By Mags L Halliday & Helen Fayle

"Sisters are doin' it for themselves..."

Cheap lights flashed, occasionally matching the beat of the music. The
function room of This Time Round had been booked for a special event:
Ladies Night. Harry was the only member of staff brave, or perhaps
naive, enough to man the bar.

There are a lot of women in this universe, or set of universes, and the
thought of all of them, together...drunk...Well, Adric, Francois and
Fitz had all thought about it, very, very briefly, and come down with
mysterious illnesses (or, in Fitz's case, a plea that the disco lights
would give him a flashback to the 60s). Harry never understood why this
was so traumatic to the lad: Harry's memories of the 60s involved rowing
clubs, jolly good booze-ups with the fellas and the occasional glimpse
of Esther in too-tight polyester. The mist of memory cleared slightly
and he remembered Esther in her full gym slips and hockey-sticked glory.

Yes, well, maybe Fitz had a point about those alarming flashbacks...

He'd let the Irises in early to set up the room: they'd shown up arm in
arm and spent at least an hour squabbling with each other over some
decorations. Whilst Iris the elder stuck up crepe bunting, Iris the
younger had set up lights and a kareoke machine. Harry eyed the latter
with suspicion. That had been some two hours ago. So far, the jukebox
had been providing the music, although he'd spotted Mel looking
speculatively at the fiendish singing device at one point...Harry had
sent up a fervent prayer and dug out a roll of cotton wool. Just in


Sam looked about the bar, happily. Tonight was special, a very rare
event and she was pleased to see a big crowd. Admittedly, they had
formed their usual groupings. She was sitting with Maguire, of course,
with Sarah and Jo sharing the table. Barbara sat near the back, with the
elder Iris and Doris. Peri and Tegan, in the corner nearest the bar,
were sharing the woes of having accents whilst Benny nodded either in
sympathy or because she was dozing off after over-indulging at the
pre-party party. Grace hovered nearby, looking slightly out of place. In
the other corner Leela, Ace, Nyssa and Compassion were clearly having a
discussion involving weapons. Sam winced and looked away as she watched
Leela demonstrate how to stab someone in the heart, the mime copied by
Ace who had far too much of a speculative gleam in her eyes for comfort.
Her eyes met Maguire's, who had clearly been watching the same scene.

"Wanting some macho talk?" Sam asked.

Maguire smiled, "Nah, I'm happy here." She let her arm slip down the
back of their sofa, the hand resting, almost hidden, on Sam's hip. Sam
smiled back. The table next to them held just two girls a fair haired
goth in velvet dress and cloak and a tawny eyed brunette in combats, who
were setting a new world record for holding their breath, judging by how
long it was taking them to come up for air.

"Never would have thought Amaryllis was Kim's type..." Maguire
whispered, grinning as Sam's hair tickled her nose.

And in the far corner, the darkest, the one from which the most raucous
laughs came from, were the special guests for tonight. Sam peered a
little closer, saw a flash of white hair, the glimpse of a jade silk

The Time Ladies table was sulking. Not the table itself, of course, but
the women sat around it. The first Romana, dark hair loose, heels high,
was looking fainting disapproving at the second Romana whose blonde hair
was in fluffy pig-tails. The school-girl outfit was really pushing it,
as far as she was concerned. She sniffed disdainfully for the twentieth
time that night. Honestly, she would never have indulged fantasies like
that: in her day the Doctor got "Nanny Spank" and liked it...

The second Romana was in turn glaring furiously at the third Romana who
was toying with her pearls and studiously ignoring everyone except for
the redhead currently demonstrating how to field strip an AK47 using two
pint glasses, an empty loo roll tube and a plastic trident with a cherry
still stuck on the end of it. The Rani was swapping make-up tips with
Flavia. Susan just sat in a corner looking a little left out.

Ailla glared at all of them. "This is not my idea of fun," she muttered.
She finished her Raging Bull and started the one Jo had bought her
earlier. Where were the opportunities to take over the
world/galaxy/universe (delete as applicable) here? She knocked back
Flavia's untouched port and lemon, ignoring the old bat's little sigh.
Where were the mind-blowingly complex devices which could turn the world
inside-out (apart from the Tampax machine in the loo that had nicked her
fifty pee earlier)? Dammit, where were the Beards of Evil? She wondered
whether she could nick one of the Romanas' Tequila Stardestroyers. Then
she wondered what it would taste like through a straw.

Harry served another round of Adric's Demises to the group at the bar.
Lesley, Dodo, Liz, Roz, Katarina and Sara seemed to be still comparing
grisly deaths. Roz had been the front runner in the "ewww factor" stakes
until Angela had given her account... Trying not to listen in too
closely, he placed another drink in front of the bleary-eyed
archaeologist at the other end of the bar.

Benny shook her head and opened her eyes.

"For a moment there I thought they'd called time on me," she said. Peri
and Tegan had gone off to the dancefloor, handbags at the ready, talking
about how gorgeous George Michael was. Benny hadn't had the heart to
tell them. She smiled at the stranger who was sat in their place.

The honey blonde smiled back. When she sighed, her tight patchwork
waistcoat had trouble containing her bosom. "There are some things this
universe won't let go of easily, Benny, and I think you're one of them."

"Thanks," Benny frowned, "Sorry, do I know you?"

"In almost every way. Remember that time in your college rooms?" the
woman gave a throaty chuckle as Benny's eyes widened. She tugged her
waistcoat back into place, then flicked her long velvet coat so it fell
in just the right aesthetic way. "Have you seen my friend Emma?"

"Dark-haired girl, dressed like a female Captain Scarlet? Looking
uncomfortable around you earlier?"

"That's the one." The Doctor sighed again, her breasts making another
bid for freedom. "I think she's in denial."

Benny shook her head, "Nah, she's in the loo."


Ailla was out on the tiny dancefloor. Well, the space that had been left
that amounted to a dancefloor. She, Jo and Iris the younger had
discovered a shared love of leather catsuits, FM boots and early Bowie.
"...Ooohhhhh, wham bam tha-..." The music died abruptly.


"Who turned off the music?"

Sam coughed as a light turned on her. She had caught a glimpse of Nyssa,
her dancing interrupted, reaching for the crossbow that was habitually
slung across her back.

"Sorry, grrls, but we're here tonight for a very special event."

There were mumbles from the dancefloor. Harry, safely behind the bar,
considered ducking. Sam continued. "Tonight we celebrate-"

"-our love!" Maguire shouted and was shushed.

"Tonight we celebrate a coming of age. I'll hand you over to one of our
special guests."

Sam handed the microphone over to someone in the shadows. The figure
emerged, blinking a little. Her long white hair shimmered, glints of
billions of colours refracting. She was dressed in a tight blue silk
number. "Hi, I er think you all know me, in one form or another."

There was the odd belated gasp around the room, as some drunken minds
caught up with the feeling of familiarity. "Some of you," the woman
continued, "will know my friend here."

The spotlight expanded to reveal another, smaller girl in a jade dress.
She looked as though she wanted to run for the nearest safe place.
"Cruk!" Benny had just sprayed her drink everywhere in surprise.

"Well, we're forming, just for tonight, a trio."

The blue woman beckoned off-stage.

"Come on, girl, come out!" she called as whoever she was waving to
didn't emerge, "Everyone knows, you know."

"Obviously." Compassion was hauled onto the tiny stage, her normal
combats transforming as they watched into a purple silk dress.

"Ladies, I'd like to introduce you all..." the woman in blue paused," to
my daughter."

Romana 3 fired a net-gun at the stage. With a wheezing, groaning sound,
Compassion disappeared, the weighted net clattering to the ground where
she'd been standing. The second Romana and Ailla threw themselves on top
of the third Romana, pinning her, struggling, to the floor.

Compassion reappeared. "Oh honestly," she muttered at the now restrained
Time Lady, "is the War all you ever think about?"

"Don't mention the War!" Ace, Sam, Sarah and Jo shouted in unison,
laughing. The woman with the white hair smiled enigmatically.

"Why ever not?" she asked. "You started it..."

Part Two - Part Three

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