In which the Doctor tries to turn his various work mates into companions.
It took five years for the Doctor to tire of moonlighting in his secret life as Director of Communications.
More correctly, it took five years for the crowd at Number 10 to catch on and haul him before an entirely unnecessarily tribunal to save their own asses from being tangled in one of his grand, orchestrated fantasies. Malcolm Tucker sat there dutifully and stared down their cameras with his dark, infinite eyes that had seen stars burn and for once told the truth.
He was pretty certain that in the end, they'd preferred his lies.
Humans were like that; one great, complicated paradox.
"Honestly, if press secretaries told the truth they'd have to drag the entirety of the political spectrum before their pet tribunal instead of me. I'm the greying tip of the iceberg. I can see cabinet now, moving deck chairs on the Titanic while a gaping hole leaks ministers into the ocean. Lying isn't an art – it's a fact." The Doctor muttered a little more, inspecting his Tardis for scratches. It had been stowed away in the stationery cupboard for quite some time – attracting paper clips, apparently. They were all stuck to the door. He brushed them off.
Phil, affectionately, 'fop with the hair', lingered in the doorway watching on with mild concern. Tucker was mad in more ways that one but stroking an old police box in a cupboard was right up there with the time he'd taken a shot of pain thinner.
"You're English." Phil folded his arms, grinning like an idiot.
"I'm alien," Tucker corrected.
"Actually kinda Scottish... That's right, yeah?" It was difficult to tell if Phil was trying to wind the Scot up (really he needn't bother) or was entirely genuine.
"Like Highlander," Phil nodded confidently, still watching Tucker with the blue box. He seemed to be searching for keys.
"Gallifrey..." Malcolm Tucker found a set of keys in his coat and jingled them with a smirk.
"Galli-" Tucker spun around, looking cross. "Who the fuck are you?"
Phil waved. "Phil. Formally your favourite chew toy until you discovered catnip and your true nature."
"Ah..." Malcolm's sharp gaze tore little strips off the prey in the doorway. "Oh yeah... The fourth Musketeer nobody can remember. Where are all your friends? Did they run off to play hide-and-lose-the-idiot again?"
"That's not very nice. Aliens are meant to be all friendly – and grey."
"Scots are historically mad as fuck, so perhaps you were right the first time."
There was the briefest flicker of a moment in which Malcolm considered asking the single celled organism to come with but honestly there were exotic particles with longer half lives than that thought.
"Don't you have a government to cripple? I'm busy. Scurry off now. Go find something to staple to your hair or whatever it is the government does to pass the time these days."
After Phil left, the Doctor, previously known as Malcolm Tucker, took a good look at his hair in the mirror. It was definitely flecked with grey. More grey than he remembered. He was sort of small and anorexic in a rodent manner – highly strung and totally mental. Those few years in politics had given his right eyebrow a permanent arch that made him look both surprised and annoyed.
"Not too bad."
The Doctor, Malcolm Tucker, slid the key into the Tardis lock and vanished inside the blue box. A short while later, the cupboard made a very odd wheezing sound while a blue glow faded in and out of time and space.
"Neat..." whispered Phil, hiding in the shadows.
Olly pulled open his office door and propelled himself straight into the side of a blue box. He bounced off, falling to the floor under a sheet of hot coffee.
"Blimey – bugger of a – Jesus?" he looked up. "Where the hell did that come from?" And why was it in his office!
A blue door opened and a terrifying head popped out.
"Fuck – Malcolm..." He was like a bloody demon. "Aren't you meant to be in jail – or on trial?"
"Hey – either come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off. Don't mope about on the floor complain'. And," he waved a long, bony finger in Olly's direction, "don't make some snarky remark about the temporal distortion causing a disproportionately large space to be confined into a nonsensically small police box. Thirteen hundred years and I've heard it all. 'Scottish alien' should pretty much cover all of your questions."
Just as Olly managed to get to his feet and drip a little of the coffee onto the floor, he was handed a clipboard with some kind of contract on it in a text that looked like hieroglyphs on Acid.
"Sign!" Malcolm insisted.
"What's this?" Olly took the pen and clipboard but stopped short of signing. This was Tucker after all. It could be anything. He might be signing away a liver.
"Inter-dimensional insurance. It means that if I leave you somewhere and forget to pick you up – or you find yourself inadvertently eaten, you can't sue me for negligence or abandonment."
Olly shook his head. "I'm not signing this."
"Door, paper, pen – one of these things is not like the others." The human still wasn't understanding. Honestly how hard was it? Every mutation was making the human race backtrack through its very few genetic achievements. Soon they'd crawl into the swamps. "Companions are a dime a dozen, sweet heart. I can fly down the street on any world and pick some random creature up and they'll do just as good a job as you. Money's with the mad man and his box – hell, I could have a whole company of little companions, now there's an idea. They'd be like coats that I could pull out depending on the weather. The Tardis could set up an inventory based on their minimal skill level and -"
"Aren't you getting ahead of yourself?" Olly frowned.
The Doctor tapped the clipboard. "Sign."
"You don't even have one companion yet and frankly if you can't convince me to follow you into the abyss you're going to be shit out of luck with the rest of the nutters that live and work in this asylum."
"What's the difference? It's not like you're an actual ancient time travelling alien." With that, Olly signed having no idea that he'd just agreed to a universe, time-bound contract. It would have been less binding to sell his soul. Still, anything to get Malcolm Tucker and his bloody box out of his office.
Malcolm Tucker, now with his first companion in tow, lurked in Nicola Murray's office. Malcolm was sitting on her desk while Olly slinked in the corner, using a dying plant as cover while he pretended not to be there. At first he'd been rather sceptical about the police box being a time machine but after being stabbed at the Battle of Hastings, Olly was on board with the idea. His arm still had a bloodied bandage on it. Malcolm insisted he call him, 'The Doctor' now but he didn't seem to have much in the way of 'mending' skills.
"All right, Olly?" Nicola asked, as she walked back into her office. Honestly she tried to come in here as little as possible, mainly due to the probability of an angry Scotsman being inside. There were two of them running around somewhere and today she had the pleasure of the less-attractive, stick insect version and his pet mortal.
"Malcolm Tucker – if it isn't the devil himself come to burn a new set of footprints on my new carpet." Nicola started. It annoyed her intensely that even the clothes she was wearing right now were under Malcolm's advisement. There was no part of the political world safe from his influence. Even exiled his opinions screamed out of this place, oozing out of the mortar.
"It's a simple enough question," Malcolm repeated. "Do you – or don't you?"
She sighed heavily. "You're a truly horrible person."
What had he done now?
"Truly horrible?" Malcolm repeated, clutching his chest as though she'd stabbed him straight through his hearts. "That's the best you can do? It's not even particularly offensive considering how far I go out of my way to ensure that primeval pond scum like yourself see me as the spectre of your inevitable doom. Truly horrible is practically a compliment, a sort of sign from the parting clouds of political-correct-heaven that you're paying-a-fucking-ttention to your surrounding. Yes, well done you for noticing my intense dislike of you and your wallpaper dresses. Your constituency must have had their eyeballs gouged out before they voted for you again."
"Oh my god – I can't believe I signed the damn paper..." Olly muttered in dismay from the corner as 'The Doctor' bit into Nicola and gave her a good verbal shake. He certainly had an odd way of wooing would-be travellers.
"Truly horrible," Malcolm continued, sliding off the desk so that he could slowly stalk Nicola toward the nearest wall, "has about as much imagination thrown at it as your last, finger-painted policy which I had to tidy off the floor before the parents came home. Here I am, returning from a leisurely evening at Number 10 to find lipstick smeared on the DOSAC doors and every wall freshly painted to hide all the dead bodies. Next time it'll be you behind the panels and that fucking twat Olly will be in the corner, bits of corpse all over his natural perm. We'll get him a little cot and a soft, snugly toy to chew on."
"Right here. Listening..." Olly stuck up his hand but he was ignored.
"Are you done?" Nicola asked, putting her reports down on the table. Why was there a large, police box in her office? Odd...
"Yeah," Malcolm shrugged. "I charge extra after eleven but if you want the full show I'll be in my office skinning members of the opposition that still support you."
Olly had his head in his heads. He was going to be stuck in this mess alone.
"So... to summarise," Nicola held up her hands, "just so I have this straight. You are a time travelling alien who wants me to follow you around – with Olly – like a pet."
"I have children."
"Time machine you dozy mare..." Tucker rolled his eyes. "It goes back and forth – you know hell I should have thought about this to get you to those press conferences on time. Would have saved me several heart attacks and a shit load of negative energy directed at objects that remind me of you."
"Will you be there?"
Malcolm shifted, looking ever so slightly less hostile. "It's my time machine."
"Bloody hell you mean I'd be stuck with your ghoulish face for all of time? What if you leave me on some rock or throw me into a supernova?"
"That's actually a lot harder to do than you think it is," Malcolm insisted.
"Is that box it then?" She pointed at Tardis. "It's about the size of a lift."
"So I'm claustrophobic."
"Uh no – actually," Olly chimed in helpfully, "it's bigger on the inside."
"Hold on," Nicola narrowed her eyes. "Olly too? Hell no."
"What's wrong with Olly?"
"Get the time machine out of my office, Malcolm. The Prime Minister's looking for you. Something about a pending jail sentence..."
"Guessing that's a 'no' then..." Malcolm gave up. "Come on, then."
As the Doctor and Olly entered the Tardis, Nicola could just make out Olly say, 'can we go somewhere without swords this time?'