Oh, hello, there! I am a huge geek. Don’t believe me? Well, the latest blogging prompt is that I share “a fanfic.”
Well, I don’t normally read fanfic. Lots of it is (so I hear) horrible, amateurish stuff, chock full of sexual fantasies, awful dialogue, and bad grammar. This is expected to be so, for Sturgeon’s Law finds that ninety percent of everything is bound to be crap. So can’t recommend any one piece of fanfic in particular.
But I can try and write one.
Yes, that will certainly push me down a rung on the geek heirarchy, but I (and certainly you) can take great comfort in the fact that I am most certainly not about to write an erotic version of Star Trek, where all of the characters are furries (and Kirk is an ocelot or something), with a furry version of myself as the star of the story.
No, I’m going to write you a Doctor Who fanfic.
But first, I’m going to tell the origin of the story. I was visiting a gaming shop with a friend of mine who went there to buy a boardgame. I was browsing the Role Playing Game section and noticed that there was a Battlestar Galactica RPG, a Farscape RPG, a Babylon 5 RPG, and of course, a Star Wars RPG. This led me to wonder whether there would be a Torchwood RPG (which I would totally play). My wondering in turn led my friend to wonder whether there was a Doctor Who RPG.
“Bah!” I cried. “You can use any setting for that. All you have to do is introduce the Doctor as a non-player character and have the adventurers tag along on a zany interstellar romp.”
“But wouldn’t the introduction of time travel, super-science, and the ability to visit any world instantly destroy the integrity of your setting?”
I had to think about this. Used carelessly, it would indeed. “Not necessarily. In fact, there’s one setting that’s all about creating a crazy collage of elements from not-necessarily-matched genres: RIFTS.”
“Of course,” he said. We knew the game well, having both played it many years ago.
What is RIFTS, you ask? It was an RPG developed by Palladium Games as a way to potentially tie their multiple RPG settings together into one “megaverse.” You could theoretically have a mecha pilot from the Robotech setting team up with a mutant ninja from the TMNT setting, and a wizard from the Palladium Fantasy setting. Or you could play characters native to the RIFTS setting. Typically, these were technologically augmented humans. There were always some drawbacks to human augmentation, and as a result, many character classes had such unflattering names such as Borgs, Juicers, and Crazies.
The backstory of RIFTS was that a terrible nuclear war in the late twenty-first century led to a cataclysm that wiped out the majority of humanity. This cataclysm included the opening of countless rifts in space and time, which admitted hordes of creatures from across the megaverse. Over two centuries, humanity began to recover in numbers, and began to regain its knowledge of technology. A coalition of city states in North America fell under the rule of a warlord and became an oppressive dictatorship known simply as The Coalition. Outside its borders, mutants, monsters, vampires, and demons all ran amuck. Settlements wishing to live in peace could try to beg The Coalition for help, but more often than not paid mercenary bands of enhanced cyborgs for protection services.
So, it seemed to me as though introducing one eccentric Time Lord to RIFTS Earth probably wouldn’t undermine the entire setting. I then went on to describe the hook for an adventure that was very similar to the following, the main difference being that the members of the adventuring party were not named, and the Doctor’s dialogue consisted mainly of responses to their anticipated questions.
• • •
The TARDIS materializes amid the deserted, crumbling, overgrown ruins of a city. The doors open and Donna Noble and The Doctor emerge.
Donna: This doesn’t look like a leisure planet!
Doctor: No, this is Earth. Twenty-fourth century, I’d say.
Donna: What? This dump?
Doctor: Nah, it’s a lovely time. Humanity’s blowing on the embers of civilization. Almost wiped out, but a hundred years from now, you’d never know the difference. Two hundred, and you’ll have the first Earth Empire. Anyway, you think this spot’s a dump? You should see the City of Amnesia. Every year, memory vampires come up from the sewers and— Oh, hello!
Donna gasps. She and The Doctor are surrounded by four adventurers:
• One is a Crazy, a human with cranial implants that resemble D-cell batteries standing on end. The implants allow one to ignore pain and fear, to heighten one’s awareness and reflexes, but tend to unbalance one’s psychology over time.
• Another is a Juicer, a soldier wired with a series of implants that dispenses a veritable pharmacy of drugs, which boost speed, strength, agility, and endurance, but at the cost of a dramatically shortened lifespan.
• Next, there is a Dog Boy, a canine which, as the result of selective breeding and genetic engineering, appears as a man with the head of a dog. A bulldog, in this case.
• Finally, there is an older gentleman who appears relatively normal. He is a rogue scholar, someone whose curiosity puts him into conflict with the Coalition’s desire to keep the citizenry illiterate and controllable. Like the others, he’s wearing well-worn battle armor and carrying multiple sets of weapons. All of the strangers are pointing at least one set of weapons at The Doctor and Donna.
Doctor: We’re not from the Coalition, and we’re not armed.
The strangers scoff, but lower their weapons.
Gentleman: Unarmed? You must not be from around here. Are you deebees? Did you come through a Rift?
Doctor: No, not exactly. I’m The Doctor and this is Donna.
Doctor: And who might you be?
Gentleman: My name is Byron Gentleman. This is Fritz, the Crazy; Michael, the Dog Boy; and Baracas, the Juicer. And together, we are the A-Team.
Donna: What, like the TV show?
Fritz: [Dangerously] The A is for Adventure!
Doctor: You’re mercenaries.
Gentleman: Correct. We are investigating a gang of mutants who’ve been attacking villages in this area.
Doctor: What’s wrong? You look like you can handle a few mutants.
Gentleman: These mutants wear power armor. Their weapons are overwhelming. We managed to take one down, but it wiped out half my team in the process. I’ve never seen anything like it. It must have come from a Rift.
Donna: What does that mean?
Gentleman: You really aren’t from around here!
Doctor: [To Donna] Do you recall the rift that I showed you in Cardiff? Yeah? It’s exactly like that. It is that. Some stupid, stupid people went and started a war a long time ago. Bombs fell, the worst bombs you can imagine. One hit Cardiff just so and bam. The Rift spread across the planet. Creatures from all different times and places started pouring out. That on top of the war and you have a long and terrible dark age.
Gentleman: Impressive. Are you, too, a rogue scholar?
Doctor: No, not exactly. Well, in a way, I suppose..
Michael‘s ears perk up and he begins to whimper.
Baracas: [to Michael] You sense them?
Michael: In the distance. Their hate… is strong.
Doctor: [Frowns] Tell me, Byron, what does this power armor look like?
Gentleman: I’ll show it to you.
Gentleman leads everyone to a large, vaguely military transport. On the flatbed portion, a large lump is covered by a tarp.
Fritz: We hoped it might be worth some money.
Fritz removes the tarp. The object underneath is half destroyed, but clearly used to be a Dalek.
Cue intro: ZEEEEEERRRRRG!