darktrent182: (Seven/Ace)
[personal profile] darktrent182
TITLE: As Bad As It Could Be
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Doctor Who, the Doctor, or Ace. They belong to the BBC, and I made no money off of this. No copyright infringement is intended, as this was written for entertainment purposes only. Also, the song used in this fic is "Up!" by Shania Twain. Please don't sue.
FANDOM: Doctor Who
INCARNATION: Seventh Doctor (played by Sylvester McCoy)
WARNING: It's a semi-song fic.
SUMMARY: The Doctor and Ace, while on an abandoned spaceship, find a strange computer.
PAIRING: None, sadly.
SPOILERS: Nothing that I can think of, actually.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: My muse decided to take a holiday after I graduated on May 7th, and didn't come back until my computer got infected with spyware from an evil, evil porn site. Evil porn. :( Not to worry, long-time fans, I've been getting ideas for Blackadder Goes Forth and Jeeves & Wooster, so never fear! Bon appetit?
AUTHOR'S NOTES 2: I just realized that this resembles an L&O fic of mine that's on my computer, which was a rather fascinating concept. However, I can't remember the title, or where I've posted it previously, so blah. This is a single scene, unconnected to anything else, really, and is unbeta'd.

* * *

It was a very large computer, and the Doctor was looking at it curiously, a hand reaching up unconsciously to rub at his chin as he thought. The computer blinked a few more times, and the printers flanking the monitor burped out paper covered with symbols. Turning to the read-outs, the Doctor frowned as he looked them over.

Ace watched him, her eyebrows lowering. "Well, Professor?"

"I don't rightly know, Ace." The Doctor folded the papers along the creases and flipped through a few sheets. "None of these read-outs are really making any sense. It's as if the computer's sneezing them out."

"Sneezing them out?" Ace blinked. "Can computers do that?"

He glanced at her. "I don't know, but if I could figure out what's going wrong--"

The computer blipped.

The Doctor blinked, absently putting the sheaf down on top of the printer. "I say, I wonder if it's voice-activated." Approaching the computer, but not touching the controls, he looked up at the screen. "Hello?"

A melody began, what sounded like twanging guitars emitting from the speakers before a voice spoke. Well, not spoke so much as sang to them.

"I'm going up!" Other voices, similar to the first, repeated the phrase a few times before the first sang a long note, the melisma getting higher and louder.

The Doctor's eyebrows rose. "Well, that's unexpected."

"It's 'bout as bad as it could be..."

The Doctor blinked, his expression becoming surprised and mock-concerned. "You don't say."

"Seems everybody's buggin' meee..."

The Doctor nodded sympathetically. "I know what you mean."

"Like nothing's goin' to go my way / yeah, just ain't been my day / nothing's comin' easily..."

The Doctor frowned at the monitor, which had begun spitting out letters, numbers, and gaps. The characters and spaces scrolled past in a haze that made Ace's head hurt.

"Even my skin is acting weird..."

"It has skin?" Ace asked incredulously.

"Shh!" The Doctor waved a hand at her quickly, still frowning at the screen.

"I wish that I could grow a beard..."

"It would horrible, dear," the Doctor replied gently, looking down at the control panel and frowning at the buttons. "Wouldn't suit you at all."

"Then I could cover up my spots / not play connect the dots / I just wanna disappear..."

"Professor, none of this makes any--"

"Up, up, UP, can only go up from here..."

"And here we hit the refrain." He frowned at the computer screen for a second before raising an eyebrow. "Pause playback."

Abruptly, the computer stopped singing. The Doctor grinned, turning to Ace. "Come look at this."

"Professor, we have a talking computer that's singing at us, and we still don't know what's wrong with this ship we've landed on!" Ace protested.

"Ace, would you just--" He reached out and tugged her toward the control. "Something's damaged her memory circuits, and since this seems to be the only thing she can access, she's using what she can to tell us what's wrong."

"All right, but why is it singing?"

The Doctor shrugged. "I don't know. Perhaps a crewman had some songs programmed into his personal stereo. Who knows? She's singing us her symptoms, and that's the best we've got to go on."

"Professor, you keep calling it a 'she'," Ace said flatly, watching him as he cleared his throat.

"Wouldn't you?" He shot her a curious look. "Computer, continue playback." He paused, cocking his head to one side. "Ah, more verses. Excellent."

"Even somethin' as simple as, forgettin' to fill up on gas..."

"Really?" The Doctor looked up at the monitor, both eyebrows rising.

"There ain't no explanation why / things like that can make you cry / just gotta learn to have a laugh... And up, up, up..."

"And yet another refrain. Well, that tells us something. Computer, pause playback." He turned to Ace with an expectant look.

"That it can't remember to fill up on gas?" Ace frowned, not entirely sure she was getting it.

"If I remember my Earth popular culture correctly, she's referring to petrol. Something's wrong with her sensors. There's no fuel for the ship, and she has no idea why she didn't alert the crew."

"Or she didn't know there was any at all in the first place."

"Which means someone's tampered with the computer diagnostic system."

"But, Professor, who knows what other readings aren't right on this ship?" Ace asked, glancing at the control panel with a worried look.

"A very good point." The Doctor nodded approvingly. "And now, more of the song. Computer, continue playback."

"Ohhh, yeah, yeah, yeah..."

"Oh, wonderful," Ace muttered. "Now it's feeling sorry for itself."

"Shh." The Doctor said reflexively.

"When everythin' is going wrong, don't worry it won't last for long..."

The Doctor frowned, glancing at Ace. Ace frowned, not entirely sure what the look meant, but refrained from commenting.

"Yeah, it's all gonna come around / don't go let it getcha down / you gotta keep on holdin' on..."

"Rather odd philosophy," the Doctor murmured.

"What do you mean?" Ace frowned.

"For a ship's computer to have," he elaborated distractedly.

"It's 'bout as bad as it could be..."

"Which we've already heard," the Doctor said briskly, turning to Ace. "It looks like we've got a bit more of a problem than someone just tampering with the fuel readings and such."

"What now?"

"Someone's tampered with the computer herself. She's been programmed to think that someone else will fix whatever problem will arise."

"But all of the crew are dead," Ace objected.

"Exactly." The Doctor nodded. "The line about 'everybody bugging' her shows that the crew were trying to fix the problem themselves, but it seemed to take on a mind of its own."

"And got rid of the crew?" Ace could feel a wince coming on, anticipating the answer.

"Actually, no. I'm thinking it's whoever tampered with the computer and the fuel readings. When the crew ran out of fuel prematurely, they thought something was wrong. They tried to investigate, and when the computer exhibited a lack of proper concern, they tried to fix the computer manually."

"Fat lot of good that did." Ace muttered. "All the circuits are fried. All that's left is that stupid song and the life support systems."

"True, but wouldn't it be fun to find out who tampered with the computer?" the Doctor grinned.


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