Posted by: slothrop on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 12:11 AM
Angel, Dr. Who and the extinction of all life as we know it
Autumn is the Season of Doom
Chihuahua, Mexico Team
Valentina Michelle Smith
Valentina chafed at the timeline restriction Slothrop imposed on contrbutors , so solved it masterfully, by using everyone's favorite Timelord.
Angel, Dr. Who and the extinction of all life as we know it, while Leela needs a lingerie coach.
Have fun, I know I did.
Early October - Billings, MT – Munson Apartments
Craig Mitchell collected the pile of letters and junk mail that had accumulated in his mailbox and opened his door. His shift in the missile silo was done and he now had three days to do whatever the hell he wanted. He reflected on the irony of his assignment. Most Americans were under the mistaken impression that our mighty nuclear arsenal had been scrapped. After all, there was no more Soviet Union. Who could threaten us?
While conditions were a lot more relaxed, the fact was that crews on both sides of the globe still maintained their respective vigils, stewards of a terrible power they prayed would never be unleashed. True, the targeting coordinates were no longer actively stored in the missiles, but this was no real obstacle. The coordinates could be uploaded in seconds, and a simple turn of two keys could rain nuclear fire upon some unseen foe on the other side of the world.
How many people would just crap in their pants if they knew the truth, that there was no centrally located button somewhere in Washington? The USA relied on the loyalty and integrity of its missile crews, trusting them to launch if an authenticated order was given, and to refrain from launching in the absence of orders. Additionally, it took two men turning their keys simultaneously in the control room to launch a nuclear missile. The locks were physically separated so that one man could not simultaneously turn both keys, and each crewman carried a sidearm as additional insurance. This two-man concept kept the tense peace throughout the Cold War.
Things were not nearly so tense these days. Missile crews did not wear their keys at all times but kept them locked in a special cabinet with their sidearms. If things heated up again they would retrieve them, but why worry? Russia was now a capitalist nation, the Berlin War had fallen, and even China was on the verge of discovering the joys of personal wealth and consumerism.
All of these things went through Craig's mind as he sorted his mail. Junk mail got tossed and bills got put in their special pile. His TV guide had arrived, and he scanned it to plan out what he would be watching the next few days.
He fired up his PC to check the old e-mail. He wasn't exactly cut off in the silo. Crews could while away their 3 days of alert duty by watching cable TV or surfing the net. Even the food was pretty good. But he still checked his in-box when he got home. That's when he found the e-mail from TransTalent.
Craig had signed up for their service a few months ago. Internet sex was kind of kinky, but all the guys on his crew did a bit of porn surfing. He was a bachelor and saw nothing wrong with it. He opened up the e-mail.
A series of colorful patterns flashed across the screen. Craig watched the patterns, unable to move his eyes from the screen. Then the pattern stopped.
Craig rose from his chair without saying a word. He changed into civilian clothes and left his apartment. His PC, still left on, began to systematically overwrite his hard drive with gibberish.
Craig drove to the bank and withdrew two thousand dollars. He then proceeded to the local firearms merchant to purchase an automatic pistol. Finally, he got into his car and drove south.
Early October – Chihuahua, Mexico
Angel emerged from his room at the Villa Suites hotel and went to his car. He had taken the unusual step of driving from El Paso to Chihuahua, despite the fact he had jet transportation at his disposal. He had weighed the need for stealth against the convenience of speed and decided on the former. He needed to travel en femme, and clearing customs in an airport might expose him. He was far more comfortable driving across the border.
Chihuahua was built in the most unlikely place, smack in the middle of the desert. Nestled between two mountain ranges, Chihuahua was experiencing an unprecedented growth spurt in this post-NAFTA global economy. This sleepy little town had become the center of a major industrial region. Mequiladoro's, manufacturing plants supplying cheap labor for American industry, had sprung up en masse, transforming Chihuahua from a tiny cattle town to a major city. Serviced by several highways, a railway line, and a small but adequate airport, Chihuahua was positioned perfectly to become an industrial center.
Angel reflected on the stark contrasts presented by the growing city. New housing was constantly being built for the burgeoning population, subsidized by the Mexican government to shelter the army of workers needed to man the growing factories. And Mexico was now experiencing a new phenomenon, an emerging middle class with disposable income. Shops, schools, and restaurants sprung up to service this flourishing new wealth. But crushing poverty was not far away, as witnessed by the collection of unheated cinderblock hovels and cardboard shacks that interspersed the newly erected homes of the newly well-off.
Autumn in Chihuahua was a time of contrast. The days were warm and dry, almost oppressive but definitely more comfortable than the stultifying heat of summer. Nights tended to be cool, bordering on chilly. In deference to the chilliness Angel was wearing a crocheted shawl over his evening dress. He had purchased it along with a leather purse at one of the local artisan's shops. Both were handmade products, the end result of hours of labor. The purse was strikingly beautiful, made from hand-tooled leather and still smelling of the tanning process. The intricate tooling gave the purse an almost masculine appearance. It was this curious dichotomy, the manly look of a very feminine accessory, that appealed to Angel, and so he dickered with the shopkeeper, eventually settling on a price of four hundred pesos, about thirty-five dollars. By Mexican standards he was being robbed. By US standards he was robbing the shopkeeper.
The purse hung from his shoulder as he emerged from his car, having arrived at restaurant row. This was a section of Chihuahua where the best eateries were located. Angel parked on the street, locked his car, and set the alarms. He was immediately approached by a security guard, who assured him that his car would be safely watched while he dined. Angel thanked the guard and gave him a small token of appreciation, 200 pesos. This is the way things were done in Chihuahua, and Angel accepted it. He could count on his car being safe and unmolested as he enjoyed dinner at La Olla.
La Olla was an interesting place, built around an old copper brewing vat of the Corona brewery. The Corona company still brewed in Chihuahua, but had long ago abandoned its small operation in town for a larger facility. It was economically unfeasible to move the old vat, so it was abandoned. A resourceful entrepreneur seized on the opportunity and developed the property into a trendy little bistro. La Olla was a hit with American businessmen and the local plant managers.
Inside the cool, dark interior, Angel caught sight of the man he was meeting tonight. It would have been difficult to miss him since the night life of Chihuahua did not really kick into gear until after 8:00 PM. Only crazy gringos went for dinner at such an early hour!
Bud Czanstke was sittingat a table nursing his Dos X's lager when he made eye contact with Angel. He rose from his seat as Angel made his way over to the table. Bud then made a big production out of kissing Angel's hand before they sat down.
Bud was a former Navy Seal and a retired New York cop. Despite his years he was still in good shape, with a tan, athletic look. He and Angel ordered dinner and drinks and renewed acquaintances.
“Are you enjoying retirement?” Angel asked.
“Oh yeah,” Bud replied, “my pension goes a lot further here in Mexico. I have a beautiful house, a housekeeper, and a gardener for only about six hundred a month. I usually drive up to El Paso to see my doctor, but for routine stuff the local clinic is good enough. But I miss going to Shea Stadium to watch the Mets.”
“I suppose that's the price one must pay for enjoying the weather here.”
“Yeah, I don't miss the snow one bit.”
Dinner was quite good. Angel and Bud both enjoyed steaks for which Chihuahua was justifiably famous. For dessert Angel just sipped coffee while Bud indulged his sweet tooth with flan. Conversation was limited to small talk and chitchat.
Finally they rose to leave together. Bud paid for dinner, leaving the waiter an extra tip on top of the 10% gratuity normally added to the bill. He draped Angel's shawl about his shoulders and they left together. The wait staff just smiled as the gray-haired gringo escorted the young chica. There was more than a casual stroll on his mind, of that they were sure.
Angel and Bud did walk along the street, but it was hardly a romantic interlude that occupied their thoughts. They had serious business to discuss, and a stroll in the evening was the best protection from being overheard.
“So what have you discovered about this local TransTalent franchise?” Angel asked.
“It's controlled by a single woman who calls herself La Cucaracha. I can't find any info on her like her true name or where she comes from. Apparently she's loaded and she spreads the pesos around to the right officials. 'Plomo o plato', and the locals like plato better.”
Angel understood the reference. Lead or silver, the saying translated, and its underlying meaning was clear. You can take a bribe or a bullet, either way we get what we want.
“I managed to get a little information on her,” Bud continued. “Your average corrupt official is more than willing to discuss his 'business arrangements' for the right price.
“She doesn't come into town very much, staying on her place outside the city. It's a small hacienda, self-contained. She has a satellite dish like most folks here, but no phone lines. It's likely she uses the dish as her Internet connection.
“I managed to confirm that she has three teenage boys at her hacienda. The locals think she is maintaining a stable of boy-toys. In any event, they are paid not to be too suspicious, and they don't care much about whether some gringo kids are being abused.”
“So we can't expect any help from the local authorities?”Angel asked.
“They won't stop us, and they can't ignore an illegal operation if the press or a zealous politician gets wind of it, but they won't go out of their way to help us.”
“So how do we bring down this operation?”
Bud grinned. “I have some friends here who can help, military and police retirees like myself. I'm sure that once you clue them in they'll want to help break this ring. A lot of them are family men.”
“Can I count on you to lead the operation? I can't be here when it goes down. I'm leading another team.”
“I can handle it, Angel. Let me get in touch with the boys and you can clue them in tomorrow night.”
Angel glanced back at the lone figure who was walking about 20 yards behind. “Did you know we were being followed?” he said.
“Yeah, I spotted him. Let's check him out.”
Angel and Bud both turned as they reached for their weapons. But before Bud could draw the mysterious figure raised his hand and fired three rounds. Bud fell.
Angel fumbled with the unfamiliar purse but still managed to grab the Sig Sauer he had stashed in it and squeezed off several rounds. That may have saved his life as it threw off his assailant's aim, but not before he felt burning in his side and left arm. As his assailant fell Angel realized he had been shot and was bleeding heavily.
It was all he could do to look around and assess his situation. Bud was dead. One of the bullets had gone into his head just above the left eye, blowing off the back of his head and reducing Bud's brain into the consistency of hamburger. Angel's assailant was also down and likely dead. Angel's head began to swim. He needed immediate medical attention. Desperately he searched the street for any sort of help.
That's when he saw the box.
It was blue, stood about nine feet tall, and was surmounted with some sort of light. A sign above a doorway indicated that this was a Police Box. Another sign Angel could barely make out informed him that the box contained a telephone, and that a police officer would immediately respond to any urgent message. This might be his only hope. Stumbling and dizzy from loss of blood, Angel groped for the door, entered, and fell forward.
As Angel lost consciousness, several incongruities occurred to him. First, the signs were in English, which made absolutely no sense in Mexico. Second, the inside of this box was brightly lit and air conditioned.. Finally, this box was actually a lot bigger on the inside than it appeared to be on the outside.
Then all was dark.
* * * * *
Leela was not in a happy mood as she walked into the control room. “Doctor,” she complained, “these clothes are ridiculous. Why must I wear them?” Indeed, the skirt was a troublesome garment and left her feeling exposed and vulnerable. The knickers did little to reassure her. Neither did the slip or the tights. And this other infernal undergarment she had to wear. What was it called, a bra? Clearly this was not a garment but an instrument of torture!
Then she caught sight of herself in the full-length mirror next to the hat rack. She had to admit, the combination was quite fetching, and the bra did somehow manage to present her breasts attractively beneath her blouse. Still...
“I told you, Leela,” said the Doctor as he entered the room, “you must wear clothing appropriate for the culture we visit. You wouldn't want to frighten the holiday makers, would you?”
“And your outfit is appropriate?” she asked.
The Doctor took stock of himself in the mirror. He had doffed his normal coat and scarf in favor of something a little cooler. “I believe so. You will find many of the tourists wearing khaki Dockers, a white Guyaberra shirt, and sandals.”
“I don't suppose you are wearing a bra underneath that shirt?” she asked.
“Of course not,” he replied, grinning a very toothy grin. “It wouldn't be appropriate. Perhaps if we visited San Francisco it might be.”
“Why must we visit this place at all?” Leela whined.
“It is important for you to understand your own roots, Leela. This area is a popular tourist destination for your ancestors. I know you will enjoy the railroad excursion to Copper Canyon, and the Pancho Villa museum is quite educational. Tonight I thought we might enjoy dinner at one of Chihuahua's excellent restaurants. Are you hungry?”
“Well, then, let's see if we can get a table at Tony Loma's.”
The Doctor pressed a button on the control panel mounted in the center of the room. The twin doors swung open.
And Angel stumbled in, dropping to the floor.
Leela went to Angel's side immediately. “Doctor, this woman is bleeding.”
The Doctor bent over the body on the floor. “This is no woman, Leela. He's a man, capable of impersonating a woman quite convincingly.”
“How do you know this?”
“I've met him before,” the Doctor replied, “only he hasn't met me yet. That's the trouble with time travel, linearity just flies out the window.”
The Doctor picked Angel up, cradling him in his arms. He didn't seem to mind the blood staining his white Guyaberra shirt. “He's seriously wounded and bleeding badly. We must get him in hospital immediately.” Without hesitation, the Doctor carried Angel to the hospital bay just off the Cloister room. Leela paused to close the door and followed them.
* * * * *
Angel awoke, slowly becoming aware of his surroundings. He was in a cheery little room, windowless but well lit. He was in bed, covered with a white sheet and blanket. As he became more awake he noticed an IV line apparently leading to a vein in his left hand.
He remembered being shot. There was no pain in his side or his arm. He raised his head from the pillow to get a better look at himself.
There was no wound in either his side or his arm. For that matter there was no scar! But he clearly remembered being shot! He remembered the burning pain in his arm and side!
And he remembered Bud.
Just then a girl entered the room, wearing an outfit that appeared to be made from several crudely-stitched animal skins. She smiled. “Oh, good, you're awake. How do you feel?”
Angel tried to speak, but made a kind of croaking noise. He was suddenly aware of a very dry throat. The girl must have sensed his distress as she held a glass of water to his lips. “Drink slowly,” she said.
Angel allowed the water to trickle down his throat. It felt as though his mouth, tongue, and throat were absorbing the water directly like a sponge. “Thank you,” he said.
“You're welcome. Let me fetch the Doctor. He's been quite concerned about you.” The girl left through the one door into the room.
Angel took stock of his situation. He had awakened in bed in what appeared to be a hospital room, a conclusion supported by the IV in his arm, the hospital bed he was in, and the hospital gown he was wearing. He had no idea where his clothes, his purse, or for that matter his bra and breastforms were.
The door opened and a tall gentleman entered, followed by the girl wearing the skins. He had a kind of infectious happiness, grinning a very toothy grin from underneath a mop of curly hair. “Leela told me you had awakened. That's good. I'm the Doctor.”
Angel shook the Doctor's proffered hand. “Doctor who?” he asked.
“Let's not go there,” the Doctor replied. “You were in bad shape when you stumbled in here. We had a devil of a time getting you patched up, and you had to spend some time in the Regeneration Chamber. We very nearly lost you.”
“Regeneration chamber?” Angel asked.
“Yes, total molecular regeneration. I'm afraid it was the only way. You had extensive tissue damage and had lost considerable blood.”
Angel paused for a minute, still disoriented. “Was anybody brought in with me?” he asked.
“You were the only person who came in,” the Doctor replied.
“I suppose my companion and the man who attacked me are dead.”
“I really wouldn't know. You were by yourself.”
“How long have I been out?”
“You spent quite some time in the regeneration chamber; several weeks, I'm afraid. You lot are difficult to repair properly”
Angel stared in confusion. “What do you mean, 'You lot?' And by the way, just what is a regeneration chamber and what kind of hospital is this?”
Leela spoke up. “You're not in a hospital. You're in the TARDIS.”
“And just what is a TARDIS?”
“It's my ship,” said the Doctor. “It stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. In the language of my people the acronym is a songbird we are particularly fond of. It loses something in the translation, I'm afraid.”
“I'm in some sort of a ship?”
“Yes, and this is its hospital section. It's just off the Cloister.”
Angel looked up as his awareness returned. “This is important,” he said, “what day is it?”
“Something of a relative question,” the Doctor replied. He consulted his watch. “Let's see, by your reckoning it would be about eleven PM on October 31st.”
Angel's expression of confusion became one of despair as he dropped his head into his hands. “No!” he said forlornly, “I'm too late!”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that the whole reason I came to Mexico was to set up a rescue operation. It was supposed to begin several hours ago. Now...”
Angel slowly got out of bed and stood. He was suddenly aware of the opening at the rear of his hospital gown. “Would it be possible to get my clothes back?” he asked.
“Your dress is unfortunately ruined,” the Doctor said. “Here, put on this dressing gown and slippers. I think you might benefit from a walk in the Cloister.”
Angel accepted the robe and slippers. He waited as the Doctor disconnected the IV from his left hand and bandaged it. Angel fastened the sash and followed the Doctor and Leela out of the room.
The Cloister proved to be a cheerful place, resembling the courtyard of a monastery. Indirect light took on an appearance of sunlight and what felt like a faint breeze stirred through the yard. In this peaceful setting, Angel told the Doctor and Leela about the errand that brought him to Mexico.
“This is complicated,” he began. “There is a company called Prominsense that is marketing an Internet sex service. Their core technology involves a device called a PleasureJac.
“The PleasureJac system involves a special plastic that replicates physical action. The master unit is phallus-shaped while the receiver is worn over the penis. Any action performed on the master unit is transmitted across the web and replicated at the receiver, so the wearer feels whatever is being done to the master unit.
“There is a branch of Prominsense called TransTalent that specializes in offering a forced feminization fantasy. Only TransTalent actually enslaves young boys and forces them to act in their scenarios. The boys are all addicted to drugs and must perform to receive their daily fix.
“The TransTalent franchises act independently, but they all follow the same model. They control the boys with drugs, force them to wear frilly dresses, and make them perform fellatio on the master unit. There are at least ten franchises, possibly more.”
Leela interrupted, “What is this fellatio you speak of?”
The Doctor explained the act to Leela in a rather clinical manner. Leela's dumbfounded expression of surprise spoke volumes.
Angel continued, “I was here to contact some friends in the area. My group had identified a TransTalent group operating in Chihuahua. We were supposed to mount a coordinated strike on the different franchise groups. In order to succeed we would have to mount the strike at the same time.
“I was making the arrangements with my friend, Bud Czanstke. He was going to lead the rescue here. I was supposed to be in Nevada to lead my team. Now...”
Angel paused for a second. “It's too late. I've failed. The boys are still prisoners and our chance to end this obscenity has passed.”
Leela spoke up. “Doctor, isn't there something we can do about this?”
“Unless you can turn back time,” Angel said bitterly, “there isn't anything anybody can do.”
“But we can!” said Leela. “We can travel in time!”
“Please don't patronize me with fantasy,” said Angel. “I need to deal in reality, and the reality sucks.”
“Leela is right, you know,” said the Doctor. “We do travel in time.”
“That's makes absolutely no sense,” said Angel.
“I beg to differ. It makes just as much sense as having a Cloister yard and a hospital completely inside a London Police box,” the Doctor stated emphatically.
Angel did a double-take. “Wait a minute! When I collapsed inside that phone booth I had some sort of hallucination. I thought I was in a room much larger than the inside of a telephone booth!”
“This is not a telephone booth,” the Doctor said. “When you opened the door you entered my TARDIS. And it is a great deal bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.”
“How could that possibly be?”
“Let me show you.”
The Doctor removed two boxes from his pocket, both the same size. “Now which one of these is larger?” he asked.
“Neither,” replied Angel, “both are the same size.”
The Doctor placed one box on a low brick fence within the Cloister, then walked down the path, placing the second box on the fence. “Now,” he said, “which box appears to be larger?”
“The closest one, of course.”
“Exactly!” the Doctor exclaimed. “So if we can have this box,” he said, indicating the furthest box, “here, but over there,” he pointed to the closer box, “we can have a box that is bigger on the inside than on the outside. Transcendental geometry is the basis of Time Lord spatial technology.”
The Doctor retrieved the boxes and replaced them in his pocket. “Once one understands the true nature of spacetime, traversing the continuum becomes rather trivial. Of course, the energy requirements are enormous.”
Leela said, “Doctor, we must help him to save those children! We can do it!”
The Doctor became pensive. “Yes, we can, but the question is, should we?”
“How can you even ask that question?” Leela replied. “This is an abomination! We must correct it!”
“I completely sympathize, Leela, but one must consider the broader issues of chaos theory before one goes mucking about in the events of the past.”
“Chaos theory?” Angel asked.
“Exactly. The fluttering of a butterfly's wings could set of a chain of events in the atmosphere that would eventually affect global weather patterns. A chance misstep could conceivably trigger worldwide famine or torrential flooding. We must consider our actions quite carefully.”
Just then, a bell began to toll.
It sounded as though it was being rung from a distant tower, a low-pitched pealing that conveyed a sense of alarm.
“What is that?” asked Leela, echoing Angel's thoughts.
“The Cloister Bell,” the Doctor answered. “It only sounds in times of extreme emergency., and requires immediate attention.”
The Doctor hurriedly strode to the end of the pathway, followed by Angel and Leela. They entered a short corridor and emerged in the control room. Angel immediately recognized it. “This is the room I stumbled into!' he said. “I thought I was hallucinating.”
The Doctor seemed oblivious to Angel and Leela as he manipulated several dials and consulted a number of data indicators. “This is incredible!” he exclaimed. “It would seem that a major nuclear exchange has occurred.”
The Doctor consulted several screens as Angel listened incredulously. “Yes, missiles were simultaneously launched from both America and Russia, making it impossible to tell who fired first. Both sides quickly escalated their response, launching their entire nuclear missile forces. Then it seems the smaller powers such as France, the UK, China, India, Pakistan, and Israel decided to join the party.”
The Doctor threw several switches and set several dials. In the center of the control panel, a column began to rise and fall. A strange noise that resembled a charging herd of elephants mixed with an electric percolator and some cheap B-movie sci-fi sound effects emerged from the column.
“I'm taking us out of the normal spacetime continuum until we can determine the nature of this event,” the Doctor said. “This is clearly a major aberration in the timeline.”
* * * * *
The light atop the blue box standing in an alleyway in Chihuahua began to blink, and the box faded from sight.
* * * * *
“What do you mean by a major aberration in the timeline?” Angel asked.
“I mean that a major nuclear war was not a part of Earth's history,” the Doctor replied. “As a matter of fact you chaps did a splendid job of preventing the whole thing. Oh, you had a few missteps, Hiroshima, Pakistan, and that sort of thing, but on the whole you did an admirable role in keeping your hands off the nuclear trigger. This was simply not supposed to happen.”
“So do we muck about with history, Doctor?” Leela asked.
“Just as soon as I can determine where the divergence occurred,” the Doctor replied.
The Doctor threw a switch and a display panel emerged from the control console. He typed some commands into the attached keyboard. A graphical pattern emerged on the screen, prompting several more typed commands. The final result was surprising.
“It seems that the nexus of causality is right where we were parked, in Chihuahua,” the Doctor said. He typed a few more commands and a map grid was displayed. “And here is the epicenter,” he said, reading off the location.
Angel was astonished. “Unbelievable! That location is the TransTalent Franchise I was organizing the rescue party for. That's the home and headquarters of La Cucaracha. Is it possible?”
“Quite possible, “ the Doctor said. “The events that mutilated Earth's history originate here.”
“So what can be done?” said Leela, still having a difficult time believing anything like a nuclear war could occur.
“I believe we should pay a visit to La Cucaracha,” the Doctor replied, “and try to discover how an Internet pornography scheme could bring about World Was III. Oh, and we might as well rescue those boys while we're at it.
“Leela, Angel, we need to get dressed. We shall be calling on La Cucaracha.”
* * * * *
The wardrobe room in the TARDIS seemed the size of several football fields. Angel selected a dark pants suit that fit him quite well. The Doctor had kept Angel's breastforms, and he had no trouble finding a bra.
As he dressed, Leela observed him with confusion. “Why do you wear those things?” she asked.
“It's a long story,” he answered. “For one thing, I like dressing like a woman. And right now it's important that I maintain a female appearance. I've been the target of two assassination attempts now.”
“And that ridiculous garment, that bra, will protect you?”
Angel laughed. “More like, it will put me in the proper frame of mind.”
“Well I find it to be horrible, not at all comfortable.”
“Maybe you don't have a proper fit,” said Angel. “Let me see.” He put his hands about Leela's chest, just below her breasts, and estimated her size. He then selected a soft-cup bra from the shelf. “Try this one on,” he said.
Leela needed a little guidance with it, but soon had her arms through the straps and managed to fasten the hooks. She adjusted the straps and went to look at herself in the mirror.
Angel asked, “Well, how does it feel?”
Leela paused for a moment, than answered “It does feel more comfortable, and it does look rather nice.” She turned a few times, observing her breasts bouncing about, constrained by the cups. “I still do not like it,” she pronounced, “but I think I shall keep it on, just for now.”
Angel grinned as the two finished dressing. Angel had selected a dark pants outfit for its utilitarian value. Leela followed Angel's lead with a similar outfit. They emerged from the wardrobe room to find the Doctor in the hallway, dressed in his normal bohemian outfit complete with the incredibly long scarf. “Well, I see you found something to wear,” he said. “Do you think you might need anything else?”
“I'd like my purse back, if you still have it,” Angel said.
“Ah, yes. I have it in the armory. Your pistol needed cleaning. I hope you don't mind that I cleaned it for you.” The Doctor took off down the corridor, apparently on his way to the armory, so Angel and Leela followed.
The armory was another rather large room with a large assortment of pistols and rifles displayed on the walls. There were also a large number of drawers and several tables. Angel's Sig Sauer was on one of the tables next to his purse. Angel examined the weapon and confirmed that it had been cleaned. To his surprise, it was also fully loaded.
“This is quite an arsenal you have, Doctor. Enough firepower to arm a small town. Do you plan on invading someplace?”
“Just a hobby, actually,” he replied. “I rarely shoot other than targets.”
“I only shoot something worth shooting,” Angel replied. He checked the safety and put the weapon back into the purse, which he slung over his shoulder.
“Quite an attractive purse,” the Doctor remarked.
“Thank you. I found it in a shop in Chihuahua and it appealed to me.”
“Speaking of Chihuahua,” the Doctor said, “we ought to be materializing there. Shall we proceed?” Without waiting for an answer, the Doctor left the armory and made for the control room with Leela and Angel following.
The Doctor set a few dials, threw some switches, and pushed a button on the control panel in the center of the room. The rotor in the center of the room seemed to hesitate for a second as it rose and fell, making the unique sound of a TARDIS materializing from outside of spacetime.
* * * * *
October 31 – Chihuahua, Mexico
The Hacienda of La Cucaracha was several kilometers outside Chihuahua. The gravel road sprayed with oil to keep dust down wound through the dry desert terrain among the sparse vegetation past the entrance. A brick wall eight feet tall and surmounted with broken glass set in cement surrounded a modest adobe home. Well-manicured lawns and fruit trees were an ostentatious display of wealth in the arid desert clime.
Just outside the main gate a blue box nearly as tall as the wall slowly faded into opacity.
The Doctor emerged, followed by Leela and Angel. They assessed the wrought iron gate, firmly chained and padlocked against unwanted visitors. The Doctor seemed unperturbed by the chain. He reached into his pocket, removing an unusual-looking tool which he pressed against the padlock. A high-pitched sound emerged and the lock opened.
“This is a Sonic Screwdriver,” the Doctor explained. “It uses sonic energy to move small mechanical devices. Quite handy for opening locks.” As if in response to the Doctor's explanation, the padlock opened.
The Doctor swung the gate open. Despite a fresh coat of paint the gate was rusted and required a bit of effort to open. As he closed the gate behind him, the trio was greeted by a pair of charging German shepherds.
Before they could reach them, the Doctor again reached into his pockets and extracted a small white paper bag. He scooped out the contents of the bag and tossed it in the path of the attacking canines.
The dogs stopped. They sniffed at the tidbits and began eating them. They devoured all of the bits the Doctor had thrown down, then came up quite pleasantly to greet the newcomers, all aggression gone. The Doctor petted the dogs affectionately and set out the remainder of the bag, which the dogs consumed gratefully.
“Kroton doggie treats,” the Doctor informed Angel and Leela, who were still unsure what to make of the events they just witnessed. “Guaranteed to sooth the savage beast. We've made some new friends today. Shall we continue?” The Doctor proceeded to the impressive entryway of the hacienda with an incredulous Leela and Angel following.
“That was quite a trick with the dogs, Doctor,” Angel said.
“Guard dogs are quite popular in this part of Mexico so I came prepared. Now let's see about this lock.”
“What if there are more dogs inside, Doctor?” asked Leela.
“I don't expect any more dogs,” said the Doctor as he applied the sonic screwdriver to the door's latch. It unlocked, releasing the door, which the Doctor opened.
They were greeted by an apparition from a monster movie.
It stood over seven feet tall with dark gray skin and a furrowed brow, Deep, beady eyes and a small skull coupled with massively muscled arms and legs gave the creature a most horrifying appearance. It looked ready to crush the three of them in its massive arms.
Then the Doctor began to do something quite unusual. He spoke to the creature in a strange, guttural tongue and made several indecipherable gestures. The creature watched the Doctor, listening attentively, its sole focus on the Doctor's performance. The Doctor finished.
The creature smiled. The corners of its mouth turned upward and its face split into a wide grin that was soon supplanted by the completely unexpected sound of laughter. The creature fell to the floor, unable to control itself as it was consumed in paroxysms of hilarity, convulsing hysterically.
Again, Leela and Angel were dumbstruck. The Doctor explained, “Ogrons are one of the least intelligent humanoid races in the universe, but are possessed of the most highly refined sense of humor know to sentient life. I told it a joke.”
“A joke?” Angel said. “What kind of joke could incapacitate something that powerful?”
“It's a very alien joke,” the Doctor replied. “I don't think you would understand it. A Minbari, an Andorian, and a Silurian walk into a bar...”
“Doctor, do we have time for this?” Leela said impatiently.
“Quite right,” the Doctor said, “we need to find La Cucaracha. This way.” The Doctor started down a long corridor.
“Doctor,” Angel said, “I'm not sure what bothers me more, the fact that we appear to be inside an object obviously larger on the inside than it is on the outside, or the fact that I'm not surprised. Is this house another TARDIS?”
“Not exactly,” the Doctor said. “The presence of Ogrons leads me to believe that this is a Dalek ship. Ogrons are a slave race to the Daleks.”
“Daleks?” Angel asked.
“Yes, a particularly insidious life form obsessed with exterminating all other living beings in order to protect their own existence. They are the genetically engineered decendents of the Kaled race, and are unable to survive outside of specially designed life support vehicles.
“Daleks possess a rudimentary knowledge of transcendental geometry as well as time travel, making them quite formidable opponents. And if I remember the layout of Dalek ships correctly, the control room should be right here.” He waved at the actuator panel of the hatchway, which slid open.
The trio entered an unusual chamber, decorated with lush carpeting, tapestries, works of art, and elegant furniture, interspersed with high-tech utilitarian instruments and control panels. One viewscreen blazed into life, displaying an image of the Doctor. A harsh mechanical voice sounded. “This is the Doctor. The Doctor is an enemy of the Daleks. All enemies of the Daleks must be exterminated!”
The screen faded, and a woman stepped into the center of the room. She was clad in black leather with fishnet stockings and stiletto sandals. Her lipstick matched her blood-red nail polish, and her makeup, all in black and smoky gray, lent an air of evil to this woman's appearance. “Not a very eloquent description, but quite succinct. Welcome, Doctor. I have been expecting you. But I must say, I did not expect your companion Angel. I had thought her dead.”
“You appear to have the advantage of us, madame,” the Doctor said. “And I am rather curious as to how you came into possession of a Dalek scout ship.”
“I suppose I should introduce myself, Doctor. I am La Cucaracha.”
“That's Spanish for 'cockroach,'” Angel said. “Why would you take the name of a kind of vermin?”
La Cucaracha glared at Angel. “Vermin? You dare refer to my kind as vermin? I will teach you all a sorely needed lesson in respect!
“I was once like yourself, a human convinced of our mastery of this planet, secure in the knowledge that we were the dominant species. But this so-called master of the planet is a petty, vindictive master.
“I was a brilliant entomologist who's work far exceeded that of any of my colleagues. But I was never recognized for my superior abilities. Instead, I was continually repressed and humiliated by a misogynistic scientific establishment. Instead of being rewarded, I was punished for my brilliance. And ironically, that is how I came here.
“My research on the results of years of pollution from the Mequiladoros was received not with praise, but scorn. I defended my thesis with irrefutable facts, facts that could not be ignored. And so I was sent here to study the effects of chemical pollution. But to ridicule my work, I was ordered to study only one species; Blattella Germanica, the cockroach.
“I had no choice as I depended upon the University for funding, and so I embarked upon a five-year research project alone, with no assistance.
“I was, of course, a laughing stock. Back home I was the butt of cruel jokes, and here I was ridiculed by the locals. I seethed in anger.
“Then, one fateful night while I camped in the desert, I saw what I thought was a falling star. But it was bright, and it appeared to fall to the earth itself.
“I was curious, so I went after the strange object from the sky, and that was how I discovered the ship.
“My curiosity overcame any reservation I might have had, because I entered the open door without a thought for my safety. I discovered the ship was intact, but the beings who had piloted it were all dead, save one.
“This one emerged from the life-support module that sustained it. It moved rapidly and wrapped itself around my leg before I could react. And then, just before it died, it samk something like a fang into my leg.
“I lost consciousness. I do not know how long I lay on the floor of this ship. But when I awoke I was refreshed, and to my surprise I understood the workings of this ship, and how to use its technology.”
“Ah, yes,” the Doctor said, “Messenger RNA transfer. The Daleks use this method to pass on accumulated knowledge to each subsequent generation, thus bypassing many years of formal schooling.”
“Exactly,” replied La Cucaracha. “And I used this knowledge to operate the technology of this ship, and to complete my research. I extracted the messenger RNA from several specimens of Blattella Germanica and injected myself, gaining the entire racial knowledge of the species.”
La Cucaracha paused for dramatic effect before continuing. “Suppose, Doctor, that a space traveler landed on Earth two hundred fifty million years in the past? What species would this traveler conclude is the dominant species on the planet? Most likely it would conclude that the dinosaur was evolution's success story. And yet this day there are no dinosaurs on Earth. But there are cockroaches, and there were cockroaches two hundred fifty million years ago. My kind is the true survivor. It is the true success story. It deserves to be the dominant species.
“And so I set about exterminating the true vermin from this planet; man. I resolved to wipe this infestation of humans from the globe. And quite coincidentally, I discovered the means to realize my goal.
“I was exploring the web in search of opportunity when I discovered TransTalent. This presented the perfect opportunity. I purchased a franchise and marketed the service to military personnel operating nuclear missiles. I provided the PleasureJac units for free as a 'service' to the missile launch crew. And I used the web broadcast to implant subliminal commands.
“Did you know, Doctor, that the human mind is particularly susceptible to subliminal control during orgasm? While my customers were helplessly convulsing in ecstasy I implanted subliminal commands into their minds. My control over them is nearly complete, as your friend Angel discovered when I sent an assassin to exterminate him. Tonight I will implant the final subliminal commands, and they will launch the nuclear missiles at their control. Mankind will fall, and my kind shall take its rightful place as the truly dominant life form of earth.”
“I do hate to contradict you, madame,” the Doctor said, “but you do realize that the current nuclear arsenal is not sufficient to obliterate humanity, even if one considers fallout.”
“That is correct, Doctor,” she replied, “but I do not need immediate extermination. I can wait the necessary decades for my plan to be fully realized.”
“Of course,” said the Doctor, realizing la Cucaracha's true objective, “nuclear winter!”
“Exactly! The smoke and debris will sufficiently attenuate sunlight to cool the globe. Snow shall fall, the glacier shall advance, and the increasing ice cover shall reflect even more sunlight. Soon the globe shall be encased in a new ice age, and when the glacier finally recedes, my kind shall emerge, having endured the glacier in the same manner it endured the extinction of the dinosaur.
“And in a very ironic twist of fate, I will accomplish my goal while realizing my revenge upon males, feminizing and enslaving boys, making them into simpering sissies. Oh yes, I shall enjoy this night. And I shall enjoy your pain as you watch and realize there is nothing you can do to stop me.”
“Well, since your victory is secure,” the Doctor said, “perhaps you could satisfy my curiosity.”
La Cucaracha smiled. “I can afford to be magnanimous, Doctor. What is your question?”
The Doctor smiled. “Could you please explain to me just why all of you megalomaniacs insist on describing your master plans to take over the world in such excruciating detail? It becomes rather tedious.”
La Cucaracha's smile turned to an angry scowl. “Your flippancy is wasted, Doctor. I shall now begin my broadcast, and for this evening's entertainment I shall provide a special treat. You three shall be my guest stars.”
The door to the control room opened, and two Ogrons stepped in. “My guards shall escort you to the broadcast studio, where my audience shall enjoy seeing you and your companions forcibly feminized and made to serve me! I shall enjoy this, Doctor! And I...”
Suddenly La Cucaracha hesitated in mid-sentence. She appeared to be frozen, unable to move. The Doctor turned and saw Leela removing a long blowgun from her lips.
“Another Janus thorn?” the Doctor asked. “I thought I told you to leave them behind!”
The two Ogrons were confused, unable to figure out why their mistress had stopped talking. Angel took advantage of their confusion. He turned and drew his Sig Sauer, squeezing off two rounds into an Ogron's skull. His companion looked on in confusion, unable to understand why his friend just fell. Angel squeezed another three rounds into the second Ogron. As he turned, he noted a horrified expression on the Doctor's face.
“Sorry,” Angel said. “but I don't know any alien jokes.”
“It's just as well,” the Doctor replied, “I don't believe they were in the mood for levity.”
“What was that thing Leela used on La Cucaracha?”
“A Janus thorn. It comes from Leela's home planet. It paralyzes its victim for about twenty-four hours before eventually killing him.”
“Can we get to the studio to rescue the boys?” Angel said.
“Yes,” said the Doctor. He tapped a few commands into a terminal and a map of the ship's interior appeared on the view screen. “This is where the studio is located. Take Leela and get the boys out of there. Then make for the entrance.”
“What about you?” Angel asked.
“I have a few things to do in the control room. I'll meet you outside.” The Doctor turned and proceeded to open an access panel.
Angel and Leela left the control room and made their way down the corridor. Leela recognized the doorway. “In here,” she said, waving her hand over the access panel.
The door opened. Angel drew his pistol and entered. He immediately dropped to the ground, rolled, and fired at an Ogron technician. Leela took advantage of the confusion and sent a Janus thorn into a second Ogron. Between Leela's blowgun and Angel's Sig Sauer the Ogrons were quickly subdued. They gathered up the three boys who were all wearing ridiculously frilly dresses and herded them out the door, through the corridors, and out the main entrance.
The Doctor emerged less than a minute later. “Get away from here,” he said. “Get behind the fence.”
Leela, Angel, the three boys, the Doctor, and the German Shepherds ran out through the iron gate. As they watched, the hacienda started to glow, emitting a strange high-piched sound, and disappeared.
“What did you do?” asked Leela.
“I cross-connected the Dalek dematerialization circuit with the relative dimension stabilizer and reversed the polarity of the neutron flow. This created a recursive chrono-synclastic infundibula region inside of the ship. Essentially, La Cucaracha will be repeating the same moment in time infinitely, only at an exponentially decreasing rate. She should complete her first recursive circuit in, oh, fifty millenia or so. The second circuit will require several billion years.”
“So effectively she has been eliminated?” Angel asked.
“Well, if she realizes what is happening she can disconnect the circuit, but being paralyzed that might prove difficult. No, I believe madame cockroach will never find the time to complete her little plan.”
The Doctor looked at the boys. “I say,” he said, “why don't we get these lads some more appropriate clothing? I don't think they feel comfortable in those dresses.”
He opened the TARDIS door. The company entered, and the TARDIS dematerialized.
* * * * *
El Paso International Airport – Early October
Angel stood outside the TARDIS, which was currently parked next to Angel's Saberliner. He was dressed in a pinstripe gray suit with tan hose. The Doctor was in his customary Bohemian togs, while Leela had abandoned the pants suit in favor of her skins.
“Doctor, I want to thank you for your help,” Angel said. “This was perhaps the most bizarre adventure of my life.”
“Well, up to now,” the Doctor said, somewhat quizzically. Angel did not understand the reference, but did not press the point.
Three boys dressed in jeans and T-shirts climbed the boarding ramp of Angel's jet. They were on their way to a safe house where some of Angel's associates would give them the love and therapy they needed to recover from their ordeal. Angel considered the irony of the situation. Chronologically, the boys were still in Chihuahua, their rescue not occurring for several weeks. Angel considered that he now had some foreknowledge of success.
“So now where are you off to?” Angel asked.
“I still would like Leela to learn something of her human origins, but perhaps I should choose a simpler time. I was thinking of Victorian London.”
Angel thought to himself, If Leela thought a bra was uncomfortable, wait until she tries a corset!
The Doctor and Leela shook hands with Angel and entered the TARDIS. The light atop the box began to flash, and with a sound like unto a rampaging herd of special effects, the TARDIS dematerialized.
Angel climbed the boarding ramp and swung it shut. The Saberliner taxied onto the runway and took off.
* * * * *
The Doctor, Leela, the TARDIS, Ogrons, and Daleks are taken from the BBC Science Fiction program “Doctor Who,” which was broadcast from 1963 through 1989, making it the longest running science fiction program in history. This story incorporates the fourth incarnation of The Doctor, as was admirably portrayed by Tom Baker. This story is not authorized by the BBC, which retains all rights. This is a work of fan fiction.
Well, this is sure the strangest one in this series I've read. Fun though. I always did like Dr. Who, by the way. You captured him well here. Thanks for a fun read.
Re: Autumn is the Season of Doom-Chihuahua, Mexico Team by Valentina Michelle Smith
by slothrop on Aug 26, 2004 - 01:39 AM
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I just re-read this and it is apparent that you had way too much fun writing this, Tina. I found myself giggling through the entire thing.
You managed to square the circle and avoid the timeline setup for the series in a really neat way-
Re: Autumn is the Season of Doom-Chihuahua, Mexico Team by Valentina Michelle Smith (Score: 0) by Guest Reader on Oct 18, 2004 - 10:54 AM
Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird (.871)
WEEK OF OCTOBER 17, 2004
A new computer gadget enables someone to apply direct physical stimulation sexually to another person over the Internet, thus advancing "cybersex" far beyond its previous limitation of mere words and pictures. According to a September report on Wired.com, the vibrating "Sinulator," with wireless receiver, can be activated remotely at different speeds and force by a spouse or anyone else who uses the device's password at Sinulator's Web site, and that manipulation can be done not only by keyboard and mouse, but by a male placing the Sinulator's transmitting sleeve ("Interactive Fleshlight") over his penis and thrusting at his (or the recipient's) preferred speed and force. "Thus," summarized the Wired writer, "a man can be thrusting in Cleveland while a woman is penetrated in Seattle." [Wired.com, 9-24-04]
Seemed familiar to me, somehow.
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Re: Autumn is the Season of Doom-Chihuahua, Mexico Team by Valentina Michelle Smith
by Guest Reader on Aug 28, 2004 - 04:18 PM
Excellent and entertaining.
This odd combination worked surprisingly well. I thought you did a great job capturing their personalities.