A Broken Wheel
I thought I probably should explain this rather peculiar take on Doctor Who. I stumbled across a
novel called Lungbarrow that dealt with the Doctor's family and his family home - Lungbarrow. Although I generally prefer
Sylvester McCoy's sporadic and cryptic comments about his heritage, this book showed a really disturbing side of Galifreyan
society. Apparently the family was so annoyed when the Doctor left they buried the entire house complete with the entire family
inside. And I'm am not too sure, but I think they might be eating each other. So if you thought the Time Lords were a bunch
of hyper intelligent pan dimensional beings with a passion for Brockian Ultra-Cricket. er sorry, wrong story. So if you though
the Time Lords were the bunch of supercilious frock wearing guys from the Tom Baker era, think again. In Lungbarrow they seem
to be a bunch of subterranean psychotics eyeing each other off as the next meal. So I thoughts to meself one day: Just imagine
what they would do to the Doctor if they got their hands on him after all these years?
His hands shook as he struggled to hold them straight above his head. He tried to look ahead and focus
on nothing, but he could feel the weight of the stares of his cousins.
"Please no Honoured House Mother" he whispered
to the woman.
"So now you beg" She smirked. "Now you are held fast and there is nothing up those ridiculous sleeves
of yours. Now you ask me for mercy?"
He was standing in the great hall, arms raised above his head, secured by a drudge
who held his lower arms in grips of wood. They had taken off his jacket, vest and tie and he stood awaiting his punishment
according to the dictates of the house.
The agony of the humiliation tore at him. He knew it would be many hours until
he was punished. Until then he would stand as a reminder in the great hall while cousins looked over him with curious contempt
in their eyes.
He had suffered this fate once before, many years ago. He had survived it then and he would survive
it now. How much worse could it get?
Ace crashed into the hall. "What have you done with him?" she bellowed as she
pushed aside the cousins. Then her eyes fell on the Doctor. "Professor, what have they done to you?" she asked.
please" he whispered. "Please go away for a few hours and I'll explain everything. It's a family matter".
you tied up to a tree and you are telling me it's a family matter?" she asked with incredulity.
Thirteenth Cousin Erganian
came forward. "Mistress Ace. If you will come with me, I will explain everything" he said smiling at the Doctor as he ushered
Despairing the Doctor slumped forward in his bonds. He closed his eyes. It had just got worse. Perhaps he
should take their offer. One thousand years working in the archives could be bearable he thought. More bearable than the possibility
of being locked up for ever, better than Ace seeing him like this.
Sometime later he was recounting the
Albertonian alphabet backwards when he felt a thump on the floor and he felt something grab his right leg and hold it tight.
It was a wonderful feeling.
"They are scumbags."
it going to hurt much?"
There was a long pause.
"I am not going anywhere."
Sometimes, he thought, it was nice to have a friend.
The clock struck and the cousins murmured
He was dragged over to the table and bent over it, held fast by the drudges and unable to move an arm or
The Housekeeper passed her cane to the drudge and he swung it a few times in practice, listening to the whistling
sound it made as it cut through the air.
Afterwards he was dragged upright. He struggled to focus through
the pain. He hurt so badly. He didn't remember it hurting this badly last time. He didn't think he would have been able to
stand if not for the drudges holding him up. Stranthorpe came over.
"Well boy. will you apologise now?" she asked.
Housemother I will not as I have not done wrong".
The old woman looked at him with fury in her eyes.
him down again and repeat the punishment".
When they pulled him up the second time he was beyond pain, his
eyes wet with tears. This time he had screamed. He couldn't stop the cries from coming from his mouth.
They held him
up in front of her.
"I will have them continue until I have my satisfaction boy." She looked at him quizzically. "You
know you have no choice. Why do you resist? You are bound. I have laid my claim upon you and we will have you back"
looked over to where Ace was standing. What should he do? He was the Doctor?
The old woman lost her patience. "Place
"No please", he shouted frantically.
"I apologise" he said, his eyes focussed on nothing, tasting nothing
"What did you say to me boy"? The old woman said menacingly.
Fear overtook him. It took him a while
to draw enough breath, but eventually he managed to stammer out the correct response.
"I apologise for my miscreant
behaviour. Forgive me Honoured House Mother".
He heard the cousins murmuring, but he couldn't look up
at them. He couldn't face them this time. He couldn't face Ace. He stared hard down at his feet. "I beg forgiveness Honoured
The old woman appeared satisfied.
"Take him away" she ordered.
It took Ace
two days to find him. He was in a small cupboard on the thirteenth floor in the East wing. She had been despairing of ever
finding him. None of the family would tell her where he was. It was a servant who had suggested she should go east. The east
wing was dusty and deserted. She had wandered around it for a half a day and was almost going to give up the tip as a ruse
when she had heard the crying. It was a gentle sound. She had followed it to the dark corridor and eventually had come across
She had slumped down outside the cupboard door. A cursory inspection showed it was secured
with a large padlock and she had no nitro nine of her.
She was faced with the difficult task of talking to the occupant.
you all right Professor?" she asked the door.
"Do you want me to get you out of there?"
heard a small sigh. "No Ace. Its all right."
She sighed herself. Right she thought to herself. It's a family matter.
She would come and visit him every day. She felt silly talking to a cupboard door, but he seemed
to enjoy her visits. She would talk to him of what she had done that day. How she had walked through the meadows and watched
as the wild animals drank from the streams. She asked him questions about the animals and told him of her own stories, in
fact she talked to him more through the cupboard door than she had ever talked to him face to face. Sometimes she would just
talk and talk, of her sixth grade science teacher and the joys of football, never pausing for breath for fear that he would
start to cry again. It hurt her to hear him cry. She knew that finally he had been beaten. Not only physically, but in every
sense. They had won. She knew that on some level he probably didn't mind being locked in a cupboard because he didn't quite
know how to present himself anymore.
One day he had tapped softly on the door.
"I don't want to come out".
"What do you mean you know?"
"I just know".
suppose I am going to have to come out eventually. I suppose they will have to let me out eventually."
"I miss the light though", he added.
"That's a start Professor".
OKAY FOLKS - PART TWO
I always thought that the first Doctor was a right cranky old geezer. Quite frankly I can understand
why Ian and Barbara, apart from being truly atrocious actors (merely my uninformed opinion, not to be taken seriously and
no death threats to be entertained), were rather unwilling time travelers. Personally I always thought if I were stuck in
a police box with that guy I would be shirty too.
Fortunately by the seventh incarnation the Doctor had got a lot nicer.
In fact we had run the gamut of personalities: The cranky one; the short one; the one who actually had to do something he
had never done before - work (and cope with Jo Grant and Sarah Jane Smith: The amount of times those women sprained their
ankles at inopportune times, I don't know); the even odder one with enormous teeth; the rather sweet one with a thing for
celery; the homicidal maniac who used to spend an inordinate amount of the time running around trying to strangle Peri (not
that I found this to be a particularly bad thing, just a little out of character for a guy who is meant to be an intergalactic
do-gooder) and the really irritating smug one with the cute Scottish accent. Just think, it could have been worse. He could
have been Welsh. No offence to any Welsh people and don't blame me for that one. I actually nicked the joke from General Tannis.
upshot of all this was I felt rather guilty leaving him locked in a cupboard questioning his very sense of self. Some people
have 'nice' families. Mine tend to bring out my homicidal tendencies. Not that I ever find myself locked in a cupboard questioning
my identity, except at Christmas or other major holidays and this tends to be voluntary on my part. But while I may find philosophy
inside small enclosed spaces more relaxing than pulling bon bons with the in-laws, I thought that it might be nice to see
if I could get him out of there and wangle a happy ending. Unfortunately I read somewhere about the laws of fiction and the
poor guy may have to go through a few more trying times to get to that bit.
Er. well then
The Man with No Name
Ace didn't know what they had done to the Doctor, but she had a feeling it was more than physical.
He seemed to be missing something. He seemed almost human, if that was the right word for it. No, not human she thought as
she climbed the stairs to the east wing, just normal and fragile like the rest of us. Not 'The Doctor'. Not the omnipotent
smug git he usually was, but then again how smug was anyone when they had been locked in a cupboard for god knows how long.
had reached the corridor when she saw the House Mother at the Doctor's cupboard. She ducked around a corner and watched.
House Mother unlocked the padlock to the cupboard door with a large brass key.
"Out." She ordered
at the unaccustomed light he crawled painfully out into the corridor. He was disheveled, hungry and filthy.
to rise, but the House Mother brought her cane down across his back and drove him back down again.
"You still forget
yourself boy"; she said planting the cane firmly between his shoulder blades, pinning him to the floor.
"So you have
really done it?" he asked.
"Yes. I have invoked my right and claimed you. You are now my property. You are now bound
to this house. When you betrayed it you forfeit everything. Even your ridiculous name is now gone. Your history and identity
has been wiped from the records. You cannot leave for you exist only by my sufferance and trust me - you will exist by my
She dug the cane into his back. "So remember your place boy. Keep your eyes down and behave yourself."
She turned to go but stopped.
"And get yourself cleaned up. You are filthy. You truly are a disgrace to the family,"
she spat as she stalked down the corridor.
After she had gone he lay unmoving on the dusty floor watching disinterestedly
as his breath gently moved the dust back and forth.
Ace slowly approached him.
his eyes tightly shut.
"Please Ace. Leave me alone." He whispered in anguish.
"Why? What did that she do to
"I can't talk to you anymore."
"She has claimed me."
"What do you mean, taken your name?"
"It's a family thing." He explained softly.
I brought you a sandwhich?"
The days blurred.
"Hold out your hands. Are they clean?"
tentatively obeyed. He knew what would follow.
The slap was expected, but as always, hurt.
"Filthy. Clean yourself
He bowed his head. "Yes Honoured House Mother." He hurried away, remembering a time when he had been too slow
and she had got the drudges to scrub his hands until they bled.
The House Mother shook him vigorously by the
collar as she dragged him along in her wake.
She was engaged in her favourite past time:
"You are an ungrateful
wretch. You always have been one. Why you were taken in I will never know. Your mother was just as bad as you."
started to protest: "Please Honoured House Mother. I will do better."
She stopped and with the surprising strength
threw him to the ground. "You will do better will you? We should have known nothing good would come of taking you in. You
are a degenerate, just like your mother." With that she lifted her cane.
Sandala watched. It was akin to watching a
whipped dog being beaten. The House Mother brought her cane down again and again but he didn't make a sound. The beating was
interspersed with a lecture denigrating everything from his heritage to his miserable table manners.
She knew the man
by sight, but she didn't know who he was. She had seen him often around the house, but no one was allowed to talk to him.
She had heard the rumours about him and the cousins gossiping, besides he didn't even look like a cousin from the House of
She waited until the House Mother had gone before approaching him. He was attempting to stand, but when
he saw her a look of panic crossed his face and he crouched down in front of her.
She tried to look haughty.
is your name?"
"I have no name Honoured Mistress."
"Look at me."
He slowly raised his head, but would
not look directly at her. She took in his gaunt haunted eyes and his ragged patched clothes. She noticed that he shook. "What
was your name then?"
He swallowed hard. "Honoured Mistress. I have never had a name, nor will I have one." His eyes
flickered over her shoulder. "Please excuse me Honoured Mistress as I have duties to attend to." With that he turned and fled
down the corridor.
"Why are you talking to him Cousin Sandala?" asked Radovka from behind her.
"I came across
him Cousin and sought his name." She replied.
Radovka laughed. "But cousin. Have you not heard his story? He has no
"I have heard of his story cousin, but I have never heard his story from him. How can one claim to know a story
truly if one has not met the storyteller?" Sandala asked.
"I would be careful Sandala. Perhaps this story is not for
the telling? You saw what she did to him. No one has invoked the ancient right of claiming for millennia. She is slowly breaking
him upon the wheel. Perhaps he is a warning to others, is he not?"
Sandala watched the visitor.
visitor threw another stone into the pond then spoke loudly into the direction of the valley. "Why don't you just come out
and talk to me?"
The visitor turned to directly face Sandala's hiding place. "I don't bite you know."
a little foolish Sandala came forward. "I am sorry."
Ace threw another stone. "For what?"
"The Man. He was your
The visitor angrily turned on her. "He has a name you know. His name is the Doctor. Got it? He has a name."
stone splashed into the pond.
"I know you from the great hall. You saw what they did to him?"
hesitated. "And more."
"Have you seen him? Have you talked to him?" Ace asked urgently.
"I have, once."
time I get near him, he calls me Honoured Mistress and then runs away."
"That is because he has lost the right of naming
and is not allowed to interact with his superiors."
"Superiors. Who are his superiors?"
"Everyone." Stated Sandala.
"He has been claimed."
"Has that got to do with this whole name thing?" asked Ace.
"Yes. It is
an old ritual, dating back to the time of Tragona. If a member of the family betrays the house, his family can bind him. They
will take his past, his future and his name. He will exist only on sufferance in the house."
"And there is nothing
we can do?"
Sandala thought long and hard. Cousin Radovka's words of warning echoing in her mind, but then she remembered
the look on the man's face before he had fled from her in the corridor. "Mistress Ace. I am a student of the ancient laws.
There may be a way."
NOW IT GETS INTERESTING
I would just like it known
that I don't quite know what the Doctor did to make everyone in Lungbarrow so annoyed with him. I am not following on from
the book, just using the general idea. Perhaps that the house might have been buried for a few centuries or so after the Doctor
left, but that the inhabitants didn't eat each other and somehow the house has dug itself out of its predicament. Or perhaps
none of that ever happened and they are just a bunch of nasty people who really know how to hold a grudge, maybe they really
liked that TARDIS, who knows with these intergalactic pan dimensional beings. Perhaps the Doctor cheated at Brockian Ultra-Cricket?
Hang on. I may have lost the plot again.
Whatever the reason for his predicament you must have gathered by now that
the family (or rather the head of it) isn't all that happy with the Doctor. Also owing to the strange laws of fiction and
Time Lords, there isn't much the Doctor can do about it.
Well. Thank the Galifreyan god of Bad Headgear for Ace. and
the Brigadier. What do you mean, how did I manage to get the Brigadier in this story? This is the man who once uttered the
immortal line "get out of my solar system" and didn't make it sound camp. Of course the Brigadier is going to pop up. He is
just what we need - a no nonsense, knock about sort of fellow with a knack for gardening. I am not too sure of the gardening
part is going to come in handy, but a green thumb can never hurt (unless you have been infected by a spray painted green bubble
wrappy looking monster that leaves green cling wrap trails everywhere, then you know you are in for certain death). But I
am pretty sure that isn't going to happen here. "ahhhh my hand. I must put in my pocket and only take it out and look at it
at the end of every episode."
The First Half of Part Three: Or Roughly Five Quarters in.
now retired Brigadier did not look up from his paper. "Yes Doris?"
"There's something odd in the conservatory," she
"Really dear." He said as he turned the page.
"It's a sort of blue box."
"What sort of box dear?"
very large blue box - with a flashing light on top."
The Brigadier sat bolt upright. "Did you say a very large blue
box with a flashing light on top?"
"Yes dear. Oh Hello? Now a young lady has just emerged from it. Oh it is Ace dear."
She called. "Hello Ace. Lovely to see you again. Do you always travel by blue box?"
"Not too sure how I did
it actually. I had a key and then I sort of asked it nicely", explained Ace as to how she had managed to arrive in their conservatory
and crush three new petunia plants. "It seemed to know what to do."
Time to round up an army
"That's not a dog."
"Yes it is."
"No it bloody well isn't. That looks like something the
"Oh dear lord. Not you too. Come in."
"Are you inquiring about the guy with the enormous
amount of teeth and the jellybabies or the guy with the cape?" she asked.
"Well actually this one is rather short and
for some reason has a Scottish accent, but I think we may be talking about the same guy?"
"Irritating?" asked Sarah.
Relieved, Sarah introduced herself: "I am Sarah Jane Smith."
"My name is Ace."
"I am K9".
Sarah kicked K9 in the side. "You don't have to introduce yourself to everyone K9. Remember what happened after you introduced
yourself to those Mormans?"
K9's ears drooped. "Yes Mistress. It was 'poop poop' not good."
Ace brightened up.
"And, the Brig is about too."
Sarah Jane smiled. "The Brigadier?"
"Yep. He's out securing something. Might a
perimeter or an area or something. He seemed very keen on securing it. Personally I just think he didn't want to get a parking
Sarah Jane laughed as she headed for the kitchen. "You wait for the Brig while I put the tea on."
Brigadier tried to look his most imposing. He stood over the map table, well actually his kitchen table, and looked at his
troops - two girls, a tin dog and his wife Doris acting as the catering corps. He didn't mind. He had worked with worse before.
"So what are we looking for?"
"Andromie was the Doctor's mother, but she died around the time he was born." Said Ace
as she recounted the story Sandala had told her. "We don't know how or why she died, but there were rumours about her liaison
with an Earth man. We don't know who he is, but we do know that Andromie spent a period of time on Earth, in London to be
exact. So, it's simple really. All we have to do is find the guy."
"The guy?" asked the Brigadier. "All we have to
do is find 'the guy' - in a city of nine million. And you do realise Miss Ace that these are Time Lords we are talking about.
What makes you think this is even the right era. She could have visited Earth during the Ice Age for all we know." He exclaimed.
smiled up at him. "Ahh yes Brig," she said happily as she watched him wince when she used the nickname. "But did the Ice Age
have a suburb called Romford? Sandala checked it out and all she could find out about Andromie's stay on Earth was that while
she was here she had written a book, a book called 'A History of Essex County'. We find the book, we find her, we find him."
why is it so important to find his near family?" interrupted the catering corps as she came over with a fresh pot of tea.
all got to do with Time Lord law," said Sarah Jane from the table. "K9 filled me in. Apparently his relatives have claimed
him under an ancient law of the house, but if we can find his nearest relatives they would have a priority claim over him,
sort of like bankruptcy law I think."
Ace chimed in. "So if we find his dad or his family then we can legally, er 'get
custody' of him."
"Why can't we just rescue him?" asked the Brigadier.
K9's ears were waggling furiously. "Not
possible." He intoned. "The ancient right of claiming means that he is marked 'out of time'. With no name, past or future
the family could track him down where ever he went."
Ace couldn't believe her eyes.
"You're a Time
Lord aren't you?" she asked the tall stranger standing in the non-fiction section of the Tunbridge Wells Municipal Library.
yes I am", he said distractedly as he nosed through his book. He sighed and closed the book. "Oh dear. I wasn't supposed to
say that was I?"
"It's the frock coat you know." Said Ace.
"What do you mean 'it's the frock coat'? What is
wrong with my tailoring?" he asked indignantly. "It's the height of fashion."
"Yeah - for 1843" Ace replied. "But it
looks pretty weird in 2003."
"Oh as if you can disclaim," he said scornfully, looking down at her. "Considering I can
see a patch on your jacket that clearly 'dates' from another dimension."
"So what are you
"Rather an interesting story that, er well actually it's not really. I don't actually know. I just have
this bit of paper which says:
27th October 2003, Earth, Tunbridge Wells Library, non-fiction section,
third shelf from the end' - then don't forget to pop round and save the Trimantua Cluster of Sirguis Six from those nasty
No idea what it's about though, apart from the bit about the Gremarions: They really
are a nasty little bunch of scruffy oinks."
"Perhaps it was something about a book?" prompted Ace.
book that I have been to seventeen libraries to find. The book that in seventeen libraries has been missing or destroyed."
That book!" Exclaimed the Time Lord. "Or rather, this book." He continued, holding up the book he had been reading. "I did
wonder why it has been in my pocket for five hundred years: 'A History of Essex County'. Not really very stimulating reading,
but informative, in a pedestrian sort of way. If you are interested in Essex that is mind you."
He waggled the book
in front of her. "Now, this is my personal copy, signed by the author herself." He exclaimed proudly. "So don't damage it."
held the book up and smiled: 'A History of Essex County'. "Thanks Binky."
They all peered at the dedication
in the book.
"I don't believe it", said the Brigadier in amazement. "Apparently the Doctor's father was called 'Gerald'.
a very exotic sounding name, is it", agreed Sarah.
"It's a bit naff, if you ask me", said Ace.
YES, I KNOW I KNOW
- I GOT THE HALF HUMAN BIT AROUND THE WRONG WAY, BUT I JUST LOVED THE GERALD JOKE
Little Help from an old Enemy
was tired and dispirited. For months they had been trying to find the mysterious Gerald, but there seemed to be no record
of him. Ace yawned as she turned the pages of the newspaper. This had been the Brig's idea: A last resort - search the old
papers for anything unusual. She threw the paper down in disgust: Nothing.
A voice: "If I may make a suggestion?"
looked up. "You?"
"Yes me. Look, I would do the whole spiel, but I don't have time to be evil or menacing right now.
I am late for an appointment."
"Andre, my hairdresser, if you must know. And then Tannis and I are
going for a boy's night out. However that is not important right now. What is, is the Doctor - 32 Midlands Drive."
do you mean?" asked Ace.
He looked exasperated. "I am trying to help."
"Because, quite simply,
my life is no fun without knowing that that little pansy isn't out there somewhere trying to foil my plans."
reached for the tissue compressor. so tempting! "Oh for Lord's sake, didn't you pay any attention to his sanctimonious speeches
about good versus evil? Never mind girl, just remember the bloody address." With that he was gone.
They knocked on the front door.
Rather bizarrely she was the spitting image of him. Ace, Sarah and the
Brigadier turned and smiled at each other.
"Dora, we need you to do something a little out of the ordinary
"We need you to travel in time and space and help rescue your nephew."
you put it that way dear. How can I refuse?"
Dora took a deep breath. "So you say these people are the masters
of time? Well, I suppose there is no time like the present?" Then she marched into the room with Ace, the Brigadier and Sarah
"My name is Dora Elizabeth Evans from 32 Midlands Drive, Romford and I have come to claim my nephew", she
stated to the fifteen astonished Time Lords who had turned to look at her.
He had hurried to the summons,
but when he saw them all starring at him he started to back out of the room, only to bump into someone.
He curled up
in fear and started to stammer out apologies while trying to back away, but a hand grabbed his collar and held him fast.
expected pain, but was surprised when a soft voice whispered in his ear. "Hey, Professor. It 's ok."
like you to meet someone", she said as she lead him through the cousins.
"This is Dora."
He looked around in
confusion before addressing the floor in front of her. "Hello Honoured Mistress."
Dora looked at him sadly. "Oh boy.
What have they done to you?" She asked.
The House Mother looked out the window to the meadow.
thought you were a savage of spirit Mistress Ace."
"Yeah, well I am, and I am taking him. And there is not a thing
you can do to stop it, cos its kosher according to your rules."
The House Mother turned. "But how did you accomplish
it?" she asked.
Ace smiled. "I had a bit of help from some old friends, some enemies".
me about him?" he said looking out of the window at number 33 Midlands Drive and its remarkably similar neighbours.
put down her teacup. "Well. Your father, my brother. He was something of a homebody you know. He liked nothing better than
a nice cup of tea and he was very partial to those little biscuits with the pink icing."
The Doctor sat back, sipped
his tea and listened to Dora talk. And, he realised, he didn't mind those little biscuits with the pink icing either.