Actions

Work Header

Storytime: The Engineer's Thumb

Chapter Text

As he made his way to the Look Who's Talking Pre-School Nursery, Harry Saxon— or, to give him his proper title, the Master— was not in a good mood. Not only were the streets full of Christmas shoppers, but all the shops were playing saccharine Christmas music, or some ear-jangling approximation thereto, and none of it was quite in time with the drums in his head.

He pushed the door of the nursery open, and wondered for the hundredth time why he hadn't yet got round to killing every last child in the place. In theory murdering innocent children was exactly the sort of policy he'd want as the central plank of his manifesto. Moreover, these were toddler versions of all the people who annoyed him — the Doctor, his sappy companions, lesser villains who couldn't hope to match his evil exploits, and, most infuriating of all, the little baby versions of himself.

As he stepped into the main room, he was just in time to witness the Christmas tree toppling in a shower of shattered baubles, ripped paper chains, and shredded tinsel. The little Tenth Doctor, balancing precariously on a stepladder and clutching a large paper star, was attempting to present the impression that whatever had just happened, he had nothing to do with it. The Master mentally awarded him seven out of ten for effort, and minus thirty for his chances of convincing anyone.

And for the hundredth time, the Master remembered why he had suffered these vexatious tinies to live. For one such as himself, who gloried in chaos and destruction, these kids were a continual inspiration.

His suggestion that he distract the children with a story while the staff repaired the tree was accepted eagerly, and in practically no time he was sitting at the centre of a circle of expectant toddlers.

"Well now," he said. "Since Christmas is nearly upon us, I thought I might read you all something innocent, joyful and heartwarming."

He paused to gauge the reaction of his audience. The children didn't seem particularly enthused by the idea.

Baby Jack took his thumb out of his mouth. "Boring," he declared.

"I wanna story wiv vampires," the little Tenth Doctor said. "An' werewolfs an' sword fights an' giant spiders an' spaceships an' robots..."

"If it hasn't got Daleks it's rubbish," little Davros said firmly.

"Nevertheless," the Master said. "Heartwarming is what you're going to get. So I shall now read you 'The Night Before Christmas'... Not!"

He opened the storybook.

"Gather round, my little terrors," he said. "And listen to Sherlock Holmes in the Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb."

Master / Narrator:
One morning, at a little before seven o'clock, Doctor Watson was woken by the maid tapping on the door.

[A middle-class Victorian bedroom, dimly lit. Captain Jack Harkness is on his own in a double bed.]

Captain Jack:
Hang on a minute. Haven't you forgotten something?

Master / Narrator:
Like what?

Captain Jack:
Watson's supposed to be newly married. Where's his wife?

Master / Narrator:
Let you have a wife? In a story for children? You must think I'm mad. [He pauses briefly.]Now you mention it, I am mad. Let there be Watson's wife.

[The blankets move suddenly, as a person materialises in the bed beside Jack. A tousled blonde head pokes out.]

Captain Jack / Watson:
Well, hello there. What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?

Jenny (for it is she):
Keep back. [She jumps out of the bed, revealing that she's dressed in her fatigues, crouches defensively in the corner of the room, and whips out a knife.]Don't you dare come any closer.

Captain Jack / Watson:
Hey, I don't know what your daddy told you about me, but there's no need for that kind of reaction.

Jenny / Mrs. Watson:
You're a fixed point. You're wrong. If you come any closer I shall be forced to defend myself.

Captain Jack / Watson [sighs]:
Some marriage this has turned out to be. Oh well, bring on the maid.

[There is a tap at the door. Martha enters, dressed as a maid.]

Martha:
I think you ought to know I'm not at all impressed. Why am I always the maid?

Master / Narrator:
I don't like it any more than you. I told you before, Jones, you're nothing but trouble. If I hear any of your lip you're getting an anvil dropped on you.

Martha:
Yeah, well, let's get it over with. [She turns to Jack.]I'm sorry to wake you so early, sir, but that weird bloke from the railway's here again. He's brought in another hard-luck case for you to look at.

Captain Jack / Watson:
Now, Martha, don't look a gift horse in the mouth. I'll come and see what he wants.

[He throws back the sheets. We don't see what (if anything) he's wearing, but Martha does. She puts both hands to her mouth, stares for a moment in stupefaction, and then runs off laughing hysterically.]

[Watson's surgery. The Tenth Doctor, wearing his brown suit and with a red-stained handkerchief wrapped round his hand, is sitting beside Professor Yana, who is wearing a railway uniform. Captain Jack / Watson enters, dressed in his normal RAF uniform.]

Yana [trying, and failing, to do a working-class cockney accent]:
Here he is, Guv'nor. Now I got to get back to my duties.

[He leaves.]

Captain Jack / Watson:
Um. Thanks, I suppose. Now, what have we here?

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
My name is Victor Hatherley. I am sorry to knock you up so early...

Captain Jack / Watson:
Hey, if it's you, I'm agreeable. [He waggles his eyebrows suggestively.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
But I have had a very serious accident during the night. Take a look at this.

[He unwraps the handkerchief and holds out his hand, in such a way that his thumb appears to be missing. Copious quantities of tomato sauce are in evidence.]

Captain Jack / Watson:
Eurgh.

Most of the children joined in with that remark. The Master chuckled, and continued reading.

Captain Jack / Watson:
Nasty. This has been done by a very heavy and sharp instrument.

"No it hasn't," little Owen piped up. "That would leave a clean cut."

The Master silenced him with a glare.

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Yes, something like a cleaver.

Captain Jack / Watson:
I suppose it's too much to hope that it was an accident?

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Not a chance.

Captain Jack / Watson:
A murderous attack?

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
That's right.

Captain Jack / Watson:
OK, we'll come back to that. For now, let's see to your wound. Martha!

[Martha enters.]

Captain Jack / Watson:
Could you go and get the cotton wadding and the antiseptic bandages?

Martha:
What, aren't you gonna stitch up the wound?

Captain Jack / Watson:
Do I look like I know?

Martha:
And you want to give him something to deaden the pain.

Master / Narrator:
If you keep poking your nose in he'll get a blow on the head. And so will you.

Martha:
All right, all right.

[She departs. Captain Jack wraps a bandage round the Doctor's hand.]

Captain Jack / Watson:
Now, have some brandy. And then maybe we could take in a show, have a spot of dinner...

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Thanks, but I've got to tell the police about this. It's an extraordinary story.

Captain Jack / Watson:
Oh, is it? Tell you what, scrap the dinner, and let's go and see my friend Sherlock Holmes.

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
I've heard of that fellow. Sounds like a plan. Allons-y.

Captain Jack / Watson:
OK. Martha! Call me a cab.

[Martha enters again.]

Martha:
All right then — you're a cab.

The toddlers, as one, groaned.

Captain Jack / Watson:
Oh, and tell my wife, if she needs me, I'll be at Baker Street.

Martha:
Yes, sir. [She stifles laughter.]

Captain Jack:
Look, what's so funny? Devil take you, Martha, why are you laughing?

Martha:
Watership Down pyjamas? Really?

Captain Jack:
Hey, you know what they say about rabbits.

"What do they say about rabbits?" little Mickey asked innocently.

"They've got shiny white teeth, silly," baby Rose said. "Just like Jack does."

"And shortly afterwards," the Master said, firmly ignoring this line of inquiry, "They arrived at Sherlock Holmes's house. He was lounging around in his dressing gown..."

[221B Baker Street. The Ninth Doctor is sitting there, in his usual leather jacket.]

Master / Narrator:
All right. He was sitting around in his favourite jacket. Like I care. He waited until Watson and his patient had had breakfast, and then listened to the remarkable story that unfolded...

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
You must know that I am an orphan and a bachelor—

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
Yeah, I do. Bearing in mind I'm you.

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Yes, well, anyway. I'm a qualified hydraulic engineer. For the last two years I've been trying to set up in business for myself. It's been a complete disaster. No-one wants to have anything to do with me. [He stares pitifully into the camera with his 'woe is me' expression.] And then, late yesterday afternoon, my clerk came in...

[Flashback. Victor's office. K-9 glides in.]

K-9:
Master. There is a visitor who wants to see you. Colonel Lysander Stark.

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
Close at his heels came the colonel himself, a man rather over the middle size, but of an exceeding thinness. I do not think that I have ever seen so thin a man.

[The Abzorbaloff enters.]

Master / Narrator:
And we get a walking bucket of lard. I suppose that's par for the course.

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
He had a slight German accent.

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark [in his usual Yorkshire accent]:
Eh up, lad. Got a little job for you.

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Oh, yes?

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Just before we start. You're a bachelor and an orphan, right?

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Yes.

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
So if, by some unlikely accident, you for instance fell down a well and broke your neck, no-one would alert the police?

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
... I suppose not.

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Splendid. You're the right man for the job.

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
And what is the job?

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
There's a hydraulic stamping machine that needs looking at. Can you come and give it the once-over? We'll pay you fifty guineas.

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
That's a very generous offer.

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Precisely so. We shall want you to come tonight... Do I have to do the rest of this?

Master / Narrator:
What?

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
What?

Master / Narrator:
What?

Abzorbaloff:
I mean, the man's obviously a complete nitwit and he's eating out of my hand. All this persuading's a terrible waste of time when I could be down at the Covent Garden Opera House singing the lead role in Tosca and swallowing groupies whole.

Master / Narrator:
Tosca is supposed to be a woman.

Abzorbaloff:
Yeah, but it's amazing what you can do with skin-suits these days.

Master / Narrator:
I'll summarize if you promise not to give me any more mental images like that one.

Abzorbaloff:
Deal.

Master / Narrator:
So Colonel Stark spun Victor a great long yarn about how he was mining fuller's earth in secret and compressing it into bricks with a hydraulic press.

"What's fuller's earth?" little Donna asked.

"Oh, you should all know about that, my infuriating little cherubs," the Master replied. "It's used to treat nappy rash. So you can see it's a very valuable substance. Just imagine if we ever ran out of it."

He grinned at his audience's discomfort, and returned to the narrative.

Master / Narrator:
And he got Victor to promise that he would meet him that evening at Eyford station and not tell anyone where he was going.

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Shake on it?

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
... There's genre blindness, and then there's suicidal recklessness. I don't think so.

Master / Narrator:
So, at quarter past eleven that night, idiot-boy ended up at Eyford station...

[Outside a quiet country station. A pantomime horse and carriage stand waiting.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
I found my acquaintance of the morning waiting. Without a word he grasped my arm... oh no he didn't. He beckoned me into the carriage, and away we went as fast as the horse could go.

Ninth Doctor / Holmes (vo):
Just the one horse?

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
That's right.

Ninth Doctor / Holmes (vo):
What colour was it?

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
Chestnut.

Ninth Doctor / Holmes (vo):
Tired-looking or fresh?

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
Fresh and glossy.

Ninth Doctor / Holmes (vo):
Briefs or boxers?

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
What? It was a horse! It wasn't wearing either!

Pantomime horse (Adam's voice):
At least, not where you could see them.

Ninth Doctor / Holmes (vo):
Pray continue your most interesting statement.

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
We drove for at least an hour.

[The pantomime horse lurches forward, pulling the carriage behind it.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
The Colonel said it was seven miles, but I'd put it closer to twelve. Eventually we drew up outside a big house.

[A large, rather ramshackle house. The carriage draws up outside.]

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Right. Out you get, lad.

[He hurries the Doctor into the house. All is dark.]

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Now, where are those matches? I knew I had them somewhere...

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
A woman appeared with a lamp in her hand.

[Donna approaches, holding a bicycle lamp.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor(vo):
She spoke a few words in a foreign tongue in a tone as though asking a question.

Donna:
Foreign language? I don't know any foreign languages!

Master / Narrator:
You've been on package holidays, haven't you? Didn't you learn anything from them?

Donna [hopefully]:
¿Où est lo Zeitschriftenhändler, por favor?

Master / Narrator:
Obviously not.

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
Colonel Stark went up to her and whispered something in her ear.

Donna:
How dare you!?

[She shoves the lamp at him, and storms off, slamming the door behind her.]

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Tch. Women, eh? Look, just wait in here for a bit.

[He leads the Doctor / Victor through another door. The room within is plainly furnished, containing only the basic necessities of life: a table, a couple of chairs, and a harmonium.]

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Back in a tick.

[He departs.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
There were some books on the table, but they were all in German. I paced up and down, humming a tune... and then my eye fell on the harmonium.

Master / Narrator:
No. It. Didn't.

Tenth Doctor:
Come on, it'll be brilliant. [He seats himself at the harmonium, and begins to pump it with his feet.]

Master / Narrator:
Don't you dare.

Tenth Doctor:
Catch me if you can.

[He launches into a jaunty rendition of "The Doctor's Theme", and sings along.]

Tenth Doctor:
Ooooooh-oooh-oooh-oooh, oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh-ooooh...

[Donna bursts in.]

Donna:
Shut that racket up! There's people trying to sleep round here.

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
I could see at a glance she was sick with fear.

Donna:
That's not fear. What I'm sick of is your caterwauling, matey.

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Aren't you supposed to be speaking broken English?

Donna:
If you stop playing broken music, maybe.

[The Doctor stops playing, with a defiant 'Shave and a haircut, two bits'.]

Donna:
Mein Herr. Ik zou gaan. Non ci sono buono affinchè facciano.

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
That's not broken English, it's gibberish.

Donna:
Oh, the hell with it. Get out of here before it's too late, idiot.

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
But I am somewhat headstrong by nature, and the more ready to engage in an affair when there is some obstacle in the way.

Master / Narrator:
Ain't that the truth?

Donna:
Look, are you thick or something? Just—

[A door slams somewhere. Donna shrugs in frustration, and departs.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
Almost immediately, the Colonel came back, along with a short, thick, bearded man who was introduced to me as Mr. Ferguson.

Diana Goddard / Ferguson:
Nought out of four must be some kind of record.

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Nah, that's just the storybook having its little games.

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
That door was closed when I left.

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Open, closed, does it matter?

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Hmmph. All right, come and look at the machine.

[He leads the other two through a maze of corridors.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor (vo):
There were no carpets and no signs of any furniture above the ground floor. I kept a keen eye on my two companions. Ferguson appeared to be a morose and silent man, but I could see from the little that he said that he was a fellow-countryman.

Diana Goddard / Ferguson:
Nought out of five.

[They arrive in a small room. The walls are wood; the floor and ceiling are steel.]

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Here we are. This is the hydraulic press. Good job no-one's going to turn it on with us inside it, eh? [He laughs insincerely.] Anyway, it's been a bit funny lately. I'll show you what I mean.

[They leave the room. Outside is a control panel with several levers.]

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Pull this one to start her up.

[The Doctor pulls the indicated lever. As the machine clanks into life, he whips out his sonic screwdriver and points it at various parts of the apparatus.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Fluid compensators all fine, main drive shaft tickety-boo... Ah. Look, you've got a leak here. Need a new seal on number three cylinder.

[He pushes the lever back. The press stops.]

Diana Goddard / Ferguson:
Can you recommend a good supplier?

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Yeah, I know a couple of blokes who can help. Just don't ask them for four candles, though. Never hear the last of it. Anyway, I need to take another quick squiz at the seating.

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
You filthy swine.

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
I mean inspect it. Get your mind out of the gutter.

[He goes inside the machine again. He points his sonic screwdriver at the metal floor, then picks up some metallic-looking dust and licks it.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
No way is this fuller's earth...

[The Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark flings the door open.]

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
What the hell d'you think you're doing in there?

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
There's something going on here. What are you really using this machine for?

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Very well. You shall know all about the machine.

[He takes a step back, closes the door, and locks it.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Hey! What are you doing? Let me out!

[He hammers on the door, then sonics it, to no avail.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Deadlocked. Where did a load of nineteenth-century crooks get a deadlock seal?

Master / Narrator:
Could be worse. Could be a deadlock walrus.

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
You're not helping!

Master / Narrator:
Oh, sorry, was I supposed to?

[Before the Doctor can answer, the hydraulic press starts up again. The ceiling begins to descend.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Let me out! Stop it! I'm begging you, please, just turn the machine off and we can talk!

[He points his sonic screwdriver at the walls, the ceiling, the floor. Nothing happens.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
This is all your doing!

Master / Narrator:
I don't know where you get such ideas.

[The ceiling is still descending.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
Just as all seemed lost, I saw a crack open up between two of the wooden panels, and I crawled out.

[No crack appears. The Doctor hammers on the panels, but to no avail.]

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
This isn't how it goes! Where's my last-minute escape? What are you playing at?

Master / Narrator:
Oh, no, Doctor. Not this time. This time you're going to appreciate the full weight of the situation.

[He turns on his iPod. The air is filled with the sound of the Scissor Sisters singing "Kiss You Off".]

Master / Narrator [singing along]:
You say you see what's under me
That the gloss has washed away
But you're the one whose colour's gone
From love to dirty grey...

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
This isn't funny!

Master / Narrator:
...They rush you for your life
But you'll never beat the game
Older and older you get
Crush you like a gyre
But the gimble's all the same
Oh no I think it's happening...

Tenth Doctor / Victor:
WILL YOU STOP DOING THAT!?!?

Master / Narrator:
...Pissed yours truly off this time
It's why I ain't just kissin' you I'm kissin' you off...

[As the song concludes, the view changes to the outside of the hydraulic press. A scream is heard, followed by a very final crunch.]

"And there we are," the Master said, grinning broadly at the toddlers. "The Doctor was squashed completely flat and killed. And if that isn't joyful and heartwarming I don't know what is."

Little Rose, Martha, Lynda and Astrid all burst into tears.

Chapter Text

"But that can't be the end!" the little Ninth Doctor complained. "Sherlock Holmes hasn't solved the mystery."

"No. That's your lot." the Master replied.

"But the nice man got squished!" Baby Rose wailed. "And no-one caught the baddies! This is a dreadful story!"

"Of course it isn't the end," little Martha reassured her.

"Oh yeah?" The Master gave her a glare. Toddler or adult, this girl always seemed to end up as a thorn in his side. "What do you know about it?"

"If the man died in the machine, he can't have come to Doctor Watson's house to tell him the story. That's a para-thingy."

"Paradox." He cursed mentally. The brat was right. If he left causality tied in knots like this, he might end up as Reaper-bait.

Master / Narrator:
All right, you horrible rugrats. You know that foreign woman who tried to warn Mr. Hatherley? Well, when she heard the sound of the press, she ran at once to a corridor just beside it.

[A narrow corridor, lined with wooden panels. Donna hurries up, carrying a blue suit and the Doctor's spare-hand-inna-jar. The sound of the hydraulic press can be heard.]

Donna:
This had just better work.

[A ghastly scream, followed by a crunch, as before. Glowing golden vapour pours through the cracks in the woodwork. Donna throws the jar to the ground. It shatters; the hand absorbs the vapour and promptly grows into a timelord/human metacrisis.]

Donna:
Right. No time for explanations, monkeyboy. Get this suit on and make a run for it.

Other Doctor / Victor:
And the compliments of the season to you, madam.

[He dons the suit, and they run together along various corridors and down a flight of stairs. Suddenly Donna stops.]

Donna:
No good, they're ahead of us. Quick, into the bedroom.

Other Doctor / Victor:
Why?

Donna:
So you can jump out the window, numbskull! Quick!

[They dart into a bedroom. Donna opens the window and helps the Doctor onto the sill. As she does so, the Abzorbaloff smashes down the door and bursts in, brandishing a weapon like a meat cleaver. Donna picks up a chair and advances on him.]

Donna:
You promised me, Fritz. After last time, you said: Never again.

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
He knows too much.

Other Doctor / Victor:
Do you always think in clichés?

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Always worked up to now.

[He grabs the other end of Donna's chair and gives it a shove, knocking her over backwards. Then he heads for the window.]

Other Doctor / Victor [vo]:
I had let myself go, and was hanging by my hands from the windowsill, when his blow fell.

[The cleaver slashes down. The Doctor drops from the window into the garden, picks himself up, and scarpers, leaving a trail of tomato sauce.]

Master / Narrator:
You know, I'm growing fonder of this story by the minute.

Other Doctor [limping for cover]:
But I'm within... fifteen hours... of regenerating. Why can't I grow—

Master / Narrator:
Paradoxes. You show up after the flashback without a thumb, so you can't grow one now. Ha! What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the Doctor. And so, weakened by loss of blood, Mr. Hatherley suddenly fell in a dead faint among the rose bushes, which pricked him in awkward places.

Other Doctor / Victor [vo]:
The next thing I knew, it was day, and I was lying by the side of the road outside the railway station. I took the first train back to London and went at once to see Doctor Watson here.

[The extended flashback sequence ends, and we're back in 221B Baker Street. The Tenth Doctor's suit is now blue, but the rest of causality seems intact.]

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
Interesting. What do you make of this?

[He produces a bulky scrapbook, and reads from it.]

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
"Lost, on the 9th inst., Mr. Jeremiah Hayling, aged twenty-six, a hydraulic engineer. Left his lodgings at ten o'clock at night, and has not been heard of since."

Captain Jack / Watson:
You mean, he was the previous person the Colonel had to look at his machine?

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
And that's what the girl meant by "last time". Right. Well, let's go to Scotland Yard and get a detective, and then we can all go down to Eyford.

[A railway carriage. Sitting in it are Holmes, Watson, Victor, Inspector Bradstreet of Scotland Yard (played by Mickey), and a plain-clothes detective (played by Sarah Jane Smith).]

Mickey / Inspector Bradstreet:
Here's a map of Eyford. I've drawn a circle on it, ten miles from the station. The place we want is somewhere near there. The question is, whereabouts on the circle?

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
I know.

Mickey / Inspector Bradstreet:
Yeah, I thought you'd say that. OK, let's hear everyone else's guesses. I reckon it's to the south.

Other Doctor / Victor:
East.

Sarah Jane:
West.

Captain Jack / Watson:
North.

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
You're all wrong, of course. [He points at the map.] Right in the middle.

Other Doctor / Victor:
But the twelve-mile drive?

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
Simple. Six out and six back.

Mickey / Inspector Bradstreet:
Sounds likely enough. And I think we've all got a pretty good idea what they were doing.

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
Yeah. Forgery. They use the machine to make nickel amalgam.

Sarah Jane:
We've had our suspicions for a while, but we haven't been able to track them down before now. This could be our lucky break.

Master / Narrator:
But they were wrong wrong wrong. When they got there, they found the place easily enough. No-one was there and the house was on fire.

[Outside the house. Everyone is standing on the front lawn. Three fire engines are in attendance, with UNIT men working stirrup pumps. They are making no headway at all against the fire. The chief fireman walks up to join the group.]

Mr. Copper / Fire Chief:
The fire started last night, from what I heard. But by the time we got here, it was too late.

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
Oh, fantastic. You know what caused it? When they tried to crush you—

Other Doctor / Victor:
Actually, they did crush me.

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
Shut up. That would have broken the oil lamp, and—

Other Doctor / Victor:
It wasn't an oil lamp.

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
Shut up. And that set the house on fire, and they were too busy chasing you to notice until too late. Did you find anything else?

Mr. Copper:
Oh, a lot of nickel and tin in one of the outhouses.

Mickey / Inspector Bradstreet:
Yeah, definitely coiners. I suppose you didn't find any actual money?

Mr. Copper:
Sadly not.

Other Doctor / Victor:
And how come they didn't kill me when I was unconscious in the rose bushes?

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
It looks from these footprints as if you were carried down to the road by two people. One with remarkably small feet, and one with unusually large ones...

[Flashback. Victor is lying unconscious in the rose bushes. The three villains approach him.]

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Right. Dinner time. Yum yum. One touch is all it'll take.

[He bends over his prey.]

Donna:
What a pillock. I'm not putting up with you any longer, mate.

[She grabs his cane and smashes it against the house.]

Abzorbaloff / Colonel Stark:
Oh, bottoms.

[He melts.]

Donna:
Right, you skinny streak of vinegar. Help me get this lazybones down to the station.

Diana Goddard / Ferguson:
In these heels? You've gotta be kidding me.

[Donna holds up a pair of flipflops.]

Donna:
Don't worry, I brought these in case. Come on, before he wakes up.

[They take one leg each, and drag Victor off. The flashback ends.]

Master / Narrator:
The fire wasn't brought under control until sunset.

[Sunset. Everyone is exactly where they were, but the house is now a smouldering heap of rubble. A fireman approaches the little group on the front lawn.]

Ross Jenkins / Fireman:
Sir, the fire's out.

Mr. Copper / Fire Chief:
Well done, men.

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
Probably only because there isn't any house left to burn.

Mr. Copper:
Tch, details.

Other Doctor / Victor:
I don't suppose you happened to find a severed thumb? It would probably be on a windowsill at the back, a couple of floors up. Or perhaps it rolled off.

Mr. Copper:
Now, it's funny you should say that. As it happens, we did. I gave it to our chief scientific advisor to look at.

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
And?

Mr. Copper:
She decided to check if it was living membrane by passing a potent galvanic charge through it.

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
I can see where this is going. Hang on, you said 'she'.

Mr. Copper:
That's right. Look, here she comes now.

[Rose arrives, wearing her elaborate dress from "The Unquiet Dead".]

Rose:
Good evening, gentlemen. Oh, you've got one of them as well, have you?

Mickey / Inspector Bradstreet:
One of what?

[Rose indicates the Other Doctor.]

Rose:
One of them. Look, here comes mine. He grew back from the thumb.

[Another Tenth Doctor wanders up, wearing a dinner jacket.]

Other Other Doctor:
Hello everyone.

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
This is worse than rabbits.

Captain Jack / Watson:
There's nothing wrong with rabbits!

Rose:
Sorry, can't stop. You know how it is, places to go, people to see, fake Time Lords to kiss, chips to guzzle.

[She kisses the Other Other Doctor. They go off arm-in-arm.]

Captain Jack / Watson:
Aww, isn't that just too romantic?

Sarah Jane:
We need to get after those forgers. I was speaking to a farmer just now, and he said he'd seen some people matching their descriptions on the road to Reading. They were in a cart with a lot of boxes.

Mickey / Bradstreet:
When was this?

Sarah Jane:
Early this morning.

Mickey / Bradstreet:
So they've got a ten-hour head start. Oh well. Let's head for the police station and raise the alarm anyway.

[Everyone, except Victor, begins to walk off.]

Other Doctor / Victor:
Hang on. What about me? I've lost fifty guineas, I've lost my thumb, and I don't even get the girl.

[The Ninth Doctor / Holmes turns back briefly.]

Ninth Doctor / Holmes:
You'll have to put it down to experience.

[He departs, along with the others. All are chatting happily. Other Doctor is left, all alone, in the smouldering ruins.]

Other Doctor / Victor:
Thanks a bunch.

[Once more, he stares moodily into the camera.]

The Master shut the book with a bang.

"The End," he said. "And that really is the end, so I don't want any backtalk from you lot."

"Does that really work?" Baby Yvonne asked. "I mean, if you cutted a Time Lord's fumb off, could you grow a new Time Lord from it?"

"I shouldn't think so for a moment," the Master replied. "Don't let me stop you trying, though, if you want to."

Yvonne looked around for a convenient Time Tot to mutilate, but for some reason they had all decided that it was a good time to be elsewhere.

"Anyway," the Master continued. "You shouldn't take these stories so literally. In the end, it's all about the moral."

"What's a moral?" asked little Jack.

The Master smiled nastily.

"In this case? 'Don't suck your thumb, because if you do the Abzorbaloff will come in the night and cut it off with his cleaver'. Sweet dreams, children."

He left them, satisfied in the knowledge of a good job well done.