Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Dalek Substitution Scandal - Part 1

Now, this represents something a little different from me...

You see, recently I finally got around to watching BBC's Sherlock and I absolutely loved it. Well filmed, fantastically acted, with some great scripts, clever plotting, and a wonderful chemistry between Holmes and Watson. And part of me began thinking - wow, Benedict Cumberbatch would really make an awesome Doctor Who (although, with his Hollywood career now taking off, it's highly unlikely he's going to be hanging around for such roles).

And that thought led me to a second thought of how it would be even cooler if we could get Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who together in one story. But, I said to myself, it would have to be David Tennant's Doctor Who (with his companion, Donna) as he was always my favourite Doctor...

The idea of putting these two geniuses together - one all manic grins and boundless enthusiasm, the other brooding and more phlegmatic - seemed way too good an opportunity to pass up. So I decided I would do something I've never done before (with this exception) and have a go at writing some fan fiction. But, as I began writing it, it dawned on me that this was going to turn into something rather mammoth and so I decided I would write it in an episodic fashion.

Stephen Moffat, the creative force behind both shows, has apparently said in the past that said he didn't want the shows to cross over as he felt that Doctor Who's appearance would ruin the Sherlock Holmes canon (which I totally understand). So I needed a way to sate my imagination and yet not break the rules of Mr. Moffat. I hope you'll find the solution vaguely elegant (if perhaps a little obvious).

And, with two such geniuses at hand, it was going to take a very special opponent to make them work their very hardest; an opponent that would be capable of pushing them both to their very limits. There could really only be one choice...

The Dalek Substitution Scandal - Part 1

“Next one – a woman who thinks her husband has been replaced by a robot.”


Watson sighed and shuffled onto the next paper in the stack.

“How about a garden centre that wants to know how someone snuck in and built an extra shed in their grounds during the night without being caught on CCTV?”

“Really, John? That’s the very best you’ve got?” said Sherlock without even bothering to look up from his cup of tea. “Help us, we have too many sheds?”

“Well, there is this one,” said Watson and shuffled the papers again. “The UK Defence Department’s satellite system was hacked into for several seconds for no apparent reason last night…”

Sherlock looked up from his chair by the fireplace, his blue eyes suddenly and keenly in focus.

“Mycroft put you up to this one.”

Watson pursed his lips.

“John; if Mycroft wants my help he needs to stop snaring you and asking you to pass on his little messages. He knows where I live.”

“I told him that; he said you’d say no.”

“Well I would. Obviously. And I still am. Next.”

“Wait, don’t you even want to hear more about this? Mycroft seemed pretty concerned; this Skynet 6 system was meant to be utterly unbreakable.”

“And the Titanic was unsinkable; John, Mycroft has more than enough cronies to deal with it. What I need is something more interesting, something that’s going to challenge me.”

“Well, that’s all we’ve got in at the moment.”

“It’s boring, John. Boring.”

Watson put the papers down and drummed his fingers on the desk.

“I’m sure something will come up eventually.”

Sherlock placed his cup on the table in front of him and stood up, pacing slowly back and forth within the limited confines of the living room before looking out of the window.

“Well, of course something will come up eventually John. But that doesn’t really help me now, does it? That doesn’t stop me being hideously bored, right now.”

John took a deep breath and counted to five. Dealing with Sherlock in these moments took the patience of a…

“Saint, John? Patience of a saint?”

Watson’s eyes widened.

“Oh come on John, it’s obvious. Intake of breath, slightly sharp. Eyes rolling ever so slightly to the right. Oh, we’re accessing an auditory construct. What could it be? What could it be? You have a fondness for idioms. What would fit the situation? A few possibilities, but John’s thinking about how infuriating it can be in my company. Patience of a saint. Like I said, obvious.”


“Remarkable? Amazing? Yes. So find me something to do, John.”

Holmes stared out of the window in silence, which was broken after several seconds by the sound of Watson’s mobile phone ringing loudly in his pocket. He fished it out and looked at the Caller ID on the screen.

“It’s Lestrade. Maybe you’re about to get what you wanted.”

                    *                                             *                                             *
“A holiday, that’s what you said. I’m going to take you on holiday, Donna, you said. Arctavalias IV and its seven suns. Waterfalls that flow backwards, the most beautiful sunsets in the Universe; you deserve a break Donna.”

“Yeah,” The Doctor grimaced slightly, “I did say that didn’t I?”

“So why, instead of looking at the seven suns of Arctavalias IV, am I looking at the four chimneys of Battersea Power Station?”

The Doctor prodded a selection of illuminated buttons on one of the banks of the Tardis’ central control console but only managed to elicit an unconvincing bleeping sound from it.

“That,” he said, “is a very good question.”

“I know it’s a good question,” said Donna.

The Doctor pulled his sonic screwdriver from his pocket and pulsed it back and forth across the console, which sighed audibly in reply.

“Oooh,” said the Doctor, eyes darting suddenly back and forth. “That’s not right.”

“What’s not right?”

“Everything.” said the Doctor and ducked quickly beneath the console, sonic screwdriver in hand.

“You’re not making much sense, Doctor.”

“That,” said the Doctor, his voice muffled, “is because nothing is making sense.”

“My God,” sighed Donna. “You are so lucky I put up with you talking nonsense like this all the time.”

“Ah-ha,” exclaimed the Doctor and slid himself back out again, a huge smile painted across his face, “Well, that is unusual.”

“Anytime you feel like telling me what’s going on, it would be appreciated.”

“Well Donna, there’s good news and bad news.”

“Hit me with the bad.”

“We’re on Earth, but this isn’t our Earth. In fact, it’s not even our Universe.”

“What do you mean it’s not our Universe?”

“Exactly that. It’s another Universe, a parallel Universe.”

“And how exactly did we end up here?”

“I don’t know,” grinned the Doctor, “Isn’t that marvellous? We could have been pulled in by some kind of space-time eddy. Or maybe we just took the wrong turn at a singularity. Oooh, or maybe we dipped into Calabi-Yau Space and exited a portal into a semi-connected Multiverse.”

Donna whistled and passed her hand over her head.

“Yeah, you do realise that makes no sense to me at all? So what’s the good news?”

“Oh, the good news is that it should take me more than half an hour or so to backtrace our temporal and spatial shift and reverse the process and be on our way again. Still, it’s rather curious isn’t it?”

“Oh, fascinating.” said Donna.

A monotone alarm sounded from somewhere within the bowels of the Tardis; a dull, deep sound that echoed through the very bones of the vessel. The Doctor looked up, startled, and listened for a few seconds.

“Make that good news, bad news and worse news.”

“Worse news?”

The Doctor flicked his gaze over an array of data being displayed on a holographic spectrometer. When he finally looked up at Donna, all the gleefulness seemed to have drained from his face.

“The Tardis has just detected a Dalek energy signature.”

               *                                             *                                             *

They had erected a white tent in the midst of the wasteland in order to protect the scene from the elements and cordoned off everything for hundreds of feet in all direction with streams of blue and white police tape.  Yellow jacketed police stood looking outwards, keeping back a loose gaggle of interested bystanders and a smattering of local press. Floodlights illuminated the area around the tent as the daylight faded and a line of police, on their hands and knees, moved slowly across the ground as they searched for evidence.

Sherlock stood off to one side from the tent’s entrance, seemingly oblivious to the gusts of wind that tugged insistently at his purple scarf. He had been standing like this for more than twenty minutes.

 “Is this normal?” asked Lestrade. “I mean, he hasn’t said a word since he went and looked at the body.”

“I’m not sure Sherlock does normal,” said Watson, “but, I have to admit, it’s not often he’s short for something to say.”

“If you ask me, we’re wasting our time having him out here.” said Sgt. Donovan, “We’re losing time to catch the killer.”

“Look,” said Lestrade, forcefully, “surely you’ve seen for yourself what he can do by now. So, if you can think of someone with a better chance of understanding what we’ve got here then, by all means, you let me know how to get hold of them. But, until then, let’s give Sherlock time to look at the scene.”

Sherlock ceased his reflections and strode across the mud and yellow grass to where they all stood waiting for him. His face was, as usual, a mask that Watson couldn’t read.

“I need Molly to have a look at this,” he said. “I have a few questions about the wound to his chest.”

“As do we,” said Lestrade, “in fact, that was rather what I was hoping you’d be able to help us with.”

The body of the security guard had been found in the middle of the field by some trespassing teenagers a few hours earlier, a hole the size of a golf ball punched directly through his chest. John had briefly inspected the body upon arrival and the size of the wound had reminded him of fatalities he’d seen in Afghanistan, the results of high calibre rifle fire. But, what had been most unusual about this scene was the fact that the victim appeared not to have bled a single drop.

“Cauterised.” said Sherlock. “The wound was caused by something that burned at such a high temperature that the surrounding blood vessels were cauterised shut, thus no bleeding. But I need to know the exact temperature in order to determine what could have done this.

“Maybe a welding torch?” suggested Donovan.

“Excellent!” said Sherlock, “A welding torch! Why didn’t I think of that?”

Donovan smiled.

“Oh, wait. Maybe I didn’t think of that because an oxy acetylene welding torch only burns at a temperature of 3,500 centigrade. Which means it could not have caused this type of wound. It would have taken considerable time to burn through a torso with a welding torch and we’d have seen ample contact burns and damage to both the clothes and the skin. Which, of course, we don’t see on the body. What we do see is a large, clean cauterised wound, which means that this was something far hotter that was effective almost instantaneously. Which rather rules out a welding torch, I’m afraid Sergeant Donovan.”

“So what could do that?” asked Lestrade.

Sherlock turned away from them again and gazed off into the middle distance, his next sentence almost lost to the wind.

“I don’t know.”

       *                                             *                                             *

“I’m afraid you can’t go through here sir, this is a police scene” said the yellow jacketed policeman, holding out his arm to bar their path.

“Military Intelligence,” said The Doctor, flipping his wallet open and flashing it directly into the policeman’s face.  “Now, step aside.”

“Yes sir, very sorry sir,” said the policeman and immediately lifted the blue and white tape to allow The Doctor and Donna to duck beneath it and access the crime scene. Donna lifted her hand to her mouth to disguise her smirk, the psychic paper never failed to amaze her.

A white tent stood in the middle of a patch of wasteland, a cluster of people standing off to one side of it and The Doctor strode purposefully towards them, Donna following closely in his wake.

“Right, who’s in charge here?” he asked loudly as he approached, causing the group to turn towards them in surprise.

“I am.” said a grey haired man in a trench coat, a look of confusion etched across his face. “I’m Detective Inspector Lestrade, and who might you be?”

“I’m The Doctor,” he said, flashing the wallet again and sweeping it in a slow arc so they could all take it in. “Military Intelligence. I need you to tell me exactly what we’ve got here.”

“Male victim, mid-forties. We’ve identified him as one Allan Green, employed as a security guard. Time of death looks to have been in the early hours of the morning but his body lay here for some time before it was discovered by a group of teenagers. Cause of death appears to be a large wound in his chest but we have not yet determined the weapon that caused the wound. Nor do we currently have a motive for his death.”

“Show me,” said The Doctor and invited Lestrade to walk him to the tent. “You stay here Donna, this isn’t going to be pretty.”

“Whatever you say Doctor,” said Donna, briefly rolling her eyes at him.

Lestrade walked ahead of The Doctor, opening the flap of the tent for him so that he could get inside, while a second man in a dark coat and a purple scarf fell in closely behind The Doctor without saying a word. Although Lestrade had said that he was in charge, The Doctor noted that he gave the same level of deference to the second man that he had afforded The Doctor. He decided to file that curiosity away for a later date.

The body was lying on its back on the grass, eyes wide open and staring vacantly at the sky. The Doctor could see a large hole, approximately four centimetres in diameter, in his chest.

“Cauterised wound,” said The Doctor, shaking his head. “Don’t like the look of this.”

“You’ve seen this before?” asked Sherlock.

“Once or twice,” said The Doctor, “and you are?”

“Sherlock Holmes.”

“Wait?” said The Doctor, turning to look at him properly for the first time. “Sherlock Holmes? As in the detective, Sherlock Holmes?”

“One and the same.”

“Well I never; I must say I never thought I’d run into you out here.”

“I take it that my reputation precedes me.”

“Oh definitely,” said The Doctor enthusiastically. “I mean, I’ve read all your cases.”

“Well, frankly that’s John’s little hobby; updating the blog. I’m more interested in actually solving cases and I’m very curious as to what you think could have done this.”

“Oh,” said The Doctor with the pained expression of a surgeon giving relatives the bad news that their beloved Uncle had not made it through surgery, “it’s probably just some kind of welding gun.”

“I’ve already ruled out a welding gun.” said Sherlock flatly. “The wound is totally inconsistent with either the temperature or necessary duration.”

“Well,” said The Doctor with some exaggeration. “Obviously not a common or garden welding gun, of course. No, this is military tech. Advanced stuff.”

“Right.” said Sherlock, and his voice positively dripped with sarcasm. “An advanced military welding gun.”


“Inspector Lestrade,” said Sherlock, “could you perhaps do me the favour of asking John to come and join us for a moment.”

                   *                                             *                                             *

Sherlock watched Lestrade leave the tent before turning to face The Doctor.

“So; who are you really?”

“What?” said The Doctor, an innocent look on his face.

“Who. Are. You.”

“Military Intelligence,” said The Doctor and flashed his wallet.

“That’s a blank piece of paper.”


“That’s a blank piece of paper. I don’t know exactly how you ‘re doing it – I’m guessing some kind of chemically-derived suggestive agent – but everybody except me seems to see it as some kind of official document.”

“You really don’t see it?” asked The Doctor.

“No. I can only guess your agent isn’t sufficient to affect my intellect.”

“Well, sometimes it doesn’t work on people with limited imaginations either.”

“So who are you? You’re not military intelligence; posture is all wrong, far too relaxed. Not to mention your attire; the suit and waistcoat might just be able to pass but the footwear? No one working on behalf of Her Majesty’s Secret Service would be seen out in a pair of grey trainers. But it’s obvious you’re not a journalist either. You’re a mess of contradictions. When you first saw the body you weren’t surprised. In fact, there was a clear expression of recognition that you worked very hard to supress.” Sherlock winced slightly. “Not hard enough. So you know something, maybe more than anyone else here but you most certainly are not military intelligence. ”

“Oh, you’re good,” grinned The Doctor, “I’d heard you were good but you really are good. No, I’m not military intelligence and, yes, I have seen this before.”

“Care to enlighten me?”

“Look,” said The Doctor, “you are just going to have to trust me when I say that you are way out of your depth with this one, Mr. Holmes. All I can really say is, back off and leave this one to the experts.”

“And that would, I assume, be you?

“Exactly,” said The Doctor, flashing a smile and then ducking back out of the tent just as Lestrade and Watson arrived. “Must be going – reports to file and all that. You carry on the good work here. I’ll be in touch…”

He gave Sherlock one last wink and then was gone, hooking Donna under the arm and marching off across the field in the direction he had come from.

“He was a strange one.” said Watson.

“Yes,” said Sherlock, watching him as he vanished in the gloom. “A strange one, indeed.”

               *                                             *                                             *

“Wait, you’re trying to tell me that was the Sherlock Holmes?” asked Donna when they got back to the Tardis.

“In the flesh.” said The Doctor, “Amazing.”

“But Sherlock Holmes isn’t real! He’s a character in a book.”

“Not in this Universe.” said The Doctor, “It would seem that, in this particular Universe, there really is a detective called Sherlock Holmes with remarkable powers of perception and deduction; honestly it’s fascinating.”

“It doesn’t seem possible.”

“Well, when you have an infinite number of alternate Universes to play with, there’s very little that isn’t possible. Why, there’s even a Universe in which we’re just fictional characters as well.”

“Doctor, are you trying to make my head hurt?” said Donna. “So look, that body in the field. It was definitely Daleks that did it?”

“Oh, it was Daleks all right,” said The Doctor. “I’ve seen too many wounds like that over my lifetimes not to recognise the signs immediately. The energy signature was unmistakable and, when I scanned the area, there were minute traces of Silcronian…”

“I’m going to have to take your word that that means something.”

“Silcronian!” emphasised The Doctor and whirled around the central console, madly hammering at buttons and pulling levels. “An element, found in the Dalek gunstick that’s native to only one place in the Universe – Skaro!”

“Well, that’s no good is it,” interrupted Donna, “I mean, are the Daleks even supposed to be here on this Earth?”

“No,” said The Doctor, “No, they are not. In fact, I’m beginning to think that we got pulled in here by the residual effects of their multiversal transwarp drive.”

“Again, in English?”

“A multiversal transwarp drive,” said The Doctor, barely able to contain his excitement, “It punches a hole not just through space-time but also through reality; think of it like pulling the plug in the bath. We must have been caught in the whirlpool when they opened the plug…”

“So, what do we do now?”

“Well, going home is no longer an option, at least not until we’ve found out what it is the Daleks are upto here and put a stop to it.”

“You’re worried Doctor, I can tell.”

“Yeah, I am.” he said as he paced around the console, his mood seeming to darken with every passing second. “You’ve got to remember; this is a Universe that’s never seen the Daleks; it’s a Universe without the Time Lords, a Universe where the Daleks weren’t defeated in the Last Great Time War. It’s a Universe that’s sitting here utterly defenceless…”

“Don’t be daft Doctor,” said Donna, “It’s not defenceless anymore. It’s got us.”

The Doctor grinned, mood lightening in an instant. “You’re right. It has.”

“So,” said Donna slowly “What say we go find the Daleks, stop them from doing whatever it is that they’re doing, and then go and get on with our holiday?”

“That, Donna,” smiled The Doctor, “is the plan.”