- LORD TIME Divided into thirteen chapters, each with it's own link. CHAPTER BY CHAPTER - LT1 LT2 LT3 LT4 LT5 LT6 LT7 LT8 LT9 LT10 LT11 LT12 LT12b LT13
I did not know death was so strange.
(Edwin Muir. 1887 - 1959. The Child Dying. Collected poems.)
LORD TIME CHAPTER ONE - BORN AND BORN AGAIN.
Doctor Meux couldn't tell where the Motherís final death cry ended and where Ichabodís first breath and cry of life began. He cut the umbilical cord neatly, and took the fragile, very light, breached and premature infant gently in his arms and took him to the emergency incubator he had already prepared at the other side of the operating theatre as the nurses prepared the Mother for her journey to the mortuary. Ichabod was born only five months after being conceived. Most female Time Lords carried child for twelve months.
Pregnancy was actually quite a rare phenomena among Time Lords. On their home world of Galifrey itself, pregnancy was virtually impossible. The Pythiaís brutal curse of barrenness and sterility , uttered on her descendants at an ancient time when myth was only just evolving into history, had taken its toll on each successive generation. The majority of Galifreyans were conceived and raised through neonatal stages of development in laboratory test tube cultures. A handful of Galifreyan women however, had been visiting other worlds, especially the Lajoxian relaxation colonies on a small kasterborian asteroid where Time Lords often went for vacations at the time when the terrible curse began to take effect. Lajox was very much a home away from home, with the benefit of low gravity plenty of warm sunlight and the finest, purest sands in the known Universe. The beaches never got too hot and the sand never burned the feet as the Time Lords walked on them. The fresh water oceans were as warm and inviting as any carefully heated swimming pool.
When it was officially recognised that the women visiting Lajox had retained their fertility the curse was imposed on them too. They were denied the right to ever return home to Galifrey. Angry, occasionally violent Protests were inevitably made, on Lajox and to the High Manopticon Council on Galifrey itself, but to no effect. The Council, and the President himself, decreed the ruling absolute and irrevocable. The embittered women came to regard Lajox as the Shada prison fortress of the innocent.
Young male bachelor Galifreyans were naturally becoming increasingly keen to make pilgrimages to Lajox, and fierce regulations had to be quickly imposed to protect and control the sensitive harem. Those men applying to go to Lajox had to pass stringent tests and interviews to ensure that their interest was for sexual reproduction, and not just for lecherous, sordid, carnal exploitation. Sex on Lajox was taken seriously, by males and females alike. No party could possibly expect to gain any sensual pleasure from it. Going to Lajox was regarded as a duty and a binding chore; a lesser curse than that imposed on Galifrey itself, but a curse, nevertheless.
Racial pride played its part in fuelling antagonism too. Galifreyans born and raised on Lajox were looked upon as inferior by many Galifreyan Time Lords born of and from the collective gene pools on the home world. There had been several abortive political attempts to have Lajox declared a separate world and its people dismissed as a separate humanoid species to Galifreyans. Experts and educationists to teach and preach the fallacy of such thinking. Galifreyans were shown that Lajoxians had the same basic physiological and psychological make up as themselves; the same two hearts, the same ability to regenerate their ailing bodies up to twelve times, but for many Galifreyans the old deep rooted prejudices remained as strong as ever.
Meux was a young doctor, at three hundred and fourteen, and heíd seen more than his share of difficult births among the Time Lords of Lajox, but none had been as brutal and savage as the fight to save Ichabod. He felt exhausted, and depressed by the death of the Mother, Sefrona. All the medics, himself included, had expected to lose the baby too. Sefrona had known all along that she was doomed. One of her hearts had already failed. Regeneration was impossible for her. Normally when a Time Lord regenerated, one heart kept the body functioning, while the other heartís cells were replaced by new ones. Her remaining heart was also failing. Risky one heart donations from three Time Lords had all been rejected by her complex but crumbling immunity system. Her brave decision and efforts to save her baby through drug induced labour was a desperate bid to leave something of herself for the future. Instinctively aware of her childís sex, as all Time Lord mothers are, she insisted that the boy be named Ichabod after his Father, who had left her for another woman, back on Galifrey. Sefrona didnít blame him for abandoning her. Like many Galifreyan men, he had been frustrated by the limited time he had for being able to visit her on the other planet, so far away. He was aware that her chances of survival were slight, and he couldnít bear the prospect of seeing her die with his son inside her. He would seek consolation, he said, with a barren wife, back home, and donate his sperm to the gene pool in return for a son from there. They had parted amicably, without reproach or resentment towards one another.
No, Ichabod said. He wouldnít stay in touch with his son. It would only lead to painful memories in later years. A clean break was the only practical solution. The final kiss and parting was sorrowful for them both. Ichabod Senior left no forwarding contact information.
Meux had advised Sefrona that the birth would not succeed, and that it would inevitably lead to her own painful death process accelerating. He tried long and hard to counsel and console her to the potential if not inevitable death of her child, but she had insisted on going ahead with the operation anyway.
It became clear to Meux as soon as she went into her induced labour and her waters broke that the baby had inherited the motherís passion for survival. He seemed to Meux to actively, rather than passively co-operate with the delivery. Sensing, in the final agonising, tense, gruelling push to the wombís exit that the doctors wanted him to move his delicate little head forward, he forced it round and practically pushed it into their hands as they pulled and guided him. There was a tremendous surge of mental energy pouring from the infant mind. The medics and midwives in Meuxís team all sensed it. The child was driven by an overwhelming desire to live.
Meuxís hospital TARDIS was one of the greatest achievements in all of Galifreyís temporal engineering history. Its infinite space for wards, beds and specialised operating theatres, and staff quarters, within a twelve by seven foot cabinet box, was not its chief asset. Most TARDISís could achieve that effect. The real asset was the advanced friction diffusion materialisation and dematerialisation technology Meux had created to order. Other medical facility TARDISís could not be used to conduct delicate, and sensitive microsurgery operations while in flight through time, space and the Vortex that binds them. Meuxís could. He had fitted the TARDIS with three separate navigational guidance systems in order to ensure that he arrived at the location f a patient quickly. No doctor would want to get himself lost on the other side of the Galaxy and miss his patient by a hundred years or more, but then few hospitals double up as their own ambulances anyway. Meux had once even arrived to collect a patient complaining of acute appendicitis symptoms before the poor man had even placed the emergency call. This was a slight temporal displacement that was quickly remedied with little damage done.
The call to Lajox had been handled quickly and smoothly, but for the mother, Meux knew it was too late. He looked in on the tiny child, who had now been cleaned up. He lay restless, uncomfortable and deeply troubled in his glass and perspex incubation chamber. He continued to cry and scream with a fierce energy that refused to abate or rest. Ichabodís red faced pale fury, and his intense, penetrating brown eyes betrayed not only his frailty and frustration, but also the painful sense of loss caused by not having received any warm signals of comfort and reassurance that a mildly telepathic Time Lord mother and baby bond always created.
The female nurses assisting Meux in the birth were mostly from Galifrey, rather than from Lajox. Their eyes revealed their unspoken sense of regret that they would never experience birth pains themselves in any such way. They had seen the pain and panic that accompanied many Lajoxian births, but they retained a deep rooted, instinctive desire to face the same agonies themselves, rather than to create their own children in laboratory cultures.
Ichabod felt only loneliness and fear. His despair seemed to echo around and permeate the entire hospital. Meux knew that he and his team could provide warmth and bottled milk, but he had no answers at all for such extreme distress as the baby seemed to be enduring. For the first time in his life, Meux felt utterly helpless.
Meux was a tall man, with a double chin, and shocking white hair,. He rarely smiled in this sombre, second regeneration, and everyone reminded him repeatedly what a happy go lucky fellow he had been in his previous body. Meux wished he could have those days back again now, and he knew that in his remaining regenerations over the next ten lives, he would remember Ichabodís blinding, absolute despair and that he would find it difficult to ever smile or laugh again.
Ichabod calmed down, gradually, and sank first into a fitful sleep, and then into a deep, rigid catatonia, from which he periodically emerged with spasmodic wriggling and near epileptic seizures, before losing consciousness again.
After a few hours under round the clock bedside surveillance, something new was frighteningly apparent. The boyís pale skin was growing visibly pinker and healthier by the minute. Some of the medics still believed that Ichabod would not live for much longer, but they kept their opinions and pessimism to themselves.
Meux feared something worse than any of the other hospital TARDIS staff dared to consider. At first he said nothing of his disquieting beliefs and tried to dismiss them from his mind as utterly absurd. He suspected that his colleagues were also trying to suppress their awareness of what really seemed to be occurring. It was utterly unknown for growing children, let alone new born babies. Only mature Time Lords ....
When the previously wisps of hair started to grow, quite visibly, and changed colour from black to auburn, there was no more doubt. Meux snapped free of his paralysing fear, snatched hold of the boy and pulled him quickly up and out of the incubator. The babyís increased weight confirmed everything. The boy was in a full scale regeneration crisis. His entire body was rejuvenating itself. Every molecule and cell was being replaced by fresh ones to compensate for the weakness he had sustained due to the violence of his birth.
Meux gently laid the growing boy down on the floor and supported his head while his colleagues fetched cushions, pillows and blankets. The boy was now too tall to have fitted in the incubator. had he stayed in there longer the glass would have cut him as he grew out of it.
Meux sighed. There was nothing more to be done now except to watch and hope that the emerging adult would survive. Many Time Lords died in their first regeneration, and few survived the full cycle of twelve new lives. A few Time Lords were rumoured to have transcended their limit through genetic fluke or by some artificial means, but no one knew who or how that could occur. What chance was there however for a baby?
No, not a baby any more. Meux corrected himself. Ichabod was no longer a child. he was an adult. He was an old man now. He had wiry, thin brown hair, almost in cruel charicature of the babyís slight patchy traces of curly hair. His face was set in a tight grimace, of agony and the determination of one committing himself to endure and overcome the pain no matter what. The cold, grey stare from the eyes was all that remained of the original body. Ichabod shivered with fits and starts. he sweated. His eyes stared. His mouth dribbled slightly. He looked around in growing apprehension, and started to cry.
A mattress was fetched in from one of the adult wards. Meux lay the mattress on the floor and with help from his fellow doctors, he lifted Ichabod onto the mattress. As he did so, Ichabod grabbed his stethoscope and hung onto it, as a baby reached out to clutch at any object within reach,. Ichabod put the end of the stethoscope in his mouth and sucked at it. Meux gently took it back, carefully avoiding the teeth that the baby never had mere moments before.
Within two gruelling hours, the transformation was complete. Meux's team looked on throughout in passive, grim silence. Many of them had painful recollections and memories of their own regenerations.
Without waiting for Meuxís permission or consent, Nurse Tolon bent down and cradled the former baby in her arms. She had spent as much time with Ichabodís mother as Meux had done himself.. Meux had warned her against getting too personally and emotionally involved, but Nurse Tolon had persisted, often to the point of neglecting her other equally pressing duties. She promised Sefrona that she would personally raise the boy, ensuring that he would gain a good foster parent rather than be sent to a harsh Galifreyan orphanage.
Nurse Tolon held the man she had expected to see as a baby, and wept by his side, openly and without shame. Ichabod reached out and hugged her back. She felt unfamiliar, and soft, but she was there and she cared. She seemed to empathise with his distress and despair. He wept with her.
Nurse Tolon was normally a quiet, shy, reserved woman, but she chatted continually to Ichabod. She didnít talk to him as though he was an infant, but as though he was a fully grown man inside too. Many Time Lords had shown skills and knowledge that they had never acquired in previous incarnations, and Nurse Tolon seemed to fully expect Ichabod to show some trace of mature, sentient speech at least. When he tried to talk, however, all that emerged from his lips were ugly gurgling gu-gu, ga-ga noises. Nurse Tolon cried, each time she looked at him. She was unable to stop herself, even though her distress upset him too. She often cried long after her tear ducts had dried up. Her dark eyes were reddened and swollen from her grief, despair and frustration.
Ichabod remained a baby for all the years an infant would do. He needed potty training. He crawled before he could walk. He struggled to learn new words, and bawled and screamed as babies do, but much louder.
Nurse Tolon officially adopted Ichabod herself, which surprised nobody. She had refused to co-operate in Galifreyís genetic pooling programme through out her lives. She had vowed that her children would be born the natural way, and on Galifrey, not on Lajox. Only now, in the twilight years of her final regeneration did she come to see that her dream would never be realised. She had assisted Meux in many experiments and much research to break the curse, but all to no avail. She hoped Meux would continue the work for many years to come.
Tolon refused to call herself ĎMotherí in Ichabodís presense. She wanted him to know the truth about his origins. His first true spoken word was therefore, ĎToloní.
His own name proved much more difficult for him. "Ich a god. Icha-god, Icha God ..." he would say over and over again. His stepmother corrected him by slowly, patiently and gently repeating the second syllable to him; Ďbod, bod, bod.í Ichabod grew increasingly restless and crawled off calling back to her rudely in stubborn, defiant frustration and impatience, "God, god, god ...." In time, he learned to pronounce his name correctly.
Within thirteen years, he had matured considerably. Tolon finally secured permission to take Ichabod away from Lajox, home to Galifrey. It was his first TARDIS flight. He was astonished and full of questions. Tolon thought he would be frightened, but Ichabod was enamoured and enthralled by the time and space machine. The qualified, authorised pilot, Milneser, had to keep asking Ichabod not to tamper with the console controls.
Ichabod threw the last big tantrum of his childhood when he had to get out of the TARDIS.
He felt much more at home on Galifrey than on the planet of his birth. He was quickly looked on as being highly intelligent. Throughout his private schooling, he showed a consistently strong interest in Galifreyan history and archive work. He came of age and was immediately set to work as a Matrix Data Scribe. He took Matrix stored histories of various worlds and galaxies and translated them to educational and literary text books. He became obsessively preoccupied with anything to do with the past, especially his own roots and the development of his own people. He dismissed the Pythiaís curse of barrenness sceptically as a mythical fable behind a natural catastrophe that must have befallen his ancestors.
Many of Ichabodís early official reports were criticised for their mixture of history with metaphysical considerations about mortality among Time Lords. He often wrote out long unverifiable philosophical notions, which then had to excised from the finished publishable documentation.
Occasionally, Ichabod got to travel deep into the heart of the Matrix itself, and out on TARDIS field expedition work, albeit under strict supervision and a look but donít touch procedure. He was restless and bored. He absorbed history with the greedy rapacity of someone making up for a great deal of lost time. He knew that he had lost a whole life. He cheerfully told everyone how much he wanted to catch u, but ultimately, he felt happy and contented. This halcyon period of utopian pleasure was about to end.
The cruel bombshell that was to ruin his life came quickly and without warning. Ichabod was working away, quite happily on a tract concerning the earliest experiments of Omega, the Time Lordís first great scientist, when a TARDIS arrived just outside his office. There was a knock at the door and when Ichabod gave permission to enter, Milneser walked in, with a graven, solemn, sorrowful face. He bore dreadful news. Ichabodís stepmother, Nurse Tolon, was in her house, apparently dying. Ichabod was asked to leave the meticulously orderly and tidy research centre he had built up virtually from scratch for journey to Nurse Tolonís side. He set off with Milneser in the TARDIS provided, but arrived at the house just too late. The body in the bed was that of another woman, smaller in stature, with green eyes instead of brown. "Her body was trying to regenerate," Milneser said, softly, "but she was on her thirteenth life. The fourteenth is always like this. Iím terribly sorry."
Though she was dead, and in a new body, Ichabod was able to make formal identification of his stepmother, as he was obliged to do, being official next of kin.
Though openly recognising the truth of Nurse Tolonís death, Ichabod inwardly refused to accept the facts. Doctor Meux sent Ichabod a very moving eulogy to the nurse, in writing, and requested permission to pay further tribute to her at her funeral ceremony before her body was cast out into the time winds of the vortex. Ichabod consented with all due gratitude, and granted Doctor Meux permission to conduct the funeral oration. Ichabod also forwarded his apologies for being unable to attend the funeral himself because he didnít feel as though he could cope with it. He sent flowers and a brief card expressing his helplessness without his second mother in his life, and begging her forgiveness for what he might do in future lives of his own.
One day, some centuries after the funeral of his stepmother, while busy at his work station, which was now becoming dusty, grimy and cluttered, like an old attic, (just as its owner was becoming, of late), Ichabod fainted and collapsed heavily to the floor. Immediate attempts by his friends to wake him up failed. He didnít recall it happening and there was no warning. He woke up startled to find himself in Meuxís hospital TARDIS as the doctor was testing his heart beats and blood pressure levels. He recognised his friend immediately, despite the regeneration. Ichabod seemed more concerned for the doctor than about why he was in hospital at all. "Has it really been two hundred years?" he asked the gruff, stout, little man standing beside him.
"Iím afraid so," replied Meux. "Iíve been carrying out my usual research into how we can make the ladies of Galifrey fertile again. Itís an ongoing extension of the work your Stepmother and I were involved in. Iím hoping to discover a means of transplanting and transposing tissues and genes from Lajoxian women to Galifreyan women and do some clever gynaecological giggery pokery over here on the home world. Iím permanently based on Galifrey now, since the accident.."
Meux explained how the XYY ray machine had saturated him with dangerous levels of radiation during a crucial and dangerous experiment of his, and how his body had regenerated to save him from death. Once he had explained this, he gave Ichabod some awful doom laden news. "Youíll never be able to regenerate again. Because of your infancy in your first regeneration you used to much of your morphic power and energy. Nurse Tolonís death only added to your stress levels, and your body is already wearing out towards the next need to regenerate. Youíll almost certainly not make it through alive. Iím very sorry. I felt it was only fair that you should be informed."
At first, Ichabod apparently accepted the grim diagnosis at face value. He thanked Meux for the warning, and immediately went back to work to take his mind off the subject. Before the day was out, he was sinking deep into apathy and indifference. Gradually he started to deny and reject the inevitable. So, he wouldnít survive, eh? Heíd show them. He examined the available Matrix footage on regenerative processes, on the molecular cell biological changes that occurred, and looked at the kind of problems that could arise during such violent, painful transformations. He raised all manner of theoretical and probable solutions to the impending crisis. The Matrix suggested a series of both practical and totally impractical and impossible machines that could possible assist a Time Lord in full regenerative crisis.
Ichabod actually started building some of the machines, only to discover that they were useless if not actually dangerous to operate. Many times, during his research, Ichabod collapsed and needed emergency medical treatment. He was advised to retire, and relax from such strenuous exertion altogether, but he refused to stop, and persevered, and in the end, his machine was built. He called it a Metamorphic Symbiosis Regenerator (MSR). He completed it just in time to become its first guinea pig, as he had always expected.
It was a crude machine compared to later sophisticated models. It was little more than an upright bed and a series of straps and restraints. Drip feeds and formidable amounts of wiring and circuitry abounded. There were molecular disrupters, blood transfusion sacks, high intensity radiation beams, energy enhancement inducers, and a whole gamut of DNA manipulation devises that needed to be attached to the patient. Many of the first observers to see the machine assumed that they were looking at a new kind of bomb. A few sceptical witnesses said that the whole ramshackle contraption would not only kill Ichabod outright, but that it might also explode with enough force to damage the capital city, or even burn its way through the laboratory floor and keep going until it hit the Galifreyan core, creating the Citadel Effect Syndrome, and destroy the entire planet.
Ichabod patiently explained that the machine wasnít going to take over the entire regenerative process, but that it would ease the patient through the more traumatic stages. The aim was to reduce the pain and neutralise the chances of new body tissue being rejected by the antibodies and anti-genes still struggling to survive from the outgoing body. Ichabod explained that it wasnít only possible to pick the shape of the new body, but essential in calibrating and setting the machine accurately.
The inevitable day came round quickly. Despite his wishes, Ichabod was surrounded by medical assistants, including Dr. Meux. There were hordes of well wishers, and morbid gawkers. Ichabod was to weak to protest much. He had to be virtually carried to the machine and hooked up to its torturous, and frightful array of instruments and meters.
The machine started up and gave only a faint electric hum, rather than the colossal rumbling noise everyone expected. Just as everyone got used to this, a gradual high-pitched whistling noise arose, forcing many of the spectators to cover their ears with their hands. There was nothing exciting to see other than a man strapped up more for punishment than a sensitive pioneering medical experiment. The new Ichabod emerged as the machine finally stopped its incredible shrieking. At first it looked as though nothing whatsoever had been achieved. Ichabod still maintained the same external appearance as before, but on closer inspection, he looked a little younger, and healthier, much as he had done soon after his first regeneration crisis had ended.
"I wanted to go on looking like this," he snapped angrily, when asked about it. "Itís my life. Iíll decide how I should look. Any objections?"
Galifreyan political councillors and businessmen quickly took an interest in Ichabodís MSR machinery and started negotiating with him for shared rights to any profits gained by its mass production. Ichabod became rich overnight, but also increasingly alarmed. The machine had been a life saver, created by him, selfishly for himself. He hadnít anticipated its marketing potential. He had been asked, in an extensive, probing, and exclusive interview by Citadel Times reporters, why he had set the machine to leave him with the old look when he might have taken on a younger, more handsome appearance. Ichabod explained that he wanted to be able to continue with his current research projects. A change of body might mean a change of vocation to go with the new skills and abilities. He gave the example of Kertilos, the famous Time Lord concert pianist who committed suicide after his sixth regeneration, on seeing that his fingers were suddenly too chubby to allow his former dextrous talents to be possible any more.
"Itís change I hate. I want to be as I am, myself, where I am. I donít want to be a different man every few millennia. No one should be forced to start again like that. We shouldnít encourage easy regeneration. We should fight against it. Each new body takes us closer to death. Postpone it. Stall it. Keep it out. One day you will stop regenerating. Oh, yes you will. Youíll live forever, just as you are. Look at you all. Youíre using the MSR machines these days to make yourselves look prettier. Itís becoming a fashionable cult among the younger, trendier generations. Why? They should be forcing the clock back, not forward. Look at me, old before my time, yes, but Iíll stay this way. Thank you. If Iím a Time Lord, Iíll master time rather than let time be the master of me. Iíll be the Lord Of Time."
Nine times more over the centuries, Ichabod was forced to use his machine to ease his regeneration. Each time he deliberately, stubbornly kept the same persona.
The ruling High Council decided that that MSR was to be used as a supreme instrument of punishment for criminals, traitors and renegade Time Lords. Time Lord criminals had always risked punishments like exile, execution in the vaporisation chambers, or being sent to the Shada Detention centre. Now they faced potential compulsory regeneration too. The renegade Time Lord known as The Doctor was one of the earliest victims of such a punishment. His dangerous lifestyle meant that all of his regenerations had been premature, but his second one was forced upon him by his own people, despite Ichabod's protests and the enormous petition he organised calling for leniency. The punishment had gone ahead. Ichabod was denied the right even to attend the trial, and only ever found a limited number of unclassified access records of the event afterwards in the Matrix memory record banks. He learned later That The Doctor had not actually been hooked up to the MSR machine, but that its DNA Helix manipulation signals had been transmitted through ultrasonic microwave transmissions, which had left The Doctor weakened and close to death in the first hours of life in his third body. Rather than give him medical treatment on Galifrey, they had bundled him into his old Mark 40 TARDIS and sent him to exile, and the mercy of primitive Earth based medics. No explanation was ever proffered as to the motives for such an uncharacteristic act of brutality. There was little to learn of the incident from the Matrix. The Doctorís life was shrouded in such acts of censorship. Ichabod devoted much of his remaining life to finding out more.
Ichabod later protested that The Doctor, as an abdicated President Elect of Galifrey, who had saved the Time Lords themselves on many occasions, from various evil entities, his history demanded a more complete and official presentation. The High Council immediately suppressed and quashed Ichabodís demands. Ichabod continued to search but he found his primary source material about The Doctor and his companion Time Lords, Susan and Romana (Full name, Romanadvoratrelundar) severely restricted.
At times, Omega had interfered with The Doctorís file, as had The Master. The shadowy unofficial Celestial Intervention Agency (CIA) had meddled with the Matrix banks to cover the tracks about their involvement in the rumoured Ravalox Stratagem. It was even conceivable that The Doctor himself had interfered with the files on him when visiting Galifrey. He even appeared to have been inside the Matrix on several occasions; especially during his later trial, where he had allegedly been judged by himself, or at least by his evil Valeyard self anyway, another Matrix meddler. Information about the so-called Valeyard was also severely censored.
The Doctor, and The Valeyard. Those two names haunted Ichabod throughout the years of his final regeneration. It was as though they shared their destiny in some way with his own. The Doctor had once even uncovered the identity of the culprit responsible for stealing a Metamorphic Symbiosis Regeneration unit, the pirate called Mawdryn. Ichabod felt sorry for him. Mawdryn just wanted to benefit from the machineís regenerative powers, survive and live on, as Time Lords did. That was the whole idea of an MSR. That it wasnít compatible with the biochemistry of other humanoid life forms wasnít known to Mawdryn. Mawdryn wouldnít be the last to perish horribly in the quest for immortality. Ichabod pitied him.
In his final allotted lifetime, Ichabod conducted a long, detailed Matrix survey to see if there was some way the machine could be refined to carry him through the twelfth and final regeneration barrier. Researchers, and the Matrix agreed that even the MSR wouldnít save him this time. He needed something new.
Ichabod developed a sneaking admiration for Time Lords who faced regeneration because of some sudden dangerous crisis, as Meux had done in his fatal XXY experiments. Ichabod felt as though he himself had just grown old and frail on inactivity. His head had filled up with knowledge, but he had done nothing. His own history wasnít shrouded in mystery and filled with adventures. He had watched several old respected Time Lords die of having too many ideas in their heads. Time Lord brains used up more memory space than those of less durable mortal peoples. Most humanoid peoples died having used a mere fraction of their actual brain power. Old Galifreyans used all of it. Then, like computer brains, they overloaded, broke down, and died off, ravaged by bugs, viruses and nervous system overloads. The Matrix alone could absorb the entire content of what was in a Time Lordís head. The Matrix actually absorbed that information from dying Time Lords wherever they were in the Universe. In the end it was a heavy, overused mind and brain that caused brain haemorrhages and killed most Time Lords in their final incarnation.
Ichabod evaluated the burden of knowledge he had accumulated. He knew that there was nothing to celebrate. There was his precious MSR machine, of course. A few quick lines in the history books, and no more. One wag of a historian had gone on record to accuse Ichabod of making the MSR out of selfishness rather than altruism, even though that historian had twice found it necessary to regenerate with the aid of the MSR himself.
Ichabod didnít give up. He bombarded the Matrix for more clues, angles, hopeful hints, and any precedent that might give him some idea of what to do. Throughout his search, two names kept recurring; The Doctor and The Valeyard.
The Doctor had been just one renegade. The Master, The Monk, The Rani, Chronitis, were among the many others. Galifrey had more than its share of rebels and adventurers. They had gone off looking for fame, fortune, power, fun. They hadnít actually gone looking for answers, none of them. They just didnít seem interested in that kind of a survival issue. If anything, they coveted death, and faced it willingly, readily, bravely. The Doctor, and The Master, in particular, took enormous, reckless risks with their bodies. They thrived on danger and vulnerability. They seemed to actually relish the potential for failure and painful death. ĎFools!í, thought Ichabod. Had they searched. They might have given him a starting place. Their travels had taken them to many worlds. They had seen how other races faced and often overcame death, but the idiotic renegades had shown insufficient interest in such vital matters.
The Matrix was an immensely powerful computer system. It was designed to capture any knowledge that the Time Lords acquired about The Universe. As the information came in from dying minds anywhere in Time and space it was often jumbled and dream like in its presentation. Authorised Matrix Scribes, scholars and keepers had to decipher and interpret the information from its surreal natural state. Accessing Matrix material could be accomplished in many ways. The material could be printed out in textual formats, as with any conventional, if dated computing keyboard system. Alternatively, the information, no matter what its nature, could be given visual form, so that the situation and events being examined could be reconstructed around the observer holographically. The observer could then take an interactive, or passive part in those events. As a third and much more dangerous option, the enquirer could actually go into the Matrix of information itself, which was regarded as being a step short of throwing yourself directly into the Vortex Time winds. A few ageing Time Lords had apparently chosen to cast their decaying bodies into the Matrix for one last suicidal adventure as they perished.
Ichabod wondered why The Valeyardís name came to mind so often for him. The Valeyard hadnít done much beyond conducting the trial of the sixth incarnation Doctor, and killing several important Time Lords during his eventual escape from Galifrey. Ichabod supposed that the name was one he would now always associate with The Doctorís lost opportunities, his wasted potential, the side of him that might have turned evil instead of good. Such quicksand logic led Ichabod consider an extremely dangerous possibility. What if all Time Lords had Valeyard selves? What if he himself, Ichabod, had a dark inner voice bitterly echoing lost ambitions and suppressed desires? He tapped into his own mindís recesses to search for neglected characteristics. He heard his own childish voice gurgling the name ĎIcha-god, Icha-godí. He wondered if that might not be the answer, to let that dark inner side of himself out. Heíd kept his second persona, but what would his first self have wanted, had he survived? The sudden surge of regenerative energy had robbed Ichabod of many of the opportunities that youthful innocence provided. Children commanded love and respect. They had power. They had the ability to enjoy and endure, so much more. They were spoilt, they were looked after, and loved. They were like gods, like gods, like gods.
So far in his life, Ichabod had steered clear of trouble, partly from fear of bringing on any regenerative changes, but now he saw the need to embrace and pursue change. He would force himself to adapt, adopt, develop, evolve, grow, and progress forward. He asked himself what in all the Universe, lived the longest, richest, most rewarding lives. He knew immediately that it wasnít humanoids, Their form, and their bodies made them too vulnerable. Lizards and turtles lived longer, but that was just like Time Lords, slow, cumbersome and generally inactive.
Ichabod wondered where these destructive revolutionary ideas were coming from. He felt as though he was receiving thought patterns that were utterly alien to his nature. It was as though he was receiving inspired and inspiring ideas that were conceived somewhere other than within himself. The thoughts excited and exhilarated him. He wanted to rid himself of the thoughts, but their enchantment was too much for him. He began to embrace them with a vengeance.
What survived? What endured? What never got hurt or damaged? What was indestructible? Cybermen, Daleks and other robotic creatures survived, but they were little more than machines, devoid of personality. They were dead things; zombies deluding themselves that they were alive. Ichabod ran through a daunting list of the creatures, entities and beings The Doctor had encountered in his many travels. One fact was quickly apparent. Each one of these creatures had failed abysmally in its attempt at conquest and survival. The Doctor himself had played a significant part in stopping several of them, especially when their attempts at survival endangered others. The Vervoid plant creatures had merely wanted to survive, but The Doctor had rendered them extinct as a species within days of them coming into existence. Would The Doctor stop him too, if he felt it was necessary? Ichabod asked himself if he could render himself completely invulnerable even to The Doctorís overbearing sense of justice. Ichabodís mind raced around looking for possibilities. What endures? What is beyond harm, damage and destruction? TARDISES. The word echoed in his head as an obvious answer. A TARDIS. Yes! Itís inner dimensions gave a time cabinet an infinite storage capacity for knowledge. The TARDIS rivalled the Matrix itself in power, and Matrix programmes could be produced, replicated, applied and run from equipment stored in a modern TARDIS control room. A TARDIS could go literally anywhere in time and space. It could assume any shape it required. It lived forever.
Doubts arose. A TARDIS isnít alive. Itís another machine. It has sentience and some limited telepathic ability, but it remains essentially a machine.
The Valeyard voice that Ichabod recognised or believed in, as having dictated so much of his thirst for survival, told Ichabod to ask the Matrix whether or not a TARDIS could actually be brought to life. Ichabod asked the Matrix and he was immediately greeted with the words, ĎYES, IN THEORYí which floated around him in slowly dissolving blue smoke ring letters.
Ichabod immediately began making his preparations. He had been fainting again recently. He knew that he didnít have much time left. He was unaware however, that he was being watched and carefully monitored through ultra-secret highly sophisticated surveillance devises concealed throughout his laboratory. The observer grinned. His plan was working perfectly.
- LORD TIME Divided into thirteen chapters, each with it's own link. CHAPTER BY CHAPTER - LT1 LT2 LT3 LT4 LT5 LT6 LT7 LT8 LT9 LT10 LT11 LT12 LT12b LT13
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