Requested by eledonecirrhosa - fanfic commentary for Hanging Out With Halo Jones - the original is here. Notes are in square brackets and bold [like this].
This one is specially for Honorh - congratulations on your winning stories in the Children of Time Awards - and for Roz, whose enthusiasm for the idea made me get round to writing it. [It was a bit of an experiment and sadly wasn't very popular, I think because a lot of people didn't know the crossover] Sorry I wasn't able to get the Glyph into it! [The Glyph was a Halo Jones character who was so neutral (as a result of frequent sex changes etc.) that they were instantly forgettable. Unfortunately they were also killed off in canon before the story starts, and I couldn't think of a good way to get them back plausibly.]
All characters etc. belong to their respective creators / soulless corporations / etc.; no infringement of copyright is intended, this story may not be distributed on a commercial basis. [fat chance]
This is set late in new Doctor Who Season 3, no real spoilers, and at the end of book 2 of the comic The Ballad of Halo Jones, with spoilers for that. Hanging Out With Halo Jones was a song by Transvision Vamp, inspired by the character. [And I know this because it was played in some sort of arts program about comics in the nineties, and I still remember it umpteen years later. It's here if you want to hear it - https://youtu.be/FYza-Zspoo4]
by Marcus L. Rowland
"Play 'Missing Planet' again," said the unhappy-looking blonde. [This is the scene The Ballad of Halo Jones Book 2 ends with more or less unchanged until my extra characters get involved.]
"But I played it three times already," said the spiral-headed alien, his long blue fingers stretched wide over the keyboard.
"Play it again, Yortlebluzzgubly."
Across the bar the only other human in the bar looked up. "If I hear that bloody tune one more time..." said Martha Jones.
"I'm sorry," said the Doctor, "A year or so ago this was the most popular bar on Charlemagne. Liners from all over the human galaxy call in at this port, you could expect to see celebrities by the dozen. I thought there'd be a good crowd here tonight, with the Clara Pandy in dock, but I think the place must have gone out of fashion. You have to admit, they still make a pretty good Fomalhautian Foamer." [All of this is canon for the Halo Jones comics]
Martha sipped her cocktail and nodded. "It'll do. So why are we really here?"
"Really? Really?? There is no really!"
"Riiight. We've come to an airless world in the fiftieth century and spent a couple of hours digging out the right type of vacuum suit and trudging through frozen oxygen, just so we can crash a fashionable bar that isn't fashionable any more."
Across the bar Yortlebluzzgubly began to play. This time he, she, or it seemed to be giving the tune a samba beat "Right, that's it," snapped Martha, getting to her feet. "I'm out of here. Meet you back at the Tardis."
"Sit down," the Doctor said quietly, "Please, sit down."
"Then there is something," said Martha, sitting again. "Come on, spill it."
"It's the girl," said the Doctor, "she's... coming over here. Tell you later."
Martha glanced around, to see the blonde walking towards them. She seemed just a little unsteady on her feet, and Martha noticed four or five glasses on the table she'd left, another in her hand.
"My taste in music bothering you?"
"It's just, well, it's..."
"Unhappy memories," the Doctor said smoothly. "It was her mother's favourite tune... Won't you join us, miss.. um..?"
"Jones," said the blonde, slumping into one of the seats. "Halo Jones."
"That's weird," said Martha.
"Well, there's no need to be rude about it," said Halo. "Just because it isn't something common like Chung or Singh." [again canon - everyone thinks Jones is a very odd name in the comic]
"No, you don't understand," said Martha. "My name is Jones too. Martha Jones." [Yes, I wrote this because the coincidence of surnames seemed fun - I really am that shallow]
"Really? That's mammoth! Never met another Jones before."
"That's odd, I've got plenty of relatives."
"Some back-water world where everyone's inbred?" Martha wisely let that one pass.
"And I'm the Doctor."
"Doctor what?" asked Halo. [it had to be said]
"Just the Doctor."
"He's travelling incognito," said Martha. [I have a theory that companions quickly learn to make excuses like this - if not, they tend not to hang around too long because the weirdness gets to them.]
"Would I know his name if he said it?"
"Naaah... it just doesn't work well in English," said the Doctor. [this was, of course, before they made this his name in canon]
"I danced with Lux Roth Chop a few nights ago," said Halo, "He was travelling incognito, I had no idea who he was, thought he was just a kid playing grown-up. The richest guy in the galaxy; he called me beautiful, and I called him a kid." She knocked back the rest of the glass and called for another.
"Would it have made a difference if you'd known?" asked Martha.
"Might have been a bit more tactful. He's about twelve, way too young for me, but maybe I could have scored a job or something. Or something for my friend Rodice, she was supposed to meet me here."
Martha noticed that Halo was weeping slightly. "What happened?"
"Both of us wanted off Earth, and there was only one job going on the Clara Pandy, they gave it to me because I can speak Cetacean."
"Really?" said the Doctor. "Tikrikikikitittik rikrikikitik?" [I have no idea what this means - I like the idea that it's a really dirty joke]
"Kitiikikikikik!" said Halo, her mood lightening for a second.
"Your accent is very good," said the Doctor. "Better than mine."
"I spent a lot of time hanging out with the navigator on the Clara Pandy. I was planning to introduce him to Rodice." She was weeping again.
"What happened?" Martha asked gently.
"We had a bet, the last one to get here today was going to buy the drinks. She... she didn't make it."
"What happened?" Martha repeated.
"I got here... then she called on the warplink."
"Delayed?" asked the Doctor.
"She never left Earth. Don't think she even tried. She's still stuck there on the Hoop. Thought I was gonna scuttle back once the novelty wore off."
"What's the Hoop?" asked Martha.
"Thought everyone knew that," said Halo.
"Backwater world, remember?" said the Doctor. "She's a bit out of the loop."
"And out of the Hoop," said Halo. "It's the floating shabbitat outside New York. Millions of losers live there."
"It's the municipal housing for Increased Leisure Citizens," said the Doctor. [e.g. a floating slum]
Martha wondered what that meant, probably nothing good, but didn't pursue it. She asked "Why don't you want to go back?"
"Nobody lives there but losers, and I'm not going to be a loser any more."
"I can see that," said the Doctor. "So what are your plans?" He sounded genuinely interested.
"Dunno. Probably head back to the Clara Pandy, I've still got a job there if I want it. She's headed a lot further out."
"Sounds like a good move to me," said the Doctor. Martha eyed him, wondering what he was up to. "Do you need a hand getting back there?"
"Why would I need a hand?" asked Halo.
"You don't want to be walking out there on your own when you've had too much to drink. One slip and if your heat exchange filters touch the ice they'll explode, and take you with them." [mentioned in the comic]
"I haven't had too much," said Halo, standing and starting to wobble slightly.
"He's right," said Martha. "Take it from me, I'm a medical student. You need to sober up a bit."
"I'm as sober as.. as.."
"Come on," said Martha, standing and taking her elbow. "Ladies room first, then we'll see about getting you back to your ship."
"What the hell was that about?" Martha asked an hour or so later, when she and the Doctor were back in the Tardis.
"Halo Jones. What's the story?"
"Which version do you want?"
"The truth would be nice."
"Hang on a minute." He went off into the bowels of the Tardis, and came back a few minutes later with a thick bound volume. "'The Halo Jones Myth in Modern Concordian Folklore,' by Van Eyck. The 6430 edition." [the third book of the series opens with a class studying this]
"Hang on, it's only 4950 now. She's going to be famous for fifteen hundred years?"
"More like fifteen thousand," said the Doctor, smiling at her. "She's one of those people that has a knack of being in the right place at the right time. She doesn't exactly shape events, except once or twice, but she's the one that gets remembered afterwards."
"So you worked out when she was going to be in the bar and got us there just so we could meet her?"
"More or less. There are a lot of different versions of her life story, most of them start to diverge after Charlemagne. I don't know which stories are true, not all of them, so it seemed the best place to catch up with her, just to get a look for myself." [I suspect that a lot of the Doctor's adventures start like this- this time he just did the meet and greet without the adventure.]
Martha leafed through the book and said "It doesn't look like she has an easy life. Could't we do something to help her?"
"You know we can't," the Doctor said gently. "Too many people know her story. Change anything and it starts to unravel." He took the book back, and added "Better not read it all. It's not a good idea to know too much about what your grandchildren are going to get up to."
"My... what?" [well, if they have the same name...]
"Well, might be. Great-great-whatever. Don't know for sure. You go back far enough and everyone's related to everyone else. But you're a Jones and she's a Jones, so you never know."
"Don't be silly. My children won't be called Jones, they'll be named for the bloke I marry."
"Oh! Right, I forgot. Human marriage customs, silly of me. Anyway, do you fancy heading somewhere a little warmer?"
"Good idea. Anywhere special in mind?"
"Oh yes! Get your swimsuit and some suntan oil, you're going to need them."
"Sounds good." Martha went off as the Doctor began to set the controls. In the part of his mind that wasn't busy with calculations he wondered when Martha would realise that she wasn't necessarily going to change her name when she married. [yes, Halo really is an upteen-great granddaughter] After all, she wouldn't want to confuse her patients...
Afterword: The Ballad of Halo Jones, by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson, ran through three serials and 36 installments in the comic 2000 AD in 1984-86, and is perhaps the most convincing depiction of life in the future that comic ever published. The plot can't easily be summarised, but ranges from romance and comedy to anti-war story and murder mystery. The Wikipedia article about the series (search on Halo Jones) is a good starting point if you want to know more, and has links to several web sites for the character.
Missing Planet really is a song mentioned several times in the Halo Jones stories, including the final scene of volume 2. Given the themes of Doctor Who season 4 it seems an interesting bit of foreshadowing.
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