Esmerelda Kogarth is sitting behind a lavish desk, in a large, intimidating office, decorated in a variety of styles, mainly favoured by tyrants and dictators. She herself looks just as upholstered as the inevitable red velvet chaise longue that sits smugly and predictably in the corner of the room. Esmerelda is dressed in a knee length skirt, a deep shade of green, her jacket so nipped in at the waist she could pass for a giant wasp, if wasps wore horn-rims and lipstick.
Through the ornate windows of her office we can see that she is operating some kind of intergalactic pet shop, specialising in cats that have human-like personalities. There are scores of gilded cages, containing sad looking cats, hanging suspended from the ceiling. The gilt encrusted slogan on her advertising billboards screeches ‘Cats are people too‘. We can infer that her clientèle are the obscenely wealthy, the outrageously cruel, and the plainly ridiculous.
Her exquisite pet boutique also contains a powerful time and space portal, sequestered in the corner, just next to the velvet chaise and a display case full of gold plated litter trays. Collectively the cats are mewing pitifully, and quite disconcertingly they appear to be crying the same word, ‘Help!’
Esmerelda is in the middle of an important conversation on an old fashioned Art Deco telephone. By her tone we can tell that she is having to pull out all the stops to impress this particular customer.
(Soothingly) That’s right Mr. President Goolwahaxzoz. I deal in much, much more than anthropomorphised feline companions. (Girlish giggle) I thought you knew that, silly.
She nods severely to an underling, who has entered with a tray containing an elegant cup of tea, complete with saucer and a miniature Devonshire cream scone . The underling backs away, terrified, with her head bowed, and clumsily exits the door backwards. Esmerelda frowns but her her voice doesn’t betray any irritation, remaining consistently unctuous throughout.
I’m still extremely well connected, Mr. President. (High-pitched affected laugh).
We hear Mr. President’s muffled exclamations We get the sense he’s getting a bit fresh.
Oh, you are such a tease Mr. President. But you must understand I like my men like I take my coffee. (Firmly) Freeze dried, vacuum packed and in suppository form.
Esmerelda pauses. Silence from the other end of the phone line. Satisfied, she pushes forward with the deal.
(Voice deepens) But seriously, I can find you anything. You just need to give me a teensy clue as to what…
She starts to take the delicate china tea cup, but then stops, eyes wide. We can see that her nails are like talons, varnished the deepest shade of aubergine.
(Soothing) Of course you need these weapons. I understand completely. The world is just so chock full of those annoying little ants who would have us all following the intergalactic conventions, and giving all manner of peculiar creatures rights and liberties.
Esmerelda winces and holds the phone away from her ear as she is subjected to a blast of whiny indignation through the receiver.
Oh dear. Yes, you poor thing. Well, Esmerelda is here to make it better for you. Now, what ‘items’ were you going to plump for?
She listens tentatively, holding the phone an inch or two away, and receives another loud blast of Presidential bluster for her trouble.
(Suddenly very business-like) Mmmhmm. OK. What grade and quantity are you talking about?
Esmerelda pauses, and little surprised.
Well, yes, that is a little unusual, but I think I can find a source for the kind of technology you’re after. It’s been a while since I’ve worked with him, but I’m pretty sure he’s still reliable. And alive. Hopefully.
She nods, happily, eager to finish up the conversation.
Well, Mr. President, I’ll contact you when I’ve made all of the necessary arrangements. I’m sure you’ll have your ‘items’ in good time, at least before you get overthrown by those dreadful, simmering dissidents. Au revoir.
The President unleashes a final flurry of muffled outrage as Esmerelda calmly replaces the handset of the telephone, her wide crimson smile violently contrasting with her powdered, alabaster white face. She casually calls out to the underling.
Clone 5, can you be an absolute dear, and fetch me the telepathic subliminal sticky notes. I need to insert something very important into the subconscious of a very old friend of mine.
End of scene 3
The Doctor and Clara are running through a dank, dark market place. Bizarre looking aliens are wandering around with shopping carts, and the market stall holders are yelling out in strange languages. The Doctor is clutching an eclectic collection of objects to his chest, and swirling around making a bit of a show of himself. Clara is pushing a shopping trolley which has what looks to be an old vacuum cleaner and a small rodent like creature in it. She’s struggling to keep up, with dodgy trolley wheels causing a great deal of impediment.
She wearing a cute cream blouse with camel coloured shorts. We can tell she’s regretting this choice more and more with every passing moment. Even though the aliens are talking in indecipherable languages she’s absolutely convinced they are all making ‘camel toe’ jokes at her expense.
(Exasperatedly) Doctor! Wait for me! This trolley is absolutely impossible to push in a straight line.
You’re not meant to push them in a straight line. This entire planet outlawed travelling in straight lines 250 years ago. Have you not noticed that I have been swirling around in circular motions?
You do that most of the time, actually.
Awkward moment. The Doctor recovers after a beat with a typical swirly flourish, rushing ahead of her again.
(Calling back over his shoulder) Remember to take that trolley back, Clara. I had to use a tetradrachm in the coin deposit slot because I didn’t have any other coins on me.
The Doctor disappears around a corner, then pops his head back.
I like to keep some ancient coinage on me in case I ever feel like popping back in time for a decent kebab.
Clara glances down, and sure enough there’s an ancient coin wedged into the trolley’s coin slot. She struggles on with the trolley, adorably, and manages to coax it into a vaguely correct direction without bashing her shins too much. As she turns the corner she spots The Doctor in the crowd and calls after him.
(Wearily) Have we got everything we need yet? This doesn’t seem like the ingredients to make a rocket. More like the contents of someone’s car-boot.
The Doctor stops abruptly, somewhat surprised.
You know someone that keeps a Saekulorian Sleeping Weasel in their car-boot?
Clara looks at the creature. as it slouches sleazily against a box. It winks at her.
(Uncomfortably) Why isn’t it asleep then? And why is it winking at me?
The Weasel nods, licks its lips and smiles, lecherously.
Actually, it’s called the Saekulorian Sleeping Weasel because it doesn’t sleep very much at all. They’re kind of funny like that on Saekuloria.
(Irritated) I’m just not seeing how he or any other piece of junk we just collected could possibly make a rocket. Not unless it’s for a planet where ‘rocket’ actually means ‘creepy rodent in a shopping trolley’.
The Doctor doesn’t even dignify that comment with a response. The weasel makes an indignant hurrumping noise.
(Increasingly irritated) And who are those random people who have been following us for the last ten minutes anyway?
Clara gestures behind her, and sure enough there are three rather strange looking companions they have appeared to have collected from absolutely nowhere. A young man with an eye patch, wearing discarded remnants of Gary Numan’s wardrobe. A young, female bi-pedal lizard creature with bright purple scales and incongruous breasts under her frilly blouse, and finally a gruff elderly man with a monocle and a large RAF style moustache. The randoms look a bit awkward at being pointed out like this and look down at their shoes and shuffle a bit on the spot. The Doctor ushers Clara to one side and whispers in her ear, so they can’t hear. They try to crane their necks without being too obvious about it.
(Whisper) Well, I thought we might need some spares. You know, for when whatever predictably relentless threat starts to loom ominously behind us, picking us off one by one until I make a big song and dance of working out what to do.
(loudly) Relentless threat? Spares? What are you talking about?
The Doctor quickly puts a finger against Clara’s lips to hush her. He then smiles and nods to the randoms before pulling her nearer to him to speak privately again,
(Quietly)You need to get a little bit more genre savvy, Clara. I mean, really. It happens almost every time we go anywhere or do anything, doesn’t it? We need some spares, and that’s that. Just keep it quiet. They think they are here because I can help them all find some elusive key that will unlock their destiny or save their species, Or something. I think eye patch boy has just lost his TV remote.
The Doctor waves at them jauntily, and they wave back, uncertainly.
(Whisper) If there is to be an adventure there will be corridors, and if there are corridors there’ll definitely be a monster traipsing around with nothing else to do but feast on our souls or memories… or our life essence whatnot. You can bet your eyelash curlers on it, can’t you plumpty?
Clara kicks him with a dainty foot and misses. He darts away, continuing.
(Forgetting to whisper and talking loudly) I mean, we can’t even go to Nandos without some kind of soul sucking, brain melting beastie following us to the toilets, can we now?
The Doctor realises his gaffe and attempts to just laugh it off. Clara looks endearingly irritated, like a grumpy Slow Loris in tailored, camel coloured shorts. The elderly male random is chortling with the Doctor, assuming this is just a joke, whilst Lizard lady is busily admiring Clara’s blouse, or her bottom. Whatever. Eye-patch boy looks slightly less amused because it’s probably dawning on him that he’ll be first to find out what The Doctor was whispering about. The Doctor gestures to them all, to get their attention with multiple finger clicks and a twirl or two, his eyebrows so animated they are in danger of leaving the planet’s atmosphere.
(Theatrically) Now, we’ve got the weasel. All we need is half a pound of tu’penny rice, a tin of treacle and some plutonium. Let’s rush along to our nearest intergalactic pet shop, I need to see an Evil Lady about a dog.
The group step into the Tardis that appears have been attracting absolutely no attention in the busy market place. The trolley is a bit difficult to get into the door, but they manage with a bit of team work. The Tardis exits, in a typically Tardis-like fashion.
End of Scene 4