33: Pieces of the Puzzle

The breeze from the Caspian Sea gently stirred the leaves above, as Shakira, her twin Saghira and Strawberry had their heads literally together, reading a map. Farrah removed her camcorder from her bag.

“Farrah should you even be doing that?” Saghira gasped. The beauty school student wanted to come along, but wasn’t exactly the type for anything that could be called espionage or participating in conspiracies. Both twins travelled through time and space but Saghira’s life almost completely revolved around her home and family until last week, her first day of her diploma.

“If we save the world, I wanna show everyone how we did it”, Farrah answered, sticking her tongue out.

Strawberry pointed to the vague directions’ starting point, stolen by Ursula several days ago. “What is the blue moon?”

“Something blue and involving moons”, Shakira replied flatly.

Saghira jumped. “The mosque!”

“Which one?” She stopped pointing and looked more closely at the map, searching for this mosque.

“The Imangali Mosque on Satpaev Street”, Saghira explained. “It is blue with crescent moons.”

“Are me and Farrah allowed inside?”

“Yes but the directions say behind it, so we don’t need to go inside.”

The four women then took the nearest bus, stopping not so far away from the mosque and complete with passengers noting their peculiarities: abayas (must be tourists?), no arms (how does she do anything?) and very short hair (butch or ex-chemo patient? Why no wig? Women need long hair!). Both Farrah and Shakira paused to take a few pictures of it, then they made their way around the corner, past the benches and minarets, to the back wall that was facing a river bank.

“And…now what?” Shakira asked no one in particular. There was mud, and trees, not much that could really conceal anything, or any obvious signs of manmade structures.

“There’s trees….” Farrah trailed off. “And they have giant roots…”

“With something to hide?” Strawberry added.

The water lapping against the river bank provided background sound to their minimalist conversation. Along with several birds. “Such as a safe maybe…trapped by the tree roots? So it won’t wash away?” These last two questions were shared by Shakira and Saghira. They headed over to the largest tree, specifically to the most prominent roots that were facing the mosque. Taking out her sonic screwdriver, Shakira scanned for any signs of metal or plastic.

“Something is there!” she suddenly exclaimed. “It is being held by the roots, we were right.”

Saghira reached into her bag. “I thought there would be digging involved”, she said, pulling out a tiny gardening shovel.

“Can you see what it is with that thing?” Farrah lent in. Strawberry shrugged her shoulders, as her short arm-stumps weren’t capable of digging and she hadn’t learnt how to garden with her feet either.

“No I can’t…keep going Saghira! You are almost there.” Shortly afterwards, Saghira struck metal on metal, and with Farrah’s help she revealed: a sweet tin.

“That’s all?” Strawberry asked.

“Or maybe there is something inside…” Shakira opened the tin, which contained…..a piece of paper that was obviously torn from something else, detailing part of the schematics for some type of machine, and an RF oscillator.

“So we only found part of whatever it is we’re looking for…..” Farrah sighed.

“I would have liked a full schematic and where to find the other parts”, Shakira said, pocketing the torn off paper and oscillator. “We must see if there is anything else in the newspaper clippings.”

Previously, Shakira had left her sonic screwdriver on the ground. This was now held by Strawberry, who was crawling along the sand on her knees with it in her mouth. She circled the other tree, paying close attention to its root system.

“Mmmghmghhhmmm!” She pointed with her arm stump to whatever it was that the sonic screwdriver had picked up, now getting the attention of the others. They rushed over and began digging around the oversized roots…to unearth a case panel for some variety of machine. It was large, black and had a semi-irregular arrangement of holes meant for various meters and controls.

“And we have…” Saghira began.

“Something we could need, but is no help at all right now!” Shakira finished.

“Maybe we should go home…and read the newspaper clippings…” Farrah sighed. Shakira straightened, her protective instincts awakening. “I think I have another healing reaction coming on.”

“Aww honey!” Strawberry hugged Farrah with her face and shoulders, after dropping the sonic back into Shakira’s hand. “You want me to carry you?”

She smiled, answering with “Sure”, and climbed onto Strawberry.

“I’m all legs, I know”, she said as they both giggled. Shakira and Saghira carried their findings for the day, carefully watching for any danger – vans, people, helicopters – in every possible hiding place. One they made it back to the TARDIS, excusing the panel as something needing recycling when asked by the bus driver, the doors were quickly locked to ensure a safe return  trip back to Kos III, and later Thera. Locking the doors was warranted, however, as they were being watched.

32: Hidden Plans

“Where do we have to go again?” The Italian pretty-boy whispered into the ear of his co-conspirator.

“The head office, any others we think are important.” The light from the cafeteria ceiling reflected off of Dex’s glasses. Shakira was out that night, so she gave him and Lawrence instructions on obtaining more information of whatever was going on. Assassination plans, propaganda agendas, the numbers she found, anything was helpful at this point. Farrah was too terrified of capture to assist her doctors, which was reasonable because this was mostly about her. Suddenly thinking of her, Lawrence suggested, “The oncology department? I don’t look out of place there.”

“And it’s safer…..they probably have the head office booby-trapped now…hehe boobies.”

“You have to be childish when we’re doing something dangerous”, Lawrence said, rolling his eyes.

“You don’t think I’m scared? I overheard their plans to finish off Michael Jackson; they don’t leave any opportunities for failure, not anymore at least.”

“Come on, we’re going to oncology and there’s a mastectomy patient who’s making you fit right in.” The two men quietly proceeded to the oncology department, first needing to take the elevator.

“Farrah’s file?” Dex half-whispered.

“Yeah, seeing as I don’t ‘need’ it anymore”, Lawrence answered. Once they arrived, they kept a low profile, not looking anyone in the eye. “It’s in my office”, he added. Opening the door, he paused to look around for assassins, traps and so on, before sliding up to the filing cabinet and shoving his hand into the section labelled “F”. Eventually, his fingers walked themselves to ‘Fawcett, Farrah’, and he pulled this folder out from among the others it was sandwiched between.

“Anything different?” Dex whispered, his eyes darting around to check for any intruders.

“Her records haven’t been changed, except for…..Oh GREAT! They added the original scan to the altered ones from her false diagnosis!” Pissed off, Lawrence held up the originals so Dex could see them.

His eyes jumped out of his head, then he asked, “Were the sticky notes there before?”, pointing to a couple of notes with their yellow corners poking out of the file. Lawrence opened to the page that one was stuck to, and read out “5821435. Huh? What does that even mean? Wait, Shakira told me about a similar number that fell out of assassination plans!”

“Phone numbers? No, they are only seven numbers, could they be a code?”

“I have no idea…what’s this?” He pulled off another note, adhered directly behind the note with the number. “Atyrau. Find and destroy all information? This just keeps getting worse!”

“So….the numbers are connected to a place called Atyrau?” Dex was equally confused. It *was* getting worse, first Farrah was diagnosed with cancer, then her latest diagnosis turned out to be faked, then her doctors, including him to a lesser extent, became assassination targets so she would lose all protection and actual care. And now wherever the fuck Atyrau is has become the latest potential target of the pharmaceutical industry’s goons because of information that didn’t even make sense to doctors!

“Snap out of it”, Lawrence hissed, clicking his fingers in front of Dex’s face, as thinking about these things caused him to space out completely. “There’s another note with what the room number of a storage closet would be.”

The two men then cautiously took the elevator down to the hospital’s lowest level where Farrah had her last MRI. Next to that room was the storage closet mentioned on the note. Lawrence opened the door by a crack to check for more traps, and when he was satisfied with what safety he had, fully opened the closet door. Inside were a mop, extra spill kits and various cleaning products. They split the containers between themselves, searching for any more files; Dex even searched the mop and the insides of the spill kits. It was also Dex who rummaged through the last container, but the only writings of any kind was something scrawled onto the bottom in black marker. It read “SURPRISE!” with a cheeky smiley face next to it.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHHH!” Both men screamed, fearing that this meant ‘Surprise! There’s a bomb in here, or possibly assassins waiting for you, since we knew you’d find this, now you’re going to die!’ They bolted for the fire stairs, as usual, and raced for the exit of the hospital. Their hearts stopped as they noticed a car parked on the grass………and realised that it was Ursula’s time-spaceship, which took the form of a blue Chevrolet, and unlike Shakira’s TARDIS, was not bigger on the inside. Now, they ran towards her car, as they could see Ursula sitting inside it, reading something.

“Guten abend!” she cheerfully called out. “What are you doing here?”

“We were looking for more information but all we found were these”, Lawrence said, producing the sticky notes he stashed away.

“That’s more than what I found”, she admitted. “All I have in here are newspaper clippings and a very unclear set of directions. What is Atyrau? Do you know? It sounds like somewhere Shakira said she went on a trip to in her sponsored student days.”

“I don’t remember that from any of her stories, but one of the notes we found mentions it too….something about destroying information there?”

“What are the newspaper clippings?” Dex asked.

“Some are of Farrah from these last few years, some are of alternative doctors in South America and the Central Asia, a few are of Michael Jackson in East Europe”, she answered. “I don’t know if they mean anything or are trying to waste our time…but who knows then?”

31: Repeated Attempts

“WHAT IS THIS?!?” The fat, bald man slammed his hand onto his desk. “That BASTARD is alive? HOW?”

“What is it sir?” His female assistant asked, looking up from the notes she was typing.

“You know…. Michael Jackson is ALIVE!” He stood up. “Evidence from surveillance cameras show that he is connected with two of Farrah Fawcett’s doctors. Therefore he knows the truth and her plans. And now it looks like one of them has informed a security team to keep an eye on him so we can’t get him again!”

“And what are you going to do this time?”

“I’m trying to kill Farrah’s doctors! She wouldn’t beat us without them, they give her access to….things…especially that Pakistani or whatever thing and the fat German that both spoil her.”

“Why is Michael Jackson so important then?”

“Because he can tell the whole world about us and everyone will trust him.”

“What are you going to do about him?” she asked, beginning to get annoyed at his obsession with stopping Farrah and her doctors, for she was a supporter of the free market and honestly didn’t care what medicines people wanted in the hospital. She only cared about her own career, not his bullshit, especially as he never gave her the whole story.

“WELL…he is rehearsing today at the…” the fat bastard continued, detailing his backup plan drafted in case his previous one failed. Unfortunately for him, a man with thick glasses was standing outside the door, listening to everything starting with the attempts on his life.

Not so far away this time, Farrah sat on the grass eating pecan pie as Shakira’s phone went off. She and her twin Saghira decided to take Farrah back to Earth for the day, for she had the day off from work and her sister had the day off from college, and they were both close to Farrah. “Salaam aleikum!” she answered. “Dex? You overheard what?” She listened to Dex’s explanation of what he heard, peeved that her day off had been partially ruined by someone’s assassination attempt. On top of this, the twins were meant to meet a mass of extended family for almost a week in Atlantis that night, and foiling the hospital asshole’s plans stood a chance of making them late.

“It looks like we have to save Michael Jackson for a third time.” Shakira rolled her eyes. “He is rehearsing at the Staples Centre and there are assassins meant to arrive soon because he now knows the truth.”

“Why are they so desperate to keep you silent?” Saghira asked. Farrah replied with incomprehensible mumbling on account of her eating pie.

“We could easily take down the pharmaceutical industry, especially with his help, and we are aliens, another government secret.” She reached into her handbag, double checking that her gun was in there. “I am ready when you are.”

For the first time in a long time, Shakira and Saghira decided to park inside an Earth building, among a litany of stage props where the TARDIS would not be noticed. In fact, it looked normal in comparison to some of them.

Farrah poked some of the props, but keeping quiet as Michael was discussing lighting and such with the technicians. “And where did Dex say he was meeting us?”

“Once again the fire stairs”, answered Shakira, annoyed at this constant need to use the fire stairs, every single time. The three silently crept down the stairs, and then Farrah shoved her face up to the space between the door and the wall. “He’s here”, she whispered, as Saghira opened the door.

Dex was not on the same page of keeping quiet. “Hello ladies…”

“Shhhhhh!”

“Okay”, he whispered after the three of them ordered him to be quiet. They climbed the stairs *in silence*, and once they reached the backstage corridors, Dex pointed to Michael’s dressing room, flipping his glasses onto his head and then quickly replacing them after Shakira scowled at him. “They are going to try poisoning him, just in case”, he whispered as Saghira signed this for Shakira, for she could not hear his whispers.

Saghira pointed to the cans of Coke in his room once they arrived at the door. “I suppose it is poisoned?”

“Si, that is what I overheard.” Shakira, Saghira and Farrah then took turns throwing the cans out the window, while Dex listened for any potential interruptions.

“Hey who are those guys?” Farrah asked, pointing out the window to a suspicious looking black van.

“They are not very subtle”, Saghira added. “Are these the assassins?”

Dex slipped over to the window, as the driver and passenger climbed out. “Looks like it, he did say they were coming in a black van and were parking around here where they’d be a little harder to notice.”  Shakira removed her gun from her bag, shocking Saghira.

“Sister! You are not going to kill them are you?”

“No these are for stunning, they are not actual bullets.” She fired several shots, hitting both assassins, and then inserted some real bullets and took out two tyres, their windscreen and one rifle, which she almost missed. “They will be out for three hours, and this give us – “

“WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE????” bellowed a 2 metre high, armed security guard with Michael Jackson trailing behind him.

All four spun around and froze. “TheguysoutsideweregonnakillMichaelsowesavedhim”, Farrah said rapidly and pointed. “Outthere.”

The security guard barged over to the window and looked out at the van and unconscious assassins.

“I did not kill them!” Shakira protested.

“I won’t believe ya until I see for myself”, he sneered, and marched down the fire stairs as it was the nearest exit, while the others followed.

“I told you!” Shakira said as she folded her arms, after the guard had felt the pulses of the assassins still beating.

“We will move them inside and call the police”, he flatly answered.

“What is this?” Saghira used one end of her hijab to pick up a piece of note paper from inside the van, partly to protect herself and partly to prevent her fingerprints from getting all over the potential evidence. She read the note out loud so everyone could hear.

“5891248.”

30: Eternally MJ

“Hey Shakira, can you teach me sign language so we can talk in private?” Lawrence asked, wiggling his eyebrows upon ‘in private’. Farrah was sleeping with her face pressed against Shakira, and Strawberry was downstairs…unusually quiet.

“I will start with the alphabet?” When her husband agreed, she replied with an ‘okay’, and then touched her right index finger to her left thumb. “This is A”, she said, then made her hands look like a pair of binoculars. “This is B”. Lawrence copied, then she bent her index finger and thumb so their tips faced each other. “C…”

“MICHAEL JACKSON DIED AGAIN!” Strawberry came hurtling into the room, crashing just a few feet short of the bed. This woke up Farrah, and the first thing she noticed was Strawberry on the floor, sobbing.

“What happened?” Shakira, Lawrence and Farrah asked simultaneously.

“I don’t know….it was like he was poisoned at the rehab centre…” They were once again interrupted by Ursula, also not too happy about what had happened on Earth.

“Someone may be punishing us for rewriting history; Farrah for this time you are not going home without one of us with you and armed.”

Not wanting to be murdered, Farrah replied with “Fine by me…when aren’t you armed?”, with the last part said quietly. “Is there anything you guys can do to get him back?”

“We have to go to the Nethersphere”, Ursula stated in her familiar let’s-get-to-business voice. “This time we cannot fly out because we were not ‘invited’, but I know how to get someone out of there and alive once more. Strawberry, you will have to stay here as you are too close to him now.”

“What? Is this an excuse, because I don’t have arms?” she asked indignantly. While she was one of the first armless doctors on Kos III, most discrimination she had received was from Earth and Sontarans, such as Ursula’s father.

“No, in the outer reaches of the Nethersphere, where I have located him, there are zombies which feed off of relationships broken by death. You will attract too many, so you must direct us from the console of Shakira’s TARDIS.”

“It let you in without me?”

“Yes and it has Michael Jackson’s location locked in, as it will have ours. Lawrence and Shakira, I want you with me, Strawberry, TARDIS.”

 

The three were then teleported into the Nethersphere from the TARDIS, connected to their dimension only by the earpiece phone worn by Ursula. “Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?” she shouted down the phone.

“Yes I can hear you.” Strawberry’s voice came out loud and clear as she spoke into the TARDIS console’s microphone. “Where are you?”

“The outer limits. We are in a field walking towards what looks to be a passage underground, it just appears to be a door.”

“Great, it says you’re slowly closing in on him…the sooner you find him, the sooner you can all get out, right?”

“Yes, stop worrying.”

As they came closer to the door, the field changed. The sky grew red, and snow appeared. Shakira and Lawrence drew near to each other, as the former got her gun out, ready to fire. Ursula could hear something. A snarling, hideous zombie stepped out of the door, only to spew out degrading, hurtful, nasty insults as Shakira and Lawrence glared, wanting to find out more about this thing before they decided on how to deal with it.

“You can’t fight me…you can’t-“ The one thing you do not say to a Sontaran, even a half-Sontaran, is anything disparaging their fighting ability. Ursula aimed her blaster and blew up the bastard to kingdom come where it belongs.

“Well that’s one way to deal with it”, Lawrence flatly stated as they entered the door. They were now in the Nethersphere proper, a city with physics defying properties. Another door was in front of them.

“You’re getting there!” Strawberry cheerfully encouraged them.

“That is wonderful to know, considering that we are still being followed by zombies!”

She jumped. “Are you guys alright?”

“Yes. These ones only engage in psychological warfare.”

“It does not belong….it is weak…what is it?…what are they?…it is a douchebag…it is a bitch…it comes from a retarded gene pool…” The three looked around to discover the source of these new insults. They came from what looked like stone gargoyles.

“It is going to get a mouthful of lead if it doesn’t shut up!” Shakira yelled, pointing her gun.

“Can I walk three feet without being insulted?” Ursula answered, trying to open the door.

“It has bad posture…” one whispered, directing this at Ursula. “Isn’t that painful for it? It is the least of it’s problems now…”

“Does it and it know what a grenade is?” she threatened.

“Ursula, please stand back!” Shakira announced, shooting the door’s lock and hinges, making it crash to the ground.

“Well, that solves that problem”, she sniffed, then the three passed through the door…only to find themselves on a short jetty terminating in a dark swamp, complete with talkin’ insultin’ trees.

“Hey guys you’re getting really close! It’s like you hardly get closer to him at all and then you just jump!” Strawberry added through the earpiece.

“How’s it going?” Farrah chirped through the TARDIS microphone, with Strawberry answering with a (muffled, to Ursula) ‘Great! They’re coming closer to him!’

“Apparently we’re doing well…Farrah get yourself something to drink if you haven’t already, you know it is needed after hyperthermia treatments”, Ursula instructed as the talking trees (yes, fecking really) outspokenly doubted Shakira and Lawrence’s abilities to find Michael Jackson.

“They aren’t saying anything about Ursula”, Shakira noted under her breath.

“Maybe they’re trying to discourage us….maybe to trap us in the Nethersphere? Or just keep him here?” Lawrence looked around, feeling a little better about the situation now that he seemingly figured it out. The trees paused. “King. Of the. Fucking. Jungle”, he added.

“Now…how do we get out of this one?” Ursula wondered out loud. She tentatively stepped off the jetty and onto the muddy ground….which was just mud. She fell in. “WHAT IS THIS SHIT???” she screamed, a rare occasion where she did swear. The more she struggled, the faster she sank, and Shakira and Lawrence dived for the jetty’s edge to save her. This didn’t work, for now they were all in the mud, sinking, and Farrah could hear half of her medical team seemingly drowning in mud. Their screaming was broken by Ursula exclaiming “What NOW?” as they each fell face down onto ….snow. Yes really.

“Almost there!” Strawberry cheered, having left the console to get a snack.

“You didn’t hear? We almost drowned!” Ursula scolded, sitting up to shake the snow out of her hair.

“Oh shit…” Lawrence pointed out the fact that several zombies were approaching. They looked around for better weapons than just Shakira’s handgun, as Ursula then noticed that additional annoyances were arriving. The zombies seemed to be heading for the massive gate that stood before them; a fog behind this gate poorly concealed an autumnal forest.

“What’s this?” Shakira dug half of a Dalek shell out of the snow. “It looks like it’s functional!”

“Mine too!” Lawrence found a less intact shell, just the part where the weapon was, but it still worked. The zombies began their insulting tirade in their usual whisper, as Ursula charged her blaster and Shakira found the Dalek speaker. “DALEKS HAVE NO CONCEPT OF HOPELESSNESS! DALEKS HAVE NO CONCEPT OF…..INSIDE VOIIIIICE!” she screeched through it.

“SONTAR-HA!” Ursula screamed as she obliterated the first zombie. The other two followed her lead, also blasting the rest of the zombies to kingdom come. Lawrence fired the last shot at the gate in order to blow up the gigantic lock, and then he and Shakira (somewhat irresponsibly) discarded their shell parts before running through the fog. They found themselves in a deciduous forest, during what was meant to be autumn, apparently, with Strawberry announcing that they were right on top of Michael’s position…..and there he was…near a gravestone.

The three all yelled out some variant of “Michael Jackson! We found you!” and ran towards him.

“Who are you?” he asked, confused.

“We’re friends with Strawberry”, Shakira informed him.

“And Dex, remember, they saved you?” Lawrence added.

“YAAAAAAY YOU FOUND HIM!” This was audible even to Michael, especially as Ursula ripped the headset off to protect her hearing.

“Now what?” asked Lawrence.

“The cliff….I have done this before. The bridge-“ Ursula pointed to a bridge to the Nethersphere proper in the distance “leads to the Nethersphere, jumping off of the cliff teleports you back to where you came from in the living world. Michael Jackson will come back with us if he holds on to at least one of us. Just trust me.” They then headed for the edge of the cliff, which did not have an unforgiving river or set of jagged rocks at the bottom, but instead a view of various places in the living universe that was constantly changing.

“Are you ready?” Ursula asked, as the three surrounded Michael and held on to him. “One…two…three…jump!” Wind whistled around them as time seemed to slow down, all holding onto each other as if their lives depended on it, eyes tightly closed. The next thing they knew, they were on the grass outside Strawberry’s house, next to the TARDIS.

Shakira flung open the doors. “Strawberry! He is back! We found him!” The redhead squealed, racing to her friend and embracing him with her neck and arm-stump. “YOU’RE ALIVE!!!”

“Yes Strawberry! You guys saved me…again! Thank you so much!”

“We wouldn’t leave you to stay dead! Ursula says you have to stay here for a few days…is that okay?”

“Naw, I don’t mind at all”, he agreed, as the two disappeared to catch up on the last couple of days.

((A/N: Isn’t it obvious, I don’t like Eternally Us😛 ))

29: Trespassing May Have Consequences

“Farrah you’re healing really well!” Strawberry piped up, surprised that damage she once thought to be permanent was reversing.

“Wait what? That’s great! Sorry I wasn’t paying attention…I wanted to ask you, how long does it take to make a baby on Transsexual?”

Strawberry froze at the mention of that planet’s name. “Th-there’s two months gestation and then seven months with the baby developing in an egg”, she said as she disposed of her feet gloves. “Has he sent you any more threats?”

Farrah sat up. “No, I wanted to visit the baby when Frank N Furter’s not around; I’m the one who got him pregnant…somehow.” Strawberry then fell off her chair, exposing her underwear with the cherries on them, and the white garter with the strawberry on it that she regularly wore. “Are you alright?” Farrah asked, reaching for one of the tied sleeves of her white coat.

“Sorry he just scares me! I’m not taking you, you’ll have to ask someone else!” She got up and wrote down some co-ordinates. “This is how to get to his house, I don’t know, ask Ursula.”

“Thanks for flying us to see the baby…egg…he or she is still my baby too!” Farrah poked Ursula as they began their descent onto the roof of the building where Frank N Furter lived. It was an obscenely tall apartment complex, and he lived in a penthouse that took up the entire top two floors, which was perfect for the outrageous parties he threw. The abandoned mansion he lived in on Earth was not noticeably larger.

“Don’t break anything this time!” Kate teased. “Ow!” Dex elbowed her in the face accidentally, as he and Thomas were trying to win some stupid game. He then uttered a quick “Sorry!” before getting back to whatever they were doing.

“I won’t touch anything this time so I’m not going to break anything!” she said, remembering what happened last time. They touched down on his personal landing strip, knowing that he wouldn’t be home until the next day.

“Tom!” Ursula handed over one of the rheon carbine guns, the smallest and easiest to use Sontaran weapon. “Protecting them is your job too.”

“Ja, I know…” he lowered his voice to a whisper. “I don’t trust Dex either.”

“Knowing Farrah, she will try on Dr Furter’s clothes and unintentionally set off an alarm”, she whispered back. They joined the others, who were waiting at the door to be let in, and then descended the stairs to Frank N Furter’s penthouse. As expected, Farrah found a pair of ‘Dr’ Furter’s shoes and one of his hats, then put them on and paraded around as if she were modelling them. She then strutted to a complicated looking machine he had in the middle of his living room for showing-off purposes and pretended to work on it. Flipping her still-short hair, she moved to another side of the thing…and then tripped onto it. The some-kind-of laser beam spun activated, spun around, and then hit Dex and Thomas, consuming them in a pink light. Seconds later, they had once more become visible, but as women! Their transformation was thorough enough that Dex had long, dark curls with a rose in it, a frilly gypsy style top and a short denim skirt, while Thomas had his clothes changed to a pantsuit and his hair into a short bob.

Farrah stood up with the help of a speechless Kate and a button-free area of the machine. “What….just…..”

Ursula laughed. “I am sorry Tom, I just always imagined this to be you if you were a woman!”

“HEY! It’s not funny!” they both yelled.

“Don’t worry! We will find a way to change you back!” Ursula began to look for a manual with the others, until Kate jumped up and read out: “The Sex Change Ray: A Surgery-Free Option for Transgender Transylvanians. Manual written by Dr Frank N Furter, the inventor.”

“What does it say?” Farrah asked, reaching out to flip through the pages.

“Go to the index!”

“R-Reversal. Page 120”, she read out as Ursula and the ex-guys joined them.

“Reversal of sex change is possible, however is often desired due to family and peer pressure. Therefore it is only possible to initialise with a DNA sample of the operator”, Ursula continued from the pages. “His hairbrush?” she added after a pause. Tom was the first to sprint off, looking for the bedroom or bathroom where Frank N Furter would keep his hairbrush. Farrah found a shelf of sex toys and Ursula found some exotic/frightening scientific equipment, but eventually Dex stumbled upon a bathroom, with a pink glittering hairbrush that had “Dr Frank N Furter” emblazoned onto it. “I found iiiiiit!” he happily yelled out in his now-female voice, as he was finally doing something useful and didn’t have to explain himself to Strawberry. Everyone rushed over, and Thomas asked “How do you know it’s his?”, after emerging from a guest bedroom.

“Well it has his name on it and there’s a note in the bathroom saying ‘touch my goodies at your own risk’, so it must be”, Dex answered.

“I think we should change back now, hmm?” Thomas suggested, aware of Dr Furter’s nature from Strawberry’s stories.

“While you’re turning back into men, can I go and see the egg?” asked Farrah, also wary of the time.

“Of course you can, but don’t be too long.”

Farrah, leading Kate by the hand, raced to the room where she found his egg/baby. Picking it up, she said softly: “Hey there…it’s your mommy…..I know your daddy won’t want me seeing you, so I’m gonna leave this for you”, she paused to leave a rattle underneath the blanket, with ‘From your mom, Farrah’, written on it, then continued, “I hope we meet again someday.” As she kissed the eggshell and held it for a few seconds, she thought she could feel the baby kicking gently at her face.

“You can’t help yourself, can you?” Kate asked, poking her.

“Nope…let’s get out of here before he comes back or I want to take back my…whatever this is.”

“I AM A MAN AGAIN!” Dex shouted as Farrah and Kate made their way back to the living room.

“I missed it too, and as a woman I think my sense of style was missing something”, Thomas agreed.

“So everyone is alright to leave now?” asked Ursula, thinking she could hear footsteps at the front door.

“YES!” was her answer, as everyone was increasingly on edge. Then, a knock at the front door, which functioned as a starting gun for something resembling a race back to the roof. “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

28: New Beginnings

“Shakira! Heyyyy!” the voice on the other end of Shakira’s phone rang out, as she tried to remember when she had given the woman her number.

“Salaam Joan, what is it?” It had been a few weeks since Joan was almost murdered, and she had made a full recovery. Shakira, on the other hand, was just relaxing at home on one of her days off, and Lawrence was back on Earth. In several Muslim countries on Thera, the answer to gender equality without ‘ruining’ their culture was to build massive women-only cities (Saudi Arabia’s idea, who else?), and since she had moved into one of these five years ago, she had to sneak him in to her house. A TARDIS, however, made this very easy.

“I’m starting pre-meds next week!” she yelled into Shakira’s ear. Already? That was fast, Shakira thought. She was close to Farrah and all of the versions of her under her care, but their universal habits of being loud and hyperactive sometimes got annoying.

“That’s wonderful! How are you feeling?”

“Much better! But my maid won’t stop fussing over me…um, I was gonna ask, can you help me study today? I have to read some things before I start but I can’t understand them all”, Joan continued, unable to stop yelling.

“That is alright with me, I don’t have anything to do today…what is it you are having trouble with?”

“Mostly the endocrine system. We have readings on anatomy and physiology.”

Shakira paused, and then sat up. “Joan I know of the perfect place that we can go! Get your notebook and camera, I will come right over.” They both hung up, Joan to find her camera and her college notebook, Shakira to put something hijab-appropriate on and fly her TARDIS to Joan’s house. Soon enough, she and her TARDIS, which resembled a mahogany Victorian closet, materialised in Joan’s living room.

“That was fast!” Joan sprung up from the couch as Shakira stepped out, with a satchel over her shoulder, but wearing her camera around her neck.

Shakira laughed. “I told you that TARDIS travel is fast!”

Joan’s maid entered, with a suspicious look on her face. “Don’t you get her in any trouble, alright?”

“Joan will be fine, I am her doctor, and the doctor of around two dozen other women who are almost identical to her! Besides I am helping her study, we are not fighting the Daleks on Skaro!”

Her maid stopped folding her arms, and put them on her hips instead. “Fine…..I still don’t trust you aliens…but I suppose you are some kind of different.”

Joan giggled. “I told you, she saved me! I’ll be okay”, she said, and kissed her on the cheek. As she walked towards the TARDIS console, looking around, Shakira closed the doors behind her. “Where exactly are we going?”

“A strange planet that seems to defy the laws of nature, as it resembles a human body. Sometimes I consider it to be enemy territory.”

“Why? You told my maid we were gonna be safe.”

“The five people I am speaking of are not dangerous, however they have stalked some of my friends and filmed inappropriate videos of them.”

“That’s disgusting!” Joan replied, still looking around the TARDIS as Shakira flew them to their destination. The last, and only, time that Joan was in the TARDIS was when she almost died from being poisoned, which didn’t give her any real opportunity to see it.

“And we are here”, Shakira said, interrupting Joan’s exploration of the console room.

Joan immediately closed a drawer that she was rummaging around in, and asked, “Do we need diving stuff?”

“No, not here…but my only warning is that if it looks electrically charged, don’t touch it!” Shakira locked her TARDIS as they both left; Joan snapped two polaroids: one of whatever was above them, the other mostly featuring her surroundings but also including part of her face. “Do you know where we are?”

She looked up. “We’re in the diencephalon…and that’s the thalamus, right? And over there is the hypothalamus?”

“Yes you are right…what do they do?”

“The thalamus controls things like consciousness and relays signals to the cerebrum…the hypothalamus isn’t just in control of temperature and thirst and stuff, but it produces hormones….like dopamine and ones that control the pituitary gland.”

“That’s correct.” Shakira smiled, and ran to catch up with Joan, who suddenly took off to get a picture of the pituitary gland’s entrance. It was surprising to see how much she had changed, when she still lived with her husband, she was quite mopey and only happy when with her horse. Now, there was a sparkle in her eyes, of new life and opportunity – a life where she wasn’t just wanted for her family’s money but for who *she* was and what she could do. Even during that rotten first night, which reminded Shakira of Farrah’s first night out of the hospital, Joan still had that sense of moving forward from her old life as a trophy. She peered down into the pituitary gland’s entrance, which didn’t look too unusual until some weird ‘local’ stuck his head out, while Joan finished writing something and stuck her now developed pictures into her book.

“And the pituitary gland produces these hormones, right?” Joan asked, pointing to something she had written.

“Yes…you’re doing really well actually, why did you think you needed help?”

“I don’t know…just reading stuff doesn’t help, I have to see it right in front of me, you can’t learn to ride a horse just by reading.”

“No, I wouldn’t try that! But you will have many practical classes when you become more advanced.” She paused, thinking she could hear someone. “Is there anywhere else you want to go, after you’re finished with your notes?”

“The thyroid and reproductive system are easy, but I can’t remember much on the adrenal glands.” Joan put her book back into her satchel and tightened her ponytail.

“Well there is a hovercraft over there”, Shakira suggested, pointing, “they leave things lying around a lot here; I don’t think they have much sense of personal property.”

Joan looked over at the hovercraft, a two-seated convertible that was similar in shape and colour to an over-the-counter painkiller. “Sure, if we won’t get in trouble”, she agreed and headed over to it. Shakira had to turn it on with her sonic screwdriver, which didn’t take long, and soon enough they had left the brain and were on their way to the adrenals. “Hey the thyroid gland! And those are the parathyroid glands! They make a hormone that increases the level of calcium in the blood, right?” asked Joan, as she pulled out her camera to take another picture.

“That’s right!” Shakira stopped hovering and continued to fly them to their destination. After Joan had asked again to stop so she could take a photo of the pancreas, they reached the planet-human-body-thing’s left adrenal gland.

“What’s that?” Shakira laughed, pointing at something Joan had written and circled in her notebook.

Joan giggled. “That’s just something I was told to help me remember the functions of the adrenal glands….’salt, sugar, sex, the deeper it goes, the sweeter it gets’! Mineralcorticoids, glucocorticoids and the sexual hormones such as DHEA!” She took out her camera to get a picture of the adrenal gland they had parked near.

“You know you could ask one of the local people to explain that in further detail”, Shakira said, and then paused. “Wait…maybe not…” She could hear the voices of a certain group of ‘superheroes’ with a history of stalking, including making a sex tape of one of her friends.

“What is it? Hey who are those guys?” Joan pointed to a group of five people making their way towards them, all dressed in red and white.

“They are my enemies, less dangerous than some, but they are stalkers who made a sex tape of one of my friends, and they only approve of pharmaceutical and surgical medicine so they have interfered with my own work several times.”

“HEY IT’S THE ONE WITH THE STICK UP HER BUTT!” shouted one of them, an obese imbecile obsessed with both food and its eventual fate in the human body.

Shakira facepalmed. “And they have noticed me.”

“Should we get out of here?”

“I was just about to ask the-“

“Let’s show her how effective chemo can really be! This is for letting out that kid taken by CPS and flying their family to Mexico! We don’t care if the kid went into remission by the way!” The asshole ‘heroes’ summoned a horde of tiny police officers intent on attacking Shakira; whether they intended on killing her, jailing her or just ruining her day was unknown.

“What child? I have never – not in the time you would be – that hasn’t happened yet! Anyway, you can never catch me!” She started the engines once more, propelling them to safety. Unfortunately, the tiny police were able to follow the hovercraft, as they had their own cars hidden somewhere.

“Joan can you take over?” Shakira asked, letting Joan take the wheel, and screamed, “How is THIS for being metabolised?” as she disabled their hovercars with her sonic screwdriver.

“No I want to fly us back, this is fun!” said Joan as she resisted Shakira’s attempt at taking back the steering wheel.

“Fine but I am giving directions….veer to the right….be careful!”

“Sorry!” Joan narrowly missed crashing, and began to steer more gently.

“Don’t hit that…just slightly turn left….follow that thing…now slowly…drive through there!….be very careful…almost…and we are here!” They had arrived back at the TARDIS, just in time, for the voices of the assholes and tiny police-things were once again audible, even to Shakira. The asshole horde had spotted them, but it was too late, as Shakira had unlocked her ship and slipped inside with Joan just before the leader(?) of the assholes directed the police-things to charge.

“Is there anywhere else you want to go?” Shakira asked.

“Let’s go home, I think we can study there…a big house with a maid beats being chased…OW!” The police and assholes were now shaking the TARDIS, thinking they’d just fall out or something stupid.

“I cannot disagree”, she replied, entering the co-ordinates to Joan’s asshole-free family home. Who thinks people will just fall out of TARDISes when you shake them anyway?

27: The Nethersphere

Shakira and Ursula gazed out of their windows as they shot through the Time Vortex in Ursula’s blue ‘Chevrolet’. As they were going to see Farrah, both of them were thinking about what they were doing for her this time, which often wasn’t easy because of her delicate health and complicated medical history.

“HEY!” Shakira was suddenly interrupted by lightning striking the Chevrolet and then a sensation of them being sucked out of the Vortex, much different to when she or Ursula flew themselves out of their own free will.

“What is going on?” Ursula said to both Shakira and herself as they checked for any problems with her ship. They found nothing except for some message about a distress call, and soon crashed into a city street. Neither of them were familiar with this strange place; it was a city resembling many of those on ‘developed’ planets inhabited by humanoids, but instead of a sky, the city just kept going on in every direction! Unlike every other planet they knew of, it was not on the surface but on the inside of a sphere. “Are you alright?” Ursula asked, as Shakira blinked several times, like she was trying to figure out if this was real or not.

“Yes, are you? Where are we?”

“I am alright, but I don’t know…I’ve never heard of this planet or any world that is inside out.” After Ursula parked her car/ship in a less disruptive and conspicuous place, both women stepped out to explore with the hope of finding out where they were and what brought them there. Certain types of emergency distress calls were known to suck people out of the Vortex into worlds they weren’t intending on travelling to, but neither of them knew for sure what was happening. What danger could possibly lie in a world so hard to reach?

“Salaam, my friend and I got lost in the Time Vortex, where are we?” Shakira asked a beautiful woman with blonde curls. Her hope of finding an answer was temporarily shattered, as the woman replied back with something in English and the translation software in Ursula’s ship was down. While she could speak Spanish, and even German, and communicate across the Middle East from India and her Pashtun ancestral lands up to Turkey, English was not something a Theran learnt unless they were living in one of only five countries that spoke it. Ursula then stepped in and repeated what Shakira had said in German.

“This is the Nethersphere!” was the answer, which Ursula translated back.

[“What? The world where many souls have been uploaded to, instead of being allowed to reach heaven? I thought it was just a myth!”]

“No, it’s real, but I don’t know how anyone living could get in here”, the woman replied.

“My ship said it was an emergency distress signal, some types can pull unsuspecting crafts out of the Vortex so they have no choice but to rescue the sender.”

“Okay now that’s just unbelievable, I’ve tried to contact Earth several times but nothing’s gotten through”, the woman folded her arms. “You’re probably just dead.”

Annoyed at her scepticism, Ursula turned around to the sound of a young woman with glasses running towards them, and a much calmer man with a short beard and ‘matching’ hair trailing behind her. She had her brown hair in a ponytail, and was wearing a white coat and bow tie; the man had no unusual features and was just in normal street clothes, but was quite handsome really.

“Excuse me, but was that your ship that crashed?” bow-tie woman asked.

“Yes it was, how did you know?”

Bow-tie shot out her hand. “Osgood, ma’am”, she introduced herself, shaking both Ursula’s and Shakira’s hands.

[“Was it you who sent the distress signal?”]

“Yes…I don’t know where I am!” Osgood replied after translation. “Someone killed me, I think, and now I’m here and I don’t know what’s happening!”

Ursula rested her hand on the strange woman’s shoulder, looking concerned. “You couldn’t call us so we could fly here and know what is going on?”

“No, it wasn’t strong enough to communicate and pull you in here, no one can pilot themselves into the Nethersphere.”

[“If communication is difficult enough then how do you know if we are able to leave this place?”] asked Shakira.

“Danny…he sent someone back to Earth with a bracelet…I don’t know what it was…but I know that we can leave, and even if we are dead we’ll have our bodies back as soon as we leave.” She gestured to the man behind her. “This is Danny, he wants to go home too, now that he’s just LEARNT SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT THAT HE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN EARLIER!”

“Salaam aleikum, Danny”, Shakira said as Ursula also greeted him.

Danny didn’t look very sure of himself. “Yeah, hi, I did send someone back to Earth when I found out that he’d be brought back to life.”

“And what were you told by Clara’s mother, who’s been watching her more than you have?”

“My girlfriend is pregnant!” he said with mixed emotions.

Ursula translated everything to Shakira. [“She is pregnant with your baby? I heard rumours that it was The Doctor’s baby.”]

“Nah, have you seen his face now? She wouldn’t go for that. Look, we want to get out of here as soon as possible, I don’t have time to talk about gossip.”

“That is okay with us”, Ursula replied, “neither of us want to be here either. We are parked in the alley, just down the road.”

The four of them walked back to Ursula’s ship, with the sceptical blonde looking on, then going off to someplace else.

“A Chevy? Nice”, was Danny’s reaction to seeing her ship. “I thought they just came as phone boxes.”

“I see Chevys are cool now too, like bow ties”, Osgood agreed.

[“My TARDIS is in the form of a mahogany Victorian closet, they can come in any shape, but Ursula’s ship is not a TARDIS because it is not bigger on the inside”] Shakira added, as Ursula hadn’t stopped translating.

“Victorian? I know someone who would have liked that.” Osgood was thinking of the eighth version of The Doctor, who she wanted to meet, because she thought he was the best looking and most romantic, but didn’t know what it would do to the time line.

Ursula started her ‘Chevy’. “Alright I need to reach a certain speed before we enter the Vortex, I suppose I will just fly around the inside since we cannot go into space.” Danny quickly found some appropriate music on her radio, the last few minutes of November Rain. As Slash prepared to start his wailing guitar riff, the Chevrolet began to reach the speed which would allow them into the Time Vortex. Closer and closer they became, until everything around them was a blur to the sound of Slash and the rest of the band giving it all they’ve got. “Everybody needs somebody, you’re not the only one, you’re not the only one!” Guns n Roses sang as the four entered the Time Vortex.

[“They are from Earth number 1963, if The Doctor’s companions are from the same planet”] Shakira told Ursula. She smiled back and said, [“I know that from working on Terminus, I didn’t need to read it in the Intergalactic Enquirer.”]

[“No, I read the article about Clara being pregnant and the Cybermen attacking in The Nebula.”] Shakira’s taste for trashy tabloids was a guilty pleasure she shared with her twin sister, and did not often discuss it with anyone else. Ursula refrained from explaining their conversation to Osgood and Danny, and just said that they knew where to go. Soon enough, they had arrived back on Earth, landing this time in the grounds of a primary school, an inconspicuous place seeing as it was the weekend.

“Do you know where to go from here?” Ursula asked them.

Osgood looked around, while Danny was still mentally freaking out over being a father. “Yeah this was my school! I can call UNIT anyway; come on Danny”, she said excitedly, snapping him out of his semi-coherent internal monologue. They got out of the Chevrolet ship, Osgood calling UNIT to get picked up once they were out of the school.

Shakira turned to her friend. “That was…interesting.”

“And now you know not to believe everything you see in tabloids.”

She blushed. “HEY! I don’t believe most of what I read in the tabloids! Me and my sister just read them to make fun of them.”

Ursula laughed. “Shall we go to see Farrah now or do you want to make sure they are safe?”

“I am sure they will be fine, the woman with the bow tie knows what she is doing now that she is home….and besides I want to see Farrah.” Despite time travel removing the issue of running late, she still didn’t want to be late on her time as she found it quite rude.

“Okay then.” Ursula set the co-ordinates and started the engines, trying to refrain from teasing Shakira about her love of tabloids. “And we are off…”

26: HIStory Altered, Again

Dex, Holly 13 and Strawberry left the Italian restaurant where they had just eaten dinner, and were now walking down the street back to Strawberry’s “car”. It was safer for Dex show his face in public than it was for Lawrence, because no one would know that he was helping Farrah escape and ruin the pharmaceutical companies. Sure, there was that one time when Farrah had a facelift and Dex let her stay at his house, where the paparazzi got pictures of them, but they were terrible and they spelt his name wrong.
“OW!”
Strawberry turned towards Dex, assuming that he’d taken his glasses off in order to look ‘cool’ and had consequently tripped or run into something. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah”, Dex said, rubbing his head. He bent over to pick up a piece of paper that had been wrapped around a pencil. “This thing fell from the sky and hit me!…hey look at this!”
Holly and Strawberry looked over Dex’s shoulder as they all read the note.
“Help me! I’ve been kidnapped by a crazy guy and I’m trapped in this hotel”, Holly began.
“I’m in the 8th room on the 4th floor”, Strawberry continued.
“Please get me out of here before he comes back”, Dex concluded. “It’s signed ‘Michael’.”
“I guess we’d better help him then”, said Holly.
Strawberry agreed. “We have time, but it doesn’t matter anyway! Whoever he is, he’s in trouble, and he could be killed!”
The three then proceeded to enter the hotel, a very fancy branch of an international chain. When the woman at the front desk questioned them, Dex just told her they were visiting their friend Michael; luckily she didn’t ask for a last name. Nervous, Holly counted the floors as they took the elevator, which was annoying but she couldn’t help herself.
“Wait…how are we supposed to get in if we don’t have a room key?” Dex asked no one in particular once they had arrived, then remembered that Shakira had given them her sonic screwdriver in case they got into trouble and needed it. Several clumsy attempts finally yielded the result of the door unlocking, which allowed Dex, Holly and Strawberry to enter.
“I’m in here!” the high-pitched, male voice called out. Glancing over at each other, they quietly stepped into the bedroom.
Dex got down on the floor so they would be on the same level. “Are- are you alright?” The man had a bandanna over his face, his odd-looking face, and very pale skin, for it was not just any man, but Michael Jackson!” Strawberry and Holly dropped to the floor too, and Strawberry glared at Dex for a second over the excessive plastic surgery that this man had. Dex responded with a look that said ‘Que? I’m innocent…I would never agree to doing this anyway!’
“No!” Michael answered, relieved but impatient. “A transvestite kidnapped me yesterday, real early in the morning; he said he was saving me!”
“Saving you from what?” asked Holly, while Strawberry was too shocked to speak.
“He said that if I stayed home, I’d overdose on prescription drugs and die that day!”
Dex folded his arms. “Aaaand….do you have a problem with prescription drugs?”
Michael looked embarrassed. “Kind of…I didn’t take them for long and then I started to feel like I couldn’t live without them! My doctor never really helped, he just kept prescribing more drugs to deal with the side effects of what I was already on!”
“That is completely irresponsible! The drugs are often essentially poisons, even I know that! What exactly were you taking?”
Michael then gave a laundry list of prescriptions that disgusted Dex, confused Holly and caused Strawberry to ask if these things actually existed. “Uh when you say that a transvestite kidnapped you, what does he look like?”
“He has thick black hair that goes down to his shoulders, and heavy makeup, like red lipstick and too much eyeshadow, and he wears a black corset and giant fake pearls! He also has a tattoo on his arm that says ‘Boss’ in a heart.”
Strawberry gasped. “That’s Frank N. Furter! He’s always out to ruin people’s lives just for fun, and I know that he’s been time travelling!”
“Wait…so I was really gonna die?”
She didn’t know how to answer this. “Ummm….yeah. Reports of you dying disappeared from the intergalactic internet yesterday too, you can only find them under the time-cache tab; but Dr Furter wouldn’t save someone because he cares about them, he’d only do that for some kind of personal gain.”
“Well that was obvious…look can you guys untie me? I don’t know when he’s gonna come back!”
The three untied Michael Jackson – Strawberry with her feet – and gave him their names. “Thanks guys”, he said, “let’s get out of here now.”
“I was waiting for you to say that”, Strawberry agreed as she stood up. Everyone looked around for any sign of the transvestite as they left the room and waited for the elevator, hoping that he wouldn’t surprise them with an entrance. This lasted about ten seconds before fear persuaded them to bolt down the fire stairs, which they assumed they only had to do with Farrah, caring for her or otherwise.
“Okay now that we’re out, where do you wanna go?” Holly asked Michael.
“Actually I was thinking that I should get some help before I really do overdose, I don’t want to die and I don’t want my doctor controlling me anymore.”
“That would probably be the best idea”, said Dex as they walked back to Strawberry’s ‘car’. After the reached her time- and spaceship that appeared to be a red Mustang, they searched for the best rehab centre on Strawberry’s computer. Michael, however, was quite distracted by the fact that he was sitting inside something that could travel through time and space, but he soon agreed on a centre outside of California and away from his horrible, enabling ‘doctor’ and Frank N. Furter. The three then dropped him off at this relatively private, asshole-doctor-free location and made their way home.

A/N: When you ride alone, you ride with the patriarchy! Join a car sharing club today!😛 https://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/shoura-woman-says-more-needed-women-empowerment-085826787.html

25: A Very Special Episode, Or Something

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH!” a loud scream emanated from the console room in Shakira’s TARDIS.

“Farrah, what’s wrong?” Saghira, Shakira’s twin, asked as she ran out from the TARDIS’ bathroom. She had just bought everything she needed to start her beauty therapy diploma, despite it being a month away.

“They’re saying I’m dead! The news on my Earth in my time says I died this morning!”

“Farrah sweetheart what’s wrong?” Shakira asked as she entered the console room, then looked at the computer screen. “Oh no…” It was not only trashy tabloids that were saying Farrah was dead, there were also reports on legitimate news sites! Shakira and Saghira hugged her, because your homeworld thinking you’re dead can’t be anything other than horrible.

“I have to go see daddy”, she said, “I don’t want my family to believe this.”

The sisters looked at each other. “We have time”, Saghira told her, then they left the room to put on their hijabs. When they returned, Shakira began to fly her TARDIS to Corpus Christi, Farrah’s hometown, specifically to her father’s house. Things were going smoothly, until a face appeared on one of the console’s computer screens.

“Shakira Seddiqi, you are under arrest for wilfully altering the timeline.”

Saghira and Farrah gasped, and Shakira looked up. “Oh it is YOU again. Who do you think you are?”

“Constable King of the Gallifreyan Federal Police.”

“Are you picking on me specifically because I broke up with you? There are thousands of police and dozens of alterations to the timeline coming from Thera and Kos III, why me and why you?”

“Come on Shakira, if you just accepted the loss of Farrah, married me and had my children then none of this would be happening. Euthanasia isn’t that bad, and if you allow her to die like she should then you will be released without charge.”

“I don’t want any of that! I do not want to let Farrah die, give up my career, be submissive to you and have babies, and you are not entitled to MY agreement!” Her argument was the perfect distraction, as she reached over to a control panel and sent an SOS message to Strawberry and Ursula, providing her location in the Vortex.

“Yes I am, you are not a Time Lord and therefore an inferior being, so none of this is about your opinion you stupid flatworm!”

The speciesist slur of ‘flatworm’, a reference to the agelessness of Therans and their supposed lack of intelligence (Time Lords considered their much more egalitarian/non-hierarchial society, stealing of TARDISes and casual history changing to be signs of stupidity), annoyed Saghira, who usually stayed out of lover’s and ex-lover’s arguments. “You have no right to speak to my sister like that! After three months of dating you didn’t learn anything about her!” she yelled at the redheaded police officer.

“YEAH!” Farrah agreed. “And you have no right to talk to my friend like that! Especially when she’s also my doctor and she saved my life!”

“GREAT, everyone else has to put their two cents in too! This is getting nowhere! Open fire!” King said, and disconnected the video call. The police fired at Shakira’s TARDIS, missing twice and hitting once, but her shields prevented it from causing any damage. Shakira’s weapons were different, which did not intend to kill but instead meant to disable the offending craft, thereby knocking it out of the Vortex, and this meant they could also bypass any shields.

“Farrah, remember what I showed you?”

“The guns?”

“Yes, you take this one”, she said, gesturing to the weapons control panel on her left, while she stood in front of the other.

“I will steer your TARDIS”, Saghira offered, and then brought an image of the police’s TARDIS on the screen, so she could avoid it and the others could aim properly. Shakira fired several shots, each beginning to create a field of energy around the other TARDIS. When it was developed enough to completely envelope the TARDIS, it would penetrate the offending craft, fry the engines and disable it for several days.

Another shot was successfully fired at Shakira’s TARDIS. “They are weakening the shields! Do you think we could disable them before they destroy us?” Saghira asked.

“I have called-Wait! There they are!” Shakira replied, as a flying red Mustang and an equally capable blue Chevrolet burst into the Vortex.

“Shakira!” Ursula, the driver of the blue car/space and timeship, called the TARDIS videophone. “Are you alright? And are your shields still strong?” Thomas and Lawrence were in the car with her, and Lawrence was especially worried.

“Yes and they are at 85%, but we still need you.”

“Are you using real guns or the disabling ones?”

“The disabling ones, Ursula. I don’t want to kill them.”

“Alright then.” Ursula charged her own weapons and then proceeded to fire them at the police’s TARDIS together with Shakira, while Thomas used a hand-held version.

“Shakira! Hey sorry if I’m late are you okay?” Strawberry had just entered the Vortex along with Dex, saving Shakira even more time and effort.

“That is alright Strawberry, and yes we are all okay.”

“Dex, can you get the gun out of the glove compartment?”

“Si amiga, I just pull this trigger here, no?” Dex asked, pointing to the trigger on what appeared to be a much upgraded, adult nerf gun.

“Yeah it’s that one, I really need to get one built in”, she said, and then they joined in the fight against the Time Lord police.

Lawrence decided to distract the police. “Hey you, whoever you are!” he yelled after calling them.

“What the fuck do you want? You’re under arrest too!”

“How about leaving my wife alone?”

King rolled his eyes. “You can stand living with that? She never did what she was told!”

“Shakira can do what she wants, and because of her I know that I don’t have to basically poison people or watch someone die every week.  She opened up a whole new world to me and you don’t know how grateful I am.”

His distraction worked, as they managed to create an energy field almost strong enough to disable the TARDIS without further damage to their own ships.

“Everyone we just need one more shot each and they won’t be policing anyone in that TARDIS for a week. Maybe we can do it together?” Shakira suggested.

“Of course we can! It is more fun that way!” Ursula agreed, her Sontaran side definitely showing today.

“Ja I have mine still fully charged!” Thomas aimed his gun out of the window, protected by Ursula’s shields.

“Okay we’re ready when you are”, added Strawberry, glancing over at Dex, who was in the same position as Tom.

“Alright then….three, two, one, NOW!”

They fired their weapons simultaneously, with all of the beams coming together to form one burst of energy, and then penetrating the Time Lord police’s TARDIS along with the energy field from previous shots, frying every electronic system within. It disappeared from the Vortex in a burst of light, not before getting hit by lightning too.

“YAY WE DID IT!” both Strawberry and Dex cheered, unfamiliar with fighting oppressive ‘law enforcement’ but definitely excited about saving their friends.

“Thankyou so much for helping me escape, I am honoured to have you all as my friends…not everyone would do this”, Shakira said over the TARDIS phone.

“Hey anytime Kira!” replied Strawberry, and Dex gave a similar answer while trying not to drop his glasses.

“It is no problem my dear.”

“Ja it was kind of fun anyway.”

“You know I’d do anything for you, I’ll see you this afternoon?” answered Ursula, Tom and Lawrence respectively.

“Yes I am coming this afternoon my love, but for now I have to take Farrah to her father’s house because almost everyone from Earth thinks she’s dead.”

“What? That’s terrible! Farrah are you alright?”

“I’m okay Dr Piro-“

“Lawrence, just call me Lawrence now.”

“I just want to go home. I don’t know if he believes them or not, and I really hope he doesn’t.”

“And that is where we will go”, added Shakira and said, “I will see you all later!” to everyone as she flew the TARDIS out of the Vortex and into the backyard of a home in Corpus Christi, Texas.

“Hey, what the-“ an old man left the kitchen and ran out into the yard as a slightly familiar mahogany Victorian closet materialised. He stood there staring, as two almost identical women, one wearing a black hijab with an aqua border and the other wearing a white one with gold embroidery on the edges, and his daughter, looking young and fresh but a little damaged and short haired, emerged.

“Daddy!” Farrah ran to her father, embracing him with more strength in her arms than what she’d had in a long time.

“Farrah honeypie I thought you were dead!” he said through happy tears – an improvement on the despair-driven crying of an earlier hour.

“No I’m not”, she turned to Shakira and Saghira, “can you pick me up tomorrow?”

“Of course we can!”

“Have a good time!”

“I was going to say that”, Shakira giggled, “We will be going now, bye and Salaam!” The last word was said by both twins in a very twin-like moment, as Farrah and her father held each other, and he kissed her forehead with a love strong enough to shake the very fabric of the universe itself.

24: Almost Murder in Texas

Shakira and Lawrence kissed as they entered her TARDIS. They had just been out together, which involved crashing a ball on some kind of Italian cruise liner in outer space after some legitimate dinner in a restaurant that condoned their presence. Lawrence had shown her some of the European ballroom dances, and they danced for a few hours before deciding to head home. However, they weren’t tired because Lawrence being Italian and Shakira being Muslim (and therefore forbidden from alcohol) meant they were still coming off a caffeine high. “That was wonderful!” Shakira said as she entered the co-ordinates for their home.

“I’m still trying to get it through my head that we were on a cruise ship in space! In here you don’t really see where you’re going”, Lawrence replied, then looked around as the TARDIS shook. “What’s that?”

“I don’t know, maybe it is safe to assume that my TARDIS has other ideas besides going home.” Shakira was right, as once they stepped out to look around, something shocking was there to greet her. “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH!” she screamed, not caring about who could hear. It was one of hers – not just any of them, but Joan, another version of Farrah – lying in a hospital bed, physically wracked by some unknown thing.

“I thought we were supposed to keep calm around our patients!” Lawrence whispered. Shakira whispered back, “Says the one who spent years poisoning people!” and approached Joan. “Salaam aleikum sweetie, what is wrong?”

“I don’t know, I just –“ she turned away to throw up again. Shakira took out her sonic screwdriver, which she had just updated to detect acute poisoning, and used it to scan Joan, who wasn’t unfamiliar with her alien technology.

“She has been poisoned!” Shakira announced, and fixed her eyes on Joan’s husband, who was looking very guilty.

“I didn’t do it!” he protested.

“I have lie detection software on this too, and it does not agree with your denial!” she retorted. “Lawrence, grab him and shut him in a closet once we are inside my TARDIS, I will take care of Joan.” Shakira helped Joan stand up, and half-carried her while letting her walk as best as she could; Lawrence held her now ex-husband in something resembling a wrestling hold he remembered from high school.

“Come on sweetheart”, Shakira said as she took Joan to the bed in her TARDIS’ medical office, and brushed her hair back with her fingers before rushing to find the antidote. Joan had been poisoned by morphine, something all doctors had easy access to, so Shakira was going to counteract it with atropine. After much searching (for her liking), she found the small bottle of atropine on the shelf of antidotes, and quickly dived in to the drawer where she kept the hypodermic needles – while Joan only needed a small amount, it had to be injected or else its effects would begin to appear too late. “Come here, give me your arm”, she said softly, then injected the necessary amount of antidote. As soon as she disposed of the needle, she sat on the bed and held Joan, fearing for her patient’s life until she could feel her beginning to breathe deeper, and relaxing instead of trying not to vomit. Joan was recovering, and was now breathing as deep as she should, but gasping as if she had almost drowned. Shakira placed her on her left side and stroked her back. “Do you have anywhere else you can go? You cannot go back to your husband if he tried to kill you.”

“I can go back to my daddy”, she answered, barely loud enough for Shakira to hear, and continued, “hey…maybe someday I could be a doctor like you” and ran her finger over Shakira’s hijab.

“I think you could do anything that you set your mind to”, Shakira replied, taking her hand, and then yelled out to the bastard in her console room’s closet: “I AM SENDING YOU TO STORMCAGE CONTAINMENT FACILITY FOR WHAT YOU DID! IF THEY DEEM YOU NOT EVIL ENOUGH THEN SENDING YOU BACK TO THIS TIME IS THEIR JOB AND NOT MINE!”

Joan looked up at her. “What’s Stormcage?”

“Stormcage is a maximum security prison from another time and place. They can send him back here if or when they release him, but I’m sure attempted murder is deemed unacceptable.” She slipped a monitor around Joan’s wrist, and a pulse oximeter over her fingers, then removed a pager from the side of the machine. “I have to send him there now, but if you are in trouble this will tell me”, she explained. Shakira entered her TARDIS’ console room, and then Lawrence told her, “He’s in here”, pointing to the storage closet. He opened the door, and Joan’s husband stumbled out, shouting “WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM YOU FUCKING VIGILANTE ASSHOLES?” while Shakira and Lawrence tied him up. Lawrence then wrote ‘I’m a sneaky asshole who tried to murder my wife and I deserve everything I get’ on a piece of paper and taped it to the rope. Shakira piloted her TARDIS to Stormcage, though it was rough and the floor shook, only Joan’s (ex) husband fell over and she didn’t get a false alarm from the pager that would indicate Joan falling out of bed and the monitor coming loose. She landed them all in Stormcage’s front office, so she and Lawrence could unceremoniously dump him outside. “THIS BASTARD TRIED TO MURDER HIS WIFE!” Lawrence yelled out, while Shakira said something similar, which attracted the attention of a guard.

“Well then, you’ve done the right thing in sending him here!” the guard replied, and just as he began to ask “Wait, aren’t you-?”, Shakira locked the doors so they could make their way home. There was no way that she would let herself be identified as That History Altering Bitch in a maximum security prison! Joan was staying with them for the night, as she still needed to be watched and cared for, but really, everything was alright now, as the murder in Texas that was meant to take place had been averted and a very special woman was about to start a new life.