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- 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

LORD TIME - CHAPTER THREE. - LORD TIME.

The 5,000 Series TARDIS flew in random co-ordinates as Ichabod commanded. It materialised fleetingly on a number of uninhabited worlds and satellites, (real and artificial), and then rapidly vanished again. Ammonia oceans, comets, the hearts of a thousand suns, and the magma cores of hundreds of planets found their virginal terrain desecrated by his presence. Ichabod’s TARDIS tore through space, time and The Vortex in endless arcs and spirals. Ichabod's course followed a twofold purpose. First, of all, he obviously had to keep any pursuing Galifreyan posse off his trail, and secondly, he was observing very closely the behaviour of his TARDIS’s chameleon circuitry as the time machine adapted to the landscapes of a multitude of diverse worlds. A miniature monitor screen graphically reproduced for him the TARDIS’s constantly changing external appearance. the 5,000 series became dust-bowl rock formations, fiery red balls bearing the look and surface temperature of the suns he landed on, blending the TARDIS perfectly with its landing sites.

Finally satisfied that he had seen enough of the chameleon circuit’s untapped potential and escaped any immediate pursuit, Ichabod moved his TARDIS to a dirty grey solitary barren and lifeless moon where the vehicle immediately became one with the landscape yet again. The TARDIS perfectly captured the shadow reflection of a nearby crater.

A nearby blue planet was clearly visible to Ichabod through the view-screens on the TARDIS, rising majestically over the horizon and looking close by even though it was some quarter of a million miles away. Ichabod felt nervous. This was the nearest he had dared yet land in proximity to an inhabited planet. He felt safe enough though.

A sense of the magnitude of his crime against Galifrey began to weigh heavily on his mind. He asked himself what possible right he had to behave as he was doing. Many other Time Lords had resigned themselves to the inevitability of death. Ichabod tried unsuccessfully and unconvincingly to offer himself arguments of moral justification for his actions. He wished there had been someone with him who could persuade him of the correctness or wrongfulness and immorality of his behaviour. Silence alone answered his doubts. He felt as cold, barren, lonely and empty as the lunar surface around him. He felt an overwhelming desire to go home. Going back to the Citadel and expecting the Time Lords to accept his apologies was utterly out of the question now. Surrender was no longer a viable option. From the modest observations he had made of the second Doctor’s trial he knew that leniency and clemency were not a common exercise for the Galifreyan judiciary.

Ichabod tried to comfort his own fears by telling himself that all criminals felt as he did right now. The feeling in his guts that he might have made some simple mistake or miscalculation that would bring the authorities descending to the surface of the moon to arrest him at any instant. There was also a less expected, but equally strong paranoiac sensation of being watched and observed from within the TARDIS itself. The time machine seemed to pick up on his despondency, anxiety, & guilt, and reflect them back at him tenfold. Ichabod couldn’t escape from an instinctive feeling that he hadn’t acted this far entirely of his own accord. He told himself repeatedly that such notions were absurd, but the conviction grew for him that he was being manipulated in some way.

"Soon, soon," a dispassionate, insane voice seemed to be saying within his head. Ichabod sat down on the floor of the TARDIS for a few minutes, weeping uncontrollably.

When he’d regained some of his composure, and his powers of concentration, Ichabod set up his miniature but precise reproduction of the Matrix APC Net and connected it directly to the TARDIS control console. After a test in which he hologramatically recreated his old workshop he set the Matrix to work in minutely inspecting and examining all aspects of the chameleon circuitry and his own physiological medical profiles which he had programmed into the APC Net from his Metamorphic Symbiosis Regenerator work. As the complex programme loaded, ran and adapted, Ichabod started to build up a new MSR machine, which he also linked directly to the TARDIS control console. There was still a great deal of work to be done, but the basic skeleton on which he would operate was in place now. Ichabod knew that he would have to work quickly though. He was weakening already. His excitement, and the energy he had expended in the course of his escape and his experiments was taking its toll. He began to feel very apprehensive. Once again, the arguments against his activity ran through his mind. He couldn’t stop them. He knew exactly what would happen if he got caught. The Time Lords would never pardon him for deserting their world. He would face the risk of execution in a Vaporisation chamber. Even the lesser sentence of compulsory regeneration would amount to a death sentence for him. in his final incarnation. He began to realise that the Ichabod he had tried to protect and preserve from the ravages of time for so long, was doomed. The inevitability of that fact struck him over and over, repeatedly, like a fist inside his head. He had to keep pulling himself back from despair by concentrating on his work.

He told himself once more in the inner-Valeyard voice that it would probably be better to just accept oblivion and timelessness as so many other Time Lords had done. Ichabod struggled to suppress such resurfacing thoughts, and told himself that he had to survive. The word ‘survive’ became his mantra. He repeated it over in his head many times. To survive meant regeneration, or rather, complete metamorphosis into something new and better, which would never have to regenerate again.

The work continued frantically in increasingly unsteady hands until he was interrupted by a rumbling sensation going on around the TARDIS. The moon seemed to be quaking. Ichabod sensed immediately that he was in no immediate danger, as TARDIS’s are virtually indestructible, but he had to stop work to find out exactly what was going on. He looked round at the external monitor camera to see what was going on outside. A cloud of dust was settling slowly and gracefully in the low gravity a few yards away from the TARDIS. Through it, Ichabod saw a squat, ugly white metal insect-like little craft resting on four leg-supports.

He knew that it was some kind of space-vehicle and not a pursuit TARDIS. Galifreyan vehicles are immediately recognisable to Time Lords no mater how well they are disguised and camouflaged. Ichabod wondered what he was looking at, and why it should come to this dirt-ball of all places. He wondered why anyone in their right mind would go to the time, trouble and expense of organising an expedition to a barren, dead world. He tuned the TARDIS radio-communication receivers to pick up on any signals being made within the craft and caught the words, "The Eagle has Landed."

From the nearly continuous commentary coming from the craft’s crew, Ichabod caught their purpose. They were just early astronauts making their first landing on a world other than their own. "Primitives!", Ichabod thought with a sneer. He decided to ignore them and continue with his own research, but he couldn’t help watching when the man in white armour stepped from his Eagle onto the Moon uttering the phrase, "One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind."

"Is that the best you could come up with?" Ichabod thought, finding a brief respite from his head’s agonising and relentless spirals of self-recrimination and doubt. He laughed as the two men on the Moon danced around in the gravity and played leapfrog together. They played a game they called ‘golf’ with a ball and some sticks, collected rock samples, got back in their Eagle and flew away, leaving flags and buggies and various machines behind.

"Litterbugs," growled Ichabod, coming close to completion of his own experiments. This is it," he thought. "Giant leap for Galifrey time. He triggered some switches on the console relating to the chameleon circuits; and stepped onto a small metal platform for what he knew to be his last ever encounter with the Metamorphic Symbiosis Regenerator unit. If his experiment succeeded, he wouldn’t need the MSR ever again. If the experiment failed, he would be dead, so either way, this was the last time.

For once, he felt confident, strong, and healthy. He knew that he had to act quickly. He wired himself into the MSR and With a sharp intake of breath to steel his nerves, he counted to three, cried out in the name of Rassilon, and threw the final connector-switch. The result was an instant searing blast of heat and pain that ran on and on. Ichabod screamed and fainted dead away for a moment before swinging in and out of consciousness. Each time he came round, the pain seemed worse than before, and the TARDIS seemed to be shrinking and fading away around him. He felt himself growing, expanding and becoming one with he TARDIS. His body welled out over the control console and absorbed it through his chest area. The MSR and the Matrix banks vanished inside him as well, along with all the other complex, functional machinery. Finally, the outer shell-casing and hull of the 5,000 Series TARDIS was consumed too. Ichabod stood looking out over the grey lunar landscape. He instinctively raised his internal body temperature to a comfortable level. He didn’t even realise that he had done that. He was too busy looking at the debris left behind by the spacemen who had recently gone, convinced that they were the first ones to visit the Moon. Ichabod looked at the fallen stars and bars flag that commemorated the visit. He walked over and picked up the tiny dappled white ball with which the astronauts had played ‘golf’. Ichabod asked himself what golf was. His Matrix memory banks activated and he immediately knew all that there is to know about golf. He knew of St. Andrews, Gleneagles, birdies, and albatrosses. He knew all about Gary Player, and Peter Ousterhouse. He saw celebrity matches, featuring Jimmy Tarbuck and Bruce Forsyth. He knew of every recorded game of pitch & Put and crazy golf. He knew which players had been struck by lightening. He knew the location of a million lost golf balls; every cheat and every false claim to a hole-in-one. He quickly examined his knowledge of other Earth pastimes, from Football to bog-snorkling and dwarf throwing. He laughed. The Matrix banks were his brain now. He was omnipotent and omnisentient, but he felt totally unmoved by his massive surge of knowledge and his ability to survive in a zero atmosphere without protective clothing and breathing apparatus such as that worn by the men called Aldrin and Armstrong. He was breathing in a vacuum. He crushed the golf ball effortlessly between his finger and his thumb and tossed it aside, casually, lightly, but it vanished quickly over the horizon and burned up as it flashed up and out of the restricted atmosphere. Ichabod looked at his ungloved hand. Such strength. He’d achieved it. He was impervious, invulnerable and indestructible. Immortal! Eternal! What lives forever? What survives? Ichabod! No, Ichabod was dead. He was something more now than Ichabod ever was or ever could be. He thought of Neil Armstrong’s efforts to make history sound more profound with his Giant leap speech. Ichabod wanted to think up a line that would do justice to his own unprecedented accomplishment. He could think only of the words, "I am a god now. I am God." He felt disappointed by the statement and tried to add to it. "Time has a new master. I am no longer a mere Time Lord. I am Lord Time." He knew that his words were hollow and pretentious but they were the best he could do for the time being.

Ichabod experimented further with his new powers. He tested his chameleon circuitry and made himself into the shape of the golf ball, although in a much larger size. He then assumed the size and accurate dimensions of the lower half of the Eagle lunar module; the portion of the craft abandoned by the spacemen to save weight for their return journey to the Earth. The transformation was precise. Ichabod had no external eyes in this guise. He looked at the Moonscape through his internal monitor screens. Out of curiosity he willed his outer body to turn transparent. Within him lay the cavernous dimensions of a TARDIS, and the twin heart-like consoles where his own hearts had been. He was bigger on the inside than on the outside. He was truly a living, breathing TARDIS.

Turning back into the humanoid guise of the old Ichabod again he tried to walk. He took a few tentative steps to test his physical abilities. At first he found that each footstep threw him a thousand miles across the Moon, but he quickly learned to walk properly again.

Only one test remained. He willed himself into a dematerialization mode and vanished into the Vortex, swimming and floating around in awe at the beautiful colours and swirling patterns that no other Time Lord could survive in, unprotected by a TARDIS shell. Ichabod stayed in the Vortex for many days, learning, observing, planning his next move. It was time to move on, to a new world. This would be no random visit, as before. He wanted to test his abilities on an inhabited planet with an intelligent humanoid population. He realised that the blue-green world that the astronauts had come from was ideal. The TARDIS that was Ichabod vanished from the Vortex and headed to Earth on unspecified time co-ordinates. His sense of guilt began to resurface. Ichabod quashed it as well as he could, and set his mind to his new experiment.

*****

The football stadium sized grey submarine was on silent running 30,000 leagues down in the Pacific Mariana Trench. The crew of eight men took turns riding around the gloomy warren of corridors on electric motorbikes. There were several superfluous ‘No Smoking’ warning signs on the walls. The smell of concentrated crude oil in the barrels and steel drums all around them was suffiecent deterrent against lighting cigarettes anyway.

Mitchell Tyne was bored. They’d been sailing for thirteen days now. Americans in Iberian ships’ markings, loaded up in secret undersea ports that were manned by deep-sea divers and highly sophisticated robots. The crew of the U.S.S. Clintonbush were litle more than a routine maintenance team. The Clintonbush sailed by wire. Tyne was used to working on smaller subs, with a bigger, friendlier crew. These automated monsters were a dreadful place to work. They were cold, and dark for the most part. Heat and oil don’t mix. Worse was the air of espionage surrounding a once perfectly respectable sailing career. The Clintonbush hid away from others shipping as though evading wartime pursuit by destroyers armed with depth-charges. Surface transportation of crude oil was outlawed now. People were too aware of the potential pollution problems. Various political factions had taken to dynamiting oil tankers as a way of creating ecological terrorism. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef had now been totally destroyed, as was much of the Adriatic Sea. Submersible oil tankers were seen as one way of avoiding the problem. They still sank and crashed once in a while, as they steered like drunken camels, but the oil that did escape took much longer to reach the surface, and thus spread over a much wider and less visible area. Unfortunately, it damaged a great deal more wildlife on the way up to the surface. What those do-gooders from Greenpeace didn’t see couldn’t hurt the money-makers. The terrorists and guerrilla factions sought other targets instead, such as hospitals and schools.

Tyne felt frustrated. One day, he told himself repeatedly, he would spill the beans. He would tell the whole world what his work really involved. He would tell the truth and count the profits of becoming a media hero. No, no he wouldn’t. He was just fantasising, jerking off in his head. He would just carry on informing people that he was in the American Merchant Navy and leave it at that. He would work, retire and dream of winning the World Lottery. He would die one day, leaving his wife with his debts, and the submarines would carry on with their dirty work, no mater what. He would keep his mouth shut, just like the rest of them.

He remembered the propaganda hype that he had been drilled with during his training, about how safety was the highest factor. ‘Nothing can go wrong’ he was taught to say, over and over. ‘Nothing can go wrong’. He was still chanting the comforting, catchy little mantra when his bike cut out on him. He cursed. Hartley hadn’t charged up the battery overnight like he was supposed to. Tyne had a choice. He could radio out for a pick up, or start walking. It would mean a lot less working time if he walked, but the Captain would want to know why he hadn’t called for assistance, so he took out the radio. He almost dropped it right away though when he saw what he could only describe as a ghost. A man just appeared right in front of him, and vanished as quickly as he had arrived, walking through the corridor and out the other side. The man had looked old, and his eyes had burned with fanitcal zeal, like those of a new convert to some political or religious cause. The man was wearing some kind of black ceremonial gown. The spectre hadn’t been carrying any weapons.. but there was something dangerous about his appearance. No, Tyne thought, the figure hadn’t been there at all. How could he be there? He had left by apparently walking out through the hull towards open water. In fact, he had walked in from the sea as well, 35,000 leagues down.

*****

Ichabod rematerialised immediately outside and just below the dark shadow of the submarine. He spluttered and panicked as the water filled his lungs, before he instinctively formed gills in his neck and started to breathe the water with relative ease. He could have chosen to exist without breathing at all, but gills were a pleasant enough alternative. swimming also came easily to him. He had never had a lesson. Somehow, he just knew how. He transformed his eyes into infrared torch lights. He saw the slow, ponderous hulk of the leviathan submarine as clearly as if it floated on the surface of the Ocean.

He’d made mistakes. He knew that now. He had to learn what shape to adapt with his chameleon skills more quickly. He flashed through his memory/matrix banks and logged every reference he could find to Earth submarine vessels of the early 21st century and what they might be expected to have on board. He was immediately rewarded with a plethora of useful information. He quickly dismissed the idea of taking on the form of a human crew member. In such a closed in environment, the men knew each other well. An impostor would soon be identified as such.

He felt none of the colossal water pressure that would have instantly crushed the body of frail old Ichabod, nor did he feel any of the freezing coldness that would have killed any diver at such a depth no matter how well they tried to protect themselves.

*****

In the Clintonbush Bridge Room, Hartley was being told off in no uncertain terms and with a great deal of bad language by Tyne, who was speaking through the pocket phone, and over a loud speaker system so that anyone else on the Bridge could hear him as well. Tyne demanded that the internal transportation equiptment officer be immediately reassigned to the position of submarine deck hand. Lieutenant Salisbury sat on a desk, with his feet on the chair he ought to have been occupying, and listened in on the one-sided conversation, laughing at Hartley’s embarresment, until the sonar screen he was paid to watch all day started bleeping madly, and drew his attention to more pressing matters.

"Hart. We’ve got some sort of big fish running parallel to us, close to starboard. You’d better take a look at this."

Hartley was glad of the distraction from Tyne’s rolling angry outburst. "At this depth! Are you kidding? Even whales don’t come down this far unless they’ve drowned."

"Maybe you’re right," Salisbury said, smiling sheepishly, "because it just disappeared off the sonar-screen. It could have been a reflection echo from the sub herself. I’ve heard of such phenomena."

"Sure you have," Hartley said, nodding with the Cheshire-cat smile of someone humouring an idiot. "Maybe it’s the Loch Ness Monster swimming south for the winter."

Tyne was still shouting through the open channel of the radio system, but his voice had moved from anger to high-pitched hysteria and fright now. Hartley called to him, and after a moment, he shouted back to Salisbury. "Just how many mini-subs are we supposed to be carrying, Sal?"

*****

The Mini-subs were all stowed away in the stern section close to the area where the 720,000 oil drums were regularrly loaded and unloaded at the beginning and end of each voyage. The little two-seater submarines were little more than a dry-window platform from which the Clintonbush crew could supervise the handling of their cargo. With their claw and crab like pincers, the min-subs could be used to examine any hull damage and carry out minor maintancence and repair work. Hartley had spent several days on this voyage using one mini-sub to scrape barnacles from the underside of the hull. As escape-pods and lifeboats the mini-subs were virtually useless. getting them out for use was far to slow as a process for that. There were three of them in all, and they were all canary yellow in colour. Hartley had annoyed everyone by constantly singing the old Beatles song whenever he worked with them.. "We all work in a tub of margarine; a tub of margarine, a tub of margarine."

The mini-sub reported in by Tyne however was bright red, and parked in a portside forward mess hall access area. Hartley rushed his bike to its full seven miles-per-hour limit and and joined Tyne to stare in disbelief at the intruder and its Japanese markings. He got off the bike and walked over to the sub that took up most of the corridor. He touched it cautiously. "Cold and dry," he said.

Tyne nodded his head. "And not here ten minutes ago."

Hartley scrambled over the sub, and dropped down to Tyne’s side of it,. Together the men banged on the hull of the machine, and took turns trying to force the hatch-lock which refused to give. They called out to any potential occupant, but no one seemed inclined to reply, or step out of its little round door. The window was too dark to see in through. Tyne got some cutting equipment for himself, from a nearby storage room, and he brought out a sledgehammer for Hartley, and they set to work. After about fifteen minutes they were about to give up trying to even scratch the paint work when the little submarine turned purple before their very eyes. A dry rasping voice boomed out from the vehicle. "Try oxyacetelene burners if you think it would help."

"Who are you? What are you?" Hartley demanded without receiving any reply. Tyne got the burners out as suggested. He was about to change over to them anyway.

"Should we alert the rest of the crew?" asked Salisbury over the radio as Hartley briefed him on the situation.

"Negative, on that," Hartley said, in reply. "I don’t think they can help much. In fact, I think we are wasting our time. I reckon we should just leave this baby right here until we get to Port and let the experts handle it."

Tyne ignored the suggestions being discussed between his colleagues and carried on burning away at the metal doorway which was now painted white and fading to pink. The words ‘Now try here’ flashed up with a little arrow pointing to a red target area on another part of the vessel’s shell. Tyne carried on focusing the flame on the spot he had started with, just above the door hatch, but nothing was happening. The metal wasn’t even warm. Hartley told him to stop, and heeding the advice, he switched off the burner. In anger, fear and frustration, Tyne ran up and kicked the sub hard. It immediately kicked him back with five-hundred volts of electricity. It got the other man too. Tyne and Hartley fell to the floor clutching at their chests and crying out in pain. Hartley was out cold, though he was still breathing, but Tyne got up again, and watched the little sub vanish before his eyes, as though just painted out of the picture ahead of him. It reappeared almost immediately, a few feet closer to him. There was a loud crunching noise, a gurgle of pain, and then Tyne saw Hartley’s legs sticking out from under the rapidly expanding brown/black mini-sub decorated in South African trade registration markings.

Tyne backed away, narrowly missing falling over the the cutting and burning equipment he had been using, as the indestructible sub expanded like a child's balloon. Tyne wished he had a gun, but he suspected that even a bullet would have had no impact on the deadly machine. He watched helplessly as the giant mini-sub outgrew the corridor and crushed its way out effortlessly through the ship’s double hull, as though it was a new born bird breaking free of its egg-casing. The splintering roar of tearing metal told Tyne that it was time to run, and also that it was now to late to run. He stood frozen to the spot, with his mind in a whirl of conflicting questions as the sea rushed in towards him as one solid wall to sweep him down the corridor before it.

*****

For a few seconds before water shorted out all the electrics on board. the sonar recorded the debris spilling out from the other half of the submarine itself and the pouring oil that spewed out of the vast ruptures that were forming. Salisbury didn’t watch the screen. He had run to the corridor as the alarms had sounded. The men of the second shift had died in their sleeping quarters, barely waking long enough to register their fate before they perished.

*****

The USS Clintonbush exploded and sank completely into the Mariana Trench and was written off as just another maritime mystery. Though the oil did disperse over a wide area, killing thousands of fish, whales, sharks and dolphins, it was the inexplicable deaths of the crewmen that drew media attention to the incident. The public wanted to know how an allegedly unloaded ship had sunk in calm waters when there was no other vessel around for it to collide with. Publicity and speculation uncovered the whole sorry sordid scandal of the secret use of underwater super tankers, which were strictly banned from all future use, though environmentalists believed that many were still in covert operation many years afterwards.

*****

Ichabod dived out of the sea and back into the Vortex. He had been such a fool, he told himself. He’d made basic fundamental and silly mistakes. He regretted the deaths of the earthlings, but they had tried to attack him, hadn’t they? No, that wasn’t true. They had just tried to investigate and understand. They had no way of imagining that he might be a living entity. He had killed them because they were simply there. He had done it simply because he could,. He was testing his powers, the powers of a new god. Why should a mighty god regret a few mortal deaths? The submariners were mere casualties in the battle for the conquest of time. Why should a god care about that? But Ichabod knew that he felt concerned; that he felt guilt over his actions. Why? Such concern for life was weakness. A God was above such things. Ichabod told himself that his new dispassionate machine like thinking processes should easily override such immaterial emotivism in the fullness of time. He just needed a bit more practice before .. before ... Ichabod reminded himself that the men had not even been Galifreyans. Gods had to rise above such moral considerations. He was in a position to create a whole new and universal morality. He had to take charge of other peoples’ moral outlook on life. He knew that he had to become objective, remote, indifferent, detached, loveless, and free from the binding restraints of other peoples’ outmoded ethical considerations.

He felt excited to, by the lack of effect the mortals had been able to have on him. He had changed their destinies but they had been able to have no influence or impact on him whatsoever. As Ichabod, he had been entirely at the mercy of bureaucratic imbeciles, limited in his legal access to the Matrix, and denied the right to travel where and when he wished. Now, he was truly free, master of his own fate. He wanted someone to share in his glory and witness his deeds. He needed someone to look up to him in fear, awe, love and respect. "Get them to bow and kneel before you. Force them to love you. Galifrey always whines on about the corruption in the Universe, but they never do anything about it. They do nothing but moan and lament their lot in the Citadel. You can reinvent the Universe in your own image and design. You can irradicate the corruption. You can destroy the evil. Create a new world. You are a god. You have been born anew. Now make the Universe afresh. Start again from scratch, a new page, a new beginning. Wipe the slate clean, and start again."

The Valeyard voice was back, loud, dominant , triumphant and commanding. Ichabod wanted to obey its will, but there was still such a tide of guilt, self recrimination and doubt to overcome. Why did he feel so reluctant to exercise his power?

He knew that it would be unwise to return to Earth just yet. Galifrey would certainly recognise the Clintonbush tragedy as his handiwork. They would investigate, though it would not help them much. There were a few more skills to master before he put his final great experiment into operation before what would soon be regarded as ‘yesterday’s Universe.’

******

The Master had reduced ten of their number to shrunken putrefied dolls with his tissue compression eliminator, after his attempts to hypnotise them had failed. The Droxyls stood around him paralysed in fear and confusion. The creature before them looked and smelled like nothing that they had ever dined on before. Their normal instinct would now have been to burrow into the ground, but this mysterious invader had somehow managed to freeze their once invariably tropical soil solid, trapping several of the Droxyls irrecoverably into the ground, where they had suffocated, buried alive.

The three-foot tall mole-like creatures stood quite still, clicking their eyes together trying desperately to warn one another of a danger readily apparent to all of them already. Each creature’s eye socket stretched entirely around the head, three hundred and sixty degrees. Their eyelids were hard rocklike hoods that could close over the eyes to protect them while they burrowed blindly through the warm soft soils of their world, and lifted sharply to give them a clear vision of the surface world. Their two eyes moved quite independently of one another along the single socket, allowing them to see in two directions at once, in front and behind themselves, or to triangulate the position of potential enemies and the giant leech like creatures who they preyed on for most of their dietary needs.

At the first sign of any attacker, the Droxyls would click their eyes together loudly to signal the need to flee over vast distances. The Droxyls seemed possessed of incredibly sensitive hearing and possibly some telepathic ability. The Droxyls heard the warnings, dived down into the ground, and grouped together there to attack their enemy from below as a united team.

The Master had planned on capturing a few of the bizarre little creatures who bred and reproduced at such an alarming rate. They had devastated the agricultural stability of their home world within months of being genetically bred as a simple pest control experiment. Their few surviving creators had fled to other planets vowing never to be so stupid again.

The Master, dreaming of seeing them skipping about on the surface of Earth or Galifrey, found them terribly difficult to capture. Their burrowing tactics had almost cost him his life when they had quicksanded the ground around him and buried his TARDIS in the process. He could get the time-machine back easily enough with his new remote control summonsing mechanism, so he wasn’t to worried. First, however, he had to prevent the monsters from burrowing at all. He had just managed to salvage the necessary equipment from the TARDIS in time before it sank. As he froze the earth he wondered if he had remembered to close the TARDIS door. He didn’t relish the prospect of cleaning the mud out of the control room when he got it back.

His eyes were still yellow from his encounter with the Cheetah people. His funereal black clothes and his newly styled mephistophelean were brown and grimy from the mud-trap he had so narrowly escaped.

Finally, at last, these creatures were beginning to recognise him as a superior power. Seeing their colleagues die horribly had taught them the value of humility in defeat. A few Droxyls showed signs of obedience and a willingness to serve their captor. The Master smiled and took a couple of steel ball bearings from his pocket.. He held them in his hand and clicked them together. The sound was a close but convincing approximation of the Droxyls own eye-contact signal making noise. The Master clicked the bearings together three times. After a moment of hesitation, the apparent leader of the Droxyl colony, identical to its companions in every way, clicked its eyes three times. The Master smiled, thought of the cage he would keep them in to transport them to Earth, and clicked the bearings in his hand five times. The Droxyl replied by clicking its eyes five times.

The Master clicked his bearings seven times, but from behind him came eight extremely loud clicks in rapid succession. The Droxyls scampered back in apparent terror and started trying to burrow into the still hardened earth in desperation and terror. The Master looked around to see the Droxyl behind him, wearing identical clothes to his own. Slowly, its face turned to a perfect mirror image of his own features as well. It held a Tissue Compression Eliminator and ordered him to drop his own. The Master did so, and the creature leapt immediately onto his back from ten yards away, in a single leap, and started smacking him round the ears with its shovel-like hands. It’s tissue compression eliminator had vanished. The Master slipped in he mud as he tried to beat off his attacker, who turned fully human and kicked him up he backside sending him sprawling headlong into the filth. The Master lay there gasping and spluttering mud.

"Call yourself Master? Bah! You’re master of nothing. You’re no Time Lord if all you can do is lord it up over miserable creatures like these. You’re just pathetic. Yesterday’s villain."

Having said its piece, the unknown intruder vanished as quickly as it had arrived Making the distinctive telltale sound of a TARDIS dematerialising as it went.

The Master looked round himself in growing panic as the Droxyls hopped towards him one by one. One stood close to the Master’s fallen Tissue Compression Eliminator, somehow sensing that the attacker was probably helpless without it. The Master leapt up to his feet and fled, with the creatures close behind, but less agile above ground than below it. The Master knew that he would be safe once he reached the safety of the rocks, and that they would abandon their search for him in a few days. Getting the TARDIS back would be easy enough later. Droxyls seldom came out after dark. He could get away then, if the fire-frogs and giant flying ants didn’t find him first. He could soon make a new TCR gun too, but he didn't feel much like coming back to this world just yet. He would however send some kind of message to Galifrey, warning them of what he had seen. They could handle it from there. He had his own fiendish schemes to work on, plenty of them.

******

The Daleks had received an emergency transmission from Davros. Skaro had been destroyed. They were ordered to seek Daleks on other worlds. If possible, they were to rescue the Daleks frozen in the ice-volcanoes of Spiridon. They had to be ready to avenge themselves on The Doctor. Daleks on board the ships they had hoped to fly to their home world set course for other planets. Robotic screams of ‘Revenge’ were shouted over and over again. Dalek Ship eighty-seven was one of several in the fleet assigned to attack the migrant Thal community on Spiridon. Daleks worked the guidance controls and moved effortlesly around the spacecraft, expecting no fighting to start until they reached Spiridon itself, so the red alert took them completely by surprise, as did the emergence in their control room of a giant heavy weapons Dalek from nowhere. Several Daleks panicked. A few disrupter bolts and photon energy blasts were fired, despite the repeatedly shrieked metallic command from the divisional Dalek Supreme that they should not open fire. Each energy bolt rolled like ball-lightning around the giant Dalek and ricoched off to smash into either another Dalek or a piece of sensitive saucer control equipment. Several fires started and the saucer lurched and rolled uncontrollably, sending many Daleks skittling helplessly into one another. The Giant Dalek refused to heed or acknowledge the frenzied demands for its immediate unconditional surrender and the information on its origins. One Dalek asked if the machine had been sent by the Doctor.

The heavy weapons Dalek suddenly shouted EXTERMINATE! in a very human voice, and unleashed its own firepower, obliterating nineteen Daleks in a single shot and disappeared.

"Revenge will be ours," shouted the survivors on board the crippled ship as they waited to be rescued by other vessels in the fleet as the journey towards Spiridon continued. "Revenge will be ours."

*****

Cybermen were visited by an entity of pure gold, with inevitable consequences.

Sontarans were attacked from behind by the fifth incarnation of their old enemy, The Doctor, who showed incredible strength in his ability to kick down the solid iron doors of their main battle fortress on Sontar. Several Sontarans had their heads punctured through their sensitive neck valves. The weapon used in the murders resembled a stick of celery. Many of the Sontarans present were deliberately left alive to tell the tale and spread the legend, spreading the news and blaming Galifrey. There was much talk on Sontar of another attack on the Time Lord world, but their defeat in the last battle with Galifrey was quickly used to end dreams of a second engagement at the present time. Somehow, the Galifreyans had also got wind of the talk of invasion. They had sent a small covert military expedition force to Sontar to investigate. Some of that expeditionary force had regrettably got away alive.

*****

The invasion of five worlds in less than one hour had allowed Ichabod a brief, modest respite from his crippling sense of morality and guilt. Now he stopped to reflect on his achievements and the enormity of his misdeeds mortified him. He had to be a god, because if he wasn’t a god he was just another evil monster. It had to be God.Had to be ... had to be. Had to. He realised now that when he wasn’t rampaging through time and space his conscience rebounded on him with a vengeance. He asked himself how he could allow innocent sailors on Earth to die while an utterly evil entity like Master should be allowed to live on. He knew the answer right away. The Master was a fellow Galifreyan.

"Can you honestly think of yourself as a god if you don’t exercise your absolute power over all life and death? God cannot afford to be so sensitive or squeamish," declared the Valeyard voice. Ichabod had to agree with the voice. He’d let Cybermen, Daleks and Sontarans live, but he knew that they would spread word of his activity and make the peoples and races of the Universe tremble. Gods need survivors to remember their power. Gods need people to love and fear them. His conscience kicked in again. Daleks would never love him. Cybermen were incapable of fearing anyone. They would just blame the Doctor and seek revenge. Ichabod realised that in many ways he had failed. His power was by no means absolute. Not yet anyway. There were forces at work in the existing known Universe that even he couldn’t master and control; at least not yet. There were life forms out there with a will of their own. That would have to change.

To be a truly all-powerful God, he first had to prove himself before Galifrey. Sooner or later they would discover what he was and what he had become. It was time to call home now, at least for a flying visit. He had to sever his roots. He had to silence the little voice that still told him that he was doing something awful and evil. Ichabod knew that he wasn’t like the Master. He was a god, and God cannot be evil. He had an infinite mind now, within his TARDIS based extra-dimensions. His thoughts, his conscience and sub-conciousness, his anger, bitterness and hatreds were all amplified. Every thought, every doubt, each feeling that he had bounced and echoed around in his head in endless reverberation. He had to keep moving and acting in increasingly extreme ways to escape the growing noise from inside his head. Some of his actions were undoubtedly evil; that he had no doubt about, but he added the proviso that good ends justified evil means. Didn’t they? Didn’t they? For a few seconds his mind seemed satisfied with that, but then the doubts came back. "That is an unacceptable line of reasoning. The ends are never attained. The means continue to be sought. The argument becomes nothing more than a metaphysical excuse to do as you please. You are merely using your godlike power to grant yourself a licence for selfishness. You are using sophistry instead of reason. You are evil, You are not God. You are the Devil.

"Devils cannot create. I can create."

"What have you created?"

"I created myself from the body of a dying man. I can go on to create whole worlds. Watch and see me do it. I am God and I will prove it."

Talking to himself; a sign of madness in one who would be a God. He wondered if the Valeyard voice was really there. Perhaps he was just deluding himself that he had a Valeyard inside himself. Perhaps he just wanted to dismiss his own evil actions as the behaviour of some other kind of entity. Blaming the Valeyard was all too easy.

‘Face it, God’, he told himself; ‘Ichabod is dead. You killed him yourself after trying to keep him alive for so long. His Valeyard died with him. You are a superior entity. You are above all concepts of good and evil and morality. Save yourself from this self-inflicted torment and use more of your potential. You torture yourself by not using your powers to their full capacity. Why crawl over broken glass on your hands and knees when you can walk round it? Keep moving. Keep progressing, conquest over conquest. Force the Universe to your bidding., Destroy it altogether if you must. Show the worlds that lie in your dominion your mysterious and terrible ways. Prove yourself. Prove yourself. Prove yourself. Prove’ .... The words rolled on in an infinite echo. Prove yourself. Prove yourself. God commanded the words to stop, but they carried on ad nauseum. prove yourself Prove yourself. God screamed. Prove yourself Prove yourself.

*******

Maxil stayed on edge. He didn’t trust Gowanmar not to try to disarm him. He kept his staser gun trained on his unwilling host at all times.

"Quite a small house for one of our top soldiers. You surprise me."

Gowanmar glared at him. Maxil seemed to emphasise a great deal of resentment and bitterness in the way he used the word ‘soldier’. This was clearly a man with a chip on his shoulder. Gowanmar had seen it many times before; born fighting men reduced to pen-pushing and menial security work. Such men often became irritable, sadistic and aggressive. They had to keep proving to themselves how tough they really were.

At first, Gowanmar avoided answering any of Maxil’s questions, but gradually he started to talk. It eased the boredom and he knew that Maxcil, despite his intrusiveness, and love of violence, had his safety and protection at heart. "I like a small house," he replied. "It’s easier to tidy up, and find things in a hurry. It’s useful when you spend as much time away as I do."

Maxil agreed with him, but he didn’t say so. Most Time Lords had given their houses the infinite dimensional interior spacings of a TARDIS, and some had living rooms the length of the main Citadel Cathedral. The rooms in many Time Lord dwellings were stacked with decorations and ornaments from around the cosmos. Pre-Draconian art was the latest collectors’ craze. In fact, most of the artefacts on Galifrey were purchased from cheap reproduction shops, as time and space travel itself was frowned upon as a general rule. You had to have a better excuse to use a TARDIS than ‘going shopping’.

There had been a recent propaganda drive to encourage the populace to buy expensive paintings of President Heirom, but the cost of this commercial disaster was the clearest indication yet that Heirom would not serve another term in office after the next 100 year election.

. A few Time Lord houses were actual TARDIS’s. When the Time Lords owning them wanted to move house, strictly with Manopticon Housing Control permission granted, they did it literally, by physically changingthe internal and external shape of the house, or by moving the house through the Vortex to another neighborhood. Moving your place of residence to another world, or a different time period was strictly forbidden however.

"Face it, Max. He isn’t coming. How much longer are you planning on keeping me here like this?"

Maxil gave a look that said ‘Don’t call me Max.', which made Gowanmar call him Max. all the more often.

"Just a little while longer," Maxil replied with as much conviction as he could muster, but he was beginning to doubt the wisdom of his plan now. He wondered if perhaps he ought to have gone and fetched The Doctor right away instead.

There was a noise from the bedroom area above them, a heavy footfall on wooden floorboards. Both men heard it. Maxil leapt up clutching at his staser gun with both hands. "Stay here," he said to Gowanmar, commandingly. Gowanmar ignored him and stood up to follow him out, imploring Maxil not to hurt Ichabod unless he had to. Neither man reached the door to the room before the ceiling caved in on them.

Maxil scrambled free of the rubble, badly shaken and a little bit bruised, but otherwise unhurt. His gun lay a few feet away where he had dropped it, and he reached for it quickly, but Gowanmar got there first, moving with terrific speed, rolling up from the debris onto his feet without even ising his hands to steady himself. He fired to staser bolts into the crator in his ceiling and ordered the intruder to come down immediately if he didn’t want to get hurt.

"Do as he says, Ichabod," Maxil added, feeling helpless without his gun. "You won’t come to any harm from your own brother."

The disembodied head of Ichabod appeared immediately, filling the room virtually to capacity. It simply tore up through the floorboards, pinning Maxil against the wall, enmeshed in a jungle of steel grey hairs. Maxil couldn’t actually see beyond the head, but he could hear Gowanmar pleading with his brother to listen to him, and then he heard Gowanmar screaming in hideous agony. After that, there was only silence. Maxil struggled to free himself from the hair, but he just got more tangled up in it. To his surprise however, the hair wall vanished, and he was held against the stone wall by a bald featureless human head, but gradually, features began to appear there, eyes, a nose, a mouth, lips and vast, decayed unwashed rotten teeth. Instead of turning his head around, Ichabod had simply reshaped his features; reverting and reversing in on himself. The face just rippled round and the face had resembled itself on the other side of the skull. There was a high surge of static electricity in the room, and Maxil thought he would burst into flames as everything had become very hot. The cavernous mouth opened, emitting a fetid, rancid breath of stale air that left Maxil gagging and desperate for real fresh air. As the mouth opened wider, Maxil saw Gowanmar’s severed head jammed between two of the tree sized teeth, inches away from him.

"All gods devour their own children," boomed a giant voice.

Maxil felt sick, and for the first time in his life, genuinely terrified. He fell to his knees. He was shaking that much. His hair prickled and felt as though it was standing up. His eyes bulged and he struggled on the brink of total panic.

"You’re not Ichabod. What are you?"

"I was once Ichabod. You know that I am a Time Lord. You can sense that, can’t you?"

It was true but Maxil said nothing. He raised himself up feeling weak and groggy. He edged himself slowly around the wall. The door was nearby. the handle was somewhere within reach. Maxil groped around for it carefully, hoping that he wasn’t giving away his intentions.

"Ichabod is dead now. I am the new God who Galifrey must worship now. I bring you the choice of salvation or death. Which is it to be for you, Maxil?"

"Neither," shouted Maxil, pushing himself back through the doorway, and thanking Rassilon that it opened out, and not into the room. He fled quickly through the door and into the main kitchen area, where some vegetables were boiling away in a pan on a large stove. The wooden frame of the door splintered away as the giant rolling head followed him effortlessly into the kitchen. Maxil picked up the pan and hurled it so that the steaming, bubbling water and the hot onions hit the monster full in the face. The head kept moving as though nothing had happened, while the water dripping from the nose and forehead turned to icicles and broke off harmlessly. A dining room table and four chairs were quickly crushed to powder by the relentless juggernaut. Maxil threw a large meat cleaver and a serrated edge bread knife at the creature, to no effect. Maxil threw pepper as Ichabod got nearer. The monster sneezed loudly, or more than likely just pretended to, and the house shook and shuddered with tremendous force. Cups, glassware, ceiling lights, the windows, the clock-faces, and the cover on the dial of Maxil’s wristwatch (one giving the time on seventeen planets) shattered and exploded instantly. The long rain of glass forced Maxil to huddle up in a ball, but as soon as the glass stopped falling, he leapt up again and ran as fast as he could. He was covered in minor cuts and scratches.

"I know what you "I know are up to, Max. I wouldn’t bother if I was you."

Maxil felt as though he had just been slapped in the face. He had only ever been called Max. by one other person; the man Ichabod had just devoured.

Maxil spat at the monster and demanded to know what it was. He wasn’t used to feeling so totally helpless.

"Don’t look so surprised, Maxil. I know all there is to know about you. I know you once got stuck in a tree when you were a child and that your Father had to rescue you. I also know that you want to get round behind me to get back to that staser gun of yours. Am I not right?"

Maxil spat at the monster and demanded to know again what it was.

"Such brave defiance. You are struggling to conceal your terror. You are not used to being so helpless."

From the crow’s feet, just below Ichabod’s left eye, a hand appeared politely holding out the staser gun towards Maxil. "Here, take it. Shoot away, for all the good it will do you."

Maxil snatched the gun quickly and fired all of the five remaining energy bolts into the head at point blank range. Ichabod laughed.

Told you so, told you so. You can’t stop me. I am invincible. If you really want to stop me, I will be in the Dalamari Quadrant of the Galaxy in approximately one thousand years time. Catch me there if you can. Bring an army along with you if you think it will help."

"If you don’t kill me, I’ll find a way to stop you," Maxil shouted.

"I won’t kill you, not today anyway. If I had wanted to kill you I would have eaten you along with my brother. I have plans for you that will be easier for you to perform while you are alive. I want you to look up a mutual acquaintance of ours. You were about to go to him before you thought of coming here. That wasa smart move, Max. Coming here first, but now you must keep your original appointment. Give my regards to your old friend. I look forward to meeting him."

Though the ‘old acquaintance’ hadn’t been mentioned by name, Maxil had no doubt that Ichabod had The Doctor in mind.

The head vanished, with a whining noise that was truly deafening,. Maxil immediately recognised it as the unmistakable dematerialisation noise of a TARDIS.

After a few moments in which to catch his breath and steady his nerves by drinking some of Gowanmar’s finest decantered Rutanian brandy, Maxil went to recover his own TARDIS from the wreckage of Gowanmar’s living room, but the TARDIS wasn’t there any more. Maxil knew that the debris on the floor was to light to have buried it, It had simply gone.

Maxil spun round as he heard the whining noise. The head had reappeared behind him. Maxil’s TARDIS was in the mouth.

"I know it’s awfully impolite for me to talk with my mouth full, but I believe this used to be yours." The jaws widened in a slow yawning swallowing action. Maxil watched helplessly as his TARDIS slid down the vast cavernous throat. The mouth closed. The creature that was Ichabod gave a loud exaggerated belch, moaned about possible future indigestion problems and vanished again.

Maxil found a portable working radiophone in what was left of the upstairs sleeping quarters, and put an emergency call out to the Citadel. Within minutes his superiors arrived on the scene in their TARDIS. What they saw for themselves, coupled with Maxil’s description of events, frightened them a great deal.

******

Maxil expected to be subjected to a further bout of interminable interrogation, but instead, he was treated with considerable respect, sympathy and understanding. He was hooked up to a Matrix APC Net truth scanner and the Time Lords watched through his eyes a perfect re-enactment of the tragedy that had taken place at Gowanmar’s house.

President Heirom himself witnessed the footage and he ordered an immediate congressional emergency Council meeting to be attended by all chiefs-of-staff. To his great surprise, Maxil found himself invited along too. Maxil’s Celestial Intervention Agency boss, Lord Marcher was also present to hear what Ichabod was believed to have done.

President Heirom was widely believed to be an ineffective ruler, but he had never before faced a serious threat or crisis, during his time in office. He had talked and blustered on about change and progress; improvements and an end to red tape bureacrasy, blah, blah, blah, but he had never achieved anything that he had promised in his nineteen volume Manifesto. Maxil understood why that was the case of course. The governing Prydonian Chapter officials made sure that none of the President’s innovative, radical proposals were ever put into statutory practice, especially the proposed legislation bills Heirom regularly presented in which he tried to cut down on Prydonian elitist practices. The people of Galifrey liked Heirom, and they had duly elected him with a resounding majority, but now that he had gone back on his election promises, they were turning against him in droves. The Prydonians appreciated that. They had him there to take all the blame for them, and they kept their office status secure, ready for the next figurehead scapegoat president they could manipulate and engineer into office.

Heirom was not as naive as the Prydonians believed him to be. He knew full well what went on behind his back. He kept his cynical disregard for the whole political system a closely guarded secret. He had now built up quite a dossier on Prydonian corruption and covert operations. He now believed that he had the first hard evidence of the existence of a secret CIA outfit that was fully operational on Galifrey, if not in the Citadel itself. Heirom wondered which of the men sitting around him now were CIA agents. Maxil struck him as being one for sure.

Heirom looked like a hawk. He had sharp eyes and an inquisitive questioning manner. He seemed able to think ahead of everyone and often finished their conversations for them before they could get to the point themselves. He strategically anticipated their conclusions and saved them from having to waffle and eulogise to impress him further. He had recently successfully ruled that all speeches given in the Panopticon be limited to three minutes maximum. This ruling deeply infuriated many of his opponents and rivals who were used to lambasting him for hours while leaving him and his supporters with little time to air his own views or counter argue their points.

Heirom’s recognised skills as a formidable tactical thinker made him all the more important now; as a President, and as a military general, because from the table talk so far, it was clear that Galifrey would soon be at war with the being formerly known as Ichabod.

******

The first report given at the top secret meeting was Maxil’s. The Matrix film drew shock, outrage and terror in the eyes and minds of all who saw it. Maxil felt sheepish about the display of fear that he was helplessly presenting as he was seen running for his life in sheer desperation, but the Council members were sympathetic. They said they felt exactly the same way, and looking around at their faces, Maxil could see that for the most part, it was true. The worst embarrassment for Maxil was a brief rerun of Matrix footage of him stuck in a silver-leaf apple tree, shortly after his ninth birthday, crying and refusing to try to come down because he thought he might fall and hurt himself. His Father had eventually lost patience and taken an axe to the base of the tree, and had almost chopped it through before Maxil had finally found the sense and the courage to leap down by himself, seconds before the tree fell over on his Father, leaving Maxil with a few seconds of sadistic, gloating pleasure as the tables turned and he had to rescue his angry, swearing Father.

President Heirom summarised the facts that were now readily apparent to everyone. "We cannot possibly doubt or deny any longer that the Ichabod creature, who now sees himself simply as ‘God’ is a living TARDIS. He can go anywhere in the Universe, at any time period. He can achieve anything. He is virtually indestructible. We nevertheless must find some means by which we can destroy him, and soon."

"We have to locate him first," said Marcher, nervously. He wasn’t used to having to be present before so many officials who outranked him. He was more accustomed to pushing around those who he openly and proudly referred to as his underlings.

"He did mention the Dalamari Quadrant," Maxil reminded them, helpfully.

"Yes, we are keeping a close watch on the Quadrant in question," said the head of Planetary Activity Observations. "I don’t see what he likes about it though. There a quite a few inhabited worlds, but nothing especially strategic or useful to him. The biggest planet there is Thryxx. They are at war with The Dominators at present. The people of Thryxx know nothing but religious superstition. They still think the Sun and the Moons of their world are lovers playing hard to get with one another."

What is to stop Ichabod attacking Galifrey again?" asked the Chief of Security. "Surely our wisest defence right now would be to protect the Citadel at any cost."

"Such an attack would be unlikely," said Heirom with a degree of confidence that startled those who took him for a fool. "With his potential firepower, he would only succeed in destroying Galifrey, and as all Time Lords only gain power over time and space through Galifrey’s links with The Eye Of Harmony created by Omega, he would, in destroying Galifrey, destroy his own TARDIS powers in the process. By destroying us, he would kill himself."

Lord Marcher semed strangely amused by the description of Galifrey being obliterated from the skies. Maxil noticed that his boss was grinning and trying not to laugh out loud. Maxil glared at him. Aware that he had been spotted, Marcher made his face appear stern and serious and turned to address the President. "Lord Heirom, if Ichabod cannot pose some kind of threat to Galifrey, can’t we just ignore him altogether?" Marcher sneered and grinned at his own cleverness.

"Don’t be so damn stupid!" snapped the President, drawing a gasp of surprised from the audience, and a red-faced apology from Marcher. Heirom continued. "Ichabod could do a great deal of damage to our society and our way of life. He thinks that he is a god. In many ways, he is a god like being. He can alter time and space around us and make us obsolete. he can attack individuals on our world, just as he attacked Gowanmar’s house. He can still attack our home world on a small scale, even if he daren’t destroy our whole planet."

Marcher interrupted. "Sir, with respect, we need to know how he got through to the surface of Galifrey at all. Space Traffic Control should have identified his TARDIS no matter what shape it adapted when he tried to land here. The Transduction Barriers should have stopped him dead in his tracks, just as they prevent any other unauthorised TARDIS landings."

Heirom nodded. "Your Transduction Barriers worked as well as ever, Lord Marcher. Ichabod came here via a different route. He came in through the APC Matrix Banks."

The Matrix keeper stood up angry and defensively. "Sir, I really must protest at that remark. No one can access the Matrix without actually already being on Galifrey."

"Yes, it can be done, Lord Toshgun," Heirom said, with a soothing patient tone. "We have reason to believe that Ichabod has somehow recreated the Matrix APC Net within his own TARDIS. His knowledge of Maxil’s whole life clearly indicates as much. He could easily have networked his TARDIS Matrix Net into our own system via some kind of communication relay system and corrupted the Net here on Galifrey to gain himself access."

Toshgun broke out in a sweat. "That means he probably knows everything we say, do and plan for him, right at this very moment. He could be watching us, listening in on our every word."

Panic and pandemonium seemed imminent. Heirom banged a gavel several times to restore order. "Calm yourselves, children. I have taken the liberty of protecting this room with Panoptronic Scrambler Circuit devises. I want each and every one of you here in this room carry such a mechanism at all times. Swallow one if you must. It should prevent Ichabod from listening in on our plans for him. I hope so, anyway."

"What exactly are our plans at the present time, Sir?" asked Maxil.

"I haven’t got the faintest idea, to be perfectly honest," admitted the President. "We need to inspect every area of this case carefully. We need to find and assess Ichabod’s potential weaknesses, urgently."

Redic, of the newly created Historical Anomalies Department (HAD) spoke next. The young, pre-regeneration hotshot quickly won over his audience with the thorough concise detail of his report, and its sharp, no nonsense delivery.

"I think our man Ichabod has been very busy. I’ve been looking at Earth mysteries in particular. This particular planet has had more than its share of invasions, as you know. The Doctor lived there for a time, as many of you are aware."

Many Time Lords groaned at mention of The Doctor's name.

"There have been several maritime mysteries on Earth. The Marie Celeste, a ship found floating adrift on the seas, abandoned by passengers and crew alike; well, our department discovered that The Daleks were responsible for that. The brief disappearance of the S. S. Bernice was caused by its capture in a forbidden time-scoop programme. Once again, perfectly explainable phenomena for our department. The USS Clintonbush incident was much more difficult to analyse and prove. We sent a team down to the wreck, far below the depth any Earth based human divers could survive. We discovered that the Clintonbush was destroyed by something growing out from inside it; and we found evidence of a brief desperate radio transmission about an unidentified midget submarine being located on board shortly before the ship sank. We think that the mini-sub was a TARDIS, or more precisely, Ichabod."

There wasa general consensus of agreement among the audience. Redic continued. "From Earth studies, I also discovered that the bicentennary of Terrans’ first landing of a space vehicle on their only satellite moon was marked by an anniversary return visit to the original landing site. They discovered footprints there which definitely did not belong to any of their own astronauts. I have had castings made of those footprints. They match our knowledge of Ichabod’s shoe size. There have also been disturbing reports from other worlds and time periods. There has been much talk of a Dalek space vehicle being attacked by a giant Dalek of some description. I then received an urgent message from a deeply hypnotised Draconian ambassador, who had been kidnapped by the Master. Ambassador Selbatem, assigned to Alpha Centuri Four, told us on the Master’s behalf, and in the Master’s own words, how he had been attacked by a powerful shape-shifting Time Lord which ruined some environmental friendly research project that he had been working on. The Master forwarded his apologies for not delivering his message personally, but that he felt suffiecently concerned that we ought to know about this creature. The Master’s current whereabouts are, as you might expect, currently unknown to us. He is of course a fugitive from our world.

Additionally, rumours from Sontar suggested that had sent The Doctor to Sontar on some kind of seek and destroy mission. We know that it wasn’t him, as each of his incarnations were accounted for at that reference point in the Time-space continuum. The description of the Sontaran attacker certainly fits that of the Fifth incarnation of The Doctor, but we know for a fact that he was on an unauthorised adventure on the planet Trion at that time. We sent a group of our agents to Sontar to investigate the claims that they were about to launch reprisal and revenge attacks on Galifreyan transportations. One of the soldiers we sent to Sontar was Gowanmar, Ichabod’s brother, who's fate you witnessed through Maxil’s eyes. There may have been many other such deaths caused by Ichabod which we have not traced any evidence of yet, and I fear there may well be more to come. Thank you for your attention."

After a brief, polite round of applause from the various ministers, Redic sat down, and collected his note papers together, feeling very pleased with himself over his talk.

President Heirom stood up, and drew the attention of the audience. "Gentlemen; fellow Time Lords. You have heard the nature of our peril. It is imperative that we find Ichabod quickly. He could destroy our civilisation; not directly; he dare not attempt that, as his TARDIS would simply lose all its powers as it lost contact with the Eye Of Harmony. The biggest danger is that Ichabod could try to establish himself as a new ruling power in The Universe. If he does that, our era is at an end. He will destroy our reputations, and make us resented and hated by every intelligent race in the Universe. He must be eliminated before that can happen. We are now officially at war with one of our own Time Lords, and though he is only one, it is a war we stand a strong chance of losing. Our situation really is that grave."

Maxil spoke, keeping very much in line with the President’s grave, and solemnity. "Lord President, Sir; I believe that Ichabod may well approach The Doctor. With your permission, I would like to attempt to find The Doctor first, and bring him here to assist us."

Marcher leapt up, protesting loudly against assistance from a dangerous and unpredictable renegade.

Heirom ignored him. "Permission is duly granted. The Doctor has proved to be extremely resourceful in situations like this one. If not for The Doctor, Omega might twice of destroyed our world and all we represent. In fact, I think we should summon back all Time Lords who are not currently on Galifrey. All TARDIS’s must be recalled forthwith. Kindly render the invitations obligatory, and sign them with my authorisation. You may however exclude troublesome renegades like The Master, The Monk, and the Rani. We have enough trouble without their assistance. The current occupants of Shada may also be excused."

Marcher excused himself as discreetly as he could, fearful that to abrupt a departure might make the Time Lords suspicious of him. His excuse for going out was that he wanted to assist in the project of tracking down the Time Lords who were away from home. Once outside the briefing room, Marcher quickly found and spoke with Holt, his grovelling Lieutenant, in whispers so faint that even Holt could barely hear him. He told Holt of Heirom’s plans to track down The Doctor. "We need to get to him first. The Doctor could spoil everything for us. Is Lord Tarren still on call, and ready for immediate duty?"

Holt nodded. "I believe so. I was about to send Tarren to Earth to intercept The Doctor, but then I discovered that Maxil had gone elsewhere instead, so I postponed the assignment."

Good man, but now the postponement is cancelled. Get Tarren here immediately. Tell no one else about this."

Holt promised that his lips were sealed and set off to find Tarren,. the best assassin in the Celestial Intervention Agency.

******

"Oh, there is one other thing, Lord Heirom said, continuing his briefing. I have ordered an entire division of my new Raston Warrior Robot unit fighters to be placed on full and immediate battle alert."

The statement provoked a heated response. The Time Lords knew that Raston Warrior robots, or RWR’s, as they were sometimes known, had been officially out of production since The Games. They had no idea that they could still be produced and moulded in any number. They wondered why Heirom had started the project anew, but at the same time, they were grateful to have such a formidable weapon at their disposal in the current crisis.

******

Maxil was surprised and excited to find himself in such a strong, responsible position. It amazed him that the President was prepared to allow him to go out on another field mission so soon after the last one had ended so disastrously. His egotistical high quickly wore off when the TT capsule Control Division refused to issue him with a TARDIS.

"You must," he protested. "I have official approval for a journey to Earth." He quickly flashed his travel warrent with its impressive embossed presidential seal.

"Aye," said the TT Control security Chieftain, clearly totally unimpressed by the documentation. "all well and good. I’ve no doubt that it’s the genuine article, but it says nothing aboiut issueing you with a new TARDIS. Besides, you’ve already got a TARDIS, haven’t you?" He smiledan ingratiating ‘Ah! Got you now, haven’t I?’ smile.

Maxil exploded in anger. "This is outragious! You were at the meeting. You watched the Matrix footage. You saw my TARDIS destroyed by .... that thing .... "

"Naw, naw; I didn’t see it destroyed, or anything like that. I just saw your TARDIS being confiscated."

"Confiscated! Confiscated! Wehat the hell are you blithering on about, you stupid man. He ate the bloody thing!".

"Naw, must correct you on that, Sir. He swallowed it, I grant you, but he never ate it. You never saw him actually chew on it, did you?"

"Well, no, but .... "

"You see, Sir. Your TARDIS is probably still intact. You might well be able to get this Ichabod geezer to spit it out again if you are very lucky; but you know my regulations. I can only replace a TARDIS that has actually broken down irreparably or if there is clear proof that it has somehow been destroyed. Yours hasn’t been destroyed, has it?"

Maxil pictured the TT Capsule Control Oficer being shot, and absent-mindedly fingeredthe trigger of his freshly loaded staser gun as he reflected onthe dream, but he knew that this bureacrat would never be intimidated by threats of violence. "So, just how am I expected to get to Earth on the President’s missionthen? You have to help me somehow."

"I could issue you with a Time Ring if you like," said the Chieftain, proferring a handful of heavy metal wrist bracelets. Help yourself.Pick one."

"Teriffic," groaned Maxil, bitterly dissapointed, as he took two of the bracelets, one openly, and the other by sleight of hand. Time-rings were a rather crude, primitive and unpleasant way to travel, compared to a TARDIS.

Once out of sight of the TT Capsule Control Cheiftain, Maxil pocketed one of the bracelets and clasped the other onto his wrist. He set the co-ordinates and disappeared from Galifrey, unawarethat a Time Lord called Tarren had set off to the same destination just before him, by the same means.

******

Ichabod floated through The Vortex, and reflected on his achievements to date. He had finally plucked upthe courage and murdered a Galifreyan; his own step-brother in fact. He knew that he should have felt happy, buthe felt depressed again, and failed to understand why. The scale of the destruction he had caused astonished him. The awesome power he had displayed thrilled him, frightened him and filled him with a sense of self-loathing, all at the same time. "What have I become now?" he groaned.

"You have started to adapt the ways of a God," said the inner voice "Now you must become stronger still. The Time Lords are in pursuit. You let the CIA man called Maxil live."

"Was that sucha terrible mistake?"

"No, Maxil will bring The Doctor to meet with you. Only when you have destroyedthe Doctor will you be truly free."

"So be it."

Ichabod’s Matrix Banks registeredthe factthat he was the subject of an emergency meeting at the Citadel Panopticon on Galifrey. He was surprised however to discover that he was unable to decode the proceedings or analyse contents of what that meeting involved. The Matrix Banks suggested any of a number of technological blocking devises that could be used to deny him access to such information. Ichabod grinned. He knew what they would do. Time Lords were always highly predictable. They would be rounding up an army ready to do batle with him in the Dalamari Quadrant of the Galaxy.

Ichabod asked the Matrix-memory Banks inside his head about the current Wherabouts of The Doctor. The Matrix fed him images of a river bank, and people in oar-driven boats. It was a balmy, hot-Summer’s day in England. Ichabod willed himself there.

- 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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