005.What is the best prank you ever pulled on someone or someone played on you?
Sarah Jane could hear explosions coming from downstairs. While explosions were not all that much of a strange occurrence within the house on Bannerman Road, the location was. Typically, she confined such activity to her attic. Luke and Clyde knew better than to try and muck up her living space. After all, the two boys learned the hard way – when a bottle of Racksonian goop somehow found its way all across her Persian rug.
Explosions radiating from downstairs had henceforth become a dangerous phenomenon for all involved.
With a frown, Sarah Jane pushed aside her laptop. The article for the Sunday Times
could be put on hold for the time being. Aside from explosions and Clyde’s occasional whoop of joy, it seemed almost too quiet down there. Sometimes Sarah ridiculed when she got like this, playing the part of the nervous mum rather than the more competent woman she believes herself to be. And other times – well, apparently that sixth sense of trouble sharpened the longer you had children.
“I’m coming down,” she shouted when she reached the stairwell. Given the turn of the staircase between the first floor and ground, Sarah couldn’t quite see what was going on yet. But oh, she could warn them. “And if there’s any bit of slime on my floor again, Clyde, I’ll make sure to cancel that upcoming holiday to Cardiff. I’ll just take Maria instead.”
“’s alright, Sarah Jane! Absolutely no slime about. Right Luke?”
For whatever reason, she doubted that the return exchange actually made her feel any better. There was something going on down there. Sarah Jane didn’t waste a moment more. She sighed and hurried down the steps, crossed the living room when unable to spot any teenage boys, and found herself in the telly room.
It was inside this room that she found Luke and Clyde, the latter’s eyes glued to the television while the former kept looking back and forth between the screen and his friend. Luke seemed confused (a typically normal state for the four month old thirteen year old boy) and sounded out a steady stream of questions from the small look of annoyance on the other’s face.
“What’s that again?”
“It’s the GACTIC, remember? Generations and comparative times in cosmos?”
Oddly enough, the GACTIC
that Clyde was referring to on the screen reminded Sarah Jane of another acronym. Rather than a little blue police box, though, the object - well, space ship Sarah assumed – was a little red phone booth, roughly the same size and the same and shape as her Doctor’s precious TARDIS. She watched as two characters circled about it: one a rather petite dirty blonde woman clutching the camera hung around her neck and the other a rather average looking bloke wearing a white lab coat and stethoscope. Her lips pursed into a frown as Luke and Clyde fell quiet, allowing her to more than easily hear the dialogue.
The woman pouted, giving the man a frustrated look. Whatever he had said while the boys were talking had annoyed her. She ran a hand through her blonde hair and the camera zoomed in so Sarah could easily see a pair of clever brown eyes. Then, it panned out again to allow the viewer to see the telephone booth and two individuals.
“I don’t understand why you keep having to circle about the GACTIC every time we step out, Edmund. Doctor What has taken you on more than enough trips by now, hasn’t he?” She tapped a foot, arms crossed around her chest and tangling with the white scarf tie she wore around a silly looking sailor blouse.
A rather familiar
looking sailor blouse, come to think of it.
Edmund gestured back to the booth. He was dark skinned with curly brown hair and a demeanor that reminded Sarah Jane very much of either Harry Sullivan or Mickey Smith. “Because! It’s far bigger on the inside, Susie Ann. And I’m afraid that, no matter how many times Doctor What takes us inside, I’ll never understand the complexities of—“
He never had a chance to finish the sentence, though. A flash of bright light whitened the telly screen for a second and explosions started up again. Laser shots and sounds (of highly inaccurate look and noise, if you asked Sarah Jane) ricocheted across the grassy expanse the GACTIC now appeared to be parked on. Golden, robotic looking men stepped in to view – they were the individuals responsible for the sudden mayhem. Their voices sounded metallic (“Stop or you will be exterminated.”) and they had daft looking antennas sticking from where the ears would otherwise be.
Susie Ann gasped. “Autotrons!”
“Duck,” Edmund shouted, reaching in to his pocket for something. Wide eyed and panicked, and with poor, poor
acting, he shook his head. Susie’s eyes narrowed in anger. “I’ve lost it! Goodness, I’ve lost the GACTIC key.”
“See? I told you that I
should have held on to it. Can’t have a man do a woman’s job, as I always—“ Edmund reached for Susie Ann’s hand, pulling her to the ground when another volley of laser beams flew in their direction. She had been too busy preaching to bother with the danger at hand. Sarah Jane watched as Susie growled at him, her camera on the ground, cracked and broken.
But that wasn’t the worse of it. As Edmund and Susie Ann attempted to crawl behind the telephone booth for cover, another man came running in to the scene. He had wild, curly ginger hair and a horrendously brightly coloured scarf that left Sarah Jane in amazement. Like another man she once knew, his scarf was impossibly long and yet, he never tripped over it the entire run. Unlike that man though, the one on the screen was rather dashing, in a very geeky sort of way.
“Susie! Edmund!” The newcomer shouted as he pulled a pen out of his trench coat pocket. He aimed it in the direction of the golden Autotrons and it emitted a funny electronic beeping sound and bright green light. Suddenly, the Autotrons all dropped their weapons as not a single one appeared to work anymore.
The image on the screen switched over to the woman. She was beaming at the sound of the newcomer’s voice and stood, despite Edmund’s protests.
“Doctor,” she shouted back happily as she began the sprint over to him. “Oh, Doctor What! Of course you came! You always make it- ahhh!”
The piercing scream nearly gave Sarah Jane a headache. Yet, she continued to stare at the screen transfixed. Clyde leaned forward on the couch, elbows resting on knees and head resting on hands. Luke merely blinked a few times, but he remained just as engrossed as Susie dropped to the ground, clutching a bloody wound on her waist. A woman dressed in black smirked evilly in the corner of the screen, her presence unbeknownst to the other characters.
Doctor What fell to his knees besides the woman. He gently lifted the blonde head of hair on to his lap as he pushed part of his scarf on top of the injury to stop the bleeding. He was grief stricken as his brown eyes bore down on the women. He placed a light kiss to her forehead and brushed the fringe out of her eyes.
Then, he whirled his head about to glare at the man. “Edmund, you imbecile! You should have never let Susie Ann keep you out here. Well, what are you standing around for? You’re
the doctor of medicine, are you not? Do
“My kit is inside the GACTIS,” Edmund choked out. The panic on his face persisted, but unlike prior when it had been about the attack, it now clearly was about his friend’s life. “And I can’t find my key.”
Gravely, Doctor What aimed his sonic pen at the telephone booth door. After the return of the green light and beeps, the door swung opened. Edmund nodded, saluted, and dashed inside.
Susie blinked her eyes wearily, struggling for breath and wincing in pain when Doctor What pressed down harder on her wound. Sticky red liquid began to leak between his fingers. He frowned but never cried as he stared down at her. “My Susie Ann. Oh, I never should have let you come to Syxros with me.”
“Do… don’t blame yourself,” she replied in a small voice. Tears rolled down her face and she attempted a weak smile when he brushed them away. “Would’ve… pact with… alien robots. Would’ve made a… made a great story. And...” Susie Ann choked on her breath and gasped. “I love you, Doctor.”
Her eyes closed and she fell limp in his arms. Doctor What pulled her up in his arms and hunched over to rest his forehead against hers as he hugged her tightly. Anger was the only emotion readable on his face as he whispered back, “I love you, too, my Susie Ann.”
The screen went black.
“Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant,” Clyde shouted excitedly, throwing the telly remote on the couch as he jumped up in jubilation. He turned to beam at Luke. “Wicked, wasn’t it? I can’t wait
until next week. The Mistress sure is going to get it, isn’t she?”
Luke blinked. “Get what?”
! You know Susie Ann will live, but even so, Doctor What isn’t going to stand for this at all.” It was about at this point where he remembered that Sarah Jane was in the room, still leaning against the door frame and staring at the telly screen as if she had just seem some ghost. Clyde blinked, but otherwise remained unphased. “Totally wicked, wasn’t it, Sarah Jane? It doesn’t beat any of our adventures – of course
- but there’s definitely a reason why Doctor What
is currently BBC’s highest rated program.”
Sarah Jane shook her head. Now that the television was actually off, she had a moment to think. Well, mostly a moment as it was rather difficult to contemplate what the bloody hell it was that she had just witnessed while Clyde babbled away. Doctor. Susie Ann. A flipping journalist travelling in a telephone booth with a sonic pen wielding man.
Oh. This had
to be some sort of alien conspiracy. Absolutely no other way to explain it existed at all. At all
. She shook her head and took a deep breath before her eyes narrowed on Clyde.
“What,” she said slowly and sternly, “was
,” Luke interrupted with a small smile on his face. “Clyde says it’s what everyone is watching these days and that it would be a social miscalculation if I didn’t watch it. We’re at the end of season three-“
, Luke,” Clyde corrected with a roll of his eyes. “It’s a series
, not a season.”
“Oi, trust me on this one, will you?” Luke shrugged and Clyde grinned, giving Sarah a look that very much meant there had been far more many mistakes uttered by her son today. “He got the rest of it right, though. Pilot was originally lost in a fire, but they replaced the kilt wearing companion with a plucky journalist babe
and ever since, the new series has been a complete and utter hit! Even when Michael Owen left – that’s the original Doctor What – over type-casting shi- I mean barmy, it’s still wicked good.”
“Maria says that this new Doctor, Peter Williamson, is gorgeous. I don’t understand that.”
,” Clyde echoed in agreement after a mock suffering sigh that got Luke grinning a little. “At least Sarah Jane here is too cool for something like that. Told you there was no slime about.”
Or, thought Sarah Jane, there was no slime of the non-metaphorical type about. She placed a hand to her head and collapsed on the couch Luke was sitting upon. She took a deep breath, closing her eyes and trying for the longest of seconds to forget everything she had just observed. It was too late. The images were burned in her retinas, awful reminders of a life she had left behind.
“It really is good, Mum,” Luke chimed in a moment later. His voice was quiet and earnest. “I like Susie Ann Jones the best. She reminds me of you.”
“Except when she and Doctor What guest starred on Blazetimber
and that whole bit with the scarf bondage an’-“
” Sarah Jane’s eyes were wide and furious. She sat straight up on the couch and stared at
Clyde with an expression of complete disbelief. “What
“Eh, don’t tell my folks, okay?” Apparently, a post-watershed show was completely proper to inform Sarah Jane about, though. The mumsy part of her wanted to be responsible. The absolutely outraged and shocked part, however, won out. Sarah nodded and Clyde continued. “Blazetimber
’s a spinoff show they started last year, see, with Major Marc Birdie, that’s a lot like CSI
with way more shagging. Susie Ann got infected with an alien parasite with a craving for orgasmic energy and seduced Doctor What and Major Marc. So…”
From the corner of her eye, Sarah Jane noticed Luke shift uncomfortably. Apparently Clyde had been busy filling Luke in about girls and relationships without her knowing again. Either way, she doubted that she could handle any more information. There were far too many coincidences cropping up for Sarah to feel comfortable. Perhaps, so far, the only misconception she couldn’t
place was all this talk of sex and love.
“Please. Please stop, Clyde. I’ve heard just about enough.” Sarah stood from the couch, straightening her skirt as she did. This whole thing sounded ridiculously like an absolutely horrible prank. But she couldn’t think of anyone who would play such a joke. Clearly, a few more facts were needed. “Three series, you said?”
Clyde nodded, looking mildly perplexed at the sudden renewed interested.
“And, tell me, is there anything like UNIT in the show?”
“Now that you mentioned it, there is a Brigadier with a mustache that winds up being this alien organism and a crew of military men always mucking things up in their red berets. Suppose that is kind of like UNIT, isn’t it?”
So, so unfortunately so.
Without any more questions, Sarah Jane thanked both boys, asked them to keep the volume down during the next episode, and left. Perhaps she ought to question Mr Smith for information, but right now, Sarah needed to sit. More than that, she needed fresh air and a break from any sort of electronic device that wouldn’t let her contact Alastair. This was far worse than any Dalek, Slytheen, or sontaran she had ever faced.
This was an absolute ridiculous parody of her very own life
broadcasted for the entire bloody world to see! The joke was far from amusing.
It didn’t take long for her to dial the number on her mobile, nor for him to pick up at home. After exchanging pleasantries, it also didn’t take long for Sarah to obtain the information she wanted. She never had been one to beat around the bush, after all.
But as she had learned before, sometimes the answers you looked for were not the answers you desired.
“Oh, you have got to be kidding me! To convince the public how ridiculous it is that there is possibly no way for an alien to go about in a blue box and rescue the planet? This was Torchwood’s idea, wasn’t it?” Sarah sighed. “Have you ever even watched
the show, Alastair? It’s absolutely horrible. Oh, I see how it can help, but still…
“My son’s friend is trying to talk him into watching. Yes, I’d like to think they’d both know better. And I will tell Luke that you send your love. Really, there’s nothing you can do? Certain of that?”
He was, much to Sarah Jane’s disappointment. Her pacing was starting to wear on her nerves, so finally, she took a seat on the patio swing. She craned her head upward to stare up at the twilight sky, watching as the first stars started to make their presence known. There was absolutely nothing that could be done except hoping that this fad would pass soon. However accidental, Doctor What
remained an absolutely horrible prank in her opinion. She didn’t deserve to have her life plastered on the telly.
None of them did.
And yet, she supposed as a shooting star passed over the horizon, it could be far worse. At least the Doctor would never have any inkling of this atrocity.
Maybe he had been right about those ‘daft human television programs’ after all: nothing but rubbish.[ooc: Again, credit goes where credit is due. The idea of Doctor What is not mine but telyn_timber’s. But because she is awesome and doesn’t want to write this up herself, I’m doing it for her. Think of it as a graduation gift or part of belated birthday gift (that I will get you some day) or something of that. ♥]