"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."
"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
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