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[personal profile] jesterladyfic
Title: Chuck Cunningham Syndrome
by Jesterlady
Rating: PG-13
Characters: The Ninth Doctor, Cordelia Chase, Logan Echolls
Fandom: Doctor Who, Angel, Veronica Mars Red Dwarf, Toy Story, Road to Avonlea, The Middleman, Step by Step, Family Matters, Roseanne, The West Wing, Star Trek: The Next Generation, All My Children, Happy Days with special appearances by X-Men, Pirates of the Caribbean, Are You Being Served and a great deal of the cast of Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World
Summary: The Doctor is just minding his own business when Cordelia Chase and Logan Echolls pop into the Tardis, now they're off on a tv trope adventure to find out what's disrupting reality. If only fictional characters would stop dropping by.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these fandoms, especially DW, ATS or VM. I owe a great deal to and all of the chapter titles are a play on tropes found there. Written for the [ profile] scifibigbang 2011.
A/N: Many thanks to my beta, [ profile] exmanhater and to [ profile] rainyrocket for her artwork.

Chapter One: We Interrupt This Cowhead

Despite the many aliens and assorted other things that had traveled with him, the Doctor valued his privacy highly. This recent interruption by two humans who weren’t even real so soon after his rather trying regeneration had him slightly testy. The feeling was augmented when he returned to the console room and found a cow there. Not just a cow, but a cow head, with a short neck and then nothing. It appeared to be floating in mid-air, not exactly chewing its cud complacently, but something like. He asked the Tardis what was going on, but she only replied with the equivalent of a mental shrug, giving him a picture of the string of energy she’d connected from herself to the cow when she'd intercepted its energy signature.

Behind the Doctor, Cordelia and Logan entered the room, stopped short at the sight of
the head, and gaped at each other.

“Pardon me, Doctor,” Logan said finally, “but there appears to be a cow’s head floating
in your ship.”

“Don’t get flippant with me,” the Doctor muttered before turning back to inspect the
phenomenon himself. He walked all around before realizing that the reason there was only a
head was that this was a puppet. He very nearly put his hand into it but decided to ask
permission first.

“I say, that’s awfully decent of you,” the cow said in a pleasant, moony voice, causing
Cordelia and Logan to jump in surprise. “Most people just stick their hands in without regard
to my feelings at all. Would you like to have people doing that inside you? I should think
not. Go on, old thing, doesn’t hurt.”

“I think I’ll pass,” the Doctor said, upon further thought. “Do you mind telling me
exactly what you’re doing on my ship?”

“I really couldn’t say. I was just reading the news - we were on the air - and I…well,
I, I’m here now.” The head beamed at the Doctor and his only rational thought was how very odd
it was to see a cow smile at him.

The Doctor whirled to look at the two humans behind him.

“And what were you two doing before you got here?”

“Oh, I’d just been in the cafeteria and there was this idiot harassing-“ Logan said
before breaking off. “I-I can’t really remember.”

“Well, I’d just been in labor so I think I win for most traumatic crossover,” Cordelia
shot back at him. “No, wait, I was going to meet him and then I was there - it wasn't me.
Then - well, well, Angel was…I needed, - I so don’t get paid enough for this kind of thing.”

“Right,” the Doctor said. “Idea number one: all connected to television. Idea number
two - hang on, what’s your name?” he addressed the cow.

“I’m the Cowhead,” the Cowhead said. “A pleasure…?”

“I’m the Doctor and this is Cordelia Chase and Logan Echolls and that’s going to get
real old if I have to keep doing it. Whereabouts are you from?”

“Moonfola 5. It’s a planet devoted to-“

“Intergalactic news with a special segment for kids. I knew I’d seen you before.
Right, so idea number two: you all vanished from a program. Idea number three: why?”

“That’s not an idea,” Logan pointed out.

“Not helpful.” The Doctor started to pace as he thought. “What do you all say to a
nice vacation on Moonfola 5?”

“Oh, I wouldn’t suggest that,” the Cowhead said, alarmed. “They don’t take kindly to
outsiders. Too much political disagreement over how to run the broadcasts. My segment doesn’t
get it too much, you know, the kids don’t care as much, but other than that, it could be real

“Sounds fantastic,” the Doctor said and spun several dials on the console, then ran to
the other side and picked up a mallet. “Hang on to your hats.”

The Tardis started to shake and roll and the passengers were flung to one side and then
the other. The Cowhead remained comfortably floating in mid-air and the Doctor saw Logan give
it a very fierce glare from his semi-recumbent posture on the floor. They finally landed and
picked themselves up while the Doctor beamed at them.

“I’ve been kidnapped against my will,” Cordelia said firmly. “I’m not going anywhere
unless I’m sure it’s safe and though the source seems highly questionable, I did hear something
along the lines of this place not being safe from Mr. Missing His Milk Bag over there.”

“Cowheads are very trustworthy, Cordelia,” the Doctor admonished. “Have you ever met a
cow that lied to you?”

“Have you ever met a cow?” Logan asked. The Doctor ignored him and opened the Tardis
doors letting in some light. He disappeared having little doubt that everyone would follow
him. They did and they all found themselves standing inside a television studio with
artificial sunlight and grass everywhere. There was a news desk in the middle of the room with
daisies as decorations and a microphone.

The Cowhead blinked in surprise at its surroundings.

“This is my studio,” he said, “but where is everybody?” He glanced at the clock.
“It’s time for the news! I have an important broadcast for the children.”

“You know, when my thoughts turned towards the probabilities of aliens and their
television, talking Cowheads reading the news didn’t really come to mind,” Logan said, running
his hand over the news desk and picking a daisy.

“That’s your lot's problem,” the Doctor said. “Humans, always thinking they know
everything and came up with everything and have the best imaginations. Such superiority

“I’m sure whatever shows we have on earth are better than cowhead journalism,” Cordelia
snapped. “No offense, Mr. Cowhead, but really now.”

“I’m the number one rated children’s journalist on this planet,” the Cowhead said,
drawing itself up stiffly in pride. And to see only a head doing that was quite a feat, the
Doctor thought and he chuckled.

“You tell her, Bessie. Now, could you show me where you were when you disappeared?”

“I can try,” the Cowhead said pleasantly.

“This is all ridiculous,” Cordelia said, folding her arms.

“Enjoy the rest, princess,” Logan told her, flopping onto the grass while the Cowhead
led the Doctor over to the desk and he started to scan it and the Cowhead. “You’re looking
more like Kendall every minute with the whining and you don’t want to be a tramp in all your
incarnations, do you?”

Cordelia looked down at him and smiled a smile that the Doctor was sure could probably
burn Logan into little pieces. She opened her mouth to reply and a beautiful diatribe would
certainly have come pouring out if the doors had not suddenly opened and a lot of people-ish
type things not come through. There were more floating puppet heads and six armed-humanoids
who appeared to be operating others as well as waving makeup around and wearing headsets.
Their eyes were a deep purple and the clothes they were wearing resembled nothing less than a
feather pillow gone wild.

“Invaders! Intruders! Interlopers!” one of them cried.

“Spies! Sneaks! Scouts!” another joined in.

“Round them up! Restrain them! Rope their arms!” said one at the back with an
especially big feather pillow cloud around him and the rest obeyed.

Before they knew what was happening a swarm of feathers had descended on all of them
and despite some rather impressive moves by Cordelia, they were circled, captured and carried
along to a room with very little maneuvering capability and tossed inside where they found
themselves pressed up against each other and locked in. The Cowhead mooed mournfully,
thankfully, above them.

“I told you my people wouldn’t take kindly to strangers. It’s all very hush hush
around here. But I don’t know why they took me along with you. I suppose it’s all about a
lesson I’m supposed to learn about not fraternizing with the enemy.”

“Do shush up and let me think,” the Doctor said.

“You’re supposed to be this genius, or so you say,” Cordelia said. “Can’t you do

“The man said shush up,” Logan said. “Do you have to take charge of everything?”

“Do you have to make a comment about everything?”

“Do you have to-“

“Shut up, the pair of you,” the Doctor said harshly, “before I shrink you down and
stick you in my pockets where you’ll have to learn to live with each other and build a
makeshift society with the other odds and ends I’ve stuck in there over the years and believe you me, it won’t be pretty!”

From their forced positions close up to him, the Doctor had to hide a smile at the
looks on their faces. He started to focus on the problem at hand, reaching into his pocket for
the sonic screwdriver which he had a beast of a time finding since he'd recently restocked his

“Doctor,” Logan said, almost without a glib tone, “my foot’s starting to go to sleep
and I’m sure you’ve got a wonderful plan, but perhaps you’d let us in on it?”

“Easy. Going to unlock the door with my magic screwdriver, lead us on a merry chase
back to the Tardis, cut the energy linking the Cowhead to it and get us off this planet, figure
out where the signal that teleported the Cowhead came from, go there, cut it off and get your
annoying voice out of my life for good.”

“Amen to that,” Cordelia said, “and I almost believe you can do it.”

While he’d been talking the Doctor had unlocked the door and poked his head out
cautiously. Seeing none of the many-limbed feather people, he motioned them all to follow him
and made his way back to where he’d parked the Tardis.

“What’s going to happen to me?” the Cowhead asked, floating in the back. “I’ve been
ruined! And I’ve got to read for the children tonight.”

“Quiet!” Cordelia said. “Do you want to lead everyone right to us?”

“Maybe they’ll go easy on me then?” he said hopefully.

“Logan, be a dear,” the Doctor said, rolling his eyes. Logan sighed and put his hand
inside the puppet head and clapped his other hand over the mouth. Cordelia’s smile at the
sight was rather infectious and the Doctor stopped himself from laughing since they were
approaching the Tardis and its wall of feather guards.

“Bowl through them,” the Doctor said. “Keep 'em off while I unlock the doors. Then
we’ll release Cowhead. Got it?”

The other two nodded, sudden trust for him in their eyes and the Doctor ignored the
twinges of satisfaction it gave him.

They ran from their cover and burst through the surprised feathers, causing what was
the equivalent of a violent pillow fight. The Doctor made straight for the door and opened it
and they all rushed inside, covered in feathers.

“Now that’s what I call a success story,” he panted. “Not useless, you two.”

“You aren’t, by chance, in need of a new feather pillow, Doctor?” Logan queried,
scooping up an armful of feathers. “Cause there are some naked aliens out there who’d like to

The Doctor laughed and used the sonic screwdriver to sever the Tardis’ link to the
Cowhead and shoved him back out the door.

“Shall we see where else we need to go?” he asked them.

“I want to see what was so important that the Cowhead would freak out like that,”
Cordelia said.

“That can be arranged,” the Doctor said and led them to the Tardis cinema, flipping to
the appropriate channel. The two guests stared at the room in astonishment.

“Hang on a second,” Logan said. “We were just outside this ship.”

“Yeah?” the Doctor asked.

“It was a wooden box,” Cordelia answered.


“It has a cinema,” said Logan.

“With all the perks,” the Doctor replied.

“It’s…bigger on the inside,” Cordelia said slowly.

“Right again.”

A slow smile spread over Logan’s face.

“I’m starting to think this being fiction thing isn’t all that bad.”

“Maybe not,” Cordelia said, swatting him upside the head. “But it might be better
without you.”

“Spoilsport,” Logan said, plopping down on the couch and putting his feet up.

“Jerkface,” she answered, pushing his feet aside and sitting down, reaching for the
popcorn the Tardis provided. The Doctor stared, wondering at their sudden change of attitude
and fearing what it meant for his future.

“Well,” Cordelia said, staring up at him, “aren’t you going to sit down?” The Doctor
folded his arms and remained standing.

The screen flashed on and a picture of the Cowhead came on. He looked very content.

“And then the ant returned to the anthill and was able to tell the queen about the new
colony across the river. The queen was glad for the news and thanked the ant with many favors,
including a trip to the capital city where he could learn all there was to know about becoming
the journalist he’d always wanted to be.”

The Cowhead finished with a beam and a serialized message flashed across the screen
with information about how to join the journalism contest the station was running.

The three of them looked at each other and burst out laughing.


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