Doctor Who and the Easter Bunny
by Duncan Johnson
'Remind me again why we're chasing the Easter Bunny across town?' Rose demanded.
'Because,' the Doctor replied, leaping from one rooftop to the next with the ease of an Olympic gymnast. Up ahead, a five and a half feet tall, pastel blue rabbit was hopping away from them. It carried a wicker basket filled with foil-wrapped eggs in the crook of its left arm.
Rose eyed the gap between the buildings sceptically. Cars cruised between them, looking very small from this height. She swallowed nervously.
'Come on, Rose, he's getting away,' the Doctor urged.
'You will catch me, right?' she asked.
'Course I will. Besides, who won the bronze for gymnastics?'
'Under-sevens gymnastics,' Rose reminded him. She started to walk back from the edge, measuring out her run up. 'Who wants to live forever, right?'
She dashed forward, her trainers pounding against the concrete roof of the skyscraper. Reaching the edge, she launched herself into empty space, the wind tugging at her hair and her clothes.
I'm not going to make it, she thought to herself. I'm sorry, Mum.
Then she felt the Doctor's hands around hers, pulling her to safety.
'See, nothing to worry about,' he said, flashing that goofy grin of his.
Rose waited for her heart to stop trying to escape from her chest. 'Anyway, because?' she said.
'Because,' the Doctor explained, 'that bunny is an alien robot planning to hold all the city's children hostage.'
Rose blinked. 'Of course. Makes perfect sense.'
Three hours earlier, they had been onboard the TARDIS. Rose had been sitting in the battered pilot's chair trying to read a book (something that was proving a challenge given the way the TARDIS bounced about like a ship on a storm-ravaged ocean) and the Doctor was poring over the console, diving from one display screen to another.
An alarm sounded.
'What is it this time?' Rose asked, not even bothering to look up from her book.
'Something I've been looking for for way too long,' the Doctor replied mysteriously. 'Next stop, Denebrios 4.'
Was it possible to become blasé about visiting alien planets? Rose hoped not, but Denebrios 4 was doing nothing for her.
'It looks like New York,' she commented. 'Old New York.'
'Ever been?' The Doctor asked as he straightened his fawn overcoat and ran a hand through his tousled brown hair. The hair resolutely refused to be tidied.
'No,' Rose admitted. She's talked about going with Keisha, but they'd never seemed to be able to find the time. Besides which, her mum would have wanted to come as well and Rose was not sure she could have stood that.
'Then how do you know you don't like it? Come on, we've got a couple of hours before dark; let's see the sights.'
Rose trailed along behind him. The wind whistled through the canyons between skyscrapers and chilled her to the bone, even through her thick jacket. She glanced up at the grey sky, clouds heavy with the promise of rain or, given how cold it was, possibly snow. Was she becoming jaded? She'd used to fantasise about living in New York, being a Sex and the City girl, but now she was comparing it - or at least an alien substitute for it - with all the places she had visited with the Doctor and it was coming up well short. Was she ever going to be able to go back and live a normal life on Earth again after all she had seen?
She pushed these maudlin thoughts aside when something else occurred to her.
'Hey, what do you mean we've got a couple of hours until dark?' She had to jog to catch up with the Doctor. 'Is there, like, a curfew or something?'
'Nothing like that,' the Doctor had replied. 'Tonight, Rose, we're going hunting.'
'So... alien robot disguised as the Easter Bunny?' Rose prompted.
Their quarry had given them the slip so now they were descending from the roof in a glass elevator that ran down the outside of the building. Rose was not entirely convinced that being able to see the ground rushing towards you was a good idea.
'It's not always the Easter Bunny,' the Doctor explained. 'Last time we crossed paths he looked like Santa Claus.'
'Been there, done that,' Rose muttered.
'He'll happily disguise himself as whatever the appropriate figure for the date and culture happens to be, providing that figure dishes out presents.'
'What have presents got to do with it?'
'Presents are what it's all about. It's his modus operandi. He gives them to the local kids and then he's able to ensnare them.'
'Well, when I was on Varga and he was pretending to be Santa, he dished out these little mechanical toys that emitted hypnotic sounds while that children slept. This time, it looks like he's handing out chocolate eggs so I'm assuming it's some kind of chemical agent.'
'He's drugging them?'
'And then he'll get them all to follow him out of town and he'll tell the adults that they'll only get their children back if they pay him a ransom. Which is a completely different folk tale altogether.'
The lift reached the bottom and the doors slid open. Rose led the way out.
'So how do we stop him?'
The Doctor shook his head. 'Stopping him's not the problem. I stopped him on Varga, but he got away and just started up elsewhere. I want to put him out of business for good.'
Despite being the middle of the night, there was still a lot of traffic about, so they waited at the kerb for an opportunity to cross the road.
'I thought we had him tonight,' the Doctor continued.
'Sorry,' Rose said. 'I slowed you down.'
'Rubbish,' the Doctor insisted. 'He was too fast for both of us. We'll just have to be smarter next time. We won't see him again until tomorrow night, though, so...'
'So it might be a good idea to round up as many eggs as possible before they get eaten.'
'Doctor, this is a city,' Rose pointed out. 'Have you any idea how much ground there is to cover.'
The Doctor grinned. 'Then you'd better get started then, hadn't you?'
'I'm a, um, a food health inspector,' Rose blagged when the flat door opened.
The woman behind the door peered at her over half-moon spectacles. She reminded Rose of one of her old school teachers, something that was less than comforting.
'I hear that your son was given an Easter Egg last night,' Rose continued.
'What of it?'
'We have reason to believe that, um, that a batch of eggs may have been contaminated.'
Perhaps the woman paled. Or perhaps she had always been that slate grey colour. 'Contaminated with what?'
'We'd rather not say,' Rose replied. Because I really can't think of anything right now. 'If you'd just give me the egg...'
'Not so fast, young lady.' There was a glint in the woman's left eye. 'You people have put my son's health at risk.'
'Not us, exactly. We're just trying to fix it.'
The woman ignored her. 'I think I'm entitled to some compensation.'
'We'd be happy to replace the egg,' Rose replied. Jackie Tyler's daughter had been expecting something like this and had come prepared.
The woman sniffed. 'Let's see what my son has to say about that. Billy!'
A blond child in a red and white striped T-shirt waddled to the door.
'This lady wants to take your Easter Egg away,' his mother explained.
'No,' the boy said simply.
Rose crouched down so that she was at eye level with him and produced a replacement from her bag.
'How about I swap it for this one,' she suggested. 'It's bigger than the one you've already got.'
'No,' the boy repeated.
Rose upped her offer. 'I'll give you two of these for your one.'
Does this kid know any other words, Rose thought to herself. 'Okay, three. And that's my final offer.'
Rose sighed. 'All right, four!
It was going to be a long day.
The Doctor, meanwhile, was trying a different approached. Having clambered like a monkey up the side of a building, he now pointed his sonic screwdriver at the window. There was an audible click as it unlocked and the Doctor slid it up and open before hopping down into the room.
It was a bedroom. The room belonged to a girl, to judge by the décor, or to a boy with really cruel parents. The Doctor drummed his fingers on the windowsill.
'Now, if I was a mind-altering chocolate egg,' he muttered to himself, 'where would I be hiding?'
As quietly as possible, he searched the room, taking care to put everything back exactly where he had found it. He eventually found the egg under the girl's bed, hidden behind a collection of plush animals.
'Egg-cellent,' he declared, then winced at his own pun.
'Who are you?' a voice asked.
The Doctor jumped in surprise, banging his head on the bed. Cursing in Old High Gallifreyan, he crawled out from beneath it, clutching the egg under one arm, and looked up at his visitor.
'Daddy, Daddy,' the girl yelled, 'there's a man in my room! He's stealing my Easter Egg!'
A burly, moustachioed man burst into the bedroom. The Doctor started backing towards the window.
'What do you think you're doing,' the father demanded angrily, 'breaking into a little girl's bedroom?'
'It's not what you think.' The Doctor had reached the window, but it had fallen closed while he had been searching. Worse, it seemed to have locked itself again. 'Can't we just talk about this?'
The girl's father raised a meaty fist.
The sun was probably setting when they regrouped at a café just across the street from the TARDIS, but Rose could not tell through the omnipresent cloud cover. The Doctor was already waiting for her. He was holding his head in his hands and there was a glass of water on the table in front of him.
'What happened to you,' Rose asked, taking the seat opposite him.
The Doctor groaned (a bit theatrically, Rose thought). 'Let's just say that it's times like these I really wish I wasn't allergic to aspirin.'
'If it's any consolation, my day hasn't been much of a laugh either.'
The Doctor looked up and Rose could clearly see the blue-black ring around his eye. 'It isn't.' He drained his glass. 'This wasn't one of my better ideas, was it?'
'You've had worse.'
'Stop trying to cheer me up.'
'I've got chocolate,' Rose said, fishing an egg out of her bag. 'Nobody else seems to want them...'
'If I never see another Easter Egg for as long as I live it'll... That's not funny.'
'What's not?' The Doctor was looking over Rose's shoulder, out of the window. Rose turned in her chair and followed the line of his gaze. 'Oh.'
Hovering over the city was a large airship. It was decked out like a giant Easter Egg.
'At least we know where our reprehensible rabbit got to,' the Doctor said as he threw himself up yet another flight of stairs.
'Couldn't we have waited for the lift?' Rose complained as she struggled to keep up.
'People of Denebrios,' the robot bunny was saying in a voice that would not have been out of place in a Disney cartoon. 'Your children each received a surprise gift this morning: a chocolate Easter Egg.'
There was clearly some form of PA system in the airship because the bunny's voice was echoing down the stairwell.
'This Easter Egg was of my devising and was made of no ordinary chocolate. If your children have eaten their eggs - and how could they resist? - then they have been poisoned.'
Rose spied the woman she had spoken to earlier peering out of the door of her flat.
'I tried to warn you,' Rose said. It was petty, she knew, but she could not resist.
'If you wish to receive the antidote,' the bunny continued, 'then you will turn over the city treasury to me. I promise not to empty it all; ninety-five per cent should be more than adequate. Mwa ha ha ha ha.'
'Come on, Rose, nearly there,' the Doctor said, holding open the door that provided access to the roof.
'What do you think I'm doing,' Rose muttered, spurring herself to climb faster.
They burst onto the roof and were confronted by the airship's red and gold glory.
'Tacky,' was the Doctor's assessment.
'Now what?' Rose asked, shouting to be heard over the airship's engines. 'More jumping from rooftop to rooftop?'
'Why settle for rooftops?' the Doctor called back, pointing to a rope dangling from the car beneath the balloon.
'You've got to be kidding me,' Rose said, but the Doctor had already jumped. Rose took a deep breath and ran after him. 'Not again.'
The damp air rushed past her and then the Doctor was hauling her into the airship. Compared to the exterior, the inside of the airship looked tiny. Thick metal pipes lined walls and ceiling, making the space seemed smaller than it actually was. The pipes gurgled like a stomach demanding a meal and Rose followed them with her eyes until she reached a large vat.
'What's in there?' she asked.
'Chocolate?' the Easter Bunny replied, hopping out of the shadows. 'Did you think my eggs just made themselves?'
'No offence, but those paws don't really look right for delicate work,' the Doctor said.
There was a whirring sound and the bunnies front paws split open. Dozens of tiny blades and drills and manipulators burst free.
'Ah, now they do,' the Doctor conceded.
'I don't like to be interrupted while I'm outlining my masterplan to a naïve populace.' The robot bunny advanced towards them, blades whirring.
'Who does?' the Doctor agreed. 'But I'm far more interested in the antidote.'
'You mean this antidote?' The bunny gestured with a manipulator and Rose could see a test tube clamped in its grasp. 'Would you like a closer look?'
The bunny lunged forwards, a fist full of blades leading the way. The Doctor ducked and dived, rolling across the metal floor of the airship. Steadying himself, he ran his hands through his hair, checking to see that it was all still there.
'Hey, big ears!' Rose yelled.
The bunny and the Doctor both looked at her. The Doctor shook his head.
'Sorry, last body,' he said.
Rose took an Easter Egg from her bag and lobbed it at the robot. It shattered against its head.
'Was that supposed to hurt me?' the bunny asked.
Rose threw another egg and another and another.
'It may not hurt,' the bunny continued, picking fragments of chocolate out of its eyes, 'but it does annoy.'
It lunged forward.
'Rose!' the Doctor yelled.
Rose closed her eyes and ducked.
There was a painful grinding of gears.
Rose risked opening one eye. The robot bunny's manipulators were lodged firmly in the bank of machinery behind Rose.
'Get me out of here,' the robot said. The gears continued to try to turn. Sparks flew and the airship caught fire.
'Sorry, must dash,' the Doctor replied. 'Coming, Rose?'
'What about the antidote?' she asked.
'Right, mustn't forget that.' The Doctor plucked the test tube from the bunny's grip, uncapped it and then threw it into the vat. 'There, that should do it.'
'No time for questions. Jump!'
Taking Rose by the hand, the Doctor leaped through the hatch, flames raging around them. He grabbed hold of the rope as they fell, kicked out and swung the pair of them at the nearest rooftop. He let go of Rose and she tucked and rolled when she hit the concrete to minimise the impact. Slowly, she got to her feet, dusting herself off.
The fireball nearly knocked her over again.
'Now that's what I call an eggs-plosion,' the Doctor said proudly.
Bits of airship rained down on the city below, but of more interest to the city's inhabitants were the gallons of molten chocolate that followed.
The Doctor tipped back his head, opened his mouth and caught chocolate on his tongue. 'Not bad, if I do say so myself.'
'But isn't it poisoned?' Rose asked.
'I added the antidote, remember,' the Doctor replied, tapping the side of his nose with his forefinger, 'so not only is it no longer deadly, but whoever eats it - which I expect will be any kid that can get his or her grubby little mitts on it - will be cured. Eggs-actly as I planned.'
'Can we stop with the puns now?'
'Why? They're not so eggs-cruciating, are they?' The Doctor's tone was plaintive, but his eye's sparkled with mirth.
'That's it,' Rose announced, 'I'm making my own way home.'
'It's an eggs-tremely long walk,' the Doctor pointed out.
Rose shook her head. 'Mood you're in, I think it'll be an even longer flight.'
Rose turned to leave so the Doctor held up his hands in surrender. 'All right, all right. No more puns.'
Rose grinned. 'Egg-cellent.'
The Doctor's face fell. 'That's so not fair.'