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A Small Problem of the Clown Rejects Variety

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You know what could be one of the dumbest things they could be doing. They being Shooter and the Colonel that is. Well first off, when one is a musician and the other his stage manager, one would think they would have the common sense not to do something on impulse just mere hours before a show was to begin. Such as traipsing across time and space in a mini vacation. Yes that was risky because of a whole slew of factors, not to mention the potential of the time perceptions of everyone else on Earth not being what they expected.They could be gone what felt like a few hours to them when a year passed for everyone else. Alas the call to adventure whisked them away to another adventure.

Why not though? Time travel made it easy to take a mini vacation here and there whenever they felt like it. Hell they one time took a 3 day vacation to a big futuristic con of all things geek in the 132nd century. Left at one in the afternoon from Los Angeles and only one hour passed on Earth before they came back. That was definitely one of the cool perks of time travel. Allowed them to take a break from life and relax without none the wiser really.

What wasn’t expected this time around was alarms sounds suddenly blared just as they were headed back. That and the sudden rumble caught them by surprise. The Tardis lurched which caused them both to crash into the rails. The Colonel had told Shooter to hold on and when the Tardis made a sudden landing a few seconds later, he crashed into the Colonel with a sudden yell. This of course led both of them to the floor.

This was definitely not part of the plan, “What the fuck just happened?” Shooter exclaimed as he got up. It was only a half rhetorical question as Shooter got the feeling that they weren’t on Earth. The Colonel had already sprung to his feet and ran over to the console, but not before he swore of course.

“Fuck, come on you stupid piece of---” The Colonel yelled out loud as he frantically moved around the console as he tried to get the ship moving. They had to get back to Earth for the show. What the hell could be wrong with his Tardis now? Of course with his luck something like this would happen at an inopportune time. He let loose a string of alien cuss words in between the pleading the ship to work in English. Shooter may not recognize any of the alien cuss words (except for the few Gallifreyan ones the Colonel told him one time). but he sure as hell can tell when his friend is cussing up a storm.

Shooter watched his friend for a couple of seconds before he noticed something blinked on the screen It appeared to be a little red square in the corner with an exclamation point, “Uhh Jon?”

The Colonel was in the middle of another round of exasperated pleading and just about to kick the console in frustration when he heard Shooter. His latest string of not so family friendly words directed at the machine faded away as he perked his head in his direction. The way Shooter said it didn’t sound too good, “Yeah?”

“I think a distress signal is coming through.” Shooter said. The Colonel immediately ran over and took a closer look. Turned out the alarms wasn’t some sort of freakish malfunction but some distressed signal and they were on a planet that’s far away from Earth as hell.

The Colonel took a sober, matter of fact sigh, “Well we’re about 2,834 light years away….”

“What!?”

“We’re on a planet inhabited by humanoid aliens....and we’ve been brought here for a reason.” That was the only logical reason he could think of to being dragged off involuntarily. Another reason could be someone evil with a grudge towards time lords. Or hell the Gallifreyan elite themselves with a bone to pick but he didn’t think those last two were likely. Those corrupted governmental idiots probably forgotten he exists anyways. Hopefully.

“To help someone I’m assuming?” Shooter guessed. He figured it was a reasonable guess given the new information along with the blinking signal on the screen. At least it wasn’t Gallifrey. Not that he still had it bad due to what happened, it's been years since he was rescued by his friend. He just didn’t want to risk another unexpected flashback. That wouldn’t be good before a show. Not at all.

The Colonel turned to face him with a bit of an anxious tone. He felt like he wasn’t experienced enough as say the Doctor to handle this. But then again he was just as much of a Time Lord as he was, “Yep. I feel like they might’ve got the wrong Time Lord though.” The Colonel admitted the last part more like if it was an afterthought as he pressed a button and a video popped up.

The video didn’t really clear up on what calamity was going on exactly. Oh sure there were definitely signs there was shit to fix. It showed people running and yelling. General chaos under a blue sky. But another problem was that it wasn’t clear what was attacking the people around here. It wasn’t something ok the sky obviously. No killer birds or evil scary dolls in the street or whatever. They expected something to come on screen around one of the corners of the buildings but no pants shitting horror appeared. Clearly they had to go out and investigate.

“Or help save everyone. Thing is I’m blanking out what could be going on.” The Colonel admitted. He looked at the console to start a scan. Maybe that’ll pick up something.

“Well you got me dude, maybe killer alien clowns?” Shooter suggested, he just said the first thing that came to mind. Which was antagonists from Stephen King novel apparently.

“Hopefully not.” The Colonel said. A beep from the screen broke the terrifying thought. The scan didn’t tell him exactly what the hell is going on frustratingly enough. But at least it told them where it was happening. Good enough info to start from and hopefully it won’t take them too long to fix. But the latter was more wishful optimism, problems never seem to be easy to solve when a Time Lord is involved. Or maybe that was just the Doctor specifically.

The two went to go arm up with laser guns before they headed outside into the chaos. Wouldn't do any good to go out with morning to defend themselves, “You’re ready Shooter?”

“Yeah, you?”

The Colonel gave a soft but audible breath, “Not sure, the Doctor more experienced with this shit then me. Or at least from what I read about him.”

“Well..I don’t know for sure cause I never met him…..but you got this Jon, I trust you completely!” Shooter reassured his friend. A part of him now felt pumped up to take whoever the bad guy was. But most of him was hoping that they will fix this quick enough to get back in time without too much worry. This was one of those shows that it would be a good idea not to miss. It was a tribute show to the legends of country music who influenced and changed it in some way. And he was going to perform a duet with Shelton along with a couple of solo performances.

The Colonel nodded, that was true. He is just as much of a Time Lord as the Doctor. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he is a pro with this kinda situations, “We just have to hope this won’t take too long.”

“Yeah.” Shooter agreed. The people around them were still running, no one seemed to notice they were there really. It was understable, they were worried about keeping their hide intact. But then again they would’ve guessed they would run into the person who sent the signal to explain stuff. Which came into reality a minute later and Shooter felt he thought too soon.

One of the aforementioned humanoid aliens approached them, it was obviously a female member of the species. Little taller than the Colonel and skin light shade of purple. Shooter noticed her hair looked more like feathers than anything. It was a deep, richer shade of purple and it matched the sporadic diamonds like spots she had on her face and arms.

Of course like the other people around them she was pretty frantic in talking to his friend. Thank god for the Tardis translation system otherwise he would’ve felt kinda awkward listening and not understanding anything outside of making an educated guess based on their body language and the utter chaos around them

“Oh thank god you got my message! We desperately need your help and...wait you’re not the Doctor?” The panic on the lady’s face momentarily turned into confusion.

“No I’m not,” That just plain as hell proved it his expectations. People just tend to want the Time Lord that’s well known for saving the universe (and Earth) a million times over instead of someone that wished he was born a human. He isn’t bothered by it truthfully, it just is what it is, “But I’m a Time Lord, we can still help ma’am.” He finished confidently with a comforting smile.

“Oh thank you!” The lady seemed relieved and she didn’t seem to care either way., just that someone was there to help.

The lady explained how it all started just a hour ago several blocks away. An alien ship had landed towards downtown and a group of aliens just straight up started invading and shooting everywhere. The police force had tried to speak to the other group first, but it quickly became apparent that there was a language barrier. The situation obviously derailed rapidly as hell after that point, She pointed towards northeast of where they were and the two boys quickly took off.

She had described the aliens as dried out mummified raisins and said they stood out compared to her species. That was definitely helpful information to keep in mind as they eventually slowed down to a part of the city that’d been quickly evacuated.

“Kinda feels like we’re in Combat Arms.” Shooter casually commented followed by a soft laugh as they stopped behind the corner of a building.

“Yeah no argument there.” The Colonel replied. Probably didn’t help much that the quick jump to that conclusion was due to them having a meeting recently in said game. Really it was just last night when when they had it and they ended up playing until midnight afterwards. It was just that fun of a game, especially when you’re playing with a friend. Or a group of them. Plus the empty streets and buildings amidst the faint sounds of shot firing further down did give off that vibe so that added validity to Shooter’s comment. He peeked his head around to scan the area for any signs of where the aliens could be. So far there was none.

“You know that would be a badass fireteam mode to the game, you have to battle against an alien invasion.” Shooter continued on his train of thought on the comparison, “Or maybe an elimination mode where one team are the humans and the other team are the aliens! I think I should contact Valofe about this idea when we get back.”

“You could. Honestly that sounds like a great idea. If the game has a zombie mode, then why not aliens?” The Colonel commented, he did thought that would be a fun as shit addition to the game. He had faced Shooter for a second when he spoke before he turned around the corner to scan the area with his sonic screwdriver.

The Colonel turned back towards Shooter several seconds later as he looked at the device, “I think we may be a bit too far still but we’re getting closer, come on.” He said before he started to run around the corner and down the street as carefully as he could. Shooter followed afterwards and they cautiously walked down the other side of the street. The sounds of guns firing sounded closer now as they moved down the blocked. Around the corner there they could see some of the police force just up ahead. They fired back and kept it up at what must be the invading species.  

From this vantage point they were still able to get a good look at the invading aliens. They looked just like what the lady told them they would. They indeed looked like if someone wrapped up some dried out raisins before mutating them somehow to killer aliens. Killer aliens that also dressed up colorfully. In a way that was instantly amusing to Shooter.

“They look like clown rejects.” Shooter kept his voice down while he chuckled a bit. Sure they were far away enough that there isn’t any way they will hear him (unless they got supersonic hearing), but he didn’t want to risk anything and fuck up shit more by accident. He’ll feel bad if he’d did that.

The Colonel took another quick look and conceded to Shooter’s description. They did looked like really low budget evil killer clowns. The sight also made him laugh. They were caught up in the moment until a sudden phone ring brought them back to reality. It was from Shooter’s phone. The two looked at each other with semi confused looks. Fuck who could be calling at a shit filled time like this? Well to be fair it could be Jessi or Kris wondering where they hell they were. Which was a legit question considering.

Shooter took out his phone and they both looked at it. It was Shelton who was calling instead, “Hello Shel--”

“Where in the goddamn fuck hell are you two!?” Shelton immediately yelled (The Colonel had since upgraded his phone to intergalactic calls as well). That kind of reaction was to be expected seeing how they were suppose to be at the It was right into Shooter’s ear too since he had his phone up against it. The intensity of the yell reminded him of whenever he got into trouble with his dad back in the day, “We got a big tribute show in 20 fucking minutes!”

“Ok first off dude ow..second we didn’t come here willingly!”

“What the hell do you mean by that?!”

The Colonel meanwhile had been keeping an eye on the shooting going on. He suddenly turned back around and grabbed Shooter’s phone, “He means the Tardis been involuntarily dragged off course while we was heading back to Nashville.” He handed the phone back to Shooter while he continued, “You stay here and explain everything. I’m gonna go and see if I can calm down shit as quick and peacefully as I can.”

Shooter watched the Colonel disappear around the corner before he got back on the line with Shelton, “So that kinda shit can happen?” Shelton’s confused but calmer voice came through after a second of silence. In all the times they both traveled in time and space with the Colonel, they never experienced being taken forcefully to another place like that. And that’s not counting Shooter’s first experience to another planet. Definitely not counting that.

“Yeah. We were brought to a planet full of purple alien dudes that needed our help. Evil alien clown rejects are attacking, or at least a small group. We’re over two thousand light years from Earth to answer your question.”

A few seconds of silence followed before Shelton replied, “Are you trying give your mom a heart attack?”

“No, wait is she worried? She’s probably worried.”

“She was the one asked me where you and Jon were in the first place dude.” Ok his mom was definitely worried then. That part made him feel bad. Even though he knows she trusts his friend, he still didn’t want to worry her too much, “So is my old man.”

What?!” Shooter was just glad he was on an empty street. His reaction to that bit of news came out a bit more loud than he’d liked. And it made sense too, of course Shelton’s dad would be worried too. Shooter was just wondering how’d they handle that since Hank Jr still thinks the Colonel is Jon from Kentucky.

“He wanted to wish us good luck with the duet and couldn’t find you. Don’t worry he thinks y’all are stuck in traffic somewhere.”

Shooter sighed a breath of relief he didn’t realized was there, “Is my mom with you?”

“No she went with my dad to help ‘look for you’. She had to put on an act cause dad also asked about your whereabouts. And don’t worry about me, I’m in a storage room in the least populated part of the Opry so nobody can overhear us.” Shelton stated right before he and Shooter on the other end heard knicks on the door. Knocks that sounded like the beginning notes of Good Hearted Woman.

That was a interesting choice for a secret password of sorts. He can hear the door opening and a voice that definitely belonged to his mother. Jessi was back, obviously. He was about to say hi when he heard rapid running. The Colonel suddenly swung around and grabbed Shooter by his hand and continued down the sidewalk.

“Whoa! What’s going on? Are the killer clown rejects after us?”

“No, better. A way to quickly stop them!” The Colonel announced with a happy, confident smile. They ran onto another street and soon stopped in front of what looked like an radio station. An alien one.

“Are y’all ok?! What’s going on?” Shooter can hear her frantic voice. The Colonel had meanwhile opened the door and ran inside. Shooter can hear him moving things around and

“We’re fine mom. We’re just unexpectedly helping a planet with a small invading problem. Jon said he got a plan to stop them….I’m not exactly sure what that is.” Shooter said as he stood in front of the doorway inside. He put his phone on speaker as he walked over to where the Colonel was. He was currently rewiring something on the main console , “How are we gonna stop them?”

“Radio frequency. One of the police dudes told me the clown reject’s species have a weakness, a specific high pitched sound wave that makes them susceptible to anyone demands.”

“That’s great! Y’all got 15 minutes before the show starts.” Shelton stated.

“We’ll be back in 8 minutes!” The Colonel replied.

“Alright I’m holding you to that space dude.” Shelton simply said before he hung up. That was cool they were helping out a planet don’t get him wrong. It was just the the timing of everything that was making him worried about things.

“8 minutes? Are you...I mean I hate to doubt a member of a highly intelligent alien race…” Shooter started to feel a bit anxious now about getting to the show on time.

“Just trust me. I don’t want to miss the show as much as you do. Could you turn on the the mic please?” The Colonel asked. He was still moving wires around and using his sonic screwdriver to put them in their new places. He hopes this would be enough to produce the sound needed. Thank god there was an easy solution to this whole mess. One that won’t end in people killed.

Shooter looked around for a second before finding what looked like the right one. He saw a light blinking on above so he was probably on the right tract by his observational guess. The Colonel finished a second afterwards and stood back up. He was satisfied with the light on before he pressed another one.

After another two seconds he turned to Shooter, “I’m gonna see if it worked. You’re gonna stay here and be the one to tell those reject fuckers to get off this planet.”

“Alright I can do that.”

“Great! Wait for my call before you start.” The Colonel added before he ran out of the station. Shooter checked the time on the his phone. They got about 4 minutes until the 8 minutes is up. Almost a minute later Shooter’s phone rang and the Colonel’s joyous voice came out, “It worked! Do it now Shooter..”

Shooter proceeded to lean into the mic and put on his best authoritative voice, “Hello this is Shooter Jennings and welcome to me telling all of you killer clown rejects to get the fuck back into your spaceship and get the hell off this planet. Go back to wherever dark corner of the universe y’all came from and stay there for all eternity or face the wrath of the coolest, most badass Time Lord in all of the universe! Leave now or face the Colonel!” Shooter paused for a few seconds before he got back on the phone again.

“How was that?”

“That was awesome.” The Colonel gave a soft laugh as he watched the proclaimed clown reject aliens go to their ship, “And it worked perfectly too! Head for the Tardis, I’ll meet you there.”

Shooter made a mad dash to the Tardis and soon enough both of them were inside. The Colonel had slid down on the railing before he jumped down and ran to the console. He pulled a lever or two and pressed a few buttons and activated the ship. He took the moment to catch his breath, for someone that didn’t really care to exercise all that much he did quite a bit today. The Tardis landed and the two walked out.

Apparently Jessi and Shelton were standing outside waiting for them. Jessi immediately ran up to give Shooter a motherly hug while Shelton looked at the Colonel, “One minute to spare.”

“Told you I can do it.”

“I’m just glad y’all are safe,” Jessi said with a relieved smile on her face. She turned to direct her next words at the Colonel, “You’re lucky Kris ain’t here, he’ll probably scold you to be more responsible. Actually he’’d probably scold the both of you. Next time wait until after a show before you go traveling around in space.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Sorry mom.”

“Oh I’m just glad y’all are alright and that you were able to help those people.

“Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to think of something so fast.” The Colonel laughed light heartedly, “One of the guys told me what those clown reject aliens were and I remember reading something about them in a book I came across so that helped.”

“Well that’s good.” Jessi said with a smile as they walked back inside. Shooter and the Colonel was just happy that everything worked out. They saved a town on a distant planet and made it to the show on time.