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By Jamas Enright

‘Hello, the Doctor's Hotline, Shelly speaking. How may I help you?... Your civilisation is under attack and you'd like the Doctor to save you... Yes, sir, that's a very common request... If I could just get some details, sir, could you please turn that destruction down...? Thank you. Now, is this an attack by neighbours with whom you've had good relations, but have suddenly turned on you...? Okay, is this an attack by a species driven to expansionism...? Oh, the Dominators... Right, okay, sir... Was there any Doctor in particular you wanted to rescue you...? I'm afraid the Fourth Doctor is booked up at the moment, but the Sixth Doctor is free... I see sir, I'll put you through to the K9 Hotline. One moment please.’

‘Hello, the Doctor's Hotline, Mary speaking. How may I help you...? You say that the tyrant the Doctor defeated before has come back and is threatening to destroy your planet again... I see, and which Doctor saved you before...? The Third Doctor and Jo Grant... I believe the Sixth Doctor is covering those reappearances, I'll send him as soon as possible. In the meantime, try not to get killed... Thank you.’

‘... Jude speaking... The Master? Hold please.’

‘... Doctor? The password is 234A8B6... Thank you.’

‘... Shelly speaking. How may I help you...? No, the rules say only one love interest per regeneration... I'm afraid the Eighth Doctor is already over-booked, but the Sixth Doctor is free... Very well, I'll put you through to the K9 Hotline. One moment please.’

‘...And you are...? The Master. Hold please.’

‘... You'd like to schedule your planet to be attacked? Yes, we can arrange that. Do you have any preference of species to be attacked by...? Anyone but the Vardans. Yes, ma'am, I quite understand. Now, were you hoping that the Doctor would rescue you...? I see. Unfortunately, he won't be able to get to you until your planet has been devastated... Okay then, are the Terileptils all right...? I'll send them over right away. Goodbye.’

‘... Take the third right, go down the corridor, and the door to the console room is on the left... Thank you, Doctor.’

‘... Master? Hold please.’

‘... I'm afraid there are no openings at the moment for a new companion, but I can fit you in for Grizzly Death That The Doctor Will Agonize Over... Okay, and how would you like to die...? Dismemberment... Tricky, but I think I can arrange for you to be torn apart in front of the Doctor by Cybermen... All right then, goodbye.’

‘... Certainly, I can get the Doctor to repel your attack, but can I just get a few details first? Will there be a scout mission that, if destroyed, will mean you don't attack...? Ah ha, will it be a mass invasion on the entire planet, or take over a city and spread out from there...? And are those ships linked together so that a single self-destruct from the main ship will destroy them all, or will each ship have to be destroyed individually...? And finally, will your computer accept Microsoft viruses...? Thank you, and good day.’

‘... The Master? Hold please.’

‘... Doctor...? Right, at the moment Ace is being held captive in the main building, but Bernice is with the resistance. You can find a car on the main street that will allow you to enter the compound, but be ready for attack dogs... All right, and I have that psychological profile of General Blume ready, and the Top Ten list of ways to stop him...’

This item appeared in TSV 53 (March 1998).

Index nodes: Fiction