Wednesday 11 May 2011

Isobel and the Rani, by Matthew Clarke (my fan fiction)

This story answers the question of how the Rani knew about Mel in Time and the Rani.

Isobel Watkins appeared in The Invasion. My story Celebrity Yacht Party introduces this middle-aged version of Isobel Watkins.

St. Tropez, 2003

The Rani did not care much for going to Earth. It always meant disguising herself in local costume and adopting the primitive cultural norms of the many cultures on the wretched planet. However, she needed information badly and this was the place to go.

The Doctor had made so many visits to Earth that he had become and irregular but not unfamiliar presence to its inhabitants. In the twentieth century had emerged the peculiar phenomena of Doctor-watchers, individuals who took an obsessive interest in the person of the mysterious Doctor. Few of them had any accurate information and most of them had the most improbable theories as to the Doctor's identity. Nevertheless, the individual that the Rani was consulting had an advantage over the other Doctor-watchers- she had actually met the Doctor. Isobel Watkins was one of the many humans who had been tangled up in one of the Doctor's tiresome little adventures. Over the years she had maintained contact with the Doctor and had met every one of his incarnations. Whether the Doctor was happy about it or not, she was actually working on the first ever biography of the Time Lord. TARDISes were programmed to avoid out of sequence encounters between Time Lords and so the Rani could be sure that her TARDIS had brought her to a period in which the Doctor's current incarnation had visited most recently. All she needed to do was to charm this human woman into helping her.

The Rani's heavily shoulder-padded tunic and tight trousers were never going to look right in this particular era and so she had instead opted for a red dress. It had to be expensive-looking; the moorings of St. Tropez was the haunt of rich humans who delighted in nothing but flaunting their good fortune. These humans seemed to love money as much as her own people loved power.

When she arrived at Isobel's private yacht, the Rani was met by a member of the crew who instructed her to remove her shoes before coming on board. The Rani slipped out of her stiletto sandals and padded across the gang plank in her large bare feet. She was thankful that in this regeneration she was tall enough to manage without the added lift of her heels. Humans were so precious about their worldly goods. She cared little for the state of her own TARDIS, provided it was functional and sterile.

On the deck she was met by a middle-aged woman with fair hair. She had a healthy tan from enjoying more sun than the average human on this continent. She wore a white dress and like the Rani, was barefoot.

The Rani knew she was expected. She had contacted Isobel via the Internet and had prepared a cover story. "Isobel, I'm Melody Lakeland. I'm delighted to meet you. It was very gracious of you to invite me here," said the Rani.

"The pleasure is all mine, Melody," Isobel replied. "It really is dolly to meet somebody who knows the Doctor well." The Rani was quite unable to place Isobel's nasal accent. Still, she was hardly the expert on human accents.

The Rani handed to Isobel the suitcase she had been carrying. "A present for you," she said. "The robes the Doctor wore when he was at the Prydonian academy." Of course they were no such thing. They were in fact the robes the Rani herself had worn at the academy. How was Isobel to know that the robes had been worn by a cute little girl in pigtails and not a snotty-nosed fair-haired boy? The Rani was rather glad to be rid of the robes; she had no sentiment or nostalgia for her school days.

Isobel seemed overjoyed by the gift. "Oh, that is so dolly! How can I ever thank you. To think these are clothes worn by the Doctor in his childhood. I am being a terrible hostess. You must sit down and have a glass of wine."

The two women sat down to share a bottle of wine. The Rani hated socialising, and she was starting to hate this sentimental fool of a human, but she knew this was necessary to her mission.

"So tell me, Melody," enquired Isobel. "How did you come to know the Doctor so well?"

"It's hard to explain," replied the Rani. "You could say it's a timey wimey thing. I keep bumping into him at different stages of his life. I meet his later incarnations first then I am working my way down. Eventually I will become the Doctor's wife, but this has not actually happened yet. Timey wimey, as I said."

"You become Mrs. Doctor!" exclaimed Isobel. "That is so dolly! How lucky for you! When did the two of you get hitched?"

"It has not actually happened yet. It is part of his timestream, however. You could say we have a non-linear relationship," explained the Rani.

Isobel seemed completely baffled by this, but she was clearly quite excited about it all. This was entirely the Rani's intention. She felt quite pleased with herself for duping Isobel into believing this absurd story. 'Timey wimey non-linear relationship' indeed!

The Rani moved on to the subject of Isobel's biographical research. "Tell me about the book you are writing, Isobel."

"Yes, my biography of the Doctor. I have met all of the Doctor's incarnations- so far, I think. I have spent time with all of them. I have photos, I have interviewed some of the main people he knew on Earth. It is going to be a quite fantastic read. Some of the UNIT stuff was difficult to research, with it being a top secret security organisation. But I had a lot of help on that front from my dolly husband, Dmitri. He used to be a KGB agent, you know," said Isobel.

"I mentioned to you that I was interested in finding out a bit more about the Doctor's current incarnation. The loud one who wears that awful coat. You have met him, I trust?" asked the Rani.

"Yes, I have met him alright. I find him rather dolly. He seems to enjoy attention more than the last one, and I am only too happy to oblige. He seemed quite delighted when I told him about the biography project."

The Rani smiled at this. "I have not met this Doctor yet. I have met all the others. The thing is that I always have to tread carefully when it comes to his fellow travellers. I don't want to make them jealous. I have to keep them on side. It would really help if I could find out as much as possible about who he is travelling with currently."

"Of course. You mentioned to me that this is what you wanted and after you gave me those robes, how could I refuse? I have had several holidays with this Doctor and I spent almost a week with him and his dolly assistant Mel in Paris. I took so many photographs and videos. You can have copies."

Once the material was in the Rani's hands, she wasted little more time. After offering Isobel some pleasantries, she made a quick get-away from the boat and grabbed her shoes.

When she had returned to her TARDIS, the Rani pored over the materials. Contrary to her lies to Isobel, she could only ever meet the Doctor in linear succession. It was the built into the very nature of the Time Lord's travel machines. The last companion to come to Earth would be the one the Doctor was currently with. This Mel creature. The Rani noted her hair, her features and the clothes she wore.

In front of her audio-visual monitor, the Rani imitated the energetic power-walk of Mel. In front of her mirror, she practiced the beaming grin. Again and again she attempted to master the high-pitched nasal voice. Even alone in her TARDIS, it felt humiliating, but nobody could master time and space without tears.

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