Of Course, It Is, performed by Jessica Martin
'Of Course, it is' was written for Fantom Events' Time Space Visualiser 3.
Here's the unabridged script.
The voice on the end of the telephone seemed more… sanctimonious than usual, but even though she was alone, the woman suppressed a frown. The act came with ease, being part of the job. She was somewhat of an expert at suppressing frowns. Even so, and despite her best efforts, her voice let slip a certain… Bristle.
“Say that again, Prime Minister.”
“You must stay inside Ma’am.”
The Bristle was about to get more pronounced, as Her Majesty counted to five before replying.
“Forgive me for being a little confused, Prime Minister, but at our audience last week, you told me the science was sound.”
There was a pause on the other line, as the other woman also counted to five before replying. This happened sometimes - as if the weekly discussions were a complex dance where counting and timing was crucial to avoid tripping over.
“It seems the science has changed, Ma’am.”
She looked out of the window at the cloudless blue sky. A single swallow crossed the frame from left to right, searching for the rest of its host. Other than that, there wasn’t a thing to be seen.
“So, just to be clear, instead of flying by at a safe distance – like you told meit would last week – the comet is going crash into England.”
Another pause. “Yes, Ma’am.”
“More specifically, into my back garden.”
Another pause. “Yes, Ma’am.”
There were no other words, so she fell back on the ones she used whenever Prime Ministers told her about impending doom from across the stars.
She took a sip of the drink that was a pre-requisitefor this type of conversation and was pleased to discover it was delightfully strong. “And when will this happen?”
There was another pause, and Her Majesty imagined the Prime Minister taking a strong drink of her own, the dance partners together in perfect step.
“About twenty minutes ago, Ma’am.”
There was an uncharacteristic raising of an eyebrow.
“I see,” she said again, out of habit. “I’d rather assumed that noise was a plane overhead. We do get the odd one or two in Windsor.”
“No Ma’am, but there’s one silver lining. It wasn’t acomet.”
“I’d also assumed that, Prime Minister. Given we’re all still here.”
The Prime Minister’s tone was that of a woman trying hard not to take offence. “I’ve been told the damage is minimal, but advice from the Security Service is you should stay inside.”
Her Majesty took another drink, as she heard a tour group laugh outside her window. She wasn’t quite sure why tours were allowed when she was in residence, andshe made a mental note to have Words.
“I assume you have your best people on this?” she said, hearing The Bristle in her voice once more. “The military…”
“Erm.” A cough. “Thames Valley Police, Ma’am.” Another, slightly overconfident, pause.
“They’ve sent a car over.”
“Have they indeed.”
A thought occurred to her as she glanced at the date of The Times on her desk. She was tempted to deploy a few more of her tried and tested lines.
“Are you sure that’s wise, Prime Minister?” Or, one of her favourites, “Your predecessor found my ideas worked well at the last few invasions, I recall…”
Instead, she stood and, even though the act was unseen, the Prime Minister immediately felt the message transmitted down the telephone line.
“Well, I trust you have everything under control, Prime Minister. Do keep me informed.” She replaced the receiver on its cradle a little too quickly and turned to the one she could trust with all of her secrets.
“Don’t look at me like that, Kelpie,” she smiled as the tiny dog came yapping at her feet. “Okay. Walkies, then work. Mummy has to play her part. Come along!”
Her Majesty walked a little too quickly across the grounds for Kelpie to easily follow, but the corgi did her best. Affairs of state were an amusing game, and the best ones – an invasion here, an evil scientist there – always resulted in a treat or two. So, she and her sisters did their duty, as her mistress did hers, and followed along like the Good Girls they were.
A faint Scottish voice on the wind outside stirred a memory and, as she stepped back inside, she bowed her head at the portrait of the Woman in White. To everyone else, it was a nondescript part of the Royal Collection from the late 1700s. To her, it was a reminder that the impossible was true. For she had met the Woman in White, over forty years ago, and remembered it as if it were yesterday.
She wasn’t Her Majesty back then, of course. Just Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor. Mechanic, truck driver, and covered in grease. She had found the Woman in White dressed in a strange bomber jacket, tinkering under the hood. The exchange had been swift.
“What are you doing?”
“Gordon Bennet! It’s you!”
“What are you doing… no… stop bowing… I said…”
They’d become friends that morning once they’d stopped laughing, until the Scotsman came and took her away. She’d watch them fade away in their strange blue box. After the coronation she started to receive The Briefings and it all made sense. Whatever her great-great grandmother had wished for the Monarchy, she’d always given the man the benefit of the doubt.
With Kelpie at her feet, she found the diary she was looking for. November 1963, and the words came flooding back.
Interesting audience with Sir Alec. Not often a rocket ship lands in one’s grounds, but all taken care of.Best be British and not make a fuss, he said. Doctor sorted, but keep an eye out in ’87. He’s set an alarm.Funny chap. Says he’ll sort it.’
The telephone rang, and Her Majesty’s back straightened as it always did.
Her private secretary sounded out of breath, and she felt The Bristle returning.
“You must stay inside, Your Majesty.”
“Not you, as well.”
“Small breach of security. Two people, a girl and…”
“Yes Ma’am. How did you know? We tried to arrest them, but they got away.”
The eyebrow raised again. “I see.”
“Thank you, Michael, that’ll be all. Leave them totheir business, I suspect they’ll be gone soon.”
“I’m sure you do. Oh, and Michael, two things.”
“Bring me the files from ‘63, and arrange tea with Lethbridge-Stewart, will you?” She could feel the penny drop on the other end of the line, and it was his turn to understand.”
“I see,” he said, as she put the phone down.
Her Majesty walked to the window with Kelpie at her heels. Outside her door she heard unnecessary and,frankly rather uncouth, running. She made another mental note to have Words, as she spotted the familiar blue box against a wall outside. She opened her handbag and, as was customary in times of crisis, dropped Kelpie and her sisters their traditional treat.
“Don’t worry, girls,” she said as the dogs ate their treats, staring back at her with love.
“There’s nothing to be worried about. It’s all fine.”
She scratched Kelpie behind the ears with a smile and looked back out of the window. The blue box had gone.
“The Doctor’s back. Everything will be all right. Just you see.”
“Everything’s fine,” she said. “Of course, it is.”