Sunday, 20 March 2016

"The Two Bens" : Episode 5

Ben froze and stared at the familiar figure before him:
"Who the hell are you? Why are you impersonating me and using my name?" The alternate Ben flicked his golden hair back and stared sadly at Ben:
"I'm sorry Ben, I think I've underestimated how much of a shock this will be for you. I should have known. After all, I know you Ben. I am you Ben.
Ben sank down onto the bed and held his head in his hands for a while. Eventually he looked up:
"Ok, lets see if I've got this right; you are me in another dimension.... or rather from another dimension. You're an alternate me who has come through with this invasion force and that madman claiming to be the king. You're helping him. How the hell have you done this?"
The alternate Ben sighed:
"You're partly right. I am not helping him, quite the opposite. I've been trying to damn well stop him with my organisation Operation Alpha. Its a long story Ben, but the king has this vision for inter-dimensional conquest. He's using technology stolen from the Time Lords by the Cybermen and hidden away on earth."
Ben looked up:
"This is so depressing and disconcerting. Looking at you is making me question my self-worth. You are so good looking."
"What and you don't think I feel the same Ben? Your face is so handsome and well proportioned. I feel diminished in your presence. However I had to come to this dimension because what the king is doing is so dangerous that it risks the very fabric of multiple universes. He has built an unstable inter-dimensional interface rationaliser", the alternate Ben replied.
"What the hell is that? This must be what Clara Oswald was warning me about?"
The alternate Ben smiled:
"You have a Clara here too? I hope she's not as irritating as the version we have to endure. Anyway, the point is that this technology is not stable. It risks an interdimensional collapse and explosion."
Ben sighed:
"What are these creatures that have been appearing here and killing people? Anything to do with your crazy king?"
"Oh yes. They are the victims of his initial experiments testing the interface rationaliser. He removed people from your universe to our then sent them back. They should have been fine but the glitches in the system scrambled their DNA. They have now fixed that problem but the whole technology remains unstable as it was only ever built to use in short bursts. The king plans for permanent conquest", the alternate Ben replied. He also sank onto the bed and buried his face in his hands:
"You have no idea how stressful this has been. I could cope more easily with this job if I wasn't so alone."
Ben went over to him and put his hand on the alternate Ben's shoulder:
"Look Ben, I'm sorry to hear that. I'd have hoped that any alternate version of me had found happiness, not been continually let down and stabbed in the back by others, as I have. However you've got me now Ben."

Meanwhile Kyle and Shakey Jake were downstairs in the Blue Angel, waiting in the bar area. Kyle was enjoying a pint and chatting to Kian at the bar while Jake rolled a large cigarette.
"Ere Ben's takin' his time up there. We'd better see what's up", Kyle observed. Kian smiled:
"I'd give him a bit longer if I were you mate. Mr Chatham and his brother are probably enjoying our extra services and wouldn't take kindly to you barging in."
"His brother? Ben ain't got no brother".
"Oh? I just assumed that this was the cause of all the confusion."
"Nah , I'm goin' up. Cam on Jake, hurry up."
Kyle strode towards the stairs, followed by a grumbling Jake and puzzled Kian. As he climbed the stairs, he was shocked to see the two Bens appear in front of them.
"Kyle, Jake, there is no time now to explain. This is Ben. He is me. Just deal with it. We need to drive to London immediately. Kyle mouthed 'what the fuck' silently while Kyle shook his head:
"Hey man, this is really heavy shit man, " he mumbled.

Jake drove his van, the Love Mobile, as fast as he could through the driving rain heading for London. As they drove, Ben did give them a fuller explanation of why there were now two Bens. "So if there is an alternate you like then why ain't there an alternate me an' Jake?" Kyle asked. The alternate Ben sighed wearily:
"There are. However they have stayed behind as they are not as important as me and they have work to do at that end. There is also an alternate Katie Ryan, Joe Dyser and the rest. I presume you have them here?"
Ben looked up:
"There is no Joe Dyser in my team. Clearly some people only exist in one universe due to alternate histories. Which reminds me, why the hell are you ruled by a king? What about parliament? Queen Elizabeth II? "
The alternate Ben looked confused:
"We've never had a monarch called Elizabeth. The last Queen Elizabeth was Elizabeth Woodville, wife of King Edward IV and she was only a consort. I have a History and Archaeology degree, first class from Oxford."
Ben sighed:
"Oh no. Oxford's History and Archaeology departments pale beside those of Cambridge where I took my degree. Moreover, mine was pure Archaeology and therefore superior in terms of my chosen vocation as an archaeologist."
There was an uneasy silence before Ben asked Jake to put David Bowie's 'Blackstar' album on the stereo. Kyle and Jake looked at each other and both instantly saw the danger; what if the alternate Ben had found out about Bowie's death and told Ben all about it? Then again, had Bowie even died in the alternate universe? Ben's fragile state might not be able to cope with two huge shocks in one day. Jake placed the 'Blackstar' CD into the car stereo. He pressed the play button. They held their breath......

.......... to be continued.

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