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."
"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.
"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?"
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