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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

CHAPTER NINE - THE DEFENDERS

Maxil, and a division of crack Gallifreyan soldiers took off from Galifrey in a Mark 2643 Military TARDIS soon after the Doctor had left for the planet Thryxx. The Mark 2643 was unique, as a Gallifreyan Time Machine, in being designed specifically as a weapon. It was essentially a tank, at least in principle. Without using its chameleon circuitry, it resembled a small castle keep, with heavy duty Staser guns projecting out over its battlements. Impervious to virtually any known non-Gallifreyan armoury, and able to aim its staser blasters and heat seeking missiles with deadly precision, the weapon was considered too terrible to build. Its blueprints had existed since Rassilon's day. Heirom, ever eager for a stronger military stance, following the second major war with Sontar, had secretly had the 2643 built. The machine had the ability and capacity for dematerialising and reappearing behind, or in the midst of and even beyond enemy lines. The soldiers themselves had mostly seen battle before. and a few had been involved in the Sontaran campaign. Many of then knew Gowanmar, and were eager, perhaps even bloodthirsty for his revenge.

Though officially a security official, and not strictly recognised as a soldier, despite his natural aggression, Maxil found that they took well to him. He had already survived two encounters with Ichabod, so they considered him lucky to have around. Maxil wasn't too sure if he liked being a team mascot, but it was better than not being trusted.

What really impressed Maxil however, was the additional firepower of Heirom's other secret weapon; two-hundred sleek white Raston Warrior Robots. Each robot was armed with a lance made of pure cosmatatomic energy. The weapons were about three feet in length, in use, and could be hurled like spears. When not in use, the lances were reduced to a few inches in length and clipped onto the waists of the robots carrying then. Little could survive their white hot penetration, as they were thrown by a machine able to move at just a parsec past light speed. Maxil saw the robots appear one by one in the TARDIS control room. Each one just popped into sight standing close to, but just clear of the roundel laced walls. They simply appeared as light appears; at the flick of a switch. Not one robot seemed to move. Seeing movement in an entity able to transcend light speed is impossible. With Raston Warrior Robots, you saw where they were, and where they are now, but no in between. The robots stood, with the apparent lifelessness of tailors' mannequins and waxwork dolls. They were all brilliant white in colour, with one solitary exception in blue. Maxil wanted to ask about the anomaly, but he didn't get round to it.

Serving with Chief Military Field Operations Commander Elan was a very sobering experience, for everyone. Elan paced around, listening to various suggested strategies and battle proposals. He was trying to evaluate every possible eventuality. Ideas flew from his mind like sparks. He pulled out star map after star map of the Doradi system, as the Battle TARDIS moved around the various worlds, finding nothing unusual going on, other than the increasing cult activity that still remained strongest on Thryxx.

"Thryxx isn't really a central planet here. If you really want a power base it would be better to take Sigamrie Five, but until we know what form Ichabod is going to take on, we won't know exactly what we're going to be fighting."

Maxil added his views. "Whatever he looks like, he's still basically a TARDIS."

Elan nodded. "Getting in won't be easy, Maxil, even armed with this lot." He pointed to the robot legion, and he seemed genuinely concerned. Then he started talking to the men, but at first, Maxil thought he was still talking about the robots.

"I trained most of these lads. I know each and every one of then by name. Fighting Sontarans and Daleks was bad enough, but what will it do to then to fight a civil war?" Elan walked quickly, with his hands locked together behind his back, to conceal his increasing nervous tension. Maxil began to feel the same. He felt his multi-burst staser-gun in his shoulder holster and wondered if there was really any .point in carrying it.

"If we can get inside his, we can find the TARDIS controls and switch him off."

"yes, but getting in, or even getting out won't be easy, and lets not forget, he does have a hostage."

"I know only too well Sir."

"We nay have to kill her too; in destroying him, Maxil. Are you fully prepared for that?"

"I an, Sir," he said with, a total lack of conviction in his voice, "But I don't know about the Doctor. He might not be prepared to sacrifice the girl."

"We'll worry about him later."

A young and ginger haired soldier cane in to the joint main control room and operations centre. He saluted. "Sir; we are picking up evidence of a great deal of extremely severe seismic activity taking place throughout: the Dalamari Quadrant."

"What do you mean, Lad? Speak plainly." Elan said, making full use of his position of command.

"Earthquakes, Sir.. Big ones... Very big ones."

"Which planet is affected, did you say?"

The boy spoke as though he couldn't believe his own words. "Just about all of then, Sir."

Maxil spoke to him. "Are you serious? There are thousands of worlds out there."

"Yes, Sir, but some of then are disintegrating. Two whole planets have simply disappeared altogether. They just fell apart, completely."

Maxil asked whether the planet called Thryxx had been affected by the seismic disruption.

"Yes, Sir, with minor tremors so far, but they are getting worse by the hour."

Elan asked what could make so many worlds show earthquakes happening at once.

"It has to be n very big gravitational force," Maxil said, with some uncertainty. 'I'm only speculating of course.... "

"Speculate away, " said, Elan, ushering the young soldier out, with a salute and a series of polite hand gestures in the general direction of the door.

"It would have to be a large asteroid, or a planet moving through the orbits of the worlds affected. Most planets are pulled by one anothers' gravitational fields, so if one gets pushed out of place, others will be pulled and pushed around too. Something very big has taken place to make it happen this soon.

Elan ordered his attractive young female navigation Officer, Fria, to check the charts she had against incoming computer reports on planetary and star positions. She had in fact already been doing so and she was quickly able to give a detailed assessment. Her manner was as grave as the information she reported.

"Just about everything in the Dalamari quadrant has moved, Sir."

Maxil impetuously snatched the charts from the girls hands, realised he couldn't read much from them anyway, apologised, and handed them back to her.

"I'll show you." she said, raising her eyes in disbelief at what Maxil had just done.

"Look at these two worlds on the chart. That one is a Gas Giant world called Uete, and the other one is a solid lifeless granite mass known only as 8654vvtz. On the chart, as you can see, they are 15000,000 miles apart, but look at the computer statistics for them as they were an hour ago." She pulled a printed sheet of statistics and figures up off the table, and pointed to the relevant information.

"That's a 22,000 mile shift," Elan said, as Maxil was still struggling to add it up. He gave up, realising from what Fria was saying that he was witnessing the impossible. He said so, to no one in particular.

"It's true, Sir." Fria insisted. If I don't manage to keep track of the positions of the stars, we could get lost out here, forever."

"This has to be Ichabod's doing," Elan said. "Nothing natural could possibly cause this, and there is no report from our studies of this time period to suggest such a violent upheaval."

"But how the hell can he do it?" Maxil swore.

"Sir!" Fria said, with considerable urgency. 'There's something here you need to see, right away."

When the men made it clear that she had their attention, she told them she had discovered an entirely new planet.

"How new?" Elan demanded to know. "

"About an hour old, Sir.'

"What's that supposed to mean?" Maxil snapped.

"I mean, Sir, that just an hour ago, that planet didn't exist, and now it does."

"Are you sure it isn't just drifting out of orbit, like the others?" Elan asked her.

"Quite sure, Sir. I can account for all the other worlds. Even the ones that have disintegrated."

Maxil placed his hands on the back of Fria's chair. "That's why he didn't name a specific planet. Ichabod intended to attack the entire Dalamari Quadrant. All of its worlds at once."

Elan ordered an immediate course alteration for the TARDIS. He had to repeat it a second time, loudly, as many of his crew were mentally miles away, absorbing the magnitude of what was being disclosed to them. "Head directly for the new planet."

"How could he turn a TARDIS into an entire planet, Sir?" Fria asked.

"He's made a few extreme modifications to his TARDIS chameleon Circuitry," Maxil said, matter of factly.

'Is there a strategy to this, Fria?" Elan asked. "Is there any discernible pattern from what you've seen so far?"

"He seems to be flexing the gravitational field around himself , Sir, He's pushing planets out of his way. He's just casually bulldozing them aside. He's shunting most of them away, but he seems to be trying to pull one world closer to himself. I think he wants to get it orbiting around him, instead of around its own Sun. "

"Which world?" Elan asked.

"Thryxx," Maxil said.

"How did you know that?" Fria insisted on knowing. "Intuition,." Maxil said.

"What about the Sun?" asked Elan.

"He's keeping the planet fairly close to it, Sir. Perhaps he doesn't want to risk killing all of the population of Thryxx. He hasn't shown the same kind of consideration for any other races though."

"Sir!" Maxil said, "We need to get the Doctor off there. He should have reported back to Galifrey by now anyway. Can I go down with a Time Ring and fetch him?"

Elan shook his head. "I need you here." He looked around at the Raston Warrior Robots, and pointed to the one blue unit among the white machines. The robot was a foot taller than the others. Its humanoid body was featureless. It had no eyes, mouth, or nose. Its colouring was sharp and clear. Looking too closely at it had a near hypnotic effect.

"Come here please, Savatar," Elan said, "I have a job for you". The Robot vanished from its post, and appeared in exactly the same upright pose beside Elan.

"Yes. Sir." it said. Though it lacked a mouth its words rang out clearly, and precisely. Its tone was positively musical. It accentuated each ward slowly, and distinctly. Each word sounded like a separate sentence. There was a brief pause between each one. It seemed also to betray a sense of pain in communicating slowly enough to be heard. Talking was an agony to the beautiful machine.

"Take these two Tine Rings. One is for you. The other one is for the Doctor." Elan held up the two metal rings. The creature flickered out for a second. When it returned to visibility, it wore one ring, and held the other in its hand. "I'll send some other Raston Warrior Robots to assist you, but you will be in charge."

"I. Understand. I. Will. Collect. The. Doctor." it said, softly, and vanished. No one saw it activate the Time Ring. With Maxil's assistance, Elan passed the Time Rings to fifteen other Raston Warrior Robot units. Maxil felt a slight tickling sensation each time, as the rings passed from his hands and on to the robot wrists He saw no movement from then though, even at close range. The Robots somehow activated the rings, without being seen to move, and vanished after their leader.

Elan checked the Time monitors on his console just to be certain. "He's on Thryxx now. If anyone can find the Doctor, it will be Savatar."

Maxil nodded absent-mindedly and looked at the view screen image of the gigantic planet he was about to fight to the death.

- 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 Chappell

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