Tag Archives: The Adventurous Time Adventures of Doctor When

A New Page Is Born

Alright then!  Now if you look at the top of this page, next to my Bio page, you will now see The Adventurous Time Adventures of Doctor When!  In its full and complete glory.

Enjoy my insanity.  I sure do.

Doctor When? Who’s That?? FINISHED, That’s Who.

Ok, so this will probably not make sense to those of you who haven’t partaken of my insanity for the extent of this blog’s existence.  But I have a short story, named The Adventurous Time Adventures of Doctor When which I have been releasing as a serial time drama.  It’s been some ridiculous number of months since the last portion, so it’s rather belatedly I can announce:

The Adventurous Time Adventures of Doctor When has been finished!  I just wrote the final bit of it tonight, under some duress.  (But really I enjoy duress, since it makes me get shit done!)

But here’s the thing: if I post this final chapter here and now, 90% of you (I’m, perhaps falsely, believing that I’ll get more than a single hit on this post) will have no clue what I’m taking about, or have read TATAoDW so long ago it essentially leads to the same thing – me posting all the bazillion links needed for you to catch up on the story.

Oy.

I’m too snotty and blech for that nonsense.  Plus it’s late and I want to go to bed.  So what I’ll do instead is, probably tomorrow, make a new page on this blog which holds the whole ridiculous story in its entirety.  Interested parties can catch up/read it all in one place.

And it will have an ENDING – amazing.  You don’t see too many of those, with my stories!  (I think I have 5 completed works EVER – which might sound fairly respectable until you understand that I’ve began probably nearly 100 stories in my life thus far, half of which have not gone beyond a single, disappointing page.)

So tonight I shall bask in the warm feeling of a project completed.  And cough, snot and splutter myself to sleep.

Doctor When’s Desert Danger and Hurray for Springtime

More Adventurous Time Adventures, for your enjoyment/eye-brow raising/confusion/scorn:

*

This time Doctor When opened the Time Machine door without hesitation upon arrival, and a blast of hot air enveloped them. They stepped out into blinding sunlight, and for a moment they were so dazzled they could only see white. Then it became clear that they stood amongst giant white sand dunes for as far as the eye could see.

‘This is rather convenient,’ the Chrononaut remarked. ‘We’ll be able to get dry.’

And indeed, their clothes began to warm immediately, and soon they were as dry as the few sun-bleached bones that were scattered in the sand. And after a few moments more they all wished they were underwater with the vicious merpeople again. It was far too hot, and they were all incredibly thirsty

‘What’s that?’ cried Tortellini, pointing to a patch of dull green suddenly visible before them, starkly contrasting against all the pale sand.

‘An oasis?’ Wilburforce wondered, having heard of such things on the rare occasions that he enjoyed a night in by the fire with tea and a good book, rather than his usual violence and mayhem.

Their steps quickened at the thought of water, but as they approached, they first noticed that the scattered bones were becoming less scattered and more concentrated in number.

‘When exactly are we?’ Cannelloni had the presence of mind to ask, knives in hand.

‘One thousand two hundred and forty-eight years, three months, two days, and eighteen minutes ago,’ the Doctor replied.

‘And that, hiding in the shrub? That’s what exactly?’

‘That would be a polar bear.’

‘I assume that’s our anomaly, then?’

‘You would be assuming correctly.’

The polar bear was not happy. He was far too hot, most of all, but also very confused. This was not something the polar bear could easily handle, and it made him very angry. So, whenever something came his way, the odd herd of camel-like beasts or such, he released that anger in the only way he knew how. Killing things.

So when the ragged band of humans arrived near his oasis, that instinct rose furiously within him and he immediately leapt forward. The chase made him even hotter, but he knew that quenching his thirst on their blood would make the discomfort worth it. They were slow, these two-legged beasts, but they had a head-start. It would not take long for him to catch up, he realised as he thundered through the sand towards them.

It was unclear to the polar bear why these creatures were rushing towards a tall, boxy object. It had an odd smell, but it was not food nor water. One had opened a section of it, revealing an opening like the mouth of a cave. He remembered caves, those dark and cool places to sleep. But he was nearly upon them, now, and gnashed his teeth in anticipation. One was within reach, and he reached out a paw to swipe.

But then it moved, too quickly, and the polar bear could not stop his headlong flight. Sand scattered as he was flung from his own inertia into the mouth of the strange cave and he hit the back wall with a thud.

‘Quickly now!’ Doctor When closed the door of the Time Machine.

‘But, Doctor!’ Tortellini exclaimed. ‘The polar bear is inside!’

‘Exactly.’ She opened a side-panel which revealed a miniature version of the dials and switches within. Buttons were pressed, levers were thrown, and the Time Machine seemed to implode on itself into nothing.

The Spaghetti Sisters clung to each other, horrified. Wilburforce stood sweating from the exertion beside them, staring in shock at the place the Time Machine had vacated.

‘We’re going to perish here!’ Cannelloni cried, turning on the Doctor. ‘What have you done?’

Doctor When was silent and merely shook her head.

‘Have you gone mad?’ she persisted.

‘I think you’ll find there was no “going” involved,’ the Doctor replied cheerily, checking her pocket watch. It was a miracle it still worked, after all their adventures.

‘But the Time Machine is gone!’

‘It is.’

‘So how will we get back?’

‘The Time Machine, of course.’

‘But it’s gone!’ the two sisters shouted in unison.

At that very moment, there was an expulsion of air. The Time Machine stood where it had been some moments before, as if it had never left.

‘And now it’s back,’ Doctor When remarked. ‘Shall we?’

The others recoiled in fear as she opened the door, but the interior was polar bear-less.

‘I merely instructed the Time Machine to take the poor creature back to a habitat to which it would be more suited. There was no reason to let the beast suffer needlessly,’ she explained, waving them inside.

‘You could’ve mentioned that before,’ Wilburforce grumbled, his civility momentarily shaken by yet another near-death experience.

‘Many apologies,’ the Chrononaut solemnly said, ‘I suppose I thought it obvious. Onward?’

*

I’m expecting there to be only one or two more installments left to write, depending on how verbose the ending gets.  Then I can put TATAoDW aside as a completed project!  How fabulous.

In other news, I’m very excited that spring is becoming more and more imminent here, as noted by the above header picture taken yesterday.  I love seeing flowers in February!  Back in Boston, we were lucky to see any signs of spring before late March or April most of the time.  And then you have one or two glorious weeks of spring before it all becomes far too hot, and then you have summer for the other half of the year.

Ah, I love Scotland.  Much more sensible.

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.

‘What?’

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?

Inachronistic Danger, the Innocent Wheat and the Magic Sock Appeal

Yes, I survived yesterday (mostly)!  And now, continuing onto the Adventurous Time Adventures!

*

‘What was that, Wilburforce?’ Doctor When turned to ask, just in time to see the Dwarf lay a solid punch onto his reptilian enemy, helped by his spiked leaden knuckles. With the hiss of metal she drew her rapier from its sheath, and the Spaghetti Sisters behind her conjured daggers in each hand. Before them, a horde of anachronistic predators gained ground.

‘I take it this is your anomaly?’ Vermacelli shouted over the sound of a dozen sharp claws tearing soil.

‘Ingeborg’s anomaly,’ the Chrononaut corrected the Sister. ‘But yes, this is surely it.’

Then the time for conversation was past and they were concerned with other matters, such as razor-sharp teeth and not dying upon them.

‘On your left, Doctor!’ Rigatoni warned from behind, and in due course the air beside Doctor When’s left cheek whizzed with the passage of a dagger. It hit a crouching dinosaur where it had sneaked towards them, unseen until that moment. Doctor When grinned at the girl’s reflexes, but was then swinging her rapier towards another foe. The air was full of daggers, reptilian blood and stalks of wheat that were the innocent bystanders in this battle.

When the last dinosaur fell beside its slain kin, the foursome had only a moment to catch their before they were aware of a new danger. A sturdy French farmer was making a beeline for their position, waving his arms and shouting.

‘Ah, I see we’ve gained the attention of the owner of this field,’ Doctor When remarked, crouching down to clean her rapier with a handful of strewn wheat refuse. The Sisters were busy gathering their daggers from their resting places in the thick skin of the defeated creatures, and Wilburforce picked bits of dinosaur meat from his spiked knuckle-dusters.

‘Bonjour, Monsieur,’ the Doctor smiled charmingly at the irate farmer as he drew close. He replied in frantic French, accompanied by sharp arm movements to punctuate his words and aghast expressions at the carnage around them in the very centre of his wheat crop.

‘What’s he saying?’ Vermacelli asked, bemused.

‘Mostly unkind speculation about the professions of our respective mothers.’ Doctor When replied to the man in French with the ease of fluency as she began to retreat, gesturing for the others to follow. She and the farmer continued their exchange, growing louder and more expletive on the part of the latter, until they were back at the site of the Time Machine. Doctor When opened the door and motioned the others to enter first before following through the doorway.

‘Je suis désolé, Monsieur,’ she apologised, closing the door on his reddened face. Inside the Time Machine, all was silent. The others looked at her, disheveled from the fight, somewhat glassy-eyed and confused.

‘We’re leaving?’ Rigatoni asked.

‘Yes, Ingeborg isn’t here.’

‘How can you be sure?’

‘The farmer told me.’

‘He said that?’ Vermacelli looked at the Doctor incredulously. ‘From what I gathered he was mainly swearing and talking about his wheat.’

‘Indeed. If Ingeborg was still here he would have had a lot more to say. Something along the lines of, “Oh God, help me now!”’ She turned her attention to the dials, levers and buttons. ‘And so we’re on to the next anomaly! We might even get to see something interesting this time.’

The Spaghetti Sisters exchanged glances, and Wilburforce might have looked equally skeptical if he wasn’t currently being pressed between two sets of shapely legs that were distracting his attention. At least the pay upon completion of this Mission would be excellent, providing they all survived.

*

So yes, my fingers and their typing ability survived the cold and predatory avian beasts of yesterday!  Aren’t you glad??

In other news, I’m not so sure my feet survived entirely.  They felt (or rather, didn’t feel as they were numb thoroughly) like solid blocks of foot-shaped ice for about 7 hours, and this morning I still have some tingling in my toes.  Ah well.  What’s a bit of nerve damage between friends (or rather, between a girl and her desire to fly gorgeous birds of prey at the cost of her extremities, squeamishness and exhaustion)?

You wouldn’t believe how cold I was, even in my bazillion layers.  Unless you live somewhere properly Arctic, and you’re just laughing at my crapness.  You heartless bastard.

So there’s this phenomenon in Scotland called “freezing fog”.  It’s fog, but frozen.  How does that work?! Regardless, it happened yesterday.  A misty aura of deathly cold vapour sat over the ground all around us, growing ever-thicker once the sun disappeared at around 3ish.  It was the shortest day of the year, and I can honestly say it seemed like the sun was only shining for a mere hour of blessed light and warmth.  Although it rose at 9ish and set at 3-ish, there was only this one hour just after noon where it seemed to do anything useful.

It’ll only get better from here on – longer days and maybe even some above-freezing temperatures!  Yay!  In the meantime, I’m accepting any and all donations of magic foot-heating socks with which to save my poor froze-y toesies.

😦

It’s a good thing I don’t type with my feet.

Next Thursday Morning, ‘Where’ as well as ‘When’, and The Anomaly.

Again, clicking on the tag entitled ‘The Adventurous Time Adventures of Doctor When‘ will take you to a page with all the excerpts, of which today’s is:

*

The Time Machine was a box, roughly the size of a large wardrobe, made of metal, wires and strangeness. Or at least that’s how it looked to the three toughs, goggle-eyed at the complex systems of knobs, dials, levers and clock faces within. It was a tight fit once they were inside and Doctor When shut the doors behind them, shooing them into a corner where a stray elbow wouldn’t knock their trajectory off course.

‘This may be disorientating,’ the Doctor informed them, pressing, pulling, turning and winding various contraptions with no apparent hesitation. In the next moment they felt very much like that last bit of water in a bathtub, swirling violently through the drain. It seemed to go on forever; it seemed to last a mere eye-blink. Then they were still. ‘We’re here,’ the nonplussed Chrononaut needlessly pointed out.

‘Where, er, I mean when is here?’ Wilburforce asked, uncomfortably squashed behind the legs of a Spaghetti Sister.

‘We’re at precisely 11.03 Thursday morning,’ the Doctor replied.

‘Last Thursday?’ asked the Spaghetti Sister known today as Vermicelli.

‘I’m afraid not,’ corrected Doctor When, leaning over a dial. ‘Which is a shame, because last Thursday was particularly delightful. I would’ve liked to visit it again. But alas! It’s this Thursday coming.’

‘We’ve only travelled forward two days?’ the other sister, Rigatoni, exclaimed bemusedly.

‘Two days, one hour and eighteen minutes, to be precise. Shall we?’ With that, the Chrononaut reached around the others to open the door, and they tumbled out haphazardly.

To find themselves plonked in the middle of a wide, empty field up to their thighs (or Wilburforce’s neck) in wheat. The sun bore down upon them from a painfully blue sky, and in the distance conical green trees bordered the field geometrically.

‘Huh,’ Wilburforce said, wittily. ‘I thought time travel kept you stationary in place, and only time changed.’

‘A common misconception. We travel across time-space, which means that we move freely along all of the four dimensions. Time is only one of them.’

‘So where are we, then?’

‘Somewhere on the Continent, it seems,’ Doctor When looked around them. ‘I’d guess at Southern France.’

‘Don’t you know more specifically than that?’ Vermicelli turned to her employer with a frown. ‘Doesn’t the Time Machine tell you?’

‘I’m afraid the Time Machine only tells time, my dear. If it were a Location Machine, then maybe we’d be in luck. Or a Map Machine, instantly capable of drafting ones position upon arrival,’ the Doctor seemed to lose herself in the thought, dreamily continuing, ‘I’d call it the Cartographoid Spectrometer.’

‘Doctor?’ Wilburforce interrupted her reverie. ‘What do we do now?’

‘Ah, yes!’ Doctor When returned to the Machine, drawing a notepad from a coat pocket. After some furious scribbles, she returned it to her pocket and joined the others once again. ‘The anomaly we’re looking for isn’t far.’

There was a sudden rustling sound coming from the wheat, but Wilburforce ignored it as mere wind. But then he watched the still, distant tree-tops, incongruous with the rustling that surrounded them.

‘Um, I think we might have a probl-‘ but he never finished his sentence. The small man was too busy fending off the small dinosaur that was currently trying to eat his face.

*

DINOSAURS!  Did you see that coming?  HA!

Anyway.  It’s freakishly cold here, and will likely be -12 C (about 10 F) tomorrow morning when I have to go be outside all day.  Joy!  I may not be capable of posting afterward, dependent upon whether or not my fingers are still attached to me, either frozen off or eaten by a hungry raptor.  Either way, it sort of spells disaster for typing.

Pray for my fingers.

Wilburforce’s Smallclothes, ‘Are You Ready to Time Travel?’ and Eccentricity: A Discourse on Gender Roles

Herein lies the fourth snippet of The Adventurous Time Adventures of Doctor When!  To read them all, merely click on the tag by the same name (I’m getting tired of making them each individual links on every post!) and enjoy.

*

‘So when do we begin, Doctor?’ Wilburforce cracked his knuckles in anticipation. He’d been getting bored of brawling in bars and alleyways for a while now, so a new challenge of this sort was exactly what he needed.


‘Good man!’ the Doctor exclaimed in approval of his apparent enthusiasm. The Dwarf blushed, unused as he was to praise or the term ‘man’ as a fair description of his person. He was much more familiar with ‘shortarse’ or even ‘gremlin’.   Doctor When continued, ‘We’ll begin at precisely forty-five minutes past nine tomorrow morning.’


‘Is there a reason for such precise timing?’ Macaroni wanted to know, still trying to come to terms with this Mission they found themselves on.


‘Of course!’ Doctor When twirled her riding crop, ‘That’s when I finish breakfast! No need for an unnaturally early start when one’s a Chrononaut – there’s always time,’ she chuckled to herself.


‘Must we come provisioned in any specific way?’ Lasange asked, sensing this discussion was nearing its end.


‘Sensible shoes would be a start,’ the Chrononaut suggested, ‘not to mention any assorted weaponry you possess. And it wouldn’t be unwise to bring a packed lunch, dinner or breakfast – you never know when we might end up!’


Indeed, the next morning they assembled at the laboratory ready for whatever the day might throw at them. Wilburforce was wearing his favourite knuckle-dusters, made of lead and formed into raised spikes across the surface. He was dressed in brown leather boots and vest, sturdy trousers, of surprisingly tailored fit, and shirt to match. It was an unknown fact that, due to his unusual size and proportions, he was forced to make his own clothing and had become rather adept at creating practical fashion for the smaller man. It would have pained him to admit it, but Wilburforce enjoyed the process of turning mere cloth into wearable garments. In his cups, the Dwarf considered giving up on fighting altogether and opening a little shop – he even had the name picked out: Wilburforce’s Smallclothes.


The Spaghetti Sisters wore identical fighting leotards (much the same as normal leotards, only with hidden back- and breastplates made of aluminium – not much use against a solid blow, but turned the blade of a knife a treat) over identical striped leggings, which terminated inside boots with small wicked heels. They had always caused an uproar whenever they went about in public, dressed as they were, with gentlemen shouting, ‘Well, I never!’ and ladies gasping behind handkerchiefs. Each carried several pairs of daggers sheathed in various places around their respective persons, which did wonders for putting off unwanted attention when it turned from merely aghast to menacingly opportunistic.


Doctor When met them, dressed in much the same manner as the day before; the only new addition was a rapier hanging at her belt.


‘Ah, good,’ she said, ‘you’re all here. Ready to time travel?’


*

 

It’s snowing with vigour here, joy of joys – we just got rid of the last batch!  Oh well, at least it’s picturesque.

 

Weather aside, let’s discuss something!  Have you noticed that there are hosts of eccentric male characters portrayed in writing and on screen, but very few women?  And I’m talking the kind of ego-centric eccentricity that charactises the like of the new remake of Sherlock Holmes, BBC’s Sherlock, and Dirk Gently.  I love  those sorts of characters!  However, this tends to be the realm of men, to which I say, “Feh!”  Women can be eccentric the way an old cat lady is “eccentric”, which is to say closer to madness than genius.

 

Is this fair?  No!

 

Thus, Doctor When is my attempt at a female character with all the characteristics of true typically-male-dominated eccentricity.  She’s totally in control, a mad scientist with a Mission, and doesn’t appear to care much for cats.  I’m not trying to make her any less a woman for it, for all that she dresses like a Victorian gentleman (it’s purely practical in her line of work), but neither does being a woman have to define her entirely.  She’s more than just bosoms and hips, she’s a Chrononaut – capable, confident (sometimes to excess) and more than a little nutzo!

‘When do we begin, Doctor?’ Wilburforce cracked his knuckles in anticipation. He’d been getting bored of brawling in bars and alleyways for a while now, so a new challenge of this sort was exactly what he needed.

‘Good man!’ the Doctor exclaimed in approval of his apparent enthusiasm. The Dwarf blushed, used to being called more derogatory terms than that. ‘We’ll begin at precisely forty-five minutes past nine tomorrow morning.’

‘Is there a reason for such precise timing?’ Macaroni wanted to know, still trying to come to terms with this Mission they found themselves on.

‘Of course!’ Doctor When twirled her riding crop, ‘That’s when I finish breakfast! No need for an unnaturally early start when one’s a Chrononaut – there’s always time,’ she chuckled to herself.

‘Must we come provisioned in any specific way?’ Lasange asked, sensing this discussion was nearing its end.

‘Sensible shoes would be a start,’ the Chrononaut suggested, ‘not to mention any assorted weaponry you possess. And it wouldn’t be unwise to bring a packed lunch – you never know when we might end up!’

Indeed, the next morning they assembled at the laboratory ready for whatever the day might throw at them. Wilburforce was wearing his favourite knuckle-dusters, made of lead and formed into raised spikes across the surface. He was dressed in brown leather boots and vest, sturdy trousers, his least-stained pair, and shirt to match. As usual, it was rolled up above his elbows to reveal sinewy forearms, scarred and scabbed from his nighttime profession. It was an unknown fact that, due to his unusual size and proportions, he was forced to make his own clothing and had become rather adept at creating practical fashion for the smaller man. It would have pained him to admit it, but Wilburforce enjoyed the process of turning mere cloth into wearable garments. In his cups, the Dwarf considered giving up on fighting altogether and opening a little shop – he even had the name picked out: Wilburforce’s Smallclothes. The double entendre made him chuckle.

The Spaghetti Sisters wore identical fighting leotards over identical stretchy leggings, which terminated identically inside boots with small wicked heels. They had always caused an uproar whenever they went about in public, dressed as they were, with gentlemen shouting, ‘Well, I never!’ and ladies gasping behind handkerchiefs. Thankfully there wasn’t likely to be much of that wherever, whenever, they were heading this morning. Also, each carried hidden pairs of daggers sheathed in various places around their respective persons, which did wonders to putting off unwanted attention.

Doctor When met them, dressed in much the same manner as the day before; the only new addition was a rapier hanging at her belt.

‘Ah, good,’ she said, ‘you’re all here. Ready to time travel?’

Doctor When’s Most Important Mission, and the Mysterious Ingeborg

Continuing from yesterday’s excerpt, which had its beginnings on Thursday’s post:

*

‘I have a Most Important Mission,’ the Doctor began, settling herself to face the others. She flipped her coattails out of the way before perching upon a corner of her laboratory table, and let them take in her formidable appearance. Doctor When wasn’t particularly large or menacing as such, but her intensity of expression emanated through her clothed form, dressed as it was in a lace-cuffed shirt and smart waistcoat beneath her signature tailed coat, down through legs clad in finely-tailored jodhpurs and tall leather boots. Every atom of her person was imbued with most certain purpose. ‘It is such: to find Ingeborg.’

The last was pronounced with such precision and determination that the three gathered toughs merely stared at their new employer for a moment. Then Macaroni (as she was being called today by her sister Lasagne) spoke up:

‘Who’s Ingeborg?’

‘Aha!’ Doctor When lifted her index finger, as if a sudden epiphany had just blossomed in her illustrious brain. ‘The question is: what is Ingeborg!’

When it seemed no further exposition was forthcoming, Lasagne decided to bite on her sister’s behalf, ‘Very well, what is this Ingeborg?”

‘Indeed,’ Doctor When nodded gravely, as if by asking the question this particular Spaghetti Sister was offering an answer in its own right. ‘All I know is that my dear old classmate and rival, Doctor Inga Ekstrom, has let loose this Ingeborg into the aether of time-space where it’s wreaking untold chronological havoc. My mission, and by extension yours, is to locate said Ingeborg and stop it from doing further harm.’

‘Pardon, Doctor,’ Wilburforce spoke up with unexpected civility for a man, Dwarf or otherwise, with his violent history, ‘but how exactly will we locate this Ingeborg in all of time-space?’ Even he, as untutored as he was in the arts of the Chrononauts, knew that time-space was infinite, a concept which boggled his mind in an unpleasant fashion. Normally such unpleasantness was followed by pain, usually of his making, and he unconsciously clenched his fists.

‘Aha!’ Doctor When repeated her earlier exclamation, and suddenly a riding crop appeared in her hand. She leapt from her perch and strode over to the blank face of a double-sided chalkboard, flipping it so that a complex diagram now faced the queer assembly. ‘This is time-space,’ she pointed with the crop for emphasis, ‘with its four dimensions: the three spatial dimensions plus the temporal dimension of time. We must follow the distortions currently present in the very fabric of time-space,’ here she pointed to an anomalous bend in the diagram, ‘where it can only be assumed the Ingeborg has performed some mischief or other.’

‘How do we find such a distortion?’ Macaroni asked, pursing her lips in contemplation.

‘That’s one of the varied pursuits my Time Machine is capable of. I have programmed it to locate and bring us to each distortion in turn, where we can search for clues to Ingeborg’s whereabouts.’

‘And once we find this Ingeborg?’ Lasange added her query.

‘We find a way to either shut it down or destroy it,’ she waved the crop in the air emphatically. ‘And I can only guess that dearest Inga won’t be inviting me to her Christmas Luncheon this year.’

*

We’re currently in the grip of rather freezing temperatures, which meant that my ancient little purple car (her name’s Edna, like the elderly lady she is) failed to start yesterday.  After two mechanic visits and a tow later, she roared back to life!  We may have literally cheered.  In this little village in Fife, having a car is pretty damned essential.

Anyway, as it’s so damned chilly there’s really not much else to do but sit around and write.  I suppose this is a good thing!  Only it really means that I’ll be spending most of my time procrastinating/slacking off/bothering The Husband as he tries to get things done.  Oh well, at least I got the above excerpt written this morning, so that’s something.  Something that means I feel perfectly justified in slacking off – huzzah!  *Goes to poke The Husband*

Doctor When Finds Associates, and Writing as Mental Illness

To carry on from yesterday’s snippet:

*

It was this proclivity of her mechanical associate which prompted Doctor When to put out an advertisement in the local newspaper:

‘Toughs Required: peculiar individuals interested in peculiar adversaries, must provide own weaponry.’

It was thus that Doctor When began to interview the likeliest candidates, putting each through an hour of ‘on the job experience’. Of those that survived only three such ‘peculiar individuals’ acquitted themselves to the level required of the position. They were:

Wilburforce, a man deprived of sheer bulk and size by the accident of his birth to parents of the Dwarf persuasion. It had been his life’s work to fill every fibre of his considerably compact body with as much killing power as was humanly possible. By such headlines as: ‘Ten Men and a Dwarf Enter a Pub, Only Dwarf Leaves Alive,’ it seemed he’d succeeded.

And the Spaghetti Sisters. The two Sisters were previously employed as contortionists in the Theatre of Implausible Amusements, but had taken offense to the Director’s suggestion of how they might employ their skills elsewhere, such as in his personal chambers of an evening. The Director was never heard from again, and the Sisters found themselves in need of new employment. No one knew their real names, for the Sisters had the habit of only referring to each other by interchangeable pasta varieties. One might say to the other, ‘My dearest Fusilli,’ to which her sister would reply, ‘Oh indeed, Farfalle, in very deed.’ The next day, the one called ‘Fusilli’ would then be called ‘Penne’ or even ‘Yakisoba’ if the mood took her other sister to do so.

Doctor When was pleased with her new associates, never were such peculiarities so desirable in an employee, and they met in her laboratory to discuss the work at hand.

*

I have to say I’m in the high of this new hilarity right now.  I always get like this in the beginning when everything’s still all shiny and new and exciting, before the crumbling lows of defeat as it starts to get complicated and strange and I wonder “WTF, self???”  Oh, the bipolarity and schizophrenia of writing (you try keeping a whole cast of characters in the confines of your mind, especially when they don’t all get along).  It’s enough to make you a realise that no, you’re not sane at all.

You’re a writer.