Characters: Nine, Rose, Jack, Slitheen (various)
Summary: As eggs go, Blon was slightly scrambled. The story Jack, Rose and the Doctor learned on Raxacoricofallapatorius might best be described as deviled.
Chapter One: Poached
Author's Notes: The existence of the Slitheen has always left me with an itch to explore the planet on which they were, apparently, such despised aberrations. And the more I explored the planet, and its non-criminal inhabitants, the more I realized what might have really happened.
As always the BBC owns the Whoniverse and its characters. I am grateful for being allowed to play here for awhile, and to do a small bit of creation therein. I do it out of love.
Many thanks to my Best Beloved, who edited and made certain that my thoughts on evolution were logical, if not necessarily scientific.
(One quick note: Brady and Hindley were the perpetrators of the Moors Murders between 1963 and 1965, and definitely might resonate with anyone who'd met the Slitheen clan. Rose would have known of them, less because of a resurgence of interest in their cases during the mid 1980s than because of obituaries for Hindley, who died in 2002.)
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"What, like ... I dunno, Brady and Hindley? Or Jonestown?"
"Yes — No! Is like — " The little green man stopped, searching for his next words. "You have skirt people in England world? With the wailing music?"
Rose waited, hoping he'd provide a better explanation. She didn't regret doing without the TARDIS' translation, since he wanted so very much to practice "my language of humans." But his grasp, while admirable, was erratic and incomplete, not to mention thickly accented. When he didn't speak further, she guessed. "D'you mean Scotland? The Scots?"
He smiled, which lit up his office. That, too, was disorienting; she hadn't bargained on how attractive Raxacoricofallipatorians were when they weren't eight feet tall and equipped with claws and homicidal tendencies.
"Yes! Scow ... Scotland! I am check up regular on human history, my obsession, and they are like Scow - Scotland criminals." He trailed off, then brightened again. "The memory is good now - they are like Seanie Bean clan."
"Erm - the cannibals?" Rose couldn't remember much beyond some gruesome ITV "Horrors of the British Isles" fauxcumentary, but it wouldn't surprise her if Clan Slitheen ate their own kind. They certainly liked eating everyone else.
"The savage Scottish eaters and slip-backs," her host — Avrim Dul-Arm Entrepaar-Fel Havreem, according to the name plate outside his office — singsonged in continued agreement.
"Slip-back — upon your pardon, let me find a better word — the reversers? No, that is wrong."
"Are we lookin' for retrograde deviant, maybe?"
Rose was grateful for the Doctor's timely intervention. The Raxcite — which term most modern citizens now preferred, he'd told her, a little embarrassed for both of them when she stumbled over the longer name — beamed at him, nodding repeatedly. "Is correct, and many thanks for your help. Retrograde ... retrograde deviant. DEE-vyant ... Yes, those are deevyants. My thanks for this new word!"
"Think nothing of it," the Time Lord said amiably, leaning over Rose's shoulder to speak. "Always glad t'help a budding linguist. So has Rose been wastin' your time, or keepin' you amused?"
Rose glared up at him and he grinned back, unrepentant. The Raxcite eyed the two of them; if he'd had eyebrows, Rose thought, at least one of them might have been raised. "Your partner has very much the patience for my language attempts. I am very thankful for her."
"Public relations, that's why I keep her around," the Doctor said, patting her shoulder by way of apology. "Tell you what, though; my other partner" — and he nodded across the busy room outside their host's office, to where Jack was holding court with a bevy of young Raxcite clerks — "is gonna throw your entire department into chaos if we don't complete this and let you lot get back to business. So if you don't mind, I think we'll turn our translator back on, to speed things up."
Mr. Entrepaar-Fel Havreem nodded; he hit a button on his desk while the Doctor fiddled with his screwdriver. He'd undoubtedly just asked the TARDIS to start translating for them again, Rose knew, but if their Raxcite host thought she and the Doctor used a more recognizable machine translator, they might have to answer fewer questions.
"Let's review, then, shall we?" EF Havreem said, clearing a spot in front of him on the desk and picking up Blon's case file. It was hard not to notice the bright mauve "Slitheen!" stamped across its front; their attempt to pass the egg off as some nameless, clanless survivor of a Raxcite ship's manifest had been worse than useless.
("Please don't insult my intelligence, Doctor," the customs officer had said, his liquid black eyes full of annoyance. "Only Slitheen engineer their offspring to be so grotesquely huge in-shell. The question is, how did you come by the child, and what do you expect us to do with it? I'm afraid the Port Authority can't handle this matter; you'll have to talk to Interior and Immigration. And probably Civil Defense.")
"You were on Earth, and somehow ran into members of the Passameer-Day Slitheen clan, Fel-Fotch nomenclature," EF Havreem read from the report. "Not once, but twice? Interesting. Let's see ... they attacked various Earth outposts, presumably with the intent of robbery and violence. Somehow, authorities there not only ended the incursion, or incursions, and kept the body count below 70 — which I find admirable, if unbelievable — but managed to retrieve a viable in-shell child which some Slitheen parent had seen fit to remove from the clan's creche, wherever they've hidden it, in order to bring it along on a raiding mission."
Here EF Havreem stopped reading, and rubbed the bridge of his almost non-existent nose. Headaches, Rose had discovered during her time in the TARDIS, were a universal language. He looked at the two of them. "If I were a fiction writer, I could not have developed as exciting a story, and I admire the people of Earth all the more for what they have, apparently, accomplished against Clan Slitheen. However, you've left us with quite an ethical conundrum."
"What's the conundrum? Odd or not, Slitheen or not, you've a child here, and you need to take care of it." The Doctor flopped into the second seat in front of EF Havreem's desk and folded his arms. He looked positively mulish.
"What my friend means, is ... it's just a baby," Rose said quickly, trying to head off any Time Lord lecture on how the lesser races should rear their children. "It's not like a grown up Slitheen. Can't you, you know, educate her — it, him, her, whatever — to be law abiding?"
EF Havreem shook his head, gently, and smiled. Rose couldn't help but smile back, but his next words were anything but optimistic. "Ordinarily, I would agree with you, Ms Tyler. Every culture on our planet values children, as I imagine every Earth culture does. But the Slitheen have made it very difficult to deal with their offspring."
"You're not gonna tell me that this child isn't worth saving," the Doctor said, the Oncoming Storm clouds gathering.
"No," EF Havreem replied. "No. But ... it's a very long and sad story."
"Then enlighten us," the Doctor said, arms still crossed over his chest.
The other alien sighed and nodded. "Very well. Shall we go somewhere else? It's getting close to meal-time, and I feel the need for some fresh air."
"Let's do," the Doctor agreed. "I'll get Jack." He was up and out of the chair in one smooth motion, threading his way through the desks and cubicles of EF Havreem's department toward the Captain and his impromptu cadre. "Captain — front and center."