I'm nobody! Who are you? (capriuni) wrote in tardis_hoedown,
I'm nobody! Who are you?

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Meanwhile, back at the Spaceport...

The door and sign, together, looked like it was trying very hard to look like a quaint English pub, as though it had been tranplanted wholy, not from an actual English village, but rather, a reproduction English village built as part of an American theme park.

The sign, complete with gilt Old English Font read: Ye Olde Booster Rocket.

Eloise ducked her head and whispered into her pocket: "Arthur, I think we're here."

Arthur poked his head out of her vest pocket, and peeked around the edge of the cloak (he was now bare-headed). "Yes," he said, "this is the place."

Eloise nodded. "Good. Then we'll just tell your family we're here, and head back to --"

"Oh!" said Arthur, "it won't be so easy as that --"

"No," muttered Jamie, under his breath, "it can never be as easy as that!"

"If we leave now, after booking a room for the night, it's bound to raise suspicions," Arthur continued.

Eloise knew he was right. After their recent meeting with the long legs of the law, she had no doubt that the streets were heavily guarded.

"You'll have to engage the propriator, while I try to get word to the others," Arthur concluded.

Eloise took a deep breath, and, with as much bravery as she could muster, pushed open the red panneled door.

Inside, the theme park naffness of the pub continued -- on the surface. The few customers slumped in the booths over their faux-frosted mugs of alchohol might have been innocently bored travelers, waiting for their flights, but something about their demeanor made Eloise doubt that very much.

The aforementioned propriator was standing behind the bar. He wore a bright red waistcoat with a white carnation in the lapel, and a broad-brimmed straw hat with a bright green hat band. He would have looked like he was trying to dress as an extra for one of those musical numbers in Mary Poppins, if it weren't for his long, distinctly reptillian, snout, and three pairs of arms.

"Ahh!" he said. "You must be the wandering minstrels. The Customs Sargeant-General called ahead to warn me you folks would be coming -- not many places for groups such as yours to perform." And before any of them could protest, he ushered them (with a of a great deal of force) toward the small "stage": a rusty sheet of corregated steel atop some upturned packing crates.

It took quite a bit of jostling and clanking for all seven of them to fit, and if any one of them shifted an elbow, one or more of them would have fallen off. It reminded Eloise of the song "Ten in the Bed." The clanging and clattering did nothing to cheer the spirits of the inn's patrons, but it did allow Arthur (now as naked and inconspicuous as any ordinary brown mouse) to slip unnoticed out of her pocket and scurry up the staircase to the inn's sleeping quarters.

Eloise watched him go, out of the corner of her eye, and then, when the others were as settled as they were going to get, she cleared her throat, and said, nervously:

"Th-Thank you. Now, um... what shall we sing?" she asked, looking around her. At least she and Amy were singers, and Bob the Muse had his guitar with him. She had no experience, one way or the other, to know whether David, Jamie, or the Doctor could sing passably well, but there was nothing to do but find out. "How about 'Vive L'amor'?" she suggested, "that's one that's always a crowd pleaser." She said this last comment more to herself than to anyone else, based on her own experience. But the moment the words were out of her mouth, the few sitting there began to pound the tables boisterously and chant: "L'amor! L'amor!"

Eloise was taken aback, for half a second, then remembered the effect of the cloak; if people believed they were well pleased, they would be. So she dove in, and began to sing:

Let every good fellow now join in our song
vive la compagnie!
Success to each other, and pass it along!
vive la compagnie!

Vive la, vive la, vive l'amor!
Vive la, vive la, vive lamor!
Vive l'amor, vive l'amor,
Vive la compagnie!

A friend on my left and a friend on my right,
Vive la compagnie!
In love and good fellowship let us unite,
Vive la compagnie!

Vive la, vive la, vive l'amor!
Vive la, vive la, vive lamor!
Vive l'amor, vive l'amor,
Vive la compagnie!

Now wider and wider our circle expands,
Vive la compagnie!
We sing to our comrades in far away lands,
Vive la compagnie!

Vive la, vive la, vive l'amor!
Vive la, vive la, vive lamor!
Vive l'amor, vive l'amor,
Vive la compagnie!

The cloak, it seemed, continued its effect with sung words as well as spoken words. The patrons, who just moments ago, looked ready to slit each other's throats with no more than a sideways glance for provocation, were now clustered together in twos and threes, with arms around sholders, singing joyously, and doing their best to create harmony.

Just then, however, Eloise noted Arthur coming back down the stairs, with seven other mice following close behind, and Eloise had to think on her feet, and figure out a way for them all to get out of there. With a signal to the others, she led them in an act of minstrelling around to individual tables, as individual Nonny mice each snuck into individual pockets.

As they neared the door, Eloise started singing a final verse:

The pan-galatic gargle blaster's up on the shelf
vive la compagnie
If you want any more, you can sing it, yourself
vive la compagnie!

Vive la, vive la, vive l'amor!
Vive la, vive la, vive lamor!
Vive l'amor, vive l'a --

And let the crowd continue singing the song themselves, with words they made up, while Bob the Muse strummed on his guitar.

Finally, they made it back to the door, and the Doctor held it open for them. "Run!" he half whispered, half shouted. And they dashed through the gleaming corridors of the space port and into the anything-but-gleaming streets outside.

Eloise looked around for the stork-like legs of the Customs Sargeant-General, and breathed a sigh of relief when she didn't see them (though perhaps she should have been more worried). After a few steps, the worry started to creep up on her. Not only were the streets free of law enforcement, they were free of the criminal element and ordinary citizenry, too. The seven of them (well, fifteen, including the Nonny mice) were the only people on the street.

Still, there was nothing to do except walk as quickly, calmly and quietly back to Sweetheart as they could.

It was a few streets later that Eloise heard their voices, coming from a side alley, a little ways ahead:

"Well, where are they?!"

"I don't know, they missed the rendezvous --"

"All three of them?"

Eloise had the best hearing of all of them, thanks to her large troll ears, and it didn't seem like any of the others heard, yet, but the way whoever it was said "three" made the pit of her stomach tingle. She grabbed the nearest hand, which happened to be Amy's, turned left, and broke into a run. The others, startled, started to run to keep up.

Using her trollish homing instincts (inherited from birth and evolved from thousands of generations of living among deep mountainous ravines where seeing the horizon is a rare luxury) Eloise managed to zig-zag through the back alleys, increasing the distance between themselves and the mysterious conspirators and decreasing the distance to Sweetheart, occasionally slowing to a brisk walk, to allow the others to catch up, before breaking into a full run again. Eloise felt particularly bad for Amy and Keria, in their ball gowns and high heels... by now, she should have known to put good pairs of running shoes in the cloak room far all the guests... but hope springs eternal.

As they ran, Eloise kept losing the sound of their argument, and then catching bits of it, again, in broken phrases: "...knew they were unreliable!" "...you will have to pay..." "...But, sir --" "...incompetance!..." and then: "...Timelord..."

Eloise's heart skipped a beat. And by the way Amy's hand twitched in her own, and how the pace of the others' footfalls increased, she could tell that the others had heard, too.

And then the argument in the alley broke off, completely -- replaced by the inhumanoid scrabbling of claws on pavement as whoever-They-were caught wind of the hoedowners' pressence, and began to chase after them. No one dared look behind them to see who was chasing; the only thing anyone focused on was getting to Sweetheart. One thing in their favor: whoever was chasing them were bigger than they were, and Eloise could get some space between them by ducking into some of the narrower alleyways.

Eloise paused in one of these alleys to catch her breath, and do a head count. Good. She told herself, still seven. "Everyone still have all their pocket guests?" she asked in a hoarse whisper, as whoever-they-were growled in frustration in the main street. She got six nods and nodded herself. She had one more question, but she daren't ask it out loud: how did They know of the presence of a Timelord? Or did they? Part of her wanted to say to herself that They were talking historically, but even Walter Duncan's magic cloak couldn't help her to believe that. "We're nearly to Sweetheart," she told them. "But we'll have to cross the open square to get there, so --"

"When you say 'Run!' run?" Second suggested.

She nodded. And listened. Eventually, their pursuers got frustrated and moved off. Eloise tentatively peeked out from the alley, and looked both ways. The way was clear, and Sweetheart was just a hundred feet, or so, away, to the left, in clear sight. "Run!" she said. And they all made a dash for it.

The small band of hoedowners had taken, maybe, a dozen strides, when They caught wind of them, again, and, once more, they heard the scrabbling of claws on the pavement. They were gaining fast, but Eloise and her friends had just enough of a head start. Besides, Estandre had been watching for them, and the doors of the realworld interface opened just in time.

The Doctor was the last across the threshold, and Jamie pulled him through the doors just as Estandre shut them on their pursuers, and immediately hit the dematerialization switch.

Eloise heaved a huge sigh of relief at the familiar and comforting "tha-whump! tha-whump!" sound.

Arthur poked his head out of her pocket. "Is it safe?" he asked.

"Yes," she said. "At least for now. We're all safe inside." And she nearly wept with relief.

And Arthur and the other mice: his partner Susan Donny, his brother, Cecil, his Aunt Thea, and uncle Amos and his cousins from the Nor side of his family: Edwin, Esther and Elroy (who were, ironically, the smallest of them all), mingled among the other guests shaking hands and thanking everyone for their hospitality.

Then, Maid Tardis spoke up. "Pilot," she said. "We're being pursued."

"Into the Vortex?" Estandre asked, almost incredulously. "What's their TARDIS model?"

"They don't have a TARDIS," she said.
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