Monday, February 1, 2010

10th Doctor - The Sound of the Drums (ii)

Parte the Second

As night falls, the Doctor relocates the Bastard’s TARDIS to the Cardiff Abandoned Warehouse district where it assumes the cunning disguise of a giant cappuccino machine. There, the trio ruminate on what the hell they are supposed to do now... and eventually they settle for nagging Martha to go out and get them some fish and chips.

Grumbling at the lack of appreciation she gets, Martha does so, as the Doctor broods at the circumstances that have lead to this high-octane season finale. As Captain Jack notes, "How come the ancient and worshipful society of the Time Lords of Gallifrey create a foam-at-the-mouth psychopath with an obsession over Natalie Bassingthwaite’s electro-rock group?"

"And what IS he to you? You take this a way lot more personally than the usual megalomaniacs. He’s not your secret brother or something?" asks Martha.

"Jings, I hope not," the Doctor groans. "Especially considering what we got up to at university. What can I say? We were young, exuberant, sexually inexperienced, and that marriage certificate was never legally binding! But, you know, we got on. But he kept this creepy doll collection that really freaked me out, and would never shut up about the bloody phone bill... It got awkward and eventually I moved in with a guy called Drax. Hah! We had such laughs together. Well, I did. He kinda swore bloody vengeance. The guy’s so damn picky. I mean, if it was DRAX conquering the world, that’s easily explained..."

"But all the graffiti I’ve read in toilets across the galaxy," Captain Jack complains, "they all made Gallifrey sound so perfect!"

"Well, perfect to LOOK at, maybe," the Doctor tuts. "At a distance. I mean, a few sunsets in Switzerland are just as beautiful as the Shining World of the Seven Systems. The only difference is they’re much more interested in chocolate, cheese and bank fraud to take children from their families at the age of eight like they do on Gallifrey...
"Maybe THAT’S when it started?" ponders the Doctor. "When he was a child? That was, after all, when the Bastard saw eternity. As a novice, he was taken for initiation to the Untempting Schism, also known as the Round Window of Rassilon, a gap in the fabric of reality through which could be seen the whole of the time space vortex...
"You stand there, eight years old... staring at the raw power of time and space... just a child. Some would be inspired by it... like the Choreographer, he was a Time Lord inspired to ballet... Others would run away from it... rather like me, I shat myself in terror... and some would go mad... their minds snapping like a pack of Hobnobs under the weight of Vanessa Feltz lunging towards the Fox’s Chocolate Assortment...
"Was one of those mad children destined to grow up as the Bastard?
"Or was it, you know, that time I played an April Fool’s joke and wired his iPod to telepathically play nothing but Rogue Traders directly into his mind for three years? That’s not likely to relevant, is it? Eh?"

Martha and Captain Jack stare at him.

"Of course! That’s it! The Rogue Traders! Somehow the Bastard’s using their bass rhythms to hypnotize the world – and I bet you my left testicle that it has something to do with that satellite network that the Bastard set up to improve mobile phone coverage!"

Snatching Martha’s phone, the Doctor smashes it against the wall until 'In Love Again' starts to play from the speaker.

"THERE IT IS! Those songs, they’re everywhere, ticking away in the subconscious, subtler than mind control, whispering to the whole world! 'Vote B’Stard! Believe in me! Again! Again! Falling in love again!'"

"So, we use this TARDIS to blow up the satellites?" suggests Martha.

"Oh, no, that’s too obvious! The Bastard thinks he’s been so fucking clever, well I’m going to show him! Using the TARDIS chameleon circuit, some TARDIS keys, that laptop, your mobile phone, two paperclips and a piece of string, I am going to create a secret weapon!"

One MacGuyver-esque action montage sequence later, the Doctor is showing off the magical talismans to the others. "A Somebody Else’s Problem Field – low-level perception properties designed to fit in, using the Archangel Network itself! It makes us invisible, unnoticed, the brains of everyone else dismiss us as Somebody Else’s Problem and just edit it out. Oh, I know what it's like. It’s like-it's like when you fancy someone and they don’t even know you exist!"

Martha sighs.

"You know," says Captain Jack, "I’m always happy to be second best in these sorts of relationships. I can even wear glasses and a tie if you think it’d help?"

The Doctor is too busy handing over the keys. "Don’t run, don’t shout - draw attention to yourself and the spell is broken, just keep to the shadows and we can sneak through the city and bushwack the Bastard!"

"...or we could just use the TARDIS?" Martha points out.

"Jings!" the Doctor complains, smacking his forehead.

Meanwhile, the eyes of the world turn once more onto Cardiff as Air Force One lands at some suitably big Welsh airport. 'Alan' and Lucie 'B’Stard' arrive to greet President McCain, with the British PM pointing out that technically Obama should have won the election, but the Bastard thinks it rather grass to make an intelligent, compassionate black man the last President of America, as McCain will be much more fun to assassinate live on gawp-vision.

"All right, you bastard," grumbles McCain through his swollen left gland, "stand the British army down! From now on the World Allied Nations Killingforce has control of this operation."

'B’Stard' gasps. "You make it sound like an invasion! By WANKers!"

"First contact policy was decided by the Security Council in 1968!"

"After you yanks made a right mess of it in Roswell in 1957?"

"God damn it, bastard, you do not just go and ignore the protocols of WANK and UNIT!"

"Well, you know what it’s like: new job, all that paperwork. I think it’s down the back of the settee. I did have a quick look, I found a pen, a sweet, a bus ticket, some of my wife’s used underwear, and uh, have you met the wife? She was once date-raped by a zombie, you know?"

"Really?" boggles McCain. "But surely zombies don’t have a blood supply to keep up an erection..." The President snaps out of it. "Stop trying to distract me with your inane English anecdotes! I’m an American! I’m bigger than you! And we don’t like the way you’re acting like the United Kingdom ISN’T our spineless whore, so either you get over yourself or the UN will have you removed from office and assassinated in a drive-by motorcade shooting!"

"Oh, I’m SO scared!" 'B’Stard' wails unhappily. "The country which has produced the Smurfs and a couple of serial killers doesn’t like me because I’m cooler than their own miserable President. Boo-fucking-hoo! I bet Dubya would be a lot more civil!"

"You’re trying my patience, sir!"

"Well, then, I’ll do your thinking for you. Since first contact cannot take place on any sovereign soil, you’ll need the rendezvous to take place above ground, the aircraft carrier Valium, for example? Nice and televisual up there, isn’t it? And it does have to be televised, because the whole world is watching and I did promise. If America takes charge and hides the truth, you’ll look like an even BIGGER bunch of dickheads than you already are. So, use your MASSIVE presidential brain to work out what to do NEXT!"

"Guess it WILL have to be televised," McCain grumbles.

"Ah, McCain, you’ve done it again!" 'B’Stard' sneers. "Come, Lucie, my darling, let’s see if our ready and waiting private plane can get to the Valium before the American President realizes his fly’s unzipped! Like his underpants, all will be revealed!"

McCain checks his trousers in desperate, as the couple stroll off, laughing to themselves – seemingly unaware of the huge pile of Bottom VHS cases to one side, the latest innocuous disguise for the Bastard’s TARDIS. Within, the Doctor, Martha and Captain Jack watch on the scanner

"Say I use this perception filter contraption to walk up behind him and break his neck?" suggests Captain Jack.

"Now that sounds like Touchwood," says the Doctor with disgust. "Violent, stupid and ultimately pointless – all he’d do is regenerate again. Don’t you pay any attention, Jack? Besides, he’s not normally this... successful. The last three incarnations have been a pushover, right? Right? Now, we’ll just follow them to the Valium..."

The pile of videos dematerializes with a wheezing, groaning noise, re-materializing in the bowels of the Valium at 28.2 degrees north and 10.02 degrees east, taking on the brilliant camouflage of a donut stand. The trio emerge onto a 21st Century aircraft carrier that doesn’t need to be on the sea, but is actually a massive airborne ship protecting the skies of planet Earth.

"They totally ripped this off Captain Scarlet," muses Captain Jack the indestructible man as they peer out the porthole.

The Doctor is more interested in something at the end of the maintenance corridor than sightseeing – the TARDIS, the good old-fashioned trademarked painted-blue policeman’s booth! The Doctor charges through the doors to see the interior is bathed in hellish red, the control console caged off and stripped of nifty parts.

"You know, I kinda like what he’s done to the place," Captain Jack muses over the endless tolling of the Cloister Bell.

"He’s cannibalized the TARDIS!" the Doctor gasps. "Son of a BITCH! That will TOTALLY invalidate the warranty! I bet he’s even had sex in my bedroom, the asshole! He’s turned my wonderful TARDIS into a paradox machine, a doomsday engine – A DUES EX MACHINA!!! And it’s ready to trigger at two minutes past eight!"

"What’s it for?" asks Martha, horrified. "More importantly, can you stop it?"

"Oh, easily. A bit of machine gun fire would sort it out easily," shrugs the Doctor. "Of course, that’s once it’s switched on – touch the wrong bit before it activates and we blow up the solar system. But that’s probably exactly what the Bastard is EXPECTING us to do! So we have to take a different approach!"

"How so?" asks Captain Jack, pretending to be interested.

"Oh, I’ve got a way. Sorry, didn’t I tell you?" the Doctor grins.

Martha rolls her eyes. "Oh, you are SO going have to do some major ass-kissing when this is all over. One day, I’m going to give you a right good bollocking sometime. You deserves a good telling off!"

"Jings, lighten up, Martha, it’s not the end of the world," the Doctor complains. "All we need to do is slip one of our SEP-keys around the Bastard’s neck and it will cancel out his Archangel circuit, everyone will see him for real and realize they’ve let a guy get to power pretending to a stock Rik Mayall character."

"Everyone’s on red alert!" Martha points out.

"Yeah, well, we’ve got THREE keys, that improves the odds!"

"Please tell me you have a Plan B," Martha begs him.

"I do, but believe me, it’d be a lot better if Plan A worked. But, if it doesn’t, this is what we have to do..."

Above deck 'B’Stard' and his missus arrive as the President makes the final preparations for the televised first contact. The conference room is filled with extras very convincingly portraying secret service agents, various military personnel and poorly-trained camera crews.

"I want the whole thing branded in MY sort of honour, not the commie liberal wussy crap spouted by United Nations. Got that? And make sure only Americans are allowed to speak. Oh, and what’s all this about B’Stard INVITING me to take the address! I want all the media told clearly that he has been FORCED into a humiliating backdown and I have been chosen to lead the world into a new age!"

As 'Alan' and Lucie sit back, relax and share jelly babies made using heroin instead of sugar, the televised broadcast begins as McCain assumes a variety of sexy poses on the stairwell and announces:

"My fellow Americans, patriots, people of the world... except for those commies in China, naturally, who aren’t watching. I stand before you today as ambassador for humanity, a role I will undertake with utmost solemnity and with a vocabulary more impressive than my immediate predecessor. Perhaps our Toclafane cousins can offer us much, but that is important is not that we gain material benefits, but that we learn to see ourselves anew. Learn that I am the man who will lead America – and, by default, the rest of the world – to a new golden age, a Technocratic Federation Of Pure Evil and Greed! These are dark days, and the storm clouds gather around us but I, YOUR LEADER, WILL SEE YOU THROUGH TO A BETTER WORLD! And now... the Toclafane!"

Four spinning spheres lens flare into existence and float around McCain’s head like cartoon twittering birds drawn by concussion.

"I am John McCain, President of the United States of America and designated representative of the United Nations. I welcome you to the planet Earth and its associated moon. I am your god, and you will serve me as new souls for the faith!"

"Um... you’re not the Bastard," complain the Toclafanbe. "We like the Bastard. We don’t like you. That swollen gland is really creepy..."

"I... can be a bastard, if you so wish," flounders McCain incredibly pathetically. "IF that is God’s will, any way..."

"McCain is a retard," sing the Toclafane, dripping with US skepticism. The Bastard is our friend. Where is he, pretty please?"

'Alan B’Stard' then chooses his moment and takes the floor. "Sorry, I just have this effect; people just get obsessed. Is it the smile? Is it the aftershave? Is it the capacity to laugh at myself? I don’t know. It’s crazy! But what else is there to say, apart from 'Dig deep! Fly low! Celebrate a TV show! Raise the stakes! Drop the pressure! Happiness, you’ll never measure!'"

"B’Stard, what in tarnation are you talking about?!" demands McCain.

"Bite your tongue! Pay the man! Time to start your five year plan!" shouts the villainous Time Lord at the American President. "Holiday in Vietnam then blow a kiss to Uncle Sam! KILL HIM!"

Without another word, the Toclafane blast McCain with a Stedt Radiation blast that instantly turns him into ashes. Blink and you’ll miss the Bastard’s henchmen draw their guns and turn on everyone else in the conference room.

"Ta-da!" the Bastard giggles at camera. "And you know what the REALLY funny thing is? THIS guy actually thinks an SEP field is going to work on ME! As if!"

The Bastard grabs the Doctor by the scruff of his neck and rips off the key necklace doohickey. "Do excuse me, viewers, little bit of personal business, please stand by for full details on the oncoming apocalypse. Where was I? Oh yeah. So, Doctor, we meet at last! Jings, I never get tired of saying that, it just DOESN’T GET OLD! Unlike YOU!"

The Doctor is flung to the floor and the Bastard reveals a silver and gold device from his pocket and zaps the Doctor with it, instantly altering the Doctor’s genetic makeup and turning him into a wizened creature resembling Victor Meldrew’s naughty grandpa. "Not so young and strong and sexy and virile and fit and experimenting with back-coming and handsome and everything NOW, huh, bitch?!"

"Jings!" croaks the elderly Doctor as he falls over.

"Ah, my laser screwdriver," sighs the Bastard. "I love it more than my wife, which is as damning indictment on modern marriage as you could ever want. But I bet you’re wondering how I managed to age you a hundred years, aren’t you? Huh? Well, wonder no more: remember Professor Lazarou and his genetic manipulation device? Yeah, that was another one of my traps. You didn’t think Tish got that job by accident? Oh yeah, story arc, my man, story arc! And well, all I had to do was concentrate all Lazarou’s technology into one little screwdriver and reverse the polarity – so now it makes you older, not younger. Of course I needed a sample of your genetic code, but you went and so kindly left me your SEVERED ARM so no hassle there, either, huh? But don’t merely think this works as an aging gun, oh no, my friends, this laser screwdriver has a million and one domestic uses..."

But while the Bastard has been advertising Character Options Laser Screwdrivers to the British public, Captain Jack Sparrow finally manages to break into the bridge and charges straight at the Bastard.

"Vengeance is mine!" Captain Jack drawls.

Without even looking, the Bastard aims his laser screwdriver over his shoulder and blasts Jack at point blank range. The comic relief side kick’s smoldering body is flung across the room and welded against the far wall. An edit later, however, and the piratical companion is alive, free and utterly knackered.

"OK, he won’t actually stay dead for long, but look on the bright side: I get to kill him again! Won’t that be fun, boys and girls? So, the Doctor’s finally shut up, the freak’s down so that leaves the girlie would-be doctor to deal with – and tonight, Martha Jones, we have flown them in ALL THE WAY FROM CARDIFF!"

Some more of the B’Stard party arrive with the Jones clan, bound and gagged and with loaded guns aimed at their heads. However, to be honest I dunno why this would stop Martha in her tracks, as she’s dearly loved to do the same thing to them for years. Maybe the Bastard is trying to bribe her with something she’s always wanted?

"It’s time! It’s ready! The machine is singing!" chant the Toclafane.

"So it is," the Bastard crows as he strides back to his wife. "Now then, peoples of the Earth, please attend carefully, for the message that follows is vital to the future of you all! The choice for you all is simple; a continued existence under my guidance or total – look, I’ll just cut to the chase. Basically... um, end of the world time, really. Nothing can stop me now!"

"The outlook DOES seem bleak," gasps the weakened Captain Jack with his usual perspicacity.

Holding up his laser screwdriver, the Bastard finally declares:

"Here Come The Drums – TRACK SIX!!"

As 'Watching You' blares out from hidden speakers all across the Valium, the TARDIS roars to life and tears the sky open to this incredibly inappropriate backing music. As Martha and the aged Doctor watch on in a mixture of horror and exasperation at such camp OTT behavior, the Bastard and Lucie groove to the beat and blow kisses to the audience who are, of course, about to die horribly.

A black cloud descends from the rift: the Toclafane en mass!

"Like dominos falling faster to zero! Down, down, down, down, down they go, straight on like an arrow!" the Bastard laughs as he and his wife watch on. "Can’t you hear the echo?!"

"How many are there?" asks Lucie, cutting through the lyrics.

"Six BILLION of them!" the Bastard explains for those unwilling to count every last one of the buzzing spherical gits. "Jings, that means there’s as many Toclafane as humans! We can’t have that can we? How about we decimate humanity?"

"What’s 'decimate' mean?" asks Lucie, deadpan.

"One in ten. I like that: 'decimate'. Nice word. Shall we then? OK, kids, remove one tenth of the population of the Earth!" the Bastard shouts at his new army. "In your own time, but I want that six hundred thousand million people vaporized before dinner!"

As the music continues, the Toclafane swoop down on Earth, entering every home and building they can find to carry out this order – but, as it’s coming up to the end of the season and money’s getting tight we only see them get near a chip shop and break into a stereotypical American small town diner where the football jocks pathetically try to defend their cheerleader girlfriends and hot dog snacks simultaneously.

Back on the Valium, the Bastard cranks up the volume to cover the screams and cries for help over the ship’s communications system: UNIT Geneva getting slaughtered, begging for help, people screaming things like "Argh! They’re killing us! The Toclafane are killing us!", and some light muzak in the form of 'London Calling' by the Clash. Seriously, you’re not missing much.

The wizened Time Lord grabs Martha’s hand and whispers in her ear:

"Plan... B..."

With one last look at the Doctor, Captain Jack and her miserable excuse for a family, Martha flees back to the Bastard’s TARDIS and takes off, vanishing from the Valium to reappearg on a Welsh hillside. On the scanner, Martha had a brilliant view of the Toclafane swarming over Cardiff and setting the city alight.

"I might just regret this," Martha snarls and sets to work...

Back aboard the Valium, for a bit of extra cruelty, the Bastard and Lucie twist the aged Doctor’s arms and force him to watch the devastation occurring below.

"Ah, white lightning," the Bastard gloats. "The doctors say it’s over, they think I’ve gone insane cause on this stormy light I’m looking at your face! The human race falls is the Earth is no more! History is my plaything! The universe won’t know what’s hit it! YIPPE-KAI-YAI!!"

Next Time...
"Once the Empire of the Bastard is established and there’s a New Gallifrey in the heavens... maybe then, it stops."
"Ever since I was a child..."
"How much sex appeal has THIS man got?"
"...I listened to the Rogue Traders..."
"What if I were to suspend your capacity to disbelieve?"
"...that’s when it chose me..."
"They say that Martha Jones is great in the sack."
"If I can’t be a randy time travelling lethario, Doctor... then neither can you!"
"...the drumming..."
"It’s been a long week."
"Received and understood, Mrs Jones? LESS SUGAR IN THE TEA!"
"Martha Jones, they say, is a demon in bed. Bit repressed for that."
"Four chemicals into the gun kills a Time Lord permanently. I call it... the PLOT DEVICE!"
"Bend... over..."
"We shall stand together on tippy-toes and karioke!"
"...the call to being a total bastard..."
"Now it ends, Doctor! SEASON C ENDS!!"
"...can’t you hear it?"
"We’ve got nine million viewers looking right at us!"
"Can you see? I’m doing it for them!"
"At zero, to mark this day, Martha Jones will be unfavorably compared to Rose Tyler!"
...Lust of the Time Lords...

No comments: