The Day of the Revenge of the Curse of Woolly Nemesis
By David Ronayne
Ace looked up at the tower with total disinterest. ‘This is it? This is the fortress designed to protect the great secret of the Time Lords? It's totally naff!’
The Doctor continued walking up the gully towards their destination, One Monument Hill. He shrugged. ‘It's fairly old. Most of it is underground.’
Ace looked up the hill at the obelisk and its single tree sticking out at a haphazard angle. ‘This had better be good.’
From a track beside a wall leading up to the monument, three sets of eyes watched the two travellers walk up the gully towards the obelisk. Crouched behind the wall Pramk peered down at the pair. He could be described as having an average build, height and looks. His average head grew out of his average khaki shirt with average black hair, and matching moustache. He could be described that way only by Terrance Dicks. He prodded Dron in the ribs, a subtle suggestion to hand over the field glasses.
Dron grumbled some insult. The white stripes on the sleeves of his tunic indicated his rank as Colonel in the Earth Federal Taskforce - a rank that was associated with honour, distinction and courage. He'd stolen it. The ill-fitting tunic and the baggy trousers gave the impression that he was slightly overweight (at least, that was his excuse).
Behind them both stood the third member of their party. Grey stood facing the wind, looking the perennial spectre of death. He was dressed in black, only black. Under his short, close-cropped black hair, his wild eyes glared out of his pale face, with the maniac look of someone who had been on one too many illegal substances.
Pramk was getting impatient and prodded Dron once again. ‘Wait,’ called Dron, with enough vehemence to send Pramk reeling. ‘It looks like we have company.’ The others looked down into the gully to see a figure in red loom up out of the ground behind the Doctor and Ace. ‘Here comes old Feltex Features...’
Ace was getting a geology lecture. ‘The whole base is built on an extinct volcano. The Monument Hill is the highest point on the rim of the crater. Just beyond that wall,’ the Doctor pointed with his umbrella, ‘there should be the main crater.’
Ace looked up just in time to miss seeing Grey being dragged down by the others.
The creature watched them hungrily and slowly crept up behind Ace. (The seemingly dissected, multifaceted view of the back of her head was not due to any mutant genes or insect ancestors on the creature's part, it just had a heavy scarf wrapped about its head.) It saw Ace turn at the last moment, and scream. (Why? In both cases, companions invariably do.)
But Ace didn't just stop there. No! She didn't get to be favourite companion for nothing. She grabbed the end of the creature's scarf and pulled. The Doctor followed suit and soon they were dragging the unfortunate choking beast along, until it tripped and fell headlong into an outcrop of rock. It hit the ground with a sickening thud and ceased to move.
The Doctor knelt down beside its still body.
‘What is it, Professor?’ Ace was concerned. What would this merciless act do for her good-girl image? Strangling and braining an unknown alien was hardly going to help her street cred.
The Doctor rolled the body over. ‘It was a woolrite mutant, a Gallifreyan experiment with the indigenous peoples of this planet, and the powers of creatures the Time Lords keep here.’ He started to peel away the heavy scarf from the creature's face. ‘The markings on its gown show it's a class B.A. mutant.’
The scarf finally came off as Ace looked down in horror at the shag pile tweed that was where the creature's face should be. The Doctor looked down at it sadly. ‘A Bloody Awful Carpetface.’
The Doctor and Ace slowly made their way up the hill to the wall. There was a click from behind it as Dron and Pramk armed their blasters and levelled them at the Doctor and Ace. The Doctor smiled. ‘I think they want a word...’
Ace and the Doctor pulled themselves over the wall, and were now facing their motley captors. Dron was standing the closest to them while Pramk had retreated to the back of the group. Grey stepped forward and with an evil leer he reached into the pocket of his black trench-coat.
Ace gasped as he produced the most vicious pair of sunglasses she had ever seen. He put them on and suddenly his entire personality seemed to change.
‘Right me darlins,’ he drawled in a heavy Cockney accent, ‘wot are you doin' 'ere?’
Ace noted the accent and wondered how this could be possible. The Doctor had explained how English was the second most common language in the Universe (the first was Taiwanese, just so everyone could understand instructions). But why did everyone they met have English accents (although the Doctor seemed to avoid females with American accents, he said something about bringing back bad memories and ‘should've throttled her when I had the chance’...). The probability of all English-speaking aliens having certain accents were just the same as finding a hyper-intelligent being with a Scottish one. Highly improbable.
The Doctor seemed suddenly agitated. ‘I strongly advise you to move, because that mutant behind you looks very hungry.’
Dron laughed and Grey grinned at the Time Lord. ‘Dat's probably the oldest trick in the book.’
‘Yeah,’ agreed Pramk. ‘Not only that, but... ohhshimmhphh!’ His last words were cut off as the horrible green sleeping bag type thing engulfed him.
‘Old, but true,’ muttered the Doctor. ‘Come on Ace, let's scarper!’ he called as he ran up the track towards the monument.
Grey and Dron stared at the creature. It was about the size of a human, green, and its skin had the same scales and sheen of a cheap camping sleeping bag. Its mouth was raised at either end in a parody of a smile as Pramk's sneakers disappeared down its gullet. The smile remained as it contemplated the other two. ‘Arrggghhh...’ it rasped. Seconds passed. ‘Arrggghhh!’ it repeated.
Grey and Dron looked at each other then back at the creature.
The smile dropped. It had been practising its only line for days and it wasn't seeming to get its message across. It tried once again, but its heart wasn't really in it. ‘Arrghh?’ it groaned feebly. It paused - perhaps it should try a different approach. ‘Konechei oha. Heisei seiko tsyetai.’
Both Grey and Dron ignored the message and leapt onto the creature.
Ace watched from a distance. ‘Professor, what was that?’
The Doctor watched as the creature was dragged up the path by the other two. ‘A B.E. mutant.’ He noticed Ace's look of bemusement. ‘Barely Evolved.’
‘Come on!’ yelled Dron as he and Grey hefted the mutant above the wall. ‘Right, on the count of three. One, two... er...’ Dron paused, elementary mathematics passing him by. ‘Stuff it.’
With an almighty heave they threw the sleeping bag creature down into the main crater. As it twisted and fell through the air, for an instant, it felt it knew what a bowl of petunias felt like, before hitting the ground with a gut-wrenching splat.
Dron and Grey sprinted down the steep incline as Pramk slowly dragged himself out of squelchy mess. He looked up at his rescuers, with the admiration and respect they deserved. ‘YOU BASTARDS!’ he screamed, lunging for Grey's throat.
As Dron and Grey disappeared over the horizon, hotly pursued by a screaming psychotic, the Doctor grabbed Ace and pointed at the figures silhouetted further up the hill. She slapped him, she was getting sick of his weird games.
‘Look, Ace. The Sheep of Rassilon! From those genetically engineered creatures the wool was spun that the Lord President's undergown was made out of to hold the fabric of time together.’
‘And we have to save some of them before the planet explodes,’ continued Ace flatly. Her agent was going to hear about this.
There was a brief struggle as Ace and the Doctor caught two Sheep. Ace was getting annoyed, though the Professor seemed to be enjoying himself.
Little did they know they were being watched.
Watched through a thick scarf...
Ace found the transmat pad first. This was probably due to the fact that she hated the planet and wanted ‘off’ as soon as possible. She and the Doctor were about to step on the pad with their woolly cargo when a red clad creature rose from a hole in the ground.
The Doctor quickly bundled Ace and the Sheep onto the pad before the hoarse alien voice called to him.
‘Hold, Time Lord. The area is mined with seismic detonators. Any attempt to escape with the Sheep will result in your destruction.’
‘You fool!’ the Doctor screamed. ‘This area lies on a volcanic fault. Any disruption will probably cause the volcano to re-errupt.’
Carpetface laughed. ‘They warned me you would be smart and cunning, just like your foul race that caused... this!’ Carpetface ripped away the scarf and glared at him out of his shag-pile eyes. ‘The Draleks promised me revenge!’
The Doctor shivered. The Draleks. His most feared foe since Terry Nation withdrew production rights. The Doctor saw the situation was desperate, and leapt onto the T-mat pad, kicking the activate button.
Carpetface detonated the seismic device. As the shaky CSO kicked in, a piece of gravel flew like shrapnel and struck the Doctor in the head, before he disappeared in a blaze of fuzzy yellow chromakey.
Carpetface looked on as they faded away and the ground opened up. Hot frothy lava spewed up like a really bad stock BBC special effect.
‘Oh shit,’ he muttered.
Ace looked down at the still form of the Doctor lying on the TARDIS floor, a pool of blood forming by his head.
Ace's Sheep watched with a look of total disinterest, before joining the Doctor's Sheep in chewing up the hatstand.
Ace was near tears. Without the Doctor, she would probably end up hosting a kids' show until the day she died. She buried her head in his jumper and cried. ‘You could've at least taught me how to fly this thing you prat!’
She felt his hand pat her on the head. She looked up at the new face beaming down at her. The thin face with the sharp nose was smiling. His beady eyes sparkled at her from behind his glasses. It would have been a tender moment if he hadn't spoken.
‘Hi there!’ he yelled in a shrill American drawl. ‘I'm the new Doctor Who!’ He smiled. ‘Have a nice day!’
This item appeared in Timestreams 4 (April 1992).