Friday, March 23, 2007

STUTTER: A Ben Chatham Adventure

The second and far more unnecessarily epic of my Ben Chatham adventures to be written on OG when I finished my programming work waaay too early. Tom Wallace is way out of character, mostly to make him a polar opposite to Ben, but I still think it's pretty good. Oh, and I was pleased to note that the Torchwood mob don't seem to out of whack, either, considering that I hadn't watched a single episode of the show and knew bugger all about it. (I surfed a thread for a couple of minutes to work out the character's names, that's how "In the know" I was...)

And now the funnest part of the blogging game - to see if I can somehow post it without getting some infuriating and completely mysterious errors that fuck it up irrevocably like my last post. Haha.


STUTTER

by Jared Hansen


Ben Chatham wakes up to find himself being brutally sodomized by a Vogon. Unpleasant as this may be in itself, it is also disconcerting in that this is the exact way that Ben Chatham woke up yesterday! However, in between the searing pain and burning humiliation, he realizes some small differences - the Vogon is purple instead of green, and now speaks with the voice of Michael Keating instead of the bloke who played Chris Finch in The Office


The door is then broken down by Ben's friend, Spartha Jones, who notes that the Vogon is a dim-witted male and clearly doesn't know the first thing about bodily violation, so she bites its head off and shows his decapitated corpse how it's done - using her baseball bat. Through even worse pain, Ben reflects that this would have been exactly the same as what happened yesterday if it was Jack with a laser gun.

After sitting on a solid block of ice for two hours (whilst checking his message bank and raiding his bottle-bank) Ben puts on his most inappropriately expensive clothes and decides to visit his friends in Torchwood - seeing as his phone batteries have died.

When Ben enters Torchwood he finds everyone inexplicably having sex, including the character who got killed off in the first episode. Again, he realises he's been through this before - although the first time round he had one of those mysterious black-outs that are no doubt due to his time-travelling experiences in someway and had no idea what happened next.

"Jack!" he says to his friend as he is in the process of roughly taking Sato from behind "Something happened this morning that happened yesterday morning as well?"

"You woke up and nobody liked you? Hey-OHHH! High-five me, Benny-boy."

Ben did so and, due to the state of Jack's hand, immediately regretted it.

"So what's the problem, buddy?" asked Jack

"I was sodomised by a chav-like alien and a certain miss Spartha Jones. Just like I was yesterday. Sodomy originated as a punishment device used to supress Chavdom and it should damn well stay that way! Did we vote in Thatcher for nothing?"

"Oh, yeah, I told Spartha what a good time I had yesterday and recommended it to her myself. Or something."

"What? How do you know Spartha?"

"I dunno. I mean, I can't remember. Listen, having a good time here. Catch me in... 3 hours?"

"Try to make it 2!" said Sato breathlessly "This de-frag will be done by then and I've got some work to catch up on."

"Boo-yah!"

In two hours time the staff of Torchwood decide to stop acting like nymphomaniac rabbits and reclaim their clothes and dignity and personalities. And Suzie turns dead again. Ben is puzzled by the shift of continuity, but again puts it down to something or other to do with his time-travelling and not at all related to his daily alcohol intake of 2.5 mega-litres. Jack, after checking Torchwood files, sees that Spartha Jones is never mentioned and is genuinely puzzles. He assures Ben that he knows her somehow, and that the particular violation he was subjected to this morning was all above-board. Ben is concerned.

Sato, stunningly, breaks the silence by revealing her boyfriend died recently, brutally murdered by cultists. She thinks the best way to alleviate the pain is by taking off Ben's shirt and caressing his chest. Ben is startled - this is something that's already happened to him. Sato, however, snaps out of it, and screams out that she has no dead boyfriend, before running off. Ben chases after her and is absolutely horrified when he catches up to her and finds that she has not been savagely murdered - now he will have to have a normal interaction with a woman. He notes that this, unlike all other events so far in the day, will be a genuine first.

Sato tells Ben that she felt her mind briefly taken over, and that there is obviously someone or something interfering with the minds of people in London. Or Cardiff or Cambridge or wherever the hell this story is set. Ben shouts out in excitement that he knew there had to be something interfering with his mind - otherwise why would people constantly be offended at things he swore he never did, such as making bad toasts at parties and urinating in public? Sato gives a nervous smile and humours him.

Using her knowledge of Torchwood files, Sato drives Ben to The Rusty Screwdriver, a pub with mysterious origins. She says this is the place where they are most likely to meet The Newcomer - a man with no records prior to the year 2005, who seems to have been ignored by history, yet has made a major splash in the world of Amateur Pool Tournaments. She reasons that this man is the most likely man to help them, as he has been noted for a bizarre, nay freak, knack for guessing the locations of alien insurgence on Earth - there are rumours that he is a UNIT plant, or a time-traveller himself, a new identity of fugitive Gustave Lytton, or even a companion of The Enemy.

Ben stops staring at her breasts and asks if she could repeat that. His testicles almost instantly regret his mouth's life decisions.

The Newcomer then rolls up - a man who Sato finds oddly handsome wearing slightly shabby clothes. With no preamble he says that he's Tom Wallace and he knows who they both are. He also says that Ben has been Marked, and is in danger of passing out of this world. He doesn't even look up at them while saying this, being too engrossed in his crossword.

Ben scoffs, demanding to know how a man so clearly uneducated to wear non-designer clothing can be a hero. He states that the man plays pool in rough pubs and no doubt wears check shirts, has tatoos and no doubt listens to the likes of Bruce Springsteen or the Clash. He then goes on to add that he is not at all snobbish - indeed he cannot abide snobbery - the unjustified putting on of airs by those people who are no better than anyone else. It simply makes life more difficult for those of us who are.

Wallace consider this carefully before breaking one of Ben's arms and writing "HABERDASHER" in 22-down.

"You can try and save your life one-handed, mate, I think that's how you've made your way through most of it." Sato laughs merrily while Ben breaks down in tears "Yeah, anyway, darling," Tom continues "You're the only one in danger. The Masonite has you."

"Masonite? Doesn't sound very scary." says Sato

"Well, not really, no. It's a simplistic silicon-based lifeform - if you wanted to be polite you'd call it Callijuromeron Jassezix Masonite from the planet Cygnus Alpha, but there's no need for that. Their homeplanet is run as a totalitarian regime - so the most useful commodity for 'em is entertainment. That's where you come in, pretty boy."

Ben is offended. "I am in no way an entertainer!"

"No argument here!" laughs Tom "But you are to somebody, clearly. The Masonite is a scouting off-shoot of the Suppressive Lattice - limited imagination. It needs multiple readings to assess the entertainment value of a subject - so it repeatedly puts them through similar procedures as have occurred to them in life, a bit of copy and paste. Mind control is needed to achieve this and, due to the limited imagination, only borderline sensible responses can be given when victims are questioned. You may have noticed that earlier."

"So that's why we were all under mind control!" says Sato "We were reliving that strange phase where there was a break out of alien hallucinogens and pheromones."

"Oh, sounds like a shame to miss it."

"It was disgusting. Only a Chav could find it pleasurable."

"Mate, you don't watch your mouth and the Masonite's the least of your bleeding worries. Anyway, Ben, it's in your head, and that's the only way you can fight it."

"How?"

"Just concentrate. You can sense it, can't you?"

Ben explains that he doesn't. As he is about to take another swig of his 100%-proof Absinthe-Max, Wallace snatches the glass out of his hands.

"Aha! There's the problem. If you keep drinking that stuff you won't be able to feel your head, let alone anything inside it."

Ben is offended at the suggestion that alcohol is somehow affecting his mental powers. Tom, to test this, asks him what 8-across, is, being a 5-letter word for "A seat". Ben, after two minutes of pulling his hair out, can't answer. Tom gives him the known letters "C","A" and "R". Ben thinks about this for a further ten minutes, becoming more and more frustrated. Tom then points out that he's had the completed cross-word held out in front of him for the past twelve minutes. After another minute's though, Ben tells him that the answer is "CHAIR". Sato and Tom agree that he needs to go in the Sycorax-brand DRUNK TANK 3000 that Torchwood salvaged to sober himself up.

Unfortunately for Ben, it turns out the Sycoraxic method of sobering people up involves lots of automatons beating the living crap out of you. But, as Owen points out, it did wonders for his sex addiction, so the process must have some merits. Sato tentatively asks Tom about whether he'd be interested in maybe - but Tom cuts in, apologetically, saying she really isn't his type and he wouldn't want to see her get hurt - though he compensates by giving her the number of a mate of his who's nice but lonely. Sato gives him a happy farewell, quietly delighted at his unusual charm and tact.

* * *

After nineteen hours and thousands of robotic smackdowns, Ben has been completely detoxed - the Sycoraxic way. And he suddenly realises that he can feel something weird in his mind - a strange, hot sensation, in a tiny area behind his eyeballs. For a brief moment he wonders if this is what being sober feels like, but he reasons this is unlikely. He then concentrates on the burning sensation, and begins to feel a room growing around him... but it slips away. He tries again... and it fails. And again. And again. And again. And then a Sycoraxic robot comes in an breaks his ribs.

Ben shouts out indignantly that he is completely sober, and just needs some way to mentally hone himself to give the Masonite a damn good seeing-to. A forlorn Ianto opens the door and throws Ben his unused copy of "MENTAL DEFENSE FOR BEGINNERS". Ben struggles his way through, especially since Ianto clearly forgot to switch the device off and an android keeps coming in to beat the crap out of him. Eventually, Ben figures out how to follow the link and arrives in a spaceship... containing a rather dull-looking rock. This is, he reasons using his formidable deductive powers, the Masonite.

Ben demands to know how the Masonite found him two days ago. The Masonite laughs unbelievably, and asks if that's what Ben believes. He then reveals that he has, in fact, been controlling Ben for three years. Ben is stunned, but the Masonite asks him to think back. Haven't most of his experiences been terribly clich├ęd and repetitious? Hasn't his personal history been in a flux? Doesn't his sexuality change every Bank holiday? Hasn't he noticed the continuity errors and generally contrived situations that he's found himself in? Wasn't he at least curious about the random and obscene acts of violence he has personally be subjected to? Ben notes that this is true...

The Masonite mourns, however, that Ben seems to polarise the Mass Consciousness of the home planet exactly - at the present stage the Lattice bans the use of Chatham for entertainment purposes, as they believe that he will incite a civil war among the Consciousness and limit the expansion of the race. In spite of this, the Masonite has remained obsessive over Ben, as his Entertainment Value seems greater than any other specimen he has encountered. The Masonite postulates that now Ben has, foolishly, deigned to materialise aboard his ship, he can dissect him cell-by-cell and matter-transfer him to a lab that could re-constitute him in a similar, but more charismatic way...

Ben then demands to be set free. The Masonite informs him that if he had eyes right now, he'd be rolling them. He then cranks out his Cell Separation Dooberwhacky, which begins tearing apart Ben's pants, which were made entirely from the leather bindings used for Tolstoy First Editions.

As cowardly as ever, Ben protests, and says that he can offer the Masonite someone more entertaining - a man who can fight, tell jokes, has attitude, is fuelled by conflict, is found attractive by women and yet is a mysterious loner. This man is Tom Wallace.

The Masonite scoffs. He has heard the name but believes it to be a myth, or some form of joint-hallucination suffered by humans - when interfacing with human minds he can't contact any by the name of Tom Wallace that match the description he has heard. Ben protests that Wallace exists, and that he can establish a link with him. The Masonite stops tearing apart Ben's clothing, leaving his dodo skin underwear intact. He asks Ben to prove it.

Ben calls director assist, and gets a young, bright-sounding cockney man who is more than happy to give him the number for The Rusty Screwdriver. He does, and the phone is answered by a young, bright-sounding cockney man. Ben asks to speak to "his old mucker" Tom Wallace. The nice cockney man asks him to hold and there is silence... until a gut-rending noise fills the air. The Masonite begins to crack and crumble - the link with Ben is broken and he is sent hurtling back to Earth...

And wakes up in time for a Sycorax robot to kick him in the face.

* * *

The Doctor hung up the TARDIS phone.

"Welll, a little convoluted even by my own standards, hijacking a hotline and a pub's phone system just to trap one midget space-rock but I have to admit it's a dull Tuesday evening and I haven't really got anything better to do. So thanks, Tom. Jolly good wheeze and all that."

"It's dead then?" asked Tom Wallace

"It ceased to exist. The Masonite is one of thousands - they're all machines, if even that. Template personality, template intelligence, template everything. Really boring to get stuck with in an elevator I can tell you that right now. And it wasn't murder, even if it was alive - it only would have called if it wanted you dead. Besides, considering what it did to so many lives..."

"You trying to justify yourself again?" asked Tom with a smirk.

"Yeah, I know. Terrible habit of mine, isn't it? You going to see Ben again?"

"Can't seem to stop running into the prat."

"Well, if you do then there's a message I'd like you to pass on... tell him... well, how can I put this?" the Doctor paused thoughtfully "Tell him that I don't know how he got the number for the TARDIS phone, but if he ever calls me again asking for a lift to the bottle-shop I'll be doing some serious thinking about my pacifist philosophies!"

* * *

When Ben managed to crawl out of the Sycorax DRUNK TANK 3000, he noted a complete absence of people singing "For he's a jolly good fellow." For some reason this made him sad... he seemed to enjoy undeserved credit more than he ever realised...

He made his way into the Torchwood meeting room. Jack wondered aloud why the hell he was still here. Being sad and lonely and feeling slightly heterosexual Ben asks Sato whether she's shag him in exchange for some David Bowie mp3s as she "touched my shirt" earlier. Sato takes this opportunity to test the newly-salvaged Goodionan Obscenely-Large-Boxing-Glove-on-a-Spring and breaks his jaw. Owen tells him to sod off and forcefully throws him out of the building.

Ben cries, and decides to go home and get drunk in his underwear while watching re-runs of "Time Team"

On the way he is run over by a yellow morris minor.

9 comments:

Youth of Australia said...

I'm getting some freaky deja vu here...

Ben Chatham wakes up to find himself being brutally sodomized by a Vogon...

He then goes on to add that he is not at all snobbish - indeed he cannot abide snobbery - the unjustified putting on of airs by those people who are no better than anyone else. It simply makes life more difficult for those of us who are...

Callijuromeron Jassezix Masonite...

Ben cries, and decides to go home and get drunk in his underwear while watching re-runs of "Time Team"

On the way he is run over by a yellow morris minor...


Did I write this? And if not... WHY NOT?!?

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Well, you've read it before. But, yes, the whole story is a very deliberate parade of Ben Chatham memes loosely woven into narrative form... oh, and:

He then goes on to add that he is not at all snobbish - indeed he cannot abide snobbery - the unjustified putting on of airs by those people who are no better than anyone else. It simply makes life more difficult for those of us who are...

Is actually a direct Spara quote that I couldn't resist putting in.

Youth of Australia said...

I did vaguely remember reading bits of it... must have been one of the afternoons when I was barred from OG before I could read it properly.

I know about the quote.

If you check out the wikipage, that quote is there in the Tom Wallace Anti-Chatham section...

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

I know about the quote.

Ha. Of course you do.

If you check out the wikipage, that quote is there in the Tom Wallace Anti-Chatham section...

I did look at that page again. Great fun.

I don't think I contributed much, really... in fact, I think all I really did was link it to a ton of different articles to make it look more like a REAL article (and, to a lesser degree, get it noticed by the editors...)

Cameron Mason said...

Ah memories...

Immortalised in story form as tormenting the Chavem...

Youth of Australia said...

And they would have let the page ride till Spara ruined it...

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Ah memories...

Immortalised in story form as tormenting the Chavem...


And to think I was afraid you'd be offended...

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

And they would have let the page ride till Spara ruined it...

Yeah, ISTR they were willing to have it as a minor footnote on the OG page, at least...

The legendary Sparacan debating methods + The legendary "broom up the backside" disposition of wikipedians are not at all a pleasant combination...

Youth of Australia said...

I can't blame them. Any page that would lure Sparacus to wikipedia is bound to be too nasty to tolerate...