onto something sensational about me, though a lack of surety tempered his arrogance — but all of a sudden there was a new confidence in his sneer, and that terrified me. Now, I couldn’t help glancing over my shoulder as I strode up Seventh Avenue toward 1515 Broadway, feeling like I was stumbling all the way. The streets were eerily empty for a Wednesday afternoon, so many people having been scared off the island or...

Read More

The Locksley Dagger, Part 4

Posted on Apr 18, 2009

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] I didn’t wake up so much as I was jolted back to consciousness by the pounding in my head. Opening my eyes was torture. Any movement beyond that was simply out of the question. “At least have the decency to pretend to be hung over,” I croaked. Sprawled in a chair across the room, the Doctor stretched his legs out before him, cupped his chin in one hand. He wore only his boots and his leggings and the bloody bandage around his middle. He smiled at me, and I closed my eyes again and groaned. The chair scraped across the floor, and the Doctor’s bootsteps crossed the room. Water splashed, and then a damp cloth pressed itself to my forehead. The bed shifted as the Doctor sat on the edge. “Any better?” he asked, wiping the wonderfully cool cloth across my face. “Mmm…” “Ayren,” he whispered, leaning close, “I know who stole the dagger.” I could hear the grin in his voice. “Mmm?” He was dramatically silent for a long moment. “I did.” My eyes flew open — his face was just centimeters from mine. “What?” “Well, I will.” He shrugged. “You and I are going back to Souverane, to the night before we met Efass, I’m going to steal the dagger, and we’re going to bring it back to Earth.” “Why?” He jumped to his feet. “I’ve been thinking about it all morning,” he explained, pacing to and fro. “This” — he fingered his bandage — “helped me make sense of it. The time rift is a big rip in the fabric of space-time, like a wound in flesh. The Time Lords sewed up that wound, but then they took an integral part of that wound away — they took the time hook away. That’s like trying to stitch this up with a huge hunk of flesh missing.” He slapped his belly — then winced and let out a gasp. “…With the time hook gone, instability built up over the eons, enough so that the rift snapped open.” Indisposed as I was, I still saw the flaw in his argument. “But you said the time rifts were natural and stable. How could something technological, something artificial, be integral to that?” “We don’t know anything about the time rifts before the hooks were created for them. What if the hooks actually imposed stability on unstable phenomena?” “Okay.” I tried to think through the thunder in my head. “But the time hook is here. Will Scarlett has it.” “Right. Will had it in 1991, when we first materialized. That’s why the time rift seemed to be stable at that point. But the dagger won’t always be here. At some point in the future, post 1195, perhaps even post 1991, the Time Lords will collect it, and it’ll end up on Souverane. I can repair the time rift from the TARDIS, but the hook has to be in the vicinity for the rift to stay...

Read More

The Locksley Dagger, Part 3

Posted on Apr 18, 2009

[Part 1] [Part 2] Ayren I was shivering with excitement as Will Scarlett led us down the wide stone steps to the great hall of Nottingham Castle. This was history come alive, the past made present. People were living here in this castle: those men in chain mail standing guard over there would go home to the soldiers’ barracks; the young scullions rushing back and forth with trays heaped with steaming chickens and loaves of bread would probably sleep among the dogs and goats tonight, and be thankful for the warmth of other bodies. People lived like this. I had studied Earth history all my life, had participated in re-creations in virtual reality, and still I was unprepared for the realness, the nowness, of it — the stench of humans and animals living together, of tons of burning wax illuminating the castle’s crevices and nooks, of the food aromas that permeated the very stone. I let my fingers run along the rough walls as we descended, hoping that the feel of it would etch the memories more deeply into my brain. The Doctor caught my glance and knew what I was thinking, and he smiled. There was music in the great hall, and laughter, but our bootsteps on the stone drew all eyes to us nevertheless. “Will!” a man called — he was at the long table on the dais at the other end of the room. “Where’ve you been?” We followed Will, weaving through the tables arranged throughout the hall, until he stopped at the dais. “I was attacked by outlaws in Sherwood,” he said with a snide grin. A chuckle rumbled through the room. The man on the dais only smiled and put down his tankard. “And who have you brought with you? A knight in Arthur’s colors? Can this be the high king come again?” It was a joke, and the Doctor smiled and bowed gracefully. “I am the Duke of Gallifrey, renegade from the king of France and traveling through your fair country. This is… my wife, Erin of Yorkshire.” Wife? How quaint. I bit back a smile and bowed. “I… met them on the road,” Will said — of course he wasn’t going to tell the truth, however he saw it, “and if your lordship has no objection, I invited them to Nottingham for the night.” The man scowled at Will’s “your lordship,” but he smiled at the Doctor and me. “Of course, they must stay. Welcome to Nottingham, my lord, my lady. I’m Robin of Locksley, and this is my wife, Marian.” He nodded at the woman seated next to him, then indicated the empty chairs at their table. “Please, join us.” Will was waiting before the dais — waiting to be invited as well, I realized — and when Robin ignored him, he stomped back through the hall, up the stairs, and out. “You’ll have to excuse my brother,” Robin said as serving maids placed wooden plates before us and poured wine...

Read More

The Locksley Dagger, Part 2

Posted on Apr 18, 2009

[Part 1] Ayren The TARDIS gave a little shudder. I leaned over to check the navigation panel — everything fine — and then turned back to the data cubes. The Doctor had a definite head start on me: I half woke in the middle of the night to see him sitting up in bed, pillows propped at his back, the icy blue light from the cubes glinting off his half-rim glasses. I struggled to wake fully, but he lay a hand gently in my hair and pressed a kiss to my forehead. “Go back to sleep, love,” he whispered, “and dream of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest.” I thought I’d dreamt the whole thing till just a few minutes ago, but here it was in the cubes. All right: One end of this time rift was in Nottinghamshire, England, in AD 1195. And the time hook we were looking for was called the Locksley Dagger, a family heirloom. And I did know — and the TARDIS computer confirmed — that if Robin Hood had existed, he may have been one Robin of Locksley… or Lockesly, or Loxley. Or Robert of Huntington. Or Sir Robert Hoyd… Anyway, it would be fun. I got to dress up again, like a medieval woodsman this time — in woolen leggings and tunic, and leather jerkin and boots, all in mossy greens and earthy browns. And I’d even convinced the Doctor to play along… The inner door opened, and the Doctor stepped in, and I gasped in delight. He was taking playing along seriously. From his hooded surcoat to the belt draped around his hips to his knee-high boots, he was drenched in vermillion and rusty red and cream and sandy brown — darker cousins of his cricketing colours. He walked toward me, the surcoat swaying and his leggings pulled taut, tantalizing me with hints of the lean body under all that leather and muslin and wool. His fingers under my chin returned my mouth to its usual closed position, and he leaned down to kiss me softly, quickly. “You look wonderful,” I breathed. A whisper: “Thank you.” “Except for this.” I tapped the long sword slung through the Doctor’s belt. “Strictly part of the costume, Ayren. I have no intention of using it.” “I hope not.” He smiled. “Are we on course?” “Central England, late medieval period. Arrival imminent.” I smiled then. “You don’t really think we’re going to meet Robin Hood, do you?” His eyes searched my face for a moment, then looked upward, remembering. “Absolutely ages ago, I had a little holiday in Palestine with King Richard the Lionheart, and he did mention to me a Lord Locksley whom he considered a trusted ally — even if he was Saxon.” I tugged playfully on his belt. “But just because there was a man named Locksley doesn’t mean he was Robin in the Hood.” He considered this. “Ayren, there are places and times where Time Lords and TARDISes are considered myths, fiction.”...

Read More

The Locksley Dagger, Part 1

Posted on Apr 18, 2009

This story was written in 1991-2, and appeared in my fanzine ‘The Cricketer: Tales of the Fifth Doctor,’ published in 1992. Ayren The Doctor was trying to get the maitre d’s attention. Planet Souverane was very much in the centre of this era’s multicultural, interstellar society, so it was not that unusual that humans were a minority at the bar — where everything from Aldebarian brandies to Romulan ales were served — and that it was necessary for the Doctor to tell the android maitre d’ that we would like to be seated away from the methane breathers, please. I signalled the bartender for a refill on my wine. “Perhaps it’s developed a short,” I suggested, but the Doctor was twisted around on his bar stool and he didn’t hear me. I shifted my position, crossed my legs, and took a sip from my replenished glass. I was feeling a little lightheaded with the wine and a little sensual in my new frock: it was short and shimmery and loose and smoother than silk and seemed to flow over my skin like cool water. It was all the rage here, and the Doctor had insisted on buying it for me. “You’ll need it for dinner,” he’d said with a smile. “We have reservations.” He wouldn’t tell me where he had gotten the credit chit that was paying for it all. He was dressed in black, like a softly cut tuxedo, and he looked wonderful, but as he turned back to me, skimming a hand through his fair hair, all I could think of was getting him out of it. “I think it’s hopeless,” he said with a sigh. He was a little drunk, too, so I dared try a little more intimacy than he was usually comfortable with in public. I leaned closer, touched his knee, gently kissed his mouth — the musky alien scent lingering on his skin made my insides quiver. “We could just go back to the TARDIS.” His sapphire eyes got as bright as twilight’s first stars. “That we could,” he said with a grin, and then his gaze was distracted by something over my shoulder, and he rolled his eyes. “Oh no.” I glanced back. Silhouetted in the glaring light of the entryway, a large, muscular, humanoid figure turned its head to and fro, searching the room. Too tipsy to be worried, I giggled. “What trouble have you caused now?” The Doctor shielded his face from the searcher with one hand. “It’s not what trouble I’ve caused, but what trouble I’ll be asked to get into that I’m worried about. Perhaps we can slip out the back– Oh good lord, she’s seen us.” She? I looked back. She waded through the crowded room toward us, a mountain of gray skin in a blue uniform. Her forehead bulged hugely with what looked like vertebrae — as if her spine had continued up and over the back of her head and didn’t end until the bridge...

Read More

Tristan’s Father, Part 7

Posted on Apr 13, 2009

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] 46.9 hours earlier (Earthtime: Monday 5:17pm Eastern) The Doctor Earth. In jeopardy. Again. And it was all my fault. Tristan didn’t protest as I hauled him bodily into rush-hour traffic on Riverside Drive — he just hung limp in my grasp, resigned and despondent, as I stalked us across four lanes of jammed-up, honking vehicles. Of course it would be Earth that would be so at risk from my own child’s untutored ignorance. Because of course it would only have been a human of Earth who would be his mother, a human of Earth whom I would have fallen in love with and produced a child with — however in Rassilon’s great realm such a thing could have happened. And so of course it would only have been here that that child would be present and capable of doing such unwitting harm. I glared down at him, skinny and gangly and scared, and I loosened my grip just a bit, chagrined. Tristan, my son. I was responsible for bringing this child into the universe, and I didn’t even know how. How could he even be? I knew exactly what I was doing when I greedily took advantage of Ayren’s ignorance of what loving a Time Lord would mean for her. I knew it was a recipe for misery for both of us. But this — Tristan yelped as I yanked his arm again, dragging him into Riverside Park — how could I have been so wrong that I didn’t even know there was a right? “Hey,” Tristan said as we tromped through the park. “Where are we going?” I stopped us in front of the TARDIS. “Right here.” I fiddled with the key in the lock. “Inside…” And I shoved him in. I had to shove him again inside: he was riveted in the doorway. “Quit your gawping,” I told him, pulling him toward the console. “We’ve got work to do.” “It’s…” His mouth gaped, and then he grinned. “It’s dimensionally transcendental.” “That’s the same thing–” That’s the same thing your mother said the first time she stepped inside the TARDIS. Not “It’s bigger in the inside” but “It’s dimensionally transcendental.” “That’s the first thing most people notice. Nothing gets by you, eh? Sharp as a tack, you are.” It came out sarcastic — I couldn’t tell him right now how proud I was that he grasped the concept, not when I was in the middle of an enormous scold at him for being a too-clever little wanker. I set a few dials and flipped a few switches. “See that knob there?” I pointed to the big green one right in front of him. “Turn it, all the way round.” He stared at me through the bashful shock of blond hair that’d fallen over his eyes as he edged closer to the console. “That one?” “That one.” He hesitated, his hand hovering over the knob like he...

Read More