Serial 9A – Clock Work
An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
Twenty-Seventh Entry in the EC Unauthorized Guide O' Data Entry
Dedicated to Craig Hinton, a lovely bloke and deeply missed.
D O C T O R W H O
Serial 9A – Clock Work -
Part One – Docking Off
There is a place in between times, in a time where there is no time. The people who live there work in the shadow of the Clockwork Men, who are rarely seen because they are often taking extremely long lunches, collecting duty free and snorting anthrax off strippers' tits. This means they often arrive back at the office without warning, mercy or trousers and come for those who can no longer keep time and take them for interviews none return from.
This is the Middle Management of Rassilon.
And the Doctor has just applied for a job as Applied Panotropic Computer Net Database Assistant (third class), something so brain-churningly stupid and suicidal that everyone assumes it has to be a cunning, dastardly master plan.
But it isn’t, and the Doctor would rather spend the rest of eternity working in a realm even Dilbert would avoid, rather than face the destructive might of the Dustbin Empire fighting the Last Great Temporal Difference of Opinion.
Charley wonders why they couldn’t escape Gallifreyan Dominitemporal Service by claiming they had flat feet or perforated ear drums or maybe a prior engagement at a half-decent orgy on a sun-drenched beach?
Sadly, all the other renegade Time Lords have already used that excuse and frankly, the High Council are getting suspicious. The TARDIS crew must take whatever they can get, even if it means doing an honest day’s work for once in their miserable lives.
The TARDIS is cast down through the seven orders of hell towards an uncharted planet orbiting a dwarf star on the edge of an elliptical galaxy. The Doctor can’t tell whether they’ve gone forwards in time or backwards and after a moment, decides he doesn’t really care and decides to simply chuck a sickie and not attend work.
The TARDIS materializes in a dull-looking corridor, and either the TARDIS has landed post Y3K or else time is standing completely still. The Doctor simply says the instrument readings are impossible and therefore, he can sleep in.
C’Rizz wants to make a good impression, because deep down he’s a total crawler and promotions slut. Putting on his tie and a briefcase, the Eutermisan strides out of the police box and onto a dog turd. His attempts to scrape it off cause him to fall backwards into a rubbish dumpster underneath an open septic tank. His plaintive screams are submerged after a while.
The Doctor and Charley laugh hysterically – you just don’t see that sort of Norman Wisdom-esque comedy on sun-drenched beach orgies. Cold, wet, quarry dinner parties, maybe, but never a beach orgy.
Emerging from the TARDIS, the Doctor tells Charley to be ready for literally anything. After stocking up on contraceptives and antibiotics, they emerge to discover...
...exactly the same corridor C’Rizz emerged into. The corridor opens onto cramped offices full of dull people with glasses and pens sitting at workstations and holding cups of coffee. Each one of them is perfectly still, glancing at their watches, or playing 'Snake' on their mobiles or illegally downloading porn onto their hard drives. All the watches are synchronized at 4:59 in the afternoon.
Rather disappointed, they wander around, trying to kick over garbage bins. However, it seems that time has frozen like amber, freezing everything in its place. Either the TARDIS has jumped a time track or this is the biggest mime display that the time travelers have ever encountered.
Distantly, they can hear the sound of a clock ticking.
The Doctor puts this down to some wacky tinitus and ignores it.
C’Rizz finally escapes the dumpster and finds a young woman having a crafty smoke in the tea room. Doesn’t she see the No Smoking sign? Is she some kind of criminal? Or a resistance fighter? Is she just plain illiterate? Is she just holding the cigarette for someone else?
C’Rizz realizes he doesn’t really care, only to note she is using one of HIS poetry books as an ashtray! Furious, he tries to haul it free, but instead is frozen in time with his burning prose.
The Doctor and Charley watch this and start laughing. Suddenly, the Doctor kicks Charley in the back and runs over to the TARDIS. He’s decided he is not correctly job motivated at all, and decides to abandon his companions for the sheer hell of it.
The TARDIS however, merely arrives back at the office at 9:00 in the morning – Charley and C’Rizz are still frozen in time eight hours hence!
The Doctor emerges to meet Revnon, the general office dogsbody that empties rubbish onto the floor to justify his employment so he can pick it up again. The Doctor finds this mind-numbingly pathetic and mocks Revnon for wasting his potential and all the love and encouragement his parents gave him.
Revnon punches the Doctor in the face, and tells him to report for work or else he will be dragged off by the Clockwork Men. The Doctor laughs through the pain – he doesn’t know what part of his anatomy ‘the clockwork men’ is, but concedes that it would probably be painful being dragged off by them.
Meanwhile, Charley and C’Rizz wonder just what they should do now. After a moment, they decide to steal the biscuits from the tea room and eat them all, then go around drawing moustaches on everyone’s faces.
The Doctor wanders around the office, generally procrastinating and wondering if anyone caught the final few minutes of 24 last night, before adding a few drops of pure LSD to the water cooler.
Finally, a cuter-than-average nerd called Vannet tells him to fuck off out of her life as she’s busy filing marketing reports. It appears that the office (and indeed the entire planet) is an anologue Doctor Who fan historian, with dozens of working trying to sort out continuity differences and chronological discrepancies.
Since the Doctor actually causes most of the work they do, he is half revered and half hated by the entire population of the planet – especially in this incarnation where books, comics, audios etc, clash together like three jagged clashing things.
The work ethic here is very important, with lunch breaks timed to the second and the Clockwork Men will randomly return from their top-level, high-interest executive pub crawls and mindlessly wipe workers from the face of reality for no adequately explored reason.
Vannet tells the Doctor to take his hand off her ass and report to the Marketing Controller, Kestorian, for training and document signing. The Doctor insists he’s a wide-eyed loner child of the Intuitive Recession, and he only works for anarchy and sex.
At that moment, Supervisor Zanith emerges from the toilets with a heap of porn mags and immediately arrests the Doctor and drags him to Head Office to answer to some allegations that Zanith will make up on the way. The Doctor privately admits that this isn’t too different from the normal way he spends his time.
For a laugh, Charley decides to removes the frozen people’s trousers and hide their pens. C’Rizz says this is childish and immature before writing ‘POETRY-THIEVING CUNT’ on the forehead of the woman who has his book. C’Rizz is really annoyed that they can interfere with ANYTHING except his poetry book, forcing him to watch it slowly burn.
Charley points at him and giggles uncontrollably.
In the Head Office, the Doctor immediately uses the computer to check his email – and apart from the usual spam, death threats and another petition by Nicholas Briggs to let him take over Big Finish, the Doctor discovers a blog dedicated to the Clockwork Men.
Following the fourth Temporal Difference of Opinion, the Clockwork Men were created – a group of kinky German expressionist mimes in spandex covered with watch logos. They control the Middle Management of Rassilon, and ironically keep it amazingly efficient by being totally chaotic and random, often firing the most hardest working of people for looking at them in a funny way. Yet Zanith is kept on despite having no job apart from making tea for visitors – and since not only is Zanith incapable of making tea well, they don’t have any visitors.
Already Vannet and Revnon have sent internal emails about how much the Doctor is an annoying, time-wasting gimp and Zanith decides to return to the toilet for some more trouser gymnastics.
In the frozen future, Charley and C’Rizz find a frozen version of the Doctor about to be crushed by a falling photocopier. They take photos, and laugh at his predicament when suddenly the lift doors burst open and the clockwork noises get louder, along with a drunken rendition of “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
The Clockwork Men have returned to work after their bender...
Part Two – Vetting an Interview
Revnon idly updates his blog, boasting how fucking invaluable he is to the Clockwork Men since he is the one that keeps them stocked with WD40 and other lubricants. Yet, depressingly, the only comment on his blog is simply:
"you seriously need to get laid"
Kestorian and Zanith are puzzled why anyone would volunteer to join the Middle Management of Rassilon and then lock themselves in the boss’s office while printing out the latest spoilers for Battlestar Galactica. Why doesn’t the Doctor have a tax file number? Why does his resume boast the face of Richard E Grant? And just what respecting Time Lord goes round whistling the theme tune to The A Team anyway?
Zanith wonders if the Doctor might be working for Faction Pardox Pty Ltd, the drunk sex-fiend junkies who take continuity roughly from behind and make it squeal like a pig?
Kestorian points that Faction Paradox is not canon, which is the whole point of the joke. Besides, those mad Kaldor City nutters take things FAR too seriously to send a badly-dressed anarchist into Time Lord Continuity Placement Holdings PLC!
However, they both fear that the Doctor might just defeat the Clockwork Men and thus render the whole project useless... which would be JUST the sort of thing the Doctor would do, the heartsless bastard! Freeing them from aeons of slavery he forced them into in the first place! "And I bet be wants all sorts of thanks too!" Krestorian adds.
Meanwhile, by standing very still, Charley and C’Rizz escape the drunken rampage of the Clockwork Men as they stumble around the office, headbutting random people and objects and finally atomizing a bloke playing solitaire, before wandering off again.
The Doctor insists that he is only in the office due to a complete admin cock up and he was really applying to work in the Soup Kitchens of Kasterborous. Kestorian knows the Doctor of old... well, of five minutes... and is convinced he has deliberately come here to sabotage operations because he is threatened by their efficiency and the thought he might really be having an eighth-life-crisis. Certainly, he’s not going to be allowed any more internet access.
"You crypto-fascist bastards!" the Doctor screams as he is dragged away. "You didn’t even let me put it on favorites! The hill have eyes, Krestorian! THE HILLS HAVE EYES!"
The Doctor is locked in the stationary cupboard, but he has stolen Zanith’s mobile and, after a few attempts to Name That Tune on Gallifreyan Hardcore Rock of the Sensorian, Sumarian and Argolin Eras, he rings up Vannet and asks her if he can check his email for him.
Revnon empties a basket of human waste over Vannet’s computer and begins to mop it up, bragging how he was given half an hour extra lunch break for shopping the Doctor to the authorities. Vannet points out that he’s using it to still do work and Revnon admits that his social life is far more pathetic than even THEY assumed...
Idly, Charley and C’Rizz start whispering instructions into the ears of all the frozen office workers, as this Manchurian Candidate stuff is really quite fun when you get the hang over it. However, C’Rizz discovers the worker he has just ordered to kill the President of the USA is, in fact, one of the Clockwork men, who grab him by the neck and haul him into their office.
Charley pretends not to notice.
Zanith enters the stationary cupboard and admits that he’s bored shitless with middle management. He has no idea what he’s supposed to do, nor any interest in doing it. He wants to be a zookeeper, or maybe just slaughtering Dustbins with a giant robot chainsaw. In return for release, the Doctor must let him go to the front line and wipe out the enemy of the Time Lords which will no doubt make him a tower of attractiveness to women.
The Doctor admits the chances are that Zanith will becomes a tower of exterminated biodata crushed underfoot, but a deal’s a deal.
Vannet wanders over to the TARDIS, opens it and out falls a copy of C’Rizz collected poems. Reading the first “Ode to Felecity Kendal Sitting on My Dorsal Fin”, she decides to burn it. Then, for the hell of it, she uses the fire to light herself a cigarette which she then smokes in direct contravention of four hundred and eleven thousand six hundred and thirty three point forty seven OHS rules.
Meanwhile, Krestorian has created a suitable ironic execution for the Doctor, and is even now winching up a photocopier to be then dropped at great velocity onto the Time Lord’s head. Just then, the Doctor runs out of the stationary cupboard, singing "Anarchy in the UK" and manages to reach the exit before two research analysts deck him in a clothesline move.
As Revnon notes this in his blog, the Doctor babbles through his concussion that empirical knowledge is not strictly true – they don’t KNOW he’s a time wasting dole-scrounging parasite with no work ethic and a drain on social security, they’re just ASSUMING it based on what THEY consider to be irrefutable evidence!
Kestorian agrees and activates... the Downsizer!
The photocopier plunges towards the Doctor’s screaming face...
Part Three – Business Spam
In the frozen moment, Charley drags the Doctor out of harms way, shags him, and is then caught by the Clockwork Men in an uncompromising position. Her seduction techniques on clock work is rusty. Heh. Anyway, she is dragged off as time returns to normal.
The Doctor has miraculously survived the downsizer, and points out that as they have no proof the Clockwork Men saved him, there can be no proof they didn’t and therefore, as such they did.
One of the research analyst collapses trying to understand the argument and is then atomized.
Furthermore, both Kestrorian and Zanith both have doubts about executing the Doctor. They also sing the chorus to I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts whenever they hear their own names. This is due to the crude subliminal instruction Charley and C’Rizz gave out.
Meanwhile, they are in an office where a lazy-eyed Chinese woman from Statistical Analysis Division of Workplace And Nature Control (or SAD WANC for short) hands them some forms to fill in so they can join the Middle Management of the Time Lords, before having their interview with the Head Honcho, before taking up work in the office.
Charley has no time to worry about intelligence quotients, personality types and adaptability – she’s going to sleep her way to the top! C’Rizz asks Charley to wait only until he gets the camcorder working, as he intends to put this up with the rest of his YouTube series of Charley Shags Everything.
The Clockwork Men appear in a flash! But they just want to watch Charley seduce the SAD WANC representative as the the Clockwork Men are programmed to collect and process data to produce short term probability forecasts - in other words, they had predicted a 3.4% chance that Charley would shag a coworker today.
The Doctor suggests he and Kestorian undergo a hostile takeover and seize Middle Management from the hands of the Time Lords then sell it for profit to the Dustbin Empire – after all, who would want to spend their time second-guessing a bunch of spandex-clad psychopaths on a perpetual bender?
Before Kestorian realizes what’s happening, he’s already delegated all his responsibilities and privileges to the Doctor and demoted himself to night watchman and toilet attendant.
Now controlling Middle Management, the Doctor immediately decides to settle his score with Revnon and declares him a time waster useful only for immediate exploration of remaining leisure potential. Revnon insists his blog proves how reliable and hardworking he is, but since his online ID has a photo of Adam Rickitt instead of his own ugly features, Revnon cannot be trusted.
Revnon insists that the Clockwork Men will save him and the Doctor drops a photocopier on Revnon, crushing him.
"Hah! Put THAT in your blog, loser boy!" the Doctor jeers.
Charley meanwhile patiently waits for her promotion while C’Rizz goes to see the Head Honcho, who is, in fact, a cardboard cut-out of Robert Maxwell – snatched out of time and space by the Dark Gods of Gallifrey and placed here to create a Protestant work ethic for the Time Lords to realize their own potential and within the budget.
C’Rizz is immediately interested in getting a head start in a competitive world – for all his lefty, wishy-washy poetry exterior, he is a capitalist at heart!
The Head Honcho offers him a position as Senior Bastard in the data transcript organic resources department, and immediately C’Rizz puts on some Cyber Samurai armor and starts marching around the office frightening some people, punching others and then beheading the union representative before going for a game of golf using his ornament-cum-secretary Crystal as a club bag.
Needless to say, C’Rizz has totally sold out the Doctor and an army of pissed Clockwork Men, spoiling for a fight, lurch through the corridors towards the Doctor, Football chants filling the air.
The Doctor meets Vannet and offers her a chance to be his new companion. As they head back to the TARDIS, Vannet points out that staying in Middle Management is about the safest place they can be now a massive Temporal Difference of Opinion is underway. The Dustbins are fighting battles across the universe throughout all time – apart from Middle Management, there is only the Lungbarrow Looney Bin where all the insane nutters are kept.
The Doctor has plenty of experience fighting Dustbins and, more relevantly, plenty of experience hiding from Dustbins until they go away. He is absolutely confident that nothing can go wrong.
At that moment, Vannet picks up a fire extinguisher and starts to bludgeon the Doctor to death.
The Doctor uses his Alien Mind Powers to stop her, realizing that Charley and C’Rizz have conditioned the entire office place to go psycho and murder everything they see.
"Seriously," the Doctor demands, "WHAT part of that plan seemed like a good idea at the time?!"
Part Four – Change of Anger Management
The Doctor and Vannet flee through the office, trying to escape from the rampaging hoard. This goes on for a while. Lots of corridors. A barricade is built and torn down. An escape up a ventilation shaft and down a fire escape. All to groovy disco beats.
Charley and C’Rizz are enjoying some hot bean tea with soy milk, Charley perfecting the professional snog with C’Rizz’s secretary, and C’Rizz perfecting the professional handshake with a frieze block.
Then they get an internal memo about the Doctor’s chaotic activities and that today’s overheads are no so low as to no longer be worth mentioning, so there’s no point all you sad statistic fans asking ME for the info, because it is never revealed. Fuck off and get a life, the lot of you. "Who’s Next?" is rubbish by ANYONE’S standards!
Since the Head Honcho’s latest recruits refuse to do anything but ‘lunch’, the Head Honcho goes to EXTREME MEASURES!!!
Kestorian gets a text message about some free DVDs and leaves work early, missing a memo from the Head Honcho ordering Operation: Complete Carnage where a possessed puppet from Rob Shearman’s “The Unholy Error” appears and slaughters everyone. Since Kestorian is the only one that knows how to release the evil puppet from the main fusebox, this plot thread will have to be abandoned and Sam Kelly will get no cash today.
The Clockwork Men charge drunkenly through the office, knocking over bookshelves, and smashing in plasma screen monitors – finally revealing to their workforce what a bunch of useless time-wasting tossers their bosses are. David Dimblevy narrates this section as everyone realizes that at the very least the last four episodes are a total waste of time and I really shoulda bought that Sapphire and Steel CD instead.
The fleeing Doctor and Vannet hide in the tea room and bump into Zanith who, fickle as ever, sides with the Clockwork Men and betrays the Doctor to them. Vannet shoves Zanith into the coffee maker and simultaneously drowns and scalds him. However, the author suddenly remembers that all the workers are Time Lords and so regenerate into duplicates of the person next to them – meaning no new cast members are required! BRILLIANT!
Vannet stands on a table and suggests they have a bitching orgy instead – of course, the Clockwork Men COULD edit her out of time, but this would prove what dickheads they were and the office workers would rebel. Damned either way, the Clockwork Men...
...slaughter absolutely everything in the office, then self-destruct.
The Doctor, Charley and C’Rizz watch this on from the TARDIS scanner as the planet explodes in a flurry of paperwork. The Doctor muses that there is only one place left for him to hide... the Time Lord mental asylum, the Rubik’s Cube!
Charley asks how the hell the Doctor can check himself into a looney bin, and the Time Lord responds by whacking himself violently over the head with a frying pan... giving himself total AMNESIA!