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Doctor Who Internet Adventure #29 - "Destiny Rules"


Chapter 2
"Lady Bad Luck"
by Will Billingsley


---


At that moment, the Doctor stood up quickly, stepping in close to his attacker as he did so — so close that the elbow of the man's arm, still swinging furiously down, struck the Doctor's rising shoulder. The momentum of the sword carried it on down, popping the man's elbow slightly backwards, ripping the sword from his grasp, and jabbing it point first into the floorboards, where it stuck with a judder.


       "You're not very good at this murder business, are you?" said the Doctor, standing eye to eye with the man who had just tried to kill him. "I mean, I don't want to sound rude, but that's the second time today your victim's got the jump on you." Behind him, Detective May sighed and took a step back, glad that it had not been his neck on the line. Homicide detectives are supposed to deal with dead people at crime scenes, not breathing people who still might want to kill you.


       The swordsman stared flatly back at the Doctor before croaking "I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else," through the blood at the back of his throat.


       "Why don't you tell me about it? Have a seat, let me buy you a drink?"


       "Doctor," said Rose urgently. "Maybe you should ask him to write it down instead?" She tapped her larynx, as if that signalled 'he's just had a bloody great sword stuck through his voicebox' more politely than saying it out loud. Unfortunately, this had the awkward side effect of prompting Detective May into starting to do his job again.


       "He can write it down for me, at the precinct," he said. "Coroner or not, you're done here, Doctor."


       "Officer," said the Doctor, before correcting himself. "Detective," he said in his most obsequious voice, "I think I might know the man. I could help you question him. We might be related. Distantly. Besides, look at him. The man needs a doctor." His cajoling had no effect.


       "Johnson. Get his name, and get him out of here. And get an evidence bag big enough for that sword."


       One of the officers approached the Doctor and Rose, and started to usher them towards the door. As they passed the end of the bar, the Doctor noticed a pack of cards, and quietly pocketed the top card. A moment later, the Doctor and Rose were back out on the street amongst the crowds and the hubbub of hooting taxis.


       "Doctor," said Rose. He didn't respond, but glanced back at the police line tape, and pushed his way two shopfronts up the street through the crowd. She shut up and followed. Get out of earshot of the cops. "What's the card?" she asked when they were far enough away.


       "The nine of spades." Rose was sure he only said it to be facetious.


       "What's it for? Why filch it from the crime scene?"


       "It's marked. Whoever was playing with this deck was keeping it at the top deliberately."


* * *


A block away, the blonde in the leather coat slid a token into the door of a McDonald's toilet, pushed it open, and went inside. She went into the first cubical, closed both lids on the toilet and sat down. She leant back on the cistern and stared at the grimy ceiling. "Fate," she muttered. "I'm going to beat you. And I'll kill everyone you throw in my way."


       In the next cubicle, a woman quickly stood up and zipped up. "What's going on in there?" she asked through the chipboard divider.


       "I'm taking drugs you turnip, what do you think?!" the blonde shouted back acidly. The woman flushed and left without washing her hands.


       The blonde closed her eyes. You think you've got us mapped out. When we'll breathe, when we'll die. Well I just broke you. She dropped her head backwards, revelling in glory inside her thoughts. But the vision still flickered on her retinas. The nine of spades, a whisky on the bar, and a Time Lord's sword through the back of her ribs. And the next day, the disaster. Fate didn't think it was beaten yet.


       She opened her eyes, in a rage. She stood up, took off her coat, and gave it a violent shake by the collar. Reacting to her command, it shrank six inches in length and turned a pale brown. She stormed out of the cubicle. The bastard isn't dead yet.


* * *


The Doctor was flummoxed. He looked hopefully at Rose.


       "You think you've just killed someone on the busiest street in the world. How do you get away?"


       "Hop a taxi before anyone realises what's happened, and go somewhere equally busy where you can disappear into the crowd," she replied. "Or if you're her, you just apparate the hell out of there."


       The Doctor frowned.


       "Yes, that's what I thought. So why does she crash into the travelling companion of the only other Time Lord in the city, just around the corner? And why a sword? Use a gun to the back of the head, blend in with the times, for crying out loud."


       Rose stared at her shoes, letting the Doctor rant. She gave it a moment before she said what she was thinking.


       "You don't think it was a message? She's got it in for Time Lords, and you're next?"


       The Doctor looked back at her blankly. He hadn't though of that. No, he shook his head. If you want to kill Time Lords, there are plenty of better places to go. She's got a grudge against someone else. He stuck his arm up in the air and shouted "Taxi!" at the top of his lungs. A passer by grunted "You'll be lucky..." at him. The Doctor pulled his arm down again.


       "Come on," he muttered to Rose.


       "Where are we going?"


       "The police station," he said, waving the nine of spades at her. "Detective May is missing a vital piece of evidence."


       They walked north up the street, past a flea-market nestled behind chicken wire, a lonely oasis of undeveloped ground amongst all the towering buildings, on past the corner where the hot dog vendor always stood, and up the block with the run-down electrical store that somehow still paid its rent in downtown New York. The locals pushed past them as if getting inside before the last flicker of sunset faded was a must-do goal for the day and they were damned if some out-of-towners were going to mess it up. New York at dusk was a fine city with the rudest streets outside London. Fifteen minutes, and they were there, and half of that had been standing at stop lights.


       The Doctor went to go through the door first, but Rose pushed in front of him, giving him a girly smile. It was her turn to get them past the police.


       "Hello, we're here to see the detective in charge of the sword attack case this afternoon." She smiled friendlily.


       "Does he know you're coming?" the desk officer asked.


       "Probably not. But then he forgot some evidence, so why wouldn't he forget a couple of witnesses?" The officer looked startled, but smirked when he saw she was serious.


       "Step through the metal detectors ma'am, I'll have him paged." He waved her towards a long row of airport-style metal detectors, most of which sat empty, but two were manned. Rose paused. God knows what they'd think of what the Doctor would have to empty out of his pockets. But the Doctor waved her on. The two of them walked straight through without a bleep.


       "No keys, no purse, no wallet?" the officer manning the detector asked them.


       "No wallet, no muggings," Rose quipped back at him, not quite sure how the Doctor had got them through.


       Detective May turned up in the lobby a few minutes later, looking agitated. His voice shook with irritation and embarrassment.


       "What the hell are you two doing here now? Broadcasting that I'm supposed to have left evidence behind to the station. My men are still down there, photographing."


       The Doctor held up the playing card. "She marked it. Must mean something," he stated simply. "How's our man's throat?"


       May clenched his lips. "It's healed," he said, not really wanting to admit something unexplainable had happened. "Who's 'she'?"


       "The woman who attacked him. Tall. Blonde. Black leather coat. I trust that matches the description he gave you."


       "Sergeant," May called to the officer on the metal detector. "Get this man a pair of cuffs. He's been interfering with a crime scene." His voice was shaky but determined. "Doctor, you appear to have mistaken me for the good cop. Your quiet friend, I'll talk to." He made a point of stressing the word 'quiet'.


* * *


The woman in brown had a simpler method for getting past the station reception. Just don't go through it. She walked up to the side wall of the station from the street, vanished for a moment, and when she reappeared, she was a foot the other side of the wall, in the office of a surprised looking man who didn't have time to scream before he was knocked unconscious. She would have to be a little careful. From what she knew of Fate's plans, one of her adversaries would be down in the cells and his friend would be somewhere in the halls. She didn't want to be seen and spoil her plans for either of them. She kept to the side corridors, avoided the open plan areas, and used interoffice doors where she could, and always peering through the windows to check which ones were empty first. She only had to make one small distraction, knocking over a water cooler, and made it to the detective's office without having to deal with anybody. The detective himself, of course... she'd have to put up with being seen by him.


       She didn't open the door, but just appeared through it. The Time Lord wasn't sitting quite here she expected, so instead of appearing and instantly running him through with her sword, she stabbed at empty air. The Time Lord jumped up, but he was defenceless. May and the other officer in the room leapt to their feet and drew their pistols. The Time Lord swung a punch, but the woman caught his arm and pulled him onto the sword, twisting it to be sure. The Time Lord, dying in her arms, was between her and the detectives. He gasped, but with the sword through his ribs he couldn't speak.


       "Remember my face," she told the detectives. "You'll be able to tell your grandchildren you saw me before it all happened."


       She let the Time Lord slump dead onto the desk, stepped back through the solid door, dropped through the floor, and exited the building using the fire escape on the level below.


* * *


An hour had passed, and still the Doctor was leaning on the bars of a cell, discretely watching the other occupants as they avoided eye contact with each other and kept to their own personal space. They were mostly drunks and youths who'd picked a fight with each other in front of the wrong witnesses. People who are kept in for a few hours, but rarely charged with anything significant: the daytrippers of the judicial system.


       May was taking his time. Rose would be doing her best to explain things to him, but with a story as far fetched as reality, the man's got to want to talk to the Doctor, too. He reached up and clasped the bars behind his head in his hands. If May took much longer he'd have to give some serious thought to escaping.


       Just then a prisoner caught his eye from across the room. It was a sullen looking man who had been sitting staring downwards for the whole hour. Only now he had looked up and was watching the Doctor uncertainly. The Doctor looked back at him and he didn't turn away. Instead he beckoned the Doctor over with a slight movement of his head. Unexpected. The Doctor glanced around, but none of the other prisoners seemed to be paying any attention. Cautiously, he walked over. The man stood up, and tilted his head towards the Doctor.


       "Look," he said softly. "You're not going to believe this, but a woman asked me to meet you here. She came up to me this morning and paid me a grand just to get locked up for the night so I could give you a message." The man chewed on his bottom lip as if he wasn't sure about what he was about to say. The Doctor leaned closer. It was a mistake. Suddenly, he heard the footstep of the second prisoner stepping in behind him. The Doctor didn't even have time for the hairs on his neck to stand on end before he was grabbed by the shoulders of his shirt and ripped backwards off his feet. He landed flat on his back and found himself staring up at the two prisoners. For the second time today his neck was exposed to attack from above. Only this time the weapon, the stamping boot of the messenger, did not miss.


---
To be continued...



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