Disclaimers and stuff:
Still no Who. :( And some bloke cleared off with my recorded copies of Season 5, so I don't even own that any more...
Well, I never thought I'd continue this particular fanfic. Didn't even occur to me to do anything else with it. But after some enthusiasm (and a review, of course!) from allonsy-doctor, I came to realize that perhaps this fanfic is like the neglected child of my portfolio, and that in fact, there was room for a little something else. Besides, the big fanfic I'm trying to finish was getting pretty morbid, so I needed to do something a little lighter.
So, here it is - a fresh bowl of plot bunny stew!
Looking back, I suppose we got lucky. Probably cut off the corner of the British world maps – concealed behind the barcode, most likely – the Master seemed to have forgotten about New Zealand for the first month or so of his reign over the Earth, despite having run his election campaign simultaneously in every country across the globe. We kept our heads down, closed the borders and even had the sense to keep our mouths shut about the long overdue Rugby World Cup – and so, for a time at least, closed the curtains on the rest of the world and passed unobtrusively under the radar. The Toclafane quickly tired of the lack of murderous tasks assigned to them and headed North, crossing the ditch to create mayhem and bloodshed to their bionic hearts' content in Australia.
That is, until our Lord and Master discovered "The WotWots".
Within days, the sprawling cities had been razed to the ground, native bush burned clear from the rugged landscape, and our relatively sparsely populated country had become a kind of agricultural powerhouse. After all, with what remained of the world's population working fourteen hours a day on the construction of rockets and black hole converters, meat and milk production more or less ground to a halt, but the masses still needed feeding.
Everyone knew the story now. For the first time, I had not relished recounting in minute detail the plots of past episodes of "Doctor Who" with people hanging on my every word. It was no longer a source of pride to me that every human being on Earth knew of the Doctor. We were no great unified fandom of Whovians; we were a people crushed and oppressed, simply struggling to understand how the Master had seized control of our planet - and been practically encouraged by some small segment of the population.
It became particularly painful to recall the end of the tale, the climatic conclusion of "Last of the Time Lords"...
...because that was how it should have gone. There should be a Martha Jones walking the Earth, a family enslaved on the Valiant and humiliated in front of the world in his broadcasts to his people, a man chained in the bowels of the ship who alone could not give the Master the satisfaction of holding the power to end a human life in his cruel hands...and most of all, there should have been him, aged beyond years but with those timeless eyes gazing steadily into the camera, the wordless hope he seemed to radiate felt in the bones of every suffering human being who witnessed it, even as the Master mocked and scorned him.
But there was just the Master and the ever-present Toclafane. Our Master and his Paradox Machine and the still-transmitting Archangel Network.
The Archangel Network had actually turned out to be an unexpected silver lining, in the end. As it turned out, what with the satellites' telepathic transmission infiltrating our subconscious through our mobile phones, our fear and deference to the Master depended on continued use of our phones for communication.
Keeping the human race using their phones on a regular enough basis to maintain the almost religious fervor that he commanded was no problem for the Master, of course. Turned out the cynical newspaper columnists had been right all along, that we were a society in the grip of chronic technology addiction. Many miles away, in some steel-lined corridor of the Valiant, armed guards watched over the Paradox Machine itself, with the unwavering mental manacles of the Archangel Network holding them at bay from doing what the whole world knew was our only salvation.
I still carried my reliable old iPhone 3G in the pocket of my overalls wherever I was permitted to go. I had even relented and finally had it switched from the old phone network to Archangel. Under threat of unimaginable and anatomically incorrect tortures from three Toclafane, admittedly...but I had at long last gritted my teeth and submitted to a change. Already, I could feel the effects of the Network's subtle hypnotism setting in. Not the tapping out the rhythm of four at any mention of the Master's name – I had been doing that for years. No, it was the diminishing of the little light of hope that had burned within me for so long, reminding me of the age-old tradition of the triumph of good over evil. Little more than a guttering candle now, I was beginning to submit to the despair and resignation to the Master's rightful place as ruler of all.
A furtive hiss in my ear startled me almost into dropping the armful of milking clusters I had just scooped up from a bench. It was the first time anyone had spoken to me in days – everyone had their routines by now, and we worked in stoic silence with little need to communicate. The entire Manawatu region, fertile and moderately flat, was the location of intensive dairy production for the whole of Europe and what was left of Asia. Palmerston North had been ruthlessly cleared and its surrounding farms merged into a herd of many thousands of cattle pushed to their metabolic limits, turning the wide river that traversed the landscape into a rank, foul-smelling, polluted sludge. In a similar fashion to the housing arrangements we had heard of in the industrial countries overseas, the workers were packed into the buildings of the University each night and roused mercilessly by the deafening wail of the fire alarms before dawn.
Carefully, I adjusted my grip on the tangle of rubber tubes and metal cups to turn and peer at the speaker. From beneath a worn, muddied hat, shifty eyes in a weatherbeaten face lowered to something he held in his hand. I glanced around – the milking shed was entirely empty, the Toclafane probably amusing themselves by tipping cows somewhere – and placed the milking clusters back on the bench to take the object that was being held out to me.
It was an iPhone – 12GS, the status bar at the top of the screen read beside the twirling Archangel logo. The web browser was open, and it was the page displayed which quickly drew my attention.
"You have FaceBook?" The man shushed me hurriedly and I lowered my voice, something else occurring to me. "FaceBook is still running?"
"Yeah," the man grinned. "They weren't gonna take out anything that keeps three billion people using their mobile internet every day, were they? Apparently," he added, "the Master has Mark Zuckerberg up there on his ship. Couldn't bring himself to kill the guy, they're saying – closest to taking over the world that any human's ever got." A wry smile of irony crossed my face.
"So…you want me to add you?"
"Oh, no," he said, suddenly solemn. "No – my name's not important. There's a group…here, let me text you the link." Hearing the buzzing hum of approaching Toclafane, I hastily entered my number into his contacts, took up the armful of milking clusters and passed back the iPhone from underneath them. He slipped it into the pocket of his faded overalls and fled.
I never saw the man again – but that night, cramped in the corner of what had once been a psychology lecture theatre, my iPhone buzzed against my thigh and I pulled it from my pocket, heart pounding with anticipation. The text was from a blocked number and contained only a FaceBook link, which I followed.
My eyes widened, and the embers of the candle within me suddenly sparked into a glimmer of life. Without hesitation, I selected the button presented to me.
Aietra Tat became a fan of Saving the World
You see, some years ago, a near-legendary rock band by the name of Led Zeppelin had announced that they would reunite for one concert – just one – the last concert of their careers. It had been a good twenty years since their previous reunion concert in London, and with the inevitable death of the mainstream music industry through piracy and file-sharing, natural selection had dictated that the bands to stand the test of time would be those who could play a concert worth paying to be present at. And the dinosaurs of rock n' roll rose again like phoenixes from the ashes of pop and hip-hop.
Anyway, every radio station on Earth had made the grand announcement: that there would be a select number of tickets available to be a part of this occasion in musical history, and that these tickets would go on sale worldwide at midnight GMT on New Year's Eve…by phone sale. At one minute past midnight on New Year's Eve, the entire world's telecommunication networks had been crippled. Fuses were blown, transmitters overloaded, some satellites damaged almost beyond repair…
With all the future Whoniverse knowledge in the world, one fangirl cannot save the human race.
But with one call, at one specific time…
…right across the world…
…just one phonecall, at one moment…
The Archangel Network had always been the Master's greatest weakness.
That, and his taste in music.
I should also add that I don't own FaceBook. As for Led Zeppelin...well, one can but dream...