Episode 2: Song of the Sirens, Part One

Guest Star: Kate Winslett as Anne of Brittany

Stefania was worried to distraction. No, she was terrified. Her daughter, Rosemitra, hadn’t come home. It was dangerous to be out after dark these days, a young woman (at twenty-four, she was practically ancient in the eyes of others, but Stefania still considered herself young) all alone in the alleys. Any number of evil men could be awaiting her.

And that was exactly why she was here. If there were bad men out here that were a danger to her, what of her daughter? She’d heard stories about what the Turks did to little girls they took off the streets, and with the recent events...

“Rosemitra!” she called. “Rosemitra! Respondere al mama! Dove siete, fiore? Rosemitra!”

That’s when she heard the music. It was coming from the alley where the waterway cut through. Singing...the most beautiful singing she’d ever heard, and was that Rosemitra’s voice in with the chorus?

Stefania ran around the corner and breathed a sigh of relief. There, sitting with her feet dangling over the edge of the waterway, was Rosemitra. The singing was louder, now, enchanting, and Stefania had to concentrate hard to not be overcome by the beauty of the sounds. It was all around, and yes, Rosemitra was singing, too.

“Rosemitra?” she said. “Sei quello tu?”

Rosemitra turned, slowly and gave her mother a serene smile. “Hello, mama,” she said.

“Dios, mio, Rose, what are you doing here? I was worried!”

“It’s okay, Mommy. My friends took care of me. Can’t you hear them?”

“Yes, but—“

“shh, Mommy, just listen. Hear my friends?”


“There they are, Mommy!” Rosemitra pointed behind her mother, who turned, slowly...and screamed in horror as her little girl giggled at the grand joke.

The streets of Venice were quiet once again.

* * *

After a quick stop-off for "supplies" (read: cigarettes) the Cast boards the "time ship" of their new alien acquaintence. When Don shows up with a small arsenal, including a shotgun, rifle, and handgun, the Artist gives him a firm "no" and a brief lecture on what we DON'T do aboard his ship.

The ship arrives in Venice, 1509. The Artist informs the Cast that the Republic of Venice has just been defeated by France at the Battle of Agdanello, and that most of Europe is engaged in a war of aggression against the republic, in the name of the Church of Rome, which seeks to win land for itself. The Cast also realizes that 1509 is smack dab in the middle of the Inquisition, and that they need to step lightly. They wonder again why they chose this particular time and place for their first trip out, and everyone looks at Chuck, who says, "Look, I just pulled something out of my ass. I didn't hear anyone protest."

Davan brings up the fact that nobody speaks Italian and the Artist explains "it won't be a problem," but then gets snippy when asked why, saying, "Look, I don't have to explain things to you. I'm an alien of vast cosmic intelligence. You're a talking monkey," thus displaying he still has a lot to learn about relating to humans.

The Artist shows them to the wardrobe area, where they all dress for the period. When they open the door, the smell of medieval Europe hits them full on, and Davan loses his lunch.

They step out into the streets, where they begin to explore the city. A man bumps into Davan and murmers, "Excuse me," then moves on his way. Davan starts checking his pouches until James points out that the guy just spoke American English. The Artist explains that no, in fact they are all speaking Italian, they just don't hear it that way. The Cast eventually manages to get it out of him that it's a function of his ship, somehow.

Before long, a herald walks down the street, clearing a path, calling, "Make way for Queen Anne of France, Duchess of Brittany!" The Artist is pleased; Anne of Brittany is one of the most powerful and influential figures in the world at this time, not just among women, but having power and prestige rivalling many men. The Cast reasons she must be here on a diplomatic visit regarding the defeat of the Venetian army. They also notice she's pregnant and just barely beginning to show.

As they watch her carriage, several things come to their attention. First, a woman is frantically moving through the streets, screaming desperately for someone named "Livia." Second, they hear for just a second the most beautiful music any of them have ever heard, which seems to be inside their heads, but originating somehow from a nearby alley, through which one of the waterways cuts.

Don and Emilie notice that while there are little boys running and playing in the streets, there don't seem to be any little girls at all, which is odd even in medieval Europe.

The Artist moves to talk to the woman, accompanied by James. Suddenly, Emilie's face goes blank for a second, and she murmers, "I need to check out that music. It's beautiful," and starts walking towards the alley. Davan moves after her, followed by Chuck. Don calls after them to stop. The Artist turns, sees this happening and tells James, "Go after them," reassuring James that he'll be fine on his own, he does this all the time.

The Artist approches the woman, using his psychic paper to convince her that he is the Archbishop of Canterbury, traveling in Venice incognito, and begins to question her. She talks about how her daughter Livia is missing, and she's afraid she'll become the next victim in a rash of disappearances of little girls all over the city. She blames the "bloody Sirens" in the waterways.

Meanwhile, in the alley, the Cast rounds the corner to see a lovely little girl with dark brown curls and big doe eyes, perched precariously on the water's edge and about to jump in. Davan leaps to action, grabs her, and pulls her away, despite her protestations that her friends, the pretty ladies in the water, were calling her to come play with them. Some of her other friends, other little girls in town, have already gone to be with the ladies in the water. Davan asks her name and she responds, "Livia." They tell Livia they're going to take her back to her mother, now, and that the ladies in the water are bad and she shouldn't join them. Don notices that there is a nasty undertow rippling the surface of the waterways; the little girl would've been sucked down like dust into a vacuum.

Emilie stops once she reaches the alley, looks around curiously, and says, "There's someone else here. I can't see them, but there's someone else here."

The Cast takes little Livia back to their mother, who is ecstatic and offers them a place to stay when in town, being always willing to help a clergyman. After all, it never hurts to have brownie points when trying to get into Heaven. The Cast shares a very amused moment at the Artist being the Archbishop of Canterbury and is impressed at his psychic paper, except Emilie, who simply says, "it's just blank paper in a leather wallet."

They accompany Livia and her mother home and view the sparse accomodations, then thank her, and decide to check out the alley again. Re-entering the alley, the Artist gets a "funny feeling," while Emilie announces, "They're still here, whoever they are." The Artist scans the area with his Sonic Screwdriver, and when he turns it on the water, the water begins to churn and bubble fairly violently. They take note.

Meanwhile, James notices a few thuggish looking gents hanging out at the far end of the alleyway and decides that's more along his lines. He goes to question them, Don in tow for backup. Rather than cooperating, however, the three thugs stand up, and three more step out of the shadows, surrounding Don and James. The thugs pull knives and demand their purses. A fight ensues during which Don, James, and Emilie are all stabbed (Emilie severely), three of the thugs are killed and one knocked unconscious before the Artist throws a flash bomb to break up the fight, and the remaining two run off screaming "witchcraft!"

James and Don throw the two dead bodies into the waterways, where the undercurrent sucks them down. They are so overcome by rage and adrenaline that they're ready to throw the unconscious man into the river as well, until Davan steps in and tells them that's not happening, that we do not kill helpless prisoners. There's a tense moment between the group, before everyone calms down and James says, "I want to question him anyway."

They bring the unconscious man back to the ship, propping him up so that he just looks like a guy who's had too much to drink, and tie him up. Don and Emilie retire to the Zero Room to recover from their wounds. The Artist decides to build a clockwork girl, using psychic control chips from his TARDIS to mimic a human psyche. With the help of Davan and James, he gets the mechanics in place, and with the help of Don's Restorative Art skills, makes her look fairly lifelike.

They question the thug, who it turns out is in fact just a street thug who knows nothing. They put the fear of God into him (literally, pretending to be agents of the Inquisition), knock him out again, and dump him back in the alley. While in the alley dumping the Thug, Don, Davan, and James hear the music again, and for just a moment Don is compelled to stand and listen to it. They return to the TARDIS and inform the Artist.

Work on the clockwork girl is completed shortly after dark, and they venture back out into the streets, where they now hear that music again, this time filling the entire city. The clockwork girl springs to life, struggling to get to the music, and the Artist puts her down. Emilie's face goes blank again, and she begins to walk like a zombie towards the alley, as does James. Davan notices in the distance, a cloaked figure also moving slowly towards the alley, and after informing the Artist runs to follow while Don and Chuck smack Emilie and James around until they snap out of their trance. Both explain they felt like they had to go to the music. They resume following the clockwork girl, who is halfway to the alley.

In the Alley, Davan notices the cloaked figure standing at the edge of the waterway and, assuming he or she is about to jump, runs over and grabs the figure, who begins struggling immediately, screaming, "Get your filthy peasant hands off me, you lowly cretin!"

The hood falls back to reveal the beautiful red tresses of Anne of Brittany, who immediately demands to know what she's doing in the alley and why the Cast has brought her there. As the rest of the Cast arrives on the scene, they manage to convince her that they didn't kidnap her and they get her to remember the music wafting into her bedchambers, compelling her here. The Artist shows her the psychic paper and identifies himself as the Archbishop of Canterbury, and she scoffs, saying, "I'm not an uneducated peasant. Your blank paper will convince me of nothing. Besides, I've met the Archbishop of Canturbury, and you are not him."

Apparently, the Artist notes, the queen of France is a latent psychic.

The Artist and Don move to look in the water, when taloned, pale hands shoot up out of the canals for their throats. Don falls back out of the way; the Artist isn't as lucky and the talons dig into his neck. He can feel poison in his veins as they cut through, and then to his horror, the rest of the body reveals itself as the face of a little girl, covered in grime, muck, and filthy water, with glowing blue eyes, emerges, moving towars the Artist and whispering, "Kiss me."

Don tries to pull the hand away to no avail, when James reveals the Louisville Slugger he'd hidden beneath his cloak and smacks the little girl in the face, sending her back into the water. Just then, what appears to be dozens of little girls, dripping with muck, sewage, and filthy water pull themselves out of the canal. The Cast notices they've all grown gills. In addition to the little girls, strange, amorphous glowing blue shapes rise from the water.

They begin to sing. The Cast turns to flee, with Davan hastily offering his services as escort to Anne, but Don and Chuck are overwhelmed by the singing, no longer seeing horrific mockeries of young girls, but beautiful voluptuous women. They kiss the women and feel their souls being drained away.

James saves Don, and Don in turn wakes up Chuck, and they run.

As they make their way, led by Anne, towards the palace at the center of town where she and her entourage are staying, the song of the Sirens follows them, pulling at their psyches even as the small army of horrific children bears down on them. In their heads they hear a message:

Join the Sirenas. Give us your bodies and save us. Kiss us, play with us, and join us!

The Palace looms around the corner and they make for what they hope and pray is temporary safety...

Memorable Quotes

The Artist: "You're not bringing those on my ship."
Don: "But they could be useful."
The Artist:"So could a nuclear bomb, but you're not bringing one of those either."
-on guns
James: "Do any of us speak Venison?"
Everyone Else: "That's Italian."

Davan (putting on hose): "You laugh all you want, but you just watch me pick up chicks dressed like this."
The Artist: "Syphilis is rampant in this age. Did I mention that?"

Davan: "Nothing on my plane ever, ever, EVER smelled like that."
-on the fragrant aroma of Venice

Chuck: "Hey, he asked where we wanted to go. I just pulled something out of my ass."
Don: "That would explain that smell."

The Artist: "I'm... ummm... er.... The Archbishop of Canterbury! From England."

The Artist: "Well, a place to stay would be nice. We've taken a vow of poverty, so we can't afford an inn."
James: "Wait until he tells Davan about the vow of chastity."
Davan: "The hell you say!"

Davan: "Why can't we just sleep on the ship?"
The Artist: "What, and miss all this local color?"

Davan: "We're the Inquisition. Yeah, that's it."

The Artist: "FLASH BOMB!"
Don: "$#!T!"

James: "They're going to burn us at the stake!"
The Artist: "Who are the guards going to believe? A common thug, or the Archbishop of Canterbury?"

Thug: "I swear, I'll go to Church every Sunday! Every Sunday! And three times a week besides!"
Davan: "And all the Saint's Days?"
Thug: "Yes! Yes! Of course! All the Saint's Days!"
Davan: "Good. God will forgive you, but we..." (makes the "we're watching you" hand gesture) "We'll be keeping an eye on you. Expect to see us again."

The Artist: "I'm the Archbishop of Canterbury."
Queen Anne: "That paper is blank."
The Artist: "Well, okay, maybe it is. But I really am the Archbishop."
Queen Anne: "I've met the Archbishop of Canterbury, and you are not him!"
The Artist: "Damn."

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