Nyssa's Christmas Carol

Part the First:
Tremas' Ghost

Adric was dead, to begin with. There could be no doubt upon this point. The
seven bullet holes at once caught the eye, as did the axe in his skull, the
knife in his back and the 500 tonne weight that had, through an ingenious and
unlikely mechanism, been dropped upon him. Adric was dead. As dead as a dodo.

Mind, the phrase "as dead as a dodo" may only be expected to have meaning if
the reader comes from a period after 1690, the year in which science now
believes the birds became extinct; an assumption not as safe as one might think
in the town of Nameless, where our story is set. For those whose origins are
before that year, I can only offer the quip offered by Sir Walter Raleigh in
reference to Edmund, the then Lord Blackadder, and say that Adric was "as dead
as a dead dodo". Unlike good Sir Walter's diagnosis of Lord Blackadder,
however, I must stress that my discription of Adric is accurate. Although his
Mortality Deferrment Card would soon return him to the land of the living, at
the moment our story begins Adric was dead.

Nyssa knew he was dead? Of course! How could it be otherwise? It was Nyssa who
had killed him, just as she had regularly for as long as any of the regulars in
This Time Round, the public house that lay Outside the dimensions of Doctor Who
continuity, could recall.

"I say, old girl," said Harry Sullivan, perhaps somewhat rashly in the
circumstances. "Don't you think you should have gone a bit easy on him? I mean
to say, it is Christmas Eve."

The psychotic young woman subjected Adric's fellow bartender to a stare of such
frostiness it would have chilled Sarn, had it been directed at the Planet of
Fire, rather than the unfortunate Harry. "Christmas?" she repeated,
incredulously. "Why should I be concerned about Christmas? I'm not even human,
let alone Christian, and neither's the swamprat! It's all a load of... a load
of humbug!" And, spinning on her heel, she walked out of the 'Round.

"Humbug?" repeated Harry softly. "Oh dear, sounds like someone's got caught in
a Dickens parody fic." And shrugging, he climbed the 'Round's precarious
stepladder to continue the task of decking the halls with boughs of holly.

"Should I take down the 'Happy 40th' banner while I'm up here?" he asked Adric.
However Adric's spirit was, at that moment, explaining to Death why he had not
given him a card, apart from the required one, and so there was no answer from
his mortal form.

* * *

Nyssa had retired to her lodgings in Nameless, a two room flat noticable
chiefly for its array of weaponry, and the pictures of Adric that they were
occasionally put to work against. She awoke from a fitful sleep to see her
father standing at the foot of the bed.

This caugt her somewhat by surprise, since her father, Tremas, was also, in
fact, dead, but to the best of her knowledge was not in posession of a
Mortality Deferrment Card, nor was his body his to return to even if he had
one. However, she quickly recalled she was the companion of a time traveller,
and, in any case, outside continuity and regained her composition. More or

"Nyssa, my child," Tremas began, "I have returned to give you a warning."

"You don't expect me to believe you're a ghost, surely, Father?" Nyssa said.
"You may be a psychic projection, an interactive hologram or simply plucked
from time before the Master posessed you. There's a pseudo-science explanation
of some sort, at any rate."

"No, I'm a ghost. And I am here to warn you. I blame myself; if I'd been a more
attentive father, spent more time with you instead of Kassia, then perhaps..."

"Perhaps what, father?"

"Perhaps you wouldn't be Psycho Nyssa, serial Adric killer. You can hardly
imagine that this was how I wanted my daughter to turn out!" Briefly his face
rippled, the hair darkening, the beard growing shorter. "*I* would have, of
course," said the Master, before turning back into Tremas. "You mocked the
Terran Christmas, but surely you remember Keeper's Day on Traken?"

"Of course. The celebration of life and warmth, when our home is angled
furthest from the Sun. But what...?"

"Being Psycho Nyssa elicits a terrible toll. One that I fear will destroy the
little girl who helped collect Eternigreen leaves to decorate our home. You
have one chance for salvation. Tonight you will be..."

The penny suddenly dropped. "...visited by three spirits? Oh, come *on*! You
can't seriously...."

"Expect the first," continued Tremas doggedly, "when the bell tolls one!"

And he was gone. Nyssa lay in the darkness for a while, before hearing the
bells of the old Nameless clock tower striking the hour.

It was one o'clock.

Part Two - Part Three - Part Four - Part Five

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