- 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
CHAPTER TWO - PROMOTION.
Maxil bitterly resented his sudden transfer to Celestial Intervention Agency trouble shooter. He had commanded the Chancellery guards admirably. The CIA had asked for him, and the question was really an order disguised by polite language. Maxilís bosses knew better than to refuse. They had agreed to admit to all enquirers that they knew nothing of Maxilís transfer. They were to indicate to all and sundry that he was still officially in their employment and on their payroll. Maxil was also to declare that this was indeed the case. The CIA officially did not exist. It was a myth, a legend a rumour and a conspiracy theory. Most people on Galifrey knew or believed that the CIA was real. Many people seemed uncannily aware of what the CIA was involved in at any given time, and that its pretence at secrecy and intrigue was a sham, that fooled only the CIA itself, half of the time. The Celestial Intervention Agency was in fact very good at spreading such misinformation about itself, the other half of the time.
For Maxil, the promotion meant the end of the military ambitions he had always harboured. The army promise of bigger guns, more daring missions, and more opportunities for gratuitous violence had vanished forever. Maxil found his career re-routed by people he had seldom, if ever met before. Instead of the soldiering he had dreamt of, he found himself watching closed circuit televisual monitors, and eavesdropping on trivial conversations, just in case someone hinted at potential, or actual conspiracies, or if anyone tried to gain access to classified government Matrix material without full Citadel authorisation.
Maxilís hair had started to rise back to its natural off-blond unkempt, windswept look. They had been pressed down and pushed back as he had not long since removed his ceremonial hood. His round, cruel, but slightly cherubic face and broad grin had faded a little, as they did when he wasnít trying to impress his superiors. The formal initiation ritual for the newest CIA recruit, Redic, had been one of the most tedious experiences of Maxilís life. The new boy was assigned to the experimental Historical Anomalies Department (HAD) of the CIA. The HAD team were to investigate unsolved mysteries throughout time and space in which the CIA might have had some sort of a part to play. Most such mysteries involved Time lord interference of one kind or another. Earth was particularly notorious for them, especially if The Doctor was around. Redic was a good, dedicated, enthusiastic historian, but Maxil had no intention of showing the lad any signs of encouragement. He knew from personal experience that discouraging remarks encourage people to work harder and faster. They felt the need to succeed just to spite you. It gave them a sharper competitive edge that was essential in CIA work. Redic sadly seemed to expect and desire too much praise. It was a habit that he would have to lose the hard way, and Maxil was making it his personal mission in life to see to it soon.
Maxil felt utterly fed up with himself. His wild, slightly manic eyes seemed to dart round all the time, looking, hoping to see something that he could exploit to his own personal advantage. The initiation ceremony had bored him stupid. Commander Marcher, his smarmy, greasy new boss, had asked him why, soon afterwards. Maxil told him in all honesty that he didnít really understand why. Marcher, instead of chastising him, as he had expected, agreed entirely with Maxil. "Of course you were bored. We all were. I certainly was. And I'll tell you why you were so bored too. There was no belief or conviction in it. The whole pointless mass just pays lip service to bi-gone traditions that were lost in contrived melodramatic theatrical mumbo-jumbo centuries and aeons ago. The whole thing was completely lacking in contemporary relevance."
Maxil was taken aback by the sheer fanatical zeal behind Marcherís delivery. The man just kept going on with himself as though reading aloud from a text book, using Maxil merely as an audience for his ranting, sprawling cod-philosophy.
"One day, Iíll give the rituals a proper, relevant set of beliefs. Youíll see. You just watch me. People who join us will be embracing a whole new religious order. Are you a religious man yourself, Maxil?"
"I donít know, Sir. I never really thought about .... "
"Well you should know. You should think about it. If you knew and understood what people believed, you would know what they would be prepared to do in the interest of those beliefs, and you would have control over them. If we could give Galifrey a new, proper religion, everything would be in our power." As he spoke, he gripped Maxil tightly by the arm, and started repeating his argument again, from the beginning. Maxil made use of a necessary appointment elsewhere, to get away from his fat, balding boss as quickly as possible.
Marcher watched him go, and grinned. The man wasnít moved by such passions. Fine. There were plenty of others who were. For the time being he would avoid giving Maxil any more sermons. He doubted if the man could be corrupted quite so easily. Pity, still, he could be useful in other ways.
Maxil collapsed into one of his periodic brown study states of mind. Since Omegaís death, or disappearance, his own life had gone down hill fast. He had watched each new initiation ritual in growing impatience and frustration. This last one was just as bad as the rest had been. His own initiation had been no better in fact. Redic had been blindfolded, forced to roll up his trouser legs, and walk wearing one shoe to keep him off balance, forced to lie still and quiet for two hours in a facsimile copy of the coffin of Rassilon, and sworn to an oath of secrecy about all that he sees and does. he was warned of the dire, torturous consequences to himself and his family if he ever betrayed such an oath. Maxil knew that he could have done it all so much more quickly, by beating initiates to a pulp and telling them that worse was to come if they ever uttered a word to anyone. Thatís how his father had taught him how to behave. He saw nothing wrong with that now. It certainly saved time and money. All the pomp and ceremonial claptrap of full, formal CIA initiation just put people to sleep. The direct, unsubtle approach was much more effective.
Maxilís promotion had been a sideways one. He still wasnít the man in charge. He was still answerable to the same old ivory tower bureaucrats. He craved independence. "Just tell me what the job is, and Iíll get it done, my way," was always his motto. Commander marcher sadly preferred to do everything by the CIA handbook, and Maxil was not allowed to even read it.
Several times, Maxil saw lights on his view screens that told him someone was trying to see footage of restricted Matrix data. That in itself didnít directly worry the CIA. Many Matrix users just followed lines of thought as they arose and often stumbled across restricted material by sheer chance rather than out of design or intention. Most groaned and swore, and then forgot about it all. A few kicked up a fuzz about state censorship and issued formal complaints and requests for data access. The complaints were invariably filed immediately under ĎWí for Ďwaste materialí. Each complainant received a standard reply stating that the Council would investigate the matter in due course. Few would pursue the matter further after that. Those who did try to get classified information directly from The Matrix without permission being granted, but overriding security restrictions, or by trying to go into the Matrix Banks directly, were the ones Maxil was to watch out for. It was only these who were designated high security risks. Marcher advised Maxil several times, to watch the individual known as Ichabod particularly closely.
The Matrix was strictly only the name given to the information given within the Amplified Panoptronic Computations Network (APC Net), but the very apparatus required to access and surf that information was often conveniently referred to as The Matrix too. Maxil saw Ichabodís name emerge several times. He was trying to access information about The Doctor, and material on someone or something called The Valeyard. Maxil tried summoning up material on The Valeyard himself, only to discover that he was also denied access to those files, even with his CIA brotherhood access codes. He swore profusely. How could he even begin to investigate Ichabod properly if Ďtheyí didnít even trust him enough to tell him exactly what it was he was supposed to be looking for?
Maxil ordered up the files on Ichabod, half expecting them to be classified too, but the file came up easily. The room around Maxil filled up into a holographic re-enactment of the life of Ichabod, but events scanned past at an enormously speeded up pace. Maxil saw Ichabodís birth and his premature regeneration crisis. He watched Nurse Tolonís death, and saw Ichabod inventing the MSR machine, and his subsequent use of it. Now the Matrix displayed for Maxil a real life action replay of what Ichabod was doing at the present time. The Matrix reproduced the events even as they occurred. Maxil could smell the garlic Ichabod had eaten with his lunch an hour before. Maxil could touch the books, instruments and Matrix access switches around himself. He could even touch the hologram of Ichabod, but the Matrix figure had no conscious awarenesof Maxilís presense. Maxil felt as though he alone was unreal and surreal in this perfect reproductional world.
Ichabod switched off his Matrix scanner, having seen all that he knew he would ever find there. He walked over to his Mark Nine Metamorphic Symbiosis Regenerator, and conducted a brief experiment with its headset apparatus, with which he seemed to Maxil to be trying to communicate telepathically with someone, or something. Satisfied with the results, Ichabod stepped away from his office cum laboratory research centre. He returned within minutes with a large sack into which he threw various components and instruments from the MSR machinery. He slung the sack over his shoulder, and left the laboratory a second time. He was in a tremendous hurry. He also had to stop every now and then to catch his breath. He suffered spasmodic coughing and dizzy spells. He was feeling very weak. He kept himself going on stamina, fear and will power alone.
In the Matrix viewing room, Maxil followed the progress of potential renegade closely. He realised right away where Ichabod was heading; the TARDIS room. Triggering the security alarms as he reached for his staser gun, and set off in rapid pursuit, Maxil knew he was probably already too late.
The guided tour was just getting exciting. The young visitors were mostly seeing the awesome time machines for the first time in their lives.
Their teacher was an old grumpy, cantankerous, supercilious old windbag who did his level best to make it all boring again for them. They didnít know his name. He insisted that they just refer to him as The Teacher. Despite his dull, incessant statistical waffling, their inspired romantic fixation with the legendary TARDISES refused to die down.
"In just a few weeks, those of you who pass this termís exams will be taking your first field trip journeys in a TARDIS Now, can any of you tell me what the word TARDIS stands for? "
"Itís an acronym for Time and relative dimensions in space," said a young girl, yawning.
"Yes, thatís quite correct. well done. If I recall, it was a girl not unlike yourself who first came up with that delightful word for us. I canít quite recall her name just now,. Shame that. Anyway, you will notice that some of these TARDISES here resemble clocks, or pillars and stone columns. Well, they are still TARDISES, oh, yes they are. Itís just that their camouflage circuitry has broken down. That is often the first thing to break down in a TARDIS, or is that the directional and navigational control mechanism? Never mind. Let me just assure you that a TARDIS is the safest and most comfortable way to travel through time, space and the Vortex in between."
A young boy rudely shouted out, "Are all these TARDISES in full working order, Sir?"
The Teacher scowled. "Most of them, yes. In fact, there are a few here that are just models, and replicas. That old Earth police box for example, is a scale model of one of the last Type 40 time capsules still in active service."
"Whereís the real one, then?" asked the boy.
"Ah," said The Teacher. "One of our old Presidents still has it. Heís somewhere out there." The Teacher pointed up into the evening sky, through the stained glass window at the end of the badly lit mausoleum like exhibition hall. The TARDISES seemed trapped here, like moths. It was a dreary and deathly kind of museum.
The eager, irritating young boy shouted out again, as though The Teacher was deaf. "If its camouflage box is broken, how can you tell its a Mark 40?"
The old man was growing more impatient now. He was convinced the boy was just trying to embarrass him by finding a question he couldnít answer. Then again, he probably just wanted to stretch the tour out as long as possible in the hope of missing at least part of the dreaded Advanced algebraic deferential trans-dimensional calculus lessons.
"Time Lords have certain affinities with such machines. Youíll develop a knack for it yourself one day."
"Whatís to stop anyone just stealing a TARDIS?" shouted the youth. "My Dad says people have been known to steal them."
"They are all safely locked up," barked The Teacher triumphantly, hoping that heíd final won the contest, but he realised his mistake almost immediately. It was the girl that knew what TARDIS meant who corrected him this time. Somehow it seemed worse coming from her and not from the brat. "But that oneís got its door wide open. Look!"
The Teacher shook his head in resignation, clearly giving up on a bad day. "I opened it myself, so you can look inside. I want you to see for yourselves that a TARDIS really is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Go ahead and look. No more than ten minutes though, and donít wander off beyond the main control room or Iíll never be able to find you in there. And donít touch anything."
The young girl was the first to step towards the new Mark 5,000 TARDIS. It was in its natural uncamouflaged state; a sleek black cabinet, presumably with its chronometers still set at zero. It looked truly beautiful beside the tired, clapped out old jalopies surrounding it in this Erie graveyard. As the girl reached the doorway, someone rushed towards her, cutting a swathe through the crowd of children and pushing The Teacher to the floor. It was an old man. He moved swiftly for his age, perhaps even desperately. He was carrying a small, but heavy looking sack, a bundle of electrical items and a clutch of Matrix access files with him. He ran into the TARDIS, dropped his belongings down, and turned back to the crowd of frightened, crying children staring at him. "Just nipping out for a bit, if thatís all right with you. I may be gone for some time though. so donít wait up. Bye-bye." With that, he slammed the TARDIS door shut.
The Teacher was only just back on his feet again as a blast of staser fire richoched off the TARDISES and cut a huge chunk of wood out of the top of the Mark 40 replica, before shattering a window, and flooding the room with colds air from the orange sky outside.
"Hold your fire," The Teacher shouted. "There are children in here."
"Sorry," shouted Maxil, sheepishly, as the black TARDIS vanished before their eyes.
The children started to become hysterical. "Get my Mother here, please," asked the young boy who had been interrupting all day. The Teacher suppressed a smile. He was glad the tour was finally over.
The key to the TARDIS had been left (rather too conveniently, Ichabod felt), on a hook, just inside the TARDIS entrance. He began to wonder if he was really acting of his own free will or not, but he dismissed the idea quickly. He knew he dare not turn back. He quickly set the molecular key to his own exclusive palm print, and launched The TARDIS out into the Vortex, travelling at first on purely random navigational co-ordinates. A growing dark, brooding voice in his head told him that he had done very well. His escape had been virtually perfect. The voice was confident, powerful possessive, commanding and dominant. It wasnít a new voice, or a strangerís voice, but Ichabodís own voice. He started to laugh out loud. "Survive! Survive! Survive!" he repeated over and over again. "No matter what it takes, survive! For you to survive, something has to be sacrificed. A part of you may have to die. You must accept change. It is time to evolve. Grow. Bigger things are less in danger of dying. You have the potential to be all powerful. Ask yourself again what your survival must involve? Once you have the answer to that question, you will be immortal and indestructible."
Ichabod knew the answer, but he was afraid to voice it, even to himself. Heíd been plain old Ichabod for too long. Such a colossal metamorphosis was too much to think about just now. "Iím to become a living TARDIS," he replied, hesitantly. "No," said the voice. "Becoming a TARDIS is merely your opening move. That is a mere stepping stone to what will follow soon, when you become a God."
Ichabod struggled to both grasp and suppress the riddles inside himself. He knew that he would need to conduct his TARDIS experiment first before true enlightenment and peace of mind became possible.
Maxil was finally released from hour upon hour of reprimandal rebukes and dire threats of disciplinary action. He had successfully defied the CIAís efforts to blame him and scapegoat him for the whole security fiasco. He convinced them that they ought to focus on capturing Ichabod rather than trying to find someone else to blame for his sudden unauthorised departure. Maxil, among others, quickly found himself assigned to the search, on Commander Marcherís personal orders. Youíre in charge, in fact, " Marcher told him. Maxil felt worried about that. "Surely you should be seen to be handling this operation yourself, Sir?"
"I am in charge. You are my eyes and ears on The Universe. Iíve every confidence in you."
Maxil knew that Marcher was leaving him to take the rap if Ichabod wasnít found, but he was elated to finally have a real case on his hands. He felt sorry that his opponent was such an old, even pleasant and likeable, but cantankerous man as Ichabod. There wasnít much of a promise of a fight in that.
You can find a needle in a haystack easily enough. You either use a suitable metal detector, or take the haystack apart inch by inch, and strand by strand until you see the metal bit you are looking for. Finding a time and space machine in the Universe, and a dozen or more parallel dimensions is however truly impossible. Several security service Time Lords set out on random searches in the hope of finding some kind of a clue. They briefly and accidentally stumbled on The Rani, but she was able to escape from them, as they hadnít been prepared for a meeting with her. It was quickly apparent to them that the trail had gone quite cold.
Maxil argued that it might be advisable to bring The Doctor to Galifrey, as Ichabod had expressed so much interest in his life and work through Matrix studies. "He might even try to find The Doctor. We should look for him too, just in case."
Lieutenant Holt, a tall thin, gangly, subservient man, second only to Marcher in the pecking order of the CIA, took Maxil aside. "Look, a word in your shell like, Son; off the record, strictly between you and my, understand?"
Maxil smiled and nodded. He decided to make sure the information was strictly on the record as soon as Holt had finished speaking.
"You know this Doctor geezer, Maxil. Heís been a pain in our posteriors for some time now. If Ichabod does give him a bit of an Ďard time, he might just be doing us a favour too, so letís you and me just stay quiet about this for now, eh?"
Maxil agreed wholeheartedly, and immediately added the details of the conversation to the Matrix Banks of the CIA offices through the telepathic vis-link on his red uniform sleeve, where Holtís words were logged verbatim. maxil watched moments later as Holt was dragged off by security officials linked to the CIA for disciplinary hearings. A few hours later Holt returned to Maxil without showing any desire for getting his own back whatsoever. In fact, the man went as far as to hug Maxil and thank him for his action instead. "Congratulations. You learn fast. Use everything and everyone to your own advantage. People are just resources and commodities. Use them and abuse them and do all it takes to get your job done. Keep in mind though, that weíll be using and abusing you just as much, if not more so. We have no hesitation or moral reservations about that. Weíll abuse your trust in us whenever it suits us."
Maxil stood, attempting to look impassively and dispassionately interested, but his revulsion shone through. "Who is Ďweí exactly? The CIA?"
Marcher appeared on the scene, grinning from ear to ear, and patting Maxil firmly on the back. "Not all of us, no. Just a select but happy few. Thank you, Lieutenant Holt, you may leave us now."
Holt bowed and vanished quickly down a corridor. As he disappeared from sight, Maxil turned to Marcher. "You knew Iíd report him, didnít you?"
"Donít look so shocked, man. Youíre a spy, a snoop, an undercover man. You work on covert operations for me. Half of what you do isnít even known to the President. I have to test you like this once in a while, to see how ruthless you are. I thought youíd passed the test, but now Iím not so certain about that."
Maxil waited until Marcher spoke again, but it was obvious that his boss wasnít going to talk first. Maxil consented defeat and asked a question, to put the pressure back on Marcher. "So, what are my duties now, Sir?"
"Carry on with what youíre already doing, of course. Watch out for Ichabod. I want a complete character profile on him, and any useful information or gossip that even hints as to what heís up to, do you understand?"
Maxil shrugged his shoulders and set to work immediately. Ichabodís ill health suggested that he might just be going off to die quietly and alone somewhere, but other files attested to an intense fear of death and a desire to live on at any cost. His invention of the MSR was proof enough of that. The next most likely option was a desire to meet with The Doctor. A Matrix quest for The Doctorís whereabouts revealed that his seventh persona was currently registering as being at Henley, England, Earth, on June the 22cd, at 2.30 PM Greenwich Mean time in the year 2158. Where the people of a given world were advanced enough to have their own skills in chronology, cartography and navigation, Galifreyan charters simply followed their own calculations and calendars. Finding Henleyís latitude and longitude readings was relatively easy.
Securing authorisation with some difficulty and much form filling, through Marcher and Holt, Maxil set of in a Mark 693 Pursuit TARDIS. He was advised to take a few other CIA officials with him, for the ride, including Holt, but Maxil insisted on going alone. He knew that The Doctor at least would not be a problem. The Doctor was not going to be threatened with arrest or execution; not on this visit anyway.
Marcher received news of Maxilís quest to find The Doctor with glee. "Itís all going splendidly, isnít it?"
Holt grinned, nodded and almost drooled with excitement at the thought of it all, but said nothing.
Using the TARDIS computer banks, Maxil ordered a rerun of the biographical data currently available on Ichabodís life. It struck him that other than a potted general series of highlights on Ichabodís formative years, he had only really concentrated his investigation on more recent events, relating to his unauthorised raids on the Matrix Banks. Maxil wondered if Ichabod had made earlier attempts to gain access to the Matrix and for what purposes. He quickly discovered that among other searches, Ichabod had pursued all the information he could gather about his natural father, also called Ichabod.
The information was totally unclassified as the senior Ichabod was a man of little political importance. The younger Ichabod had been told of his parentage by Nurse Tolon, and she had advised him to leave the past alone and let his father be, to which Ichabod had agreed. He now looked prepared to break that vow.
Maxil allowed the Matrix to trace the whereabouts of Ichabod senior, and found that the man had died of quite natural causes soon after Ichabodís third regeneration. Maxil became briefly worried that Ichabod might attempt to change history by going back in time to meet his own father, or even kill him. A Matrix probability factor curve on the question told Maxil that Ichabod was more likely now to call upon the young stepbrother his father had spawned in his second marriage; a son called Gowanmar. The Matrix detected intense feelings of jealousy and hatred towards the stepbrother, feelings Ichabod wasnít even aware of having.
Maxil changed course and brought his TARDIS to a house on the outskirts of the Escalorian district of the Galifreyan capital Citadel. He decided that his appointment with The Doctor could wait for a little while longer. He also decided to avoid informing Marcher and Holt of his little detour for the time being.
Gowanmar was relaxing for the first time in months. He had been on a dangerous undercover mission to the Sontaran home world, investigating rumours of a new invasion plan they might be launching against Galifrey. The talk had proved to be just that; rumours. Three of Gowanmarís finest soldiers and friends had been killed for nothing. He himself was lucky to get away alive. He needed his leave now. Nothing was going to disturb him. He would sit at home and watch television for a week.
After a brief Public Records Video Station news flash in which several distraught schoolchildren described being almost gunned down in an Ďattemptedí TARDIS heist, at the Citadel Museum, there was a soap opera on. The main character, D. R. Hyde, had been replaced by another actor under the pretence that he had regenerated. Though he had long since given up trying to untangle who was going out with who nowadays in ĎThe Times Of Their Livesí Gowanmar kept watching. This was the much publicised and hyped thousandth year anniversary special, with guest appearances by many of the surviving original cast.
Suddenly, there was something in between himself and the five dimensional television picture. A heavy blue TARDIS had materialised right in front of him. It quickly turned into a large walk in drinks cabinet, and a tall, blond man stepped out of it, with security robes on , and a staser gun in his hand.
"What are you doing here?" Gowanmar demanded. "You canít just walk in here without authorisati.... "
His words were cut off when Maxil hit him across the face with the grip of the staser gun. "Iíve no time to introduce myself, or secure any kind of warrant. If you want to live, you should shut up and listen to me. Iím afraid you might be receiving a visitor any minute now. It might not be very pleasant for you."
The young soldier was furious, rather than frightened. "Who the hell are you?"
Maxil grinned sadistically. "Oh, Iím a much more pleasant type of visitor than the other chap who's coming. Why donít you put the kettle on and weíll talk it through."
Gowanmar scowled. "Thereíll be no kettles, no tea, coffee or beer for you. Just say what you have to say and get out of my house."
Maxil recognised the brooding aggression of a natural born military man. Heíd dreamt so long of the mercenary life himself. He knew that he would have to proceed carefully with this small, lithe, burly tiger of a man. He knew now that the surprise tactics he had used hadnít shocked the young soldier into submissive respect from the start. Maxil half suspected that parking the TARDIS outside the house and knocking politely on the door might have been more prudent and pragmatic of him. He decided to be blunt and direct. "I think your step brother is coming here, and he might even try to kill you."
Gowanmar finally became subdued. The tension and fury seemed to fall right out of him. He flopped listlessly into a soft leather chair. He wanted to rub his severely bruised chin to ease the pain caused when the intruder had hit him, but he didnít want to be seen doing so by his assailant. "You mean Ichabod, donít you?"
Maxil nodded, and started to speak, but Gowanmar went on as though the man hadnít replied. "Funny; Father always said he would call round. He knew the poor boy resented being abandoned like that after his Mother died so horribly. He also knew that Ichabod has been running Matrix checks on him. He admitted to me that he was keeping an eye on Ichabod through the Matrix too. Iíve been doing the same, since father died. Ichabod doesnít like me. I got all the opportunities he has missed in life. I had a mother, and a happy childhood. Thatís how he sees it; he goes over that in his mind over and over again.
Maxil cut in. "What have you seen lately?"
"Nothing. Since he stole the TARDIS heís off the Matrix completely. He must have blocked himself in some way to prevent himself from being tracked down. Are you assigned to catching him?"
"Yes, something like that."
"Donít hurt him, will you. Not unless you have to." It was a statement rather than a question. Maxil said nothing in reply. He just lifted up his staser pistol and double checked that the remaining energy bolts were loaded in correctly. He made sure Gowanmar saw him do it, and smiled.
- 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
© Copyright. Arthur
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