Friday 15 April 2011

A Roman Holiday with Klein, by Matthew Clarke (My fan fiction)

So far I have not yet come across any fan fiction featuring Big Finish companion, Elizabeth Klein. I just love the character. Her four audios were not enough for me. Klein is of course a Nazi scientist from an alternate timeline where the Nazis won the war. This story is set in between A Thousand Tiny Wings and Survival of the Fittest.

It was a beautiful warm morning. The Doctor sat outside the Roman villa in which he and Klein were staying. In the complexities of his dealings and schemes, it was so precious to take a rare moment to rest and simply enjoy the sunshine in the gorgeous landscape of Italy.

Klein had kicked off her sandals and reclined on a couch in the sun. She was dressed in a long Roman tunic. The TARDIS carried several. His old companions Vicki and Barbara had worn such tunics when he had been to another Roman villa such a long time ago. Things had seemed so much lighter, so much more fun back then. He wandered about the cosmos, sometimes enjoying himself, sometimes having the most terrifying adventures. Things had been difficult between himself and Barbara, but he had become friends with her. Could he ever become friends with Klein? A woman who stood for everything he hated? A woman who hated him for destroying everything she knew in life? It was hard enough for her to travel with him without killing him, let alone to want his friendship.

The Doctor looked at Klein as she lazed in the sunshine. He hoped she had remembered to use some sun lotion, given her fair complexion. It seemed slightly odd to think of a Nazi like Klein sunbathing. He supposed there was no reason a National Socialist should not enjoy sunbathing any less than a liberal or conservative or any other political beliefs. It was not so much her ideology that made it seem odd, but her general manner. Klein was so cold, so efficient and so disciplined. It was a little unsettling to see stretched out on a couch soaking up the sun. Perhaps there was a danger that becoming so familiar with Klein would lead him to forget how abhorrent Klein's Nazi ideals were to him. How could he keep company with Klein while remaining resolutely opposed to her values?

He had his differences with his companions before. He had never approved of Leela's delight in fighting and killing, even if she was useful for intimidating people that got in his way. He remembered Liz Shaw. In some ways she was a little like Klein. Cool, disciplined and efficient, even if a little too fashion-conscious. She had never shared his discomfort at working with a military organisation. For her it was just another job. She had never understood his shock when the Brigadier used deadly force against the Eocenes at Wenley Moor. But he had never had a Nazi in the TARDIS before. This was different.

The villa belonged to his friend Pliny the Younger, governor of Bithynia. Since the death of his uncle, Pliny the Elder, he had inherited vast estates in Italy. The Doctor liked Pliny. He was a trifle pompous, but he made up for it with enormous personal warmth and optimism. Trajan was currently emperor of Rome. This was a time of prosperity and stability in the declining years of the empire.

The Roman empire had been cruel and brutal in many ways. Yet there was so much about it that was great and admirable. At times, the Romans had brought peace to the known world and had improved the lives of many of their subject peoples. So different from Klein's Third Reich, an empire that brought nothing but enslavement or death to those it conquered. The Doctor hoped that some of the more positive aspects of Roman culture might rub off on the rather narrow-minded Klein.

He had been a little wary of bringing Klein to earth. The last thing he wanted was to give her the opportunity to meddle with history. However, he felt safe bringing her back to such a distant period in history. She would have no idea how an alteration in the ancient Rome could help her Nazis gain an advantage in the Twentieth century.

He had told Klein that the two of them needed a break from exploring alien worlds. It was time for them to have a rest and relax, a notion that seemed to appall Klein. Yet stretched out on the couch, she did indeed seem very relaxed.

It would be an overstatement to say that Klein was a beautiful woman. There was a hardness to her features that was a little off-putting. Yet at the age of about 50, despite the presence of a few lines in her face, she wore her age well. She was not an unattractive woman.

What was delightful about Klein was her elegance. Whether in her safari clothes in Africa or reclining in a Roman tunic, she had style. So different to Ace and Bernice. Ace had become a thug who would punch anybody who looked at her the wrong way. She cared little for her appearance and was a little fat from too many bacon sandwiches. Bernice could just about manage elegance if she needed too, but was generally a slob who drank too much. It was hard to imagine Klein drunk out of her head and stuffed with bacon sandwiches. Though he wondered how she would last if she stayed any longer with the wine and rich Roman cuisine served at this villa.

The truth was that the Doctor was not here with Klein just for a brief holiday. It was in truth just another move in his chess game with her. They were both testing each other out, trying to find each other's weaknesses. He had brought here to see how she would react in a more relaxed environment. He wanted to see if she could let her guard down. Judging by her posture, it seemed she had.

With a stretch and a yawn, Klein rose up from her couch. Neglecting to put her sandals back on, she padded gracefully towards the Doctor in her bare feet. "Herr Doctor, this has been most relaxing and enjoyable, but I grow weary of doing nothing all the time. I do think we should get on with exploring other planets."

"Ah, you fascists are ever the same. Always goosestepping and shouting orders and never any time to play. The Romans had time to relax, yet they still managed to make their empire last a few hundred years," replied the Doctor.

"Rome was mighty indeed, but it fell like every other empire before it. The Third Reich was built on efficiency and discipline. In my world, it would have lasted a thousand years," she said with relish.

"We shall never know that," snapped the Doctor. "I suppose we do have much to see. We shall leave tomorrow. Perhaps I shall show you Vortis in the Isop galaxy, the planet of the Menoptera and the Zarbi."

"I shall be fascinated to see, Herr Doctor," she replied, allowing the Doctor to take her arm and lead her back into the luxury of the villa.

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