Friday, October 2, 2009

6th Doctor - Her Final Flight

Serial 7CPRE-A – One Final Fight
One Final Fight
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Gameheads
And, yes, it’s by Jared "No Nickname" Hansen. He’s not going to stop until you bastards at Big Finish give in and commission him, you know.

Serial 7CPRE-A – One Final Fight -

A feline mercenary named Rashaa tests her new weapon on her captive, a cold-blooded alien named Vordfok. Having just seen the Red Dwarf episode "Better Than Life" she has come to the rather baffling conclusion that virtual reality is the key to immortality! Ergo, all she needs is a green bicycle helmet wired with some electrodes she will be indestructible!

Normally at this point someone would make a cup of tea and sit down with Rashaa to try and work out how in the name of the Gene Genie she came to such a bowel-shatteringly insane conclusion, but Rashaa is something of a bipolar sadistic maniac. So instead of finding out what the fuck she thinks she’s on about, we get instead her randomly torturing some poor suckers lying about the place.

The first off is Vordfok, that cold-blooded alien what I mentioned earlier. Rashaa has placed one of those green bicycle helmets wired with some electrodes on his head and – completely ignoring her strange immortality theory – uses said helmet as an instrument of torture. Is it an instrument of torture that leads to eternal life? If so, how gauche!

Anyway, some direct current is enough to wake up Vordfok and Rashaa (showing that keen insight we’ve come to expect from her) suggests that Vordfok might like this chance to break free, brutally beat her to death and seize the spaceship they currently reside in.

Vordfok admits this is a mighty tempting proposition, but before he can even reach the "break free" bit, she points out that there is a giant spider on his chest! And, you know, a big knife for stabbing stuff right next to him.

Vordfok demands to know if Rashaa thinks he was born yesterday, rips out the bloody stupid green bicycle helmet and stabs her to death. Immensely satisfied at some even vaguely sensible plotting in the story at last, Vordfok leaves some obscene voicemails to everyone in Rashaa’s contact list.

Alas, one of the abusees gets fed up and offers Vordfok 6 trillion credits to assassinate himself and stop making prank calls. Or, failing that, the most annoying and persisten do-gooder in the galaxy, the most stylish swashbuckling hero of the lands, who has save every planet in the Galaxy a minimum of nine times. A creature five parts Father Christmas and two Scooby Doo.

Yes... Avan Tarklu, known to his enemies as "Frobisher"!

Alas, just as the narrative takes on a controversial and provocative tone, we cut to the lonely Doctor passing his companionless time shoving his tinfoil collection into a microwave unit and switching it on. Well, it passes the time, doesn’t it?

The TARDIS rocks with turbulence – either the microwave is having trouble dealing with the elementary task of crisping aluminium or else some Sunday Driver time traveler is trying to run him off the vortex! But whereas once this would have lead to a thesauratic fit of TARDIS road rage from the Doctor he just sighs and decides to get a breath of fetid, swampy air.

The Time Lord sets the TARDIS to land on the nearest planet which just so happens to be the not-at-all-amusingly-named Krukbukket 5. As so often occurs in cases like these, there are a dozen thugs with semi-automatic rifles waiting right outside the police box for just about anything to shoot. So when the Doctor pops out for a constitutional, he has to jog for his life... and is so freaking unfit he has an asthmatic attack, collapses and falls off a cliff.

Disoriented, he awakens to find a familiar figure with a familiar face and even MORE familiar breasts beating the shit out of him: his former companion, Perpugilliam "Peri" Brown!

The Doctor horrified to learn that she still thinks he’s a complete bastard, and struggles to explain between blows that, if anything, he is the KING of complete bastards! The Time Lord then gloats over the sheer misery of her fate, which when pressed he admits he’s not a 100 per cent certain of. Did she have her brain removed and soul destroyed so a slug could enjoy her mammalian body? Was she married to an insane, bearded badger-fetishist with surgical scars on his groin? Or did she become a famous topless female boxer in the United States?

After Peri causes the Doctor to haemorraghe internally, he realizes that he must, however reluctantly, apologize to the young American girl he has mocked, strangled, tortured and abandoned even on the days he WASN’T suffering post-regenerative insanity. Thus, the Time Lord solemnly apologizes for giving her the DVD of Snakes on a Plane for a birthday present. This show of good will ends the beating. Mind you, the simple fact that Peri’s knuckles are getting sore helped.

At this point, Cecil Rizz Esquire (part time village priest, part time drunkard, full time idiot and wannabe beatnik poet) stumbles into the narrative and starts shrieking the sort of things that strange six-foot lizards in KNOW YOUR ROOTS T-shirts are oft want to do. You know, some local diety has brought him the ancient power of ‘mucho mojo por favore’ or somesuch bollocks.

As the Doctor and Peri watch on incredulously, C’Rizz does a gay dance, kisses a rock and runs off. Showing that no matter what he may look like, no matter how he may dress, or his sexual preference he is still fundamentally the Doctor, the Time Lord vows to find the Eutermisan and kill him for no other reason than the guy is just irritating.

Peri points out that C’Rizz’s mind has been warped by the TARDIS – or, as the fruit bats here call it, the "cabinet of life". It seems that their civilization were given a dodgy print of Dixon of Dock Green two millennia ago and, not quite grasping its true meaning, have made police boxes the focal point of their worship.

The Doctor muses that this is a very serious problem - IN HIS IMAGINATION!

"Yes," he declares, "This is all quite clearly an amateurish illusion an assassin has put me under to try and lure me into killing himself!"

Peri is so taken aback by this non sequiter that she doesn’t even demand the Doctor to offer some kind of proof for this deranged claim, but the Time Lord already has plenty:

a) the ridiculous plot devices used in the first ten minutes alone

b) the fact that Peri, with her pitiful lower-hominid abilities, was able to overpower the Doctor in combat

c) the Krukbukketine ‘hut’ that they are in fact actually a crude set made entirely from recycled egg cartons!

To prove this the Doctor grabs a flaming torch - noting that the presence of such conveniently flammable light sources counts as point (d) - and throws it at the wall. "Look at how easily it burns!" he screams. "And you expect me to mistake this for REALITY!"

Peri is not particularly amused that her temporary accommodation has been burnt down by the Doctor. Indeed, this action is just the excuse she needs to start beating him again, since the Doctor’s wild theories have provided ample time for her knuckles to heal.

After another violent battering of Quentin Tarantino proportions, the Doctor loses conscious and when he regains it finds Peri standing over him, with freshly-bandaged knuckles and toes. But she is joined by... of all people... SIL the Mentor!

While the Doctor reels from the continuity implications, Peri reveals for the benefit of listeners that the Time Lord’s reckless pyromania has destroyed the entire settlement, not to mention the villagers’ stores of grain for the long, long, long Krukbukketanian Winter coming up!

"Oh, no, you’re not going to make me guilty," the Doctor sneers, "because, firstly, I am a complete arsehole and secondly the sudden appearance of Sil is such a ridiculous stretch of the imagination that it just further proves the fact that this is all an illusion!"

Sil protests – which is really funny. I mean how can a foot-long green slug in a water tank protesting he’s not an illusion NOT be funny? Huh? Answer me that? Comedy gold, I tell ya.

It appears that after a freak warp in space and time snatched the Doctor from Thoros Beta, Sil assassinated the Lord Kiv and seized control of the Mentors and their warp-fold-relay (AKA, Philip Martin’s deranged idea of a space-age internet). Now the total ruler of the Constellation Cetes, Sil immediately made sweeping reforms to Thoros Beta... which happened to take the form of murdering his own family, broadcasting torture of civilians 24/7 and carpet-bombing six moons when his cable went out.

Alas, thanks to the Doctor’s reckless interference, none of his Thoros Alphan slave populations could be brainwashed to be meek, passive servants. With free will it became apparent to all that all of them were in fact incredibly violent and sadistic bastards and all of them considered Sil too soft in his liberal attitudes to make a decent dictator. They then peacefully deposed him in a perfectly valid democratic ballot, just to pour salt into the wound!

Now, Sil is an exile, forced to whore himself out to the Amorb Mining Corporation and late night infomercials, reduced to living on Krukbukket 5, where at least HALF the population are fellow cast-offs from the Doctor’s past.

Realizing that none of this is convincing the Doctor that it is real, Peri sighs and decides to go along with his insane theory. She claims that the Doctor can only escape this illusion but actually getting off his backside and actually DOING something. "And burning down the village does NOT count!" she snaps.

The Doctor doesn’t like the sound of such non-flammable hard work, and wanders into the Krukbukket temple – the only building not built out of egg boxes and automatically reduced to ashes. There he finds the TARDIS, cracked and bleeding radiation.

C’Rizz is also present, pushing passers-by into the radiation where they die immediately. The Eutermisan then claims that THIS is the work of their God, Dixon of the Green Dock, enacting judgement upon them!

The Doctor demands to know how Peri and Sil can possibly put up with this boring and hardly-graphic barbarism, but Sil shrugs his little slug shoulders. "There’s nothing better to watch on a Sunday anymore. What’s My Fruit? has really gone downhill."

The Doctor has had enough of this crap and decides to just do a runner in the TARDIS. One might have thought he would remember the bit about the TARDIS being surrounded by highly-lethal radiation, but oh no. If it weren’t for the Doctor’s lead-lined socks and Incredible Time Lord Constitution(TM), he’d learn the hard way that this is the sort of fact you really shouldn’t forget lightly.

To the disappointment of Peri, Sil, C’Rizz and a couple of potential murder victims, the Doctor is not blasted to goo but merely rendered unconscious and loses the ability to have any more kids. Until he regenerates anyway (so all you Charley fans can shut the hell up).

After staring at the unconscious Doctor for thirty-seven seconds, C’Rizz cries out in terror: "Somebody has defied the will of the Gods, and now MUST DIE!"

There are a few awkward questions about how somebody surviving the God’s judgement means they need to be killed by mortals, but C’Rizz pleads the Alan Stevens defense (by dancing around and shouting random words until the protestors get bored and walk away).

The Doctor is then tied up with dental floss and sentenced to be burnt at the stake!

Unfortunately, C’Rizz doesn’t have any matches. Or a stake. And not really any firewood either, especially after the Doctor burnt down the entire village and everything in it. Marveling at the irony, C’Rizz tries rubbing two sticks up against the Doctor but after three hours there’s no discernible result and the Doctor looks like he may be enjoying it too much. Finally C’Rizz makes the compromise of trying to execute the Doctor using his poetry, but by this time he’s fallen asleep with a disturbing smile on his face.

Sil is furious to have lost his night’s entertainment thanks to this pillock of a high priest’s ludicrous incompetence, and so lobs a gigantic bomb at the TARDIS. Just to see what happens. To the amazement of no one, there is a slightly gigantic explosion...

The Doctor wakes up YET AGAIN to find himself being brutally beaten YET AGAIN. This time, it is by Sil, which makes a change, but even this rapidly becomes boring.

The reason for this flogging is that a deadly new virus has wiped out half the population of Krukbukket 5 and the little Thoros Betan immediately blames the Doctor.

"Would you mind showing how you came to that illogical conclusion?" demands the battered and bleeding Doctor.

Sil admits that it doesn’t really make perfect sense, even to himself. "Indded, I may have created a new virus to infect the others on the planet to remove some of my competition and make a killing on the antidote, but it wasn’t meant to spread so quickly! Clearly the TARDIS was involved!"

The Doctor rolls his eyes. "This apology for imaginary scenario grows increasingly tedious. What next? Are you going to tell me that Peri herself has been infected and is praying for me to come up with a magic cure?"

Sil, slightly embarrassed, clears his throat and nods.

The Doctor swears in disgust, and storms out, kicking the corpse of C’Rizz as he does so. Because he died from the virus and stuff. I assume. Having just through The Best Life, I doubt the audience would care as long as the exoskeleton-ed bastard was dead.

In the meantime it appears that the TARDIS has stopped being a radioactive death machine for some reason, reaffirming to the Doctor once again that this is an illusion. "Some people just don’t know when to call it quits," he marvels when the diseased and dying Peri grabs him in a pitiful begging for help.

The Doctor shakes Peri off, saying "Oh yes, all is forgiven now you WANT something, isn’t it? Poor pusillanimous Peri! What a pitiful performance! Oh, and clutching onto my ankles for the past two miles is just plain rude!"

It’s at this point that alien mercenary named Vordfok I mentioned earlier appears from nowhere and casually asks the Doctor whether he’s seen a cocky Emperor penguin who deserves to die around anywhere.

The Doctor apologizes that he hasn’t, and that this planet is all imaginary anyway. Pausing only to shout, "And as for you two, YOU’RE the ones who couldn’t be bothered to take responsibility for your own actions! Even if this was real, YOU’RE the ones to blame for you getting stuck in this mess and what do you do? Blame me for absolutely everything! FUCKWITS! You want me to suddenly fall to my knees and beg for forgiveness? How could you treat a friend so badly! I’d NEVER do anything like that to you!" at the twitching bodies of Peri and Sil before slamming the door in their faces and dematerializing.

Vordfok watches the plague-ridden corpses stop twitching and looks around the ruined world. After a long pause he announces to the world in general that he might just go kill some orphaned kittens instead.

Book(s)/Other Related –
"SexWarp EXPOSED!!!" Adrian Vole reveals what REALLY happened!
The New Dr Who Adventures: Retail Therapy
Doctor Who: The Age of Consent

Goofs -
Surely the inspiration for the 'cause victim to hallucinate and kill themselves' scheme wasn’t "Better than Life" but "Back to Reality"! What sort of Red Dwarf fan is the author? You wouldn’t find Terry Pratchett, Stephen Hawkings or Patrick Stewart making a mistake!
OK, maybe Terry Pratchett.

Technobabble -
Does "green bicycle helmet with electrodes" count?

Links and References -
The Doctor, Sil and Peri make great reference to events of SexWarp, but a version of it completely different to the one shown in Season 23. Is this the true adventure they had before the Valeyard altered the evidence or has the author got his continuity completely wrong?

Untelevised Misadventures -
Well, according to this story there were about three years of adventures between Rhododendron of the Dustbins and Mistrial of a Time Lord! Like ANY of that would ever see the light of day!

(Ed Note: I wrote this in 2004 before the discovery of over 29 hours of unreleased footage from the Colin Baker era, matching with this story absolutely perfectly. And so this bit of the entry makes me look like a complete tool with the foresight of George W Bush. What are YOU – perfect?)

Groovy DVD Extras -
The infamous alternate ending to SexWarp which lead into a Dynasty-like spin off with the adventures of Peri and Sil in El Dorado.

Dialogue Disasters -

Peri: The one thing I’ve learned is that you never know when someone is going to shave your head, try to wipe your brain clean and then use your stolen body to do something unsightly with a Coca Cola bottle.

Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: Sautéed sweetbreads in saran wraps! It’s everyone...
Peri: Everyone you ever traveled with.
Sil: Yes, Doctor. This is your grossly extended life!
Doctor: No, no, no, no. Wait. I remember the mad bat in an Andy Pandy jumpsuit, but who’s that?
Peri: Who?
Doctor: That blonde making rather aggressive love to the tree?
Sil: Oh her. We don’t really know her name. Ironic as she’s slept with everyone. Twice. Even me.
Doctor: And who is that layabout offering drugs to everyone?
Peri: Duh. It’s Hex.
Doctor: I don’t know anyone called Hex! I know the schoolboy with the facial tatoos throwing knives at the effigy of Celery Boy! I know the clapped-out, high effeminate robot holding up the corner of a table! And I certainly know that 1960s schoolgirl getting a jolly good smacked bottom from that science teacher who is now 70 if he’s a day... But Hex? HEX? What sort of companion is that? Almost as bad as that horse, or that anthropomorphic duck...
Sil: It’s EVERYONE you have ever traveled with you nauseating Gallifreyan! Even those from your future! Now does it make sense.
Doctor: Yes. Indeed, Sil, your story holds up. Which PROVES ONCE AGAIN that all of this HAS to be a mental projection!

Doctor: That does it. I’m off. Goodbye Peri. Goodbye Sil. It wasn’t pleasant. And as for the rest of you... I wouldn’t apologize to you if you threatened to consign me to spend all eternity trapped in the folds of Ian Levine’s gut and listening to "Doctor in Distress"! I’m GLAD you’re dead! If I could, I’d kill you again MYSELF! Then I’d go back in time, impregnate each of your mothers to make sure you were born, AND THEN I’D KILL YOU AGAIN! If you want to turn me into some sort of bleeding heart and weep out an apology, TRY CELERY BOY COZ YOU’LL GET **NOTHING** FROM ME! HAHAHAHAAHAHAH!

Viewer Quotes -

"Oh my..."
- Cameron J Mason (2009)

"What is so disappointing about One Final Fight is that it is a story that clearly has potential with the Sixth Doctor’s companions violently reminding him what a dickhead he was on TV, but it is used in a wasteful and unsatisfying curiosity." - Dave Restal (2005)

"This story is odd. But is somehow different. It has the Sixth Doctor, Peri and Sil. Yet it is a Subscribers’ Only story. Big Finish are trying to rob me of my Colin Baker fix! Worse, there is a distinct reliance on the emotional (spit) interplay between Doctor and companion to carry the story forward! DISGUSTING! This was made before RTD inserted his gnarled, hairy testicles into the world of Doctor Who! It’s so cliched and confusing with a villain with an unclear motive and the Doctor solves everything in five seconds, which is all forgivable as I do the exact same thing in my story 'The Missing Doctors' where the Black Guardian has Cybermen kill the Fifth Doctor, so the Sixth Doctor vanishes when he is stalking Peri and Sil on Thoros Beta! Why did Big Finish release this instead? WHY?! IT’S NOT FAIR!!!"
- Ron "Running Joke Wearing A Bit Thin" Mallet (2006)

"It’s pretty clear after a little while that all this is an illusion for the Doctor - but the question has to be asked: Why? I know it’s all a story anyway, and therefore not real, but this unreality within a fictional setting, where essentially what we are watching, reading about, listening to is not real anyway... I think I better stop now before I disprove my own existence and vanish in a puff of logic. So, er, I thought The Meep’s Sweeps was bad, but this is worse."
- Andrew Beeblebrox (2005)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Memories of things that never happened, these are always the hardest to forget. All the old friends and the loved ones, these are the people you haven’t even met, looking forward into the old days, looking back at what there will be, there’s no reality! It’s just an illusion! There’s no real sanity JUST PLAIN CONFUSION!!"

Colin Baker Speaks!
"I find these stories with the Doctor on his own, uncertain of his place in the universe, desperate for company, haunted by past mistakes, tormented by foretold events, unable to move forward yet prevented from going back, struggling to impose an order on a universe of chaos, mocked by those he wants to stop, distrusted by those he wants to help, a man caught in an unstoppable tide, unwilling to change yet determined to try, a man at his wits’ end but his soul’s beginning... actually, it’s rather dull now I come to think of it."

Rumors & Facts –

Following belatedly in the wake of The Maltesa Penguin, One Final Fight is Big Finish’s second subscribers’ only freebie which would be available for separate purchase before the end of the next financial quarter. It is unique, therefore, in having no kind of reputation whatsoever – especially given it features the return of the Sixth Doctor’s two least-annoying television companions. You’d think that would garner SOME kind of reaction, but like all free stories it just underwhelms the few who can be bothered to listen to it and it’s been gathering dust ever since.

But was this REALLY the best of the open submissions that Big Finish requested last year? If it really is (and I doubt that) then the collective imagination of fandom has faded massively over the years. I mean, even if the story WASN’T crap, they chose an entry by one of their own regular writers! Who wrote the release less than three months before this one! WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU PEOPLE THINKING?!?

It is probably just as well that One Final Fight is available as a subscription giveaway because the tale doesn’t really amount to very much, let alone prove worthy of hard-earned cash. Aiming to resolve what happened to Peri and Sil, some twenty years after the events of Mistrial Of A Time Lord MIGHT afford Nicola Bryant and Nabil Shabin the opportunity to portray more well-rounded characters, but it doesn’t automatically means that they do so.

Nigel Verkoff’s fanwank-ridden character study shows us a lot about the Sixth Doctor and his relationship with Peri and Sil. It also shows us that he’s spent far too many evenings after being dumped by pretty girls watching all of Season 23 in one go, doing lots of strange and creepy things to his mind.

Chief amongst them was the belief that subscribers just wouldn’t have ENOUGH backstabbing companions, virtual reality and bizarre assassins after six episodes of The Best Wife, and that a whole bonus CD full of them was desperately required. You COULD argue that Verkoff’s plotting is recognition of the universal factor in all Doctor Who stories that the Doctor will always survive to fight another day, but by doing so, it renders much of the story rather pointless which is ironic when there is clearly NO potential in the main idea in the first place.

On top of that, Verkoff decides to end a Sixth Doctor story with the plot unfinished for a hypothetical serial. Because Christ knows it worked so VERY well for authors like Gay Russell, Robert Ross and Pip and Jane Baker...

One Final Flight is for completists only.

Oh, and subscribers.

Like THEY have a say in anything...

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