Tuesday 14 June 2011

Show Some Empathy! by Matthew Clarke (my fan fiction)

Another story about Big Finish character, Elizabeth Klein. Klein is a Nazi scientist from an alternate timeline and briefly a companion of the Seventh Doctor. This story is set between A Thousand Tiny Wings and Survival of the Fittest.

I think it is really interesting that Klein is not only a Nazi, but a German who was brought up in England. While Klein's background as a German child in wartime England is mentioned in Colditz, it is not brought up in the Klein trilogy.

I am supposing that Klein was born about 1935, which would make her about 50 when she travels in the TARDIS.

After viewing the Ice Caves of Vomoth, the Doctor decided it was definitely time for a warm cup of tea. The Ice Caves of Vomoth were one of the great wonders of the universe. He had been keen to see them, especially as one of these days he was expecting Morgaine the Sunkiller to imprison him in the ice caves of her world for all eternity. He might as well get used to that sort of thing.

As the Doctor brewed some tea, he heard Klein pad in softly in her slippers. "You must have heard the kettle, Klein," he said and produced a cup for her.

Klein had changed out of her arctic weather gear and was wearing her usual TARDIS uniform of wool skirt and cardigan. The Doctor wondered if his old friend Barbara had worn that particular set of knitwear. He supposed that as Klein was about fifty and Barbara had been in her late twenties, the two women might be a different size. But then he had never professed to be an expert in women or their attire.

Over tea they talked of the ice caves they had seen that day. He told Klein about some of the other cold weather locations he had viewed. He told Klein about his encounters with the Cybermen in the Antarctic and about the Krynoid that had been buried in the icy wastes.

Somehow the conversation moved from talking about the Antarctic to twentieth century history. This brought the Doctor on to the subject of Klein's childhood.

"You were born before the war, weren't you, Klein? As a German in England, your father must have been interned."

"My whole family were interned," Klein replied, her expression darkening.

"How did you find that experience?" he asked.

"It was so horrible, Doctor. They came for my family early one morning. They took us away to this dusty old house in the country. It was a large house, but there were several German and Italian families staying there. It was extremely cramped and crowded."

"How old were you at the time?" asked the Doctor.

"I must have been six years old. I was too young to understand what was happening. All I knew was that we had been taken away from our home to a strange place. We had no time to pack. I only had my clothes; all my toys had been left behind. I must have cried every night for weeks! I had started school the year before and was enjoying it. I had made new friends and had left them all behind."

"It must have been very traumatic," the Doctor said softly.

"Yes, it was! It is terrible for a child to be imprisoned. How could they do that? Imprisoning a child just because she is German or Italian!" exclaimed Klein, tears welling in her eyes. This subject had clearly touched a deep emotional vein in her.

"Klein what you experienced was unfair and harsh. I'm sorry you had to go through that. I know that war is a difficult time, but perhaps the way you were treated was wrong. Nevertheless, you must face the fact that your suffering was only a fraction of what the Third Reich did to so many. Across Europe, millions of families and millions of innocent children were dragged from their homes by the government you believe in," said the Doctor solemnly.

Klein stared at him, her eyes still red with tears.

"Just how many innocent families were herded by your precious Third Reich into concentration camps to face slavery and slow death?"

The Doctor's face began to snarl, as he always did when showing anger.

"Was your father beaten with a horsewhip because he did not move fast enough? Were your parents threatened with guns? Were you and your parents stripped naked and robbed of all your possessions? Were they enslaved and worked to death by the British? I know food was scarce and you probably did not eat well, but were you really fed on starvation rations? All of those horrors were inflicted on countless families by the Nazis. I'm sorry, Klein, but whatever injustice you received, your self-pity is utterly hypocritical!"

Klein's face was red with rage. She stood up and looked down at the little man she travelled with.

"Doctor, how dare you accuse me of hypocrisy! You are full of lies! How dare you subject me to this Allied propaganda!" she snapped. "The Reich had to do many things that were harsh. Perhaps the Reich did some things that went too far, but I reject your judgment."

Klein stormed out of the room, her slippers cushioning her angry footsteps.

The Doctor sighed. He knew he had pushed Klein too far. Her childhood pain was too deep. Whatever the hypocrisy of her anger, she could not see beyond the trauma of her experiences. It might be a long time before she would ever be willing to face the horror of the things the Third Reich had done.

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