Friday, December 4, 2009

8th Doctor - Terror Firma (i)

Serial 8X – Dustbin Umpire 0: Terri's Firmer
An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
Twenty-Fourth Entry in the EC Unauthorized Guide O' Unsubtle Foreshadowing


Serial 8X – Dustbin Umpire 0: Terri's Firmer –

Part One – Return of the Dustbins

The Doctor and Charley have finally returned to their home Universe, a realm they fled in terror rather than risk contaminating it with a disgusting and foul form of anti-life.

Thus, it's a bit rich that they've returned bringing with them their new butt-monkey, C'Rizz the annoying beatnik poet and extremely part-time womanizer.

Having exploded out through the star-worm-gate-whole in the Tomb of Rassilon, the TARDIS bounces off the wall directly in front of it and dematerializes, only to reappear in a dark, metal chamber.

Charley and C'Rizz emerge from the TARDIS carrying the Doctor, who they promptly throw into the corner – for once, Earth girl and Eutermisan are united. They both think the Doctor reckless and totally crap at driving a time vehicle.

Rising to his feet and dusting himself down, the Doctor calmly tells his companions that if they keep this crap up, the NEXT time he threatens to desert them to certain death, he'll mean it!

The Doctor crosses to the only door to the chamber and opens it to see what's on the other side. Unfortunately, he finds out.

The good news is: they're definitely back in their own Universe.

The bad news is: the Doctor has just seen Lavros on the toilet.

Actually, Lavros is always on the toilet, and the Doctor just wasn't sure exactly how to describe the huge cathedral chamber outside teaming with bronze, 1960s-movie-style Dustbins surrounding a throne on which stands a giant roll-on deodorant device that has somehow acquired the power of speech.

Charley however, is more than capable of flowery description, and explains to C'Rizz they have landed in the heart of a Dustbin base, teamed by alien cyborg cleaning machines so sexually frustrated they have decided to wipe out all lesser races and tidy them out of existence. They are the Doctor's oldest and deadliest enemies.

C'Rizz looks around the assembled hordes of motorized bling litter bins and asks "And you're not even SLIGHTLY embarrassed about that?"

The Dustbin Emperor's slide back ball to reveal a hideous wrinkled shape connected to the device by lots of crocodile clips. In a voice that sounds like slugs dying in mid-orgasm, the Emperor tells the Doctor that "You took your own sweet time, didn't you?"

The Doctor apologizes for bursting in uninvited, and ushers his companions back to the TARDIS, offering to take them to Blackpool instead. The chances of them encounter another of his ancient and deadly enemies laying in wait are really quite slim. Apart from the Sexual Toymaker. And that weird bloke who looks like David Tennant who's always bursting into up-tempo dance numbers...

To Charley's surprise, the Dustbins don't make any move to stop them but just sort of sit there twiddling their mop attachments and sighing loudly. Finally Lavros snaps and orders his Dustbins to stop sitting around and seize the escaping prisoners.

The Dustbins looks awkwardly with each other and whine "Do we HAVE to?" over and over again.

"Yes, you do! By the gods, what sort of Dustbin army are you?"

"Comfortable ones!"

Nevertheless, the sluggish Dustbins finally do something and capture the TARDIS crew. If only they hadn't started arguing for over an hour about whether or not to let the Doctor drive, they could have escaped by now. Shame.

Lavros claims to have been catering for their arrival, but he does not explain how he can do this with no limbs or even the most basic gift of cooking skills. Rather, he orders his Dustbins to take the Doctor's friends to the nearest broom cupboard while he speaks privately with the Doctor. The Time Lord realizes that Lavros wishes to discuss their past encounters in minute detail, and can't stand explaining the continuity to non-anoraks.

The Doctor tells the Emperor if the Dustbins lose their self-control and gun down his companions with lethal radiation blasts... than that is perfectly all right with him.

As the Dustbins march... well, they don't really march because they don't have legs... they sort of ROLL the reluctant Charley and C'Rizz to the cells, Lavros welcomes the Doctor to the new Dustbin Home World.

"I call it Fargo 2.0, optimized for Windows XP!"

Meanwhile, at a dinner party, a blonde teenage girl called Terri realizes that they are all out of rum punch.

In the broom closet of the Dustbins, C'Rizz gets bored and decides to slip Charley a pill marked with a white rabbit that he got from a former incarnation of the Doctor at a rave party.

Soon, Charley is running around in circles, flapping away invisible pink elephants floating around her and insisting just because C'Rizz sold them all out to Nicholas Briggs and tried to kill them all, she still trusts and respects him as a complete asshole.

C'Rizz really appreciates that and, as he's getting bored, would it be all right for him to strangle her to death? After all, there's no TV and it would provide a decent bit of entertainment.

At this point, however, the boom cupboard is opened and a blonde teenager called Sherri opens it to collect a bucket and mop. Realizing she is a member of the Resistance from her T-shirt saying HI! I'M SHERRI! I'M WITH THE RESISTANCE, Charley and C'Rizz knock her over and run for it, screaming hysterically.

Just then, three Dustbins turn the corner and open fire!!!

At that moment, at the dinner party, Terri tries to hit on one of the guests – a timid chartered accountant called Angus Gerbil. Terri explains she's single and very available when her drunken mother Kerri staggers over and suggest Angus have a threesome with Terri and her sister, Sherri. Terri reasonably pulls out a submachine gun and explains that her identical twin sister never actually existed and was just a trick of the light and some paint fumes.

Elsewhere, Charley, C'Rizz and trick-of-the-light Sherri run down corridor after corridor trying to reach an escape route that Sherri identifies as the Great Escape Route Tunnel which is accessed by the Great Escape Hatch Of the Dustbin Base.

Realizing that Charley is slowing them down, C'Rizz picks her up and throws her at the approaching Dustbins while he and Sherri escape through the hatch and seal it, trapping Charley on the other side as the Dustbins draw closer and closer...

This sounds eerily familiar for some reason, don’t you think?

C'Rizz hears the Dustbin open fire, and when Charley fails to respond to his frantic calls, he concludes that she's been killed. First he lost his friends, family, and lover, then his father, and now another
good friend has gone.

At first it may seem that C'Rizz is on the brink of an emotional and nervous breakdown, but in fact he's playing extra vulnerable in order to seduce Sherri, and when she promises to be his new friend he punches the air and grunts, "He shoots he scores!!"

Sherri suggests they move down the tunnel and join the Resistance, and C'Rizz grimly agrees to accompany her on the condition that the Resistance destroy the Dustbins at no personal risk to himself whatsoever. Maybe he can be the mascot or a motivational speaker?

Sherri thus leads C'Rizz to the Great Tunnel, revealing that it doesn't just lead underground - it leads beneath the sea. "Well, that's a pretty pathetic distinction," C'Rizz observes while composing a new poem entitled "Charley Pollard, We Hardly Knew Ye. We May All Have Slept With You, But We Hardly Knew Ye."

Back at the party, Terri's flirting with another guest called Nigel Verkoff is interrupted again by her mother. Terri angrily storms out of the party, insisting that she never had a sister, except in his mother's demented imagination and even if she did, she would have been crap in bed anyway.

Lavros ushers the Doctor into his executive toilet, where they can speak privately and perhaps arrange a narcotic deal. He notes that the Doctor does not appear afraid, and the Doctor explains that he's just returned home from a Universe in which he was forced to participate in Double the Fist, an extreme lifestyle game show. For a Time Lord, this was truly a hellish existence, and despite being in Lavros' clutches, at least he's back among normal people again.

At this point, Lavros starts having violent mood swings and insisting he once had a signed portrait of Eccentrica Gallumbits but now he can't remember where it is. He then referring to himself as the Emperor, sometimes referring to the Emperor as a separate being, and sometimes referring to himself in the plural as 'we'.

The Doctor soon realizes that Lavros' admittedly shaky grip on English grammar is getting worse and the ancient mutant is not feeling himself – unsurprising, really, as he is just a severed head plugged into a Dustbin casing.

Lavros claims to need the Doctor's help to find something important, but he has difficulty explaining what it is – and soon they are engaged in an awkward game of Charades, with Lavros trying to describe the actions needed to describe what he's looking for.

The Doctor realizes that Lavros is more mentally unstable than he’s ever been. In his own words, "Oh, Christ, Lavros! You've got the Fear again!!!"

Since the plot is finally showing signs of existing at all, it's time to return to the upper class dinner party, where Nigel slips out of the party to call his flat mates, Andrew and Dave, to boast about how the daughter of the hostess totally came onto him tonight and, if it wasn't for some age old argument, he might have got a threesome as well!

Andrew and Dave are not impressed. Nor do they believe Nigel when he insists that this blonde bombshell is lurking in the front garden, haunted by hallucinations of her non-existent twin sister and some weird hippie dressed as Lord Byron.

Nigel thinks that Sherri is summoning up the courage to seduce him, but this theory is ruined when she runs off into the rain-lashed night towards the nearby cliff, Suicide Leap.

By a series of coincidences and improbably lucky happenings so complicated you will only be able to read about them in volume two of Big Finish: The Inside Story, Charley has in fact evaded the Dustbin and found her way to another exit on the surface.

This surface is oddly enough just beside Suicide Leap and Charley emerges and, mistaking Terri for Sherri, demands to know what she has done to C'Rizz and whether or not it was painful.

Initially believing Charley is a hallucination, Terri kicks her in the face and throws her through the hatch to face the mercy of the approaching Dustbin. Charley insists she is real and in pressing need of sex. Terri relents and pulls her out. Of the hatch, which she then closes, much to the annoyance of the Dustbin.

In the toilets, Lavros turns on the Doctor, accusing him of destroying Lavros' home world. Overwhelmed by his emotions, memories and constipation, Lavros begs the Doctor to give him a hypodermic injection of heroin, and the Doctor cruelly withholds it for a moment before giving it to the ugly little mutant.

Actually, he also shot up with the heroin and Lavros has just been injected with milk of magnesium – still, it seems to do the trick. Somewhat calmer once he has been given his injection, Lavros reveals that, having lost one world because of the Doctor, he was driven to create another – out of Lego!

As Nigel returns to the party, insisting he's definitely getting lucky tonight, Terri and Charley are sharing a post-coital cigarette on the cliff. Charley finds her surroundings disturbingly familiar and, to her horror, Terri reveals that when the Dusbtins invaded and conquered Earth, this is the only place on the planet they left alone.

It's called Cardiff.

Meanwhile, Lavros is still ranting. After his first planet was destroyed by a Gallifreyan super-weapon, he built another one and that one was destroyed by a Gallifreyan super-weapon as wall. So he built a second one and that was destroyed by a Gallifreyan super-weapon. So he built a third one – THAT one was infested by Wirrn, caught in an intergalactic war and then destroyed by a Gallifreyan super-weapon...

As Lavros continues to ramble Monty Python material, the Doctor cuts through to the point and realizes that Lavros is dying - or, rather, he's losing his already pathetic sense of self. After so many centuries, Lavros is becoming what he was always destined to become: a rather baffling piece of objets d'art on the Antiques Road Show.

Desperately, Lavros tells the Doctor that he needs his help to find... Lavros.

"Um, OK," the Doctor agrees. "There you are. Right there. Found you!"

Lavros is sore relieved, but has another secret to impart!

As it's finally getting interesting, we spend the rest of the episode back at the party. There Kerri is trying to get her guests to sing the
Hokey Pokey -- and is chivvying them along by telling them not to
act like a bunch of Dustbins. Nigel insists it's actually called the Hokey COKEY but the rest of the guests hurl finger food at him until he goes away.

The episode ends with the party guests singing the lyrics to the Hokey Pokey as they are all far too drunk and stoned to move.

Part Two – Futile Persistence

After all Charley's been through, returning to Earth only to find
that it's been conquered by Dustbins is hardly worth noticing. But to discover she cannot escape from Cardiff in either universe is nearly more than she can bear. Sick with despair, Charley intends to throw herself over the cliffs in the hope of escaping Wales once and for all!

Terri begs Charley to step away from the cliff edge, insisting that no matter how bad things seem, there's always someone out there who fancies you and wants you to live, and as that hope is all Terri has now, she begs Charley to choose life over death. Charley steps back from the edge and Terri offers to help Charley to find food and shelter, and perhaps even to help her fight the Dustbins.

But first, sex!

Tragically, the story focuses again on the Doctor and Lavros rather than anything even remotely interesting or erotic.

The Doctor is surprised to find himself feeling sorry for Lavros,
who has lost everything that defines him. Then, he realizes he is not so much feeling sorry, more laughing his head off in sadistic glee.

More to change the topic than anything else, Lavros decides to check on the status of the Doctor's companions – and discovers they have already escaped from the unlocked broom cupboard they were left in, unguarded. This causes the Doctor to giggle uncontrollably – one might almost suggest he wanted his companions to survive, and could possibly even have chosen them deliberately.

"Get real, Lavros!" the Doctor laughs. "If I had any choice in my companions, you think I'd choose a randy over-fertile school girl and chronically depressing pink lizard? Get real!"

"Then who WOULD you choose?" Lavros asks, curious.

"Hmmm... Well, the Olsen twins. Obviously."

Lavros has clearly noted this fact before and just as their discussion takes on an intellectual and slightly kinky tone, we cut to Sherri and C'Rizz wandering through an underground tunnel.

After a while, to break the boredom, Sherri asks C'Rizz if he's not human. And he isn't.

With that conversation over with, C'Rizz decides to pass the time by bragging about his old girlfriends, but truth be known he only had L'da and she was going through a phase of VERY low self-esteem.

C'Rizz is delighted when he twigs that Sherri is flirting with him in an attempt to cheer him up – and it's bloody well succeeding! When Sherri wonders what her mother would think of her flirtatious behavior, C'Rizz becomes even more excited; is she suggesting a bi-species incest threesome?!

Sherri is busy realizing she can't remember exactly what her mother was like and after finishing this story I can assure you she's better off this way.

Meanwhile, her sister Terri has returned to the party to show off her new girlfriend – Charley Pollard, who insists now she's back in her own universe she's here to do two things: enjoy chocolate-soaked orgies and fight Dustbins! Tragically, there is little chocolate body paint and entire planet full of Dustbins, so it looks like they'll just have to defeat the alien menace first!

Kerri takes this in her stride and offers Charley some aphrodisiacs.

Back in the gents, Lavros explains that he has finally set aside his attachment to his crippled physical body, which was surprisingly easy. He now intends to transfer his mind into a new cloned body, set aside the mistakes of his past and start a new life somewhere else.

He has brought the Doctor here because in the first part of this extremely-badly-written trilogy, the Sixth Doctor offered this particular option to him and never delivered. Mainly because Lavros lost the bet that he could sleep with Zoë Heriot.

A bed slides out onto the wall containing a clone of Lavros' body before a horrific smiling accident turned him into the wrinkled prune he is today. The Doctor takes one look inside.

"Oh my GOD! You're really BLACK?!"

"Yes, of course I'm black!" Lavros replied, baffled. "Why'd do you ask? My skin's brown after the accident, if I was white, it'd be pinkish grey! You thought I was white?!"

The Doctor rubs his neck awkwardly. "Well, er, I just guess I assumed... No, I mean, it's perfectly possible for a black guy to be a racial supremacist mad scientist. Totally cool. My bad."

"Indeed, Doc-tor. And when I get my groove back, I will make the universe a happier, hipper and hoopier place to live in."

The Doctor is skeptical; Lavros has tried and failed to change his ways before. He couldn't even run a lemonade stand without enslaving the local population, mutating them into squid-like brains and dropping them into Dustbin cases!

Just as the Doctor will always be a Time Lord, so Lavros will always be a Dustbin. Lavros angrily denies that he is a Dustbin, but notes that the Doctor seems ashamed to call himself a Time Lord.

The Doctor admits that he's recently come to understand just what a bunker of uptight wankers his own people are – something he always called them behind their backs at wild university parties, but didn't actually think was true.

Lavros realizes that the Doctor fears he is destined to become crazed with power or ossified in the dull cloisters of Gallifrey, but most of all that he might lose his mojo and become a 'drama teaching scally pikey' Time Lord with big ears and a Northern accent. Horrified at the very thought, the Doctor hugs himself through his new leather jacket.

Lavros reminds the Doctor of what he did to Fargo, but the Doctor corrects the absent-minded mutant – Lavros was the one who blew it up with the amazing powers of the Handjob of Omigod, not the Doctor. Didn't he read ANY of the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures?!

The Doctor shrugs and says that he was right to destroy Fargo after seeing what the Dustbins were capable of, but mainly because he had real issues with a giant clam on the surface of the planet.

"Besides, after the Time Lords sent me back in time to totally screw up Dustbin history and reduce them to a bunch of pathetic novelty paperweights that couldn't conquer the universe if their lives depended on it, I could hardly let you make them a half-decent menace again, could I?" the Doctor joshes, causing several chroniclers of Doctor Who continuity to douse themselves in petrol, set themselves on fire and jump out the nearest window, screaming.

Lavros suggests that perhaps the Doctor should fear his past
more than his future... but the Doctor does not fear the past or the future. He fears one thing and one thing only.

Guinea pigs.

Back in the tunnel, Sherri and C'Rizz are then confronted by a
shambling, semi-humanoid figure waving a copy of the Big Issue and holding out a claw for some change.

Sherri explains to C'Rizz that the Dustbins conducted genetic experiments upon human subjects when they first arrived on Earth, or perhaps even earlier than that... Either way, charity collectors have been conditioned and brainwashed by the evil aliens.

This sad specimen is no longer entirely human or sane – assuming he ever was. Although the fugitives tell the mutant to piss off and get a proper job, it grabs their arms and begs them to think of the children and stop being so selfish!

C'Rizz snaps the mutant's neck with a savage twist, assumes a he-man pose and then breaks down into hysterical sobs as a baffled Sherri watches on.

Back at the party, Charley notes that the people of Cardiff are either the most laid back she's ever seen, or they are more stoned than 23rd century Venice! There is a freaking Dustbin base directly beneath them for crying out aloud!

Kerri shrugs. The Dustbins are so superstitious they refused to invade Cardiff, leaving its population alone and building a protective metal dome around the rest of the planet to keep the Welsh out. So, the Welsh, in a fit of pique, have started partying wildly instead.

Charley LIKES this idea, and immediately vanishes into Terri's bedroom with the girl herself, locking the door.

Lavros informs the Doctor that he spent years alone after Fargo was
destroyed, trapped in the darkness and brooding over his fate. Occasionally, someone would rescue him long enough to complete a free personality test, then laugh in his face and return him to the void.

One particular questionnaire intrigued Lavros:

"What would you do if you had developed a substance capable of destroying all life?"

Lavros was stumped for an answer and so spent ten minutes creating this substance, which can be released onto humanity like a whole season of "24"!!

Sherri demands to know why C'Rizz killed the mutant rather than just subduing him, and accuses him of being a heartless killer. Luckily, this proves to be Sherri's big turn on.

However, only having gotten any twice in his life before, C'Rizz collapses in confusion, hearing L'da's and Charley's voices in his head. Then, realizing he's on the verge of losing his chance, C'Rizz gets over it and snogs Sherri.

C'Rizz is not the only one making out with one of Kerri's daughters. But the mood is killed for Charley when Terri promptly goes into convulsions, and not good ones either.

But Charley is totally put out when Terri suddenly screams out the Doctor's name at an unfortunate moment...

Lavros is whining and moaning that the Doctor destroyed all that Lavros had in the world – his planet, his Dustbin army, most of his body, his shoe tree collection, his prized trophy for reckless genetic modification, his pet budgerigar Gerald...

Gleefully, Lavros announces that when he ended up on Earth he released a modified venereal disease which turned the entire population of Earth (bar the Welsh because even germs have standards) into Dustbin mutants, thus turning humans into a brand new Dustbin army!

Wait, I'm getting some serious déjà vu in this story.

Since the Doctor destroyed Fargo, Lavros has destroyed Earth as much as he can do without violating Big Finish writers' guidelines. The Doctor announces that he feels a bit bad about this, then pulls out a pump-action shot gun and aims at the mutant's head.

"I've got a good mind to blow your ruddy brains out!" the Doctor vows, enraged, but loses some enthusiasm at the sheer joy this threat. Apparently getting his head blown off is exactly what Lavros wants – he wants to be killed by the Doctor!

OK, this is creeping me out. Is this a Big Finish CD or the DVD of "The Parting of the Legs"?

The Doctor, baffled, reminds Lavros that he was intending to transfer his mind into a cloned body and become a swinger.

Lavros nods and, dazed, checks his To Do List. Today's agenda is -

"Get a new body and redeem myself"
"Make the Doctor suffer for every indignity he ever caused me"
"End this whole wretched life for everything!"

The Doctor thinks that Lavros is either being terribly vague with his mission statement or else Alzheimer's is beginning to kick in.

Lavros suddenly looks at the Doctor in terror, demanding: "Who are you? Where are you from? What are you doing in my bathroom? Why do you keep feeding my dog food? Who are you anyway, and what have you done with the Lindburg Baby?!?"

Another shot of milk of magnesium restores Lavros' wits for a moment, and he hands over a vial which, if crushed, will destroy all life on the planet Earth, human and Dustbin! definitely Big Finish... but this is outright plagiarism...

The Doctor refuses point blank to do it. He knows that HE is on the planet Earth and if Lavros thinks he's going to sacrifice himself on the off chance a lethal substance made by a severed head who insists on referring to the Doctor as "Johnny" might actually work!

Besides, after the last time he ended up in the afterlife with his companions, he has no intention of risking it again.

And Lavros thus shows him just what has become of those companions...

In the tunnel, Sherri and C'Rizz are doing naughty things with a mop.

In the bedroom, Terri and Charley are doing naughtier things with a feather duster and some chocolate sauce.

The Doctor, feeling nauseous seeing C'Rizz doing the Eutermisan with two exoskeletons, decides to focus on Charley's escapades – though he finds it mighty suspicious that his companions have ended up sleeping with identical twins...

Charley pops out to get some more alcohol, and Kerri gurgles that for a woman ready to kill herself, the Pollard girl is easily convinced to stay alive. She also mentions that Terri and her sister Sherri disappeared just before the Dustbin invasion, and Terri reappeared denying emphatically that Sherri ever existed.

Charley ignores her and returns to Terri, before twigging that her new girlfriend mentioned, or rather, scream the Doctor's name during the good bits. Awkwardly, Terri tries to pass it off as a fling she had with the local doctor Bob Hassan. But Charley has realized that the mysterious piercing Terri possesses is not in fact a nipple ring but rather a curiously-placed mental implant.

Charley then decides to hang the TARDIS key from it. Kinky.

The Doctor and Lavros watch this on in silence. The Doctor finds both Sherri and Terri strangely familiar to him – and so they should, because they are genetic duplicates, dopplegangers of the Olsen twins!

Lavros giggles that he has gained revenge on the Doctor, not just by destroying his adopted home world but also his companions. Not Charley and C'Rizz, but companions he actually gave a tinker's fart about!

Lavros urges the Doctor to think back to before he slept with Charley on the Titanic, and cackles with mad glee as the Doctor is overwhelmed by memories that he had lost. Before he traveled with Charley and C'Rizz, the Doctor traveled with Terri and Sherri...

"I had the Olsen twins as my love slaves?!" the Doctor gasps.


", I am so cool! I fricken rock!! DAMN IT, I JUST LOVE MY LIFE!"

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