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Doctor Who Internet Adventure #24 - "Remiel"


Chapter 5
"Tempus Fugit (Carpe Diem)"
by Paul S. Mabley


---


And Time, a maniac scattering dust, And Life, a Fury slinging flame."

— Alfred Lord Tennyson


* * *


"Indeed we do. I wondered how long it would be before one of you lot turned up," the Doctor sighed as he grasped the ring proffered by the bespectacled little man. "And that ponytail does nothing for you."


* * *


Had Holmes, Luke or Jadi had even the most fundamental grasp of time travel theory they would have ran like the wind. In any direction. Anywhere to escape the vast explosion of energy released during the convergence of an individuals' temporal streams in real space. According to the textbooks it was called 'The Blinovich Limitation Effect' but most students quickly learned to call it 'The Excrement-Fan Coincidence'.


       Mavis-now reached out for the hand of her younger-by-twelve-hours self and said "Have you seen the butterflies, too? I think I know why they are there... they have to be there to protect us all."


       Their fingers brushed.


* * *


Young and the Doctor where sitting at either end of a long glass table. A servo-bot trundled by and replenished the Doctor's fluted crystal glass with an opaque brown liquid from an ornately spouted carafe. Another appendage appeared from the machine and deposited a white crystalline cuboid into the receptacle.


       "My dear Doctor, I have wines from every period in galactic history. Everything from Liebfraumlich to the finest Skaroan Chianti from Professor Davros's own private cellar. Yet you insist on drinking the boiled extract of a leaf only found on a small percentage of the landmass of Sol III in the Mutters Spiral."


       "I like a cup of PG Tips, yes. With a single sugar as your friend seems to know. Although this," he waved the glass, "is perfectly acceptable, if a little ostentatious. Oh, but then you're a career Time Lord so I shouldn't really be surprised."


       The Doctor took a sip of his tea and settled back in the plush purple velvet of his seat. Somewhere in the background a piece of music was playing. After a few seconds he recognised it as 'Nimrod' from Elgar's 'Enigma Variations'.


       "You said we need to talk. Let's start... I don't think we have much time."


       Young stood and leant forward, supported by his clenched fists knuckles down on the table surface. He fixed the Doctor with a steely gaze, enhanced all the more by the slight magnifying effect of the small, round spectacles.


       "Au contraire, Doctor. Time is my business and, believe me, we have plenty. More than plenty in fact. And that, as you are no doubt aware, is the very essence of the problem we, er, you are currently encountering."


       The Doctor bristled with indignation and opened his mouth to voice his displeasure.


       "No, I will finish!" Young boomed suddenly, bringing a fist crashing down on the table top, which promptly shattered. The Doctor did not flinch.


       Quickly the Block Transfer Computation Processor contained inside the ring kicked in and a new table, this time of a sturdy mahogany appearance shimmered into existence. The walls of the room altered also, from a dull stainless steel to a warmer wood-panelled appearance. Of course none of it was real. In a real world sense, of course. The ring, which had taken the two Time Lords out of reality, was sustaining this bubble within the Vortex effectively meaning they themselves did not exist. In a real world sense, of course.


       "Tut tut." The Doctor raised his hands placatingly, "Something I learnt a long time ago is 'Lose your temper, Lose the fight'. Not that we are having a fight, of course."


       Young took a deep breathe in an attempt to regain his composure. He had been briefed with the Doctor's full Matrix entry and saw, that although he was an inveterate meddler, he was essentially on the side of Good. No, not so much Good... he was on the side of Right. And, of course he was an ex-President of Gallifrey.


       "Doctor, do you have even the slightest suggestion what peril you're 'Companion' has caused with his actions. And how in Rassilon's name can he pilot your TARDIS."


       "Hmm, well," the Doctor looked sheepish, "I learnt him a bit and, well, I think she likes him."


       "Does the phrase "Isomorphic Control Console" mean anything to you?" Young said, with anger rising again.


       "Yes it does, and it's a ridiculous concept if you ask me, which you are, so it is," the Doctor countered. "I switched it off."


       "So, to use an Earth phrase, any Thomas, Richard or Henry could take charge of one of the most sophisticated devices in the known universe!" Young's fist came down again but was met with the unyielding solidity of the meta-mahogany table. He winced slightly.


       "It's actually Tom, Dick or Harry, and no, I just wanted my companions to be able to open the TARDIS doors!"


* * *


Zeke-Kirena made their way outside with the minimum of effort. Although maintaining overall control of the mind, Kirena allowed the 'Zeke' element to operate the sensory-motor elements of the nervous system to ensure nobody noticed any change in the policeman's gait.


       "Where are we going?" the internal Zeke asked.


       "I'm not sure yet," Kirena replied. "Have you seen any big blue boxes around?"


* * *


Question: When is the Blinovich Limitation Effect not the Blinovich Limitation Effect?


       Answer: When its Effect is not Limited by the Equations of Leonid Blinovich. The colossal release of artron energy, the safety valve of temporal engineering, did not occur in this reality.


       Problem: But for every action there must be an (at least) equal and (totally) opposite reaction.


* * *


The two Mavis's fingers touched, and Mavis-now grasped Mavis-then's hand fully.


       "Come with me," she implored. "Let me show you the butterflies." Mavis-now tugged her counterpart with an urgency not before seen.


       "Please?"


* * *


The flamboyant gas burners which protruded from the mahogany panels at regular intervals sprouted into life, filling the room with a warm but flickering glow.


       "You disabled the whole subroutine just allow your fellow travellers convenient egress from a time capsule! Doctor, what on Karn where you thinking of?"


       "Have you ever taken a TARDIS apart? Have you ever performed surgery on a symbiotic core? Have you heard the screams that accompany even the most minor modification of a TARDIS engine?"


       "This is of no relevance, Doctor"


       Now it was the Doctor's turn to thunder.


       "It is of every relevance! You have no TARDIS. You are ferried around courtesy of that stupid ring thing at the whim of the High Council. You have no idea of the bond that develops between a TARDIS and her operator. And yes, I am just that. An operator. She has placed me in danger, and delivered me from evil more times than you have had... have had... well, have had anything you care to name."


       Young coloured slightly. "But you disabled the whole routine?"


       "Just because you have toothache, is that a case to amputate your whole head?"


* * *


"Let them go," Luke said to Jadi. "This is the bastard who blew up your sister."


       Jadi drew back his fist and launched an almighty punch at Holmes, who ducked defensively. The blow caught him on the left temple and he fell to the floor, semi-conscious. Luke followed this up with a kick to the crotch of the prostrate body. Jadi meanwhile stamped on Holmes's head.


       Mavis-12-hours-ago looked back, saw the assault on her friend and desperately tried to wrest he grasp from her counterpart.


       "They'll kill him and eat him!" she screamed, as she pulled against the firm grasp of her time-twin.


       "They might," replied Mavis-now, "but it doesn't matter. He's only a Sweet Bird Of Paradox. Come and see the butterflies."


* * *


The gas burners flicked slightly, then blew from the wall in a gout of flame. This time both the Doctor and Young flinched. They flinched so much they ended up beneath the stout mahogany table.


       "What other systems have you disabled in your machine, Doctor?" shouted Young above the roaring of the gas jets.


       "I must confess. Some I didn't disable... some were, well, broken. Accidentally of course."


       "Why weren't they repaired. Silly question obviously. Your Matrix entry states the last service performed on TT 40:45 was..." Young tried to calculate the relative year but couldn't.


       "It was a long time ago. And I am a qualified TARDIS engineer as you well know, unless they deleted that from my record. Which wouldn't surprise me, actually."


* * *


"It's big and blue and hummy on the outside, and big and brown and more hummy on the inside. It's so hummy in fact it makes you hum too. Some things there are pointy and some are round, but there are no pumpkins. He collects the butterflies from wherever he goes."


       Mavis-then had no idea what her time-twin was talking about. Where those mushrooms she had on last night's pizza strictly Kosher?


       "Yes, the butterflies are nice," Mavis-now continued, "have you heard of the Butterfly Theory?" She continued without waiting for a reply. "The movement of air caused by a single butterfly can cause a hurricane on the other side of the planet. Or on the Moon. Imagine how many butterflies there are in the world! How many hurricanes and tidal waves they will make. That's why he collects them. One more in there means one less out here. One less hurricane."


       Mavis-now pushed open the door of the time machine and was greeted with a face full of brightly coloured butterflies, spewing out into the light.


       "Oh dear, Pointy Prickly Pumpkin. That's not right."


* * *


The glass flutes were the first to burst, followed by the metal decorative metal swan-necks of the burners, sending shrapnel teaming down on the two Time Lords cowering beneath the table. Several wall panels cracked, revealing the swirling patterns of the open Vortex beyond. Greens strands were streaked with a violent red. Even to the uninitiated it did not look healthy. The two Time Lords leapt for shelter beneath the table.


       "Doctor!" cried Young. "What's happening?"


       "A vast release of energy directly into the Vortex, possibly caused by... Oh no!" he slapped a hand to his forehead. "I didn't re-initialise the system."


       "What system?"


       "The Artron Suppression Network. It's a little known part of the TARDIS; they don't cover it at the Academy so I doubt you're familiar with it."


       "Why is it so secret?"


       "Because they don't want Time Lords and Ladies still who have just torn up there 'L' plates fiddling with it." The Doctor turned to face Young sheepishly. "I fiddled with mine because I needed to do something..."


       "And?"


       "Amongst other things I've set up a Temporal Blanking Field around the TARDIS. The paradox must be getting more convoluted; the Blinovich Limitation Effect was suppressed and the resulting energy has rebounded into the Vortex."


       "We must contact Gallifrey," implored Young as he pulled the ring from his pocket.


       "No doubt they'll be aware. An event of this magnitude will have the Cloister Bells ringing off the walls of every operational TARDIS in the entire space-time continuum."


       As if to clarify his words and ominous, sonorous note sounded from a direction it was impossible to pinpoint. It seemed to emanate from all around, no, from within, them. Young pulled the ring from his breast pocket and once again offered it to The Doctor. This time he accepted the invitation readily and they, the table and the wooden panelled walls faded away, leaving only the gas jets spurting angry fire.


---
To be continued...



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