The Crime Travelers
A TTR:TDF quick lunchbreak fiction.


Once, a gang actually tried to rob the This Time Round. At
gunpoint, even.

It was on a slow night. All the Doctors had gone away claiming
that the universe needed saving again, but since none of them
were willing to drag their companions along it was generally
assumed that they were just off getting drunk at another
establishment. Francois had taken the night off "to do some
house cleaning", which for some reason had necessitated the
borrowing of a Flash-Gordon style blaster, a hand axe, a veg-o-
matic, and a half dozen or so yo-yos; thus, Adric was left in
charge of the counter for the evening. Of the small number of
regulars remaining, most had picked up a book or some other form
of reading material with which to pass the time. Dodo was
counting a stack of copies of a single Virgin Books paperback,
which were evidently being ear-marked for the incinerator ("Only
a few thousand more copies to go!", she was heard to snicker
maniacally); Leela was busy struggling through a Terrance Dicks
novelization, her reading skills having evidently advanced at
least that far; a certain psychopathic Trakenite held the latest
issue of Guns and Ammo vertically before her, but from time to
time peaked up from her magazine to glare ominously at the
bartender; Ace, Sara, and Roz were reading novels by,
respectively, Clancy, LeCarre, and Paretsky; while Chris and
Fitz, in open defiance of the night's theme, were busy at the
Mary Whitehouse dart board.

It was at this point that these three idiots walked in, wearing
long overcoats and with ski masks over their faces. Two
immediately took to the center of the room, while the third
stayed at the pub's entrance to block escape. All three produced
sawed-off shotguns from underneath their coats. One pointed
their's to the ceiling, and let off a round to get their attention.

"ALL RIGHT, EVERYONE!" he shouted, in a vaguely Cockney accent.

As one the 'Round's denizens looked up from what they were doing,
blinked, then calmly turned back to their previous activity.

The would-be thief, who appeared to be the one nominally in
charge of the threesome, advanced to the bar counter, where the
Alzarian bartender was busy organizing the alcoholic beverages
and making notes on what needed to be ordered. He pointed the
weapon menacingly at the young man's head. "'Ere, give us your
money, or I'll blow your f'ing 'ead off."

Adric looked down at the gun, then up at the miscreant. "Sorry."
he responded, and turned once more to organizing the booze.
"Been there, done that."

"Oh, just give him the money, Adric." Ace shouted from her
corner, one finger placed on the paragraph she was at to mark her
spot. "The sooner they go away, the sooner we can have some
peace and quiet around here."

"Yeah," Roz added, but still not tearing her eyes away from the
latest V.I.Warshawski. "It's not like they can spend most of
it..." She turned the page. "Not on this planet, at any rate."
she muttered, low-voiced.

"I will not!" Adric retorted, aghast. "It's my shift, and so
it's my responsibility. I assured Francois nothing would happen
tonight, and I meant it." He returned to his alcoholic
accounting. "Besides... it's the principal of the thing."

Ace shrugged. "Ok, well... suit yourself." She went back to her

The thief at the bar jumped the counter, grabbed Adric, and
shoved the shotgun under the young man's chin. "Look 'ere, I'm
not playing games." he said. "Either you give us the till, or
I'll decorate the walls with your brains." He spun the Alzarian
around so that the whole pub could see his hostage. "And I don't
think anyone 'ere wants to see you get 'urt, now do they?"

That comment elicited a smattering of chuckles from around the

"You've never actually been here before, have you?" Adric
observed, carefully.

From the dart board, Fitz's voice sounded: "Hey, Adric? Need
some help over there?"

The Alzarian managed to get one hand free long enough to wave the
other away. "No need, thank you. I can take care of this..."

Fitz nodded. "Fair enough."

"A fiver says he get his head blown off." Chris whispered to his

Fitz thought it over. "You're on."

While this was going on, the one thief left in the center of the
room looked around nervously. Clearly, this wasn't going the way
they'd expected it would. Truth to tell, one of the reasons he
really enjoyed holding up places like this was not the money but
the sense of power it usually gave him. People cowering, looking
up at him in abject fear, doing whatever he demanded of them
(especially the women). That was what he looked forward to in
jobs like this; the fact that he usually got some dosh out of it
was just an added bonus. But these people -- snotty, educated,
_bookworms_ the lot of them (and how he hated that type, going
all the way back to his days in secondary school) -- not one of
them were reacting the way they should, the way he had expected
they would. They were _ignoring_ him. HIM! The guy with the
GUN! And that, more than anything, made him all the more

"Would you mind moving aside?" one bored voice sounded at his
elbow. He turned to find a pretty young woman sitting with a
magazine. She had brown, chestnut hair and was dressed in a
dark, velvety outfit with a skirt that appeared to billow out on
all sides. She ruffled her nose in disdain. "You're standing in
my light, and making it very difficult to read."

The center thief heard this, and decided he'd had enough. It was
high time to teach these prigs who was in charge here. He swung
his shotgun in the direction of the aristocratic young lady.
"Standing in your light, am I?" he said, menacingly. "Well,
maybe I should ventilate your pretty face and see how much light
you see then, eh? Come to think of it..." he leaned forward,
aiming the gun at about chest high on the Trakenite. "Maybe I
should ventilate some other things first..." He said the latter
in a tone of voice that made it clear bodily harm was the last
thing on his mind.

The young woman, however, merely rolled her eyes. "Oh,
please..." she mumbled, "don't waste your time..."

"You'd better tell your friend to lay off the girl." Adric said
to his captor, helpfully. "Just a friendly warning, you

"I can take care of myself, swamp rat!" came the indignant

The boss thief pushed the barrel under Adric's jaw even harder
upwards. "Yeah? Well, watcha go'in to do 'bout it, eh? What is
she, your girlfriend?"

Adric's eyes glazed over. If he were wearing glasses, they
probably would have fogged. In any case, a vein in his forehead
started to visibly throb.

At this point, the center thief noticed what it was the young
woman was reading. "Eh, what's a pretty thing like you reading
something like this, then?" He reached forward and plucked the
magazine from her surprised hands.

Adric snapped out of his momentary brain lock. "Oh, now he's
done it." he told his captor. "He's touched her magazine..."

As the center thief lifted the magazine, something fell out from
between the pages. He glanced at the glossy items as they
settled on the table in front of her. "Eh, she must be his
girlfriend." he told his partner, with a laugh. "She's got some

At that point, all hell broke loose. It started in the form of a
swift, dainty, iron-tipped boot toe shooting up and burying
itself as far into a very sensitive part of the center thief's
anatomy as it would go. It escalated with a whistle of air and a
dull, soft THUNK behind the neck of the miscreant holding the gun
on Adric (courtesy of an annoyed Leela, who had decided then and
there that the only way she was ever going to get some peace and
quiet was if she took some action herself). It took on an air of
almost ballet proportions, as the center thief's shotgun spun out
of his hands unexpectedly, made a perfect 180-degree arch, landed
in the outstretched hand of the young woman to whom it had been
aimed at mere moments before, and ultimately coming to rest
barrel-end forward and at about eye level to it's former owner.
Finally, it ended in a show of farce as the third thief,
realizing that with one partner down and the other now stiff as a
board, the tables had somehow dramatically and detrimentally
turned (if, indeed, it could even be argued that they were set
their way in the first place), and made a hasty exit from the pub
doorway and attempted to run into the night -- only to find
another young woman (long blonde hair, dressed in fatigues, and
with the name "Diane" sewn over one pocket) standing in his way.

"Hello, there. Is something wrong?" she asked, helpfully.

The robber raised his sawed-off at her. "Out of my way, sister!"

There was the sound of a large number of clicks from all around
him, as if latches were suddenly being engaged.

A number of black-clad, face-painted figures stepped out of the
shadows and into the light, M-16's raised menacingly.

"I see your pump action," Diane said with a smile, "and raise you
five full-automatics."


A few hours later, Doctors Five, Six, and Eight finally made an
appearance. Five and Eight were even still able to walk a
straight line.

As Six Doc went over to his usual corner and lay down in his
traditional bid to sleep things off, the other two Doctors
managed to get a reasonably accurate retelling of the nights
events, although they were still rather fuzzy as to the exact
significance a stack of "surveillance photographs" had in
relation to the entire affair.

But one part of the story remained unanswered.

"So, what did you do with them?" 5Doc asked Adric, finally.

The Alzarian had by now completed his inventory, and was in the
process of setting up the orders for Harry to call in the next
day. "Oh, nothing much. I just called up an author who owed me
a favor, and he was more than willing to take them off our

The Doctor looked at the young man wearily. "You didn't have
them killed, did you? Or have them placed somewhere were they're
likely to get killed?"

"Oh, no. Nothing like that, nothing _that_ permanent. At least,
that's what the author assured me wouldn't be happening." Adric
stopped and pointed his pen toward some of the others, still
immersed in their reading material. "Some of the others
suggested I should have them dropped off in the Urotsukudoji
universe, but somehow that sounded just too vindictive..."

The Doctor eyed his charge wearily. "So where are they now?"

"Oh, nowhere special..."


"Where the 'ell are we?" the first thief (the group's leader)
said. We never did establish his name, but at this point it
hardly makes any difference.

The three thieves looked at the desolation around them. Wherever
they where, it certainly seemed to offer little hint in the way
of civilization. Or much of anything else, for that matter.

The curious thing, however, is that when they awoke they found
their shotguns next to them, fully loaded. Why the hell they
were given their weapons back they had no idea, but as far as
they were concerned any mistake those prigs made would just mean
more for them to regret when it came time to go back there...

The sound of rocks tumbling echoed from behind, and as one the
three turned.

"Jesus H. Christ..." one of the nameless thugs muttered (the one
who had been in the center, as a matter of fact). "It's the
bloody bartender..."

Except... this time the bartender was dressed in black, and his
hair was weaved into a very long pony tail behind him. And his
eyes were glowing red.

An evil grin spread across the newcomer's face.

"Brad said I can't kill you," the man told them, "which is fine
with me. I've got _lots_ of time to kill."

The three looked at each other, then as one raised their shotguns
toward the stranger.

Which proved to be a very, very stupid thing for them to do.

20 January 2001