An hour ago she had been so happy, now she felt like she was running from the jaws of hell. Chung Zhen Juan ran along the dark alleyway as fast as she could. She could hear the Red Lotus gang members following her. She
was alone, no Silver Dragons about in this part of city. She’d regretted
nothing of course. Shou Zi Ping was the love of her life and even though he was
Red Lotus and she was Silver Dragon. She could not and would not let a mere turf
dispute between their gangs come between the love that they had for one another.
Chung Li Na hadn’t felt so nervous in her whole life.
It wasn’t everyday you got to meet your husband’s family, was it?
She hoped that they’d like her; she felt it was important to herself and Yin.
She hoped that they would welcome her into the family as Yin’s wife. She
was looking forward to seeing the family home on the planet Dang. She’d
never been there before, at least not as far as she could recall, but Yin made it sound like a beautiful place for a visit.
Maybe it was this life, she wondered. She’d
never really been one for domestics in all those years before, now she couldn’t be happier sharing her life with the
man she loved.
She’d done her very best to prepare for the moment.
She’d bathed in sensuous oils and scrubbed her skin until it glowed. Then
she’d painfully plucked her eyebrows carefully into shape. She’d
shaved legs and armpits once more then waxed them afterwards to make sure she looked and felt her best. She’d also done her hair into a simple cascading waterfall and finally slapped some make up on her
face to bring out her cheekbones and eyes to the best effect she could manage. She
knew she was probably trying too hard, but she knew Yin would like it and she didn’t mind the little transitory pains
if it meant Yin’s family loving her from the moment they laid eyes on her.
To complete the image she’d forgone the safety of a trouser suit and put on a simple,
brightly coloured dragon pattern dress, she had to admit it did wonders for her figure, showing off her thin waist and hiding
her huge fat ass. She’d completed the look with traditional looking earrings;
that felt like large lead weights had been tied to her ears. However in the mirror
the woman she saw was Chung Li Na, devoted wife. She liked this, it felt right. Underneath she was still the Doctor of course, but Li Na was who she was now, a name
to hide her true self behind and an identity to disguise herself like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. “How do I look then?” She asked Yin’s opinion
of her outfit.
Yin was making the coffee when Li Na entered. “You
look gorgeous; they really won’t know what hit them.”
Zhen Juan was sure she had outrun the angry gang bangers.
She was back in Silver Dragon territory now. They might follow for half
a mile inside of the enemy prefecture but no more. She headed home in a circular
pattern, making sure she was not followed and her identity marked. The last thing
she wanted was to threaten Zi Ping’s life. Once this silly dispute was
over then they could publicly declare their love. Red Lotus and Silver Dragon
could only benefit from closer ties.
She made it home just in time to be scolded by Grandmother Mai Ling for her tardiness.
“You are out too many times this week Zhen Juan.
A young woman like you should learn the ways of the family if she expects to have a happy future.”
“Yes grandmother, I’m sorry grandmother.”
Zhen Juan winked across the room to her younger cousin, indicating that her meeting with Zi Ping had been successful.
“Very well, now wash up before supper.”
Mai Ling shock her head as her granddaughter turned to leave.
“Yes grandmother.” Zhen Juan ran
over to her cousin to talk to her about her meeting with Zi Ping.
“Girls today.” Mai Ling tutted. In her day she’d been dutiful and learned the traditions of her family. Her musings were interrupted by the sounds of what could be an approaching storm. She looked around to see a great big blue cabinet appearing from out of nowhere in
the hall. Then it opened and her beloved son Yin stepped out of it. “Is that you, Chung Yin?”
“It’s me, mother.” Yin replied. “I’ve brought someone with me. My
“Is she nice girl?” Mai Ling asked.
“Why not see for yourself?” Yin said
as Li Na emerged from the TARDIS. This is she who is my wife.”
Mai Lin looked at the woman, she looked too pasty and thin but there was fire in her eyes,
and her breasts were not artificial like so many silly women these days. “I
am Chung Mai Ling, head of Chung Dynasty.”
“I am honoured.” The Doctor replied
and kneeled down. “I am Dr. Chung Li Na.”
Mai Ling smiled. “You are most welcome
in this house, daughter.” She hugged Li Na close. “My silly youngest son had a head full of stupid ideas when he left, now he has returned with wisdom
and a wife. I shall expect many fat grandchildren from you.”
“Many?” Li Na looked at Yin.
Yin laughed. “An old family joke.”
“Thank goodness.” Lin Na replied. “I plan on still being able to walk when I am your mother’s age.”
“When you are my age you will have a big family to look after you Li Na. I have two daughters and three sons. I have three grandchildren,
none who know anything. Luckily one still suckles on her mother’s milk
so she might still have hope of learning something. Other two granddaughters
are big disappointment to me; they do not learn the old ways from me as they should.
Their minds are filled with thoughts of young men and fashion.”
“That sounds perfectly normal to me.” Li
Na replied. “They’ll grow out of it.”
“Zhen Juan stays out too many nights. She
thinks I am a foolish old woman living in the past. She has boyfriend, I am sure
of it. She will make a mistake and ruin her life.”
“I look forward to seeing everyone again.”
Yin said to his mother. “Li Na and I are very happy together.”
“Go through to family room; see your new family child.
I fill talk to my son a moment.”
“Sure.” Li Na replied. She knew Mai Ling would need to talk to Yin about her, so she left, to meet the rest of her new extended
Mai Ling laughed. “This I already know. Your hearts are worn for all to see your love.
She is not of us but she has honour for our ways and respect for our customs.
She will be happy living in family home.”
“This is just a visit; she asked to see my side of the family. However we’re travellers, we visit other worlds, and sometimes we help people who have no one else
to help them. It’s our way. One
day we will settle down here, I am sure of it. She talks of children often but
it is difficult for us to conceive. It will take time before she is a mother
“It is not hard; man and woman get children very easy.
Too easy sometimes.”
Li Na found the others lounging around in a large communal room, most were watching TV. One young woman was breastfeeding her child.
In a corner of the room two teenage girls were whispering. They all looked
at her. “Good evening. I am
Dr. Chung Li Na, I am Yin’s wife.” They all jumped up and greeted
her warmly and somehow she ended up with the baby in her arms.
“She is very fussy; she will not always take breast milk.”
Li Na caught a glance of the mother’s breast.
“When did you last examine your breasts?”
“Before the baby was born, why?”
“I couldn’t avoid noticing that lump.”
“It came when the milk did. I thought it
a natural thing. There is no pain in it.”
“I have some medicine in my ship.” Li
Na replied as she examined the lump closer. “I’ll get it for you.” She took hold of the young mother’s hand with her own free hand. “There’s no need to worry. I’m a doctor,
the Doctor as a matter of fact.” She led her new sister into the TARDIS.
Yin and the others were waiting when Li Na and her patient emerged from the TARDIS. “What is wrong?”
“It was a benign tumour, luckily.” Li
Na replied. “I have broken it up with sound waves; her body will consume
the dead cell fragments now.”
“I tell you to go to clinic!” Mai
Ling shouted as she hugged her daughter. “You had cancer and you did not
know it. Luckily I have a daughter now who is a medical expert; this is a good
sign for our family. I have smart daughter who will give me many fat grandchildren.”
Li Na patted the young mother on the shoulder. “You
should have a mammogram in a few months time, just to make sure.”
“Thank you sister.” The mother took
her baby and carried her away, to put her to bed.
“Thank you.” Yin said to his wife. “I think you’ve made a great impression with my sister and my mother.”
“I just hope she doesn’t expect me to be some sort of baby factory.” Li Na said to Yin.
Zhen Juan felt awkward during the evening meal. Even
after telling her cousin everything, well not quite everything she was only fourteen and not yet ready to hear about sex. She regarded Uncle Yin’s wife, Li Na.
She was pretty in a strange sort of way. She was very pale skinned but
she spoke Cantonese perfectly, even slipping in a little mandarin every now and then.
She learned that Yin and Li Na were now travellers who wandered through the galaxy on a great
sightseeing cruise. Part of her wondered what that life would be like. She was nearly eighteen now and she wanted to see the rest of this planet and maybe other ones too one
However her lowly job for the family’s import/export company did not pay well and she
was still madly in love with Zi Ping, she couldn’t bring herself to leave him behind.
All the places on the import documents sounded so nice, so exotic. Instead
she was stuck here going nowhere fast. At least Grandmother Mai Ling’s
sweet corn soup made her feel a little better.
After the meal she made a point of talking to Li Na.
“So how do we rate?”
Li Na looked at the teenager. “How do you
“Do you like us?”
“Of course I do. You’re family.”
“That’s not an answer.”
“Yes it is. Family means a great deal to
me. All mine died, well it was a long time ago now, but the pain is still there. It never quite goes away. When my mind
is still I can see their faces, smiling at me. Happy times, I remember a night
my father and I saw a huge shower of meteors. I was about your age. They were orange and pink and green and blue, it was like a firework display that nature had made happen
just for the two of us.”
“I hate it here.” Zhen Juan replied. “I have a boring job, my family barely tolerate me, they say I hang around with
the wrong friends and there’s this guy…I’m friendly with.”
“A boyfriend?” The Doctor teased.
“Yes. He’s smart and funny and he
treats me nicely and he sometimes brings me flowers when I’m upset.”
Li Na put her hand on Zhen Juan’s forehead. “You’re
in love, aren’t you?”
“Yes.” Zhen Juan replied. “We’ve done it a couple of times too. He said
it proves how much we mean to each other. Don’t look at me like that, I
wanted it to happen. I really like him, but he’s a Red Lotus and I’m
Silver Dragon. They’re gangs, rival gangs.
That’s why we have to keep it a secret. If we didn’t then
things would get much worse. They’d kill him for being a traitor. I can’t let him be hurt because of me.
When this whole thins dies down we can use our love to bring a lasting peace between the gangs, maybe even one day
they’ll merge into one big gang, we’ll be the biggest gang in this part of the city.”
“I see.” Li Na replied. “A modern day version of Guys and Dolls.”
“What?” Zhen Juan asked.
“Oh just an old musical based on an even older love story. It’s all very tragic because of mistrust and teenage hormones.”
Li Na smiled to the younger woman and hugged her. “You did use protection,
“Of course.” Zhen Juan replied.
“That’s good.” Li Na replied. “Your uncle and I must have gone through boxes of them before we realised we
wanted to get married.”
“Eeuw. You’re like what? Twenty eight?”
Li Na smiled. “Honey, I’m over twenty
one centuries old.”
“My people are naturally long lived.”
“I’m a Time Lady, from the planet Gallifrey.
It’s a secret, don’t tell anyone. Now that we know each others
secrets, we have nothing to fear, except fear itself.”
“I need to sit down.” Zhen Juan said
Li Na looked around their room. “We’d
have more privacy in the TARDIS. These walls are very thin.”
“I grew up in this house. I learned very
quickly to develop a selective hearing.”
“It’s just…you know how enthusiastic I get…when we’re making
love. And your mother was very eager to push the whole baby making agenda.”
“I understand.” Yin replied. “You must have grown up in a very quiet house.”
“Lungbarrow? It was as silent as the grave,
you could hear a pin drop and it’d sound like thunder.”
Yin nodded. “We will make love in the TARDIS
and use this room only for the purposes of rest.”
Li Na smiled and hugged her husband. “Thank
you.” She all but dragged him into the time machine that was their home
Zhen Juan watched as Aunt Li Na and Uncle Yin slipped into their strange blue cabinet, which
allegedly was bigger inside than it appeared so. She snuck past it and carefully
opened the big door to the house. Outside she saw Zi Ping waiting for her.
“I love you Chung Zhen Juan.” Lao
Zi Ping hugged his girlfriend. “The others did not know that you were the
Silver Dragon they chased earlier tonight. I am sorry they disturbed our meeting
place, I did not expect they would return for hours.”
Zhen Juan kissed Zi Ping, she felt so happy being held in his arms. She felt like a woman.
“Ah, the happy couple.” Li Na said
suddenly. “It’s ok; she told me about you two.”
“This is my new Aunt, Chung Li Na.”
“I am honoured. I am Lao Zi Ping. I love Zhen Juan very much.”
“You’re risking a lot, being seen here.”
She ushered the two lovebirds into the house. “Step into my blue
cabinet of mysteries, we can talk in there.”
“I thought you and Uncle Yin were going to be busy.” Zhen Juan replied with a whisper.
“We are.” Li Na replied. “We plan on talking to you both all night. Be thankful
that we do not wake your parents about this matter.”
Yin looked at the young man, Lao Zi Ping. He
seemed nice enough but he knew that the Red Lotus was a criminal gang, as were the Silver Dragon. He still could not believe that his niece was involved in such things. “We
have a problem.”
“I do not intend to bring shame or dishonour.”
Zi Ping said quickly. “I love Zhen Juan with every piece of my soul. She is the one I will marry.”
Li Na sat with Zhen Juan. “He seems nice.”
“He is, he’s kind and he has the soul of a poet.
If he wasn’t a Red Lotus he would ask my father tomorrow for my hand in marriage.
Or I not a Silver Dragon. Alas my foolish choices have put me on a path
that distances me from my one true love.”
“What if I ended this dispute, between the gangs?”
“One against two gangs?” Zhen Juan
laughed. “That is madness Aunt. I
do not wish to lose you so soon after meeting you.”
“They’re only two gangs; I’ve brought down planetary governments in my time. I’ve defeated tyrants and sociopaths with delusions of godhood. I am known as the Doctor on a thousand worlds because I fight those who no one else can stop. I have a story to tell you, about a young man called Chang Lee…”
“Can’t you give all this gang stuff up?
Tell them that you wish to settle down with a girl. You do not have to
say it is my niece. You can say you wish to work honestly and earn real money,
not money tainted by criminal acts.”
“I steal a few crates from the docks.” Zi
Ping replied. “Not those of your company.
They are protected by the Silver Dragon. The Red Lotus does not dare touch
“Protected as long as my niece is a member of the Silver Dragon. What does she do?”
“She helps run numbers; she is very good at maths.
She is not like some girls who sell themselves, she is proper, respectable. That
is why I am in love with her; she talks of running away, so we can be together. I
tell her we should not be separated from those we love.”
“You care a great deal for her?”
“I would die for her, but I’d prefer to live for her. I want to give her a good life, she deserves it. I talk about
her moving in with my family, but she says her grandmother would never allow it.”
“You’re right, but just because my mother doesn’t allow it doesn’t
mean she won’t accept it. If it’s to happen then it happens. Of course you could move in to this house, it wouldn’t be so difficult. An engagement to her granddaughter would buy you much respect from Chung Mai Ling.”
“I could never kill someone.” Zhen
Juan said after a while. “I just run the numbers, it’s easy money
really. Of course I only see a fraction of it, barely enough to make my real
wages liveable. The family business may be doing well but I’m not.”
“You’re missing the point of my story. Chang
Lee left the gangs behind; he went on to live a very happy life. You can do that
too. You can settle down with a young man you obviously love and be happy together. You might even marry him when you’re ready too.
I’ve got some great ideas for wedding night lingerie.”
“Way too much information there.” Zhen
Juan replied quickly. “That last sentence was way too scary.”
“There’s nothing wrong about discussing sex.
It’s perfectly normal to talk about it.”
“Not with your aunt it’s not.” Zhen
“Who better than your cool Aunt Li Na? Seriously
though, if you’re old enough to do it, then you’re old enough to make sure you’re doing it right. Are you on top or is he?”
“I am so not having this conversation with you.”
Zhen Juan headed towards the door. “It was bad enough when my mother
tried to discuss it with me when I was fifteen.”
“Well there’s always your girlfriends I suppose.” Li Na replied.
“Yeah!” Zhen Juan replied sarcastically. “I know. We discuss guys all the
“Then my work here is done.” Li Na
stood up. “Let’s rejoin the boys, shall we?”
“Before I have to see a shrink.” Zhen
Mao approached the others. “It is as we
feared. Lao Zi Ping is seeing that Silver Dragon bitch, Chung Zhen Juan. We must vote on whether we put a hit on him or not.”
“He must be in love with her; why else risk everything over a girl?”
“She is Silver Dragon, she could persuade him to betray us to them.”
“Or she could be defecting to us. Either
way we need more information. We should bring him in and if he has betrayed the
Red Lotus then…no mercy.”
Mao nodded. “I will send three who I trust
not to talk.”
They finished their decaf coffees and Li Na and Yin offered to take Zi Ping home by a more
unusual route. Li Na located the young man’s home in the city and took
them back in time a few hours so that he got there at a respectable time. The
TARDIS materialised in a shaded street right next to his home and the look on his face was priceless. “Don’t tell anyone.” Li Na said with a laugh. “They wouldn’t believe you anyway.”
“You have a time machine?” Zhen Juan
asked her aunt.
“Of course I do.” Li Na replied. “I did say I was a Time Lady, didn’t I?”
Yin smiled. “You get used to it after a
while, it’s best not to think about it.”
“The trick now is to wait here until just before we leave and travel to just after we
depart, so it looks like we don’t leave.” Li Na explained things
to Zhen Juan.
“I need to get some sleep.” Zhen
Juan said to her aunt and uncle.
“First door on your right.” Li Na
said to the young woman as she reached the inside door. “It’s Mel’s
old room; she wouldn’t mind you crashing there for just a night.”
“Zhen Juan will not say anything.” Yin
“I’m not bothered about the TARDIS.”
Li Na snuggled up in her husband’s arms. I’m more worried
about this whole gang situation. One wrong word and there could be a major incident
and she does not need to get caught up in a street fight, too many guns and not enough common sense if you ask me.”
The TARDIS popped back into place mere moments after it had left, which had been hours ago. Li Na had set the ship on automatic while she and Yin spent a few hours in bed together,
keeping their own sex life night and healthy.
“So, do you like that thing?” Li
Na asked Yin.
“The thing where you…you know.”
“Oh.” Yin grinned. “Yeah, I like that.”
“That’s fine.” Li Na replied. “Some guys don’t apparently. You’d
be shocked to hear some of the things I overheard Nyssa and Tegan talking about. Or
Vicki and Barbara for that matter. Not so much the guys. Mike and John only ever talked about football. Harry once
went on for a whole hour about a fishing holiday.”
“It’s not a thing guys talk about, it’s personal. Something that stays in the bedroom.”
“Really?” Li Na replied. “You don’t talk about anything?”
“We’re not obvious, whip it out and talk about it people. We use code and metaphor, we only talk openly when we have real concerns and then it’s never mentioned
“Ah, no wonder Alistair started all those moody silences.”
Mao approached the house where that Silver Dragon bitch lived.
In his hand he held a simple Molotov cocktail. He’d smoke the whore
out or burn her to death. He lit the fuse and threw the bomb through the largest
window. He saw the room burst into orange and red before he ran away. The last thing he heard before running into a speeding truck was a smoke alarm.
“Everyone, get into the TARDIS.” Li
Na shouted. “Into the big blue box, now!”
“What is this?” Mai Ling demanded.
“I’ll explain later.” Li Na
“We will not all fit into this. Leave me. Save my family.”
Li Na bundled the stubborn old woman into the TARDIS.
“It’s bigger inside.”
Mai Ling hugged her newest relative. “Save
our family, daughter.”
Li Na went from room to room finding the rest of the family.
She found her middle niece hiding in a cupboard. “Come with me,
you would have died in there you silly girl.” There was only the young
mother and her baby left to find. Li Na kicked the last door down with a supreme
effort of will and slight physical strength. She saw the room was ablaze but
the family was alive. Li Na snapped her fingers and Time stood still, for just
a moment. More than enough time to rescue mother and baby though. She strode in between the still flames, picked up the Mother to her feet and then scooped the baby in her
arms. She carried both out of the room, before the flames flickered into life
again. All three made it into the TARDIS just in time before the house exploded
in a fireball.
Lao Zi Ping woke up as his bedroom door was kicked open.
“Wha? What is it?”
“Get dressed or we take you with us as you are.”
Zi Ping dressed quickly. “What is wrong? I was sleeping.”
“The Red Lotus demands answers of you.”
“Answers?” Zi Ping wondered if they
suspected. “About what?”
“It is not our place to know such things; we only know that you are the one who will
provide the answers the Red Lotus requests.”
“Fine.” Zi Ping muttered. “I could use an early morning walk.”
“The car’s outside.”
Li Na was too late. Mrs Lao was in tears over
the strange disappearance of her son. She said that he had come home early last
night and went straight to bed. “I heard noises this morning and he was
missing. I called the police but they will not do anything so soon.”
“Young men often go through mood swings.”
Li Na tried to soothe Mrs. Lao’s nerves. “Why don’t
I make you a nice cup of coffee?”
Yin sat with the rest of the family as he tried to explain the TARDIS to them. “This is a ship. It can travel many places. Li Na and I use it to visit many worlds.”
“You go to many places, but you do not come home nearly enough. You should be with your family.” Mai Ling was upset.
“It’s my life, mother, I will live it as I see fit to do so. My wife and I we help people. Like we did last night. She saved my sister and my nieces without a thought for her own life. Sometimes there’s no one else to save the lives of other peoples sisters and nieces. That’s why we do what we have to do. I’m still
a beginner but Li Na has been doing this for many years, plus we make each other very happy.
I’m so glad that we met and she agreed to be my wife.”
“You still do not come often enough.” Mai
“I’ll try mother, but no promises.”
“Hmph. It will have to do I suppose.”
Li Na followed the tire treads to a nearby warehouse.
It wasn’t a difficult trial to follow, they’d taken every corner at speed, and leaving so much rubber on
the road you could make a whole new tyre out of the remains. Lao Zi Ping was
inside, she was sure of it. She’d already dealt with one of the gang members,
a simple matter of releasing a handbrake and jumpstarting the vehicle. Now though
this required real thought. If she acted too soon then the young man would probably
be killed. To late and what was left of him would beg for death. She easily picked the lock and went inside.
“You were seen!”
“Confess your guilt.”
“You were selling out to the Silver Dragon.”
“Confess your crimes.”
“The Red Lotus shows its enemies no mercy.”
Lao Zi Ping let the questions wash over him as they zapped him again and again with leads
from the car battery. He dared not say a single word, in case it led to Zhen
Juan being hurt. Instead he let his gaze wander, until he saw the skulking figure
of Chung Li Na! He tried not to show surprise but he must have failed because
the others turned to look at what he was seeing.
“Hello boys.” Li Na replied. “I’ve come for what’s mine.”
“He is not yours, he is ours.”
“There’s a new gang in town.” Li
Na replied. “I’m taking over this city. You can either join me or be crushed under my heel.”
“This is madness, kill this woman at once.”
However the guns pointed at empty air.
“What is it with boys and their toys?” Li
Na asked. “I have a simple enough proposition, be with me or against me.”
Zi Ping watched as Li Na simply vanished only to appear next to the gang leaders.
“How can you fight one who has the powers of the ancestors?” She took their guns off them easily. “That’s better. Now the Silver Lotus will combine both Red Lotus and Silver Dragon territories under
a shared council. You’ll each work your old scams but you’ll be reporting
directly to me, or someone of my choosing. I’m a very busy woman, with
a lot of fingers in a lot of pies. I think Lao Zi Ping her and my niece Chung
Zhen Juan would make good intermediaries on my behalf. Don’t worry, under
my benevolent regime you each get an extra five percent share of the profits and as we move into more legitimate concerns
you’ll receive bigger cash incentives, after all the biggest corporations are just better organised criminals gangs,
we’re just going to be better at it than they are. I expect we’ll
be making profits in the billions within a decade.” She unhooked Zi Ping
from the crude torture device. “Unless you boys don’t want to earn
billions then you’re just too stupid for me to use. I wait your answer
and if it’s not a yes then I don’t want to hear it.”
Li Na smiled. “I knew you’d see it
my way. The Silver Lotus will own this whole planet, in time.”
“You did what?” Yin asked his wife.
“I trebled the size of the family business.”
Li Na replied. “Every scam, con and work in this city is now ours,
except we’re turning things legit. Going straight. Silver Lotus Shipping will become a vast monopoly on galactic shipping lanes. Your family is going to become fabulously wealthy. Mai Ling
need never worry about the future again.”
“You still better come see me often Chung Li Na.”
Mai Ling said to her new daughter. “And I want fat grandchildren.”
Li Na smiled. “Me too.” She looked at Yin. “I want to start a family.”
Yin nodded. “I suppose that means we’ll
never see the outside of the bedroom for at least a month.”
“Longer.” Li Na grinned. “Much, much longer.” She opened the TARDIS door
and went inside. She planned to do deliciously naughty things in bed with her
man tonight and every night.
“We’ll be back.” Yin said to
everyone. “Although I may have a hip replacement by then.” He followed his wife inside their home from home.
Solaria Prime echoed with the sound of a billion Solar Knights preparing for their invasion
of the galaxy. Overhead Solaria herself watched with pride as her horde of minions
neared readiness. Soon they would find the fly in the ointment and burn it to