New York city was cold in the middle
of December. Not just cold but ‘oh my is this the next ice age’ cold. The streets were all but abandoned due to
the mass of snow that was falling non-stop 24/7. Three shoppers made their way via the network of subway connections that
ran under the sprawling metropolis from mall to mall. The three shoppers, two women and a young man, were already laden down
with bags of gifts and decorations. Their leader, a shopping veteran and enigmatic Time Lady known only as The Doctor, encouraged
them onwards as they made the return trip to their time machine which was affectionately known as the TARDIS.
had been a shop assistant back home in London, where she had been dreading working
there this time of year. However now she was a part time defender of good and so she relaxed and soaked up the Christmas spirit
of the slightly suspect subway tunnel. She really hoped it was ammonia and not what she thought it was. However they were
nearly back at the TARDIS and she could kick her shoes off and relax before wrapping all the gifts she had purchased for her
Jean-Marc Baptiste was to put it bluntly not in the best of moods. Christmas bummed him out; it reminded him
of the family he didn’t have to share it with. He was putting on a brave face for the Doctor and Penny but he could
sense he was bringing them down. He had bought them both some expensive stuff that they would probably ignore and some more
personal items, which he thought they might actually like and use. It had taken him almost four hours to get the Doctor that
set of pink silk pyjamas with question marks embroided on the lapels. They had bumped into an earlier version of her, when
she used to be a man and he had sported a jumper with a lot of them on it. That was what had given him the idea for the gift,
that and the note the earlier version of the Doctor had put into his pocket.
Grrynch surveyed the snow-layered
streets and sighed. It was pleasantly cold and so he opened the aluminium framed window of his apartment to get a breath of
frosty air. The colder air of his room seemed to spill out like an invisible cloud freezing water vapour in the atmosphere
as it expanded. He watched the tiny ice flakes sink down before they melted once more as they left the zone of coldness. It
had been a long time since anyone had bothered him here in New York. He was
the crazy cold guy that no one visited, to think they actually believed his appearance was some sort of costume for an entertainment
production of moving images.
The fact that he was an alien refuge from the small red planet that twinkled longingly at
him in the sky after sunset was lost on the locals who seemed to have adopted him as one of their own. They called his home
Mars after some ancient god of war, those long dead people may never know how close they were to the truth. His was a martial
people, many years of war between the clans had bred a race of warriors - Ice Warriors the humans had called them. It was
very appropriate if no longer true in his case.
Their ship had crash-landed on a tiny island and despite some diplomatic
efforts by a couple of alien visitors they had clashed with the natives. The native commander had been a formidable warrior
and she had brought great destruction upon them before a peace had been fashioned and his people left along with their dead,
to receive a noble burial. Grrynch however had been rendered unconscious in a patch of trees while trying to outflank the
human soldiers. He had woken up in the darkness, alone and lost. Somehow he managed to make it towards the pole where it was
colder but isolation had forced him back to civilisation where he found a place where he could fit in. That place was here
and thanks to some frozen gases he could cool this room down to a point where he no longer needed to wear his bulky survival
suit. The coming of the cold seemed to be a time of joy for the natives, lights and decorations of vivid colours were put
up in the otherwise snow-covered streets. Somehow they made the humans seem less threatening and he actually felt comfortable
for the first time on the planet. Casually he looked out of his window and down onto the street. He saw a solitary figure
making its way through the snowdrift; it appeared to be an adult female with the yellow hair colouration. Something seemed
very familiar about her, and then his mind raced back to that battle and the alien woman who tried to broker the truce. It
couldn’t be her could it? The one called Doctor?
This was advanced shopping, for the experience and stupid
only. The Doctor considered herself to be a tactful and tactical shopper, she bought stuff that she knew they needed and so
would really appreciate.
All she needed to complete the long list was a personalised engraved hip flask for Bernice. It
wasn’t that her old friend drank like a sponge takes up water but rather that she enjoyed the social aspects of a good
night out with friends, acquaintances and complete strangers. The pub-crawl on the Sontaran home world would probably go down
in history. Either that or infamy, she wasn’t sure which one it would be, probably both she decided with a wry smile.
and Claire had been easy to buy for, a Hers and Hers set of silk bathrobes and bath towels. She had received reports from
Romana – earrings and necklace – that they were living together on Gallifrey now.
Grrynch looked down
again and saw that a strange multi-legged creature was stalking the blonde alien woman. Acting quickly he wrenched the bedside
drawer open, even though it was locked, and picked up his hand-held sonic pistol. Then he put on his dark green helmet, to
protect his face from the heat of the outside weather, and leapt out of the window. It was only four levels down and he clipped
several of the beasts many legs as he landed on the soft particles of frozen water.
The Doctor turned around to see a naked
Ice Warrior male; she blushed after making this discovery. Then she saw the Tasapidian Strangle Spider and yelled at him to
shoot it before it was too late.
Grrynch fired at the creature’s head; the ultrasound waves fried its tiny brain
inside its skull. Then he looked up and gratefully accepted the long winter coat off of the blonde alien woman, making sure
to put the cooler part against his warming scales.
“We should get you back inside.” The Doctor searched for
the right thing to say. For some reason everything she used to say in her previous lives now sounded like innuendo or worse
– chat up lines.
“I know you.” Grrynch smiled as they headed up the old oak staircase of his building.
“My ssship crash landed here and you helped to sssort out a truce with the humansss.”
The Doctor gasped. “I
thought I got you all home safely.”
“It’sss a long ssstory.” Grrynch stated. “You mussst
have better thingsss to do.”
“Oh just some shopping for one of my friends. Benny would prefer a bottle of scotch
anyway.” The Doctor looked around the freezing cold room. “It’s almost like home. Mars I mean. I’ve
been there a few times before.”
Grrynch ducked behind a wooden separator and pulled the thin body wrap on before
donning his body armour and setting the thermal regulator to a nice and cold level. “I never could get it quite as cold
as I liked but it’sss been tolerable.” He looked at the Doctor. “You’re cold.”
what the Master said just after I broke his arm.” The Doctor laughed. “Oh I see, well it’s rude to stare
“Your ssskin is turning a peculiar blue and red colouration.” Grrynch observed. “At
first I thought it was sssome sssort of mammal courtssship ritual but the chattering teeth and the ssshivering were more of
“My TARDIS isn’t far from here.” The Doctor said, standing up. “You know I used
to travel with Ssard for a while. I think I left his room settings as they were. I can give you a lift back home if you want.”
they were, Time Lady and Martian trudging through the knee-deep snow when suddenly the Doctor stopped in her tracks. “Doesn’t
it strike you as odd, that we should meet up under such strange conditions?” She half asked Grrynch and half wondered
out loud. “It’s very bizarre.”
“I wasss thinking it wasss more than just coincidence myself.”
Grrynch admitted. “I did wonder if you were following me at one point.”
The Doctor looked down the desolate;
snow covered New York street for a few seconds. “I don’t think
this is all entirely as it seems to be.” Was it the way the blocks of apartments all seemed to be exactly the same as
each other or perhaps the slightly reflective qualities the sky seemed to have if she looked at it in just the right way?
have a really bad feeling about thisss.” Grrynch exclaimed when a vast eye swam into view in the sky. “What’sss
The Doctor turned and ran, as quickly as she could manage without the aid of a sports bra. She dragged Grrynch
as she went until his brain got past panic and into running. “It’s a trap!” She yelled at her scaly colleague.
“This is all some sort of giant trap.”
The Naught stepped out in front of the escaping prisoners. “Stop
right there!” She commanded.
“Penny?!” The Doctor gasped in surprise. “What have they done to you?”
Her companion resembled a comical O with Penny’s face on the top half of it.
“You two will not be allowed to
escape your fate this time.” The Naught smiled as the Cross came into view.
“There can be no escape for you
two.” The Cross stated. He was like a giant X, with a hand or a foot at each end of his body. Jean-Marc’s face
was centred in the middle of this comical looking figure.
“Jean-Marc?” The Doctor almost collapsed with shock
but Grrynch made sure she stayed upright.
“They will be so happy soon.” The Cross said to the Naught.
The Naught agreed. “They will love serving here as we do.”
“Oh no.” The Doctor muttered darkly.
“The Toymaker got you two didn’t he?”
“We have never happier since.” The Naught agreed. “We
live only to serve him.”
“Well, we’ll just have to see about that won’t we?” The Doctor said
to Grrynch. “I’ve beaten him more times than some entire species.”
The sky flashed oranges and greens
and blues as an almost deafening peel of thunder announced the arrival of the Celestial Toymaker. “Ah Doctor, such an
entirely expected pleasure. It will be so nice to finally add you to my collection at last.”
going on? What’sss happening? Doctor, who isss that horrible man?” Grrynch asked as he cowered behind the Doctor’s
The Doctor sighed to herself before plunging headlong into a quick summary of her past dealings with the
Toymaker. When she had finished she noticed that Grrynch’s confidence seemed to have returned somewhat. “So what
is it to be this time Toymaker? Turok 3 Death Match? Rock, paper, scissors? Join the dots?”
“Nothing so mundane
my dear Doctor.” The Toymaker smiled coldly. “I was thinking more of a small wager. If you should succeed I will
return your little friends back to you as they were.”
The Naught and the Cross both started to cry and hugged each
other at this thought.
“And if you win?” The Doctor’s words were like a chainsaw cutting through ice.
you shall become the star attraction in my hall of dolls.” The Toymaker laughed.
“An empty headed plastic
bimbo dressed in dumb outfits?” The Doctor joked. “Could I be anymore like Pamela Anderson?”
shall never want for attention and love.” The Toymaker persisted.
“Love?” The Doctor scoffed. “I’m
surprised that you’ve even heard of the word.”
“Of course I have Doctor.” The Toymaker stated.
“I love all my toys, they are my life’s work.
“Really? If you put half as much effort into helping others
then maybe the Universe would be a far better place.” She turned to leave.
“Doctor…” The Toymaker
called to the Doctor as she walked away. “…Don’t your little friends mean anything to you? Don’t you
want to fight for their lives? To use a tiring, insipid phrase.” He smiled as the Time Lady stopped in her tracks. “There,
now this is going to be such fun isn’t it?”
“Go on then Toymaker.” The Doctor scowled at the Guardian
of Dreams. “Do your best.”
“This is the best part.” The Toymaker clapped his hands together and
smiled. “This time I’m merely the host for the event, I’m sub-contracting for some dear friends of mine.”
Doctor took an involuntary step back and gasped. “What do you mean?” She demanded, her scowl turning into a look
of cold fury with purple mascara.
The Toymaker raised his hands slowly into the air. “Behold the Bliss!” His
words were as thunder in the empty plastic New York streets.
The Bliss, a
constantly swirling fog of red and orange and yellow gases, moved slowly towards the Doctor and Grrynch. “There is no
where to run.” It’s voice, thin and reedy and yet commanding, called out.
The Doctor stood still and took a
hold of Grrynch’s gun arm. Carefully she aimed the sonic pistol at the cloud of gases and fired but nothing happened.
“Thank Omega for that, I would have hated to have won that way.”
“What do we do now?” Grrynch shouted
“Run?” The Toymaker suggested excitedly.
“Run!” The Doctor shouted and took off down
one of the streets.
They ran, as fast as muscles, tendons, sinews and bones could propel their bodies. They darted
down one street, crossed over to another and then ran back up the other way but the Bliss never seemed to falter in its pursuit
of its prey.
“It’s no good.” The Doctor pulled up. “We cannot outrun it.”
do we do then?” Grrynch asked.
“We think our way out of this.” The Doctor flashed a quick smile at the
ruggedly handsome Martian. “Any ideas?”
Grrynch shook his head. “No, I do not have a plan.”
neither, so it’s back to running.” The Doctor turned to run once more.
“Wait.” Grrynch hissed.
“Perhapsss there isss a way.”
The Doctor looked at her new friend and then the approaching cloud that was the
mysterious entity known as the Bliss. “What is it?”
Grrynch looked at the Doctor. “You must go no, leave
the area at once.” He started to adjust the controls of his sonic pistol with his free hand. “There is nothing
elssse to be done Doctor.”
“I can’t let you die.” The Doctor realised what the Ice Warrior was
planning to do. “There has to be another way. I won’t allow you to throw your life away to save mine.” She
tore the weapon out of the Martian’s hand and flung it at the Bliss.
“What are you doing Doctor?” Grrynch
demanded. “Do not insult my honour like thisss.”
She was about to tell Grrynch exactly what he could do with
his honour but instead the Doctor took hold of his hand and began to pull him along as she vacated the immediate area. “I
think you’ll agree that together we make a pretty good team.” The sonic weapon imploded and sent out waves of
“No!” The Bliss shrieked as it was torn into subatomic particles by the sympathetic vibrations.
Toymaker popped into existence in front of the Doctor. “Congratulations.” He smiled. “I never liked the
Bliss much anyway, too much of a conversation killer.” He waved his hand and the Naught and the Cross appeared near
by. “Well I must say this is a turn of events, you won and not at my expense.”
“I want them back Toymaker.”
The Doctor looked her adversary straight in the eyes. “Return my companions back to their normal selves.”
Toymaker looked at the Doctor before agreeing. “Of course Doctor. A deal is a deal and it’s not like I lost is
it? Oh I did so enjoy their company you know and they had so much fun here too.” With a click of his fingers his minions
were transformed back into their original human selves.
“Doctor!” Jean-Marc and Penny rushed over and hugged
“Well, now that all of that...unpleasantness is dealt with, who’s for ice cream?” The Doctor
pointed to a nearby shop as New York’s streets were returned to normal.
“I could do with some Rocky Road after almost being turned into
Doctor Lou Who.”
“What isss thisss Human thing called Ice Cream?” Grrynch asked the Doctor.
a very nice dessert.” The Doctor explained before doing the necessary introductions. “You know,” she put
her arm around his waist, “you might just like it.”
They had eaten ice cream, shopped for more Christmas
presents before taking their purchases back to the TARDIS where a banquet was waiting for them. The Doctor promised to give
Grrynch a lift back to his home and family before they all opened their gifts to one another.
Grrynch looked at the snow
globe that contained a miniature of New York and smiled as the little white
bits fell slowly down onto the streets. For a second he thought he could see tiny versions of himself and the Doctor. He thought
over the last few moments of the battle, feeling that his honour had been tarnished but the memories of her concern for his
life and her unwillingness to let his throw his life away brought forward pride and admiration towards the Time Lady. Even
if she had fallen fast asleep in front of the television, dressed in pink silk pyjamas with question marks embroided on the
lapels, and was now snoring quite loudly, he counted her as a valued friend.
Beyond the normal layers of human
perception and understanding the Bliss reeled and bellowed at the agonies it had endured. A part of it’s vast, ancient
being had been destroyed. It had felt pain for the first time in the aeons of its existence and when the pain finally subsided
the Bliss felt anger at the pitiful creature that had defeated it. The Doctor would have its undivided attention from now
on, until it destroyed her utterly. This felt good.