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Please don't feed the ficbunnies

Alas, I didn't take my own advice. Which led to digging into the very back and bottom of the Scary Videotape Closet, where it turned out all the Doctor Who in the house (or rather, all of it that's not on DVD) was buried. Should have paid closer attention to the order in which we were "temporarily" shoving the cabinets and boxes in there, oh, a bit over a year ago. *facepalm*

(havocthecat, would have called you, but was running up and down doing laundry, and the place is a mess, and the whole evening was just generally not company-friendly. Another time.)

However, my mining yielded the late Four and early Five stories I was looking for, to get Nyssa back solidly in my head for The Ficbunny Without a Name. Watched "The Keeper of Traken" and started in on "Logopolis," and am enjoying immensely, although the "Logopolis" tape is a bit degraded in spots. (Not as much so as the behind-the-scenes docu on Female Transport, my first professional acting gig in 1989, or the less-degraded copy of the play itself. Definitely doing this conversion thing none too soon. At least THOSE tapes -- along with the rest of my shows -- were in the FIRST and most accessible box in the closet when I went in after them on Monday.) "Keeper" is still of surprisingly good quality, and doesn't look at all as if brainiacfive taped it off the Columbus PBS station over a decade ago, even though he did.

But dude, Traken is even more of an impossibility than it looked like to me at 12. And of course wasn't living up to its press at all, since by the time the Doctor and Adric arrived the Consuls were already starting to squabble like spooked cats. The first snippet of dialogue to occur to me for this fic (which looks at this point as if it will include Five, Nyssa, Tegan, Ten, Rose, Mickey, and another, grownup Nyssa) goes like this:

10: She was born on a world so peaceful, so harmonious, that evil turned to stone in its very atmosphere.
Mickey: Sounds too good to be true.
10: Oh, it was. It was also too good to last.

It's been a long time since I thought about how systematically, thoroughly and painfully the Master took away everything Nyssa had. He couldn't have been crueler to her if it had been his intent, and not mostly side-effect of his larger machinations. In alarmingly rapid succession, he corrupted and destroyed her stepmother, murdered her father and took over his body, tricked and used her against the Doctor, and caused the complete obliteration of her homeworld.

And while it can be seen in what has always appeared to me to be the Doctor's extra measure of protectiveness toward her, I've never really thought about what is, particularly in context with the emphases of the new series, the corollary to that: how much the Doctor would blame himself for all of that because he failed to stop the Master.

Acccording to Wikipedia there's a novel called Asylum in which Four meets a grownup Nyssa prior (from his perspective) to "Keeper," and is left with the responsibility to protect the teenage version who becomes his companion, in order to preserve the future in which he met her. I have a different idea of where her life goes than it sounds like this does, and of course -- as noted above -- my own ideas about why the extra-protective thing. But it's good to know I'm apparently not the only one who sees it.

Of course, IRL it was largely because three companions was Just Too Many, the writers ran out of things for them to do, and Nyssa was the one who -- contrary to companion tradition -- actually did as the Doctor told her, up to and including staying put. Which led to her spending episodes on end alone in the TARDIS, tinkering with something or staring worriedly at the viewscreen or both. But then, that's the sort of maddening thing that causes me to look for in-universe explanations. Which then spawns ficbunnies. Which must be fed from the BACK AND BOTTOM OF THE SCARY CLOSET. *mutter*

This is...not going to be a small fic. *rueful chuckle*

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( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
amilyn
Jun. 29th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC)
This sounds fantastic.

You know, I've not seen "Keeper" since, like, 1983 or so, and I didn't even remember that the entire world was destroyed. Really great exchange with Ten and Mickey, though.

Can I beta?

Please?
wiliqueen
Jun. 29th, 2006 02:36 pm (UTC)
I would have been begging you if I thought it was necessary. :-D

The destruction is amazingly low-key. It's in "Logopolis," when Adric and Nyssa are watching the entropy field creep across the universe, and Nyssa says she can't see Traken. Then she seldom mentions it again.

I have a vague memory of a confrontation with the Master at some point, and the Doctor having to talk her down from whatever she's about to do, I think because it would kill her too, or someone else, or something. But I can't for the life of me remember what it is.
neadods
Jun. 29th, 2006 02:51 pm (UTC)
Then she seldom mentions it again

They tend not to, after they've been taken away. Tegan was a step in the right direction, actually, because it's not really natural for someone to step away from their life and never, ever look back.

Hmmmm, you may have bred a plot bunny for me too. Nyssa, who lost everything. Nine, who lost everything. They need to meet for drinks, no?
wiliqueen
Jun. 29th, 2006 03:09 pm (UTC)
They tend not to, after they've been taken away.

True, although for Nyssa it's in keeping with her character, which is rather anomalous for a companion. I do like the contrast with Tegan never giving up. Even Adric suddenly deciding he wants to go home when he has his blowup with the Doctor at the beginning of "Earthshock" smacks a bit of copying Tegan.

Nyssa, who lost everything. Nine, who lost everything. They need to meet for drinks, no?

Indeed. There's going to be a nod to that aspect in this fic, I suspect, but being Ten it'll have a different flavor.
neadods
Jun. 29th, 2006 03:41 pm (UTC)
That icon is a thing of beauty!
wiliqueen
Jun. 29th, 2006 04:01 pm (UTC)
Isn't it great? I loves me my nostalgia_lj, yes I do. :-D
neadods
Jun. 29th, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
I have the most fun in the threads on her LJ, I swear!
wiliqueen
Jun. 30th, 2006 02:35 pm (UTC)
Tegan was a step in the right direction, actually, because it's not really natural for someone to step away from their life and never, ever look back.

And as I think about it more, all three of the companions from that era acknowledge this in different ways. Adric quite literally ran away from home, and argued that there was "nothing for me there" when the Doctor balked at taking him out of E-space and making home inaccessible. Nyssa had no home to return to, but mostly kept quiet about it out of politeness and resignation. And Tegan, bless her, made sure the Doctor never forgot for a moment about his promise to get her home and to work on time!
amilyn
Jun. 29th, 2006 03:21 pm (UTC)
See...THAT moment I remember. I was thinking "end" of "Keeper" and like..."Did they destroy the planet?" and...no...it got destroyed.

Oh...you're right about the talking down. I'll poke around and see if I can find it. I think it actually may be in "Terminus"...
wiliqueen
Jun. 29th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)
"Did they destroy the planet?" and...no...it got destroyed.

And it was the Master's fault, although he didn't target Traken directly in that case.

I'll poke around and see if I can find it. I think it actually may be in "Terminus"...

I'm pretty sure it's one the Master is actually present for. I don't think he's in that one.
amilyn
Jun. 29th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)
That was what I thought, too, and cross-referenced the eps they were in at Wikipedia. Nyssa AND the Master were in Keeper of Traken, Logopolis, and Time-Flight. At least according to the summaries at Wiki, no joy.

I was thinking that maybe we were wrong about it being something with the Master and read all of the summaries of ALL of Nyssa's eps (remembering in the process that I'd disliked "Kinda" because Annoying-to-Me-Tegan got all the air time whilst Nyssa recovered from her exhaustion, sleeping in the TARDIS the whole ep :-P) and found nothing that referred to such a scene.

So either the summarizers at Wiki didn't find it valuable enough to include, or we *both* imagined the same thing...and I think the former seems more likely. I think that "Logopolis" is a possibility unless you finished watching it, and that the only other possibility is "Time-Flight." Weird.
amilyn
Jun. 29th, 2006 04:31 pm (UTC)
Having re-read how far you got in watching, I'm going to bet it's in "Logopolis" because the Doctor and Master BOTH must work together to save the universe. I think Nyssa tries to kill him with the matter compactor thingie. Maybe. We'll see.
irish_horse
Jun. 29th, 2006 02:53 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to see that you're writing again. :)
wiliqueen
Jun. 29th, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC)
So far just thinking about it, and if it's anything like last time, it'll result in a 20-page fic about two years from now. But we'll see...
tylure
Jun. 29th, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC)
I LOVE
tylure
Jun. 29th, 2006 06:57 pm (UTC)
Okay...I hate hitting the wrong key and accidentally posting something before finishing it...

But I LOVE that icon.

And this makes me want to go back and watch old Who. I haven't seen Five since the 80s, either. And that was on PBS with fuzzy (occasionally really fuzzy) reception, so we missed some key things...
wiliqueen
Jun. 30th, 2006 09:41 am (UTC)
I LOVE that icon.

nostalgia_lj is a goddess for that alone, truly.

I'm having an inordinate amount of fun going back to them. And they look astonishingly good -- I was telling brainiacfive last night that he has proof of the decline in the signal quality of the cable in Columbus over the years. "Keeper of Traken" looks like he taped it yesterday, off a VERY good signal, and there's something in between about coverage of the Clarence Thomas hearings!
tylure
Jun. 30th, 2006 10:07 am (UTC)
Wow...that's something I'd forgotten about. ;) Sometimes it's interesting to watch old tapes to see what is in between the shows...

We lived in Oak Ridge, MO, and the PBS station was in Carbondale, IL. The signal was never exceptional for us. I think it'd be cool to see the old shows with some clarity.
wiliqueen
Jun. 30th, 2006 11:00 am (UTC)
We should include you in the (as-yet-unfixed) Saturday night plans at amilyn's...
tylure
Jun. 30th, 2006 11:22 am (UTC)
I'd love to go, but I'll be heading to Missouri tomorrow to pick up Nathaniel and then head to Mom's house. If a second night is ever planned, I'd love to go to that one, though. :)
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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