Challenge #01264-C169: Magic, and Dragons, and Watchmen -- Oh My!


The Doctor gets blipped to Ankh-Morpork. You must include all three of the title refs in the story. -- Anon Guest

Sam Vimes didn't trust the things that people normally thought of as trustworthy. He knew damn well that Von Lipwig, up at the Post Office, was a liar and a thief. But he had an honest face and a ready smile and a firm handshake... because that was what people trusted.

And then there was this fellow. He dressed like a nob, but one who had fallen backwards through his wardrobe in the dark. He had the kind of boots that could last several lifetimes and, by the looks of them, already had.

And, chief in Vime's little collection of red flags, this man had run towards the screaming. He flashed a little white card in a little black wallet at everyone and somehow got through the cordon guarding the Scene.

Vimes lit his cigar. "And what's that little white card got to do with you barging in where you're not welcome?" he challenged. But he was careful to do so in a way that only the stranger could hear.

He put the card and its wallet away. "I'm the Doctor, I'm a very nosy person and I like to help. What's going on?"

Sam indicated the Scene. An otherwise ordinary cobbled street of Ankh-Morepork. Except that about twenty people were halfway submerged in the cobbles, and ten more were halfway through the walls. And very... very dead. "You tell me," said Sam.

He wasn't a Wizard, because Wizards were naturally attracted to shiny things and dressed like a somewhat smaller version of a parade float. Yet he had some kind of glowing, buzzing wand that he used to wave all over every one of the bodies.

"Looks like quantum displacement and temporary flux in the phase reality," the Doctor said. "That's nowhere near your tech level."

Sam Vimes was unimpressed. "So how did you do it?"

"Are you going to be one of Them?" said the Doctor. "That obstinate figure in authority who ends up being the one who ignores all good advice and suspects the person who's trying to warn them?"

"I don't have proof you didn't do it, I don't know you, and the people who help the Watch in tricky situations usually do it so they can see where they slipped up." Sam took a drag, blowing smoke rings down the grizzly alleyway. They turned peculiar shapes as they went. "And I got no proof that you aren't that type, Mister. But I'll take any warnings you might have. What is going on?"

The Doctor had gone ashen. The shapes the smoke was making had clearly alarmed him. "Something wicked," he whispered. "The Draconin are coming here."

"We already dealt with dragons," said Sam. "That book is safely far away from anyone who might read it."

Sigh. "No. Not them. Well, not quite them. Rather a lot like them, actually. Just... try and picture a dragon with all the vile nature you see every day, with a natural instinct for evil and a general disregard for anyone who isn't themselves. And they have a fire that can evaporate stone."

Sam sucked air in through his teeth. Winced audibly in the way of all workmen about to face something very expensive. "We're not equipped to deal with them, are we?"

"You have magic here, instead of technology, right?"

"Er. Yes. But it's bloody dangerous and nobody trusts it."

"Eldrich horrors in a dark place? Soul-sucking, tentacles and other Lovecraftian nonsense?"

"Most of that, yes."

The Doctor clapped his hands together and rubbed them vigorously. He was a man about to enjoy his work. And, according to Sam, that was the scariest look of joy one could get with angry eyebrows.

"Right," the Doctor said, cracking his knuckles. "Let's see what we've got to work with..."

Sam didn't know whether to be terrified of these Draconin... or for them.

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