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The Life and Times of Neil Lambess

“Oh my God,” went the thick Mancunian accent as its owner walked into Caffeine. “It's just like I imagined it, isn't it Stuart?”

“Vince,” his companion replied, “we've traipsed halfway around the world on this half-baked hunch of yours and yes, while I'll admit that I was wrong and this coffee shop does exist, I'm telling you he's not real and even if he is, he's just Paul Scoones' secret identity.”

“But his life's in danger and we've got to warn him!” Vince pleaded.

At this point I glanced furtively up from my latte and watched Stuart's eyes scan the patrons like some particularly malevolent barracuda... It was fascinating to watch, until his eyes met mine and his smile lit up like.... Well, like a barracuda, actually.

“I take it all back, Vince... there he is!”

I tried to hide myself behind the Herald... it didn't work.

“Oh my God,” went Vince.

“Hello,” I replied.

“Oh my God,” went Vince. Twice.

“That's three ‘Oh my Gods’ in one sentence, which makes you a rather... um... unegotistical young man, I suppose.” I hated it when my Wildean wit disappeared.

“Oh very good Colin Baker,” Vince enthused. “It's such an honour to meet you. I love your column. I'm a big fan.”

Damn, I thought. Fanboys. I quickly scanned the café for an escape route, as I was all out of assault rifles for the time being. There was no way out. I had to be sociable.

Ha ha... It's nothing really.” Was it just me, or had Caffeine suddenly become the nexus point for all the weirdos in the universe? “So, what can I do for you, gentlemen?”

“Ooh ooh,” went Vince. “Tell us about your Master theory.”

“Yes, please do,” smirked Stuart, not too sincerely.

“Okay then,” I began, thinking about how lightly I was getting off. “Who do you think gets exterminated by the Daleks at the beginning of the American telemovie?”

“Oh God, here we go,” groaned Stuart.

“Well,” cut in Vince, “it's obviously some post-Ainley incarnation we've never seen before... it could be Ainley, we never saw the face clearly.”

“Precisely,” I pointed out. “Because of the bicycle safety helmet he's wearing, it could be Ainley, but the clue's in the Nehru jacket and the fact that the Daleks are putting him on trial. You see, it's actually Roger Delgado's Master at the end of Frontier in Space.”

“Oh my God,” went Vince again. “It makes perfect sense. He's just betrayed the Daleks, and runs off to escape.”

“What, on a bicycle?” Stuart interjected.

“Well,” I replied, “it was rocky terrain and a BMX would be the fastest way to get back to his TARDIS - of course, his chameleon circuit works, so maybe his TARDIS was a BMX! Either way, the Daleks catch him and turn him into lots of itsy-bitsy pieces.”

“And then the Seventh Doctor intercepts the Daleks' signal and picks him up - but wait a minute, the incarnation we see in San Francisco falls into the Eye of Harmony in the TARDIS,” mused Vince. “How does he get out of that then?”

“Now that's the tricky bit. If all TARDISes are powered by an Eye of Harmony and it makes sense - I mean, black holes are bigger on the inside than out, do silly things to time, and so on - then it makes even more sense, if you follow the black hole logic, to assume that they are all powered by the same black hole.”

“Of course,” said Stuart. “Black holes are a singularity, so they can be in several places at once - it would mean that every TARDIS is linked to the Eye of Harmony on Gallifrey!”

Vince and I stared at Stuart blankly.

He stared back equally blankly. “You're right, I shouldn't know that.”

“Anyway,” I continued, “it makes sense, therefore, to assume that if each TARDIS is connected to a live black hole, there has to be some sort of safety feature - especially if you can open it to see how it's performing. So when the Master, who I should point out is in a decaying body, falls in, the safety feature deposits him in the master control room on-”

“Tersurus,” Vince continued, “where he's discovered by Chancellor Goth, and due to the time distortion in a black hole he's decayed even further and it leads straight into the events of The Deadly Assassin.”

“That,” said Stuart “is seriously the most fanboy thing I've ever heard - even if it does make perfect sense.”

“Oh my God,” stuttered Vince.

I hit him.

“But wait, there's more,” I continued.

“Oh my God,” went Stuart.

I hit him too.

“Have either of you seen Event Horizon?”

“Yes,” they both replied, nursing their heads, “it was terrible.”

“Not if you consider this,” I smiled. “It's Paul Anderson's Doctor Who movie!”

“What?” they both stared incredulously.

“Yeah, Paul Anderson actually directed it as a trial run for his proposed Doctor Who movie - I mean look at all the corridor running for a start...”

“Could you,” spat Stuart, “for just one minute explain where you're going?”

“It's really simple. The Event Horizon itself is powered by a black hole. The set design for the container even looks like the Eye of Harmony in the TARDIS. On its test flight, its engines are affected by the fairly close temporal wake of the Master being sent to Tersurus, so when it comes back out of its test flight near Neptune it brings back the Master! Simple, eh?”

“Er... no.”

“But don't you see, when the Event Horizon is discovered by the Lewis and Clark, the Master starts killing off its crew. The first one to go is the character played by Sean Pertwee. He gets blown up by a bomb, simply because he reminds the Master so much of the Third Doctor. He just sadistically toys with the others but bumps off Lawrence Fishburne in a particularly nasty way, simply because he heard the rumours that he was going to play the Doctor later on.”

“You are insane, aren't you?” queried Stuart.

“Maybe... but the coup de Grace is that the Master's played by Sam Neill, and his character's name in the movie is ‘Doctor Weir’ - it's a phonetic joke, I know, but it's very clever. Then he gets sucked back into the Eye of Harmony, and The Deadly Assassin occurs. But the even better bit is the fact that the Comic Relief Master also turns up on Tersurus, which means that the greatest revelation ever in Doctor Who is that the Master can only be the-”

Oh Christ,” yelled Stuart. “He's here.”

They both ducked under my table.

“Is there any way out of here?” Stuart pleaded.

I looked up at the entrance and saw the tall blond teenager who appeared to be looking for someone.

“Christ,” swore Stuart, “He's followed me all the bloody way to New Zealand. I don't bloody believe it.”

I pointed to the kitchen exit.

“Thanks,” said Vince. “I'll be back in just a minute. I've got something really important to tell you.” He hurried off to aid Stuart's escape.

Damn, I thought. Who am I going to tell the Big Revelation to now?

The tall blond guy was out. He had obviously spotted Vince and Stuart as he had come in, and was moving rapidly towards the kitchen.

“You can tell me,” said the girl whose shadow had just fallen on my table. A chill fell over me as I looked up and vaguely recognised her. How did she know what I was thinking?

“You're Vanessa Bis-”

“No,” she interrupted, as she pulled out a particularly realistic toy gun with a very expensive-looking silencer attached to it, and pointed it directly at my chest.

“I'm Jackie Jenkins, actually, and you stole my column, you bastard!”

“I thought you were fictional,” I said very quietly as she unloaded a full clip into my chest. My life started to flash before me... Oddly, it seemed to have missing bits that had been destroyed by the BBC... Suddenly a ghostly figure appeared before me in a frock coat and Beatle hair cut. He was standing by a stack of film cans.

“Is this... is this heaven?” I stammered, as consciousness slowly drifted away...

“Not exactly,” said the smiling figure. “Now, when I say ‘giddy’, you're going to feel a little giddy.”

As I drifted into what looked very likely to be total and utter oblivion, I realised he was right.

I was starting to feel a little giddy.

Was this the end???

This item appeared in TSV 60 (June 2000).

Index nodes: Life and Times of Neil Lambess