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Doctor Who Internet Adventure #22 - "Clockwork Orange"


Chapter 5
"Causality and Its Accompanying Headaches"
by Jennifer Pinyan


---


Book One: Wind Up


The sun rose over LA, and Roni couldn't help but find it beautiful. Red. Blood red. "Gorgeous, isn't it?" she murmured. "Don't see sunrises like this anywhere else."


       Her companion sat next to her on the balcony. His collar unbuttoned. The neglected cravat undone around his neck. His legs dangling over the edge. He had yet to look up at nature's display. "It's the smog. It'll only get worse as time goes by." Then he glanced up. At the sky. At Roni. She did not look pleased. He grimaced. He'd squashed the butterfly. Him, of all people. Stupid thing to say. But he hadn't been thinking.


       "You seem so gloomy. And I thought we were getting along so well."


       He sighed, and to Roni it seemed to ill suit him. "This evening didn't go exactly as I had planned." He carefully stood up on the shaky platform.


       "It still could, sugar," Roni offered playfully.


       The Doctor raised an eyebrow at her. "That is not what I meant." What had he meant? Well, he had failed to keep an eye on Freddie, that was for certain. But how could he have left Roni alone for the evening? In three years - yesterday - she would be - was - dead. Shot. No eyes. It all seemed a lot more real now; he couldn't just brush it off with the old "let's go solve the puzzle" attitude. She was a real, concrete person, and she was going to be horribly mutilated sometime. Sometime soon?


       He gave her a hand up, and they returned to the room in which they'd looked at the photo album. Grey eyes. Quite nice, for a human. As was she. "You're a valuable natural resource. It wouldn't have done to waste a chance to get to know you."


       Roni was flattered by the strange praise. "Thanks. An odd thing to say, but thanks. I'd return the compliment, but I don't think you ever really got around to telling me anything about you. I guess you're leaving now, huh? That had a ring of finality to it."


       The Doctor sighed, glancing around the room for his frock coat. Again with the sighing! What, had he never met someone he knew was going to die? It was stupid to come back. The causality was giving him a headache. But if they hadn't, how would Freddie have known them? Or what if they had come back, but just not yet? What if he was here now, only it was later? But then he would've remembered then being here now, and so he wouldn't've come back here now then. OK. All clear now. Time to go. "I need to find my friends. They didn't expect me to be out this late."


       "But I thought you were looking for new friends." She tied his cravat.


       "I'm always looking for new friends. It never hurts to have a port in each storm."


       "And a girl in each port?"


       "It's seems that way most of the time, yes."


       "Will I see you again?"


       "No... I don't know. I honestly don't. I hope so. I had an enjoyable time with you. Might I... No."


       "What? We're friends, like you'd wanted. I'm your port in stormy LA."


       "The picture of you getting off the train with the stuffed cat under your arm - does it have much sentimental value?"


       Roni looked puzzled, but turned to flip through the photo album.


       "It was on the thirty-seventh leaf."


       She found the picture. Even now that it was in front of her, she couldn't remember the events surrounding it. "Yes, it does have sentimental value. But for you, apparently. Not for me. Take it."


       The Doctor solemnly accepted the photograph. Looked at it. Looked at her. "I hate goodbyes, so I'll just leave now." He squeezed her hand and, she never saw him again.


* * *


Of course they weren't back at the TARDIS. That would've be too easy, wouldn't it? It was noon. And, to be honest, the Doctor had gotten sufficient exercise strolling around town in search of Luke and Kirena.


       "At least this isn't San Francisco," he muttered. But he and San Francisco weren't on the best terms, anyway.


       "Watch it, loopy!"


       The Doctor glanced up just in time to avoid colliding with a blue.


       "Sorry officer." He stepped around and continued on his way. Stopped. Spun. "Excuse me, officer, where's the nearest police station?"


       "Behind you, loopy." The blue shook his head and resumed his beat.


       The Doctor approached the station. Standard architecture. Drab colour. He walked up the dull concrete steps. Through the creaky glass-panelled doors. It would not be unlike Kirena or Luke to get locked up by the local authorities if left alone for a mere half a day.


       Then again, the same could be said of the Doctor.


* * *


The two o'clock delivery. Not a daily affair. At least, not always to the same fuzz. Today it was Hallaghan. Stupid fat oaf. It'd been this creep's partner who'd pulled Freddie over yesterday. Nothing to be gained here. No special bonus on the side. Not even a tip. All done for the sake of keeping the boss happy. Call it freakin' altruism.


       Freddie was in a particularly foul mood as he pushed through the squeaky doors of the thirty-second precinct. That wacko was probably fondling his woman right now. He'd get home at the end of today's runs and she'd tell him the guy'd been some rich surgeon or something. Maybe the rich surgeon. Screw you! he'd shout. And he would. But it wasn't like it used to e. She had to get out of that life.


       "Officer Hallaghan, please, Sergeant." Yeah. All nice and polite.


       Across the waiting area and into the office.


       "Hallaghan."


       The fuzz was on the phone. "You can wait a freakin' minute," he growled, hand over the mouthpiece.


       The envelope was supposed to be delivered hand-to-hand. No tossing it on the desk and leaving. So Freddie turned around, eyes seeking something interesting to stare at. And they found it.


       The exclamation jumped out. "Freakin'--"


       The receiver slammed down. "What the hell are you shouting about?"


       Freddie spun back to face Hallaghan, a bit pissed to have been caught with his cool lost. "Nothing. Just thought I recognised one of your clients out there."


       "Big freakin' deal. You've done time at Q."


       "That nut's not from Q. I don't think he'd last a day there. Not prison material, that one."


       "Just give me what you came to and get the hell out of here."


       "Sure." The envelope passed hands. "Give my greetings to the fruitcake. Or fruit. I never did decide which." Freddie strolled out, chuckling.


       Hallaghan's face reddened. A freakin' fairy thought to just stroll into the station?! What, to mock him? Well, he'd had enough of that yesterday. He rounded the desk, leaning heavily on his cane. His freakin' cane. Bitch's bullet had just grazed the foot, really. An inconvenience. A freakin' inconvenience. He reached the door and looked out the pane of glass in it. Yup. Definitely a fruit. But with nice eyes. He'd have to be careful about this one.


       Hallaghan leaned over to the desk, grabbed the phone. "Harris, bring the fag in velvet to the special interrogation room on level two. I'll meet you there."


* * *


"Sir, if you'll come with me, we're ready to help you now."


       The Doctor looked up with a start. After two hours of memorising the cracks in the tile, the water patches on the ceiling, and everything in between, they were finally going to talk to him. Missing Persons, and he'd been shunted to a waiting area. Well, what did one expect, really?


       The Doctor stood. "Thank you, Officer..." He read the badge. "Harris."


       "Please follow me."


       "Certainly."


       Through swinging doors. Down a staircase. Down a hallway. Not always a good thing, corridors. Sure, they had their uses. Unfortunately, one of those was for running away. A bit of the old claustrophobia resurfaced: "I really just wanted to report some of my friends missing." He stopped, caught Harris by the arm. "Listen, perhaps you've seen them? Kirena, she's — well, she looks a bit like Jadi, but I don't suppose that helps. In her thirties, auburn hair. Fairly neat dresser. Luke is more flamboyant. About the same age. I last saw him in a leather coat, and black Cuban heels..." The Doctor rambled on for a bit, describing his companions in detail, not noticing the struggle taking place across Harris's features.


       The character in the crazy coat might just have well have said, "My friends are the ones that assaulted your partner last night." The 'interrogation room' was not far. The room where Hallaghan was waiting. What did it matter whether this guy was a fairy or not? If Hallaghan thought he was, it wasn't going to be pretty. Harris felt sick. It was the same room John had 'stayed' in.


       But Hallaghan was a cop. And he'd been attacked by this guy's friends.


       So this guy might be dangerous as well, even though he looked fairly safe. It was a matter of simple justice, wasn't it? Protecting the peace. Can't have scum attacking police officers. Who'd defend the good citizens if the police were taken out? But justice? What did that mean? And what was right? And who was right? And why was whatever was right, right? Beating up fruits was not right, that was a definite. But that's not what this interrogation would be about. It went beyond that. This was about upholding the law. This was what he'd signed up for.


       Harris watched as hands that he didn't really want to acknowledge, as his own quickly cuffed the man in velvet. Seemingly far off, the stranger looked down in surprise as his hand gestures were suddenly constrained. The flow of descriptive words stopped. Through stuffed ears, Harris heard the question, "Was that really necessary?" A hand snaked out, catching the man by the collar and dragging him down the hall to the room.


       Harris wrenched the door open and, before he could change his mind, flung the man into the interrogation room. The suspect — a far safer way to think of him — spun around, mouth opening to perhaps ask about his rights.


       But who has rights here?


       On the lower level?


       Down the hallway?


       As a cane smashes into your temple?


       And you stumble, but can't catch your balance with your hands cuffed. So you fall to your knees, baffled as the cane comes down again and again and again, all the while careful to avoid your blue-green eyes.


---
To be continued...



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