Tag Archives: evil merpeople

It’s Shark Week on Doctor When, Naughty Time Machines and My Shameful Little Secret

And now onto the next chapter in Doctor When’s Adventurous Time Adventures!  I’m quite pleased because I finally worked out the final trajectory, and I know how it ends now.  But you don’t, HA!


The merpeople seemed to be taunting them, swimming just within reach to grab or yank some floating appendage or piece of clothing before swirling off again. For the humans, of course, fighting underwater was proving difficult. Even Wilburforce, usually so efficacious with his fists, was finding it hard to land a solid blow quickly or powerfully. Doctor When’s rapier cut the water with its keen edge, but it too was hampered by the slowing effect of the seawater.

After some minutes of struggling to acquit themselves well in the situation, the Doctor’s voice came through their submarinopulminators, ‘I think popfizz best we make a hasty retreat. Pop-geborg isn’t fizz anymore.’

Relieved, the others followed her lead and swam warily back the way they had come. The merpeople followed, raking exposed skin with sharp chitinous claws when the opportunity presented itself. A trail of red blood hanging in their wake soon marked their passage.

‘Ah, I think we poppop go even more hasty,’ the Chrononaut remarked, eyes fixed upon distant shapes growing nearer and more defined. Whereas the merpeople had merely moved shark-like, these shadows were the real thing, drawn to the scent of blood in the water.

The merpeople noticed the threat at the same time, and turned with predatory hissing to face the large carnivores. Suddnely the water was roiling with fins and teeth, a sheer smorgasbord of marine violence.

In the commotion, the humans managed to drift near enough to the Time Machine, perched on a bed of nearby coral, to board its periosphere. Or rather, to attempt to – for the hatch was refusing to open. And the fight between merpeople and sharks was getting more frenetic and, more importantly, closer to where they floated.

‘You fizzfizz bloody Time Machine!’ the Doctor swore. ‘If you let us in popfizz I vow that once this is over you can have fizz a proper go at doing me in!’ Immediately, the wheeled mechanism spun in her hands and they pulled themselves inside.

As the hatch shut, waves of pinkened water crept through the closing gap. The periosphere drained of water with the throwing of a lever, and soon Doctor When was removing her submarinopulminator.

‘Well that was bracing,’ she said, wringing out her lace cuffs. ‘On to the next, shall we?’

Back within the main body of the Time Machine, the bedraggled toughs were not feeling nearly as tough as they had when this chronological adventure had begun.

‘So how much further will we be travelling in time before we find this Ingeborg?’ Vermacelli asked, rubbing the spot on her scalp where her hair had been pulled.

‘Yeah,’ agreed her sister. ‘Cannelloni has a point.’

‘Thank you, Tortellini,’ Vermacelli-now-Cannelloni nodded curtly.

‘You’re very welcome,’ Rigatoni-now-Tortellini returned the gesture.

Doctor When watched their exchange with patience, and replied, ‘As long as it takes.’

‘Ahem,’ Wilburforce cleared his throat politely, getting the attention of the three formidable women. ‘And how will be know when we’ve found it/him/her?’

‘Oh, we’ll know,’ the Doctor proclaimed darkly. Then she turned back to her dials and before they knew it they were hurtling through time-space once more.


I’ll let you in on my shameful little secret.  It’s terrible, and please don’t judge me harshly, but:

I have to use Wikipedia’s List of Pasta Varieties to decide the interchangeable names for the Spaghetti Sisters.  There’s just no way I can remember that many different kinds of semolina-based noodle product on demand.

And now you know.

Doctor When’s Triumphant Return!

As well as working on Cobault, I’m also continuing with The Adventurous Time Adventures of Doctor When.  Hurrah!  Now it’s been a looong time since I began this shenanigan, so feel free to tag-travel and read what came before again (or indeed for the first time, if you’re uninitiated in my strange steampunk serial drama).

On with the wacky!


There was that swirling-down-the-drain feeling again as they slipped in and out of time, uncertain when or where they would end up next. And what strangeness they might encounter therein.

That question was soon answered.

‘Aha!’ Doctor When exclaimed once they had come to a chronological stop. ‘We’ll need to exit via the periosphere.’ With one hand, she pulled down an extendable ladder and reached up to unscrew what looked like a hatch from a submarine.

The others looked on bemused as the Chrononaut shed her tailed coat and shimmied up the ladder and out of sight. Three spherical objects were thrown to each of them in turn, clear-fronted and mechanical. Doctor When’s face appeared in the hatch opening.

‘Come on, then!’

‘Er,’ Wilburforce ventured, turning the object in his meaty but miniature hands. ‘What are these?’

‘Submarinopulminators! Of my own invention, of course. Still working on the communications system, though’

‘But what are they for?’ Vermacelli frowned.

‘How else do you expect to breathe underwater? Come on now, let’s get cracking!’

Up the ladder, they entered another cramped space which all but Wilburforce had to slouch in order to fit inside. Doctor When tightened the hatch shut once they were all within, and donned her submarinopulminator while the others followed suit after seeing how it was done. Thus prepared, the esteemed Doctor threw a lever and cold seawater rushed to fill the periosphere.

As they became soaked through, it became apparent how useful their devices were. Within the submarinopulminators the four land-dwelling air-breathing humans were able to freely draw breath and maintain a good field of vision. Right now, the three hired toughs were seeing Doctor When leaving them behind through an open hatch at the top of the periosphere.

They propelled themselves after her, with varying degrees of efficiency, through the dully lit marine landscape. When they caught up, the Doctor turned and spoke to them, her words fizzing and popping as they emanated through the device, as if beside each of their ears.

‘We need to swim fizzpop the other side of poppop stone outcropping fizzz,’ she said, or nearly. ‘The anoma-fizzpopfizz there.’

So they stretched their legs and arms weightlessly and headed off in that directions. Around them, drifts of seaweed caught on their clothing and extremities. Wilburforce frowned at the thought of what his outfit would look like after this undersea adventure, but then he was used to getting strange stains, usually blood, out of his garments.

Eventually they passed the specified outcropping, and turned to see what sat on its other side.

There were shapes in the water, dark and human-sized. And they moved quickly, like sharks, making the hairs rise on the necks of Wilburforce and the Spaghetti Sisters. Doctor When merely trod water and watched as they became surrounded.

‘What are these fizz-ings?’ Rigatoni had to ask, her voice squeaking with fear.

Fizzpop-ple,’ the Doctor replied, or tried to.


Poppop said, they’re merpeop-fizzz.’

‘Are they popfizz anomal-pop?’ Wilburforce wondered, trying to spin in place to keep his eye on as many as possible.

‘Oh indeed, as a matter of popfizz, merpeople became extinct two hundr-pop years ago. And we fizzpop travelled back only fifty.’

The shapes were drawing closer and closer, until they were swimming within mere metres of the humans. One swooped in and grabbed Vermacelli’s hair, drifting in a cloud from the back of her submarinopulminator, tearing a hank of it from the roots.

‘That fizzpop-ing watery bitch! I’m going to poppop kill her!’ the Spaghetti Sister cried.

‘I suggest fizz do so,’ the Doctor agreed, drawing her rapier.


Ok, so freely tell me if you find all that popping and fizzing to be terribly irritating, instead of wacktastically humorous as it was intended to be.  My feelings won’t be hurt (much).

I love having such a random side-project to lift my spirits when I get bogged down in Cobault.  And now I’ve decided that once its finished it’ll be a proper short-story which I can try to enter in various competitions for fame and prize money.

Both of which are certainly noble goals, yes?