Continuity: Gallifrey Shrinks
Scene: The Really Very Tiny Auditorium. It’s been set up in preparation for another meeting of the Time Lords who make up the Continuity Council of Gallifrey-in-Exile, most of whom are currently present.
Morgan: [shuffling papers] Alright, I think everything we’ll need is in here… [pauses; looks around]
Agent: Is something wrong?
Morgan: Maybe. Usually this is where the Notary tries to sneak in fifteen extra papers without me seeing. Which is impossible, but that’s the Notary.
Disentangler: Speaking of the Notary, my ears aren’t hurting. That’s a good sign, right?
Reader: Well, it means she’s not here. Probably. [pause] ...Unless she’s just hiding under the table…
Disentangler: That’d never work, her collar wouldn’t fit.
Fisherman: [looks up from some bits of wire he’s been twisting] Is it just me, or is it too quiet and peaceful in here? Where’s the yelling? The arguing? The accusations of treachery?
Librarian: And you are complaining about this because…?
[muffled shouting in the hall]
Disentangler: [eyeroll] Oh, here we go. Anyone want to bet on who that is?
Morgan: [deadpan] Daleks. Fearn’s been quiet lately.
Fisherman: [grinning] I say Cybermen. We don’t have any in HQ—yet. I’d say we’re overdue.
Reader: [groans] Now you’ve done it. We’ll have them within the poorly marked week. I say it’s a pack of Sues.
[The door bursts open, letting in the Notary. She is dragging Rina Dives by the wrist.]
Rina: —don’t let go of me right now, I’ll—! [stops and looks around, groaning] You realize you could have just asked me to come here? The staser was totally unnecessary.
Reader: [to the Notary] Oh, it’s you. Oh, and you! [waves briefly at Rina]
Fisherman: [also to the Notary] You couldn’t have been a Cyberman, could you?
Notary: Excuse me?
Librarian: [deadpan] Apologize to the Cybermen.
Morgan: Alright, enough. [to the Notary] What’s with the—her? [waves a hand at Rina]
Agent: ...and did you know you’re late?
Fisherman: [leans forward] Huh, she’s never late. Maybe she’s sick. Are you sick?
Librarian: [mutters] Do we care?
Morgan: Hush, you. Notary, why have you literally dragged a non-Council member—a non-Gallifreyan, at that—in here, anyway? Did you get bored of paperwork, or someth—forget I said anything.
Notary: [stiffly] I brought Agent Dives here to present her before the Council for review.
Rina: [yanking her arm away] Dragged, more like.
Disentangler: [dryly] Review, huh? I thought the Reader was taking care of that.
Reader: I am. Notary, you do know I can do my job just fine without your help, right?
Notary: I have yet to be convinced of that, renegade. Now, if you will turn your attention to these information packets— [begins to distribute them]
Morgan: Hold on—we do have an agenda, you know.
Disentangler: She should, it’s her fault we started having them.
Notary: [more loudly] —you will see that there is a precise order in which we will examine the current investigation into Ms. Dives’ status as a newly-made ‘Time Lord’, conducted thus far by our esteemed colleague, the Citrine Theorist, in accordance with her secondary position as Onyx Monitor—
Reader: Omega’s fuzzy left sock, will you shut up? I’m already getting a headache, and we’ve only been here ten minutes. Rina, why don’t you come over here? We can find you a chair, or something.
Rina: [edges past the Librarian to stand next to the Reader]
Librarian: One moment. Why is the human allowed to stay?
Reader: [loudly] Time Lord, Librarian. And I don’t have a problem with her staying—not to mention that these meetings drag on enough without the Notary throwing a tantrum. [rolls her eyes at Rina]
Morgan: Right, then. Now we’ve settled all of that, let’s get moving. Any objections? No? Good. [shuffles papers]
Agent: [quietly] I still think we should have gotten her a gavel.
Disentangler: [annoyed sotto voce] Don’t be ridiculous, Adil, it’d only add to the noise.
Morgan: First order of business, we have…Fisherman, will you kindly stop playing with your collar?
Fisherman: [hastily drops his hands] But it’s making my ears itch!
Morgan: Well, collapse it, then, it’s annoying.
Notary: Doing so would be a breach of protocol. Not that it seems to concern you all that much, considering only half of the Council seems to have bothered with following the dress code at all.
Morgan: I put on something orange, what more do you want? Now, first… [reads off the paper] Alright, the Notary’s been very insistent that we investigate the Reader’s handling of a particular case of a potentially Suvian non-Gallifreyan Time Lord agent—Empty Night, Notary, could you be less concise?
Notary: [stiffly] Yes.
Librarian: [firmly] I do not believe it.
Disentangler: Shut up, Green, she might take it as a challenge.
Notary: Most of the work involved in my position is defining the words a renegade mind has no hope of understanding, like "duty" and "honour" and—
Disentangler: I warned you. I warned you, Green!
Morgan: All of you, quiet. Notary, why is this our first item? Ignoring the fact that you’re insulting one of the Council members—again—how would a Sue even manage to get hired around here? The Marquis would spot her in seconds.
Fisherman: Uh, Morgan...you do know she’s the one standing next to the Reader, right?
Morgan: Of course I know. She’s a bit hard to miss; even with our unfortunate level of chaos, the Notary doesn’t usually drag people in.
Fisherman: Okay, right. Just thought I’d check.
Reader: [sighs] Settle in, Rina, this’ll take a while.
Notary: [holding up a paper] Recently, a CAD described Dives as displaying a 12.05% Suvian contamination rate. That is more than double the safe limit for a field agent, and I have therefore set the wheels in motion. Since she is a Time Lord, by fair means or foul, that investigation has fallen to the Citrine Theorist.
Reader: Uh, actually, that’s Onyx Monitor to you. Rina isn’t a plothole in Gallifrey’s description, unless I’m missing something major—?
Librarian: [snidely] If anything, she would be a plothole in all of existence.
[Several people peer suspiciously at Rina, who fidgets nervously. The Reader glares at the Librarian.]
[Unnoticed by all, a glass phial falls out of Rina’s pocket and rolls under the table.]
Morgan: Moving on. Notary, why are you bringing this up? I thought the Reader was handling it.
Reader: I am handling it. The Notary’s just being so pedantic that she left the paperwork on my bed. Inside my TARDIS, at that.
[Several more people look oddly at the Reader; others look puzzledly at the Notary]
Fisherman: Hold on, you did what?
Notary: That is not the concern of this Council—
Disentangler: No, I’d say it’s the concern of this Council. What were you doing in the Reader’s bed, Notary?
Notary: [stiffly] My job.
[even odder looks]
Librarian: Are you sure?
Reader: [loudly] Anyway! I’m doing my job just fine, we can all ignore the Notary, and—
[The Reader is cut off when the phial under the table explodes in a huge cloud of smoke, obscuring the room.]
Agent: [coughing and fanning the smoke away] What was that?
Disentangler: I have no idea. Everyone alright?
Morgan: [grumpily and weirdly high-pitched] I want a drink.
Notary: [in a slightly higher register than before] This is a Council meeting, Tigereye Castellan—
Reader: [very high-pitched] Oi, who brought the toddler here? Not cool, mate.
Librarian: [in a very noticeably high voice] ...Who just said that?
[The smoke clears to reveal a very strange scene indeed. Just about everyone is shorter, the Fisherman, the Librarian, and the Reader in particular (although Rina takes the prize by a landslide). The Disentangler and the Agent are the only ones who appear unchanged; everyone else has been reduced drastically in age.]
Disentangler: [rubbing her forehead] Forget Morgan, I need a drink.
Fisherman: [very nearly as high-pitched as the Reader] Wait, Morgan? [spots her] Ha! Morgan’s a teenager! [begins to laugh]
Notary: What is going on?
Agent: ...Lachesis, you’re seeing this too, right?
Agent: Perfect. Just what I always wanted: babysitting to go with my paperwork.
Rina: [burbles happily and holds out chubby toddler arms] Up, up!
[Very gingerly, the Disentangler picks her up. Most of Rina’s clothes fall away, leaving her in an oversized shirt.]
Rina: [tilts her head to one side] Mommy?
Morgan: [dry and still high-pitched] Careful, Disentangler, she might imprint on you.
Disentangler: ...Right. [plunks Rina down on the teenaged Notary’s lap] Congratulations, Notary, you’re the babysitter.
Rina: [starts wailing uncontrollably]
Reader: [eagerly] She’s the Rinasitter!
Fisherman: [high-fives the Reader, then rolls his much-too-long sleeves up]
Morgan: ...Okay, why are both of you ten? Isn’t one preteen enough?
Librarian: [snottily] I think you’ll find there are three of them.
Agent: Make that four. I’m pretty sure there’s no way you’ve hit any sort of puberty yet.
Librarian: Puberty? I will have you know I was LoOOmed— [His voice cracks and he grabs at his throat, coat sleeves flapping.]
Agent: ...I take it back. Congratulations, you’re a man. [tries to muffle snickers for a moment before giving up and laughing]
Reader: [to the Librarian] Don’t think that’s got much to do with it, green guy. I definitely wasn’t ever ten in this regeneration. [pauses to consider this] Actually, when I was really ten, I was a guy! [makes a face and hitches up her pants]
Fisherman: What’s wrong with being a guy? [looks down at himself and pouts]
Reader: Nothin’, but I don’t feel like a guy anymore. [also pouts]
Rina: [still sobbing uncontrollably]
Notary: [in what can only be described as an emo voice] Life is pain.
Notary: My ears are also pain.
Agent: Can’t you get her to be quiet?
Morgan: [huffs and crosses her arms] You two are currently the only apparent adults in the room; why don't you do something?
Disentangler: [shrugs] Well, if no one else will. [stares for a moment, then sighs] Fine. Give her here.
[The Disentangler takes Rina away from the Notary, who is far from unwilling. The toddler immediately stops crying.]
Disentangler: Well, that’s not telling, or anything. Here, Adil, you take her. [dumps Rina in the Agent’s arms]
Rina: [snuggles against the Agent’s chest and wraps her arms around his neck]
Agent: …Oh, fine. [to the Notary] What did you do?
Notary: I haven't done anything, old man.
Agent: You must have done something to Rina.
Notary: The runt? Nah. Don't want her here. She distracts me from my art… Hmm. Can you think up a decent rhyme for angst?
Notary: Is that a word?
Agent: Oh, sorry, I must be a little distracted by the toddler snuggling me and clinging to my neck like a Tom Baker scarf!
Notary: [rolls her eyes]
Agent: Aaaaaaaand now she's biting my earlobe. Brilliant. Absolutely sensational. [mutters] I really picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.
Librarian: [voice still cracking at random intervals] Pity you didn't get deaged too, Agent, you could have indulged your glue-sniffing tendencies and blamed it on your sudden youth.
Notary: Now you know an iota of my eternal pain—
Disentangler: Shut up, Emily Strange, we've got work to do.
Librarian: [in response to the Disentangler] Namely, figuring out the cause of this transformation and why we have reverted to seemingly random ages. I understand why Dives is a toddler, but why have the Disentangler and the Agent not changed at all?
Disentangler: Forget that; why does Fish look so close in age to the Reader?
Morgan: Well, maybe it's that they're only about fifty years apart—oh no.
Notary: [grimly] Oh yes. It's proportional.
Agent: [trying to keep Rina from pulling his hair] Wonderful. I vote we find a way to reverse it before this one spits up on me. Ow, ow, I think she’s teething, ow.
Disentangler: We can start by going through the databases, they’re bound to have something.
[The Librarian pulls out his tablet while the Disentangler, the Agent, Morgan, and the Notary (muttering under her breath) crowd around the holographic table that may or may not have recently gone missing from SHIELD Headquarters and pull up multiple screens.]
Disentangler: Well, this is rubbish. Harry Potter has to take care of mysteriously-a-baby!Snape? Ugh.
Agent: [dryly] That sounds better than this one where Snape gets hold of baby Harry, who’s displaying very powerful accidental magic and is a Metamorphmagus, and shacks up with Lupin into the bargain.
Disentangler: ...you definitely have a point.
Morgan: [reluctantly] I’ve found one with Skye being de-aged so that Agents Coulson and May can play her parents. Oh, look, there’s a scene where they can’t take it anymore, and go get drunk. We should reenact that. I vote we start with vodka.
Disentangler: Not while you look fourteen, we’re not.
Agent: ...is Loki in the habit of turning Avengers into children? Only, he certainly seems to do it a lot in these.
Notary: [In a very put-upon tone] I have found one in which HYDRA is to blame for Captain Rogers’ deaging.
Librarian: [leans over to see] Well, that is just completely absurd. How could they possibly...
[Meanwhile, the Reader exchanges a look with the Fisherman, who shrugs]
Fisherman: Hey, do you want to play a game?
Reader: Maybe. What do you want to play?
Fisherman: [leans in and whispers]
Reader: Okay! That sounds good!
[She and the Fisherman go digging through Rina’s discarded coat’s pockets, coming up with a tennis ball.]
[Rina spots them. She struggles until the Agent puts her down with a sigh of relief, and then toddles over to the ten-year-olds.]
Rina: [insistently] Mine!
Reader: ...Oi, Fish, catch! [tosses him the tennis ball]
[The older children begin to play a game of keepaway, the Librarian watching them out of the corner of his eye. Rina runs between the two of them, trying vainly to reach the ball. After several minutes of being unable to do so, and getting progressively more upset about it, she begins to wail.]
Notary: [huffily] See? I’m not the only one!
Morgan: [whiny] Make her stop, I’m getting a headache!
Disentangler: ...Morgan, I can feel the word ‘mum’ tacked on to the end of your sentence.
[The Reader pauses for a moment and throws the ball over her shoulder, accidentally hitting the Notary in the head, before giving Rina an awkward hug in an attempt to make her stop crying.]
Notary: Reader, if you don't stop that right now, I'll—
Disentangler: You'll what? Take away her candy? Send her to bed early? Come on, Notary. She's not actually a child.
Notary: She looks like one to me. And she's acting like one, instead of properly reflecting the grandeur of her exalted position on this Council—
Disentangler: ...did you actually get worse?
[The Notary huffs and crosses her arms. She looks down at herself for a moment, plucks at her robe, frowns, pulls out a meat skewer, and begins slashing at her robes.]
Agent: [alarmed] Notary?
Notary: [snapping] What?
Agent: What're you doing to your robes?
Notary: They're just rags. I'm making them clothes. I'm making them mine. Got a problem with that?
Agent: Where's the rest of them—?
Notary: Oh, so you do have a problem with it! What, is my self-expression bothering you, old man?
Agent: [throwing his arms up and looking at the Disentangler] She’s completely mad.
Disentangler: This is news to you?
Notary: I'm not mad! You're mad! You're all just mad because I'm showing off my body and it upsets you! Does this upset you, old man? Does it scare you? [finishes hacking off the sleeves and most of the skirt of her robes]
Morgan: [muttering] You sure we can’t go for that vodka now?
Agent: [also muttering] Don’t tempt me.
Disentangler: [smacks him]
Agent: Ow! [grumbles] As if you weren’t thinking it too...
Notary: [in disgust] It’s a good thing the Grunt isn’t here to see this.
Morgan: The who now?
Librarian: I believe she means the Guardsman, also known as—
Rina: [looks up and shrieks] UNCA EMI!
Morgan: [rubbing her ears] Could she be any louder?
Notary: Not, I believe, without a loudhailer.
Reader: [goes spinning past] Whee, I’m a TARDIS!
Fisherman: [runs after her] I'm a Dalek! I'm gonna shoot you out of the Time Vortex!
Rina: [goes toddling after them] ‘TERMINATE! ‘TERMINATE!
[Everyone stares after the children for a moment. The Librarian actually looks a little jealous.]
Disentangler: Are they...are they playing Daleks and TARDISes?
Rina: [runs up to the Librarian and kicks him in the shins] ‘TERMINATE!
Librarian: I WILL SHOW YOU EXTERMINATE! [runs after her, looking somewhere between mad and overjoyed, his coat dragging on the ground behind him]
Agent: ...Looks like.
Disentangler: Well, better them than us. [pointed look at the Notary, who glares]
[The Librarian catches up to Rina, who screams and runs the other way. The Librarian is briefly distracted by the Fisherman, who is running toward him.]
Fisherman: THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE DALEK EMPEROR!
Librarian: I am just a regular Dalek, you idiot!
Rina: [runs back up to the Librarian and tries to kick him again] ‘TERMINATE!
Librarian: I AM GOING TO GET YOU, YOU LITTLE BRAT!
[Rina screams and runs away. The Librarian follows, right up until she runs straight into the Agent’s legs.]
Agent: Oof. Stop that.
[Rina and the Librarian ignore him; Rina ducks behind his legs, and the Librarian tries to get at her, a crazed gleam in his eyes.]
Agent: Hey! Stop it! [pushes the Librarian back, and picks up Rina, who clings to him] Go play with one of the older kids.
Disentangler: I can’t believe you just said that.
Agent: [mutters] Me neither.
Librarian: Fine. [looks around for a new target]
Reader: [runs past] I’M A TARDIS! WHOOOOSH!
[The Librarian spots the Reader—she’s hard to miss—and the crazed gleam makes a reappearance.]
Librarian: WELL, I AM THE NIGHTMARE CHILD! AND YOU HAD BETTER RUN! [sets off in pursuit]
[The Reader screams in real terror, and sprints away, still screaming. The Librarian follows her, still yelling.]
Morgan: [bored] Well, that should end well. [eyes the Notary’s new outfit] Notary, I can’t say I hate to tell you this, but that outfit is ugly as—
Agent: [groans] Please tell me we’ve found something on the database to stop this.
Disentangler: [grimaces and shakes her head] No luck yet.
Rina: [dribbles on his neck, burbling happily to herself]
[The Reader runs until she finds a corner. Once there, she begins to throw everything in sight at the Librarian. He ducks half of it, and keeps yelling.]
Librarian: I AM GOING TO GET YOU! YOU ARE JUST A STUPID TARDIS, I WILL RIP YOU TO SHREDS!
Reader: SHUT UP! SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP! [throws things harder, and begins to cry]
Agent: Someone should break them up.
Disentangler: Great idea, Adil. Go right ahead.
Agent: Me? I'm holding a toddler!
Disentangler: So? I'm trying to fix this! Notary!
Notary: What do you want? To add to my torment?
Disentangler: Yes. Go break them up.
Notary: [whining] But why me?
Disentangler: [sharply] Because I said so. Now go!
Morgan: Yeah, go. [grins meanly at the Notary]
Rina: Go, go.
Notary: [glares, and pointedly does not get up]
[In the midst of all this chaos, the door opens and a Klingon (Kozar) walks in. He stares around in confusion, before spotting the only apparent adults and walking over to them.]
Kozar: What is going on here?
Disentangler: Notary, go. Oh. It's you, Kozar. We’re…
Morgan: [bored] We’re having a bit of a situation, and I need a drink. Don’t suppose you have anything on you?
Kozar: [looks at her, then does a noticeable double-take] ...Morgan?
[Meanwhile, the Fisherman has run over to the Librarian and begun to try to pull him away. When this fails, he jumps around the older child, attempting to beat him over the head.]
Fisherman: LEAVE HER ALONE! YOU’RE JUST A STUPID MEANIEFACE WHO WASN’T EVEN IN THE TIME WAR!
Reader: YEAH! YOU RAN AWAY TOO EARLY! LEAVE ME A-ALONE— [keeps crying; throws a crumpled ball that used to be one of the Notary’s special booklets and hits the Librarian’s chin]
[Meanwhile, over by the holographic table, Morgan is finishing a much-needed explanation]
Morgan: ...so yes, that’s really the Notary, and this is really me. What are you doing here, anyway?
Kozar: The Reader and I have a mission.
Agent: ...But she’s ten.
Kozar: [grimly] Then I suggest you fix this.
Disentangler: We’re working on it. Some of us more industriously than others. [pointed look at Morgan and the Notary, who ignore her]
Kozar: Quickly, Disentangler.
Agent: Like I said, we’re working on it.
Disentangler: We? You’re not doing a thing. You’re just standing there holding a toddler.
Agent: That's being helpful!
Notary: [with relish] Let her run around, Pink. Being on the floor will hardly harm the tot, disappointing as that is.
Agent: [glares] You’re not helping.
[Rina wriggles until the Agent puts her down. The second her feet touch the ground, she runs off to hug the Librarian’s legs.]
Librarian: [tries to shake her off] Gerroff me! This instant, I tell you!
Kozar: ...that is really the Reader? The child in the corner who is throwing—?
Morgan: Yeah. [looks around for something to do, and quickly decides to just sit on the floor instead, pulling out a handgun and beginning to clean it]
Kozar: [jaw clenches briefly] Why is she crying?
Agent: [sighs heavily] The Librarian—that’s the boy in the oversized coat, by the way—decided to join a game of Daleks and TARDISes by yelling that he’s the Nightmare Child, and—
Kozar: [grimly] I will take care of this. [strides off towards the fight]
Agent: ...right, of course you will. [to the Disentangler] Are you sure you can't find anything?
Disentangler: Well, maybe if you'd help for a change... [pointed look]
Agent: I was—oh, fine. You too, Morgan.
Morgan: [looking up from her pistol] Do I have to?
Disentangler: Yes. Get up.
Morgan: [sighs] It figures. [stands up] When this is over, I’m going to need so many drinks.
Disentangler: When this is over, I won’t stop you. Come on, we should try the Circle archives next…
[Meanwhile, Kozar has been approaching the fight of the miniature Time Lords. He dodges a notebook and a coffee mug, and ignores a balled up paper when it clips his arm.]
Kozar: [separates the Fisherman and the Librarian by means of taking each boy by the shoulder and shoving] Stop this nonsense.
Fisherman: [trying to get at the Librarian] But he’s being mean!
Librarian: [trying not to fall over thanks to Rina, who has both little arms locked around his knees] I am playing a game. If they cannot play properly, that is their problem!
Kozar: [pushes the Fisherman in the direction of the more adult Time Lords] Go. Help them search for a way to fix this.
Fisherman: But he was mean to the Reader!
Kozar: I will deal with him. Go.
[The Fisherman pouts, but obeys, trudging towards the others with a last glare for the Librarian and a worried look for the Reader.]
Librarian: If nothing else, will you at least get the infant away from me? My legs are beginning to go numb.
[Kozar stares at the de-aged Librarian for a long moment, then looks down at Rina, who looks back with wide, excited eyes. He is about to say something, but then the Reader sobs.]
Kozar: [to Rina] Stay where you are.
Rina: [looks at him curiously and points] Forehead smooth?
Kozar: [to Rina] ...that’s correct. [tightens his grip on the Librarian’s shoulder when the Time Lord tries to make a break for it] Keep him restrained, child. He has caused enough trouble.
Rina: [nods and goes back to hugging the Librarian's legs] Okay!
Librarian: Get her off me!
Kozar: [coldly] No.
[Kozar lets go of the Librarian and walks towards the Reader, who has been watching them and sobbing. When she sees the Klingon walking towards her, she abandons her corner and ammunition and runs to him, still sobbing.]
Kozar: Reader, are—?
[The Reader barrels into him, burying her face against his stomach and clutching at his clothing]
Kozar: [stares] ...Reader?
[There is no reply. Kozar stares for a little while longer, then carefully pats her on the back]
Kozar: ...’there, there’?
[A little earlier:]
Fisherman: [runs over to Morgan, tripping over his too-large shoes] Morgan, make him stop! He’s being mean!
Morgan: What do you expect me to do? I’m busy. And there’s a Klingon holding him by the shoulder, since you seem to have missed that. [frowns at him] Come here.
Fisherman: [obeys] Why?
Morgan: Your collar’s crooked. And it’s annoying me more than it’s annoying the Notary. [Both of them glance at the Notary, who is busily coloring her fingernails black with a sharpie nicked from the Disentangler’s pocket.]
Notary: [looks up] What do you want?
Morgan: From you, nothing. Hold still, Fish. This is ridiculous.
Notary: Not more ridiculous than your hair, Castellan.
Morgan: [abandons the Fisherman’s collar, to his obvious relief] And just what is wrong with my hair, Spinel Promotor?
Notary: Makes you look like a poser.
Morgan: [rolls her eyes] Yes, thank you, Enoby, for your words of wisdom.
Notary: [opens her mouth to retort; pauses] Are you getting taller?
Disentangler: [squints] I think she is!
Fisherman: [pulling at his collar] So...that’s a good sign, right? [gives Morgan an innocent look when she glares, and puts his hands behind his back]
Agent: Let’s hope so. I didn’t actually sign up for babysitting duty.
Disentangler: [steps away from the holotable] I know there’s something I’m forgetting...oh. Oh. The toddler. Someone should probably get her pants on. [gives the Agent a look]
Agent: ...You’re joking, right?
Notary: [looks up from her nails with a nasty smile in place] I have an idea.
Agent: [looks at the Notary warily] ...I’ll probably regret asking, but what is it?
[The Notary’s smile widens to the point where it becomes reminiscent of a shark. The Fisherman edges away.]
[Meanwhile, the Reader and Kozar are talking in the corner.]
Kozar: [to the Reader, who is still attached to his waist] He is not actually the Nightmare Child.
Reader: [muffled] No, he’s a stupidhead!
Kozar: ...Yes, Reader, but he has been for as long as you’ve known him. Longer, no doubt.
Reader: [sulkily] Still a stupidhead. He wasn’t even in the Time War. He left before then.
Kozar: [sighs] I am aware. Are you still crying?
[The Reader shrugs, and grows two inches.]
[A short distance away, the Agent approaches the Librarian, who is still being held captive by a now slowly growing toddler.]
Librarian: [looks up] Help me, you—
Agent: [folds his arms pointedly] You want her off you?
Agent: Good. Help me put her pants on.
Librarian: What? No!
Rina: Pants? [tightens her grip on the Librarian’s legs] Why do I gotta wear ’em?
Agent: [to Rina] Because you’re getting older again. You’ll thank us when you’re back to normal. [to the Librarian] Do you want to end up with a half-naked Rina Dives hugging your legs? Because—
Librarian: [voice shoots up several octaves] NO!
Agent: Looks like we’re all agreed, then. Let’s get her pants on.
[The Agent holds out the pants, and the operation begins.]
[Back by the holotable, the Fisherman is tugging at his collar and ignoring Morgan and the Notary, who both look somewhere between bored and condescending.]
Morgan: I have to say, Notary, I’m looking forward to hearing you shriek when you realize what you’ve done to your robes. Oh, wait, no, I’m not. Because I still need a drink.
Notary: My robes are perfect, Tigereye Castellan. Yours, on the other hand—
Disentangler: Shut up, Notary. [looking at Kozar and the Reader] ...I wonder if someone should tell them it’s wearing off…
Morgan: [bored] They’ll notice at some point.
Notary: [reluctantly] Yes, even an overemotional child like the Reader should have enough sense to notice the change in height.
[Some ten minutes later, everyone affected has returned to their normal height and/or age. The Continuity Council plus two have formed a clump by the holotable, which has now been turned off. Some of them are beginning to better comprehend the results of their impromptu deaging...]
Morgan: [rubbing her temples] I still want a drink.
Disentangler: [tiredly] You can have it.
Agent: So long as you take me with you, anyway.
Notary: [trying to keep her robes from falling apart] Why did no-one stop me?
Librarian: [back to a non-high-pitched sarcastic drawl] Yes, Agent, why did no-one stop her? My eyes are burning.
Reader: [dryly] As are mine—but hey, up freedom of expression. [to the Librarian] Right, Nightmare Child?
Kozar: [also dryly] If I may interrupt this latest argument: Reader, we have a mission.
Reader: We do? We do. [to the other Council members] You’re on your own for figuring this out. And that includes what to do about the Notary’s minidress. [smirks and turns to Rina] Rina, walk with us?
Rina: [nearly trips in her haste to get out of the room] Yes, please.
Reader: Alright, then, come along. [She exits the room with Rina and Kozar in tow.]
Librarian: [to the Fisherman, suspiciously] Why do you keep smiling?
Fisherman: [shrugs] I had fun. We should do that more often.
Disentangler, Agent, Morgan: [simultaneously] NO!
Notary: I concur. Never again. [tugs down skirt, then looks down at her chest apprehensively]
Librarian: [sneers] Believe me, Notary, the contents of your...shirt...have not changed within the past three minutes.
Morgan: And why exactly have you been keeping track of—no. I don’t want to know. What I do want is a drink. Do we really have no alcohol in here at all?
Disentangler: None that I know of. But I move to install a mini bar. All in favor?
[The Agent, the Disentangler, and Morgan raise their hands instantly. The Librarian considers it for a moment, then does the same.]
[All eyes turn to the Fisherman.]
Agent: Installing a mini bar. Yea or nay?
Fisherman: [shrugs] Yea, I suppose. Why not.
Disentangler: Good. Notary?
Notary: [glares] Sapphire Watcher, think this through for once. I understand it might be difficult for your renegade’s brain to understand, but—do you really want me to let go of my robes right now?
Morgan: [hurriedly] Point taken.
Librarian: Point definitely taken.
Agent: Definitely. Keep your hands where they are. In fact, lift your right one a little bit.
Disentangler: You can vote orally this time. Yea or nay?
Notary: To stocking alcohol in the Council chamber? Yea. Most unequivocally yea. Dealing with all of you is swiftly coming to necessitate alcohol.
Morgan: ...you mean it hasn’t already? I’m impressed.
Morgan: [shrugs] Well, it’s certainly driving me to drink.
Disentangler: Well, that’s all of us except the Reader. And even if she votes no, which I doubt she will, that’s everyone but her. Motion passed.
Morgan: Fantastic. Now, since we haven’t installed the thing yet, I’m going to Rudi’s. And, no offense, if you’re going to come along—stay out of my way. I’ve had enough of you all for today.
Notary: One moment, Tigereye Castellan. Before any more Council members leave, we should at least determine the cause of our transformation. I, for one, find it highly suspicious that the Sapphire Watcher and Amethyst Keeper appear to have experienced absolutely no adverse effects whatsoever.
Agent: ...no adverse effects? I have been chewed on, Notary—
Disentangler: I think she means the deaging, Adil, not your chew toy status. [to the Notary] And that’s because we’re older than all of you put together. I felt younger; I just didn’t look it. Adil, was it the same for you?
Disentangler: There. So you can take your suspicions and shove them—
Fisherman: Does there have to be a reason? We were deaged, we ran around, we had fun—some of us more than others— [glances at the Notary]
Notary: Precisely what are you implying?
Librarian: I, for one, am not eager to repeat the experience.
Fisherman: [almost kindly] Yes, but you were hit over the head by an eleven-year-old and restrained by a toddler. I had fun, though. Except for this stupid collar. [tugs at it]
Morgan: [smirking] Age up him and the toddler, and I’m sure he would have enjoyed it a lot more—
Librarian: [glares] Tigereye Castellan, precisely what are you implying?
Disentangler: [tiredly] Oh, don’t get your knickers in a twist. Notary, can’t figuring it out wait? Morgan wants a drink, the Agent’s been dribbled on and used as a chew toy, and you need a change of clothes worse than the Doctor’s sixth regeneration. We’re all fine now, anyway. So long as it stays that way for a while—
Notary: And what if it does not? I, for one, do not wish to return to—
Librarian: Well, we already let the Reader and the human leave, so I say the rest of us should get to do the same. Unless you have another stupid suggestion to propose, in which case I say we leave anyway.
[The Fisherman’s eyebrows have been rising. At this last, he shrugs, sighs, and leaves, unnoticed. He is well out of it: the remaining Council members devolve into squabbling, mostly about various past proposals made by the Notary.]
[Outside the Really Very Tiny Auditorium, a Dalek painted in robin’s egg blue rolls past the door. It stops, then backs up to see what’s going on.]
Fearn: LOOK AT THE TIME LORDS! BICK-ER-ING AM-ONG THEM-SELVES LIKE CHIL-DREN!
[Everyone stops arguing and exchanges awkward looks.]
Morgan: ...Fearn, believe me: you have no idea.
Disclaimer: Gallifrey, Time Lords, Daleks, and TARDISes are from the Doctor Who canon, as are various mentioned events (e.g. the Time War), and are the property of the BBC. Morgan is the creation of Huinesoron; the Disentangler and the Agent were created by Tawaki and are now written by Lily Winterwood; the Fisherman is the property of Fish Custard and is borrowed hopefully with his blessing; the Librarian is the creation of Desdendelle; Kozar and the Reader are the work of DawnFire; the Notary is the creation of Scapegrace; Rina Dives is the creation of Iximaz; Fearn was originally created by Tawaki, and currently seems to be more or less Free-to-Use. This story was written by DawnFire and Iximaz and was edited by Desdendelle, Huinesoron, Lily Winterwood, and Scapegrace. The above disclaimer has been stolen and adapted from Huinesoron; until we wrote this, we were hoping you wouldn’t notice ;)
This is not a panel. This was never meant to be a panel. What is a panel, anyway?