Gunfighter Gothic: Rubber Suited Monsters (A Tribute to Doctor Who) (2013) – Written by Mark Bousquet – Atomic Anxiety Press.
Now available for the Kindle, a Gunfighter Gothic story that pays tribute to Doctor Who in the wake of “The Day of the Doctor” and Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.
After the events of “Thanksgiving at the House of Absinthe & Steam,” Hanna and Jill have been not-so-delicately asked to leave London. Stealing a steam carriage from the demon hunter Charles Francis Poseidon, the women of Gunfighter Gothic end up being pulled through time to the 44th century, where Bellingham, a time traveling British spy, operates out of the Last Cathedral, a space station much smaller on the inside. Time is broken and one of the women is split into eleven distinct duplicates, forcing the other to save both time and her friend, all the while fighting a variety of strange monsters seemingly ripped from a children’s show.
“Rubber Suited Monsters” is a parody tribute to Doctor Who, one of a series of tributes that will celebrate the works that have inspired Gunfighter Gothic.
My Gunfighter Gothic series is a weird western, starring Hanna Pak and Jill Masters, though increasingly the stories don’t take place in the west. The former is the lifelong friend and ex-servant of the latter, but divorced from their Boston home, the two women now stand on equal footing. Working together as a pair of supernatural investigators, the Gunfighter Gothic calling card promises the two women will “Shoot the Weird in the Face.”
Here is a sample of RUBBER SUITED MONSTERS, which could easily have been titled THE ELEVEN HANNAS:
In the 44th century, the Last Cathedral floated in orbit around a dying Earth. There were still people scraping out an existence all over that world, but floating above it was a small group of four people: Queen Isabel, the queen of a country that had exiled her to space; Miss Tennyson Feathers, the Queen’s executive assistant; the Apothecary, who dispensed weapons more than medicine; and Bellingham, a time-traveling secret agent from the future who had decided for reasons unknown to his companions to make his home in the 44th century.
The Last Cathedral was a massive station, but only Miss Feathers had interest in exploring it. The Queen of England spent her time holed away in fear of her life, only letting “herself” out via robots she controlled from her lair. The Apothecary was almost never seen outside of the Armory, and when he was, it was because he was lost. And Bellingham was usually either off saving the world at some different point in time, or he was locked away in his quarters with a gorgeous woman that had helped him save the world.
Miss Feathers had noticed that, and wondered if perhaps Bellingham only saved the world in times and places when attractive women were in abundance.
With high-ceilinged, metal corridors and rooms that seemed to go on forever, Miss Feathers did not know if she’d ever visit the entire station, but it wasn’t her job to sightsee, it was her job to somehow keep the Queen and Bellingham functional. Looking down a long hallway, the windows on her right showed the Earth spinning beneath them, while the doorways on her right led to rooms that led to rooms that led to rooms that at one point housed an entire crew. Smartly-dressed in a white and blue business suit, thick-framed glasses, and finely coifed blonde hair, the 32-year old British Midlander did sometimes wonder why she bothered to act like a professional at all.
This was one of those times.
“I can see you,” she said to the being at the far end of the hallway.
“No you can’t!” the Queen called back. “I’m hiding.”
Tennyson rolled her eyes. “Come out where I can see you, ma’am. Waddle waddle, as it were.”
After a moment’s hesitation, the head of a small penguin looked around the far corner. This was Queen Isabel’s newest alternate body, and it was partially for stunts like that her country had exiled her into space. What the Queen wanted more than anything was a night with Bellingham, but the secret agent steadfastly refused to give in to her desires and there really wasn’t anything she could do about it.
The Last Cathedral was his space station, after all.
With nearly fifty feet between them, Miss Feathers was perfectly happy to stand in place and watch the small penguin waddle all the way-
Her view of the Queen was interrupted when a holographic image of a woman’s face with wavy, brunette hair appeared in the air between them. There were waves of blue and green energy on either side of her head, and they seemed to be pushing that face directly towards Miss Feathers. Tennyson thought it was like looking down a rabbit hole, and in seconds the image of the woman’s face was gone, replaced by a central darkness around the energy.
“What is it?” Queen Isabel asked in a squeaky voice.
“It’s not breakfast, ma’am,” Tennyson remarked. “I think you should go get Bellingham now,” she instructed, but before Isabel could waddle away, something fell out of the black hole to land with a painful thud on her butt.
“Ouch,” the dark-haired woman said, looking up at Tennyson, then looking to her right at the nearest doorway, and then finally to her left, where she could just see over the bottom of the window to see the Earth.
“Finally!” Jill yelled, pumping her fist.
“Excuse me?” Miss Feathers asked.
“This is space, right?” she asked, pointing to the Earth. “Last time this happened, it was Hanna who got to go to space. Or pretend space. It’s hard to tell. About time I get to do it, though.”
Miss Feathers blinked. “Hanna? Are you … are you Jill Masters?”
It was Jill’s turn to be surprised. “I am. How did you know that?”
“Get her off my ship!” Queen Isabel yelled, waddling up the hallway.
“Is that a penguin?” Jill asked. “Penguins in space. Nice.”
Before the Queen could work up the proper amount of indignation, the tunnel screeched impressively, and then exploded in a not very impressive display of sparks.
“That was rather a letdown,” Jill remarked.
“That was your ride home,” Tennyson replied smartly, as if this happened every day. “Come along,” she ordered. “Let’s go find Bellingham.”
“Bellingham?” Jill asked, jumping to her feet. “Wait, am I in the future?”
“But … but I did not think that was possible,” she said, knowing there was a powerful collective at the end of existence called the Metronome that forbid anyone to move forward in time.
“It’s not possible,” Miss Feathers sighed.
“Well … that makes this seem like kind of a big deal.”
“Trust me, Miss Masters,” Tennyson said without turning around, “in these parts, time breaks all the time. Especially on todays. Now come along, I’ll show you where we keep the time glue.”
“You have time glue?”
Miss Feathers sighed.
“What’s her problem?” Jill asked the penguin.
“This is going to cause lots of paperwork,” the queen answered. “Also, no such thing as time glue. I think. I’ll be honest, they don’t tell me everything.”
Read the rest in GUNFIGHTER GOTHIC: RUBBER SUITED MONSTERS (A Tribute to Doctor Who).
Thanks for reading, all.