Catastrophe Theory

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The Professionals Fanfiction
Title: Catastrophe Theory
Author(s): Jojo
Date(s): 2009
Length:
Genre: slash
Fandom: The Professionals
External Links: online here

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Catastrophe Theory is a Professionals story by Jojo

It was published in Never Far Apart #2 and is online.

Reactions and Reviews

Not only had I not read this story before offering to review it, I had not read any of JoJo’s work. Two evenings with the Kindle made me realise I would need to carry out some homework in the form of a Google search for catastrophe theory (which I still don’t understand), a re-watching of Wild Justice and some hard thinking!

At its most fundamental level, this is a good, long story. Jojo is an accomplished author with an innate ability to write about a complicated science in a way that is understandable and not overwhelming. She has recognised where the boys could be after the events in the episode and taken the story very skilfully from there. There is plenty of back story, dialogue and a happy ending. She has used a number of forms of “justice” (rough; natural; swift, etc) to divide the sections, ostensibly linked to each of the minor characters, which gives a good feel to the story and keeps you on track.

At times, I rather missed both Bodie and Doyle and their part in the story as it unfolds because it is Kate Ross and Jack Craine, in particular, who carry much of the substance of the story even though the boys feature as the main characters. So I guess this means that although these two in particular are “minor characters” they in fact have quite major roles to play. So, notable minor characters, in order of appearance:

Sally – I never thought she was Doyle’s type and clearly not over-intelligent if she thought for one moment they were both secretaries who took shorthand! Although perhaps that’s a little harsh as she did recognise the girlfriend .... She doesn’t last long, but appears to have recognised the friendship between the boys as possibly something more....

Frank – The guinea pig whose kidnap and murder set Doyle on the road to justice (and all stations to Bodie). A brilliantly crafted history to Doyle’s character-building childhood. A thoroughly deserved starring role and executed with panache! Other very minor characters in this sub-story include Doyle’s parents and sister, his head teacher and a number of school pals.

Jack Craine – With an apparent disregard for anything paper-based, Jack defends Bodie’s behaviour and clearly has no time for The Conference Room scenario. His reaction to Ross’s report (written at 23.30 much to Craine’s disgust) shows Craine’s primary stance as coming from the military end of the training spectrum, matter of fact, down to earth and simply not prepared to entertain any psycho-babble...

Jack is angry, impatient and volatile in his confrontation with Kate Ross as he fundamentally disagrees with her theory and suggested treatment. I’m not convinced his role in the episode would lead me to a characterisation of this nature, but I’m not a writer and in fact he is completely believable!

Kate Ross – I’ve never thought of her in a negative way even though in the episode she is the one dissenting voice among the other professionals (and a bit of women’s libber I always feel!). She gets short shrift from the others including Cowley, but sticks to her guns. She only has Bodie’s best interests at heart and, as it turns out, is quite right to be concerned.

Jojo introduces a relationship between Kate Ross and Jack Craine. I can’t say I’ve seen that in the episode, but why not? There’s a wonderful paragraph which has Kate’s list of eligible men with Bodie not featuring at all (that’s fine, he’s mine anyway), Doyle just scraping in and Murphy in the middle despite being described, by KR, as a very charming and warm-hearted brick. But it turns out that Craine is “pretty damned high on the list.”

Dr Philip Hedley – a very minor part barely worth a note.

Miss Jennifer Black – I really never saw her as Bodie’s type, but JoJo’s suggestion that she was “slumming” it with Bodie - her occasional gin-and-tonics with an ex-mercenary-turned-vigilante furious at being prevented from killing someone – rather explains it all for me! I do love the comment “ ... we women have Bodie problems ...” from the episode.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable, well-written story using a range of episode-related characters as well as plenty of invented ones. All the minor characters contributed positively to the substance of the story which would fall at the first hurdle without them.[1]
JoJo is one of my fav writers. She does an excellent job with her story and has a way of giving me the lads I love in her works.[2]
Sally – I never thought she was Doyle’s type and clearly not over-intelligent if she thought for one moment they were both secretaries who took shorthand!

Ha - see I quite like her, because I didn't think for one minute that she actually believed Doyle! *g*

Jack Craine - I can totally go with Jojo's characterisation of him here, I think we see hints in the ep that he's just like this! Impatient with psychology in general, and therefore with psychiatrists, very physical himself and sure that everyone should see the world just as he does...

Kate Ross - I worried she was being portrayed a little negatively in this story too, but she comes off well in the end, rather as she does in the episode, and I actually think this is pretty skilfully done!

Jennifer Black - I thought she was given slightly short-shrift in this story (as opposed to the ep). I've always thought from the ep that she had Bodie pretty well tagged, and that although she might not want to be permanently with him, she enjoyed him as a good time. I'm not sure she'd let Kate Ross really scare her off that - I think she'd be happy carrying on with her little bit of danger/slumming now and then, completely oblivious to the idea that he might really be dangerous for her...

Excellent point about the story being held together by the minor characters - it really is. B/D are gorgeous as well, and I love the glimpses we get of their relationship when they're together, and also through the other characters (who all seem to come to realise that there's more between B/D than they at first thought... *g*).[3]
Thanks for the nice and thoughtful review! I thought I'd chip in here, not to erm review my own story, but to explain a little bit about it. Hope that's OK!

It was actually originally written in five separate first person chunks. The first one I started with was Kate Ross as I always loved those interactions she has with Bodie and Doyle in the computer testing room. And I always wondered about her position within CI5, what she really thought of the organisation and the male agents. Cowley seems a little sceptical of her field of expertise and yet realises in the end she's key in the resolution of the "Bodie problem". I was interested in the slight clash of ideologies, the idea of old school military intelligence coming up against acknowledgement of things like PTSD and the mental health of its agents. And because I also love the 'conference room' scene, with Craine and the other doctor, I built the story up from there, with those characters featuring.

Then there are the 'minor' ones like Sally and Jennifer who, although have very small parts in the story, I wanted to give at least a grain of something other than girlfriend of the week. On a do-over I think I'd try harder with that. And yay! I'm so pleased you picked out Frank. I have a weakness for strategic insertion of animal characters - Frank in this one, 'Tiddles' long ago in a DIALJ round robin, and Thompson the neighbour's cat in Touch Sensitive, heh.

Re the lads themselves, I did have some fun with their backstories. It's not the only version of Doyle's family I've ever attempted (he had two sisters in another one!) and not the only one I like for him. The tearaway in Derby from canon is always there though! This may be the only time I've tackled Bodie's childhood, and although I like some of the elements (the wicked stepmother!) it probably leans a little too much towards the classic abandoned child trope *g*

I don't think I nailed their relationship actually, but then I never think I do! There's certainly not enough of them together...

During the review and editing process for Never Far Apart II I decided to ditch the first-person. Oh OK then. I didn't decide to, it was suggested and I agreed! I'm not sure if that shows… it might do. I'm not sure it's an ideal way to go about writing a story, although I have been known to change drafts from present to past tense sometimes (or vice versa!). Anyhow, I think it was probably the right thing to do for this one, although I must admit to having enjoyed writing the original draft, particularly being in Kate's head. I enjoyed her character a lot in the episode and would have liked to have seen her again.

And yeah - catastrophe theory. My use of a very basic, unscientific interpretation most certainly wouldn't stand up to scrutiny in either mathematical or psychological circles! [4]
I have always been (and will continue to be) in awe of anyone who can produce the work that I’ve had so much pleasure reading, particularly accessing through Circuit Archive and more recently, AO3. There is most definitely no book inside me, waiting to get out, so I am a confirmed reader only!

However, I am very lucky to have a part to play as a beta reader and this gives me huge enjoyment. I’m sure I get out of the role far more than I put in. Having said that, I tend to beta intuitively and usually miss changes of tense or points of view moves – except where they prevent the flow of the story. I certainly didn’t have a problem with Catastrophe Theory from that standpoint. This is a story which was no hardship to read twice in quick succession and will be one that stays on the Kindle.

I too loved Frank and his role, which is actually quite key to Doyle’s future, and gives your story a human as well as comedy element – and beautifully written. The dialogue I highlighted where Bodie is in Kate’s office makes me laugh out loud every time I read it.[5]

References

  1. 2012 comments at CI5hq; archive is
  2. 2012 comments at CI5hq
  3. 2012 comments at CI5hq
  4. 2012 comments by the author at CI5hq
  5. 2012 comments at CI5hq