Monday, February 1, 2010

10th Doctor - Utopia (ii)

Parte the Second

Captain Jack thinks of a way to halt the flow and jump-start the rocket engines by connecting two large live wires. "Brilliant!" the Doctor crows. "The white cable and the blue one!"

Two seconds later, Jack falls to the floor, fried by electricity.

"Ooh. Or was it the yellow cable?" the Doctor asks lamely.

Martha examines him and quickly realizes that the Captain’s body is totally dead, his blood vessels burst, his synapses fried, his entire cardiovascular system cauterized and his brain well and truly stuffed. Nevertheless, she starts to remove his trousers until the Doctor shouts at her to leave him.

"We’re totally boned! The chamber’s flooded with radiation – no one can enter it without dying!" Derek Jacobi moans.

"I think I know just the guy," the Doctor announces as, with a crude editing trick Captain Jack becomes completely undamaged and returns to life, wondering if someone was date-raping him?

With speed that would have amazed the four-legged athletes of Hindochanis as they are incredibly easy to impress, the Doctor and Captain Jack arrive at the Silo to find Lieutenant Atillo pumping bullets into the corpse of the wiry woman, screaming that they only have enough fuel for one shot and this selfish piece of crap has ruined absolutely everything.

"Lieutenant! Get onboard the rocket, I promise you’re gonna fly. We’ve found a way of tripping the system!" the Doctor begins and is amazed when Atillo immediately runs away.

This turns out to be because Captain Jack has stripped naked before entering the Rad Chamber. "Damn I look good nude," he marvels at himself before diving into the lethal environment and not so much as dissolving as a blaze of heat.

"So," the Doctor says after an awkward pause. "You’re immortal, huh?"

"Yeah," Captain Jack shrugs. "It’s a perk. It explains a lot of things. Like when you dumped me on Earth, in 1892 I got into a fight with some prostitutes in the East End, got shot through the heart but woke up fine and dandy. Thought it was just their primitive and inefficient ammunition, but the next hooker pushed me off a cliff. Another trampled me to death with horses. World War I, World War II, poison, starvation, Gordon Gecko with a stray javelin..."


"Then after all those times at Touchwood with Santa Claus and Dustbins and Cybermen... but I’m pretty certain what it is. I’m the man who can NEVER die! Is that it, Doc? Is that why you leave me behind? Am I some kind of fixed point in Time and Space, a fact that’s never meant to happen that you instinctually run away from?"

The Doctor yawns. "Yeah, why not?"

"I mean, the first time I thought you just assumed I was dead since you last saw me left to die at the mops of three Dustbins," sighs Captain Jack, triggering the first of many drug-fueled hallucinatory flashbacks in this episode. "Death by extermination and tidied away afterwards. And then I came back to life..."

"Ah, but that was Rose. Opened the heart of the TARDIS, absorbed the Time Vortex, used the Genie Factor to become a god. She brought you all back to life and resolved plenty of story arcs in one go. That’s so blonde, but then everything she did was so blonde..."

"You think she made me immortal?"

"If she did, she made everyone in 200,100 immortal as well."

"Nifty. You know, waiting 139 years and having my unfortunate condition used by the same guy who keeps ditching me, I’m surprised I’m not more frustrated and nose-breakingly bitter."

"That’ll be all the sex, Jack, it really takes the edge off."

"So it does."

In his apartment, Derek Jacobi listens to this whole conversation and becomes understandably nauseous. As he stares at the TARDIS, he hears expressions reverberate in mind – "Travels in time!" "That’s a TARDIS!" "Dustbins! Dustbins! Dustbins!" "Temporal Difference of Opinion!" "Jack the Ripper, they called me!" – and soon he starts weeping.

"So, Jack... do you WANT to die? Cause I’m more than prepared to try and fix you in that regard..."

Captain Jack laughs uneasily. "Maybe it’s not so bad," he shrugs. "I mean, it’s a great plot device when you think about it. In fact, if I’m properly immortal, I might live to see the End of the Universe the old fashioned way. I might be out there right now! I ought to go meet myself, take masturbation to a higher art..."

"Jings," the Doctor agrees. "The only man who’s ever going to be happy with YOUR sexual abnormalities..."

"TIME TRAVEL!" screams Derek Jacobi, scaring the hell out of Chantho and Martha. "Of course! There must have been time travel back in the old days – how else did I get here? Stupid old man. Never could keep time. Always late, always lost and even THIS thing never worked!" he rants, waving a fob watch in his hands.

At this point, Martha has her own psychedelic flashback sequence thinking back to the events of Human Nature in a cunning bit of stock footage that not only pads out the episode but also vital enough for the entire plot to revolve around.

"I’m from 2007, so why the hell am I in 100 Squillion without time travel?! Answer me that!"

"Where did you get that watch from?" asks Martha, freaked.

"This old relic? Chantho found me with it, an orphan in the storm, only this and a novelty T-shirt from the Coast of the Silver Devastation! What the hell happened to me? The greatest actor of the age left on a nowhere planetoid at the end of everything!"

"Have you ever opened it?"

"The watch? Why would I? It’s broken!"

"How do you know it’s broken if you’ve never opened it?"

Derek Jacobi gives Martha his patented piercing stare used to such acclaim in Cadfael. "Does it matter?"

"No! It’s... it’s nothing. It’s... Listen, everything’s fine up here, I’m gonna see if the Doctor needs me," she tells them, smiling in a completely convincing and reassuring manner.

Martha then ruins this insouciant air by running out of the lab, waving her hands in the air and making terrified squealing noises, which makes Chantho and Derek Jacobi ever-so-slightly suspicious.

At bleeding last, Captain Jack finishes with the couplings and, with everyone aboard the rocket, the dramatic countdown to ignition begins which is, of course, the cue for Martha to turn up with her incredibly exciting, earth shattering news.

Which is why the Doctor doesn’t let her get a word in edgeways as he punches commands into computers. "I finally understand what the hell this all about – it’s a gravity pulse that stamps down, the rocket shoots up. Bit primitive, well, a LOT primitive if idiots like us can understand it, but we just have to stay here to keep it stable," he babbles, nearly concussing Martha twice with his demonstrative hand gestures while trying to stop all the computers from crashing.

"Doctor," Martha shouts, "it’s Derek Jacobi, he’s got this fob watch – it’s the same as yours! Same writing, same everything!"

"Don’t be ridiculous, Martha," the Doctor mutters as he types in Chinese at terminal, completely ignoring her.

She tries Captain Jack with even less result: "So? He’s got the same watch! We’ve got better things to worry about. Mind you, I know one or two things you can use a fob watch for. Oh yeah, sweet, sweet candy!"

"Yeah, but it’s NOT a fob watch, it’s this... chameleon thing..."

"Don’t confuse him, Martha," the Doctor reproves, pressing random buttons. "It’s a device that It rewrites biology. Changes a Time Lord into a human, preferably a proper British character actor. I spent three months thinking I was Hugh Grant last time I used it..."

"AND IT’S THE SAME WATCH!!" Martha shouts.

"Can’t be," the Time Lord replies cheerfully.

"That means he could be a Time Lord," Captain Jack works out, "Doctor! You might not be the last one!"

"Of course I’m not the last one! We always keep bumping into other Time Lords! Jings, we met the Rani just the other week..."

"But WHO could Derek Jacobi really be?!" wonders Martha.

"Well, I doubt it’s Romana," the Doctor shrugs, flicking yet more switches. "Or Susan. He’s probably just a future version of me," the Doctor says uneasily. "I hate it when this happens. You get paranoid, thinking everyone’s really from Gallifrey. Maybe all those humans on the rocket are really Time Lords in disguise as well. Where does it all end?!"

"I dunno," Martha shrugs. "I guess it could be ANY Time Lord."

"Bollocks! I mean, it couldn’t be ANY Time Lord. They died. Most of them died. They bloody better have after what I had to go through..."

"Not if he was human," Captain Jack pointed out.

"How the hell does THAT work?" the Doctor boggles.

"If he escaped the Temporal Difference of Opinion, then it’s the perfect place to hide! The End of the Universe! OK, there’s the downside that whole of creation is about to disintegrate, but as plans go, you can’t fault it for sheer suicidal insanity!" Captain Jack is babbling.

"Yeah, and only one man dumb enough to do it. But it can’t be, it can’t, it CAN’T! He’s already done a story this year," the Doctor broods as the countdown nears its finish...

Meanwhile, Derek Jacobi starts to act decidedly peculiar as he claims his pocket watch is whispering strange and impossible things to him. "And why the hell not?" he asks Chantho. "A lonely old man in an ancient, worn out, senile universe. I’ve only got a short time to live and what do I leave behind? No family, no one to remember me and my greatest achievement made possible only because a passing Scots nutter made my ideas work! Me not being real can only be an improvement!"

"Chan/jeez, lighten up/tho," Chantho says, rolling her eyes.

In the silo, the Doctor turns the ignition key, and with a rumble that shakes the entire planet (or at least the Upper Boat) the rocket shoots up in a torrent of flame and bright light floods the silo.

"Hang on," the Doctor says as he has an acid flashback to an adventure involving his Fifth regenerative form, Vislor Turlough and Kamelion in 21st Century Russia. "I’ve just remembered what happens at Dystopia! Hoo boy," he sighs. "This is gonna be one of my more embarrassing screw ups... and it’s up against stiff competition, believe you me."

At the exact same time, Derek Jacobi has his own little voyage to Trip Out City, and in his mind’s eye sees a TARDIS spinning out of control, its bandaged occupant choking in agony. The figure drags itself to the console and mutters in a voice entirely identical to Anthony Stewart-Head, "Erratic flight coming to and, maybe the last journey we shall ever take! We’ve come a long way, further than I thought possible for us to come and now running out of power, giving into the inevitable!"

The bandaged figure resets the few working controls. "Yes, there’s an inhabitable planet nearby. There’s even a population. Humans. Not the most romantic of species, but beggars can’t be choosers. No choices left, either this human world or nothing!"

The haggard shape grabs a strange helmet connected to the ceiling by wires and, sorting through a drawer full of stocking fillers dismisses a Draconian scarab, a Krillitane biopod, a cricket ball and then settles on a pocket watch. "That will do nicely... just need the data disc for humans, specifically really good ones who were in 'I, Claudius'! I will regain a new body, a fitting form for my majesty! Just hope it doesn’t accidentally wipe my brain as well. Still, what are the odds of that happening? And even if it does, how long will it be before Sir Derek Jacobi gets curious and notices the watch?"

As the TARDIS materializes, the leper-like creature activates the console and rewrites his DNA. "I AM AND ALWAYS WILL BE THE B---"

The flashback comes to an abrupt end as Derek Jacobi bumps into the suspicious blue reel-to-reel computer and swears loudly. Hastily he tries to get back to his flashback, which now has him being found by Chanto, lying unconscious beside that very same suspicious blue reel-to-reel computer!

"I was a mouse!" the old man starts shouting, giving up on the flashback thing altogether. "Always serving and never served! Always hurried and never thanked! But maybe my true self... is a LION!" Derek Jacobi rants, and finally opens the fob watch, releasing a flash of bright white light that engulfs the old man for a split second.

Chantho blinks a lot. "Chan/is that IT?/tho. Chan/what a letdown, huh, Derek Jacobi?/tho. Chan/Derek Jacobi?/tho."

The old man turns to look at her, his eyes full of fire, and ice, and rage. "Derek Jacobi’s not here anymore I’m afraid," he says icily.

Back in the silo, the Doctor snatches up a 1970s-style trimphone to contact Atillo aboard the rocket. "Lieutenant, have you done it? Did you get velocity? Cause this may in fact be a kind of blessing in disguise, focus on the positive!"

"Don’t worry," crackles Atillo’s voice over the phone. "We made it! See you in Dystopia!"

"Yeah, about that," the Doctor continues awkwardly, "really would recommend a rethink. I mean, if you see anywhere else that looks nice, probably best to take that chance. Floating soccer balls aren’t a good sign... hello? Hello? The jerk’s hung up on me! Fine, ya arrogant so-and-so, you deserve what you get!"

Meanwhile, Not Derek Jacobi is running around flicking switches and pulling levers as he shuts down Ground Control which – as has already been established – is kind of vital to keep the rocket on course. He then slams down a handy Emergency Lockdown Lever, slamming closed every bulkhead and trapping the main cast. With the smile of a crocodile, as empty of warmth as the dead universe beyond, the old man crosses to another level and slams it upwards.

"Chan/why are you pulling that lever you told me to never ever touch under any circumstances?/tho."

"Because, my dear, I want to power down the defenses, the lightning field, the search lights and the magnetic bonds on the gates so the Futurekind can get in," he explains as he starts adjusting more controls. "Now I open every internal bulkhead and jam them open so when the Doctor inevitably breaks free he is in the middle of a Cannibal Holocaust. It’s a hobby of mine, trying to kill him."

Even as they speak the Doctor effortlessly zaps the lock to the silo and he and his companions stroll out, completely unaware of any danger they might be caught in.

That particular danger being the Futurekind noticing all the lights going out, charging the gates and easily breaking into the compound, all the time chanting "Hunt!" over and over again in what is justifiably a tribal salutation to the Gene Genie from Life on Mars.

Back in Jacobi’s pad, the old man continues to shut down everything and putting the last of Humanity in deadly danger apparently, just for the hell of it. He completely ignores Chantho as she picks up a Winchester double-barreled shotgun from the mantelpiece. "Chan/Derek Jacobi, I’m so sorry, but I must stop you/tho..."

"Whatever," mumbles the old man.

"Chan/You’re destroying all our work and I am being assertive!/tho. Chan/Strong Chantho, strong Chantho/tho. Chan/And if you don’t step away from the control I’m going to have to blow the living crap out of you!/tho!" she shouts, trembling as she aims at his head.

The old man stares at her. "Oooh, I’m SO scared!" he mocks, ripping down a power lead crackling with electricity and strides straight at Chantho who backpedals something chronic as he closes in. Kind of like The Shining if it involved a respected stage actor chasing a giant anthropomorphic beetle with 5 million watts of direct current.

"You know, for such a nagging bitch of a girlfriend, did you ever bother to ask me why the hell I was carrying a broken fob watch? Never? Did you NEVER once think, not ever, that you could set me free? Oh, no you were too busy trying to drive me insane with all your 'chan' and 'tho', weren’t you?"

"Chan/I thought we were in love, Derek Jacobi!/tho!" Chantho sobs.

"THAT IS NOT MY NAME!" the old man roars at her. "Derek Jacobi is an overrated thespian from 100 Squillion Years Ago! I just happened to look, sound and act like him for a laugh, a bit of Stanislavski Approach that got entirely out of hand – I was so lost in the role, I forgot who I really was!"

"Chan/Then who are you?/tho," asks Chantho, backed against the suspicious blue reel-to-reel computer, with nowhere to run.

With every syllable uttered with the utmost relish and care, the old man whispers, "A... complete... BASTARD!"

He then slaughters Chantho mercilessly, partially because the Bastard has no respect for life, and partially because the writer can’t think of anything else to do. As her cries of "Chan/AAAAAAIIEEEEEEEEEEE/tho..." fill the air, we cut to the Doctor, Martha and Captain Jack as they turn a corner and spot the Futurekind charging straight at them.

The time travelers turn and run like fuck as fast as they can. "Always corridors!" Martha bitches, "WHY IS IT ALWAYS BLOODY CORRIDORS?!"

Taking a short shortcut around the back of the set, the trio are able to reach the door to Jacobi’s room only to find they are completely locked out with an army of pyschos due to arrive any second. Desperately they shout for Derek Jacobi and Chantho to save their sorry butts as the roaring of the Futurekind gets louder and louder.

After listening to the futile ranting of his old adversary, the Bastard nicks the Doctor’s severed arm to use as a novelty back-scratcher. "Where to next? Dystopia? Not likely. Floating soccer balls of psychotic death aren’t quite my scene. Maybe Fargo in galactic year 1300? No, I’ve had my full of Dustbins. Catriga Nova? The natives think the golden whirlpools are worthless but they’d get a fortune on eBay..."

As the Bastard ponders his next move, he notices the mortally-wounded Chantho has managed to pick up the shotgun and is aiming it straight at him. "Still haven’t died properly?" he sneers, unimpressed. Showing truly monumental stupidity, the evil Time Lord stands exactly where he is and stares at her. "Oh, as if a filthy blue cockroach like you is even ABLE to pull the trigger!" he mocks.

Chantho manages to shoot him, blowing away half his torso in gore before collapsing dead as well.

The Bastard staggers back, choking on blood. "Damn!" he groans. "Oh, I’d snap your scrawny neck if you were still alive! At least things can’t get any worse!"

At that moment, the door bursts open and the Doctor bounces in.

"Oh typical!" the Bastard groans and manages to duck into the TARDIS and slam the door shut. As the Doctor slides his key in the lock, the Bastard snaps down the latch. And as the Doctor tries to release the catch with his sonic screwdriver, the Bastard flips down the door control on the console. "Deadlocked, you mouth-breather!" he snarls.

"Ah jings!" the Doctor wails and starts kicking the police box furiously. "Let me in, you jammy sod! Let me in! Just because you look like one of the greatest actors of the age doesn’t mean you’re any less idiotic than the last time we met you stupid goit! LET ME IN!"

"Yes, quite, you raving idiot, I’ll deal with you when I’m not so busy dying!" the Bastard sighs. "Dying is painful, yes, but if one had to shuffle off this mortal coil it could at least be done in style. Killed by an insect! A GIRL insect, a mere slip of a thing, barely a B cup. To think she could best me, ME who hath outlived a thousand enemies!! How inappropriate! Shameful, even. Still, any witnesses will be dead soon, which is a relief..."

Outside, Martha crouches over Chantho, last of the Malmooth, and reveals that the sweet innocent bug girl is dead and her whole species is extinct – but no one listens to her as Jack is trying to close the door on dozens of Futurekind while the Doctor shouts abuse at the hijacked TARDIS.

Inside said hijacked TARDIS, the Bastard is still rambling to himself like an old age pensioner on the bus. "And if the Doctor can be young and strong and sexy and virile and fit and experimenting with back-coming and handsome and everything, then so can I!" the Bastard adds with glee, stepping away from the console.

"The Bastard... REBOOTED!!!"

A golden glow coalesces around him, his features blur and change as he writhes and twists and screams in a disturbingly girly fashion as his body settles into a younger, slimmer form uncannily similar to Sam Tyler, who falls flat onto the floor and knocks himself unconscious.

"This isn’t a good sign," the Doctor broods as golden light pours from the police box windows and the shrill screams fill the air.

The New Bastard’s eyes snap open. "It never felt like that before. But it did. Whoa." He stands slowly, amazed. "Oh. Legs. That’s what they’re for. But first... yes, two arms. Strong arms, and young hands. Not too hairy, that’s good. I had hairy hands before when I was me. Or not him? Who was him? Or he? Am I? Energy still swirling, firing off random synapses. Feels great! Jings, this place is a lot clearer now. My old eyes must have been on the way out. Now where was I? Oh, that’s right!"

The new Bastard lets out a triumphant cry, and dashes round the console, laughing like the madman he is. He skids to a halt. "What the hell? A bicycle pump?! Oh well, never mind. Theft is property, property is theft and this TARDIS is mine, my ticket to power!"

The evil Time Lord spins around the scanner and speaks into the communications network with all the self restraint of a Chaser team member on ecstasy at APEC. "Now then, Doctor... Ooh, new voice! I’ve got a new deep, manly, booming, sexy voice, of course! Time to test it out. Hello... hello... hello. Yep, stronger than the old one. It’s was a good voice. Maybe even an excellent voice. On the voiceometer I have to rate it at a 9.5! You know, I could be wrong, but I’m beginning to think that the post-regenerative trauma might be making me act more than a teensy bit crazy?"

"You THINK?!?" shouts the Doctor at the TARDIS.

The Bastard shrugs. "Anyway, why don’t we stop have a nice little chat while I tell you all my plans and you can work out a way to stop me? Oh, bollocks, I nearly did it AGAIN!"

"Look, I’m being really polite this time. Just stop, take a chill pill and think..."

"What’s ma name, ho?!"

"What?! I am not going to debase myself for you, ya chimp!"

"Tough shit!" the Bastard retorts, dances around the console. "Open up the engines, set everything to eleven! I ain’t played with one of these bitches in a long time!"

"Oh no, not this time, you utter bastard!" the Doctor shouts, fiddling with his sonic screwdrivers. "You can wipe out civilizations, trigger terrible wars, murder innocent cockroach girls but you do NOT, repeat NOT steal my fucking motor!!"

The Bastard boggles as the console starts to spark and overload. "Oh, no you don’t!" he giggles and slams a lever down. "Jings, for a retard, you sure got your moments. Nearly rewrote all those programs and obliterated circuits and stuff. But I’M still on my way and YOU’RE still at the End of the Universe. Have fun with all the entropy! Bye-bye!"

The Doctor lowers the screwdriver, staring at the TARDIS fades away, leaving him looking at a blank wall as Jack and Martha struggle to hold the door closed against the Futurekind.

"This is going to be one of those days, isn’t it?" the Doctor sighs.

Next Time...
"Let the work of government begin... now where are the hookers and the cocaine?!"
"The thing is, it’s obvious. The forgery is screaming out. It’s as if he’s mesmerized the entire world into thinking this a new script!"
"Target identified. Take aim. Fire. Fire AT the identified target, you idiots, not ten feet to the left of it!"
"These floating soccer balls are my friends. I’m special!"
"The Bastard is Lord Protectorate of Great Britain!"
"I did not have sexual relations with a new species. They’re just my friends."
"Air Force One has landed on British soil. Slight confusion there."
"Mr. Bush! Haven’t you been replaced by a black guy yet?"
"Not while UNIT and WANK control the democratical processification!"
"Mr. B’Stard, what the hell are doing here?"
"What this country really needs..."
"...right now..."
"So he says 'Run for your life!' and she does, with this plastic arm..."
" a complete bastard!"
...The Beat of the Drums...

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