Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Justified and Ancient

"In truth, Doctor. I would like to clean up and change. I'm a mess!" I said. "Can I have a few minutes?"

"It's a time machine, take a year," he chuckled. "There's a wardrobe down the hall."

I ran down the hall and found the room. I freshened up in the adjoining bathroom. Then, I found some clothes. The outfit looked like a female Chinese outfit I seen in kung fu films. That made me wonder if the Doctor had been to China or had an Asian companion. "It's possible," I shrugged. "He is the Doctor." Whoever it had been, I thought she had great taste in clothes. The outfit was silky and blue. The pants were plain, but the tunic had an embroidered design on it. I smiled. "Maybe it was Mulan."

As I changed clothes, I also got a good look at how far the infection had spread. The room had a full-length mirror.  Everything but my left side and my face had the computer busses. I sighed and shrugged. Once more reassuring myself that I did ask for it. Going back on it now would be pointless. And I would feel like a wrong person, worse; a hypocrite. I closed my eyes. "Go with the fairytale," I said. "Flow with the adventure. It could be worse if you don't."

I put on the outfit and helmet. Peering into the mirror again, I looked like an idiot; Beautiful silk Asian outfit with matching shoes and a grimpy banged up helmet on my head. I rolled my eyes. "Still not taking it off." I headed out the door.

"Okay, Doctor, I am ready," I said, upon entering the main room.

The Doctor was standing at the monitor. "That is good. Because we have visitors at the door." He turned towards me and went quiet.

I walked over to the doors. Peering out of the little windows, I could see some women in red dress waiting outside. "The Sisterhood," I said. "They don't look happy."

"Sequestered on a barren planet, watching over a burning geyser of natural gas. Yeah, they never look happy," He replied. "They are bored."

"A bunch of women with nothing to do but meddle in the affairs of others?" I took a few steps back from the door. "Doctor, that scares me. A lot."

"Yeah, me too."

"Do they have any hobbies at all?"

"They brew the Elixir."

I turned back towards the Doctor. "Okay, so what is the difference between the Sisterhood and the Carrionites?"

"If the history is to be believed, everything. If the rumors are to be believed, nothing," replied the shadow man.

"I don't understand."

"Old wives tales, folklore, myths, rumors, whatever you want to call it. The Sisterhood is a faction of the Pythians who were sympathetic to Rassilon's cause. The Pythians are a hybrid species brought about by the Justified Ancients and the Carronites. Both of which are said to be strong warrior races that joined in an ancient accord. Does that clear it up?"

"Wait. What was your race called before they were 'Time-lords'?" I asked.

"I just told you," he said.

"No, you didn't."

"Yes, I did. Justified Ancients. They were called Justified Ancients."

My world froze like Niflheim. "Nope," I whispered.

"Why? What's wrong with the name?"

"No. No. No. No." I kept repeating and sat down: right there on the metal floor. "Nope." I shook my head slowly.

"I can't help you understand if I don 't know why you are saying what you are."

I spoke slowly. "So, your people, before Rassilon. They were Justified and they were Ancient."

"Justified Ancients. Yes."

"Did they happen to come from Mu-Mu land?"

"What?!" laughed the Doctor. "No! That's ridiculous!" He turned around. "Mu-mu land. Are they driving ice cream vans too?"

"Yes. Yes, they were."

"Oh! Tammy! You mean...Okay, yeah. There was this one time with see, I called her..."

"Tammy Wynette? The county music singer?! The one from Tennessee?"

"Yeah, it was an accident. But we went to Mu-Mu land, yeah. But it wasn't, well, it's hard to explain." The Doctor sighed. "That was way back."

I stood up. "So, you have been to Tennessee before, but you can't remember where you picked me up?!"

He pointed at me. "Nashville! Of course!" He smacked himself on the forehead. "The bees!"

"Okay, I'm okay. I am weirded out, but I will be fine," I said. "Summing up. The Justified Ancients and the Carronites had an accord. Over time, the two races mixed. That's normal. That created a hybrid sub-race, the Pythians. Then, at the Rise of Rassilon, there came the Time-Lords."

"No. The Time-lords are a separate race from Gallifrayians."


"Not all of my species can regenerate. Only Time-lords have regeneration. The other occupants on Gallifrey do not. Gallifreyan select specific children to drink the Elixir and look into the Untempered Schism. That is when our biology changes. We become Time-Lords." He pointed to his chest. "Two hearts and over-clocked brain."

I stood up. "This is really complicated."

"I told you," said the Doctor. "And it takes the mystery out of it. So I'm a bit disappointed that it is out."

"How is the mystery gone?" I asked. "That just leads to more questions!"

"Hm, I guess so. And I haven't even gotten to the Looms."


There was a knock on the door. "Doctor! Come out! Doctor!"

The Shadow man pointed at the door. "There's the call. You ready?"

"Yes. I am ready. I can't handle anymore bizarre today."

"Then you are in the wrong TARDIS, Jessica."

He was right. "I'm going to shut up now," I said walking to the doors. "Let's go."

previous                                           The Keeper of the Waypath

next                                                 The Stage

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Keeper of the Waypath

A short time later, the Doctor and I were standing before the 333rd St. Constantine Crusaders Battalion commander. The Doctor was right. This time there were no threats or weapons. Of course, the Doctor took full advantage of the parley. Starting with an official, and especially diplomatic, address to the commander. The commander was not impressed, but that didn't stop the shadow man.

"I am the Doctor," he said. "This is my fr..."

"I do not care. This parley is a ploy!" accused the commander.

"But the code must be followed," said the Doctor.

"Yes. But know, Doctor, I am not interested in your terms."

"What terms?"

"The terms of your surrender! You have invaded our ship!"

 "With no weapons or intent to harm. The code..."

"Prevents me from taking your head, not from throwing you out of an airlock," said the commander. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't."

 "Becuase," said the Doctor. "I can help you in your quest for the Holy Grail. I know where it is and how you can get it." He walked around me. "Do you know who this is?" he asked and gestured towards me.

"Beggar man," I whispered. "What are you doing?"

 "Shh," he whispered back quickly. "Do you?  This isn't just any life form! This person is The Fortune Teller, Seeress of TARDIS, Muggle-Wuzzle of the Carronites, The High Priestess of the Columns." He patted my shoulder. "The Keeper of the Waypath. And she happens to be my terrific friend."

All those titles suddenly had the attention of the commander. "What is the Keeper of the Waypath?" he asked.

 "You are here at Karn for the Holy Grail, are you not?" asked the Shadow man.


"Did you think the Keepers of the Holy Grail were just going to hand it over to anyone looking for it?" The commander did not respond. The Doctor turned to me and winked. Then he turned back the commander. "We can't just give away grails to anyone who comes looking! No! The Grail must go to one who is worthy. They must prove themselves in a series of trials. A test of virtue that only a true knight would possess." The Doctor gestured to me. "This is the Keeper of the Waypath. The Waypath is a set of trials to test the meddle of one who seeks the grail."

I couldn't help it. The gamer in me took over. I played into it. Taking on arrogant body language, I stuck my nose up at the commander and glared.

 The Doctor turned to me and turned back. "And you have not been going through the correct channels. You have not followed right steps. You, commander, are sending knights, squads, and platoons of soldiers to force the "Grail" from the hands of its rightful protectors, instead of requesting the trials of the Waypath! Where is your honor, sir?"

   "What is the correct course of action?" asked the commander.

 "You must send one, one worthy knight. He must speak to the Sisterhood and request the trails. Should that knight pass the trials, he will be granted the Grail. But should he fail, he will die," explained the Doctor. "That's how it works."

 The group of robots surrounding the commander began to whisper to each other. "Sir," said another robot. "This is why we have failed to retrieve the grail. We have angered the ancestors. I told you. The legends are very clear."

 "You are correct, Sir Harrigan," said the commander. "In my excitement, I have not followed protocols. I have failed." The robot's chest armor began to hiss and release pressure.  Panels of the breastplate opened wide to reveal a small blue creature. It was sitting on a chair surrounded by controls. "I shall relinquish my command and seek forgiveness. Sir Pelor, you are commander now." The azure leprachan stood up as a ladder appeared up the armor's leg. The creature climbed down. Sir Pelor stepped forward. His breastplate shifted to reveal another similar being. The two switched places and the former commander left the room.

 Once the breastplate closed, Sir Pelor made an announcement. "Attention all units! Sir Teegan has relinquished  his command to me, Sir Pelor. All units are ordered to stand down. Repeat. All units stand down.  Return to your ships for further orders." He turned to Sir Harrigan. "Sir Harrigan, please see to it that all squadrons are in stand down. Reposition units, break the blockade." He turned towards the Doctor. "We will request the Trails of the Waypath in due time, Doctor. Thank you. You may return to the planet below."

 The Doctor nodded and bowed slightly. "Thank you, Commander. We will await your request and prepare for your coming." The shadow man turned around. "Shall we, Priestess?" He gestured to the door.

 I gave a nod and strolled out with the shadow man behind me. Once we got into the TARDIS and the doors closed, I couldn't help but laugh. "Doctor! That was, well, very Indiana Jones! The Waypath? I can't believe they fell for it."

The Doctor shrugged. "You aren't the only one in the universe looking for a fairytale, Jessica. And the fairytale is always easier to believe if you follow the formula. Nobody likes to be wrong." I didn't respond. The Beggar man took my hand. "Thank you for teaching me."

"Me?" I asked.

 "Yeah, you."

"Well, it isn't over, Doctor. How are you going to convince the Sisterhood to play into your charade?"

He nodded and dropped my hands. "That is going to be the hard part." He went to the console and flipped the switch. The TARDIS made its wheezing sound and landing thud. "Let's go try, shall we?"
previous                                                      On the Doctors Terms
next                                                           Justified and Ancient        

Sunday, January 28, 2018

On the Doctors Terms

I followed the Doctor.  We finally found an unguarded terminal. Pulling out his screwdriver, he made quick work of infiltrating their systems databanks. "Jessica, keep a look out." I turned away and watched the halls. I could hear him tapping away at the touchscreen keyboard. "Constantine, apparently, got involved in a skirmish with the Daleks above their planet. Constantine sacrificed himself and his ship to destroy the Dalek fleet. He crashed on the planet surface. He...oh..." 

"Don't get sentimental, Doctor. No time," I whispered.

The shadow man cleared his throat. "Right," he said. "Uh, well, Constantine did not die right away. He lingered, unable to regenerate I am guessing." The Doctor paused and played with the terminal again. "As he lingered in a death state, he kept muttering something about a cup with the Elixir of Life and the "Grail." The Doctor nodded. "Constantine is correct. The Elixir would have been able to save him. But in his delirium, he must not have realized he wasn't on Gallifrey or Karn." There was a moment of silence again; then he went on. "When questioned about the Elixir, Constantine answered that it held the key of immortality and the ability to transmute metals into gold. Yes, that part is correct too."
I turned around towards the Doctor. "Wait. Are you saying that is real? As in really real? As in not a metaphor or a story, but something that I could touch?"

"Yeah," replied the Doctor. "So?"

"The Holy Grail?"

The shadow man dismissed me. "No, not for you. Only for us. And it isn't "Holy." It has nothing to do with blood, holding the blood of a saint, or anything like that." 

"I imagine not! As you said not too long ago, religion and myth usually turn out completely different than you would think. But the idea of it," I shook my head. "The idea of 'The Holy Grail' spread like confetti throughout time and space. Like bread and fast food. It seems pretty amazing." 

He tilted his head. "Yeah, you're right. That is pretty epic. On the surface, all the stories look the same, but when you think about it. The details, well, as they say, the devil is in the details."
"So, what about the Grail. What does it say?"

The Doctor looked back at the terminal. "It says that Constantine kept asking for the cup, which they took as 'The Holy Grail' due to a description from their own myths." he turned and pointed at me. "Which are very similar to that of Earth's legends. Validation." He turned back and continued to read. "And according to death customs of the species, their honored dead cannot rest in the afterlife until the last wishes of the deceased are fore filled. Since Constantine was given, well what is considered Sainthood, He can not proceed to the...Ugh! Not this again!"

"Nothing," He continued reading. "He cannot ascend into the Promised Land until the Grail has been located and presented to his body. They have been on a several thousand year Crusade to find the correct cup; which eventually took them off their own planet." 

"But they are robots, Doctor! That is not logical!" I hissed. "Robots do not have a concept of 'afterlife."

"Who says that?" He asked. His hand moved up to what should be his face. It made a swiping motion. Then, descended in a downward movement.

 "Because they are...Doctor? Do you wear glasses?"

"Yes. For reading."

I shook my head. "Okay, not important. Robots. No concept. Because they are programmed."



"Yeah. Cybermen have a concept of an afterlife. When their bodies no longer function they are uploaded into, what they call, the Promised Land; which is basically a Cyberman singularity. A hive mind for dead robots." I did not respond. "Much better than a Dalek afterlife, let me tell you. Spending eternity in a sewer and feeling your physical form decay and liquefy; much worse."  The shadow man nodded at me.
"All right. Let me rephrase then. Were they always robots?"

"Hm, good question." He turned back to the unit. "It doesn't say. What it does say is that there is a code of chivalry and a strict adherence to honor. A lot like the Medieval Knights of your Earth." The Doctor paused. "Oh, that takes me back. Geoffrey."

 There was an approaching stomping sound coming from down the hall. "Doctor!" I whispered. "Not now."

  "Oh yes. Not to worry. I know the code now," he said, casually.

 "So plan?"

 "Yes. Wave the white flag and ask for parlay," he said. "This time we will surrender on our terms, not theirs.”

previous                                                        Coincidence Happens

next                                                                The Keeper of the Waypath


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Coincidence Happens

Chi Rho
"You will surrender the Grail!" demanded the robot. He pointed his sword at my throat.

The hand above my head wiggled the cup. "Do you mean this cup? This very ordinary mug?  This non-grail drinking vessel?" I asked the robot.

"Do it," whispered the Doctor.

"Yes. Surrender the Grail, human!"

I grinned and shrugged. "No problem." I threw the cup behind him and into the group of robots that were approaching. The robot wielding the sword at my throat dropped the weapon, turned on the spot, and made an attempt to catch the "grail." That also meant him jumping into his back up team; which, of course, forced them to the ground. That gave the Doctor and I an opportunity to sprint to the other side of the room and disappear into the ship.

I followed the shadow man through the maze of corridors and dodging metal men. Until we finally came to rest in a hiding spot, in a cargo hold. Being out of breath and dizzy, I needed the stop.

"Doctor, this is not the best scenario for me. I don't think my head can take the stress," I said. "I'm sorry to be such a bother." He didn't give any answer. His shadow-static body shifted in against the crate we sat agianst. "Okay then, what about that 'grail' remark."

"You weren't very observant, Jessica."


"The room with the glass cases, that room was full of cups," said the Doctor.  I stress laughed. He hushed me, and I covered my mouth. "It's pretty clear they are looking for a Holy Grail."

Eyes wide, I shook my head in disbelief. "No. Nope. Too much."

"What?" he hissed.

"There is a such thing as too much fairy tale, Beggar man. And this is it. I draw the line at King Arther and the Knights of the Round Table."

His shadow body turned towards me. "So, you are okay with talking bees, Nazis in tin cans, spineless witches, run away spaceports, burning moons, fish people, biting pixes, and a spaceship that moves through time and space. But you draw the line at some Crusaders?"



"Becuase Crusaders are real."

He waved his hands in the air and hissed at me again. "Jessica, all of this is real."

"Is it?" I asked him. "How do I know?" I tapped my helmet. "I could still be in a bed, hallucinating do to some medication or medical treatment." I pointed at my forehead. "How do I know I am not in a coma and dreaming? This could be some weird episode of Twin Peaks or X-files! Or a Red Dwarf space anomaly. This might have some sardonic, yet happy ending." The Doctor reached out and pinched my arm. "Ow!"

"As your Doctor, I have assessed that you are fully awake and not in a comma dreaming. Now, pull yourself together! Times like this, it doesn't matter why or how a thing is. We accept it as reality and move on. Don't think about it."

"Right. Think about it later."

"No, Jess. No," he shook his head. "I have been at this for a long while. Listen to me and hear me. It doesn't matter. Now or later, it doesn't matter. It happens. You survive. The why, hows, what if's, and should have's don't make a lick of difference. If the answers present themselves, then great. But otherwise, it doesn't matter."

"I don't understand, Doctor. To understand motive is to understand the enemy."

"Yes, to know your enemy is to conquer them."

"No, Doctor. To know them is to have compassion for them. They might not be all that bad. If we know why maybe we could help them and send them on their way. If they truly are malevolent, then we can stop them without having to destroy them completely," I said. "The problem with Crusaders is zealotry. And that's why I draw the line. Generally speaking, it has to do with religion. I don't want any part of that."

The shadow man chuckled. "Having been the center of a few of those, I can rightly say that some of that...a lot of it...most of it, is fiction. The truth is never what you think it is."

That made my brain gears begin. "Doctor, did you work out where we are exactly?" I asked. "Becuase, you know, I think I know where we are."

There was a moment of silence from him. "Okay, yes," he nodded. "Don't miss a beat do you?"

"In a ship, above Karn?"I asked, slowly. He chuckled, and I smiled. "You are so bad. I hate you right now."

"No, you don't."

"St. Constantine is not an Earthling, is he?"

"Nope," said the Doctor. "Although, he does have the symbol of the 'Chi Rho'"

"The first two letters of the Greek alphabet. That symbol on earth usually goes with..."

"Constantine came first. And no, this case is a coincidence. Sometimes, that happens."

"Like bread and fast food?"


"Okay, to sum up. Constantine is a Tim..."


"Constantine was a Time-lord. His symbol was the Chi Rho. The metal dudes think he is a saint. The metal dudes are also looking for a Holy Grail. Maybe, they think a Holy Grail is on Karn?"

"That might be the case," said the Doctor. "Maybe we should take my advise and go find out."

I rolled my eyes. "Good idea, Doctor. Let's take your advice and find out."

He chuckled, grabbed my hand, and made a break for it.

previous                               This is Not Karn

next                                 On the Doctor's Terms             

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

This is not Karn

"Allonz-y," I said.

"What?" he asked.

"It's French, means let's go."

"Yes," he nodded. "It does doesn't it." The Doctor turned around, and it looked like he ran his hands through his hair. I couldn't be sure; he looked like a shadow figure filled with white static lines. He slowly wandered over to a seat and sat down. Then, he put his head in his hands.

"Doctor, I don't understand. If you need to go to Karn, why don't we....oh...what did you do that makes you nervous to go back?"

"It wasn't what I did do; It's what I didn't do," he muttered.

"What's the worst that can happen if you do go back? Death? Imprisonment? A right good spanking?" I asked. "Can they take away regenerations? Are they that powerful?"

The Shadow man lifted his head and shook it. "No, they can't take away regenerations. They can't kill me. Imprisonment; no." The static man tilted his head. "I try not to involve myself with the Sisterhood. At least, not anymore. I did see them all the time."

"What changed?"

"I disagreed with the cupbearer." The Doctor stood up and went to the console to fidget.

"Okay, Doctor, listen. I don't know anything about the Sisterhood..."

 "The Sisterhood of Karn is what remains of a splinter faction of another group called Pythians. The Pythians were high powered, government elites, led by a Matriarch, who ruled Gallifrey with magic and superstition before the rise of the Age of Rassilon. The Sisterhood of Karn are the caretakers of the Sacred flame that produces the Exilar of Life. That Elixir was important to the building of the first TARDIS.  Only Rassilon, Omega, and the Other know the secret as to why. At the fall of the last...."

"Whoa! Stop right there, Beggar man. Splinter faction? Government elites? The rise of Rassilon? That sounds like an explosion of a political coup! One group is trying to overthrow another group. And didn't Tekka the Spineless Witch say something about the 'Carrionites' and the 'Time-lords'? What about that?"

 "It's complicated. I would love to fill you in on all this, Jessica. But the truth of it is that the highlighted information that Tekka gave us only appears in rumor and myths. Let me put it like this, imagine Time-lords in tin-foil hats perpetuating conspiracies  from thousands of years ago." He stepped away from the console and took my hands. "This stuff can't be true."

 I laughed. "Doctor! History is written by the conquers, not the conquered. Surely, you must know that. If what we know as the Time-lords won the coup, as it were. Then, absolutely, historical texts were written to change anything that would make them look bad to the rest of the populace. That's how it works. That's how it's done." I took my hands away and pointed at the hologram. "That needs to be translated. Let's go get it done."

 "I'm not sure If I want to know the truth," he said.

 I chuckled. "You are such a lair."

 "Yeah, you're right. I would never get any sleep again."

"You don't get any sleep now. You don't sleep." I shrugged.

"And why would I?" He asked. "Sleep is boring." He flipped a switch, and the wheezing sound started.

 I could tell he was smiling, even though I couldn't see it. "Doctor, if sleeping is boring for you, you aren't doing it right." I smiled back.

 "Ha!" he exclaimed. The shadow man's excitement was cut short by the TARDIS making a buzzing sound. We both turned around to see several wall circles explode towards us. "No!" he yelled. He ran towards the fires, only pausing for the fire extinguisher.

 As my shadow Doctor fought back the onslaught of flames, I was beset with a wave of vertigo. I caught myself from falling over by grabbing at the console. "Doctor." I managed to call for him. "My head." The next thing I know I have a cup in my hand and I am drinking a strange, sweet liquid. My head stopped spinning and my vision cleared up. "That's good. What is it?" I asked taking another deep draught.

"It's a nutrient drink," said the Doctor. "I suspect you need to eat."

 "No, I don't feel hungry," I replied and finished off the cup. "Maybe a bit thirsty. Could I have more?"

He refilled my cup with a decanter. "Not too much. When we get to Karn, I'll ask the sisters to feed you. If they can manage it." He took the decanter to a secret compartment filled with other libations. Then, the shadow man went back to the console to lecture the TARDIS about the circles exploding.

I continued to nurse the liquid slowly. "Can she get us to Karn, Doctor? I am worried about her. She is more and more...I don't know...ill."

 "She knows we are doing the best we can. Don't you sexy?" He reached out and petted her glass. "She has more kick than you think." His hands went crazy on the keyboard. "I'll have to reroute a couple of systems. Aaaand...viola!" He flipped the switch. The wheezing sound started up and was shortly followed by the landing thud. "Here we are," said the Doctor. "Welcome to Karn."

 I took my cup, walked to the doors and opened them. "Karn looks like a spaceship, Doctor." I took another sip as my Beggar man came to the Doors and looked over my shoulder.

 "You're right. Not Karn," he sighed and shrugged. "Well, she won't budge now. Let's find out where we are."

 We both stepped out of the TARDIS into a large room. It was well lit. The walls were covered in glass cases. In the center of the room looked like an enormous, empty fish tank on a round conference table. The Doctor went directly to the fish tank. I paid no attention. I was being drawn to a particular glass case in the corner of the room. Maybe it was the light glinting off the metal; I am not sure. When I got to the case, the metal plaque's words were bold and clear.

 'The 333rd St. Constantine Crusader Battalion.'

"Doctor! Doctor! How do aliens know about St. Constantine?" The shadow man pivoted and came to the plaque. "And Crusaders, Doctor. How can Crusaders be in space?"

"I don't know," he said. "That is strange."

 A robotic voice penetrated our confusion. "Alert! Alert! Intruders in the table chamber!" We both turned around and saw a metal knight with a lion on his chest. It pulled a sword out and pointed it at us. "You will surrender, intruders!"

I could feel the Doctor's trickster smile through the shadow static. "Right you are! We surrender!" He held up his hands.

 "Oh bother," I said and held up my hands.
previous                             A Cosmic Cup of Tea
next                                    Coincidence Happens


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A Cup of Cosmic Tea

"All right, Doctor. It's later, and I want to know," I said. We were both back on board the
TARDIS. The Doctor was dancing around the console, exuberantly. I recognized it right away. It was Rumplestilsken again. It would have been pretty funny if I didn't understand, even a little bit, the danger behind such a thing. "Would you stop flailing and tell me please?"

 "Does it matter how we got away? Isn't it more important that we did?" He asked.

 "I guess so," I replied. "I don't remember much."

"What do you recall?"

"It's image soup," I said, disappointedly. "It's like giving me the keys to everything and then having them taken away. But I don't remember why it was important in the first place."

"Beleive me; it's for the best, Jessica. Human brains can't have all that swimming in their grey matter and survive." The shadow man tapped his head. "Limited hard drive. It's not your fault. It's only a fact of your biology."

 "At least it worked out. The trees survived, and the planet is safe. They could propagate more. Who knows, maybe someday you will get the replacement parts for the TARDIS." I thought a moment. "You never said what that planet's name was."


 "Okay, so what about the book? What is in it? What does it say?"

"It's horrible. Are you sure you want to know?" He asked. Reaching over to the console, he held up the book given to him by the Vasha. It was a small book that was a little bigger than his hand. The cover appeared to be made of wood, and it didn't look like it had paper pages. "It's terrible. It's destructive." He wiggled it at me. "This book could change the universe, as you know it, forever. Paradoxes will unweave the fabric of space. Time corridors will shift. Rifts will be unlocked. Souls will be imperiled," he said, dramatically.

"Or it's an ancient alien's shopping list," I said, sardonically. "It isn't a real book. It has no paper pages. That is more like a tablet or a hard drive. A technologically advanced, Roman, wax tablet; an etch-a sketch.  Plug it in and tell me what it says already."

He dropped his static arm in disappointment. "21st-century humans! It is getting harder and harder to impress you!" he scoffed. "Decades of sci-fi has made you blind to true genius. "

"Yes, it's called conditioned insensitivity," I replied. "Being a geek does have its drawbacks. Now, get on with it, already." The shadow man huffed. He turned to the console and pulled out a USB cord. I pointed at him. "HA! I knew it!"

"Shut up," he muttered and plugged in the device. It made a tinkling sound, and he opened it. The inside of the book opened up and projected 3-D, holographic images of gears and symbols. The Doctor reached up and played with the images and symbols as if they were real. "This doesn't make sense," he grumbled.

"Especially from my angle," I said. I was expecting words, audio, or a film sequence. "I thought the TARDIS translated stuff like that."

 The shadow man shook his static head. "Not if it is older than she is." He played with the images again. "This text is garbled. It reads like insanity."

I took a deep breath. "If it looks insane to you, maybe I should leave the room. There are stories on Earth about ancient texts like that."

 He scoffed. "You're fine. It's not that kind of insanity." The Doctor reached up and played with the gears. "For example, 'contempt to the following nine, in ratio to Vulcan at the 12th parallel of the other. In retrograde to Killonmonroe, at the speed of Kreevax. Eggs will birth for a cook's sake, at the hour of ether's Dawn."

I laughed. "That's complete bag'o' hammers, Doctor. Sounds like you need Rosetta Stone."

"What?" he asked.

 "A Rosetta Stone." I got no response from him. I sighed. "Doctor, you have been everywhere and done everything. Are you going to tell me you don't know what the Rosetta Stone is?"

"If I did, I have forgotten it."

 "In short words, a code breaker; an ancient Egyptian, Turning machine. If you know what language it is, then you can translate it. For all, you know that could be three languages at the same time, in a weird Rebus Puzzle. Hence, the Rosetta Stone remark."

"The Rosetta Stone is in three languages?" he asked.

"Doctor? Really?" I swallowed my shock from the absent response. "Okay, the Rosetta Stone is a declaration made by Ptolemy the fifth, enacting the creation of a divine cult..."

"Oh! Oh!" He pointed at me, then abruptly turned to the images again. "The Pararoh's Stele! Written in Greek, Demotic, and Egyptian languages!" He paused for a moment. "I'm surprised that survived, considering...well..." He left off that statement and played with the images again. "If that is true, then I can discover the author of the text at the least."

"And how will you manage that?"

"Becuase like any written text, there is usually something to indicate who wrote it or who the text is about."

"You hope," I said.

"Well, Time-lords are funny like that. Each Timelord's name has a corresponding picture or symbol. Mine is a question mark."

I laughed at him. "So you're name is literally, Doctor Who 'question mark'!"

 "Technically, yes."

I stopped laughing because that made perfect sense, for all its absurdity. Then I had a thought. "Hey, if you had a device it would be a field azure, emblazoned charge question mark proper, argent! That is so funny!"

"Nope, you forgot affronte, regardant, sinister."


 "Feild azure, emblazoned charge question mark proper, argent, affronte, regardant sinister."

 "Becuase you are on guard, but looking behind to the left?"


 I raised my brow. "That doesn't make sense to me, but if you say so." I didn't believe him. It didn't sound like any heraldry I was familiar with; especially the last part about affornte andregardant and sinister. "Is that official? I mean, is that a granted device?"

 "In five hundred thousand million separate systems, over eight hundred thousand independent planets, and no telling how many realms, kingdoms, counties, parishes, provinces, orders, and fraternities. In times ranging from the beginning to the end of time." He nodded. "Oh, yeah, and Earth."

"You're lying again," I accused. He wanted me distracted with he played with the images of the hologram. "Why don't you want me to see what you are doing? What can it hurt? I can't read it."

 The Shadow man stopped playing with the gears. "No, I'm not! I have papers from three of your queens!"

"Doctor, I'm an American. I don't have any queens."

 "Yes, you do!" He ran up the stairs to the reading area and towards one of the spinning circles on the wall.  Then, he opened one like a door panel. Sifting through a stack of papers and seemingly useless junk, he pulled out three official looking Documents. Then, he ran back to me and thrust them into my hands. "Here! See for yourself, three Queens and one Emperor!"

"You are ridiculous. An emperor?" Imagine my shock as I looked down at the paper and saw the signature of Joshua Abraham Norton the First, Emperor of the United States, Protector of Mexico! "Is granted award of arms, this day August 13th, year of our Lord, 1862," I read aloud. "Feild azure,  emblazoned charge question mark proper, argent, affronte, regardant sinister." I looked up at him and smiled. "Thought you said you didn't travel with Americans."

"Oh, I didn't. He couldn't leave the country. He was an Emperor! No, San Fransisco had an earthquake problem I had to fix."

 "You didn't do a very good job then! The 1906 was horrible," I said.

"Yeah, I know. It escaped," he went back to the hologram.

"This is absurd. Joshua Norton was a madman, benevolent, but still looney."

 "Didn't stop him from being an emperor," replied the Doctor, casually.

 I went back to the papers. "Grace Kelley, Caroline Astor, and Nan Kempner," I read aloud. "Okay, beggar man, I can see Grace Kelley, but Astor and Kempner weren't exactly monarchy."

 "No, but they were American aristocracy. And what is a Queen but the top line of the aristocracy?"

 "All right you got me there," I said and placed the papers back on the console. "So while I was distracted with your name and coat of arms, have you discovered anything?"

"Not yet, I have to realign this set of...." he dropped his hands and stepped back from the hologram. "That can't be," he whispered.

"I think we both must admit to being so steeped in myth right now, that we could make a good cup of cosmic tea. Doctor, just say it."

His shadow static body turned towards me. "We have to go to Karn. I need to speak with the Hermit." I went silent. "This is the symbol of the Hanging Man."

previous                        Rise the Moon

next                               This is not Karn

Monday, January 22, 2018

Rise the Moon

I heard the woman singing; far away, deep from within the ship. I could not concentrate on my local environment. I was distracted by the images in my mind from the planet below. Fourteen elder witches were fighting their way into positions around the ship on the ground. But others were running for their lives. I could watch them like surveillance cameras. At the same time, see through their eyes. I could help them by guiding them through the laser maze of screaming Daleks. But I had to make a choice, a sacrifice. I wasn't going to be able to coordinate them and watch out for myself. I blinked out for a moment and spoke to my beggar man. "Doctor, you must lead me to the heart of the ship. I won't be able to get there myself." I felt him grab my hand. My visions went back and forth between the witches below and moments on the ship. We ran and fought our way through the vessel to the heart. When we got there, the witches below were ready.

When I returned to my actual environment, the Doctor and I were surrounded by Daleks. The Doctor was talking to them. The ship reactor core was within easy distance of me. And being an unarmed companion, the Daleks had already decided I wasn't a threat. What can I say? They aren't very smart and, for some reason, utterly blind to the energy pulsing through my shirt.

I worked my way over to the reactor core. The ball of burning fire rolled and lurched in its containment field. Ignoring all logic, I jumped into it. The Daleks went berserk. I didn't pay them any mind, and I didn't feel anything. I retreated into the hive mind. "Sisters, chant with me."

On the ground, the fourteen elder witches flowed with power. We all spoke as one.

“Oh Silver River, shift your cosmic stream

Impel the force, increase the flow, and to the spell empower.

Barren life imperils pregnant death’s dream

Hark! Attend! Oh, The Moment save us this final hour

 Draw down the moons, stir the wind, shape the vault

Flames encircle, evil ensnare, Dalek hearts bind within

Rise the moons, revert to default

Then, intuition compute engine of twenty-seven

Inside this motion safe, all forms withheld

A single second, shielded pocket, sealed unparalleled.”

 Outside and from behind the ship, the two burning moons rumbled, causing the planet to quake. They descended together. In unison, combined their flames and stuck down the ship. The planet breeze turned into a violent hurricane, sucking all the screaming Daleks into the spiraling flames above. Then, the moons rose back beyond the atmosphere and realigned. Appearing one at a time, twenty-five additional celestial bodies materialized in the sky. These oriented into an optimum pattern and held in the sky for all to see. A wave of energy rocketed from overhead, throwing witches to the ground. The burst of power jolted all the visions back into my own brain. No longer a diversified consciousness, my senses blacked out from overload.

            I opened my eyes. The shadow Doctor and the witches stood around me. "Oh, my head!" I groaned. "Definition of head injury is as follows." Then, I reached out and tried to smack him.

 He evaded the half-hearted attack and laughed. "Yup, she's fine," he announced. There was a cheer from the crowd. He picked me up off the ground and held me up as I found my legs. "How did you do that?" He pointed at the sky. The blue canopy was filled with twenty-seven celestial bodies.

"Ten over Fourteen," I said. "She told me that was the answer."


"The TARDIS. Ten over Fourteen. The math doesn't lie. Sometimes, it takes a woman," I repeated. The other witches laughed at the Doctor.

"Doctor," interrupted a witch. "First line, ten beats. Second line, fourteen beats. Poetry in programming. I must say, we are rather impressed with your muggle-wuzzle." She smiled. "Although, perhaps you can explain what these new moons are?"

 "That I can explain." The Doctor nodded. "Your planet is, now, one second out of sync with the rest of the universe. You are completely invisible and undetectable. Those moons are the engine that keeps you safe."

 "I did good?" I asked.

"You were epic," replied the shadow man. He grabbed me and kissed the top of my helmet. I laughed at him; older brother, indeed.

"So, how did we get here? Back on the planet?" I asked. "I don't remember much of anything."

"Later," whispered the Doctor.

previous                                             Draw Down the Moon

next                                                A Cosmic Cup of Tea