Sunday, 6 January 2013

Klein's Holiday in Hastings

A fan fiction featuring Elizabeth Klein, UNIT scientific adviser.

Klein sat in a cafe in Hastings. Before was set a plate of fish and chips. They were very greasy. This was not going to do anything for her figure. Once she got back to work, she was going to have to go on a long diet.

Taking holidays by the seaside and eating fish and chips. What would her German parents have said?

Face it, Dr Klein, you're British, Klein thought to herself. You've lived in this country all your life, you hardly sound German and you watch the Queen's speech on Christmas day. You're an Englishwoman.

Yet in the back of her mind, Klein could never shake off the feeling that something about her life was not quite right, that she did not belong. She had found out only a year ago, when she had been landed with an extraordinary revelation about having another life in an alternate timeline. She was not sure how much of this story she understood or even believed, but she knew deep down that her past was more complicated than she had ever realized.

Klein glanced out of the cafe window and looked at the sea front beyond, bustling with holidaymakers. If it was true that there had been another timeline, with Britain under Nazi rule, she wondered how different the town of Hastings would look. She supposed it would be a lot more orderly. There would be a lot less crazy young people dressed in the most outlandish outfits.

The radio was playing in the background. The DJ announced a new single by some pop group called the Pet Shop Boys. Klein smiled at the thought that in the other timeline, there might be no such dreadful music. The radio would be playing Wagner. Her German parents had brought her up to love Wagner.

No doubt her parents would have been happy in a Nazi world. They never talked about it, but they had been National Socialists before the war. Klein doubted they would ever get over the shock of the events of the Forties.

Having finished her meal, Klein took a walk by the sea. She didn't remove her sandals on the beach. The Hastings shore was pebbled and not sandy. I really should have chosen to go somewhere with a decent beach, she thought. Never mind, she could drive to Camber Sands tomorrow and experience a proper beach.

Klein's thoughts drifted to the recording she had listened to of the Doctor. Not the Scottish one, or the one with curly hair and the big grin; the one with grey hair and the sharp nose.

"The Sea Devils? Well. old chap, the 'Sea Devils,' as you call them should properly be called Eocenes. They colonised our oceans some 50 millions years ago..."

Klein smiled as she thought of this Doctor's slight lisp. She wished she had known this incarnation of him better.

"The thing is, we don't know how many Eocene cities survive in the oceans. There may be none left or there might be hundreds of their colonies out there. They have a technology far beyond the ken of man. They may have weapons of terrible destructive power..."

As Klein looked at the roaring waves, she tried to imagine teeming Sea Devil cities deep below the sea. She imagined their hatred of the walking apes on the surface lands. She imagined the terrible violence they might do to the civilization and she thought of the nuclear firestorm her people would retaliate with.

She really had to stop thinking about work.

Klein had not wanted to go on holiday. She had been practically ordered to take some long overdue annual leave. Relaxing did not come naturally to Klein.

"You want to know about the Nestene Consciousness? Jo, can you be a good girl and make us some tea? Thank you. The Nestene Consciousness is a formless energy lifeform. It has the power to animate plastic. Twice it tried to infiltrate the Earth and I shouldn't like to see them try again. I have been doing some research in the TARDIS library and it seems the Nestenes are known to my own people, the Time Lords. Apparently, the Nestenes are the offspring of Shub-Niggurath, a being that existed before the very birth of the universe. If that is true, then we are talking about an entity that is utterly alien and utterly unknowable. Such a power is a menace even to the Time Lords of Gallifrey."

How was anybody who worked for UNIT supposed to relax? How could anybody enjoy walking by the sea knowing that humanity faced the possibility of alien invasion every day?

Klein headed towards the shops. Perhaps shopping for clothes might take her mind of the horrors of her job.

"The Great Intelligence is another energy being. This being is a master manipulator. It knows a thousand strategies, a thousand tricks. Robotic Yeti were just one of the tricks up its metaphorical sleeve. It is a creature older than the universe. It is also called Yog-Sothoth, one of the Great Old Ones of legend. I defeated it twice, but I have no idea what has become of the Great Intelligence now. Is it drifting on some astral plane, or has it returned to Earth and dwelling in some dark corner?"

Browsing clothes in Marks and Spencers seemed to take Klein's mind off work for a while. It was a little difficult to tear herself away from the dark grey suits that she usually wore and to look at the summer outfits, but she managed it.

"Yes, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the Axons. It is possible that Axos is not one spacecraft, but part of an whole cosmic fleet. If the Axonites come again, they won't be beaten so easily. It is my belief that Axos is the creation of Nylarthotep, a terrible cosmic entity that dwells in the Time Vortex. I have never encountered Nylarthotep before, and I do hope I never shall.."

After selecting a light skirt, Klein handed her money to the girl on the check out. She was young, barely eighteen. Klein remembered working in a clothes shop when she was eighteen, during a break from study. She remembered the first feelings of excitement as she began her studies in the world of physics. The cosmos had seemed so fresh and exciting. She had no awareness of all the tentacled horrors that lurked beyond the Earth, waiting for the chance to crush all life on its fragile sphere.

That poor girl; if she had any idea of just how fragile her future was..

"You are referring to the incident with the Euro Sea Gas drilling station? Yes, I do find that whole thing quite perplexing. I have no idea how that algae, that ought to have just been harmless seaweed, was able to develop consciousness and intelligence. We don't know if it was mutated by industrial pollution or exposed to some alien influence. It poses the terrifying possibility that the very forces of nature could be turned against civilization..."

Clutching her purchase, Klein hurried out of the store. Was this job going to drive her mad? Perhaps people were simply not meant to know just how much horror and madness lurked in the dark places of the universe. Klein realized she needed a drink. She headed back to the hotel at which she was staying.

"Did you know that this universe is just one of many, floating in a sea of universes. Just like our sea, there are things swimming in that super-cosmic sea. Some of these things, creatures if you like, are larger than our universe. They actually consume universes as food. It is not impossible that our universe could be swallowed up and eradicated at any moment.."

"A gin and tonic, please," she instructed the barman.

She drank it quickly and ordered another.

What was she to do if some alien entity were to invade the Earth at this very moment? She would hardly be much use. Away from her laboratory and getting drunk in a hotel bar.

"Look before you drink, Klein," came a familiar Scottish voice.

Klein frowned. The 'Umbrella Man' once again.

"I should have known I'd run into you again sooner or later," said Klein.

"How are you enjoying your holiday?" asked the Doctor.

"I might be enjoying it a bit more if I was not constantly thinking about alien invasions and assorted cosmic horrors. I rather wish you had left a few less details in the UNIT files," Klein replied.

"Oh, Klein, you really aren't good at shutting down are you? What are you planning on doing with the rest of it?"

"I was thinking of going to Camber Sands tomorrow," said Klein.

"Perfect! We can go paddling and play beach games! And I shall build you the biggest sandcastle you have ever seen! I shall bring a huge picnic too," said the Doctor.

"I don't remember inviting you, Doctor," said Klein wearily.

"Klein, I've taught you about aliens, I've told you about strange worlds and how to fight monsters, now I'm going to teach you how to enjoy being at the seaside. It's only fair."

"Very well, Doctor. If anybody is going to teach me how not to go insane in this job, it's certainly you. We visit Camber Sands tomorrow."

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